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Find out what people are saying after taking a private lesson with Bonnie:

A PERFECT PACKAGE - LONG WEEKEND VACATION IN FLORIDA, ALONG WITH RACEWALKING LESSONS WITH BONNIE STEIN
By:  Betty Waller (Glen Allen, Virginia)

I decided to treat myself to an active vacation.  I wanted to learn how to racewalk and I also wanted a vacation, so I headed to the west coast of Florida (Redington Beach) to have some lessons with Bonnie Stein.  What a fabulous weekend I spent taking her class.

The weekend had everything . . . great Florida weather, racewalking in the morning (which meant the dessert at dinner didn't result in a guilt trip) and plenty of time in the afternoon for a leisurely lunch, time on the beach, shopping, and great dinners at the wonderful seafood restaurants all over.

Bonnie Instructs the Niceville, Florida Racewalking Clinic on calf stretching

Due to the way Bonnie presents the techniques, they were very easy to learn.  Okay, I still need some practice, but I now know what I should do and can critique myself!

It really was a hassle free vacation.  The Hilton (on North Redington Beach) recommended by Bonnie provided some of the best hotel service I have ever experienced.  Additionally, the Limo service (also recommended by Bonnie) was excellent.  All the particulars were taken care of to make my trip so easy and stress-free.

While I didn't have pre-conceived ideas on how the lessons would be structured, I can honestly say my expectations were exceeded.  It all seemed so easy.  A few weeks later I participated in an 8K Walk.  This was going to be my first race utilizing the new racewalking techniques I learned from Bonnie.  I found that I was able to maintain my pace with less effort than before.  Considering that I had not focused on training for the race, I was thrilled with the "help" I got from my new techniques.

I found the best way to spend a long weekend…go to Florida and enjoy racewalking lessons with Bonnie Stein.  If you want some fun in the sun and improve your walking techniques, I highly recommend a Racewalking weekend in Florida!  It is definitely something I will do again next year.

A BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR ME FROM ME
By:  Joyce E. Smith (Columbus, OH)

Since my 40th birthday, I have been trying to celebrate my birthdays in big ways.  Since June 2006, I had been trying to figure out what I was going to do for my 43rd birthday, which is on January 6, 2007.  I finally figured it out.  PRIVATE RACEWALKING LESSON WITH BONNIE STEIN IN FLORIDA.  WOW, WHAT A PERFECT BIRTHDAY GIFT.

I called Bonnie to figure out what I needed to do to get things moving. Well, what I found out was that I hardly had to do anything.  Ms. Bonnie had set up the hotel, the airport pickup, and the times we were to meet.  Bonnie even suggested coming on my Christmas break so I would not have to use any of my personal days.

Once I had supplied Bonnie with my flight information, she finalized the details of the trip, which was December 20-22, 2006.  Once arriving at the Tampa Airport, Sid, Bonnie’s limo driver, was waiting for me.  The drive to the hotel was quite fun.  Ms. Bonnie had set me up at the Doubletree Beachfront Hotel. It was right on the beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and what a nice room.  The people at the hotel were very warm and inviting.  I had never been on the water, so I had lunch and a dinner on the beach, WOW!

My first lesson with Bonnie was on December 20th from 3:00-5:00 p.m. There she was in the hotel lobby, Ms. Bonnie Stein.  We began our lesson with a wonderful hug and headed for a beautiful neighborhood in North Redington Beach.  For the first hour, we reviewed the techniques she taught in our clinic in Columbus, Ohio.  She critiqued my technique and told me how to improve it.  The second hour was an introduction on some intermediate techniques.  My next lesson was the next day - December 21 from 9:00-11:00 a.m.  We warmed up by racewalking slowly on the beach and reviewed what she taught the day before and she taught me how to handle going up and down hills.

Once we were done, the day was mine.  Ms. Bonnie had given me names of good restaurants and I rode the Beach Trolley and did some sightseeing.  My flight left at 7:00 am on Friday.  Sid, the limo driver, was waiting for me before 5:00 am and I was at the airport in plenty of time and again, it was a wonderful ride.

