Saturday, September 24, 2011

Life is short...

too short.

Thursday LB and I headed to Oklahoma. As most of you know, if you have been following my blog for the past year, my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in May of 2010, just one month after this photo was taken:
This is one of my best, favorite memories of all times.  And now I cherish this photo...He cheered me across the finish line of my first marathon. I'm not sure who is the proudest person in that picture, all three of us are just beaming. Growing up my dad never missed a basketball game or cross country meet. It was only fitting that he was there for my first marathon.

I don't have any words right now to express my thoughts and feelings. I don't know how much to share or what write about. I wish I could write about running on the red dirt roads, or races, age group wins, swimming or biking. I wish I could write about training and paces but it all seems so insignificant right now. Cancer sucks. It is just one of those things that no matter how healthy you are, active or physically fit you are (case in point: Lance Armstrong) you, we, I, are not safe and immune to cancer. Life is short and precious....

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Hug your parents, spouse, friends, kids, grandparents, loved never know when something will become your most cherished memory.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Please excuse me....

while I sit under a rock....and wallow.



I have been MIA lately...on the blog and the road. I just don't have the time or energy to run and I am in a rut. I hate my routes, they are inconvenient and not fun or interesting. The run doesn't take me away like it used to. It is now a chore. A hassle. A drag. My marathon training is in a bad kind of way. I have been getting in two of my three RLRF runs a week. Didn't run yesterday, didn't run today. And you know what I have to say about that? Oh well. I have eight weeks until OBX marathon. I have gotten in an 18 miler so that is at least good. But the truth is right now I just kind of don't care. Ugh, that is so awful. I can't believe I just said that! It's horrible. I feel so ashamed. I am supposed to be encouraging and motivating and here I am Ms. Debbie Downer of the Century. So, this is why I have been choosing not to blog lately. My mom taught me that if I have nothing good/nice to say then just say nothing at all. So, until I can snap out of this drag of a mood I guess I wont contaminate your positive, happy-go-running moods. But feel free to leave me a kick-butt, shape up, pull yourself up by your boot straps kind of comment. It will be accepted in the manner in which I am certain you intend for it to be delivered.

I don't want you all to worry. I will snap out of this, I always do. And I am going to revamp my marathon training plan. While RLRF is a great plan I just don't have the time to make it to a track for the speed work, and doing it on my street just isn't feasible. I stink at tempo runs too and really can't seem to do it unless I am on a treadmill. So while the three runs a week is good, it's just not working out for me right now since the runs are so technical and particular. I think I will be picking up on Hal Higdon's marathon plan. He has been good to me. Plus it is just easy to head out for a 5 mile run and not worry about different paces and miles. I may integrate pieces of RLRF into Hal's plan (when it is convenient) but for now, when I get my mojo back and crawl out from under my rock, I just want a pure run. Just me, the sweat, and the road....pounding out our differences.

Until then....I'm off to pack for a quick trip to Oklahoma.....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oh, hi....

Yeah, I'm still around. I've kind of been on an unintentional internet hiatus. I must admit it's been kind of nice. Sometimes the hub-bub of life gets crazy and the easiest thing to ease off of is my internet addiction. But truth is I can't stay away long, hence addiction.

This week has just been busy, tiresome, and although it was 4 working days, long and exhausting. Here are the noteworthy events of the week:

  • LB learned to ride his bike. 100%. He is now a wild man on wheels, flying down hills and just loving his new-found freedom. So every day after work/school we have been out riding the neighborhood. It's awesome!
  • We have been new-to-me car shopping. A 53 mile one-way commute has me screaming No More GAS!!! So I need something with better gas mileage. I LOVE my Jeep and really hate the thought of getting rid of it....BUT the bank account speaks and says better gas mileage=race entry fees, trips, gear.....whatever.
  • An 18 Mile run this AM!! I ran the first four miles on the treadmill at 5:15 AM. At 6 I met Natalie of Running, and What Not. She sent me a message a while back saying she would be in town visiting her in-laws for three weeks , three glorious weeks, and from there we just ran with it, pun intended. So this morning was our third and final (at least until she comes back for a visit or I head make my way back up to WA) long run. We did two 14 milers together and today was 18 for me and 14 for her. It worked out beautifully. We hit it off immediately on our first run and had no trouble finding conversation topics. Today's run was a much needed confidence booster for OBX-9 weeks away!

Me and Natalie


Let me just tell you, I have truly missed having a running partner. I know I have talked about Running Partners before and even kicked off National Running Buddy Appreciation Day (this will be an annual event). But I just feel the need to say that I miss all my running buddies, so much. I'll be accepting applications for Official, Full-Time Running Partner....Please apply in person ASAP. Thanks.

