Monday, November 26, 2007

Beeping in the woods....

Saturday's 90 min. stride run was a surprise. Why? Because Tom showed up with a new heart rate monitor! So what's the big deal? It's been 3 years since I started training diligently with a heart rate monitor and while I love the process and the numbers there are others who don't beat to the same drum. Tom has been one of my training partners for years now and he is just a free flowing runner and enjoys long and I mean long hours out in the gorge exploring trails and terrain. He doesn't follow any plan for training and has run so many 100 milers it's just no big deal. My friends have been very supportive and indulged my need to be a rigid freak with my training. They even come out and help me work harder but not without a lot of ribbing and I am not talking about a joke here and there but full blown ribbing. All of it in full support but if your skin is thin.....well ouch! Fortunately when it comes to this stuff I have super thick skin and can dish it right back with a smile on my face. But....when Tom showed up on Friday with a new heart rate monitor I was thrown for a loop. I mean, are you kidding, Tom is wearing a heart rate monitor???? I was so shocked I didn't know what to say, I was speechless. Kris, Tom and I begin our run and of course he can't get the monitor to connect so he is back behind me mumbling and complaining so I stop, turn and squirt water down his shirt and it was only 31 degrees. After a few choice words at me and a some jumping around he settled down and his heart rate monitor made connection. He asks me a million questions about the zones I am training in and what kinds of workouts go with which zones. Of course everyone's zones are different and I explain this to him as he follows us down the Wildwood. Then it's non-stop, "Ronda, what's your heart rate?". I tell him and he says mine too. This conversation went on the entire run and the scary part is his heart rate was so similar to mine that Kris named us "heart rate twins". They are both coded models so interference should not be an issue but can this really be true? Am I going to have to listen to my heart rate monitor twin all Spring???? Oh my! Now for those of you who know Tom also know that this new toy could be chucked into the woods at any given moment. One false move and that new heart rate monitor could be toast. So if you're running along the Wildwood and you hear, 'beep, beep, beep" in the woods it might be worth checking out because you might find a brand new toy! All fun and games on the trails as usual.

I dropped my camera in the toilet on Friday! No, I hadn't yet gone to the bathroom so fishing it out was not a problem. I had it in the back pocket of my running tights and when I went to go....well, plop it went. I quickly turned just in time to see it sink to the bottom and watch the bubbles rise to the top as it filled with toilet water. Darn it! I took it apart and Bill tried to blow it dry but no luck, it's dead. I have had this little camera for 5 years and I loved it. We went to Fry's on Saturday so I could get a new one. I picked them all up and measured them but none were as small as my Canon Elph. Bill thought my method of choosing a camera was interesting. I have absolutely no idea about the technology I just know I need it be small and lightweight. Those were my two important features. I got a new one and it's nice but I will miss my elph.

Sunday's 2.5 hour Z3 run took me down. I was beat! I felt like I was going so slow and the gang moved farther in the distance but actually we did pretty well. The accumulation of a this Build 1 week was enough for this girl. I bowed out of the Gorge Monday's with girls to take a rest day because I am going to need it for the weeks workouts. Just when we were finishing we see Liz, Kamm and Caroline coming around the bend. Liz is an automatic in WS100M this year and Kamm and Caroline will be pacing and crewing (if Caroline doesn't get picked on Sat.). They all looked strong and fresh.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Most years we head to Utah to spend this holiday in Park City and instead of the big family get together it's just Bill, Alex and I. Bill's parents spend their holiday in Mexico every year and my family is so tiny they don't even bother doing anything. This Thanksgiving we decided to stay home and celebrate the day with our friends and their families. The idea came while having dinner with the McCarthy's and when they said they were just staying home we thought it would be fun to join together with our other friends and celebrate.

