Over three days this November, I will be walking 60 miles in the Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day. This walk will be much more than “just a walk” – it will be raising money to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

Over the next several months, I will be spending many, many, many hours in training (By the time the walk starts, I will have logged enough miles to take me from Phoenix to my hometown of Houston!

I have committed to raising $2,200 to participate in this walk. Please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation to help me achieve this goal. I’ll be doing all the walking...all you need to do is follow this link to my fundraising headquarters to submit your contribution.

You may know someone who has been affected by breast cancer and I would be proud to walk in her honor as well. Please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment with their name. I will create a ribbon just for them and attach it to my backpack.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for all women, and the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. Both its cause and the means for its cure remain undiscovered. I’m taking on this challenge to do something big that will help raise awareness and help in finding a cure.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that you’ll share in this incredible adventure with me. Please leave comments or email me (txaggie02@hotmail.com) if you have any questions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Virtual Trainer 8 Weeks

WooHoo! Only 2 months left!

Countdown: 8 Weeks

Your Training Schedule for This Week:

Monday Rest
Tuesday 5 miles Easy walking
Wednesday 45 minutes Moderate cross-training
Thursday 6 miles Moderate walking
Friday 45 minutes Easy cross-training
Saturday 8 miles Easy walking
Sunday 6 miles Easy walking

Training Tip of the Week: Asthma/Allergies

Allergic Rhinitis: An immunologic response that occurs after environmental exposure to an allergen. Most common symptoms include runny nose with clear discharge, postnasal drip, sneezing, itching of the nose and palate and coughing. Nasal congestion may occur as well as headache and fatigue. Training walks and the event course exposes walkers to varied types of grass, trees, pollen and dust which can cause an allergic response. Sleeping in tents on grass fields may also stimulate allergies.

If you have experienced seasonal or situational allergic rhinitis, be sure to bring your allergy medications. Antihistamines (oral or topical, such as Benadryl or Actifed) are most commonly used. Second generation antihistamines such as Claritin or loratidine are less sedating. Nasal corticosteroids are effective but usually take 3 days to begin to work. The best treatment is to anticipate exposures and pre-treat before symptoms begin.

Exercise Induced Asthma: Bronchospasm presenting with wheezing, coughing and/or chest tightness occurring during or after exercise is called exercise induced asthma. It can be seen in 40% of those with allergic rhinitis. Rapid breathing and mouth breathing decreases the body’s ability to warm and humidify air in the nose, throat and lungs. In some people this can cause constriction and inflammation of the lung passages. Beta agonist inhalers such as Albuterol or Proventil can decrease these spasms. 2 puffs, 15 minutes before exercise, should help you for 3 to 4 hours. However, for longer exercise periods such as the Breast Cancer 3-Day or a long training walk, which could be 8 hours, a longer acting medication such as Salmeterol or inhaled corticosteroid should be used. If you are experiencing asthma symptoms during or after exercise, consult your doctor for evaluation. If you normally use an Albuterol inhaler with exercise, be sure to carry it with you on your training walks or discuss changing your medication to the longer acting Salmeterol. Do not put your rescue inhaler in your luggage.

Allergic Reactions: If you have allergic reactions to bee stings, mosquitoes, insects or foods, rapid treatment with antihistamines or epinephrine is best. Be sure to carry your own epinephrine pen on your training walks and the event.

Week 9 Update

I did really well with the long walks this week but I skipped a few of the short ones for D-Backs games. Saturday I led a 15 mile training walk. I had a great turn out with 10 people. I really enjoyed the route and I think it had plenty of pit stops. We made good time too because we had to be at Foot Solutions for a nutrition clinic at 10:30 and we got there right on time. I felt really good after the walk but two hours later I didn't feel too good and ended up tossing some cookies and other niblets but I won't go into details because that is probably TMI. The cause might have been slight dehydration. I need to better monitor my liquids on long walks. I also had a really bad pain in my hip.

Lisa led today's walk. It was a 10.5 mile walk. I almost didn't go because my hip was still hurting. I decided to push myself anyway. After the first 5 mile loop my hip was hurting even more. Being the stubborn person that I am I didn't give up. Half of our 8 person training group left after 5 miles but I kept going for the last 5. I finished the walk and amazingly my hip felt a lot better in the end.

