Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Secret Hobby

Not many of my sewing and knitting friends know that when I'm not doing those activities I'm a "long distance" walker. By "long distance" I mean anywhere from a half marathon (13 miles---I've completed 12) to a whole marathon (26 miles---only finished 3 so far).  I started this activity when I turned 60 (4 years ago) and it's made so much difference in my life.

Now, don't think I'm some kind of super athelete, cause I'm not! I've discovered that all sorts of people participate in long distance events and they have age group prizes up to "over 80". The marathon event planners know they will make more money if they allow enough time for walkers to participate, along with the prize winning runners, so some are now allowing 7 hours for a marathon and 4 hours for a half. Many have a Party atmosphere, with bands playing and spectators cheering for everyone, even the last person.

And don't think I walk a huge amount every day either! Marathon training plans call for you to just go a "short distance" (in my case 3-4 miles) several times a week and then on one day of the week (usually the weekend) you go increasingly longer distances til you've reached the distance of your planned event. Right now I am training for a half-marathon in August and am up to 8 miles on my "long day".

I'll get to "clothes" to wear for long distance walking in a minute but first, here are some of the things I discovered I need to have or take along for that increasingly longer day of walking:
A bandana to wipe the sweat away or wet it for coolness, a sports bra, a water bottle holder that has room for keys, phone and bandaids, socks that are made of something besides cotton so they won't get wet and cause blisters, my Garmin forerunner watch that has a GPS to tell me how far and fast I am going, protein bars to replenish yourself after several hours on the road,  GOOD shoes that have been professionally fitted at a Running Store, hat and sunglasses (plus plenty of sun lotion)    PHONE and MONEY for TAXI if you get too tired or dizzy (this has happened)

Now about the clothes (this IS a sewing blog).  The important rule is that everything next to your skin should be polyester with spandex in it. The big companies all have fancy words for their fabrics such as "wick-away" or "cool-something" but we fabric people know it's really just polyester. I know your first thought is that cotton would be cooler, but when it gets wet (which it will even in cooler weather after many hours of activity) it becomes coarse and chaffs the skin.  As a sewer, I've recently realized that I can easily acquire the right fabrics to make my own "work-out" clothes that are much better fitting than the ones I can buy (and cheaper too).     So on my last trip to Fabric Mart I stocked up on ITY knits and other fabrics with spandex in them to start making my own.    I made the top that's in the picture at the first of this blog and using the same fabric I made some pants and a black poly/spandex top.
             These are so much more comfortable than any I"ve been able to buy and I love wearing bright colors.   
    I'd love to get these shoes and make some walking outfits to go with them! (of course I already know that this brand and make is good for my feet.)Keep on walking and sewing is my motto!


  1. No wonder you have such great looking legs and a toned body. Age is not a factor, determination is.

    You may be interested in Ernestine Shepherd's story published in the Washington Post on May 27. It's very inspiring on so many levels.

    At age 74, will you look as good as Ernestine Shepherd?

  2. Fabulous, Peggy! I love your lime shoes but those multicolored Nikes... drool!! :D

    I had no idea you had done so many half marathons!!

  3. So that's why you're so trim and fit! I love the way your walking gear reflects you -- and, yes, you definitely NEED those shoes!

    Hmmm, maybe this couch potato needs to consider long-distance walking . . .

  4. Great post! I'm embarrassed to say that I did not understand that wick-away fabrics were really just poly + spandex. Thanks for this wonderful piece of info. I'd love to make work-out clothes. And ITY knits - gotta try those too! I love to walk but have never considered even a half marathon. You are an inspiration for even more than your great sewing creations!

  5. I missed this post when you posted it (on my DD's birthday). The polyester lesson was a hard one to swallow but it's true. If you want to sweat in natural fiber, however, wool is best!

    Love the nuclear Nikes!