The best part of my lessons was how Bonnie tried to get know me and my needs, goals, and expectations.  She made me feels so welcome and the whole trip was effortless.  The one-on-one was just wonderful.  I was able to address my concerns without feeling I was taking time from others.  Bonnie is so patient and lets you know that you can be a racewalker, no matter what.  This was the most wonderful birthday gift for me and yes, I am planning to do it again.

 

HOW ABOUT A WALKING COACH?
By:  Sheldon Arpad

At 53 years old, I look back at all the push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, bicycling, running, kicking, punching, batting, hitting, and the list goes on.  That was 30 or more years ago.  OK, it only feels like a few years ago.

A few months ago my typical life was sitting and thinking 5–7 days a week, working, driving to and from work, taking care of friends and my foundation/charity work, going to lunches and dinners with my friends.  And then it struck me - when does it become my time?

When do my friends pitch in and let me know that I might not have balance?  Never?  They are busy with their own lives and I am helping them and listening to their goals and accomplishments; yet, are they helping me? At least they do not criticize me, even though I am fat enough to look pregnant.  They want my time, my energy, and my support.

Two months ago I decided I wanted time for me.  What sport to take up this decade?  I have done so many.  Counting reps bores me at the gym.  Cycling?  I have tried and the seat  is no blessing, and the list goes on and on.  So I looked up my first love at 8 months old…walking.  I have done it easily for almost 53 years.  How tough is it?  One foot in front of the other and take off.

I got some new shoes and I also got shin splints.  The socks gave me blisters.  After walking at 9 a.m., I looked like someone sprayed me with a garden hose.  After a few miles (very few miles), I looked like a drowned rat.  My first inclination was to give it up.  Who needs to look and feel like this?  So I sat down.

Sitting is comfortable. Nothing hurts and I don’t have to sweat.  Wait, what was my goal?  I sit here, no one to help me.  I sit here, no gain.  I just sit and sit and…hold on!  I need help.  I need to know what I am doing. I need someone to show me what and how and a lot more.

My parents coached me years ago, encouraged me, picked me up when I fell, supported me and showed me what was right and wrong.  The light bulb went on. I need a walking coach!

My parents coached me as a child; different coaches affected my athletic performance over the years so…. I got my wife to help.  After a bunch of “just get out there and do it” with little to no instruction or help; the chair looked really good to go.  Now confused, lost and not a bit motivated, a third party was to enter the picture. Enter the Coach.

Loosely defined by Webster Dictionary, a coach trains intensely by instruction, demonstrates and practices.  The coach instructs, directs and prompts the player.  My wife found me a racewalking coach who she loved, and off we went to Redington Shores, Florida.

I took my wife with me for my first lesson.  I, the beginner, after 53 years and my wife who has done this racewalking stuff before was now going to take intermediate racewalking lessons.  Finally, instruction, all the coach has to offer, and more.

In walks Bonnie Stein, M. Ed, all smiles, full of encouragement, and ready to go.  A few minutes later we were walking.  Coaching involved my posture, arms, feet, stride, stance, positioning, movement, breathing, and so much more.  Correcting my movements and other instruction made me see immediately how much I am already benefiting from her coaching.

She asked about my goals, talked about who I am, and she instructed me like a good coach should do.  She observed what I was doing, positively reinforced my attempts, directed necessary movements, trained me and made me practice like, “a walk around the park.” Immediately at ease, prompted and reinforced made the first two hours and 4+ miles fly by. Wow!!  I am doing this the right way.  She asked me was everything ok?  Oh yes!  Would you like to continue tomorrow?  Yes, yes, yes!  Look everyone, I am walking and I thought I knew how to walk!

With Bonnie's support, instruction, encouragement and positive energy I have a renewed outlook about walking and I believe I can obtain my goal now.  I will have to work hard but my immediate goal is to participate in the 60-mile breast cancer walk in October in Tampa. Reading several articles by Bonnie as well as other literature makes me feel I have chosen the right program for me.

What are my long-term goals?  I will work on being good enough to participate in a competitive racewalking event eventually.  I’ll be working it out with my coach, Bonnie Stein.  in the mean time I’ll practice my new found racewalking techniques and keep on walkin’!

Thanks, Bonnie, for my new found heart, spirit and motivation!

