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Stalking 50

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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:23 pm

Tuesday morning update....

Well, cutting it off at 14 miles yesterday was definitely a good idea. I'm feeling the run -- or maybe, the back to back runs -- this morning. But I'm only feeling it in my legs (as opposed to other physiological signs of stress), which is good. I hope to get a walk in today, then do my barefoot work tomorrow.

One twist in my plans - or at least in my footwear. I got an email from Nike while out on my run yesterday asking if I wanted to wear test another shoe. I automatically said yes... and got in. I don't know exactly what sort of shoe it is yet, though I have a general idea, and it should be fine. The only downside is that my experimentation with zero-drop Altras will go on the back burner for about another month and a half.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:34 pm

Seth Harrison wrote:Hey Mark, after skimming though all 4 pages of you blog, it looks like the ultra training is on track. I'm glad to see there's no been no real setbacks. I might have missed it, but is there a back-up plan if you don't get into Mt. Hood? As for Mt. Hood, I did glance at that elevation profile you posted...yikes! Did I read correctly that these are the types of hills you enjoy?

Hi Seth! Yes, the ultra preparations ("training" is such a stress-inducing word...) are going pretty well so far. I should be to about 20 miles on my long runs by the end of the month, which will be a good base for more longer runs in the next several months - and to take it to the trails.

I don't actually have a backup plan if a spot doesn't open for me at Mount Hood, but I'll figure something out. I'm sure I could at least find a 50K later in the summer or fall, or some other distance. Still, being that runners could possibly drop all the way up to the start date, I have to operate under the assumption that I'll be doing it.

As to the course profile... the climbing at the Mount Hood 50 are actually a lot less than other ultras in this part of the world. A total 5,600 feet of elevation gain at Mount Hood seems like a lot (and it is) but it pales by comparison to what some sadistic race directors have devised. I found a 50K with 7,500 feet of elevation gain, a 60K with 10,000 feet of gain, a 50 miler with 8,700 feet of gain, and a 100K with about 11,000 feet of gain! Yipes! A mile of vertical seems like nothing compared with that!

But to your question, yes: I prefer bigger, longer climbs than a lot of short, steep climbs like they had at Tecumseh. It seems that it's easier to get into a rhythm that way.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:47 pm

Walk: 3.86 miles along the Columbia River

Weather: A little wild. Rain and wind for the first 20 minutes, then clearing as the storm moved off. 48°

A lunchtime walk that was a little more exciting than others, thanks to a fast-moving shower that passed through. Good thing I brought my umbrella, though it didn't help the pants or shoes. Luckily, the storm moved off, the sun came out and I was mostly dry by the time I got back to the office.

I tried to focus on staying relaxed as I walked. I have a tendency to try to muscle it while walking, and that's counterproductive. It was a good walk, despite the weather, and I got a nice photo of the storm as it moved off.






Last edited by Mark B on Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:23 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles on wet asphalt

Weather: Overcast, cool, damp. 44°, 94% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, shorts (!), T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed)

I managed to squeeze in a barefoot run before work this morning on wet, gritty asphalt. It was challenging for the first lap, especially, but it got easier as my body relaxed into it. In fact, I ended up running each mile faster than the previous, even though I was maintaining the same heart rate.

10:45 132
10:25 139
10:19 139
9:46 140*
*-Only 0.1 mile

Yeah, you read it right. A low HR, barefoot, cutback run...

It shouldn't get easier to go faster as time goes by, right? But it did. Interesting. scratch

Average HR for entire run: 137
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:26 pm

Walk: 2.68 miles

Weather: Overcast, breezy. 51°

A lunchtime walk as my second activity of the day. I figure that it's good to get in as much walking as I can as I prepare for ultra distances. And doing it after getting the soles of my feet all tingly from running barefoot is probably a bonus.

Today, I took an out-and-back trip to Oregon via the Interstate 5 Bridge, which includes a nice climb in the middle over the shipping channel. It was a breezy but dry.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  JohnP on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:26 pm

Mark, I can't get over the barefoot runnign you do though I know you have built up to it over time. Occasionally I walk to the end of the driveway to get the paper in bare feet and that alone hurts.

