Monday, July 31, 2006

Easy 2 with negative split

Having slept past the snooze this morning, I ended up running after work today. I got to Memorial around 6:15 and got a great parking place in the tennis center parking lot. I like parking there because I hate walking so far in my work clothes to get to the locker room. Anyway, there was a lot of hub-bub around the park. Hundreds of people. Lots of running groups seemed to be out. One group was gathered around the northwest corner by the turnaround. They had some cones set up in the grass over what looked like about 100 or 200 yards. I thought that was awesome to run sprints/intervals or whatever they were doing in the grassy area over there. I thought it may be the SMART group but I did not recognize anyone. It still could have been. I think I recognized one Strider. I think her name is Yong. I'm not sure. I remember her from PIM and from hanging with the Striders but I've never met her personally. I also saw Holden. He was running hard. I passed him going the opposite direction just as he was taking a walk break. Great to see you Holden!

I must say that I just love running at Memorial park. I love seeing friends, acquaintances, and all the beautiful people, tall, short, fat, skinny, men, women, young, old, fast, slow, runners, walkers, trotters, joggers, shufflers, moms, dads, hotties, studs, blacks, whites, asians, hispanics, indians, middle easterners. I even saw a lady with a wig. My son said a few weeks ago, "Dad, I really like Memorial park. Everyone just does their thing. No one judges you or cares what you look like. Everyone's just out there exercising. It's cool." He's right.

My run was very evenly paced and that made me happy. It was hot but there seemed to be a bit of a breeze. I even managed a :02 negative split. Of course, it was still slow but I felt like it was a good run. Again, I had a .5 mile warmup with .25 brisk walk and .25 walk/jog/get my HR going.

Total time - 30:18
Total distance - 2.0 miles
Avg HR - 155 bpm
Average pace - 15:09
Mile 1 - 15:10
Mile 2 - 15:08
Calories burned (according to Polar) - 519

God bless!

Progress Report and thoughts


I've been gearing up for my first hill workout on Tuesday as scheduled on the Katy Fit Red Group schedule. I've been a little aprehensive about this, being for all intents and purposes a total noobie!!! I've always been advised as well as advised others that hill workouts should be reserved for runners with a good base of miles and who have been running for some months (6-12). The apprehension comes from the increased risk of injury from doing these workouts. But, I figure as long as Katy Fit tells me to do hills, I'm doing hills. It's on the schedule, right? The schedule I paid $100 to follow. I'm getting my money's worth and following the experts, right? Wrong!!! After posting on the discussion boards a call out to any Red's that want to get togehter to do hill running, I get a reply from our Red Group head coach that says,

"We don't recommend hills for the Red group -- unless you're a pretty experienced runner. You will notice that the "hills" will disappear from the Red schedule. Right now, running itself is something for people to explore and enjoy so it's a little early in the season to add hill work-outs for the Reds. For the inexperienced runner, there is too big a risk of injury to try hills at this point."

Well, thanks for the notice. I mean this is the day before the scheduled hill workout. And even more funny is that before our Red group long run on Saturday, Coach Sarah announced that we would be meeting at the Hwy 6 aqueduct on Tuesday to do hills if anyone wants to show up. This really pisses me off. So, I guess it's supposed to be an easy run (e on the schedule)? Who knows. I mean of course it's supposed to be an easy run. What about the tempo run on Thursday. Is that dangerous, too? IMHO, no. I think I need to spend at least a little time running above AT.

More on Katy Fit

I was checking out the discussion board over at Houston fit and came across this post from the Red Group:

"I signed up for this program to get fit and somehow convinced myself I could run a marathon. The site says "Whether you are a couch-potato, walker, casual jogger, or marathon veteran, this marathon training program is the most enjoyable, most inspiring, and most efficient way to get in the best shape of your life." After going two Saturdays I believe this. However, I fall into the couch potato group by definition and no group by color. The red lobsters run faster than I do, the walkers walk faster, and I'm more of a 1/5 than a 5/1. I was initially really disappointed but am trying to redirect my goal. My plan is to come out every Saturday morning and travel around that exciting 3 mile circle, hopefully getting better and pushing further. I can't even imagine running 10 to 13 miles with the red group in a short 4 to 6 weeks. My new goal for Houston Fit is to follow the minutes on the weekly plan, push myself by myself on Saturdays then listen with the group, and finish the 28 week program in much better shape than I am in today. Any suggestions would be appreciated."

Then, one of the responses:

"Oh my goodness....when I was reading your post, it sounded just like me. I am the slowest of the slow red lobsters. I joked that they know who will be bringing up the end. I wanted to quit. But you know what the coaches are so encouraging. I showed up to the Thursday run and although I was last, the coach (I can't remember her name, sorry) ran with me and encouraged me to finish. I did. This past Saturday was very scary to me because we were running 4 miles (more than I have even walked before not to mention running) and I had to do it. There I was starting out and already so far behind the red lobsters thinking "Okay, if I can't even keep up with the slow runners, what am I doing here?" But Coach Jane came back and stayed with me and I ran so slow that she could walk next to me. But she kept encouraging me and during the middle I had to walk a little more than the minute but I kept going and by the end I was running again. I made it to the end of the 4 miles to the cheering coaches. The coaches made me feel so great. I felt so excited that I accomplished 4 miles. You know what else, some of the runners that were ahead of me, ran too fast starting out that they fell behind also towards the end so I had company. Which was great because I got to meet a few new people. So keep coming to the Saturday runs because we can encourage each other. I will be the one in the very very back."

I can really relate to this poster. I thought going into Katy Fit that there would be some noobie slowbies in the group. You know, I'll never forget my Fall 2004 PIM coach and now good friend, Andrea Chan. I was the slowest runner in our group and I always was the last to finish. But Andrea ran each and every step with me. We talked about running and nutrition and weight loss. I learned so much about running from Andrea during those runs. She was so encouraging to me telling me that it was good to run at a slower pace and that I was doing good maintaining my pace and staying conversational. I may be wrong to expect the same from some of the Katy Fit coaches and really I am sympathetic that the group is large and they can't give everyone one-on-one attention. Still, I really feel like I'm not part of the group. Heck, the other Red group runners are more enthusiastic and cheer me on more than the coaches. Luckily, I'm not in a place right now where I need a lot of hand-holding and luckily, I have Coach Steeeve and the Striders as well as awesome encouragement from the HRB'ers and other bloggers. Still, if I were a coach for a marathon training program where I new there were new runners and first-timers, I'd make it a point to seek out those that are struggling and give them a little word. I'd definitely make sure I had the back of the pack covered. There are about a dozen or more runners in our group that finish our "group" runs alone. By the time I get in, all the coaches are over wtih the big group visiting with the faster runners. Again, I'm not whining and I'm a big boy. I just think each runner in the group should get just a little personal attention.


