For those of you who were wondering how the Trot went on Thursday, a few comments.

First, congrats to everyone out there who got it done – whether you were cooking that day, feasting on the treats of others (moi) or just plain having fun.  I’m proud of anyone who laces up during the next six weeks to put their health first.

Second, a few questions have been thrown my way, and I thought it might be a good time to answer them.

Do those sticks work?  What’s with those poles?  Are you injured?

I had quite a few questions on Thursday from folks lining up near me – and man, was it fun.  First, there were the two girls next to me at the start.  As I dropped the sticks while pulling out my iPhone, one of them picked them up and (I’m pretty certain) expected me to be seriously injured.  When I explained that I was just using them to burn more calories and come back slowly from an injury, their eyes perked up.  “Forty percent more calories? Seriously?” they blinked.  Suddenly, I looked like a Mensa candidate with poles. Cool.

Did you hit anybody with those things?

No, I was too busy toasting them.  Okay, not really, but the interesting thing about the poles is that if you’re doing it right, when you place the pole on the ground, it’s even with your back foot – then you push off, and move forward.  While the poles do drag behind a little bit, you’re never really using up more space than your standard walking motion.  If you were, you’d be pretty inefficient.  So unless someone’s clipping your heels, you’re not going to poke them.

Now, when I reached the three mile mark and was sweating like a piglet, and tried to take my top layer off (only to find out my race number was pinned through BOTH layers), I had to put the poles aside, lest I smack someone while I tried to unpin myself.  Eventually I gave up and decided to enjoy the sauna-esque feeling of the morning and move along.  But overall, the poles didn’t get in my way (or anyone else’s).

Did you feel like a spectacle?

A little bit. But I convinced myself they were all just jealous because I was passing them up.  And more than that, people were curious.  And funny.  When I told the one man he could use the sticks and burn more calories, he said “so would that mean I wouldn’t have to hold in my gut anymore?”  In my dreams, I said. 

Then there was the finish – I was just happy to be there, and when I came across the line, I don’t remember what music was playing, but, checking to make sure there was no one around me, I celebrated by flipping my sticks into the air.  “We even have a skier on the course today!” said the MC.  Yep, that was me. 

Would you do it again?

Yes, I think I would – but you have to realize, this is Hard work with a capital H.  It doesn’t burn 40% more calories than walking alone for no reason.  I wore my heart rate monitor, and according to that little gem, I was “outside” my target heart rate zone for most of the day.  I was pushing it, and if I ever wanted to do anything longer, I’d have to scale back a bit on some portion of the effort in order to make it.

How’s the hip/ab injury treating you?

Why, thanks for asking!  I felt pretty good most of the day.   Around Mile 3, after I was warmed up, and after I had gone over a couple of larger bridges, I could feel a bit of strain, but I focused on form (sucking those lower abs in, engaging my lower back) and I felt okay.  I also stretched out and did some of my PT exercises after the walk was finished, and didn’t dawdle around the finish line.  I think that helped.  Compared to prior years when I’ve run/walked, I felt much better throughout the day, too.  I still think that for now, 6 miles is a good upper limit for me, and I’ll continue to swim and walk and do yoga to help come back…

What’s next?

My friend Kelly and I are signing up for a New Year’s Day run here in Chicago – just a 5k.  I’ll still be walking – which should be even cooler with some snow on the ground.  And between now and then, I’m hoping to take in some great trails as winter descends on us in the Windy City.

So that’s it from home – later this week, some thoughts on fitting in workouts around this thing we call Life. 

See you on the path!


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