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Building A Better Bumblebee

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:23 am

@Mark B wrote: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU TWISTED MANIAC?!"
So, your body has been listening to the neighbors?
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:42 am

@ounce wrote:
@Mark B wrote: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU TWISTED MANIAC?!"
So, your body has been listening to the neighbors?

So it would seem... geek

Still, I'm fascinated by what happened. The basic PT theory is that the area with symptoms tends to be opposite the location of the underlying problem. My hips have long been tighter on the right side, but I could never find a corresponding problem on the left side to explain it. I wonder if I just accidentally found it? Hm...
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:14 pm

MAF Test: 6.26 miles total, w/5-mile test

Weather: Cloudy, rain showers, windy. 50° with winds to 17 mph. Gear: Sandals, shorts, T, jacket, hat. (Chilled at first but warmed up.) Fuel: Coffee and Grape Nuts (caused some GI issues).

I've been working at this new lowered target heart rate (129) for long enough to be able to set a baseline for future progress, so I took advantage of my training partner's absence to head out to the local track for a MAF test. I wanted to see if I could sustain a pace and effort on flat terrain without having to walk, and I wanted to see just how much this change in training strategy has slowed me down. (Spoiler: A lot.)

I picked a wild day for it. We had record rainfall yesterday as a strong "pineapple express" weather system runs through. That means unseasonably mild temperatures (50 in January? Woot!) but also lots of rain and very blustery winds. Not the greatest conditions for a MAF test, but good enough for this exercise.

I got to the track just as the rising sun was painting the sky a deep, rosy red.




It was gorgeous, except for that whole "Red skies in morning..." saying, which seems to be true. Because it started to rain just as I finished my warm-up mile and started the test. It wasn't quite sideways rain, but I got wet pretty quickly.

Good thing I was wearing my sandals... no need to worry about wet socks! ;-)

I've been doing my runs in the 126-128 range, so aiming for 129 without going over was more difficult than I expected. I was able to bring my HR surges down without walking, which is a good thing. I had some gastric issues in the first couple of miles (I love Grape Nuts, but they don't always sit well.), and I had take a pit stop just as I was starting the third MAF mile.

My results were humbling.




I will note, looking at the numbers, that things improved after my pit stop. My HR got back to where it belonged, and my pace didn't fall off very much. That suggests my body is already starting to adapt to this new approach. I'm just shocked at what a difference the lowered heart rate target (and my year of limited activity, to be fair) has done to my pace.

Still, if it's any consolation, here's the data from my very first MAF test, back in 2009, targeting a HR 10 bpm faster than my target now.




Sure, today's was my slowest MAF Mile 1 ever, but the huge fall-off that was so evident in my first-ever test when I was a callow youth of 45? It didn't happen. That's something, and I'll take it. I just need to keep at it, and do another test in a month or so and see what it reveals. As much as it goes against my nature, I can't rush this.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 125
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:07 pm

I, too, have found that my HR becomes more placid after "much needed pit stops."  Running just feels smoother, too.  That is all.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:04 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:I, too, have found that my HR becomes more placid after "much needed pit stops."  Running just feels smoother, too.  That is all.

Yes, it's quite helpful. Reduces anxiety, too. Shocked

But that said, Mr. "Shouldn't Your MAF Target Be Lower?", are you as surprised as I am at the magnitude of change by dropping my HR target by 10 bpm? It's partly due to learning new form, I understand, but it must say a lot about the condition of my slow-twitchers for the pace to fall off so much.

Of course, I remember Hadd mentioning in his guide to distance training how he dropped down to a slower pace at one point and was horrified at how difficult it was to go "easier," even though he could run at a much faster pace with less difficulty. Those lower gears are often ignored, and that lack of conditioning comes back to bite us in the end.

Long way of saying that I hope you're right, and this is just what I needed.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:34 pm

My first reaction to the numbers, actually, wasn't related to the raw pace - instead, the lack of a fade over the 5mi.  To me, that says that you've got a level of aerobic base built up, regardless of what "aerobic" means right now.  Consistency builds speed, so that will come.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:59 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:My first reaction to the numbers, actually, wasn't related to the raw pace - instead, the lack of a fade over the 5mi.  To me, that says that you've got a level of aerobic base built up, regardless of what "aerobic" means right now.  Consistency builds speed, so that will come.