 

RACEWALKING – THE PERFECT EXERCISE
By:  Judy Maynard, Racewalker and Physical Therapist

I am a former runner, 59 years old, and a physical therapist. After running for nearly 20 years, my body rebelled with painful hips, knees, and back (I should have known better). While training for the 2007 Disney half-marathon this past summer, I realized I could not continue running.  I remembered a few years ago, when running at a local track in Birmingham, Alabama, that I was continually lapped by a racewalker!  The thought occurred to me that I might be able to learn to racewalk and still participate in the Disney Half.  I googled “racewalking” on the web and discovered Bonnie! I have now completed Bonnie’s Beginner and Intermediate classes and am training pain-free.

As a physical therapist, I am totally convinced racewalking is the perfect exercise for people of all ages! The nature of racewalking and the techniques that Bonnie teaches to increase speed and efficiency are highly beneficial to the body and its systems. For instance:

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Racewalking is a weight bearing activity which helps prevents osteoporosis.
 

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Although a weight bearing activity, the compression forces on the low back, hips and knees are much less than running which makes for healthier and happier joints. Older persons are able to participate because racewalking is gentle on the joints.
 

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Racewalking improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs and blood vessels).  Bonnie’s “#7 system” of gauging effort and intensity of walking by perceived exertion is used by doctors and exercise professionals.
 

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Weight control and/or reduction are enhanced by consistent racewalking.  
 

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The teaching of the carousel pole greatly enhances correct spinal posture, improving spinal alignment, decreasing the workload of the spinal muscles, and decreasing pain and discomfort.  The head and chin are gently pulled in and the shoulders are relaxed. Holding the gold coin (slight posterior tilt of the pelvis) also contributes to proper low back posture which can decrease pain and muscle tension in the low back.
 

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The concept of the helium balloon (Intermediate class), pulling the walker upward, extends the spine and promotes good posture and spine health.  
 

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The technique of walking on a balance beam improves balance. (I utilize the concept of the balance beam with my balance training clients in the clinic).
 

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Racewalking increases lower body strength, and increases flexibility (if Bonnie’s post-walk stretching routine is followed).
 

I now recommend racewalking to my clients (with their doctor’s approval) and anyone else who will listen to me. So glad I found Bonnie!  I haven’t run since I started racewalking.

 

Come to Tampa Bay to Take a Lesson With Bonnie
By:  Gayle Schmidt (Ft. Myers, FL)

This morning I walked my 3.5 miles with a vigor and confidence I'd not felt until being with you this past weekend.  I can't tell you how delighted I am with my new racewalking skills.  Having a private, 4-hour racewalk session with Bonnie was definitely the way to go.

I had learned racewalking 15 years ago in California.  One of the members was a former Olympic racewalking champion.  I loved the camaraderie, but the walking style never felt like more than a series of disconnected and awkward movements.  "Just follow what we do" didn't work for me, and I eventually gave up the struggle.

Now in my 50’s I'm retired and need a sport that can help me stay fit and healthy - a sport that can last a lifetime.  So I decided to try racewalking again.  And, this time it's going to work because Bonnie’s lessons have armed me with what I need to improve.

Bonnie also told me the "whys", so I can now make sense of the racewalking form because I understand its function.  And, she gave me ways of thinking about the various elements (ie, arms in front decrease power/arms in back increase power) so that I can quickly check and make sure I'm doing them correctly.  This morning was my chance to put it all together without Bonnie beside me, and it worked beautifully.

I found Bonnie via a rather synergistic path, and I'm sure glad I did:  first, a Google search; then Bob Snyderman of Snyderman Shoes in Ft. Myers mentioned Bonnie; and then a former national racewalker suggested that a 5-day clinic for actively racing racewalkers (which I was indeed considering) might be a bit ambitious.

Bonnie’s one-on-one option was perfect because we could concentrate on MY goals.  And, as we worked, she could assess MY performance.  And, Bonnie made it quite clear that racing DOES NOT have to be a part of racewalking, making me feel totally comfortable since that was not one of my goals.  Racewalking is a low-cost, aerobic sport that I can do any time, any place and continue injury-free for years into the future.  Thank you, Bonnie, for your excellent instruction and guidance, and for your web site so that I can keep tuned in to what's happening.

