Entries in Gear (11)


On the final stretch to Disney!

Well, I haven't posted anything on here since the Hot Chocolate 15K race. Life has been pretty busy recently between work, a weekend youth retreat, recovering from a cold, and other assorted tasks and obligations. But I have been able to keep to my training schedule, having run 16 miles since Nov 6th. Last week was a cutback week for me, which was nice because I was feeling a bit sick and did not feel up to a 10+ mile run last weekend (besides, that was retreat weekend so finding time to run a long distance would have been impossible).

Basically, with the exception of a couple of Turkey Trot 5K races around Thanksgiving, I am focusing on the final two months before my Disney World Half Marathon. It is time to knuckle down and focus on my training schedule, run smart in order to avoid injury, and build up my base/foot-time so that I am fully ready for that race. And to not overtrain! I am going to log between 56-60 miles and 10+ hours of foot-time in November and again in December. I am confident that I will be ready.

I stepped up my Interval training this week. I am now running three sets of intervals consisting of two repetitions of a "1/3 mile run at a 9:30 pace, followed by a 1 minute 11:00/mm recovery run". Between each set, I run a 5-minute 11:00/mm easy run. This comes out to a 4-mile workout, plus my warm-up and cooldown (5 minutes for each).

The 9:30mm runs were challenging but I was able to run them all; I was pleased about that. Next week, the distance for my interval runs will increase from 1/3 mile to 1/2 mile (and the 1-minute recovery run will change to a 5-minute recovery run). Hmm.... running a 9:30 pace for 1/2 mile -- should be fun? :) The good news is that I really believe these weekly Interval Trainings are making me faster, and that is something I want as I prepare for the Disney Half.

It has gotten a bit colder out here in November. I do my training runs in the early mornings before going to work, and the average temperature has been between 21-32 degrees with just enough wind to keep your face tingly! I spent a little money last week and bought a pair of Nike DryFit Running Pants, a pair of CW-X Compression pants, a nice hat with ear/neck flaps, some SmartWool socks, and a new water belt. If you are in the Chicagoland area, you definitely want to check out Running Hi n Tri in Arlington Heights. They have an awesome, well appointed store, are very attentive and knowledgeable. I tried on a ton of different brands and sizes before picking out my final purchases, and they gave me great feedback and suggestions! They were fantastic!

I really wanted to 'gear up' for the cold weather and the new running and compression pants really keep my legs protected from the wind/cold. The new hat does the same for my head and ears. I think keeping the heat from escaping my body through my head keeps my hands and feet warmer too. So even though I have been running in the cold weather, I have been pretty comfortable. I have been experimenting with layers to see what works for me at differing temperatures/conditions. If I am going to run the Polar Dash Half Marathon next January, I better be prepared for 'cold'!

Oh yeah, did I mention that I plan on running two Half Marathons on consecutive weekends? The Disney World Half Marathon is on Jan 7th, where I hope to finish with a 2:30 hour time or better. The Chicago Polar Dash Half Marathon is on Jan 14th. I figure that I should be able to recover from Disney in a week's time if I do proper post-race 'care and nutrition' and not get injured. Then run the Polar Dash without concern for finish time -- just run it to finish (and get the nice medal and fleece jacket). Doing these two would qualify me as a "Half Fanatic"! LOL.

The good news is there would be two months before my next race, and it is only a 5K. So plenty of time to rest, relax, and recover. 2012 will be the year of the Half Marathon for me. Check out my schedule via the link above and see what races I am planning to run. Five Half Marathons! That will keep me challenged, right?


Time to check my progress

I was supposed to do Strength Training on Wednesday but I stayed up way too late on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  So I decided it was better to get some sleep and not to go work out with only 3 hours of sleep.  I will pay for that decision next Monday when the trainer will kick my butt on the circuit!

Assessment Time

Tomorrow is a re-evaluation of my cardio heart zones (the first one was back in early June).  This test will assess how efficient my body is at processing oxygen and distributing it to my muscles under stress.  Tehy put a breathing mask over my face so I take in oxygen from the system and then breathe out into the mask so that the system can measure the amount of oxygen going into my lungs and how much comes back out.  In this way, it can see how much oxygen gets absorbed by my lungs and theoretically transferred to my blood cells.

This is all happening while I am jogging on a Treadmill at a constant pace, with the incline increasing over a 20-25 minute period of the test.  The whole thing is being monitored by a computer which is also taking the readings from my heart rate monitor in real-time.  So it is getting all kinds of data: my heart rate across the entire test, my oxygen intake/outtake, and the pace and incline of the treadmill.

After the test is finished, I get a report of how well my body was performing at each stage, how well my heart was working, and how effectively oxygen was being distributed.  I can then use the results to reset my sports watch to my five heart sports zones, identify my Vo2Max value, and determine the most efficient fat burning heart rate for me.  All of which will help me to be more effective in my training runs as I prepare for the Disney Half Marathon.  Yay!

Long Slow Run

After my test and evaluation meeting with Meghan, I will grab a protein shake and relax a bit before starting off on my LSR for the week -- 6.5 miles.  Usually, I do my LSR on Saturday, but this week is going to be so jam packed with activity, including a Diabetes check with my doctor, that I won't have time to do any running whatsoever.  (And I cannot do any exercise prior to my Diabetes check since it involves bloodwork).  So Friday it will be.

I haven't decided if I am going to run on a treadmill at the club, since I will already be there, or if I am going to find a nearby bike path and run it outside.  If the weather is nice and the sun is out, the bike path will likely win out.  And if I can make the loop end at LifeTime, I can at least shower and everything right after the 'post-run' stretch and foam rolling.

After my run, I need to jump in my car and drive 3.5 hours to pick up my daughter and bring her and her stuff back home.  She is moving to San Diego so we have to help her get everything packed and shipped on Saturday, and then put her on a plane on Sunday morning.  I am very excited for her (and very sad at the same time).  But I know this is going to be an awesome experience for her and that is what is important.

Guess what I will be thinking about during my run....  :)

New Watch arrives!

Polar RS800CX RUN Training Computer with S3+ FootPodMy new (and free) Polar RS800CX RUN training computer arrived yesterday!  Wow!  It is so cool looking!  It is also a bit large compared to my previous watches, but boy it does everything!  I can even program it from my PC, especially my Strider interval training plan!  The new, sleek footpod can report inclination and automatically turns itself on when the watch senses it.

This is going to be a game changer for me!  I really like the way it works, the screen is pretty easy to read (for an oldtimer like me), and it even has an altimeter and thermometer.  I cannot wait to run with it!  Now my only question is if I can download all the data I have accumulated on and download it into the Pro Trainer5 software that came with the watch.  Then I can do some really awesome analysis and reporting over the past 7 months.

Thanks, Polar, for sending me such an awesome gift!