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Racewalking – I thought it would be easy!

July 8, 2014

I was so wrong. As with anything else, when someone makes it look easy that means they are just really good at it. Now I know how good the woman was who zoomed past me at the Palm Springs Half Marathon in February.

I do not run well, or fast, or long.  I am the endurance model who wants to age well as I keep getting to the finish line. I have done 30 half marathons in the past five years and my secret dream is to break three hours.  Racewalking seemed to be the ideal way to keep my body going and maybe, maybe, break that elusive barrier… just 2:59 would be really cool!


At the weekend racewalking clinic – my feet are not even close to the proper racewalking technique. I was working those arms, though!

I watched You Tube videos, bought a book, and have been to two clinics, one for a whole weekend with a pretty successful racewalking coach. Based on past experience in my younger life, I thought I knew how to wriggle my hips. Thought I had mastered that particular technique. Turns out I had no clue. Your pelvis rotates to propel your hips forward. It is not easy to do that. I won’t look like the guys you see at the Olympics, but I kind of get it. Maybe!

Racewalking takes endurance, strength, technique, practice. More practice. It is harder than running. Or walking. Or doing both. It is walking with a purpose.

This is Phyllis Karsten, an 89 year old racewalker who was at my weekend clinic. She competes on a national level at the Senior Olympics. Look at her feet. This is how your feet are supposed to be. She is amazing, very interesting, and an inspiration.racewalker

I am having a lot of fun. My shins have toughened up, my hips have increased their mobility and my whole body feels more fluid. My time is improving over my normal half marathon time. Sometimes I get so fast I almost trip over my feet!

I decided to take the summer off from events and perfect (well, at least get comfortable with!) this new addition to my half marathon arsenal. I have six halfs scheduled between Labor Day and Christmas and I think racewalking will propel me to break three hours. But even if it doesn’t, I am having a lot of fun learning! And like any part of this huge running community, the people who racewalk are welcoming and supportive and so willing to help a newbie. And this is something I can still do when I am 89. Look at Phyllis Karsten!

  1. shannon388 permalink

    Very cool! You are amazing.

  2. Marie permalink


    You go girl. I am so proud of you. I love reading your posts. My mom sends me your stories

    Marie LaJoie Koch

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