Saturday's 5-miler really brings into doubt whether I will be able to do what I have set out to do. I know that doubts are normal at this point in marathon training but I really need to be realistic. To finish Houston in 6 hours...I just don't know if it's possible. It kind of goes back to the whole Katy Fit coach thing. Steeve, Jamoosh, Andrea, Jon, somebody, it this even possible given the fact that I am so slow now? If it's possible, is it doubtful? If I do everything right training-wise, is it possible to do this. I don't need to know if you think I will do it. I just want to know if it's possible.

Belt buckle

Today, I went to the last hole on my belt. Another month and I'm going to have to get some new clothes.


Thanks so much Bill, Cassie, Christy, Doug, Bonnie, Sarah, Wunnin' Wabbit, Barbara, Jon, June, Lisa, Donna, Edwin, and everyone else, especially DW and the kids, for all the encouragement and comments. It's a great community and I really *heart* y'all.

Congratulations to Bonnie

Just a quick word of congratualtions to Bonnie, publisher of Survival Shuffle for completing the Grand Isle Trail Marathon. Bonnie finishe the traile run in 5:29:55.0. Looking forward to a great race report! CONGRATS, Bon!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Whew!! That was a tough one!!

I left nothing out there on today's long run. I must say it was my toughest run to date, since coming back. I can't say that I'm unhappy with my performance. I actually feel good and feel like I really gutted it out. But will I look back on this one and remember it always? Don't think so!!!

Total distance: 5 miles
Total time: 1:21:53
Average HR: 157
Mile 1: 15:14
Mile 2: 16:01
Mile 3: 16:25
Mile 4: 16:45
Mile 5: 17:24
Calories burned (according to Polar): 1427!!!! (no way!)

I'm hesitant to compare this to previous long runs for a few reasons. One, to me it was the most humid day I've run so far. I was really sweating. I mean the kind of sweating where you're drenched from head to toe. By the end, I looked like I just got out of the swimming pool. Also, because of a fishing trip that was planned for today, I ended up moving my schedule around a bit and doing Monday's easy 30 minutes on Friday. The plan was to then rest 1 day and do my long run on Sunday. Well, late in the day on Friday, the fishing trip got cancelled allowing me to do the long run on Friday. If that's too confusing, suffice it to say, I ran on Friday before a long run. I do not think that affected me at all, I'm just saying, I can't compare this to other long runs since I usually have a full day of rest before.

On the bright side. I'm feeling no nagging pains. I'm still injury-free. I feel like my ankle is holding up well. Plus I got to see Bill whizzing by along with some other Striders. Among these familiar faces was Coach Steeeve. He greeted me on the out portion of his run as we were passing in opposite directions. But on his back leg, Steeve was FOCUSED!!! I me an he was humping it. Running hard. Awesome to see that, Steeeve!!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Much better

Per coach Steeve's advice and acting on the wisdom of runner/blogger/superwoman Barbara, I incorporated a warmup and cooldown into my workout today. So, it went something like this:

.25 mile brisk walk
.25 mile brisker walk/jog
30 minute easy run (the actual workout)
~.4 mile walk to the car

The fun thing about this is now I get to go all the way around the Memorial Park loop. I really enjoy that for some reason. I like the back stretch, facing east, towards downtown, as the sun is coming up. I love the cars whiizzzzing by with the occasional whoooosh of a Metro bus. Today, I looked across the street, where the Strider's water stop is on the Houston marathon course. I visualized how awesome it's going to be one day to be running through there, taking in the enthusiasm and energy of the Strider nation.

I felt the warmup added to my workout and my splits were more consistent. I felt "settled in" from minute 1 and kept a consistent effort for the entire 30 minutes. Mile 1 was still a bit faster than 2 but more consistent than previous workouts. I could probably still ease off a little during the first 3-5 minutes of the workout. I really felt good the last 10 minutes or so of the run.

Venue: Memorial Park
Total time: 30:01
Total distance: 2.01 miles
Average HR: 155 bpm
Average pace: 14:56
Mile 1 - 14:43
Mile 2 - 15:09
da change (.01 miles) - 0:10
calories burned (according to Polar) - 517

God bless!!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Need to add a warmup

There is something about my shorter runs during the week that I do not like. Maybe I can get some comments on this from Steeve or some of you experienced runners. My easy runs during the week have been around 2 miles. The splits have been:


The first thing that jumps out is that the mile 1/mile 2 splits are always fast/much slower. I think one main reason for this is that I am starting out pretty quickly to try to get my HR up above 150. It takes me about .25 miles to get there. For that first .25, I'm estimating a ~13:15/13:20 pace. Then I "settle in" at around 155-157 bpm. The first mile, after getting out fast (for me) ends up around 14:00 pace. Then, keeping my hr under 160, I start to slow down. I feel like my last 1.25 miles are at pretty consistent pace maybe a little slower at the end. Probably around 14:50-15:00.

Here's where I need some advice. IMHO, it is good to maintain a consistent effort throughout a run. By that I mean consistent the goal of the workout. So, for easy runs, I would maintain a conversational effort throughout the entire run, breathing easy and not gasping for air. When a runner runs by pace, a runner ends up running at an increased effort towards the end of a run compared to the beginning. My easy run would start out conversational, but to keep a consistent pace, by the end of the run, I would be gasping for air and probably be running above AT. So, if this is my philosophy of training, to maintain a consistent effort, then I should not even "start my workout" until I reach that level of effort, right? For example, if today I am doing an easy, 30-minute run at 150-160 bpm, I should not even start the clock until I reach 150 bpm. I guess what I am saying is that I think I need a warmup. I need to get myself in the proximity of my target HR so that when I "start" my workout, the fires are stoked, I'm lose and I'm ready to "settle in" to my target effort. I think if I do this, my splits will be more consistent. Now I'm not going to see that "fast" mile 1 but I should see a mile 1 pace that is more indicative of where I am in my running.

Today's run felt great. Here are the stats: Venue: Memorial Park
Total time: 30 minutes
Total distance: 2.09 miles
Avg pace: 14:22
Avg. HR - 155 bpm
Mile 1 - 13:48
Mile 2 - 14:59
da change (0.9) - 1:13
Caloried burned (according to polar) - 517

God bless!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For TxRunnerGirl

This is from an article entitled Training Intensity and Heart Rate by Eric Schwartz.

Heart Rate Zone



Zone 1


Recovery. Endurance building. Conversational pace. You can hold this pace for a long time. Commonly referred to as aerobic training.

Zone 2

Easy to Moderate

Extensive Endurance. Endurance building. You can usually hold this pace a long time. On days after hard workouts zone 2 may be a little more difficult and it may be best to avoid in this case. Commonly referred to as aerobic training.

Zone 3


Intensive endurance/muscular endurance. Beginning athletes can maintain this pace for 15-40 minutes, while experienced athletes may be able to hold this effort for 90+ minutes in training.

Zone 4

Medium Fast

Sub-threshold. Your ability to maintain this pace in training will range from 20 minutes to 2+ hours.

Zone 5


Super-threshold. Lactate threshold pace. This pace can be maintained in training for 15-60+ minutes depending on fitness.