There's no better way to start off the day than with a Turkey Trot. Bill, Tom and I did the 4 mile ORRC Turkey Trot that starts at the Portland Zoo and takes you 2 miles downhill then a sharp turn around a cone and 2 miles back up hill ending at the zoo. This is a fun run with over 2000 people including walkers but this was not going to be trot for us, it was a race. I planned on giving this a big effort running as fast as I could. After a good 30 minute warm-up on the trails near the zoo we lined up near the front of the pack. Knowing most folks were just out for a cruise it was best to get up with fast runners. Bill and Tom said they were going after an average of a 9 minute mile while I was going for and average of an 8 minute mile. Off we go and after a quick uphill we headed down hill like rockets giving me a 6:12 min. pace for the first 2 miles. I was working hard pushing my heart rate near threshold on the downhill! At the turn I looked for Tom and Bill but saw only Bill....hmmmm must of missed Tom in the crowd. The climb begins and my legs feel like they are filling with lactic acid and I have to back off as my lungs can't push any harder. I am getting passed and I don't like it! I thought I would have the advantage on the uphill but nope!......I pushed and then I hear, "Good job Ronda" I turn and it's Tom! could this be....I work, I push, I use my arms and he just gets farther away as he runs uphill which appears to be effortless for him. Mile 3 goes by and the road begins to flatten, I take advantage of the short lived flat reeling Tom in but then the second hill comes. My legs are working but they feel tired, my heart rate is reading 174-178 and I know I am riding a fine line. We finally crest the last hill for the .5 miles remaining. I am gaining on Tom and I use every amount of gravity I could find to close the gap, I think I have him but I am going to wait to pass until I know I can hold the lead. I put it into gear and run by him like the wind, he sees me and sprints so I sprint and we cross the line but he was 3 seconds faster! I feel sick, I look at my HR and it reads 181, Tom is bent over and looks like he's going to be sick, both of us so spent we can't even say good job until the puking feeling subsides. We start to laugh in delerium and I think about kicking him but refrain, there was a lot of banter back and forth but I was pleased and shocked that he took me down. He was pretty happy with himself for doing sub 7:30's! We make our way back to finish banner and Bill comes blazing in at sub 9 minute miles. He is happy and swears by his training method.....DON'T TRAIN! :).

We rush back home to begin party preparations! Friends came, cooked, drank, ate, laughed and talked all day yesterday. It was one of the best Thanksgiving we have had. I have never cooked a turkey so thankfully Lisa came over at 10:00 a.m. and she got the bird prepared and made wonderful stuffing to pack inside. By the mid day I was promoted to Sui Chef! Once the bird was in the oven Lisa rushed home and left me turkey care instructions but soon the bird was rescued by Lisa M.! Micheal, Lisa and the kids came over early to cook the potatoes, hang out and mostly make sure I didn't set the bird on fire. Jim arrived just in time for the first Champagne toast. It was so good to see him and quite a shock to see the beard he grew... wow! Soon the rest of the gang arrived, the Maurer's, the Swanson's, Kris, the Gifford's and Steve stopped by. The turkey was taking so much longer than expected but no one seemed to care as they munched on all the wonderful appetizers, tasted wines and just got caught up. Everyone brought something to contribute to the dinner so the food was yummy! What a great day! We talked about the bismal odds of the lottery next weekend and traditionally we have all gone for a run then catch the results at the end, we called this the WS100 run but this year Micheal re-named it to the Bighorn run! :)
The rest of this week is filled with workouts. Today was a nice 90min. recovery run on the Wildwood with Darin and Tom. Of course Tom and I hashed out our Trot and decided we both ran much faster because Tom turned it into a challenge. He was really satisfied with his effort and how strong he felt. Tomorrow is a 90 min. run with strides. Kris, Tom and I will hit the trails for a nice loop. Sunday is 2.5 hour Z3 run. The miles are creeping up and it feels good.

Mark was sick last Friday for my "pinch-in" so I was pinched, measured and weighed on Wednesday. I lost nearly 1 pound and 1 % loss in body fat with a tiny gain in lean muscle. I was stoked and he said it's almost textbook fat reduction so the plan is working. He is implementing phase 2 and about mid-December we will do away with the 1965 cal days and the base will be 2645 for 4 day's a week and higher for the other 3. The food choices will include more stuff but fruits will be controlled and eaten purposely to promote nutrient absorption. I am excited about the fat loss but even more pleased with the additional strength and quicker recovery.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tagged, OK I will play.

Kendra tagged me so I need to give 5 random facts about myself:

1. I am an only child in a family where all my Aunts and Uncles produced only one child, married to an only child who's Aunts and Uncles produced only children and we have only one child. So of course only children rule! :).

2. I don't like nuts mixed in with any of my food. I like nuts but don't like them added to a salad, pasta, ice cream or anything. If I order something and it didn't list nuts as an ingredient and it comes with nuts I freak out. Don't know why but makes me mad! I eat nuts alone and love them. What a nut!

