Hills are our friends! That's what Rich (the primary walking coach) tells us, anyway. And considering The Pig is a hilly course (it's Cincinnati, not like you could really avoid hills here), it's good to practice right? Right!
But FIRST, we met up at the warehouse early for a clinic to review range of motion warm-up drills and post race stretching. I am REALLY glad we went - they went over at least 3 separate variations on stretches for each major leg muscle you want to be sure and stretch out after long distances, some of which I hadn't seen before. I was PARTICULARLY glad to have a new way to stretch out my shins (I've been doing what is more of a quad stretch, bending my knee and grabbing my foot from behind, which isn't especially helpful but it was better than nothing when my shins would tighten up on me when I pushed too hard before warming up sufficiently) - they had us try crossing one foot over the other (feet both facing forward), then whichever leg is in front, lift your heel so your basically pointing your toe on the ground, then bend the back leg forward - GREAT shin stretch! They also suggested walking on your heels (KITTYWULF started quacking like a duck, and I stuck my arms out straight like I was a penguin as we waddled around the warehouse) as a great way to strengthen those shins - good stuff!
I experienced a rather unexpected NSV (Non-Scale Victory) during the clinic. The quad stretch I mentioned above was suggested, as well as trying to grab your food by the OPPOSITE hand instead of the hand on the same side of your body as the leg you're currently bending. Now, this is one of the stretches Jillian Michaels suggests at the end of the Level 1 section (the only one I've attempted) on her 30 Day Shred DVD. When I was doing The Shred regularly, I never attempted that particular stretch - I was lucky to be able to get my foot in my hand at ALL, trying to grab it from the opposite hand just seemed to be adding insult to injury. Last night, I decided to give it a shot...and OMG. Really? I can do this? I can do this! That felt SO GOOD! (And hey, it's a good stretch, I may keep on doing it, just 'cause I can!)
So on that happy note, it was time to start an hour of hills. Here's the area we were walking - not far from the warehouse, where Brotherton and Paxton roads run parallel to each other. Thing is, between those two roads is a pretty hefty hill, so we were zig-zagging on the streets that cross them to go up and down those hills along the way...
When we started heading around the last street, we realized we'd only gone about 26 minutes, so we started doubling up on the loops - I totally lost track of how many times we did each one (good thing the coach with us had her Garmin, so I could get the actual ending mileage from her, there was no way I was going to be able to map it accurately for tracking purposes here). Not easy by a long shot, but I think we did a pretty respectable job, particularly considering we stayed at a 16 min mile pace through the whole deal. Now, when I do that distance at HOME (it was nearly the exact distance on my usual "5K +" route near my home) I run all the downhills, and usually aim to pull that distance off in 50 minutes or less. My daughter and I did a *little* jogging down the steeper hills to save our legs a bit, but we mostly focused on walking it this time, so I'm pretty pleased with 59 minutes. I felt GOOD at the end, sweaty and breathing hard, but I could have kept on going, and I knew I could have beaten that time if we'd have run more, so it was a definite confidence booster. At one point I got across a street before my daughter could get past the light, so we ended up separated for a bit - she apparently had the coach (who'd been sticking with the caboose again) really impressed that she's doing this specifically to spend more time with me (thus her disappointment at getting separated, happily it was the last few blocks of the walk so it was only for a few minutes). Have I mentioned how much mom's heart over here is just about bursting with happy that my kid is willing to do a MARATHON just to do something special with me? How hard does THAT rock? (Can't help but mention that the other two - plus the younger son's girlfriend - all seem to have the same motivation, they'll all be doing the Heartwalk with me on the 18th, and have been bugging me we're overdue for a game day...I so love the fact my kids WANT to spend time with me as adults, it's about the best thing evar).
Some of the ladies were going out for dinner afterwards, and we got invited to go along (yay for being included!), but we declined so I could get home to the mate - there will be other opportunities, particularly considering the fact I gave 3 weeks notice at my job yesterday. (And yes, a huge weight has lifted there - the next 3 weeks are going to be kind of crazy with the time change and trying to get documentation and training done so they can cope after I leave, but the thought of never having to darken the Evil Empire's door again is a VERY happy thought.)
It's all paying off - I weighed myself this morning, and have shed all 6 of the extra pounds I put on due to emotional eating from all the job stress a few weeks back. Back to 80 lbs lost, thank you very much!
Take THAT Emotional Eating Monster! It was a temporary set-back, NOT a defeat!