Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AREC Marathon Training – 2011 Edition (In my case: walk training)

So what about these numbers: 13:30? Saturday morning was the start of the annual AREC marathon/half marathon training for the Long Beach Marathon, something I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate in this year due to my ankle issues. Plus all these shenanigans about waking up too early on Saturday mornings which I have become lazy about. Nevertheless I set my alarm at 5 a.m. and went anyway, if only to pick up my technical shirt for renewing my club membership. The night before, I had to decide whether to wear my shoes and orthotics for running, or the shoes and orthotics for walking (as I type this sentence, this word processor keeps on changing the word “orthotics” to “esthetics”). I opted for the latter because my last run two days before made my ankles too achy for another running workout. I got there early, filled out the necessary waivers, then started a warm up walk of one mile. Oh, it took about 15 minutes and 11 seconds which was not bad for a warm up.
There were the usual lengthy first day introductions before the start. I checked the sign up sheet and saw about 110 names on it. Not too shabby in spite of some people from the club running the Palos Verdes Marathon and Half that day. Just a tad before 8 a.m. we finally got started. I didn’t expect any other walkers in the group so I started from the rear so as not to get in the way of the runners. For the first time in a long time, I was not in the mix. But whadayaknow, I actually passed two joggers in the first 100 meters! I had set my watch to 4:1 intervals with a plan to walk hard for four minutes and recover for one minute. That plan was out the window after the first interval because I just kept on going and ignoring the recovery minute. I didn’t know how long I could keep up that clip and I also didn’t know what pace I was doing because I don’t have pace sense in walking as I used to do in running. In running I could guess my pace per mile depending on my perceived effort. However, I’m clueless about walking pace based on perceived effort. Since I couldn’t keep up with anybody, I was walking all by my lonesome until the club vice president who was taking pictures while running back and forth all over the course, caught up with me with a mile and a half to go. He managed to take a picture of  me from the side exposing all my gray hairedness (methinks it might be time to color my hair again which I haven’t done in about 4 years because I had given up vanity). In any case, I made it to the finish of the 5 mile walk, clicked my GPS watch off, checked my average pace per mile, and voila, it was a surprising 13:30! I don’t think I’ve ever walked that fast before even though I managed about 13:45 five or six years ago covering 10 miles. But that was when I only had a problem with the right ankle. Considering it was quite a cool morning, a sweat rate of two pounds was pretty good because it meant that I was putting some effort into my strides. Instead of longer strides when I don’t swing my arms, my steps were shorter and done at a faster clip. I still have a lot to learn about proper power walking technique. All I know is that it has something to do with the heel to toe push off plus some hip action. With the effort I put in last Saturday morning, it wasn’t much of a surprise that my ankles were hurting for days afterwards.
Other than passing a couple of people at the start, I was the trailing participant of the group. In fact, I was the last finisher. But, it was a very good finish.

Side note: In the past, I would have blogged about this right after I got home from the run. However, I've been getting lazy lately and writing about it has come later and later. My apologies.

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