3. I make my bed every morning, always have, always will, don't leave my house without my bed made. Have done so since I can remember even when my mom could have cared less.

4. I am super emotional. I can seriously cry over a mayonnaise commercial and have done so.

5. For years I had a driver's license that allowed me to drive construction equipment like a rubber tired roller, paver, steel wheeled roller and I drove them all.

I will tag Darin and Kris!

On the running front we found snow at below 1500 feet on Monday. I was quite shocked to see the small amount of snow/ice on the low trail. We had a great Monday Gorge run and Zoe wore a very nice coat for the occasion. Ultra must get one of these, maybe for Christmas. Felt really strong on my upper body workout yesterday and I am getting much closer to producing a one armed push-up. The progress is fun and so far I can come up just fine but lowering myself more than about 4 inches is not happening yet. According to Marlin it should be the opposite but I guess my mid-section is much stronger than my shoulder girdle meaning I can support myself coming up but not strong enough to go down. Track workout today was spectacular (I love to huge exaggerating words)! I was hitting my mark 2 seconds faster than last week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rained on but not rained out!

Yeah....Bills plane has landed after 2 weeks of travel I am glad he is home safe and sound.

I saw all the emails talking about the odds of getting into WS100 and it is a dismal 16% or something like that. I tend to be the unluckiest person when it comes to lotteries so I am assuming I will be heading to Bighorn 100M. I have a lot of friends going to Bighorn so it will be super fun and a new challenge. Since the race is one week before WS100M the training cycle would be pretty much the same so between WS100M and Bighorn I should have plenty of friends to tag along with or drag to Black Saturday's :).

I got to do a new workout on Saturday. The run was 90 minutes long but after the 20 minute warm-up I did 7-10 25 sec strides with 2 minute recovery down to Z3A then went right into 2 miles at M-Pace. It sounds easy but the strides coupled with the M-pace after Thursday's T-Pace workout made it a bit taxing. My legs felt the work but pulled the paces easy and I wasn't having to drag myself by the ear. All part of the process of building a good base for the real training that's to come. We got Darin to join us for the Saturday run and he is just so much faster than any of us it was sort of like he was running in place while we were all working hard. It's fun and motivating to have a carrot to chase around. That reminds me of Sunday runs after Black Saturday's where I run for 7+ hours and the last half needs to be faster than the first half. Since Tom knows the Gorge like the back of his hand including every cutoff and side trail that exists and......he knows exactly how long it will take to run from any particular spot to another...he will challenge me. We will be on a stretch and he will say "GO, see if you can make to Gorton Cutoff trail in 22 minutes"! I am like a dog chasing it's stick trying to beat his time. He will do this for the entire run! I love this game and can't wait to play it again. I am a total sucker for a dare or any kind of challenge so I am all for it, waging my tail.....where's my next bone. I think I will call this game "Dog on Bone". Normally we are all dressed in red for "Red Hot Sunday's" but after last years attire I think the red outfits will be retired. They were just plain WRONG! Sorry for the digress down memory lane but those runs will come sometime in March and I am already looking forward to them planning routes so Tom can get his times down.

Sunday was a typical PNW treat, very wet and a bit cold. This was the first run in the rain for me but hey it wouldn't be Portland without rain and muddy trails. It was so foggy the picture looks like were standing in the middle smoke! We did a 2 hour loop in Forest Park starting at Satzman Road, a nice change from our other Forest Park runs. We are all getting stronger already and Z3A is beginning to feel more easy and comfortable for me to maintain. Micheal showed up this morning! It has been a long time without my pal so it was nice to have him come along. He has been away way to long because he has forgotten how much slower we are as he drug us around the park today. We got caught up on the latest happening with family, work, vacations, birthdays and 2008 running plans.

Next week is a Build 1 so more running.....Yeah!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Filling a week.

It's already Thursday and it's been a wild ride this week. With Bill in the Middle East for business and me stressing about that, workouts, storms, dogs, cats, salt water tank, turtles, carpet cleaning, school and all Alex's activities, box elder beetles it's been go, go, go! All just normal life but when you do it alone it's exhausting. Long business trips don't come often but when they do I am reminded how fortunate I am to have such a great marriage and life. Easy to just take all that for granted when it's part of the norm. Okay enough whining.

