Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I Set a Walking PR Today

Today my “long walk” was 14 miles.  That’s the farthest I’ve ever walked without running any part of it.  I’m now past a half marathon and working my way up to a marathon.

I once again slathered Aquaphor on both heels to reduce the friction.  As I started walking, I noticed some pain from my blisters, but it wasn’t bad enough to make me alter my gait.  For the first time in four days I wasn’t going out of my way to avoid putting weight on my heels.  That enabled me to start at a faster pace.

After a few miles, I noticed some discomfort on the outside of my left foot.  I wondered if I was developing a new blister.  I was wearing a different pair of shoes today than the pair I wore for my last few “long walks.”  Previously, I had been wearing this pair mostly for shorter walks on the treadmill.  This pair is a newer version of the same model.  It’s possible that there are some differences in the fit that I never noticed before.

That’s one of the reasons I like to rotate between two pairs of shoes.  Sometimes you get pressure points in different places.  I’d rather develop blisters in two different places than keep getting new or larger blisters in the same place.  One of my friends calls that “rotating your blisters.”

Through seven miles, I was averaging 13:50 per mile.  That’s as fast as any of my other “long walks.”  After that, July heat combined with sunny skies to cause me to have a few lapses in concentration.  To maintain my pace, I needed to focus on both my effort and my form.  If I’m not paying attention, I slow down.

My pace in the second half was slightly erratic.  On average, I slowed down, but not by too much.  I was able to finish 14 miles in 3:14:24, for an average pace of 13:53.  Since I’ve never walked this far before, that’s a PR.

Some people are of the opinion that if you run (or walk) a distance that you’ve never run (or walked) before, it’s automatically a PR.  I don’t see it that way.  If I ran 26.1 miles at a pace that’s slower than my fastest marathon, I wouldn’t consider it a PR.  In my opinion, it’s not a PR unless it’s the fastest you’ve ever run (or walked) on that distance or farther.  Since I’ve never walked this far before, today’s walk meets that criterion.

13:53 is actually pretty slow compared to my walking PRs for shorter distances.  I’d like to bring that pace down, but for now, I’m happy with it.  It’s hard to build your distance without slowing down.   In 12 days, I’ve gone from 4 miles at a 17:09 pace to 14 miles at a 13:53 pace.

There were a lot of positives in today’s walk.  First, I set a PR.  At my age, I don’t get to say that very often.  Second, I met my training goal for today.  I’ve been ramping up aggressively, so I feel pretty good about that too.  Third, and probably most important, I may have turned a corner with my blisters.

After I finished, I checked my feet.  At first, it seemed like my blisters might be bigger now.  After soaking my feet in Epsom salt, I wasn’t as sure.  The one on the left heel looked bigger, but the one on the right heel didn’t.  Neither seemed to have any blood in it.

I haven’t decided if I’ll try to drain the blister on my left foot.  I’m going to take it easy tomorrow, so I may wait and see for another day.

I think the Aquaphor is helping, so I’m going to stick with it.  It’s harder to know if the Epsom salt is helping, but it’s not hurting, so I’ll stick with that too.  Eventually, I’d like these blisters to heal, but for now I’ll be happy if I can keep training without making them worse.

I also examined the outside of my left foot.  There wasn’t any blister there.  It may have been a “hot spot,” or it may be that achy feeling you get when your shoe is too tight.  Perhaps these shoes aren’t as wide in the forefoot as the older model.  For now, it’s not a big problem.  I’ll keep rotating my shoes.

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