Zone 5b

Very Fast

Anaerobic Endurance. This pace will be very difficult to maintain for more than 15 minutes. Breathing will be very hard and you may last as little as 2-3 minutes at this effort.

Zone 5c

Very, Very Fast


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More good stuff from RW beginners forum

Poster Falco writes:

"There’s a stretch of road that I run on that is long and straight and seems to go on forever. I used to hate it, but now it’s my favorite place. See I don’t have to do anything, just run. I don’t have to avoid dogs, dodge traffic, or encounter potholes. It’s just me and the road.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Last night while I was on that stretch I began to think how powerfully simple this all is. We ask our body to run and it does…at first not far…but then over time it becomes this machine. A simple perfect machine. Breathe in, breathe out. One foot and another. An endless repetition of a series of moves that propels you further and further along. And the miracle of the human body is that it responds by carrying you further and further until one day you show up at work and say, “I ran eight miles yesterday” and all the jaws drop. Yes…you did. Something that your co-workers consider positively superhuman. You did it. You may not look like a superhuman, but at that moment you are.

My mind flashes back to a conversation I’ve had about running. Every run is a test; a test to see what you are made of. Do you have it in you today? Here on the road there is no way to cheat. It’s simple, you either run it or you don’t. Either you win or the road wins. And no matter how sick you are, no matter how tired you are, the road still asks, do you have it in you? Even if you had a great run yesterday, the road is still out there today and today you have to prove what you are made of. When Oprah ran the marathon folks said, yeah, but she had a personal trainer. Yeah, but she has a personal chef. Right, but no one can run it for her. She took every step herself. And you…well you take every step yourself.

Breathe in, breathe out.

The road doesn’t care if you are good looking, smart, young, old The test is the same. What do you have in you today? Some days you come home glowing with accomplishment. Other days you lose. You feel fat, heavy, out of shape, tired. Well meaning friends say “why do you do that to yourself?” but you know…you aren’t doing it TO yourself, you are doing it FOR yourself.

Breathe in, breathe out. Scuff, scuff, scuff, scuff, scuff. Individually the movements are simple, even amateurish. Collectively though, they are powerful.

Along the way you lose things. Some of you have lost weight. I haven’t. But I’ve lost that voice I call the “inner loser” who tells you all the reasons why you can’t run. (you’re too old, too fat, too tired, too sick, you just ran yesterday). My inner loser can’t run more than a mile. I leave him beside the road early in my runs these days.

You lose the stress of the day. No matter how bad your day is, you sweat out all those problems on a long run. You shut off the voices. You silence the chatter. Just you and the road, alone.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I know we all have goals. Five k goals and marathon goals and negative splits. But on your next run let me encourage you to just run and enjoy the simple pleasure of running. No watch, no time limit, you’re not going anywhere, you’re not getting anywhere. You just are…a simple lone runner…on a long stretch of road.

I’ll see you out there.

Consistency this week

I really feel good and strong so far this week following an enjoyable 35 minute run this morning. It was a beautiful morning, almost cool, running at Memorial. Given the distance I ended up doing in 35 minutes and then the ~.3 miles I had to walk back to the car, I should have just gone around the entire loop. By the way, this is something I've yet to do since the comeback. Although I have 3 and 4 mile long runs under my belt, they were not at Memorial, my favorite place to run. But I really had a great time. I had to run with my beeper since I was on call but was not bothered.

Venue: Memorial Park
Total distance: 2.39 miles
Total time: 35 minutes
Avg HR: 155 bpm
Mile 1: 14:28
Mile 2: 15:07
da change (.39): 5:26

I had the privilege of running into Doug Spence out on the trail. It was great to see Doug. Didn't stop to talk long as we were going in opposite directions.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Evidently improving

This morning's 30 minute run marked the first 30-minute run where I actually went past the 2 mile mark. So, instead of stopping short of the 0-mile marker (30 minute runs are out to the 1 mile marker and back), I actually went past it, just past the water fountain, before my 30 minute timer went off. Here's a comparison of some recent 30-minute runs.

Date Distance Avg. pace
7-3 1.84 16:18
7-5 1.87 16:02
7-18 2.0 15:00
7-24 2.06 14:34

All these runs were performed at approximately the same effort. So, here are the stats from this morning's run:

Venue: Memorial Park
Total time: 30 minutes
Total distance: 2.06 miles
Average HR: 156
Avg pace: 14:34
Mile 1: 14:18 (152 bpm avg.)
Mile 2: 15:01 (159 bpm avg.)
:06: 0:41 (162 bpm avg.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

4 miler with Katy Fit and familiar faces

I've been debating this week whether or not I was going to do our group run with my HRM or just leave it and pace with some others. I keep hearing that Katy Fit is big time pro-running-in-groups. And I didn't see how running by my HRM was going to work in a group run. After all, that's the whole thing about HRM training. It's very individualized, based on your own maxHR and your own fitness. On individual may be running 4 miles at 14:00 min pace and stay aerobic. For me, that would probably get me well above AT pretty quickly. Anyway, I decided against running with the hrm today. Besides, I'm not planning on racing with it, so I need to start getting more of a "feel" for my pacing and effort, especially on long runs.

Overall, the run went pretty well. I must say this was my toughest run to date. I struggled a little bit and had to push pretty hard and stay focused. I think that this being a tough run was a function of a couple of things. First, my nutrition on Friday was terrible. After a good breakfast and good lunch, I had no snack in the afternoon and no supper. We rushed over to a dessert party after work and I did not take time to eat supper. All I had in the evening was a couple of chocolate chip cookies and some coffee. I had a Clif bar Saturday morning before the run but I think that was too little, too late. Even though I wasn't famished on Friday night, I still should have eaten dinner. Secondly, I got to bed really late on Friday and didn't get near enough sleep before an early long run.

So, here are the stats:
Total distance: 4 miles
Total time: 1:03:32
Mile 1: 15:02
Mile 2: 15:29
Mile 3: 16:13
Mile 4: 16:48

Comparison to last week's 3-miler
Mile 1 (last week/this week): 15:54 / 15:02
Mile 2 (last week/this week): 16:14 / 15:29
Mile 3 (last week/this week): 16:40 / 16:13
Mile 4 (last week/this week): ----- / 16:48
Total time, 3 miles (last week/this week): 48:48 / 46:43
Difference, 3 miles (last week to this week): -2:05

So, is there improvement there? Apparently so. Conditions were about the same so it's a fair comparison. I definitely don't think I could have gone 4 miles last week so my endurance improved some. The difference in pace could be due to the fact that I was running without my HRM. However, I was able to carry on a conversation for the entire 4 miles. In fact I did talk to serveral other runners on the course, even during the last mile.