Bill has been all over the Middle East for the last two weeks and has gotten quite the education and experience. He emailed me a few pictures of him doing business and traveling between areas on camel, yes this is real and not a joke. He didn't see a female for 3 straight days because where he was they are not allowed to drive, eat with the men or leave their home without being in a full berka (sp?). When he was telling me about it over the phone it was so weird to think about a life like that. I couldn't even imagine what it would be like and probably would have been in jail or whatever by now because I am such a rebel when it comes to stuff like that.

On the home front we had a bad wind storm on Monday which took down power lines at the bottom of our road. The power was off for over 16 hours and since we get our water from a well and the pump requires electricity we were out of water too. My car was in the garage and the garage door needs electricity to work so I had to pull the emergency cord and lift the door. Now this is all just fine but we have a wood door and it was so heavy it took both Alex and I to get it up. The PGE guys actually drove up to my house to let me know the status....who says there's no customer service anymore. Since we live out in the boonies I had no phone because of course the phones need electricity and my cell only has 1 sketchy bar so the PGE people kept me informed. There were only 16 homes effected by the downed line but since it was over a quarter mile long it took awhile to restore. When it did pop back on at around 2 a.m. it scared me to death!

Rattled the next morning Alex left for school without his belt. Now I know the school has a uniform policy but come on.....he forgets his belt and they call me to bring it. I was already all the way downtown when he called, "hi mom, I forgot my belt again". Argggggggg....that darn belt, it's the 4th time he has forgot it. So I decided I would scatter belts all over. I stopped at Target and bought 3 black boys belts which brings his black belt collection to 4! I dropped one off at the school, put one is his locker and one in his backpack. Now.....if he forgets his belt I won't be driving back home and then to the school to deliver the not so necessary black belt. When I showed up at the office with 3 belts the office lady said, "that's just enabling him" and I said, "no, it's teaching him to be prepared"! If I was in charge I would have another way of handling the forgotten belt problem. :) Oh well, rules are rules......

On the workout front all is good. I think I have successful destroyed every muscle in my body from the waist up. My great idea of mastering the one armed push-up has sent my upper body into a full blown mess. All the pain is healthy but I am not sure if this much healthy pain is healthy if that makes any sense.:). My mid section hurts so bad I have to brace myself to laugh and if you know me at all I am constantly cracking myself up so I am getting efficient at the pre-laugh brace technique. I had to bend over to wash my hair this morning because I can't get my arms above my head and they are certainly not going to perform any massaging motion. I developed a great method for getting my shirt on. I lay it on the bed, then bend over, scoot my head inside the body of the garmet then in mummy form wiggle it down until my hands can reach the bottom then stretch it as far as I can without ripping the fabric and slide my arms in the holes. Since my lower body is not effected by the one armed push-up workout it was good to go for both my hard workouts. Tuesday I met Tom at the track and we did the workout together. It was much better than last week and my body seems to be remembering how it's done. Today was tempo with some M-Pace and T-Pace running so Susan joined me. We each have our own paces so after our 30 minute warm-up we began our quality portion on our own. I felt a ton more in control compared to last weeks effort. I actually had to throttle back quite a bit as my first T-Pace mile was a 7:10, way to fast and not necessary now. I got into a good groove for my 7:40 pace. My upper body protested and my arms soaked up the warm-up but I might even be more sore now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Peak week 1

The end of my first peak week of training was today and tomorrow will be the start of my recovery week from this cycle. I am following a 4 week cycle and it goes like this, Build 1, Build 2, Peak then recovery. I am looking forward to a nice recovery week but there is still some quality workouts to get done, one track workout, one tempo workout and the weekend will have some strides mixed with M-Pace running. All of it is less than the other weeks and I will have 2 solid days OFF from running. The last three weeks have been fun and less challenging than I would have thought. I believe the additional energy from solid fueling has been a key factor in feeling so darn good on my runs and not feeling fatigued and worked afterwards. Jury is still out and I am not banking on anything yet but time will tell if I have dialed in a better system for fueling my body for the workload. My friends took this picture because they keep seeing me eat the same thing after our runs together and they think it's really running watching me shove a cold yam in my mouth, ha, ha.

