Monday, May 23, 2011

Treading Pavement

          Now that the supposed day of rapture has come and gone, let me give you a blow by blow account of that day’s walk. The previous week, I finished a one mile warm up in 15:11. This week, the warm up mile time went down to 14:30. Things were looking up already. At the start, it felt like I was going at a pretty good clip. The only difference this time was that I didn’t pass any runners/joggers. I don’t think that the two I passed last week showed up this time. That, or they had improved their pace considerably in a week’s time that they were way ahead of me. So there I was again, trailing all the others.

 That's me, trailing the man with the red cap. I'm last as usual.
At an out and back portion of the course, it was great to see people I used to run with coming back and we cheered each other on. In spite of my slowness, it feels nice to be accepted by my friends who still run. How far behind was I?  When I reached the turnaround point, I told the people at the water station that they can start packing up because I was the last one.
As far as my power walking went, I gave it some effort but it didn’t feel like I could equal what I managed the week before. I didn’t even get close to getting short of breath. No matter how hard I tried to walk faster, it felt like treading water. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to be protective of my ankles and would not push off hard enough. I also experimented the swivel hips and heel to toe techniques, but I couldn’t keep that up for more than a few meters because it felt so unnatural.
Trying to pick up the pace in walking feels so much different from running. In running, you can speed up by increasing your stride length or the cadence of your steps. There seems to be a limiting factor when you try to do this in walking. You can only try walking so fast and if you go any faster, you might was well be jogging. Which of course doesn’t help with my ankles because of the additional impact forces.
So what’s next in this experiment? Perhaps I should go back to the technique I used the previous week and that was basing my pace on my perceived effort where my breathing felt like I was doing a slow run. We’ll see next week if the ankles cooperate.

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