Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Signal Hill and Back

A view of Long Beach stretching towards the ocean - from atop Signal Hill with oil derricks in the foreground.

Well it was time for catch up mileage for my half marathon training. The AREC training group did 10 miles the other Saturday and I was hoping to equal the distance on Tuesday morning. That wasn’t a definite plan. I intended to walk southward and see where one hour would take me. It was a route I had taken so many times before while running, but only once have I done it while walking, which happened last winter. At that time, one hour brought me to four miles so it was an 8 mile round trip. On Tuesday (8/29/11), my strategy was to walk for 4 minutes while swinging my arms aggressively, then recover for 1 minute with a regular quick stride. See, I walk faster when I swing my arms aggressively. So the workout was similar to the 4 minute run/ 1 minute walk that I do. This day was also the first time I was going to use my recently acquired HD radio, but that’s a different  topic I’ll write about in another blog post.

The weekend heat wave had broken by Tuesday morning so it was cool when I started at about 8:15 a.m. My internal compass was pointed towards Signal Hill. I didn’t know if I was actually going to reach it since my winter walk in that direction didn’t even get me to the base of the hill. When I hit one hour on Tuesday, I was already at the base of Skyline Drive on Cherry Avenue. Instead of turning around for the hour walk back home, I proceeded up the hill instead. When I reached the peak, I stopped briefly to take some pictures with my cell phone. I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out because I took them blindly since I couldn’t see the screen due to the glare. Then I continued the walk around the other side of the hilltop, then headed back down on the way home. Let me tell you, it’s rougher on my ankles to walk downhill than up, specially when the angle is very steep. I had to bend my knees more on the way down to lessen the shock on my ankles. I was on target to get home at 2 hours and 20 minutes so I had to do some dipsy doos on a few streets so I could reach 2 ½ hours. When I reached that time and clicked my GPS watch off, I merely a few steps from my door and had traveled 10.53 miles at a pace of 14 minutes and 15 seconds per mile. All this catch up mileage has given me shinsplints, but it doesn’t seem to affect my stride too much as compared to having them while running. Other than taking too much time, it was a pretty good walking workout. By the way, at the Track and Field World Championships yesterday, the winner of the women’s 20 kilometer (12.4 miles) walk was clocked at 1 hour, 29 minutes and 42 seconds.
An additional note here regarding weight and fluid loss: I woke up and started the walk at 116.2 pounds. Like I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t hot day. In fact it was a little cool at the start and it didn’t feel like I was sweating very much. I didn’t even feel thirsty. However I was surprised at my fluid loss when I weighed in after the workout. It was down to 112.8 pounds. Wow! I never thought I could lose that much fluids while walking.

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