I think the hardest run I did this last week was the tempo run on Thursday. Physically it was of course challenging but mentally it was a shock to be so much slower than where I left off after last seasons training. I wasn't as much discouraged as I was curious. Wondering what it will be like to go through the process and see if I can achieve the same results or better. With one solid year of data there will be no question if I am as fit as I was. This is more exciting because I know the road I will be traveling and am familiar with the territory but I will be viewing it with more confidence and understanding. Sometimes that's all you need; with more confidence and a better understanding you can get where your going a lot faster. Generally the unknown is a big road block for a control freak like me but since this process is not new I can leave the confusion and fear behind. Sort of freeing when I think about it!:)

The KPR run is one of my favorite workouts. Scott calls these Kenyan-Style Progression Runs and Stacey and I shortened it to KPR. The idea is to start off very slow and slowly build your speed throughout the run with the final miles being at M-Pace. The goal is to not go out too fast and not push beyond M-Pace even if you feel like a machine. The ultimate purpose of the run is to take yourself through all your running gears, feel the paces and work all the zones appropriately. I find this type of run extremely rewarding because it unveils all my weak areas. As the run progresses I can feel the areas that I am efficient and comfortable running and the ones I am not....some of my weak areas are in my slower zones and some are in the faster zones and this means I have not built those zones well. This also means I leaving a perfectly good gear unattended to and therefore not available in training or racing. The KPR forces me to work in the uncomfortable inefficient zones as I build to M-Pace. These runs are hard physically too because they are done on a road or Lief Erickson type of terrain where you can measure your miles and paces in addition to fact your getting faster and faster. I love how I feel during and after these runs so the more I get to do the merrier. They are really fun with a crowd. Everyone going their own pace but all trying to do the same type of run whatever level. Saturday Tom, Stacey, Susan, Darin and I all went after it. Darin missed us as we parked at a different trail head but he was out there tearing it up just one week after his win at the Autumn Leaves 50K.

Sunday was another solid 2 hour Z3 run and we covered and additional .5 miles in the same time as last week so progress already! My glute medias was a little angry after the run so I am icing and stretching but not pushing the stretch too much. My physical therapist said I was cured but after today I know I still need to keep working on it's strength. Tomorrow is an OFF day so I will make sure I keep icing and do some mild strength exercises just so it knows I am not slacking off and that I have expectations. :)

A little over 3 weeks on Marks food plan and I feel like he could be my new best friend! The results are clearly evident so it's been easy and fun. I have successfully eaten all the food every day since I saw him last. There have been a couple of days where it was difficult but I just forced myself to eat it all and payoff has been good. I don't know if I have lost anymore weight but I have lost inches so if I am maintaining or gaining muscle and losing fat then my goals are being met. The "Pinch In" will be Friday. :). On another note I have a goal to master the one armed push-up! Why???? Because I saw Jillian do it on the Biggest Loser and got inspired then to top it off there was a "how to" article in my favorite magazine. Believe it or not there is a process to mastering it. I started doing the work this last week so I think by Christmas I might be able to whip one out. :). Here are the steps to mastering the one armed push-up:

Step 1 - Be able to do 8-10 real push-ups (I can do this no problem)
Step 2 - Incline push-up with one arm using the bar on the Smith Machine, as you get stronger you position the bar lower and lower. (this is the step I am on and I have to have the bar set just above my waist and no lower!). Eventually you move the bar to it's lowest position.
Step 3 - Uneven push-ups. Using a step do the push-ups with one arm on the step and one on the floor, as you get stronger build upon the step making it bigger and bigger then using only your fingertips to help. As you master this you won't need your fingertips
Step 4 - Plank exercised for a strong midsection. (I have achieved this part)
Step 5 - Alternating plank where you hold in plank, stretch out one arm off the floor while the opposite toe lifts off the floor (I can do these but not well)

There is actually a routine which takes you through a series of these exercises 3 times a week until you can master the one arm push-up. This will be a good Christmas present!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Trip, Twist and Fall!

With last week being a build II schedule I was pretty tired on Sunday night and was wondering how I would feel on our Monday Gorge run. I made sure I ate all the prescribed food on my plan every day since I saw Mark. That meant I had 1 day of 1965 calories and 3 days of 2645 calories. I payed close attention to the timing of my meals to ensure I would be able to eat them all. I have to say it was hard the first two days but after that I was ready to eat every meal and the energy I had on Monday was significant. My mind continues to battle with amount of calories and especially the amount of complex carbs I need to eat but I feel like I am slowly trusting the process.