One thing I wanted to ask you about the HR training - Most training programs I have used, except beginner ones, tell you to finish workouts strong - that is, to run as fast or faster at the end of workouts. Yet that seems the opposite of HR training since HR drift increases the HR after some miles and especially the end. Do you ignore the HR towards the end of a harder workout in order to keep up pace, or drop the pace a bit in order to stay in the right zone?
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:14 am

JohnP wrote:Mark, I can't get over the barefoot runnign you do though I know you have built up to it over time. Occasionally I walk to the end of the driveway to get the paper in bare feet and that alone hurts.

One thing I wanted to ask you about the HR training - Most training programs I have used, except beginner ones, tell you to finish workouts strong - that is, to run as fast or faster at the end of workouts. Yet that seems the opposite of HR training since HR drift increases the HR after some miles and especially the end. Do you ignore the HR towards the end of a harder workout in order to keep up pace, or drop the pace a bit in order to stay in the right zone?

Hi John!

Yes, barefoot is something you absolutely have to work into slowly. My longest distance so far is 10 miles, and that was pretty challenging, but I'm doing mostly 3-milers this winter to keep my body from forgetting good form as I prepare for the Mount Hood 50. (If I was to the point of being able to do something like that barefoot, I might actually consider it...)

To the HR question: You're correct in that a "sprint-it-in" approach isn't encouraged. In fact, the way I do low HR training, I work to keep the heart rate at a steady rate throughout the run, slowing down as much as necessary to keep on target. Speed is irrelevant, other than as a way to observe improving aerobic efficiency, mitochondrial growth and capillary density.

And besides, ending a run with a big surge and stopping cold is a good way to get you tied in knots. I spent the last five minutes of my low HR workouts in a walking cool-down, trying to get my HR to drop down from my target of 138 to about 100, if not lower.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:24 pm

Low HR (mostly) Run: 60 minutes

Weather: Partly cloudy, cool with a breeze. 44 degrees. Gear: NEW testers, shorts, long-sleeved T, jacket (peeled). Fuel: Two snacks, which tried to come back on me during the run. Carried water.

I got my next set of testers from the folks at Swooshville last night, so I took them out for their first run today.

Testing is a mixed blessing. It's fun to play with shoes in development and see all the cool things they're trying, but it sometimes means forcing you body to adapt to different footwear conditions. That's probably a good thing, but it can be a little aggravating.

This run was a bit more on the aggravating side, as I tried to get my balance and landing right with a whole new (and by new, boy, do I mean NEW) type of shoe. I might have gotten partway there, but I can tell it'll take a while. I struggled to get my HR at the right level - I kept going too hard - and finally decided the heck with it as I hit the ravine on my way home and decided to see how these babies handled fast downhills.

How'd they do? Well, I hit a 5:10 pace before charging up the other side full-tilt. The shoes liked going fast, and I hit a HR of 172. What a Face

Average HR for the *ahem* rest of the run: 136. Walked first and last 5 minutes, as usual.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  KathyK on Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:41 pm

When I read your FB post about the 5:10 pace, I was curious about your HR at that point so I had to check out your blog to find out. Just a tad higher than your normal, huh? But I'm sure it was fun! Well done!
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:36 am

KathyK wrote:When I read your FB post about the 5:10 pace, I was curious about your HR at that point so I had to check out your blog to find out. Just a tad higher than your normal, huh? But I'm sure it was fun! Well done!

Um... yeah, just a wee bit. Very Happy

The HR spiked probably not so much from the fast surge downhill; it was more the blasting up the other side of the ravine trying to run up it as fast as I could. And yes, it was fun.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:32 pm

Low HR Run: 90 minutes (8.15 miles)

Weather: Mostly cloudy with some clearing, cool and a little windy. 37-42°, gusts to 15 mph. Gear: Altras, tights, T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed after 2.5 miles) Fuel: Sweet/Salty PB granola bar before. Carried water.

I had no expectations for this run. I was distracted by having to sideline (and consider returning) my new testers -- they caused a blister and other irritation, and I have no time to fool around with ripping up my feet while preparing for an ultra -- and so I got out the door late. I wore my Altras instead.