Things are picking up on the fundraising front. I finished the Pampered Chef fundraiser and I should be able to add $120 to my website as soon as the check arrives. Melissa and I are having a bunco party next weekend and hopefully that will help me meet my $2200 goal. We have lots of great prizes for bunco including a $120 tanning salon gift card, personal training sessions valued at $110, handmade artworks with values between $10 and $100+, lots of restaurant gift certificates, and many more prizes. In total we will be giving out over $1000 in prizes. It should be lots of fun!

Virtual Trainer 9 Weeks

Countdown: 9 Weeks

Your Training Schedule for This Week:

Monday Rest
Tuesday 4 miles Easy walking
Wednesday 30 minutes Moderate cross-training
Thursday 5 miles Moderate walking
Friday 45 minutes Easy cross-training
Saturday 15 miles Easy walking
Sunday 11 miles Easy walking

Training Tip of the Week: Rash

Rashes are difficult to interpret without actually seeing them. If you have a persistent rash or any other symptoms associated with a rash, see your doctor for evaluation. A discussion of all possible rashes is beyond the scope of this training tip, however, a rash seen among walkers is a condition called “Capillaritis”. Many walkers develop a rash to their legs without any complaint of injury or trauma.

This rash may be slightly itchy but NOT associated with any lower leg swelling, shortness of breath, fever, chills, red streaks or pain. Capillaritis is a harmless skin condition in which there are small reddish-brown patches caused by leaky capillaries (very tiny blood vessels), primarily on the legs. The capillaries become inflamed, causing tiny red dots that look like cayenne pepper to appear on the skin.

The cause is unknown but this rash develops with prolonged impact activities such as walking. Blood thinning medications such as aspirin, non-steroidal medications such as Ibuprofen, and birth control pills may increase its occurrence. There is no known cure for most causes of Capillaritis. It usually disappears within a few weeks, but may recur. Legs with capillaritis should be kept cool and protected from uv light. Reapply sunscreen to your legs every 2-3 miles or at each pit stop.

Repeated rubbing of clothing against the skin may cause a contact irritant rash. It usually is blotchy and red and can be itchy and burn. There usually are no other associated symptoms. Sweating can cause clothing that was previously OK to become an irritant. Use absorbent socks and clothing that remove moisture from your skin and remove damp sweaty clothing as soon as possible after exercise.

Check your walking outfits for seams that might cause a friction rub. Use petroleum jelly, body glide-like products or zinc oxide (Desitin) to prevent chafing in friction areas. Avoid perfumed lotions, deodorants or soaps that may increase your skin's sensitivity. Test your sunscreen on a training walk to see if it is irritating to your skin or your eyes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Virtual Trainer 10 Weeks

Countdown: 10 Weeks

Your Training Schedule for This Week:

Monday Rest
Tuesday 4 miles Easy walking
Wednesday 30 minutes Moderate cross-training
Thursday 5 miles Moderate walking
Friday 45 minutes Easy cross-training
Saturday 14 miles Easy walking
Sunday 10 miles Easy walking

Training Tip of the Week: Choosing New Shoes

At this point in your training you should be looking for a new pair of shoes. You should plan on having two worn in pairs of shoes for the 3-Day. The best way to find the shoe for you is to seek a technical running store or full service shoe store and get fitted. Walking and running are not the same. In the walking stride, your foot strikes the ground further back on the heel with your toes higher in the air than in the running stride. A walking shoe should have a fairly low, rounded or beveled heel. In fact, a thick, squared-off running heel can lead to shin splints because, as the toes slap down, the foot pulls on the shin muscle. A walker also rolls further off the toes at the end of each stride than a runner. Therefore, your shoe needs to be flexible through the ball of the foot.

Your gait will also determine what kind of shoe you need. Check your old shoes for signs of overpronation or increase in an inner roll of your heel every time your foot strikes the ground. Set your shoes side by side on a table and view them from behind. If the heel cups lean in toward each other, then you probably overpronate. Choose a walking shoe with a medial post or motion control feature. If the heel cups lean outward, you probably underpronate. Choose a walking shoe that is well cushioned with air, gel or other high-density foam, in the heel.