Trisha, Susan I did the same loop as last week but about 20 minutes faster. With all the lovely fall leaves on the ground you never know what's underneath. This mystery led to many twists, trips and one fall. I did all the twisting, Trisha did the tripping and Susan performed the not so graceful fall. Fortunately no one got hurt but Susan did call me the next day to say she felt bruised up in the shoulder area. Trisha is really taking her training seriously and from what I can tell is not the least bit uncomfortable pushing herself to new limits. It's really fun to watch someone make so much progress and have fun doing it. There really is no better recipe than that. She powered up the hills running most of them making me work hard to get a picture! We stopped at the big intersection to refuel and take a picture. Ultra could not resist giving Susan a kiss, she just wouldn't stop! :). Next week there will be no Gorge Monday because all are kids are out of school for a holiday. Good timing because next week is recovery and after all the workouts this week I am going to need it.

I am loving all the energy, it's honestly so much more than I had before. I keeping waiting for the big crash to come but so far everything surrounding my workouts is powerful, time will tell. Yesterday was my first track workout so I got put on my lightening fast red shoes and when I arrived at the track I saw that it had been resurfaced since my last visit! It was almost like seeing a long lost friend, strange because I would have never said that 2 years ago. My description would have been more like, "yikes I see a ghost"! Tom came down to make sure I didn't slack off but I think his real motivation was to do a bit of speed work himself and see if I could do a pull up. I ran a good 3 mile warm up on Terrwilliger than came back down and did 10X100-150 meter sprints with 2-3 minutes slow running in between. Tom didn't do the sprints but he wasn't very far behind me. My sprints felt awkward for the first 5 but once I got in the groove they felt better but not easy. Once I was done we headed over to the pull up bar and of course I gave Tom all the usual excuses....I haven't done any pull ups, I was out of the weight room for 8 weeks, pull ups are hard......there were more but I can't remember them. He simply said what he always says, "shut up and get up there". So I go for the easy kind first, narrow grip palms facing forward and boom!....I easily knocked out 5!. I shocked myself but then got motivated. Next, the wide grip, palms facing away from the face, boom!....easily knock out 3. Needless to say I left the track pretty happy and even more motivated.
The rest of the week is 2 recovery runs, 1 tempo run, 1 KPR run and one moderate long run. This week I reintroduced "Time in Tension" leg workouts but started light and will build up slowely. I have two leg workouts a week and only do the TinT one time and the other is endurance based one legged workout, Scott's prescribed leg workout. Yesterday Scott set my VDOT at 43 which means my T-Pace will be 7:42, M-Pace will be 8:15 and E pace will be 9:27. At the end of my training for WS100M my VDOT was 51 so I am stoked to see the number climb as I do the work.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Off Like a Rocket!

There's nothing like a good short road run to get the fire burning! Ultra runners can run short fast runs ya know and probably should run more of them. Why???? Because it reminds us that we are actually runners........and leg speed and cardio strength are important aspects in ultra running too. When we need to get up the steep hill late in the race we need the cardio strength to aid us in the ascent, when we run downhill it's all about leg fast can you complete the stride vs. braking while your leg comes back around. If none of that matters, then do it because it's different and can be super fun!

Stacey and I talked Susan into running the 10K instead of the 50K. She's training for her first 100M race (WS100M) this coming year and hasn't run anything short in over 4 years! Boy do I know that story because I was same. Short road run....are you kidding, I'm a trail runner, nothing but dirt and endless undulating terrain. Well.....I got converted, as much as an ultra runner can be converted. I started do this routine in the winter months three years ago and swear by it as a way to jump start the upcoming season of training and racing. Also, just simply to change things up, have some new experiences and get my 40 year old legs moving faster after a long and glorious ultra season.

The Autumn Leaves 50M/50K/10K was a blast as usual....I am sure your sick of me saying that after ever race but it's just the truth, a total blast! Stacey and I went out early to help out Olga at her aid station but she definately had everything under control so we all talked and laughed for 2 hours before Stacey, Susan and I started our warm up. It was freezing while we were just standing around but once we got moving it was fine. My feet took about 10 minutes to un-thaw but after that it was shorts and long sleeve for the run.

