Friday, May 22, 2015

Big Four Walking Bridge -- my lifeline

Flashback to May 20, 2014 -- the Big Four pedestrian bridge opened. Correction: the INDIANA side opened on 5/20/14 ... the KENTUCKY side had been opened for more than a year by that point and was getting quite a bit of traffic. In my lunch-hour walks along the river, I would look up and see multitudes (a few) walking on the bridge from the KY side and look out over the Indiana folks. I always imagined a tour guide standing up at the 'end' where it was barricaded before getting to the Indiana ramp -- "And below, we have the Hoosiers in the native habitat. Please do not feed them."

Since the Indiana side actually opened after I was on my lunchtime walk, and I had an appointment the next day, I wasn't able to walk the bridge until 5/22/14 ... exactly a year ago today! Call me crazy but I get emotional over the dumbest things. And apparently, walking up the ramp of a bridge that I watched being built for months is one of those things. I remember just getting teary-eyed and thinking how cool this was.

The bridge has been an important part of my activity/exercise in this past year and unless it was raining and as long as I was at work for the whole day, I was walking the bridge. A loop from work to the other side of bridge and back comes to around 3.25 miles, which is perfect. Walking at a brisk pace and adding the section on the KY side that goes past the Lincoln statue/amphitheater gets me about 3.7 miles and back to work right at an hour.

View from the Louisville side

I see some of the same folks each day -- we have a bond and wave at each other, nod the head, whatever. And this time of year brings out school field trips -- one time, I was mistaken for a student since I was wearing the same color clothes as their school uniform. I'd like to say that it was a high school group ... but it wasn't. I'm pretty sure they were elementary school kids. Being short isn't all fun and games. HOWEVER, if they were going back to school for naptime and snack? I'd have joined them in a heartbeat!

On the bridge

There are runners and cyclists that I see on a regular basis -- I usually try to make eye contact with the runners, in case they look like they're struggling and I want to give them an encouraging smile.

From one bridge watching the building of another bridge

You can tell the ones who are on it for the first time and are 'just visiting' or are tourists for the day. Then there are the ones who are on the bridge for the walking/exercise -- it's very motivating to see someone who doesn't look very physically active and they are dressed in workout-wear, with their water bottle, and you can see the determination in their eyes. I love it!

Back home again, in Indiana ... (I sang that while writing it)

So how is this my lifeline? That's a bit overdramatic, but I will say that the bridge has helped get me out of the office, away from the stresses of the job or people (not complaining! just need a break), kept me from wasting time for an hour going shopping (wasting gas and money and buying things we don't need) and I will say it's become something I feel like I have to do -- if not walk the bridge, then walk somewhere. On days where I know it's going to be raining or the weather was too extreme, I'd still walk ... just use the treadmill at work instead. But as long as it was above freezing and below 90 degrees, I walked and will continue to do so. And I know my co-workers are eternally grateful that we don't have cubicles and I only stink up my own office when I return. :)

Oh ... and my Runkeeper goal for 2015 is to track 500 walked miles. As of today (5/22/15) I'm at 56% of the goal! Woohoo!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015


So about 2 years ago ... maybe 3? ... I joined GymPACT which essentially pays me to work out. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme, by any means. I think the average payout was about 20 cents each time I went to the Y or worked out at home that I said I would (at least 3x/week but no more than once per day). I don't even know if the 20 cents (rough estimate) was what was motivating me as much as the threat of losing money if I didn't exercise ... to the tune of $5 each time.

It used to be that you had to have a smartphone to participate in PACT but with all the activity trackers, non-smartphone users can participate now. Plus, they've added two new pacts to participate in -- food tracking and fruits/vegetables. The food tracking is done on MyFitnessPal (also no need for a smartphone) and the fruits/veggies are tracked by photos uploaded through the app (so yes, smartphone needed). The reason for these pacts are to learn how to track your food choices and increase the number of healthy fruits and vegetables each week -- meaning, no french fries. The food log counts if you've tracked at least 3 meals in a day and have a minimum of 1200 calories tallied -- they don't want people starving themselves and it's so you track and get credit for the whole day. The fruits/veggies are tricky ... because the uploaded photos are then voted on by members of the PACT community on whether they are healthy or not, a full serving, actually being eaten and are not a photo of a computer screen (you'd be surprised how many people try to pull that one).

I never tried to max out all the pacts (7 workouts, 7 food logs, and 35 fruits/veggies - only 5 per day - each week) but I came close many times and would end up with around $4 a week. The money then stayed in my account until I was ready to cash out into PayPal. Again, I haven't gotten rich with this but it's definitely a way to stay motivated by not losing money. -- check it out.

So ... after all this time, I've only missed a weekly pact twice. The first time was a burnout from vacation and just didn't get moving each day as I thought I would. The second time -- last week. And considering the weather has been gorgeous, to find out that there was a day I didn't go for a walk at lunch (need to track at least 30 minutes of exercise or 10,000 steps on an activity tracker to count) ... I was perturbed. Very. And am now determined not to let that happen again. I stopped the food log and fruit/veggie pacts just because I was getting tired of tracking my food and taking pictures every time I ate something ... but seriously, not even hitting 10,000 steps on my FitBit 3 days last week?? (only have 5 days set for my pact) ... yep, perturbed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kentucky Derby Festival Half-Marathon

Well ... first race done in the rain! And with a cold-bordering on bronchitis! And a PR! Boo-ya!