 

SMOOTH MOVES (Or How I Learned to Racewalk in Florida)
By:  Laura Bowles-Dove (Toronto, Canada)

I belong to a walking club in Toronto where my friends and I participate in about six half marathon and marathon races each year. We decided to learn the racewalking technique in order to improve our speed.  I took a weekend racewalking workshop where just about everyone in the class mastered the technique to the point where they are now entering judged events.  I completely failed that class.  My friends and I then hired a coach for ten weeks last summer.  Almost everyone mastered the technique and are now doing judged events.  Not me.  Clearly there was something preventing me from grasping the concept.

I decided to give it one last try before giving up for good, so I sent an email to Bonnie Stein.  We decided that I would go to Tampa for four hours of private instruction over two days.  To tell the truth, I wasn't holding out much hope of success, but I thought at least this way I could say "I gave it my best shot".

The trip was so easy.  I really didn't have to do anything except show up.  I arrived at the Tampa Airport at noon on Tuesday in January, collected my bag and walked out into the sunshine.  That's when a gentleman walked up to me and said, "Are you Laura?"  That was Bonnie's limo driver that she had arranged to take me to my hotel.  Very smooth.  And that set the tone for the entire trip.

Bonnie arranged for me to stay at the Pier Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg so they were expecting me and made me feel very welcomed and special.  The Pier Hotel is a small hotel built in 1921 and restored in 2001.  It is very elegant with a wide beautiful verandah where you can sit and have tea.  The hotel serves a free breakfast and free drinks and snacks in the afternoon. All very civilized.

As soon as I arrived I just dropped my things and headed to the water.  It was a warm and sunny afternoon, just right for a walk along the pier where people were fishing and where the pelicans were waiting in hopes of getting some of the caught fish.  It was like watching a comedy to see the fishermen catch a fish and then try reeling it in while at the same time twisting this way and that in an effort to keep it away from the pelicans.  Then I found a tiny beach where it was warm enough to walk in the waves and look for shells.  What a perfect afternoon - Florida in January.

While walking around to check things out I came across The American Stage Theatre.  What would be the chances that something was playing; but it couldn't hurt to ask?  Neil Simon's Chapter Two was on that evening, so I went to the theatre and it was brilliant.  What a perfect day!!  I was thinking that even if I didn't learn to racewalk, at least I had a great time.

Next morning Bonnie met me at the hotel and we walked to a network of parks at the waterfront for my first lesson.  We talked about what I was hoping to get out of the four hours and what gave me problems before.  I told her that I just couldn't get past the "straight knee" concept.  To me, if you keep your knee straight then there just isn't enough space under your body for the leg to pass through.  She told me to just put that out of my mind for now.

We started off with the slingshot arms with all the propulsion happening behind the body.  We racewalked together, with constant instructions and feedback, and we were always within sight of the water.  I was having a lot of fun, and before I knew it the two hours were over and I was learning stretching exercises on the lovely verandah of the hotel.

That afternoon I walked to the Salvador Dali Museum, and as the woman took my ticket she said, "There's a tour just starting, you're just in time to join it".  Very smooth.

The next morning Bonnie met me at the hotel again and we racewalked to the water for the final two hour lesson.  I told her all the points I remembered from the day before and we went over them racewalking together with constant reminders and correction, and by the end of the first hour I had the technique.  Yes, including the straight knee and everything.  The next hour we walked at a "number seven" exertion level and I kept thinking of all the (very many) points I had to keep in mind, and of course with Bonnie right beside me, I wasn't given much opportunity to slip up.  I was walking along at a good pace and my body felt as if I was gliding along-I was that smooth.  And I thought, "I'm racewalking!!"  I just wanted to keep going and going, it felt so sweet.

I've been practicing every day since coming home to Ontario. I don't think I've forgotten any of the points-I just can't think of them all at the same time yet.  While I keep one point in focus I slip up on the others.  Sometimes I wish Bonnie was racewalking beside me, reminding and correcting.  Sometimes I hear her in my mind, "...relaxed shoulders, take a deep breath and exhale...Don't forget the carrousel pole".  When I'm ready, I'd love to go back to Florida for the Intermediate level.  I know it will go just as smoothly.