On a great note, I saw several Striders out there at Cullen and was greeted by them. Barb Shephard (Cha-Ching) and Stacy Stepler were running together and looking strong. Then I saw Ryan Stepler, Megan Clark-Dillingham (Road Rage), and Lynlee Linke (Hooter Girl). I'm a bit unsure if the name of the 3rd runner was Lynlee. I recall meeting this 3rd runner at the Chritmas Lights run in 2004 and for some reason the name Lynlee comes to mind. If that wasn't Lynlee, I apologize.

Oh, one final thing. I had the privalege of meeting a very sweet, young lady at Katy Fit by the name of Jo. She wears a Houston Strider singlet to the Saturday meetings and I've been in my PIM singlet which led us to start up a conversation and became acquainted last week. Very nice lady. We both started running through PIM. Well, funny thing is that this week she introduced me to a couple of other runners that she met. The conversation went something like this. "Shashi, this is Vic. He's training for the full marathon. He runs slow but continuously." LOL!!! I in no way take offense to this and I know from Jo that's not a disss. She really is just the nicest, sweetest lady. I just thought it was cute. You know you're slow when you are introduced as "slow, but continuous."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Easy running pays off for RW forumite

I wanted to post this question and answer from the beginners forum on Runner's World web site. I think it's an awesome testament to the importance of aerobic base building and thelearnedfoot couldn't have said it better.

"For the last 8 weeks I had followed the 5k program I found on the front page of and all seemed to be going fine. I haven't really ran to see if my 5k time has dropped, but I'm sure that it has as I've been upping my miles a few at a time week by week and included some speedwork as well.

This is what I have found to be the prevalent line of thought on how to improve on most running sites... simultaneously up your miles a bit at a time, as well as utilizing speedwork once or twice a week.

I was speaking to someone else however who runs a sub 4:20 mile and was told that I should focus almost solely on distance running until I'm up to about 50 miles per week to build a strong base, and then to switch over to speed and strength drills several times a week in order to see my times drop.

I actually really like what he said and felt it made sense. So I'm thinking about switching to easier paced distance runs several times a week to build a strong foundation and skipping the speedwork for now.

Any thoughts?

Can only speak from my own experience. Last fall, I ran a 5K in 26:20. That was my PR at the time. I was running 35 miles or so per week. Over the late fall/winter, I upped my miles to the point where I was actually averaging 70 and then up to 100 miles per week. This spring, I ran a 5K in 20 minutes and change. I did no speedwork other than an occasional fartlek or a very occasional tempo type run. Nearly all my running was done at an easy, conversational pace.

At first when I switched to the easy paced long distance running, I found myself slower. (Example -- ran a 5K in 27 something in November when I was starting to up the miles) However, it was temporary (obviously).

I am not advocating running as much as I do, but my philosophy on running is runners should try and go as far as they can with the easy base building stuff. How far you go in part depends on how much time you can devote to running and in part how much volume your body can handle (keeping the runs easy is key to upping volume). When you can't go any further and no longer see your times improve with just easy, aerobic base building, then its time to try stuff like speedwork.

(I think the problem a lot of folks have is they don't want to do the easy, base building runs. They would rather skip it because its boring and jump into running fast or long races. Then they burn out or get hurt or don't reach their potential. There's nothing, in my opinion, that can subsitute for having a very strong aerobic base and foundation.)"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It takes more discipline for me to sit around for 24+ hours on a rest day than it does to go out and run 5 miles. I should be running today. I know! I know! There's always cross training. btw, I swam last night. I think it was 300 yards but it may have been more. I lost count. Anyway, "I, Vic Kaiser, do solemnly swear that I will not run today, per Katy Fit schedule as well as common sense and best training practices." I just had to say that.

I'm already starting to get excited about my 4 miler on Saturday. I really have to relax.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wonderful post by Bon

Please head over to Bon's Survival Shuffle blog for her most recent post. It's a great read and I know you'll appreciate it.

Beautiful morning at Memorial

I did 30 comfortable minutes this morning at the park. I was this close to skipping this morning and sleeping in. Don't know why but I just kept hitting that snooze over and over. I know that as soon as I get up and get moving, I'm fine but it's just putting that first foot on the floor that's hard. I did it though and I'm sure glad I did. I love that feeling when I get in my car in the pre-dawn light and turn the radio on. I know where I'm going and what I'm about to be doing. Running. I can't wait.

Sorry for being such a kid about running. I just feel so blessed to have a life and 2 legs and feet and such a wonderful family. I just want to live my life to the fullest, yes, for me, but also for my family. My kids are doing sports this year for the first time. My 5 y/o and 10 y/o are playing soccer. I dream of being fit enough to just go to the park and kick the ball around with them. I see families at Memorial and over at TC Jester park, and the whole family is out there just running around the field playing soccer. For so long, if the ball went past me, I would say, "Go get the ball!" I don't want to do that any more. I want to run after that ball or race the kids to get it. Know what I mean?

My 13 y/o, who is obese like me, wants to play football this year. He's been exercising and eating right the past few weeks and I am soooooo proud of him. He's savoring his first taste of the active lifestyle and he's been remarking how good he feels. I know it's not too late for him. I think if we help him get control of his life (by setting a good example) he'll grow into his weight and have a better self-esteem. My prayer is for a healthy life for my children. I've gotta stop 'cause I'm tearing up here in the office. Someone's going to think I got fired or something. :)

Stats for the run:
Total time: 30 minutes
Total distance: 2.05 miles
Mile 1: 14:07 (151 avg HR)
Mile 2: 14:57 (157 avg HR)
last .05: 0:56 (162 avg HR)
Avg HR (total): 154
Calories burned: 523

Monday, July 17, 2006

All my runs feel good!!

This morning, I did my scheduled 25-minute run according to the Katy Fit red group marathon traing program. For about the last 2 or so weeks, it seems like evey single run has been a good one. What I mean by that is I have finished feeling strong, like I accomplished what I had set out to, like I pushed hard enough but had enough left in the tank where I could have done a little more. And most importantly, I have been pain-free and injury free.

This morning's run, after a 3 mile LSD on Saturday and total rest on Sunday, was a bit of a different experience for me. For most of my runs prior to this, I've struggled to keep my HR below 160. I've really had to slow down to a very slow shuffle to keep my effort aerobic. Well, today, I felt, for the first time, some pressure to pick up the pace. Now, when I say that, I don't mean what you might think. I'm not saying that I just wanted to run faster to get a better workout. That's not in line with my training right now. What I mean is that to get my heart rate up in the 153-158ish range, there was pressure to run a little faster. My shuffle was just getting me up to the high 140's. My first mile was 14:34. And my HR stayed below 157 the whole time. I finished the last .72 miles at about 14:45 pace with avg HR around 159. On most previous runs, my pace has been well over 15:00 m/mi. Now there certainly could be many contributing factors to this "quicker" run today. Perhaps I was well hydrated. Humidity and temperature may have been lower than on previous runs. I dunno! Besides all that, what's my point? The point is not that I ran faster today. It is rather that I ran faster at the same effort. That's the big deal and if I continue to see workouts like this, it's a good sign that my aerobic fitness is improving. DUH!!!