In summary:

  1. Walking and running shoes are not the same. Choose a shoe that works for you. Some types of running shoes may be OK for long distance walking but others may not.
  2. Choose shoes with a low rounded or beveled heel.
  3. There should be a noticeable bend upward at the toe of the shoe (called toe spring).
  4. Check for arch support: midfoot stability feature or a shoe with a full ground contact bottom (New Balance offers shoes with both).
  5. Overpronators: Choose a supported heel or consider adding an over-the-counter orthotic insert.
  6. Underpronators: Choose a shoe with extra cushion or consider adding an over-the-counter orthotic insert.
  7. Buy your shoes from a reputable technical walking or running store, not a department store.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virtual Trainer 11 Weeks

I've been slacking on the blogging lately but I definitely haven't been slacking on the training or fundraising. Last week I completed all of my training plan (but in a slightly different order). We had a very tough walk on Saturday but finished about 11.5 miles before we went to a nutrition clinic sponsored by Foot Solutions. I completed the remaining 1.5 miles later that day. The nutrition clinic was very informative.

In other news my teammate Martie had a bunco party Friday night and it was a blast. I won a personnel fitness session, a lotion and shower gel set, and a bag of jelly bellies. I also made a pink ribbon cake for the party so I need to post a pic of that soon. Martie raised over $500 from the bunco party. We had so much fun that my other teammate Melissa and I are planning another bunco party. It will be Sept. 27th so we don't have much time to plan.

I also just had a Pampered Chef catalog show fundraiser. I don't know the totals yet but I'm estimating that I've raised about $100. WooHoo!

Countdown: 11 Weeks

Your Training Schedule for This Week:

Monday Rest
Tuesday 4 miles Easy walking
Wednesday 30 minutes Moderate cross-training
Thursday 5 miles Moderate walking
Friday 45 minutes Easy cross-training
Saturday 13 miles Easy walking
Sunday 9 miles Easy walking

Training Tip of the Week: Diabetic and Vegetarian Diets

Food is the fuel that you need to train for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. If you are a diabetic or a vegetarian it is important to choose the right kind of fuel to keep your weight down and your energy up.

Walking is a great exercise if you are a diabetic. It is helpful in lowering your weight and your blood sugars. If you are on medication such as insulin or sulfonylureas, you are at risk for low blood sugar during or after exercise. It is important to monitor your blood sugars and your caloric intake. If your blood sugar is <100>

  1. Aim to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
  2. Eat leaner protein sources such as chicken breast without the skin, light meat turkey, fish and soy. Protein is important for maintaining the muscle strength and mass of your body.
  3. Try eating a whole-grain breakfast cereal, whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta or brown rice. Studies have shown that those who eat the recommended 25-35 grams of fiber daily are less likely to be overweight.
  4. Sportsdrinks are useful to decrease dehydration while exercising. Consuming sugar-free juices (ie. Crystal light or KoolAid) and snacks containing salt can accomplish the same goal.

In order for vegetarian diets to support optimal athletic performance, it is important to incorporate an adequate amount of protein into your daily diet. Many people believe that following a vegetarian diet means they automatically will lose weight. This is not necessarily the case as many vegetarians inadvertently have a high fat intake based on whole-fat dairy products, butter, eggs, cheeses, nuts and seeds. Below are some tips for following a healthy vegetarian diet to help lose weight, maintain an optimal protein intake and support your training walks.

  1. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products or low-fat fortified soy products.
  2. Build your protein around legumes, tofu and tempeh.
  3. Watch serving sizes on nuts and seeds; they are full of healthy fat but are very concentrated in calories.
  4. Avoid fried foods and choose those that are baked, broiled, or steamed.
  5. Add protein powder to shakes or cereal if you are not getting enough.
  6. Increase your bean intake; they are high in protein and fiber.
  7. Add soy products to your diet.
  8. Limit snacks that are high in sugar and fat.
  9. Flavor foods with salsa, lemon juice and vinegars instead of high-fat condiments like butter, mayonnaise and high-fat dressings.

Certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, calcium and zinc must be consumed in adequate amounts. These typically are found in animal based foods. Fortified soymilks are great for boosting calcium and vitamin B12. Eggs also are a great source of B12. Outstanding iron sources include fortified breakfast cereals, bread, textured vegetable protein, legumes, dried beans, nuts, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables. Eating rich sources of vitamin C with meats will help enhance iron absorption.