 

Even Better the Second Time Around
By: Joyce E. Smith, Columbus, Ohio

After my racewalking lessons in Florida last year in December, I knew I was going to make another trip to see Bonnie Stein, but I didn’t know it was going to be even better the second time around.  This time I stayed longer than last year – more time to enjoy the Florida sun.  Boy did I.  The weather the whole time was perfect.  70-80 degrees and I was wearing shorts and short sleeve tops in late December.  That was just hard to believe.  When I left Columbus, it was about 28-30 degrees.

Bonnie had set everything up for me – the hotel, the limo ride to and from the airport, and the racewalking lesson schedule.  I stayed at the Pier Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg which included free breakfast each morning and a cocktail hour each evening.  I was in walking distance of almost everything I wanted to do.  I went to some great eating places, especially Toojay’s and Parkshore Grill.  I went to these two twice.  I was very impressed with the food.  I also took the trolley that takes you through most of downtown to show you were things are.  It was only 25 cents for a half hour ride!  Yes, 25 cents!  I stayed on the trolley for two trips to get an idea of where I wanted to go.

This visit I stayed in Florida for 4 days and had 6 hours of private lessons with Ms. Bonnie.  My lessons began the day I came - December 26.  Ms. Bonnie was ready to go.  We reviewed all the beginner racewalking skills we learned at the Racewalking clinic when Bonnie came to Columbus. During this lesson, Bonnie got into my head to make sure she had a clean understanding of my goals and where my thoughts were.  I was doing pretty decent with most of the beginning skills, but in her wonderful way she reminded me to put in my pole, stay in my narrow hallway, keep my 90 degree arms, and of course, don’t forget my rocking feet.

We walked along the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) waterfront. While reviewing the beginning techniques, Bonnie made sure to give me fun ideas for things to do during my free time in St. Pete and also ideas for places to eat that had special deals.  She also gave the history about many places.   We racewalked by the floating church, the beautiful water, a few museums, and the Pier.

My second lesson began at 9:00 the next morning and we began to review the intermediate techniques, but before I could get that going Ms. Bonnie reminded me to put in my pole and make sure I was in my narrow hallway. I tell you that hip rotation is a challenging thing to get, but I’m going to get it.  Ms. Bonnie watched my form from both sides and from behind.  I needed to get more on my balance beam.  I started to get on my balance beam, but then some other technique would suffer. There are so many components to racewalking.  Bonnie continued to help me realize that. Yes, there are many components, but when you practice you get better.  She reminded me that you have to take those 20,000 correct repetitions before you get it down.  Practice. Practice. Practice.

In our last morning lesson, Bonnie reviewed everything from the last sessions and helped me to polish these skills.  She also reviewed the drills she had taught at the intermediate clinic in Columbus.  Before the lesson concluded Ms. Bonnie reminded me of proper fit of my shoes and she noticed that I didn’t have a “thumb of air” in my shoes and suggested that I go up another half size.  This has made a great difference in how my feet feel when I walk.  Your shoes are the most important tool you need for racewalking.  When your shoes aren’t right, your racewalking won’t be right.

Finally, I attended Bonnie’s Saturday walking group.  That’s where people who have taken the racewalking classes over the years get together every Saturday morning to racewalk.  Along with racewalking with Bonnie Stein, we also had the pleasure of having the great Ron Stein to guide us during this walk.  What a wonderful group of people those racewalkers are.  They made me feel so welcomed and encouraged.  We walked 6 miles all along the waterfront and the sights were so wonderful.  This is the time I got to go close by the Pier and see all it had to offer.

After we walked, we attended two art shows that were downtown.  We had lunch and got to fellowship together.  I had a spectacular time in Florida.  I was so energized when I returned to Columbus.  With Bonnie’s guidance on the mental and physical aspects of racewalking, I have been able to get myself back on track and get prepared for the Capital City ˝ Marathon on April 12th and work toward the goals that I have set for myself. I would encourage anyone to get down to Florida and take racewalking lessons with Bonnie.  They are invaluable and your experience in Florida is just priceless.

 
© 2007 by Bonnie Stein. All Rights Reserved.

LIMITS OF LIABILITY AND DISCLAIMER - The authors and publishers of this newsletter have used their best efforts in preparing the articles and information contained within it. Additionally, you are advised to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. The authors and publishers make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages.

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