Venue: Memorial Park
Total time: 25 minute continuous run
Total distance: 1.72 (according to Polar, which is still off)
Mile 1: 14:34
Remaining .72: 10:26
Calories burned: 434 (according to Polar)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Physiology 101

Please don't take this post as coming from a physiology expert or from one who claims to have even the slightest idea of the totality of how the human body does what it does. The desire to post anything along these lines mostly comes from wanting to get down in writing the thougths and ideas that I have learned from reading various training books, web sites, and text books.

I've always been the kind of person to ask "why?" Before my first PIM training run, Pam stood up there and told us all that we should run easy...that we should be conversational when we run. I thougth to myself, "Why?" And ever since then, I've sought as much as possible to understand how the body adapts to training and how I might, as a new runner, maximize my workouts to get the most benefit for my time.

So, I'm not an expert. I'm not an exercise physiologist. I've not even had enough experience as a runner to give any personal perspective. I am certainly open to corrections, discussion, and even ridicule. This post and possibly some following represent my opinion and approach to training for new runners. I will attempt to answer (to my best understanding) the question, "Why?"

Last disclamer: This post could get way too long so I'm going to just go through the basics. If there is any interest or if I just get bored later, I may do some more detailed posts.

What is VO2max?
I think for me it is beneficial to start with the definition of VO2max. VO2max is the maximum volume of oxygen that can be used during complete, all-out exercise. At VO2max, your body does not have the capacity to take in and consume any more oxygen than it it at that intensity. Now, since oxygen consumption and energy expenditure are linearly related, VO2max is a meaure of an individuals maximum capacity to do work aerobically. Simple, huh?

So, what limits my capacity to do work aerobically? (btw, later we will get to what happens when we exceed our ability to do work aerobically. Be patient.) Well there are two things that limit my ability to do work aerobically or rather that limit VO2max. 1)The external delivery sytem's (heart and lungs) ability to provide the oxygen to the place where it can be used as energy (intake), and 2)The number of mitochondria in my muscle cells as well as the density of the capillary network surrounding that cell (uptake). This is the final destination of the oxygen and the site where it is converted into energy to be used for work (running in our case).

So, which is it? Which limiting factor to I target to get my body to work harder and longer aerobically? This is kind of controversial although to me it's a no-brainer. If you don't have enough capicity to receive the oxygen (the untrained athlete), it does no good to try to increase the amount of blood being delivered during each heartbeat (stroke volume). The untrained runner or new runner needs to concentrate on increasing mitochondrial counts and capillary density at the point of uptake. I'll get into how that is done later.

Man, this is getting to be a long post.

I'm going to need a little feedback here in order to continue. :) Is any of this worthwhile putting down on this blog. I know Cassie expressed a little interest when she asked " you have to keep your heart rate low? I need more explanation." If this stuff is of the least bit of interest to anyone out there, let me know an I'll continue.

To be continued (maybe)...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Short post...gotta do the yard

This morning, I did 3 miles with the Katy Fit group. It was so awesome. I really like running through the wooded canopy at Cullen Park. I'm already making friends. One couple that I met lives out in Fairfield by us. Tom is a veteran runner but his wife Cindy is a first timer.

I was really excited both before and after the run. I felt good throughout and held a very comfortable effort throughout the run. Here are the stats:

Distance: 3.03 miles
Time: 49:31
Avg HR: 155 bpm
Avg pace: 16:20
Mile 1: 15:54
Mile 2: 16:14
Mile 3: 16:40
.03: :43 (??? I'm still trying to figure out the calibration on my watch)
Calories burned (according to Polar USA): 867

Friday, July 14, 2006

OMG!!! I just registered for the Houston Half

I just couldn't wait. I had to commit!! I'm tired of waiting to see how it's going to go. I'm ready to say it's going to go fine. I WILL do this. I gotta get in the game. Besides, if something happens, the $$ will go to a good cause.

The only thing that really, really scares me (and motivates me) is the 12:48 pace required to have your time recorded. I guess that scares me now. Hopefully, the closer I get to October, the less scared I'll feel.

This is going to be fun!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Easy run on Thursday night

Well, tonight's run was a little under 2 miles. The format was as follows:

5 min warmup (143-152 bpm)
30 min easy (143-160 bpm)

It was very difficult to stay in the 143-160 range for the 30 minute easy run. I know the heat and humidity contributed to the difficulty but also my fitness has loooong way to go. One positive, though. At that effort, I can definitely go for a considerable amount of time. I don't know my limit but it's definitely more than 30 minutes. I guess that's what this active recovery zone is defined as though. As long as I stay below AT, I can go for a long time.

I made a mistake today that I will not forget for a long, long time. This morning, after doing my VO2 test, I showered and changed. I put my workout clothes in my bag to use again when I ran this evening. After all, I didn't sweat profusely or anything during the VO2 test. Well, when I got to the locker room at Memorial and opened up my bag, WHEW!!! My clothes stunk. And after I put them on, I STUNK!!! I hoped and prayed that I would not run into anyone I knew and have to stand and talk to them while thier eyes watered. Fortunately, I was the only sufferer. Lesson learned.

VO2 testing and free PT for the ankle.

Well, I hope this post doesn't grow too large before it's done but hopefully, some readers may find this interesting.

In a previous post I decided that I was not going to spend the money to have VO2 testing done. Well, on advice from my dietitian and after coaxing from Jennifer at VO2maxhouston, I decided to have the test done. Jennifer, who is also a physical therapist, gave me a free, personlized physical therapy program for my ankle that I can do at home, which weighed heavily on my decision to go ahead.

Guess I'll start by describing the actual testing procedure, in case some were wondering. Let me start by saying that Jennifer is awesome. She took so much time with me to explain what we were doing every step of the way. She does this on the side. I really got the impression from Jennifer that she wants to help people and that's why she does this. She was very professional and genuinely wants to help me lose weight and become more fit. Oh, the procedure...well, the procedure is done on a treadmill. I was hooked up to a heart rate monitor and a breathing mask. The mask was connected to an instrument that measures my breathing/volume/oxygen/carbon dioxide. The instrument and HRM were linked to a computer program that captures the data during the test. We started out at 3.0 mph at a 0% incline, walking basically. A more fit person may start at 4.0 mph. The starting speed must be slow enought to capture enought data and to capture the right data. Then at 1 minute intervals, the incline was raised all the way to 10 degrees. At that point the speed was increased at 30 second intervals until I passed out. Just kidding. Actually, the instructions were to continue to increase speed until she said she had enought data or until I got to a 6.5 out of 7 with 7 being the point where if I continued for 1 more second, I'd pass out. I probably got to a good 6.5 by my perception. She ended up having plenty data. Then the speed and incline were dropped back down to 0% and 3.0 mph respectively and I continuted to walk. I believe at this point that data continued to be captured for 2 more minutes to see how quickly I recovered. Then it was just a matter of printing out ALL the information and reviewing it, and there is a ton of information.

