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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

POST 703; DECEMBER 11, 2012; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

Again this morning, no call from UPS to come to work...so I telephoned UPS asking if there was a problem that I had not received a summons...no, it is just that we do not have the anticipated volume of packages to deliver...we have 55 trucks delivering each day from Bellingham...we will call you between 6:45 and 7:30 am if we need you...

so, in the interim, I wait !

Have visited in person or on line over 30 local companies...only three have responded...Macy's, Lowe's, and UPS.  Does not look good for an old guy...must be my age, because many companies I have contacted are actually advertising re. job openings...most of which I am at least qualified...many overqualified.  Discouraging to say the least.

so, in that interim, I go pound the pavement.  Read from the Portland, Oregon website: walkaboutmagazine.com of their recent overnight "relay walk" up Highway 97 in Oregon from approximately Crater Lake to Bend - 107 miles - ...purporting to walking at the pace of 12 minutes per mile (that is 5 miles per hour).

Having walked 2.5 years at about 4 miles per hour (16 minute miles), and in the past few weeks competed in a number of 5 K (3.2 mile) walking races at 5 + miles per hour..I KNOW:

...a walker must be near jogging to achieve 5 miles per hour.

So, today, I decided to make a test.  I have many times walked a local 16 mile route through the countryside...I am now living one mile from that old route, making the circuit 18 miles.  Just to be certain, I drove the route to clock the mileage:  Yep, 18 miles.

It has rained all day with a 12 mph wind out of the Southwest.  There are many hills on this route...a route with narrow twisting roadways with NO berms.

Not an easy walking route to say the least.

I stopped two times...both times to piddle and  take a sip of water...elapsed delay about 1 minute.  I have not walked at "speed" for 6 months.   I was very cautious to avoid stress on my shin and Achilles tendons...both of which are susceptible to injury climbing and descending steep hills.  My right Achilles actually stressed a bit climbing a particularly steep hill...no lasting damage, but quite painful at the back inside of my heel.

I walked at a brisk pace, knowing I had a long way to go.  Completed the 18 miles in 4 hours 6 minutes = 246 minutes.  That calculates out to be 13.67 minutes per mile; or, 4.38 miles per hour.

With additional strenuous training, I could reasonably complete my 18 mile route in 216 minutes.  I would necessarily have to nearly jog / run to do so.

Should there be any walkers or sports medicine folks reading this blog, I wish to share MY findings about how the foot should properly strike the ground.  I have read a number of "expert" opinions...this is MY finding:

The bottom of the foot has two striking points:  the heel; and, the pad behind the toes. 

Heel striking first is generally frowned upon...puts too much direct force from the heel bone directly through the leg above.  I VERY MUCH AGREE.

Most "experts" advise that the pad behind the toes should be the first to contact the ground...affording shock-absorber effect.  I DISAGREE.

Between the heel and toe pad, running along the "outside" of the foot, is cartilage connecting the two.  The "inside" of the bottom of the foot is somewhat "hollow" creating an "arch" between the heel and toe pad. 

I find that the foot must strike the ground essentially FLAT, spreading the load equally between the heel and toe   pad..the arch providing a cushion to distribute the load over a much greater area; i.e., less vertical stress up the leg.

One more discovery I have made:  to avoid stretching the muscle/tendon of the shin-to-foot, the first few steps entering into a down-hill mode MUST be done with SHORTER STEPS decreasig the foot - leg angle.

The tendons/muscles have been in auto-mode for some time running/walking on relatively flat surfaces...they must be given some warning and transitional consideration to take the "stretch" which comes by the foot angling down - angle from leg to foot lengthens/increases on a down slope - .  Damage - SHIN SPLINTS - occur in the first couple steps during the flat-to-down transition.

Achilles Tendon damage occurs in exactly the same way, except that it is resulting from the foot-leg angle becoming smaller / shorter when starting to climb a steep hill.  The Achilles Tendon is also in auto-mode walking / running for some time on relatively flat surface. 

Transitioning to climb a hill LENGTHENS the distance between the bottom of the heel and the back of the leg bone, putting great stress on the Achilles Tendon.  This stress MUST be applied slowly...this is done by taking shorter steps (decreasing the foot - leg angle) in the first few steps through the flat-to-uphill transition.

To a lessor degree, the same physics apply when rounding a sharp corner...shorten the step to decrease the sudden stretch of the tendon/muscle.

In the one year of my self-imposed "training" back in 2009 / 2010, I injured both my Shin and Achilles tendons/muscles more than once.  Took some time to figure out why I doing such a stupid thing.  During the subsequent 16,000 + miles, I have not damaged any part of my body...not even a blister.

Works for me...perhaps worth a look-see.

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