Some of us walk fast. Some of us walk, well, not so fast. But don’t worry about your speed unless you’re trying to achieve a goal in a race. And in the meantime, know that your pace is likely just fine.
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See you Wednesday!
This morning, I’m embarking on my 15th half marathon as a walker. (Wish me dry weather!)
And for the second time, I’ll be serving as a pacer for walkers in the race. I’m participating in the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Half Marathon, which unlike most races is particularly welcoming of walkers, even offering awards for the top finishers among walkers, broken down by gender and age divisions.
I’ll be pacing a 3:15 finish, which works out to about a 4.1-mile-per-hour pace. I look forward to helping guide some first-timers to their inaugural finish line!
Wishes for a great race day also go out to those doing the NYC Marathon today, among them good friend and walking coach Lee S.
The need to do some higher mileage as I train for a half marathon, plus sunshine and nonfreezing temperatures, finally got me walking outside today.
If you read my last post, it might help shed some light on why it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve gone to the gym but hadn’t been able to bring myself to brave the cold outdoors for longer than house to car/car to gym.
As a half marathon on May 3 looms, though, thankfully the weather coincided with my need to do about 8 miles of walking. I’ve done that distance on the treadmill before (and did 6.5 on it a few weeks ago, thanks to the theater room at my gym — watching a movie makes the miles zoom by), but knew I really needed to get in some outdoor mileage.
After several months on the treadmill, it’s important to get re-conditioned and ready for a race without the assistance the machine gives me, on the unyielding surface of pavement. And to be sure, my speed was noticeably slower outdoors than in.
But that’s OK — I know it won’t take long to get back up to true speed.
I did an almost-8-mile loop from my town into the next and back. I love walking early in the morning, when traffic is light and most of the world is still waking up. I left the earbuds at home so I could enjoy the sound of birds — just that and my thoughts for almost 2 hours.
One thing I forgot about taking a walk outdoors: The near heart attack you get when a dog comes out of nowhere, charging up full bark on the other side of a fence you’re walking alongside. (What’s even scarier is when it’s one of those invisible fences, and you’re not sure until the last second if there’s any barrier between you and dog!)
As my walk progressed, I was waiting for the rewarding vibration of my FitBit, notifying me I’d reached my 10,000 step goal. Nada.
When I got home, I logged in and saw that it had just 8,500-and-change steps listed. Seems low for nearly 8 miles! But what was worse was my “active minutes” — just 11? Seriously? Sometimes I think that only something like jumping-jacks or burpees counts as “active minutes” where FitBit is concerned.
In my book? 2 hours of walking counts!
Half marathon #13 is in the books for me, as is my first bout as a pacer.
It can be challenging to keep a pace different from your usual and sustain it over such a distance, especially when contending with 20 mph winds along the race course. (But at least it wasn’t raining!) The plus is that it gave me the opportunity to talk with some first-time half marathoners along the way, which is always wonderful.
And I’m so very proud of Walk With Joelle client Michele K. Today was her first half marathon as a walker, and she rocked! She finished strong and fast — and earned an award for her efforts!
The race, the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Half Marathon, featured a walker division and awards for the top finishers among the walkers. Michele K. finished 2nd in her age group, 5th among women and 10th overall! I’ll just have to warn her not to get used to it, that walkers don’t usually earn awards in half and full marathons because so few races recognize us as a category. (Let’s hope that continues to change, and thanks to walking coach Michele Stanten for making it happen in this race!)
The other great thing about this race was that several of my friends also participated, both as pacers and walkers. It’s fitting because marathoning brought us all together in the first place. Nearly 10 years ago, in my days at Prevention magazine, I was involved in its program to train readers to walk half and full marathons. Some of our readers became intimately involved with the program and were integral to its success — and the success of so many fellow race participants! And along the way we spent a lot of fun times together at races across the country. That grew to doing races “off-duty,” so to speak. And although the magazine’s program ended, the deep friendships did not.
So I’m always especially happy to spend a race weekend with friends — friends who know the time invested in training, who know the frustration when a race doesn’t go as planned, who are inspiring and motivating, and who know the joyous emotion of completing a race, whether your first or 10th or 40th (and cheer for you just as loudly from race to race). Thanks for another great weekend, ladies … even though it was too short and not a complete group reunion! And congratulations to all the walkers today too!