So, the results. Well, the actual VO2max is an interesting value but pretty worthless when it comes to training. The biggest use for the VO2max comes when you retest. You can compare the results and see if you are improving. I'll try to post some information later on what VO2max really is and what factors affect it. Oh, by the way, my VO2max is 30.2 ml/kg/min. The other result and the one that is most beneficial to me is HR at anaerobic threshold. This really helps form the boundaries for the training zones. Again, I'll try to post some info on AT later. You get a bunch of other data but the most useful information is a printout that is provided that defines 3 training zones. These pretty much correspond to the zones defined in books and with the HRM instructions. It's basically an active recovery zone, where you want to improve your capacity to deliver oxygen, an AT zone, for stressing your capacity to clear lactate, and a peak zone for short, intense intervals to help improve your heart and lungs. I'm going to post more on my zones later because I think it's interesting. There is a difference in what I would have estimated by using a formula (80%-90% of maxHR) and what the test actually revealed. Lastly, she gives you a very nifty pritout on card stock of a custom interval training program with zones and minutes in zones all spelled out for you in a very nice graphic bar chart. You have one card for each workout. The program basically alternates recovery runs with AT runs and sprinkles in an occasional intense interval workout in zone 3. She provided me 12 weeks of workouts but would like me to retest in 8-10 weeks to see if I have improved and if we need to alter the zones. She said we certainly will have to adjust. The 12 weeks of workouts provided gives me some leeway in case I can't get in to retest by 10 weeks.

So, am I happy I had the test? I'm actually thrilled. It turns out my maxHR was pretty much right on what I derived from my own maxHR test from back in 2004. Now, I can program my HRM with my new custom zones and hit the trail. Mind you, the purpose of this is to make the most out of my workouts. If I'm targeting improvements to my aerobic system (which IMHO is what all new runners should be targeting) I stay in Zone 1. If I want to do a tempo run or some pickups, I shoot for Zone 2, above AT. Then, maybe 1 year from now when I have well-trained aerobic and anaerobic systems, I'll do some intense VO2max interval workouts in Zone 3 to improve my heart and lung capacity. I'm pretty happy with having the test done. Look for additional posts on this soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tips for new runners

I found these tipsby Cynthia Hayward on I thought they were pretty good tips for new runners.

1. Invest in a good pair of running shoes. You don't have to buy the top of the range, which could set you back several hundred rands. However, it's important to ensure that your shoes will provide sufficient cushioning to protect your back and

lower limbs from injury.

2. Walk before you run! For the first four weeks you should have a 5-15 minute warm-up walk before breaking into a trot, followed by a warm-down stroll.

3. Make sure you run/walk at least three times a week. You won't really benefit if you do less than this. However, don't run if you're unwell, as this might increase the time you'll take to recover.

4. Don't run two days in a row for the first two months. Give your muscles and tendons a chance to adapt to running.

5. Run for time, not distance. Your running program should be designed to gradually increase the time you spend on your feet, rather than the kilometers.

6. Avoid drastic increases in time on your feet. If you ran a total of thirty minutes last week, don't increase this by more than ten minutes the following week.

7. Avoid copying top athletes! These runners were born with superior genes that enables their bodies to handle stress loads that ordinary runners cannot cope with.

8. Be patient! Don't be in a hurry to enter road races, etc., no matter how much your friends pressurise you. Wait until you can run at least 30 minutes without resting before lining up for that first 5km fun run.

9. Find a like-minded friend to run with. Some of the greatest friendships have been formed during training runs.

10. Enjoy your running! It's nice to be competitive, but not if the pressures are going to impact on your health and general life style. Avoid getting into the trap of entering a race every week, come what may, because this is the surest way of becoming injured.

Looking back

While reviewing my running career (laughter from the audience) I was trying to remember my first 5K finishing time. I remember the race. It was Run with the Saints 5K, some time in November 2004. I don't know why but I don't have the time documented anywhere. I looked and looked for it on the internet and finally gave up. Then I IM'd Jon for advice on finding the stat. Within 15 seconds, a little link popped up in my chat window. It was a link to the results from 2004 Run with the Saints. Voila!! Jon, you are a stats god.

So, the time for my first 5K was 41:50. As a side note, I specifically remember PR'ing just 2 months later by more than 5 minutes at the Houston Press 5K. Unfortunately, the timing on that race was screwed up. They kept changing the time that was online. The original time was wrong. Now I look it up on the Houston marathon results page and it shows a time of 38:44. No mention of my chip time although I think that was wrong too. Anyway, I don't want to dig up old wounds. :) On to the post...

I thought I would try a training experiment. The conventional wisdom among some of these blogs and the skuttlebutt around the port-a-potty is that to run fast, you have to train fast. Well, I happen to disgree with that philosophy. (Disclaimer: I do agree that a runner with a well conditioned aerobic system can increase stroke volume and improve LT with faster interval training, tempo runs, and more quality workouts. My comments here are directed more to new runners or to experienced runners that may be coming back from some time off or runners that haven't run in a while.) So here's my experiment. My goal (this may be unreachable) for the HRB Bloggers 5K is to match my 2004 Run with the Saints time of 41:50. That is 13:30 min/mile pace. So here's my challenge and here's where I hope to prove my philosophy of training correct (for new runners, at least). Between now and the HRB Blogger's 5K on August 12, I am going to conduct ALL training runs above 14:30 m/mi pace. Most will be above 15:00 m/mi. Then, I'm going to see if I can't do a 41:50 for the 5K.

STRIKE THE EXPERIMENT!!! After some great comments and e-mail advice and pondering how stupid I am, I'm not going to be setting any kind of goal time for the 5K.

Couple of reasons...first and foremost, I will need to incorporate my weekly KatyFit-prescribed long run into this 5K if I'm not going to be joining Katy Fit for the Sat am group run. I haven't looked at the schedule yet but I'll just make the 5K part of my long run, running the balance either before or after or before and after the 5K. Secondly, the conditions (both course conditions and ankle/body conditions) are not going to be conducive to gutting out some stellar race performance. There will be plenty time for that. Cassie, Jon, you are so right. I need to keep my eye on the goals, first of which is to have fun with all my bloggin buds and secondly, to stay healthy and injury-free and to continue to improve for Houston '07.

Monday, July 10, 2006

VO2 testing

A couple of weeks ago, while I was really getting fired up about losing weight and marathon training and running, I found a link on my dietician's website to a place that does VO2 testing. VO2Max Houston is the company, well it's an individual actually, that does the testing.

So, why would a runner need to have VO2 testing. Well, anyone that trains with a HRM knows that there are "zones" based on HR that define various states and transitions of energy sources. Of course, it all sounds very neat to say if you keep your heart rate below 75%, you are using your aerobic system. If you are above 80%, you're running anaerobically...or whatever. All these websites and gyms and books try to define aeorobic and anaerobic zones. The truth of the matter is it's not as exact a science as one might think. Actually, you are always using some aerobic and some anaerobic respiration. Generally speaking though, there is a point in intensity where the majority of your energy demands goes from aerobic to anaerobic. This nebulous point is often referred to as you anaerobic threshold (AT). You may have also heard it referred to as lactate threshold (LT). Supposedly, if you know this point of intensity, you can divide you training intensity up into different zones and target the energy system that you want to train.

