My Longest Walk Ever!

I have been resting all week (since last Saturday's 10.6 mile walk) to see if that would help with my nagging hip pain. But today, it was time to get back to training for the AVON Walk (by the way, if you want to support me it is not too late and I would really appreciate it!).

I still have two Long Runs to get in before I taper, and I didn't want to skip one and have to try to make up for it (or just feel under-trained for the Walk). This weekend, I am scheduled for a 15-mile Walk Saturday and a 10-mile Walk on Sunday. Last Saturday, I was supposed to walk 13 miles but stopped at 10.6 (and skipped the Sunday walk), so going 15 miles today is going to be a big jump (something that is not recommended during training).

I started out at 6:30AM in 62 degree weather with overcast skies and a slight breeze. There was the threat of rain but luckily for me, the rain went further south and missed us. All I wore were my Brooks shoes, shorts, a long-sleeved tech shirt, a light vest, my compression calf sleeves, a hat, and my Hydration Pack (which is so awesome!). And I brought along podcasts from Marathon Talk and The Marathon Show, and my music.

It was SO GOOD to be outside after feeling couped up inside for seven days. The hip felt fine and pretty much was good the entire walk. In fact, everything worked well today. I took a very different route today, going places I have never walked/run before. At one point, I entered the Illinois Prairie Path at a different place than I usually do (by Nick's Pizza). The path was beautiful! I saw several cyclists along the way, but surprisingly, I was pretty much alone for most of my walk.

I took the path because I figured it would help extend my mileage, and, so that I could cross the new bridges! But darn it, they were still closed! In fact, the second bridge closing caused me to have to leave the path and dropped me in an area of Lake in the Hills that I was not familiar with. Thank goodness for the iPhone GPS which led me home.

Speaking of my iPhone, I found myself posting to my FB page at different times during the walk, mostly responding to posts from a few friends. I also posted a few 'at mile XX' notes as well. It was fun communicating during the walk. I think I might consider 'live tweeting' the AVON Walk as a way to share the experience with all of you, and especially those who are supporting the cause with their donations. My twitter handle is '@rpeete'.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to make a surprise stop to visit my running partner Mike at his house. But I forgot that he was running a Half Marathon race in downtown Chicago today. So when I got there, of course, he wasn't. Bummer! So I kept on towards home -- having to traverse lots of good hills along the way (I was having flashbacks of running the "Run Through the Hills 10K" race last month).

About 1.3 miles from my house, I was standing at a stoplight waiting to cross the street. A cyclist came up to wait as well. The guy said "I saw you back in downtown Crystal Lake. You made pretty good time!" That made me feel pretty good, actually, even though I do not remember seeing him.

I finished the 15.01 miles with an average walking pace of 15:36/mm. I was happy with that, especially considering the hills and the many times I had to stop and wait for stoplights and such.

This was my longest Walk ever, as well as the longest amount of time being 'on my feet' during a training: 3 hours, 54 minutes. And my legs and feet felt pretty good afterwards. This is very encouraging as I get ready for the AVON Walk and eventually for the Chicago Marathon. Tomorrow will be another 10 mile walk, bringing my weekly mileage to 25. Not too bad, I guess.

Later on in the afternoon, I took my second Foam Roller session at LifeTime Fitness. Not only was the class very good, it felt great to roll out most of the muscle groups in my body post-run. By the end of the class, it felt like I had been given a massage. It was awesome!

The instructor, my masseuse, took the class through a series of foam roller exercises that flowed from one to the next. In this way, you work from the feet all the way to the head in one session. When done correctly, this should feel like you put your body through a workout, and these exercises definitely work your core a lot. This is what I am going to start doing at home now.

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