That's been my experience in the past, too, Mike. That's why I'm pressing forward, though I am curious about just how much of that speed I'll eventually get back. Nothing like anticipation for motivation!
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:44 pm

Trail Hike: 2.65 miles + strength

Weather: Mostly cloudy, cool. 47 degrees. Gear: Nike Terra Kigers, street clothes.

Alita was off for MLK Day, so we went out for a hike in the woods near our house. We started off on my usual route then started exploring different trails to mix things up a bit and scout out possible future routes for me. I was happy to see that, despite a lot of in the last week, the trails remained in decent condition.



And the trees, of course, remained quite tall. Here Alita provides some perspective.


It was a pretty day, and a solid hiking workout. I'm sure our heart rates got fairly high as we were climbing up from the creek to the ridges around it.


Interesting that the GPS showed we actually did nearly 3 miles. The elevation change is probably pretty close to accurate, more so, anyway, than the basic Garmin data, which sowed 2,000+ feet. Shocked

Wrapped up the session with my new-and-improved* (read: more painful) stork pose, 5 minutes each leg, taking pains to make sure my pelvis is level side-to-side; 60 bridges, focusing on tensing my lower abs rather than squeezing my butt; and capping it off with single-leg heel lifts, 3x50 each leg.

*-Just an extra note about the stork pose. Back when my PT had me starting them, she said I could substitute storking for all the leg lifts and core work, since it was working all those muscles in a way that more closely resembled actual use. That puzzled me, because storking felt pretty easy (except for my foot muscles) - until last week, when I lowered my "free" leg and realized I couldn't touch the floor without bending my knee. Oops. I put my foot down, leveled my hips, unweighted that leg again and... whammo. Wowza. Difficulty level increased dramatically.


Last edited by Mark B on Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:30 pm

Walk: 2.3. miles

Weather: Nice! Sunny and 46.

I felt up to a recoveryish walk today at lunch, and fog burned off to a beautiful early afternoon, so I slipped out of the office for a walk along the Columbia River.

I keep these walks on the easy side (a 17:30 pace today) partly because I don't want to sweat up my work clothes, but also because I have difficulties walking much faster. No idea why -- maybe it's how my feet are built -- but speed walking doesn't look to be in my future. My body would rather break into a slow trot than stride resolutely forward. Weird.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:22 pm

Taking a rest day today. My past two Thursday runs have been less than great, and I'm wondering if it's because I'm inadequately recovered. Two weeks ago, I did a lot of PT work, the walked. Thursday's run kind of sucked.

Last week, I did a barefoot run on Wednesday. Had a lot of fun, but Thursday's run was still a struggle.

Today, I was going to do a barefoot run again, but opted out at the last minute. Partly because it was frosty and I didn't want to deal with the nuisance of overdressing, etc., but also because I want to see if taking a full rest day today (not even walking at lunch) helps me have a better run tomorrow. It feels weird, but an experiment is in order.

I keep going back and reviewing previous training logs to see if I can get some perspective, but it's complicated by the fact that so much is different this time. Adding strength work, trying to learn better technique and aiming for a lower HR target means throwing my preconceived notions out the window. I know I set about to do this the hard way, and I think it'll be for the best, but sheesh.

And yes, I did just have some cheese with my whine. Rolling Eyes




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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Nick Morris on Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:20 pm

It doesn't hurt to try something new/experiment sometimes.  You'll never know until you try.  Hopefully giving your body a break will help you come back stronger tomorrow.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:54 pm

@Mark B wrote:Taking a rest day today. My past two Thursday runs have been less than great, and I'm wondering if it's because I'm inadequately recovered. Two weeks ago, I did a lot of PT work, the walked. Thursday's run kind of sucked.

Last week, I did a barefoot run on Wednesday. Had a lot of fun, but Thursday's run was still a struggle.

Today, I was going to do a barefoot run again, but opted out at the last minute. Partly because it was frosty and I didn't want to deal with the nuisance of overdressing, etc., but also because I want to see if taking a full rest day today (not even walking at lunch) helps me have a better run tomorrow. It feels weird, but an experiment is in order.

I keep going back and reviewing previous training logs to see if I can get some perspective, but it's complicated by the fact that so much is different this time. Adding strength work, trying to learn better technique and aiming for a lower HR target means throwing my preconceived notions out the window. I know I set about to do this the hard way, and I think it'll be for the best, but sheesh.

And yes, I did just have some cheese with my whine.  Rolling Eyes




As long as you sliced the cheese and didn't cut the cheese, I'm fine with the whine. Neutral
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:59 pm

@Nick Morris wrote:It doesn't hurt to try something new/experiment sometimes.  You'll never know until you try.  Hopefully giving your body a break will help you come back stronger tomorrow.