The first good sign was that I could relax my HR down to the 50s before I started my run. The second was that my HR came up very slowly in my first warm-up mile, and that my stride in the zero-drops felt good. The third came after my second mile, when I looked down at my split and saw I'd just cracked the 10-minute barrier with a 9:51! Smile

I didn't lose that much speed in the mile that followed, despite a headwind, and I went sub-10 again rolling down Llama Ridge (only saw the alpacas today). I got my HR locked in on the return trip, even running back up Llama Ridge, and my splits were very consistent the rest of the way home. I could feel some fatigue building in my legs, but the pace stayed solid and the HR remained down.

I ended up cracking 8 miles for a 90-minute low HR run, which is always a nice thing.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 133
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Seth Harrison on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:44 pm

Mark B wrote:

The first good sign was that I could relax my HR down to the 50s before I started my run.

Wow Mark, that really is a low resting HR. Is that the norm?
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:50 pm

Seth Harrison wrote:
Mark B wrote:

The first good sign was that I could relax my HR down to the 50s before I started my run.

Wow Mark, that really is a low resting HR. Is that the norm?

Hey, Seth! Thanks for stopping by.

When I'm standing in the driveway waiting to start my run, it's pretty common for my HR to drop to 54-56. Other times, though, I can't get it down into the 60s while standing there. Those runs tend to be less satisfying, as you might imagine. When I've been sitting for hours at work, I've noticed my HR get down to the upper 40s to low 50s, depending on how twitchy the police scanner or my reporters are making me. Wink
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Seth Harrison on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:52 pm

That's an impressively low HR! That heart should last you for a long time. Very Happy
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:59 pm

Seth Harrison wrote:That's an impressively low HR! That heart should last you for a long time. Very Happy

Here's hoping, anyway! My dad got a stent at 64, and my mom had a stroke at 63, so let's just say I'm motivated...
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:42 am

I was running some reports out of my running log this evening, trying to see how my run today compares with previous 90-minute low HR efforts. I'd remembered going significantly faster in that first mile after the warm-up, and pushing up to nearly 9 miles in that time period.

When I looked at the data, though, I was blown away. Yes, I'd gotten into the mid-9s in that early mile at one point, and gotten as far as 8.8 miles in 90 minutes... BUT it was at significantly higher heart rates, because I'd set a higher HR target and had developed a bad habit of cheating it. I paid for that with a dandy case of overtraining.

Back to today. I discovered that today's run is the farthest I've gone -- ever -- at this low a heart rate in 90 minutes. The next closest was going about the same distance while averaging about 1 bpm higher back in December.

So. That's kind of good news. And some seriously positive reinforcement. Very Happy
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:01 pm

MAF Test (5+1 miles)

Weather: Partly cloudy, humid, chilly. 38 degrees, 97% humidity. Gear: Altras, tights, T, pullover (shed), jacket (shed), hat (tossed), gloves (tossed). Fuel: Oatmeal and coffee before. Water during.

Okay, now THAT is more like it.

My training partner was out of town today, and I'm feeling less stressed and run down, so I decided to give a MAF test another try this morning. Good decision! It was my best MAF test in a while, with a first mile in the upper 9s and very little slowing in the four miles that followed.

Here's the chart, showing how it compares. Smile



The conditions weren't bad for this time of the year - partly cloudy, muggy and 38° - but I was glad I was at the track where I could peel off layers as my body warmed up. Normally, I'd have to choose between freezing and frying and settle for something that does both. Today, though, I was able to do a slow strip tease as I circled the track.

It had to look pretty funny. I started out fully dressed for cold. First thing off, the gloves. Then the hat. Then, a mile or so later, I unzipped my jacket down to my waist, slipped my arms out of the sleeves and tied it around my waist. Finally, in the fourth or fifth mile, the pullover went into the pile with the hat and gloves and I was running around the track in tights and a short-sleeved tech T. I would have peeled the tights off, too, if it wouldn't have messed up my test.