I was worried about this one. Now that it's over, I'm not sure why because it was a really good course and well-organized. I think it was because of the rain and my cold and not completing the training as much as I had planned. But we survived and both of us ended with a PR!

Thoughts on this one --
I liked the corrals. We started in D corral -- I guess they assign corrals based on what time we put down when we registered. Which is funny because we totally had to guess on our finish time since we registered for this race the night before we ran our first half-marathon in Indianapolis. Their expo had a discount code for the KDF race which expired on Oct. 31 (that night) so we registered and guessed at a finish time. I *think* I put 2:30 as our estimated finish time but I could be wrong. The thing is, we were passing walkers who had bibs labelled with the H and G corrals and this was at the beginning of the race. Look, people ... if they put you in a corral, get there. Don't start the race with the As or Bs or whatever ... which is where they had to have started by the time we got around to passing them.

Saw my first barefoot runner. Ouch.

Lots of tutus - cute but not sure that's for me.

So very glad I wore a baseball cap. It started misting after the start of the race but I never really noticed the rain until the last 2 or 3 miles. By then, it was coming down pretty hard and having to swerve around the puddles was probably adding to my mileage (but also adding to my time). And yo - free advertising for Adams Auction Services.

Running through Churchill Downs wasn't as exciting for me as it was for everyone around me. Selfies everywhere at the entrance and then once inside with the Twin Spires (apparently, those must be capitalized). And it smelled of horse poo. Matt was ahead of me at this point but I realized how nice it would have been to run with someone ... especially when I look up at the backstretch and see horses running their practice drills/sprints/whatnot ... and I immediately point and say 'ooh, look!' ... and no one is around me. Yep ...

In reading the route for this race, I thought we were going to have to go on the killer overpass that is at the end of the Papa John's 10-miler. Thankfully ... no. We turned onto 3rd Street to head back downtown right at that corner.

Once back on 3rd Street, I caught back up with Matt and ran with him for most of that stretch. I'm not sure what happened because at one point once we were getting close to downtown, I kept running and he wasn't there any more. I think his calf was cramping at that point. Bananas, man. Eat a banana.

And finishing? Not sure why I do this but at each race, I'm saving some energy for the finale and end up sprinting (as much as my stumpy legs will allow me to sprint) across the finish line.

PR time? 2:34:44 -- about 2 minutes faster than the Indianapolis Monumental official time.

Ultimate half goal? to finish in less than 2:30 and then sign up for a marathon ...

Papa John's 10 Miler

This one was rough. Not sure why but it didn't go as well as the 5k and 10k from prior weeks. Maybe because we got there a little late ... or rather we got there on time but we ended up standing in the porta-potty line for almost 10 minutes at the start. Good thing this is chip-timed because by the time we were both done and got to the start line, it had started about 8 minutes before and we were having to weave through walkers to find a good pace.

I knew a little more of what to expect with this one and was pretty much dreading the entire portion of Iroquois Park/Mountain. I think I'm going to have to work on hills before next year's race. That's all there is to it.

Ran a large portion of this one with Matt. I don't know if I was slowing him down or encouraging him to run more but it was nice to be with him and chat along the way while we ran and walked (mostly ran).

No PR on this race. This year's result was 1:59:20 compared to last year's result of 1:56:29. Definitely going to have to work on that before next year. Definitely.

Rodes City 10k run - done!

Packet pickup - smooth sailing until I get my number. I mean, really??


I mean - what to do? Answer: this ...

The 1/2 was because I'm training (somewhat) for the Kentucky Derby Festival half marathon ... But still. Just didn't want that number hanging over my head or tied to me. It's not like anyone could even see the number. It was pretty cool that morning so I wore my jacket for the start of the race and tied around my waist/over the number when I got too warm. 

Thoughts on this race .. 
Better prepared this year but I think they changed the course just a little - have to check to verify. 

I highly recommend men and women ask friends to do a gear check with them before a race. Am I wearing too many items? Do the running tights work for me or against me? Examples: I was behind one woman whose rights were just "busy" and they were holding in some jiggly legs -- absolutely nothing wrong there and I applaud her for running! But it was like her legs were some psychedelic movement - it encouraged me to run past her so I wouldn't see the weird movement. You had to see it. Then another lady was wearing light grey that showed their absorbent nature -- two words ... bum sweat. Again, motivation to run faster to pass her. The guys didn't fare better but it made me thankful for my black running capris/tights. 

On spotting a dead squirrel in the road -- wow, those elite runners sure are fast! Roadkill in a race, who'd a thunk it?

Matt and I ran together for most of this one so that was nice. With his freakishly long legs, he runs faster than I do but with my run/walk/interval thing, I end up catching up with him after a bit and then pass him up. I'm not trying to, I just do. :)

Ended this one with a PR from last year. Finished in 1:07:58 this year compared to 1:09:52 in 2014. I'll take it!