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Team in Training Spring 2007

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Update February, 2007

Starting February 3, I've been at this for 3 weeks now. We started with a coach's clinic in Marin County, at the foot of the north slope of Mt. Tam. Wow! It was there I found I could walk a mile in 13:33, not bad for someone with almost no technique! The morning: Walk a half mile to warm up, do some stretching and mobility, get timed, then walk 2.5 miles along Corte Madera Creek, with the ducks and water birds on a warm, sunny day. Gear clinic, nutrition clinic and a talk by a podiatrist - and food! - finished the morning, and I went right to Sports Basement and bought a new pair of shoes, which I love. I think I'll go through them and 2 more pair by race day on June 23. They never told you about the money you'd spend on gear.

So, I learned an interesting way to relieve the muscle soreness after a workout. Anyone with a queasy stomach should not read further. Take off your clothes. Put on a sweatshirt. Sit in a bathtub. Run the cold water until it completely covers your legs. Don't get the sweatshirt wet! It's supposed to keep you warm. Remain for 15 minutes or until you turn blue. I am not kidding. One of our team members says it works best if you drink a glass of brandy while you're waiting for the timer to go off. OK, I admit, I have not tried this (the cold bath, not the brandy), but people really do swear by it, so I'll let you know how it works, because I know one day I'll be desperate.

Every day there is a workout, as easy as a 30 minute walk with stretching and mobility, or a 1 hour harder one. Wednesdays are rest days (I love Wednesdays!). There is stretching, mobility and strength training too. Who would have thought that one had to prepare one's triceps for walking? Hey, by April, I bet mine will be pretty well defined!

Every Saturday there's a long walk or a long training, and I have to be somewhere in the Bay Area by 7:30 am. That place could be as close as Golden Gate Park or as far away as Walnut Creek or Pt. Richmond. (Where in the hell IS Walnut Creek anyway? I've been there a hundred times, and I still can't tell you!)

I've walked in Golden Gate Park, in from Beach Chalet and back, on the morning after a heavy rain, under dripping leaves and everything fresh smelling and bright green. And the next week in Walnut Creek (wherever that is...) in the bright sun and heat, for 1.5 hours on a lovely bike trail with its own right of way. Back in San Francisco this past Saturday, we walked for 2 hours, starting south of Market, south of the ball park, over the 3rd Street bridge, along the Embarcadero, as far as you could get in an hour. Another woman and I made it to the Cannery, and I have to tell you how good the boiling crab smelled as we passed Fisherman's Wharf. But no crab for the weary...

Finally, this morning I was back in Marin for a coach's clinic where I learned only a few (and it seemed like a lot!) of the intricacies of race walking. Yikes! Just getting the arms right is a challenge. Pull your belly button in to your spine! Now rotate your hips forward. Now stand up straight. Are you standing up straight? Good. Do the routine again - pull your... Put your head forward? No! You've just doubled the weight in the front, and you'll have to pause after every step to let the rest of your body catch up. Swing your arms BACK, not forward. That will drive your momentum forward; do it wrong, and you're driving yourself back, and you'll have to compensate again. Lots to remember, but the coach said I looked good! (See Sharon do the happy dance!)

They say that if you train well, you will pass runners who didn't train well, starting around mile 20 or 22. To relieve the boredom and take your mind off your tired, aching body during the race, they suggested we count every runner we pass. Someone asked, "Out loud???"

As we were walking around the track, I spied six ring necked geese poking among the grass on the baseball field next to us. Suddenly they were in the air, flying across the field, honking like mad. What a sight!

I cannot believe I am doing this. You all are keeping me going, with your donations and encouragement. Keep it up! I'll be covering 8 miles in Golden Gate Park this Saturday, and those of us going to Alaska will have to do it on the horse trails, in whatever shape they're in, to prepare us for six miles of mud and gravel on the course. Downhill. Oh boy...

Golden Gate Park is only 3 miles long. How can we cover 8 miles? Dunno yet, but I'll let you know next update. Or I'll tell you how far down the Great Highway we got.

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