Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks – indoor and outdoor

This week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is about paths made for walking.

One of my favorite activities is to walk. And I try to go for walks every week day during lunch time.

Around my office building there are a few different trails.  Some are of gravel, some are paved. And my favorite is one that goes through a small woods.

And that’s the one I’ll be featuring here:


Wanderings from the past week

Last week I was on vacation in California. The hotel we stayed in was in Newport Beach, but we also visited Disneyland, San Diego and Santa Monica.

And walked a lot!!!!

I did not track the walks, except by one, but I was always wearing my fitbit, which can give you guys an idea of how much walking was done.

Fitbit sets a standard goal (that we can change, but I never bothered to do so) of 10,000 steps a day, for a 70,000 steps weekly.

On the days of my trip, which were Friday to Friday, so 8 days, I walked a total of 108,922 steps!

I was under 10,000 only once, on March 31st, when I did ‘only’ 9351.

The one walk I tracked, was the only ‘official’ walk, that I did with the hotel people, who organizes daily 3-mile walks to a state park that goes along the beach. The hotel is at the top of a hill, so the walk had a big elevation change.

Here’s the details and pictures of that one walk:


But in spite of all the walk, I’m still much heavier than I’d like to be, and walking consistently helps me lose weight. So today I went for a log lunch time walk.

I did 4.33 miles, in 1 hour 13 minutes, with an average pace of 17:10.

Climbing cherry trees? Why not? WHY???

Yesterday we went to University of Washington campus to enjoy the view of the blooming cherry trees.
And the trees were so climbing friendly!!!
My kids couldn’t resist and climbed on a few of them, with our help.

Kids at the tree branch

Kids at the tree branch

In one of them, I decided to try to climb too, but after both kids were at the branch, there wasn’t much space left for me to get there, so I stayed sort of midway, still in the main trunck, but not in any branches.
It didn’t really feel like I was climbing the tree…

When they came down, we continued on our walk. The entire time I thought about going back and climbing a tree alone (or at least be the first one to get there), but something stopped me from doing so.
Not sure what. Laziness?
It could not be embarrassment because the trees were being climbed by all sorts of people and no one was there to judge anyone else.
It couldn’t be fear, because I don’t fear climbing on trees (at least not the small ones… hehehe)

Now I sort of regret. I should have came back and climbed and then grabbed the kids to be on top with me.
How cool would that have been???

Oh well… next time…

I did take pictures of the trees and the pretty flowers, though….

Blossoms at the tree trunk

Blossoms at the tree trunk

Fully blooming

Fully blooming

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

And, by the way, it was also a pretty walk of over 2 miles. I can’t tell the exact distance and it was done pretty slowly, but still a walk. Except in the last little bit, when I had to come back from the parking lot to where we rested last time to grab my purse I forgot there. At that part, I ran. Pretty fast and barefoot, as my shoes yesterday were not running friendly at all – actually they were not even walking friendly either. ūüė¶
Fortunately, my purse was still there and intact and I was able to walk back…

Spring is in the air

Last week I avoided going for walks, in order to take time to recover from my little dare-to-jog-on-a-half-marathon injuries.

Friday I was feeling good though, so I risked walking with a friend to a cafe about 1 mile away from our offices for some lunch.

The way there passes through a trail around a wetland and, as we walked, I noticed the blooming flowers and buds and bright green baby leaves. I could not believe I didn’t have my camera with me! Well… I did have my phone, but my phone does not work very well when trying to take macro pictures, so for that occasion I¬†really¬†wanted my Canon camera.

Then came today!

In the morning we had lots of rain. So much that I did not have too many hopes for a walk. I missed my workout and that made me pretty grumpy, with ideas of going to the gym at the end of the day, even though I know deep inside that the likelihood that that would happen was very dim. And that ‘deep knowledge’ was not really helping me in raising my spirits.