How is your weekend going? Any awesome long runs with awesome Running Buddies?
Ok, off to hang with The Hubs...

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Note on Speed Work...

Something about a three day weekend is just magical. I hope you all are enjoying the holiday and down time.

Last night we decided to go on a night-time dog walk. The Hubs grabbed LB's skateboard and I grabbed my Razor Scooter. LB opted to run. I bet we went over a mile and he ran the whole way. It was dark but we managed some action shots....

photo-31.jpg photo-32.jpg

The Hubs and LB headed to the gym and dropped me off at the track en route. I was excited to get my interval/speed work in on a track as opposed to the dreadmill. My RLRF workout for today had me doing a 10-20 min warm up, 6x800m @ 7:26 min/mile pace with 1:30 rest between, then a 10-20 min cool down. This was a killer today. When I woke up this AM it was nice and cool, probably 65 degrees. Dummy me waited until noon to hit the track. It was hot and humid and I wanted to QUIT. But I didn't. It feels good to finish a HARD workout!


Since I had my fitness assessment I have been very curious about VO2 Max, training, lactate threshold, and improving overall. I now know that the speed work, regardless of the race distance we are training for, is an integral part of training. Even ultra runners do speed work. While increasing weekly mileage will increase your VO2 Max, it is the speed work that will have the most lasting impact on your VO2 Max levels.

MANY MANY MANY of you have inquired about where to get this testing done. I am sorry to say the facility where I did mine was on the military installation and is for active duty military and their dependents. Although I was told that you can looking into your local universities and inquire about it with their Exercise Science or Physiology departments. They may often do testing at a fraction of the cost (thanks Run Faster Mommy!).

Anyway, if you want to improve your ability to increase the amount of oxygen that your body can uptake and deliver to your muscles and then remove the lactate from your muscles at the a same time (to keep you from getting so sore you have to stop, walk, or lay down and die...) it is recommended that you run intervals at a pace that is 15-30 sec faster than your 5k race pace. Wow! That is FAST, right? Either way, this can be a good indicator of your 100% VO2 Max pace if you have a recent 5k to go by. You can run that pace for 400s, 800s, 1200s...shoot even 200s. The point is that you run that pace repeatedly (in the beginning 3 to 4 intervals and as you progress 5 to 8 or more intervals), with a small amount of rest between where your heart rate drops down to well below the 90-100% range of your Max Heart Rate (MHR). Depending on your fitness level that could be between 1:30 to 3 or 4 min of rest between.

Simply put, add mileage and intensity into your workouts once a week to improve your VO2 Max. By increasing your aerobic capacity you will certainly see an improvement in your conditioning and your race times! And get this, you can improve VO2 Max by decreasing your body fat percentage (not weight, but body fat specifically). Long story short....I'll be seeing you at the track! Happy Speed Work! But, if you are new to speed work or are just starting out building your mileage base, don't worry about VO2 Max just yet. It will come...Continue to build your weekly mileage and focus you running effort on gaining that base. Then start the speed work.

It's time to hit the track!

And with summer coming to a close the temps will be a little easier to handle.....

So what do you think? You gonna hit the track?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Coming to an end....

Tri season that is...and I am not happy about it.

I have been planning to do White Lake Olympic Tri this coming Saturday. But Team Mountaintop may be losing steam. The Hubs is registered but nursing an ITB inflamation. He's not down and out just being safe. ITB is not a good injury to mess with and it can take MONTHS to heal, as J-Ninja is also suffering with this as well. She has been out since May with the ITB.

I could still do it but I just feel off. I have been sporadic with my swims and only getting in ONE a week, if that. I also haven't been biking like I should be. An Olympic is certainly not a sprint with it's distances being two-fold. I'm afraid I will get spanked if I go out or even show up. The next Tri on the schedule is early Oct. I am losing steam. I don't think I can maintain the swimming and bike conditioning for an Oct triathlon. So it seams tri season is coming to a close with little notice. I feel so empty! I feel like I need closure, a last hoorah, a final race to end the season. Sunday there is a mini tri, like a tri-me size tri, Inside Out Sports Dash for Divas. I could possibly do that one. It's an all women's tri which I am not exactly a fan of but whatever. We will see....

I kind of got to thinking this morning, dangerous I know...But I only have one race on my calendar for 2012. I haven't really done any running races around here that I felt like I really wanted to do again-exluding the triathlons, I want to do each and everyone of those again next summer! So with my race schedule being kind of empty I got to thinking that after OBX full marathon in Nov I could roll into a year-long training cycle to train for.....ANY GUESSES?

A Full Iron.

There, I said it. I put it out there....