This is all fine and good and for runners like me who can't let go of the blanket called "objective, logical data". The fact of the matter is that you can run below or above your AT, just from perceived effort. That means, if you perceive that you are running at an easy intensity and you can carry out a conversation during a run without gasping for air, you are probably running below AT. If you are breathing hard and perceive that you are really pushing it and you legs are burning, you are probably training somewhere above AT.

Nevertheless, it is interesting and can be fun and beneficial to know the general HR zones that correspond to various %VO2 values. That's where VO2Max Houston comes in. Their methodology is supposed to be very, very accurate. A friend of mine who is an exercise physiologist says that this method is a very accurate way to get your maxVO2 and AT. Of course, these values will correspond to a specific HR so you can correlate your HR during exercise to VO2.

So, am I going to drop the $125 to have the test done. Not right now. You see, I'm at a point right now that I don't believe I will get much benefit from the test. For me, right now, all training runs are at a conversational pace. I'm trying to build an aerobic base and the best way to do that (increase mitochodrial counts, increase capillary density, increase RBC counts, improve aerobic enzyme function) is to run slow, aerobic miles... A LOT OF THEM...FOR MANY, MANY MONTHS. From what I've read, any training above LT is useless unless you have this foundational base and are well conditioned aerobically. That's why I really think it's useless for new runners to go out and run hard and try to go fast. They're putting the cart before the horse. I read an article that stated that even many experienced runners probably never took the 6 months to 1 year when they started running to train their aerobic system in the right way. They just keep running faster and pushing harder and they come to a wall where they can't improve. This article advocated 3-6 months of getting back to slow, conversational, aerobic training runs, especially long distance runners and especially 6-12 months out from a target marathon.

This is all interesting to me. I'm very interested in the physiology. Guess I'm a WHY kind of person. However, I do not think at this time I am going to have the VO2max test. I think that all the things that I am doing in the coming months are going to bring on such drastic improvements in my fitness, I just don't need to have the test now. I kind of have enough to think about. Maybe later in the year or next year.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I like this statement. Do you think it's true?

The pain of discipline < the pain of regret

     -Julie Wilcox, RW magazine, July 2006

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Day one of Katy Fit

Well, this morning was the first day of Katy Fit. On tap this morning was a pace finder run. The schedule stated that this was to be a 1 mile pace finder but when we toed up to the line for instructions, I learned that we were actually doing a 2 mile trial run, which for me is a moderate long run. Afterwards, we gathered for a little intro lecture. I happened to walk up just about the time it was concluding. Then we quickly met our group coaches who were handing out smart I.D. tags and then were on our merry way.

The run... Well, I must say it felt pretty awesome. I shed my HRM and distance pod and just ran. I kept an very even pace throughout the 2 miles. The trail is marked every .25 miles which I love. So, I did the 2 miles in 30:51, a pretty good pace for me. I wasn't pressing too hard. Just a nice easy pace. I had some left in the tank after I was done. We did a smart thing for this run which I'm not used to doing. We walked .5 miles before and after the actual 2 mile run. I walked briskly both before and after the run.

Schedule for next week:
Monday: 20 minutes
Tuesday: 25 minutes
Wednesday: off (I'll probably swim and do some weights)
Thursday: 20 minutes
Friday: off (swim)
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: off

Friday, July 07, 2006

Today's funny...

This speaks to much of my motivation to get in shape.


Sarah, I can't comment on your blog. What's wrong?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wow, thanks for the great responses

Let me get this question out of the way. Is the oval at Memorial park 400m. Does it matter if you remain on the inside "lane" or stay in the middle or what? The reason I ask is I want to do some calibration on my Polar HRM. I'm going to follow Cassie's advice and do several measurements and take the average.

Now, let me just say thans for all the encouraging comments on the last post. I appreciate the good wishes great advice.

RR, hopefully I can handle the mental. Hope I'm not so worried about the physical that I forget to train my mental toughness, too.

Steve, thanks for the encouragement. Those were my thoughts too about Austin or another >6 hour thon or one a bit later in the year. I'm definitely looking forward to all the warmup races and Striders' events. I still have fond memories of the Christmas run I did in 2004. That was really a blast.

Erin, Jill, Christy, June, thanks for the kind words. Yes, Bon, I did do 3 mile continuous run, lasting almost an hour. That was a big mental milestone for me, going all the way around with a continuous run. It was a survival shuffle but I did it and I did it safely.

I'm looking forward to Katy Fit as I said before. I can't wait to run Cullen and Tershey Park. I hope I love it as much as I love Memorial. I'm really looking for more places to run. Especially looking for some dirt trails or crushed granite like Memorial. Barbara, how long are the trails behind the Cypress YMCA? That may be an option.

See you all around

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wondering about goals

I was looking back over some previous posts and over my running log on and I came across this quote from April 25th.

If I had to publish any goal, it would be that I hope to be able to run for 30 minutes continuously by 10 weeks.

I have run for 30 minutes this week on both Monday and today, exactly 10 weeks from the original post. I don't want to make a big deal out of this but I just wanted to mark this as a completed short-term goal and thank God for keeping me healthy and showing me patience.

I've stayed pretty low-key about this but I went ahead and joined KatyFit a few weeks ago. I'm very excited that we are starting this Saturday. I believe the first meeting is a 1 mile time trial. I really have no idea how fast I will be able to run this mile in. I'm not planning on wearing my HR monitor. I do kind of remember how to do a mile all out and pace myself so that's what I'm going to do. I predict I can do a mile in 14:15. The point is really moot as I am sure I will be placed in the slowest group. Still, I'm very very very very excited.

The jury's still out as to whether or not I am going to actually run the marathon. I guess at this point, I should call on the acvice of the most respected and respectable coach Steeeve. Steeeeve, if you're out there, go ahead and burst my bubble. Don't worry. I can take it. Let me say a few things first.

I am still at a point where I don't have a clue if I can even train at that level, much less actually complete the marathon. I'm not one to hold myself to some unrealistic goal. My main goal right now is to run for life. I don't want to kill myself just for January and then never run again. I'm totally up for January '08 if that's what my body tells me to do. In my opinion, I am a very conservative runner and I try to use my head at least as much if not more than my heart. What I would like to do is to start marathon training. I will know very soon (like within the first 6-8 weeks) if I even have a chance at all of doing this. I may know the first week. :) At that point, I will have no problem backing off tot the half if I have to or even putting a half marathon off until march or april. I guess what I'm saying is I'm playing it by ear right now. I'm not on some ego trip where I'll be pushing beyond what my body (ankle) can take.