When¬†lunch¬†time came I decided to check out the weather outside (no windows in my office… :() and to my surprise the sun was shining! The sky still had lots of clouds, but there was also big patches of blue sky and we were getting the sunshine.

I didn’t think twice, grabbed my camera and off I went to that same trail to take a few shots of the¬†blooming¬†flowers and chirping birds.

The walk was in 2 parts, since I ended up having lunch on the same cafe was Friday again. And it was also very slow, because I was looking around and stopping all the time for pictures.
(this week I can even use the excuse that my feet cannot be forced much to justify a slow walk. And if the walk is slow anyways, why not take pictures, right?)


The total distance walked was of 2.18 miles (1.03 + 1.15), walked in about 1h05m (31:57 + 32:50) and with an average pace of about 30:00 (31:06 on first leg; 28:33 on second). Veeeery sloooowww.


Proud to have finished or stupid for pushing too hard?

Last Saturday I had my second Half Marathon ever.

It was much tougher than the first one, in spite of the awesome sunny but cool weather, compared to the rain and cold of the first one.


Arriving at the park, lots of fog announcing a sunny day

And I know exactly what made it tougher.


Because I pushed my body more than I should have.

In 2011, I had no ambition to even try to run. I was a walker, was training to walk and was happy to walk a half-marathon, thinking of that as an accomplishment big enough.

Between 2011 and 2013, my preparedness level went down, as I was not walking as consistently as before throughout the year, and I did not got even closer to become a runner. Still a walker and a slower one for lack of training.

But still I got ambitious thinking I could try to run at least a little part of it.

I did try running before, and ran part of a 10 k in August and part of a 5 k in October. But since October, my training was very little and was focused more on walking than on running. I did only one training run. Just one!

But still I got ambitious thinking I could try to run at least a little part of it.

And that’s what made my feet very very unhappy.

The first mile I started running¬†because¬†I crossed the start line with a friend who is a runner. We never really stayed side by side because even with me trying to run, she is faster and I didn’t want and would not slow her down. So after crossing the line, off she went on her faster pace, while I stayed behind on my very slow jog. Before milestone 1, though, I had already switched to walking, as my right foot was starting to hurt a bit.

About to cross the starting line

About to cross the starting line

It is a bit common, though, that my foot hurts a bit in the beginning, but as it warms up the pain fades away and I can walk a lot with no pain.

The second mile, I walked most of it. I may have jogged a minute here, a minute there, but it was a walking mile. And by the time I reached milestone 2, the problem was a different one and on the other side. My left foot was getting numb. So now I had one foot hurting and another one numb. Great!

The third mile, then, was a listen-to-your-body-and-try-to-find-balance one, in which I was trying to figure out how to make my left foot come back no life and the right one to stop hurting. And I did find the balance. By milestone 3, I had realized that for the pain the solution was to slow down, while for the numbness the solution was to speed up, so my job was to find a speed that would please my 2 halves. And that speed turned out to be 3.8 mph.

Walking fast, with some little jogging here and there, on a foggy trail

Walking fast, with some little jogging here and there, on a foggy trail

For the fourth mile, my strategy was to keep that 3.8 mph speed to make my feet happy again and it worked great. So great that by milestone 4, I decided I could risk jogging a bit more and decided to try to jog for a full mile.

The fifth mile was jogging. ¬†It wasn’t too bad. I could feel I was forcing my right foot again, but it wasn’t hurting much. For the lower back, it seemed to be even more comfortable. My muscles were ok. They always are. I like my muscles. And I was able to keep a speed of 4.8. Yay! On milestone 5 I switched again to walking.

The sixth mile was a full mile of walking. I felt my feet harder when I switched to walking than while I was jogging, but then the pain went sort of away. That’s when I had the great idea to play intervals until the end. I could walk 6, jog 7, walk 8, jog 9, walk 10, jog 11, walk 12 and jog 13, crossing the¬†finish¬†line jogging. That’d be perfect! With that idea in mind, at milestone 6, I switched to jog again to go on with my plan.