It's the challenge of running in the refrigerator that is the Pacific Northwest in the winter. If I'd started off with too little clothing, I'd have frozen at the start and never warmed up. As it was, once I was thoroughly warmed up, the cold air felt fantastic.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire test: 131
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:31 pm

Long Run: 18.26 miles

Weather: Overcast, cool, a little drizzle. Gear: Altras, shorts (!), long-sleeved T, jacket. Fuel: Every 30 minutes, with an S-Cap before and at every hour. Water.

Back to the long run today, and it went pretty well. I kept the effort level low and tried to focus on relaxing when I felt myself start to tighten up. The paces were fine but the average HR numbers are surprisingly good. You can tell I was grinding uphill for most of the last couple of miles, but otherwise, I was right where I should be.

One thing I did differently today was to increase the frequency of fueling. I had been taking food every 45 minutes. But I sometimes felt close to bonking, so I tried every 30 minutes today. It worked well. I mixed up my movable feast with some Gu, two halves of a PickyBar® (delicious!) split over the course of an hour and two PB granola bars sucked down in one shot when I started to feel a little off. All in all, it worked, and it felt like I could have extended the run out to 20 without much difficulty. But I didn't. I'm going to have lots and lots of long runs over the next few months. No need to rush into it and hurt myself.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for the entire run: 136
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  KathyK on Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:30 pm

Your MAF test looks awesome...and excellent long run! Things are coming along nicely for you!
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:54 pm

KathyK wrote:Your MAF test looks awesome...and excellent long run! Things are coming along nicely for you!

Thanks, Kathy! It's nice to see things building. I have to keep telling myself that I'm still in the early phase of this process and keep the progress smooth and steady. Too steep and angle of attack and I'd stall out and crash.

And, how's this for inspiration to not mess up my preparations? I just checked the waiting list for the Mount Hood 50, and I've moved up to 17th now, with two weeks to go before the expected rush of drops when they stop refunding entry fees.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:39 pm

Walk: 3.86 miles

Weather: Partly cloudy, mild. 53°

A longish lunchtime walk at work. I hope to keep doing these walks after my long runs, partly as "active recovery" but also to get my body used to pressing on even with fatigued legs. I'm never going to win a speedwalking contest (even fresh, I'd be hard pressed to walk at a 15/mi pace), but at least I can keep moving at a halfway decent clip.

It felt good to be moving, and it was a nice day. I don't have much soreness from yesterday, which is nice.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:20 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles on wet asphalt

Weather: Overcast, mild, muggy. 47 degrees, 95% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, shorts, long-sleeved T, jacket, hat.

A quick barefoot run before work. It had just stopped raining when I went out, so the pavement was quite wet. But it was a warm rain - it felt positively balmy - so I didn't have problems with my feet getting cold.

Not much to report. I did nine laps around the block, enjoying the fresh air (it smells great, because this weather is coming straight off the ocean) and trying to keep the effort level even. Boy, did I succeed. I went back and looked at the HR monitor graph and it was a beautifully level line for most of the run. The pace after warming up was just over a 10/mi pace.

Average HR for entire run: 138
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  KathyK on Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:38 pm

Well done, Mark!
But I can't ever imagine 47 degrees w/95% humidity balmy. I did a quick walk at lunch time today and it was ~47 and misty. It was NOT balmy by any stretch of the imagination. I did, however, think that it would be nice running weather.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:14 pm

Just catching up - nice work, Mark.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:13 pm

KathyK wrote:Well done, Mark!
But I can't ever imagine 47 degrees w/95% humidity balmy. I did a quick walk at lunch time today and it was ~47 and misty. It was NOT balmy by any stretch of the imagination. I did, however, think that it would be nice running weather.

Hi, Kathy! If this was October, I don't think I'd be calling 47 "balmy," either. But I'm getting acclimated to cold and damp, and there's a huge difference in comfort between 47 and damp and 37 and damp. And this slightly warmer, wet weather feels very coastal - I swear I can smell the ocean - and it feels great.

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Just catching up - nice work, Mark.

Thanks, Michele. I'm doing a lot of things differently this time, and it's working so far. It's weird how I'm at what used to be nearly peak marathon training distances for me, and it feels like I'm just getting started! Weird, and kind of cool. Very Happy
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