Since this was a VDOT run to establish a starting point for M-Pace, T-Pace and track efforts I was going all out! Now, all out for an ultra runner is different from all out of a good road runner....we're slower :). Nonetheless all three of us put our best foot and lungs forward and ran into the wall, then backed away from the wall, ran into the wall and backed away from the wall for 6.2+ miles. I describe my attempt at speedy roads runs just like into the wall then back away from the wall, no strategy, no game plan, no idea what I am doing but I do know my lungs are burning as I try to propel my ultra legs forward. My race was slower than I imagined and I am sure the course was long because I ran this race at a slower per mile pace than the 15K I ran a couple of weeks ago. But.....I am sure the ultra folks didn't even notice because it wasn't overly long but when your running a 10K you become sensitive to these things:). This made me laugh because if I was running the ultra I would have never even noticed or cared about the extra 2 tenths of a mile. For me, this means I will get a lower VDOT with lower coinciding M-Pace, T-Pace and track numbers. Do I care? No way! It's early and the slower the build up the better. Also, I have another 10K in early December which I have run 3 years in a row. With the slower build up I have time to get my body adapted and hopefully I will see some early results at that 10K. My time for this 10K was 47:56 and I will get my VDOT number from Scott on Tuesday.

Today Stacey, Tom and I went for a 2 hour run on the Wildwood and mostly a Z3 effort. Stacey and I both felt our hamstrings but after about 40 minutes were able to push well into Z3. This coming week is a "Peak" week as Scott put me on 4 week cycles instead of 3. I have done the 4 week cycles before and loved them because they are hard and very challenging. But, I had to cry "uncle" last Spring and move to 3 week cycles because I was getting my butt kicked :). Careful what ya ask for Missy...........

Friday, November 2, 2007

By the Numbers...

It's all about data, that's what Stacey and I always say. Despite the emotions, the desires, the dreams, the goals....when your looking at all those things nothing can steer you better than data. Not that it's easy or sometimes even fun to analyze yourself or your life all the time but it can be grounding or bring you back to center. Data can help you move forward and gain in so many ways.

Here's how my meeting with Mark went. "How's it been going the last couple of weeks"? "Good, but am still having trouble getting in all the meals". "Well, let's do the numbers and see where we are"! Pinch, pinch, measure, measure and then weigh. I knew I had lost weight and as he pinched and measured I watched the data being entered and could see the numbers were lower. I was sort of getting gitty and excited, feeling very good about it. But.......I got a little ahead of myself. Mark sits down and crunches more numbers and then the news. "You have lost 2 pounds and 1.5% body fat but you also lost .5 pounds of lean muscle". My overly inflated happiness took a bit of turn because I knew why I lost lean muscle. He said, "I am super happy about the fat loss but the muscle loss is not good and I would like to see your fat % continue to come down but the loss replaced by lean muscle mass". "I hope you don't continue to lose weight but if you do, all of it needs to be fat and none of it can be lean muscle". "If you continue to lose muscle then we are not achieving the results you want". Puzzled, thinking what's the big deal but I knew it was a big deal. I have been tested at Seattle Performance Medicine and every year come back with poor results on my ability to burn fat! The cause?????? Not fueling my body for my output! The Result?????? Poor fat burning during exercise, early fatigue in events, poor recovery, slower metabolism and worse.....injury. None of those are good results and none are results I want. The solution?????? Get those meals in especially the complex carbs or cut back on my output. Cutting back on my output is not a solution, in fact it's only going to get more intense. Coach Scott has talked to me about the importance of fueling for the last three years! He talks about the importance of complex carbs and how necessary they are for endurance athletes. Don't you think by now I would have learned????'s all about data! It's been there through my test results at Seattle Performance Medicine but I honestly thought I was fueling better and more efficiently but again this last year when I tested the results were worse. Nutrition is really key to having good results on the trails and off. Dialing in all the elements and being diligent about fueling your body can have such positive results. As endurance athletes, especially female athletes who have goals with fitness and image heed caution. It's so hard for me to think that eating more will help me be leaner and stronger but the proof is in the data! I have never consumed more complex carbs in my life than in the last two weeks and the results are there. No hunger, no deprivation and the fact that I burned some lean muscle because I didn't eat all the food prescribed is so revealing. I am more motivated to get those calories consumed. The benefits are to good to pass up, fat loss and more energy:). What more could a girl ask for! What's next? Two more weeks before my next data point and more eating :).