Seventh mile was jogging again. But my feet was not as recovered now as it was at the beginning of mile 5, so I was not able to keep the same speed. I was still able to push myself to jog the whole mile, but at a slower speed of 4.3 and with some pain. I was actually looking really forward to see milestone 7 and be able to switch again.

On the eight mile, as I switched back to walk, my feet started hurting more again, just like between 5 and 6, but this time the pain was much worse. It was actually awful. OMG!!! Hard to put any weight on my right foot. And I still had 6+ more miles to go. At that point lots of things crossed my mind, and I was torn between:

  1. listening to the clues my body was giving me and call my husband to pick me up half-way through
  2. setting my mind to complete the race, after all in a endurance race the mind is more powerful than the body and should be the one not to give up.

Ambition + pride + though-headedness make me pick number 2 and set my mind to finish, regardless of the incredible pain I was feeling.

And of I went, to walk for 6 more miles in spite of the complains from my right foot.


At the second half of the half, the sun started to come out, my feet started to hurt like crazy and I started to get behind…

At some point, left foot started complaining too, after all, with the other one refusing to support my weight I had to put more stress on it.

Miles 8, 9 and 10 were painful and hard. My focus¬†turned¬†to try to be able to make it in under 4 hours, since the course would close after 4 hours… So I was trying not to let my speed go below 3 mph. And I was able to keep it at¬†around¬†3.1 mph,¬†which¬†should be enough.

At milestone 10 I called my husband to let him know that I had 3 more miles to go and I was doing 3 miles per hour, so I would be crossing the finish line in 1 hour, so he could plan to be there by that time to pick me up.

After that, I don’t know if it was a¬†psychological¬†effect of knowing the end was close, or if it was the fact that my body was starting to get used to be ‘abused’ by me with all that walking-in-spite-of-pain thingy, but I was able to¬†increase¬†my pace and speed a little bit, doing 3.4 mph.

And with that I crossed the finish line after 3:33:04! Yay! I made it in spite of all!!! And faster than last time, which had a time of 3:49.

But with all the pain, especially at that night after a soaking relaxing bath, I started wondering if I should be proud to have finished or stupid for pushing too hard?

Today, after 48 hours, my feet are much better, but still hurting more than they should. I’ve been using pain-relief creams, massage, and rest, but the thing is still there.

I tried to read a bit about feet injuries and I guess it could be plantar fasciitis (which I have and that’s why I’m a walker more than a runner), maybe in great extend my peroneal tendons, maybe a tiny bit of Achilles tendons, most likely a combination of all three.

But one thing is for sure. I finished it and I have my medal to prove it! And in a few years I will have forgotten all the pain, but will still have the memory of finishing one more race.

The medal to be proud of!

The medal to be proud of!

So I guess that answers my questions and tells me I can be proud, just a bit more cautious next time.

And there will sure be a next time!!!!

Pre-race expectation

What a better way to start a blog than in the night before my second half-marathon.

I like to walk and I have been participating in smaller races for the past 2 and a half years.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be participating at the 2013 Lake Sammamish Half-Marathon.

t-shirt, bib, timer and GPS watch

t-shirt, bib, timer and GPS watch

The first one I did was about a year and a half ago, in November 2011. At that time, I was training a lot and was able to finish the 13.1 miles in 3 hours 49 minutes, without pushing myself too much.

This time I am not as prepared, as I haven’t been able to train much. But I still think I can do in under 4 hours. Well, I actually have to, since the course closes after 4 hours anyways…

When I signed up for tomorrow’s event, I had the idea of maybe trying to jog part of it. I trained jogging once and never again, so I gave up the idea and will just walk. But I’m still open to see how I feel and how well I do it. If at the time I feel I can jog a bit, I will. But just a bit.

But it’s getting late and tomorrow the day will be busy. So I’ll go get some sleep and I’ll tell you tomorrow how it went.


PS. I must confess I’m already thinking of my third one… just thinking though… ūüėČ