Ok, now, Steeeve. Let me have it. I can take it. Anyone else that wants to chime in, feel free. But I really think I have a shot. :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Barbara and other bayou runners...

I don't know if everyone's seen this photo or not. This was taken by Dr. Bob, on the banks of Buffalo Bayou just behind Crestwood. Please notice the bite taken out or this gator's tail. That wasn't done by a carp. :)

Cereal from the Bible???

I tried a new cereal this morning and I must say, it's pretty good. By looking at the ingredients, I fully expected to be eating cardboard. But, it turned out to be really tasty. The interesting thing is that the recipe for this cereal is based on a verse from the Bible, Ezekiel 4:9. In fact, that's the name of the cereal. Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal. I comes in 3 varieties: Original, Almond, and Golden Flax. Oh, the verse:

"Take also unto thee wheat and barley and beans and lentils and millet and spelt and put them in one vessel and make bread of it..."

So, if you read the ingredients on the box, it's exactly those things. Pretty cool, huh!

Nutritional information:
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 180
Calories from fat: 20
Total fat: 2.5g
Saturated fat 0g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium 190 mg
Potassium 190 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 37 g
Dietary Fiber: 6g
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 8 g

I definitely think it would be better with some type of berry, like strawberries or blueberries. I tried it with bananas and just didn't care form the combination. Some may like it though.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Quick report

Did my 30 minute run today.<

Total distance: 1.84 miles
Avg. pace: 16:18
mile 1: 16:20 min/mile (avg. HR: 151)
.84: 16:12 min/mile (avg. HR: 160)
Total calories burned: 429

I've hesitated to mention this before just because I thought it would just go away as I get stronger or gain a little fitness. Since I started back running about 8 weeks ago, my left foot has become numb after about 15 minutes of running. Not totally numb, just around the toes. This is my good foot by the way, not the one with the bad ankle. Well, of late, the numbness has subsided and on this run, I felt no numbness at all. I could attribute this to one of two things. Either I my gait was favoring my "good" foot, causing the numbness and now that I'm getting a little looser and stronger on the bad foot, it's n longer happening. Or, my fitness improvments, however small, now preclude my body's necessity to send all my blood to my brain and heart, just to keep me alive during even the lightest exercise. :) Still, it was nice not to experience that numbness.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Lactic Acid is your friend

Muscles burn lactic acid as well as carbos from
Most athletes see lactic acid as their enemy, and think that training helps them eliminate the metabolic waste product from their muscles so they will function longer and harder. But UC Berkeley physiologist George Brooks has found that training actually teaches your muscle cells how to use lactic acid as a fuel source to get more bang for the buck. [...]

3 mile continuous run

Well, I set a new comeback distance record on Saturday, 3 miles. I decided that it would be safe for me and probably beneficial to run all the way around Memorial. My new HRM gave me the confidence to stay SLOW and safe.

Now, when I say slow, I mean SLOW!!! Here are the stats:

Total distance: 3 miles
Total time: 57:32
Avg pace: 19:11 min/mil
mile 1: 17:07 (avg HR - 144 bpm)
mile 2: 19:28 (avg HR - 148 bpm)
mile 3: 20:57 (avg HR - 150 bpm)
Avg HR: 148 (~70% HR reserve)
Tot calories burned: 753 (hard to believe)
Total weekly miles: 8.2 (record)

Thoughts on this run. The 753 calories is hard to believe. estimates 587 calories. I guess the point is moot. I burned a significant number of calories and got a wonderful, aerobic workout. I stayed safe. I felt exhausted and sore but not in a bad way. Oh, and there may be some debate, given my pace, as to whether or not I was actually running. All I know is that I wasn't walking. It was definitely a survival shuffle as blogger Bon describes. I did take a few seconds on two different occasions to do a couple of 5-10 second striders. It really seems to help loosen up the ankle. I probably need to incorporate a few striders into a couple of my workouts every week to help with proprioception as long as it's on a soft surface. I'm also doing exercises on a wobble foam pad every day for the same reason.


On friday morning, I visited my registered dietician, Catherine Kruppa to have my BMR tested. The reason I wanted to do this as I've mentioned before (I think) is that I believe I am targeting too low a number for daily calories. Lo and behold, I was right. I was underestimating my BMR by ~800 calories. So here are the results:

BMR: 2780 calories/day
BMR x 1.2 daily activity factr: 3336 calories
Target daily deficit (per Catherine): 1000 calories/day
Target caloric intake(non-workout days): 2336/day
Target caloric intake(workout days): 2336 + calories burned during exercise

Now, here's the ugly little trick. On days that I work out, I still need to maintian only a 1000 calorie deficit. So, however many calories I burn working out, I must add that to my intake. So, the big question is how many calories am I burning. I know that all the calculators out there are just best guesses. Also, my Polar RS200sd gives me total calories burned. Some of these numbers are hard to believe, though. I guess given my weight, they may be true. For instance, according to Polar, my 28 minute, 1.75 mile jaunt on Thursday burned 389 calories. That's a lot to me. So, for Thursday, my target caloric intake would be ~2725. WOW!!! I can live with that. Especially since I would feel guilty before for eating more than 1700 or 1800 calories. No wonder I was always soooooooo hungry leading to gorging and binging on sweets.

I know this BMR thing and calorie counting is not an exact science. Still, it gives me something to shoot for. And I believe the estimates are pretty close. I guess the proof will be born out in the coming months. If anyone out there has experience with calculating calories burned during exercise, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

Thursday evening run

My run on Thursday went well. Here are the stats:

Total distance: 1.75 miles
Avg pace: 16:00 min/mi
Avg HR: 153 bpm (~70% Reserve HR)
Calories burned: 389

This brings me to another topic, my new Polar HR monitor. This model comes with a foot pod that measures distance as well. I'd like to know exactly how this thing works so that I could figure out what interfered with it (e.g. changes in stride, going up hills). I did the calibration on the thing on Wednesday and it was pretty accurate on Thursday and Saturday. Just a few 100ths off. However, it may be off at, for example, the .5 mile mark and be dead on by the .75 mark. This is going by the markers at Memorial park which I trust with a high degree of confidence. (except for the distance from the 0 mile marker, heading in a counter-clockwise direction, to the 3 mile marker. If the total distance from the 9 mile marker back to the 0 mile marker is 2.9 miles, then it should be .1 miles to the 3 mile marker. There's just no way. By my estimation and (limited) experience running there, it's more like .07 miles). Anyway, I got the footpod thingy because I eventually want to venture out away from Memorial. Also, with all the poorly measured race courses that I hear about from Jon and others, I figure it will be a good tool to have once I start racing. Oh, I almost forgot the best part of my Thursday evening run. I got to see bride to be Cassie. It was great to see my old PIM buddy. We didn't get to chat as we were both in the middle of our workout and going opposite directions. Besides, even if we were going the same direction, I would ony be able to keep up with her for about 100 yards. :) I look forward to catching up with her and Manny and hearing about all the exciting things going on in their lives.

Saturday, July 01, 2006