Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thursday’s Urban Walkabout

Well it seems like it’s back to walking for me. My ankles haven’t really recovered from the 9 mile run three weeks ago and I didn’t even start doing a walking workout on the treadmill until early last week. I happened to have awakened earlier than usual on Thursday morning after being off from work the previous night, and thought I’d walk outdoors maybe for 2 to 2 ½ hours, which would have made me catch up to the training mileage for the Long Beach Half Marathon.
So I headed out towards the Virginia Country Club area and planned to crisscross the streets and maybe throw in some loops. I was only aiming or at least hoping  for a pace of 15 minutes per mile while doing 4 minutes of aggressive walking with 1 minute of slower recovery. After all, I haven’t done a walking workout in a while and besides it was a hot day. The first couple of miles were uneventful but, darn it, when I hit three miles my left ankle started to hurt, and I thought I would have to abort the workout. Going into the fourth mile which I thought I was on my way home, the ankle started to stabilize, so I pressed on. That’s when the maybes started: maybe one more block, maybe 5 miles, maybe 6, maybe 7, okay, let’s try making it 8 and that should do it. When I hit 2 hours, I was slightly past 8 miles so I went for 8.5 to even it out. But wait, there’s more – I ran up the time to 2:15 and completed 9.13 miles. The first 7 miles were right on the money at my goal pace of 15 minutes per mile, but the last 2 miles were way faster because at the end, the average pace dropped down to 14:48 for the whole distance. So I didn’t make it to 10 miles, but it wasn’t bad at all for not having walked for weeks.
Even though I was surprised and excited to have completed that distance, I didn’t write about it right away because I was afraid of the aftermath. Often my ankles hurt more the day after, so I had to wait and see how it would turn out this time. Well, it seems like the tendons recovered much faster than when I subject them to the pounding of running because the pain is not as much.
After experimenting between a short, quick heel-to-toe stride and my more normal longer walking stride, I found out that my pace is faster with the longer stride, so maybe I’ll keep it that way. It isn’t as pretty as the swiveling hips of racewalkers, but it seems to work better for me.

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