I know the time commitment will be outrageous, crazy, impossible, horrendous, tough, difficult, challenging, and AMAZING.

I have a full marathon on April 29---Big Sur--I am pumped! This has been on my To Do Wish List since I found out about it and now I am registered and making plans!

With training for a spring marathon, I will have the running going. I have the bike trainer and if I can be disciplined enough to use it during the cold, winter months, riding 1+ hours a few times a week would be awesome. Then there is the swim. Ah, yes.....If I could make i to the pool even twice a week for off season training to maintain conditioning I think I'll be fine. On the other hand, riding 112 miles on a bike makes my girly parts hurt just thinking about it.....What am I thinking?

I'm going to be doing some race and training plan research before I decide but I think 2012 might just be my year for 140.6.

What do you think? Am I nuts?

Any realistic Full Iron Races you would suggest? I can't be traveling to foreign countries for a race....I need mid-west or east coast races. MAYBE, maybe a West Coast iron depending.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mystery of the Vo2Max

So, cardiovascular capacity is a measure of your body's ability to use oxygen to perform work. Every time we go out for a run, bike, swim...whatever, we are working. High fitness levels are indicated by a low resting heart rate and the ability to perform sustained aerobic exercise at a high level.

So, of course I had to turn to RED to assist me in translating my new found Vo2Max knowledge. Simply put she said: "You have some high mpg on your RBC 'bus', and lots of 'em."


She's so good at explaining things....

This morning I arrived at 7 AM for my Fitness Assessment. This portion of my assessment tested my VO2Max, Grip strength, Back Strength, and Sit Flexibility. All this paired with the BMI, Body Fat, and Resting Metabolism will assist them in helping me reach my fitness goals: lower BMI, lower body fat, higher VO2MAx, higher overall strength...AKA Wonder Woman status. Ok, not really but healthy, maybe a bit above just healthy. Above average. I am tired of being average.

So I spoke with the lady who was conducting my test for a good 20 min prior to starting. She asked lots of questions and listened. She was familiar with the Run Less, Run Faster program and this made me feel much better, knowing that she was knowledgeable about training and plans. She also said she had run a couple of marathons. In other words, she gets it.

She asked me what my good, comfortable pace is and I was a little stumped. I said 9 min/mile. I put on a heart rate monitor and she led me to the treadmill. She hooked me up to the mask and explained a little bit about what to expect. I was a little nervous, would I be able to do this? Would I have to run too fast for too long? I have no idea where these thoughts came from but I have always been frightened by the idea of this test and thought it would be hard. It was not.

I started out walking around a 2.5 mph pace. She would slowly increase the speed. It got awkward around 4.2 mph at the speed where your kind of like a crazed mall walker but not a shoplifter speed trying to get out fast but not too know what I mean? So I was happy when she punched it up to about 5 mph, then 5.4, 5.8. Each time there was a good 30-40 seconds (or more) between increases. It hit the 6 mph and I felt like this treadmill was on crack. 6 mph felt super fast. It was weird. She gave me bits of encouragement and told me I was doing really good. She kept increasing it and I kept running. I began to sweat and wondered how long it would take for me to hit my Vo2Max. I secretly hoped I could get my 5 mile workout in to knock out my run....that didn't happen. I don't think I even made it a mile. Maybe I did though? I have no idea.

She cranked it up to about 8 mph and then finally.....I hit my max. She slowly lowered the speed and I was instructed to go ahead and walk until my heart rate came down to about 100. It took no time at all for my heart rate to come down.

She then had me do a grip test, back strength test, and a flexibility test. All these are important for the overall fitness assessment.

The results of my Vo2Max came back pretty good. Excellent actually, points away from Superior.

My first question: How do I get to Superior?

Her answer: Interval training.

Pretty much if I keep up with the speed work and tempo runs prescribed in the RLRF plan I should see improvements in my Vo2Max. To recap, speed work helps to make your body more efficient at carrying oxygen rich blood to the muscles and removing the lactic acid from the muscles. Thus running faster for longer before dying.....

Here is my chart: You will see my score was 48.9 (3.6 away from Superior).


Notice the Peak Value: 9:30. I am going to strive to bring that comfortable pace down by OBX Marathon in November. I'm excited to follow my progress at 30, 60, and 90 day follow-up appointments. At each of these follow-ups they will redo each of the tests (Resting Metabolism, Bod Pod, Fitness Assessment).

A few people have asked me about the cost of this sort of testing and assessment. I wish I could give you all an answer but fortunately for me this is all covered by my healthcare or at least is a benefit offered to Active Duty Military and their dependents. Otherwise I am not sure I would fork over the $100-$300 for each assessment although it is very valuable information.


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