Hope so! I had some gut issues yesterday, so it's possible I've been trying to fight off a bug.

@ounce wrote:As long as you sliced the cheese and didn't cut the cheese, I'm fine with the whine. Neutral

Well, I did mention gut problems, didn't I? Suspect
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:27 pm

So, it's Throwback Thursday over in Facebook land, and I went rummaging for an old running photo to share in a post by Wendy when I stumbled across this action shot from the Butte to Butte 10K in Eugene, Ore., back on July 4, 1990.



I remember this photo being taken. A friend and I were passing under a pedestrian bridge about four miles into the race when we heard a shout, I looked up just before they snapped the photo. It's a neat angle, though it appears I just might have been overstriding. Wink

I probably wrote my finish time down on a calendar somewhere, but I have no idea where it is right now.

The best thing? That friend running next to me is the same friend I run with most Sundays, 24+ years later. Smile
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:07 pm

LOW HR Run: 90 minutes (6.07 miles)

Weather: Mostly cloudy, cool. 42-45° Gear: Lunas, running pants, T, pullover, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Carried nothing.

My Thursday runs haven't been so terrific lately, to I tried taking a rest day yesterday to see if it'd help. It must have done something, because I just did my longest midweek run in months -- 90 minutes targeting my new low HR.

I headed out into the country, aiming to see how close I could get to the llamas before turning around. The conditions were at a transition point for clothing, and I experimented with a different gear set up. I managed to find a way to end up both cold and overheated at the same time! (Now that takes skill!)

The run started off quick, with my legs wanting to run at a sub-11 pace (even sub-10 briefly), but my HR quickly caught on and put an end to that. The rest of the run was trying to manage that HR level, with mixed results on the varied terrain on that route. I had to walk a lot, because I got to a point to where I could not bring the HR down, even jogging at a 15+ pace. Very challenging.


So not like running on a flat track...

Looking back at my averages, I was pleased to see that my averages were on or fairly close. The best I can say about the paces is they're a good benchmark to track future progress.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 126
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:37 pm

I will say about the photo that your friend's arm motion is fairly sedate compared to yours.  And your stride has improved just a bit. cyclops
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:41 pm

@ounce wrote:I will say about the photo that your friend's arm motion is fairly sedate compared to yours.  And your stride has improved just a bit. cyclops



Ha! I was wondering if anyone was going to point out my arms. I think I had been waving at the people on the bridge with my arms up just before the photo was taken. At least, that is my story, and I am sticking with it! Very Happy
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:52 pm

@Mark B wrote:
@ounce wrote:I will say about the photo that your friend's arm motion is fairly sedate compared to yours.  And your stride has improved just a bit. cyclops



Ha! I was wondering if anyone was going to point out my arms. I think I had been waving at the people on the bridge with my arms up just before the photo was taken. At least, that is my story, and I am sticking with it! Very Happy
I figured that you thought you were at the finish line and your friend was thinking, "White people.  confused "
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Nick Morris on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:58 pm

It's not over striding if you were 6'5" as a kid.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:25 pm

@ounce wrote:I figured that you thought you were at the finish line and your friend was thinking, "White people.  confused "

Kind of looks like it, doesn't it? Nope. This herculean effort (and arm gesture) was, indeed, mid race. I think I'd raised my arms for the photo, but they were kind of slow on the shutter button. Made for a cool shot. Smile

@Nick Morris wrote:It's not over striding if you were 6'5" as a kid.

Um... yeah. And I'm way closer to 5'6'' than 6'5''.

Maybe I'm just a frustrated short distance specialist? Hm... scratch
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:15 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Overcast, cool. 43° Gear: Bare feet, tights, T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed much during run)

I went longer yesterday but felt compelled to get in a barefoot run this morning before work. Partly as a recovery effort and test of low HR while barefoot, but also because it feels like I'm getting away with something sneaking it in before work.

I've been extra sensitive to cold lately, so I decided to overdress a bit and bypass the traditional 5-minute walking warm-up. I simply started as slow as I could and tried to relax into the run. I shed pieces of clothing as I warmed up, leaving gloves, cap and jacket in my driveway -- one nice thing about running laps through the neighborhood -- and I even took off my pullover when I passed 3 miles and walked in the last 2 minutes.

I see now that my HR was 1 bpm too high on miles 2 and 3. My legs kept wanting to go faster. They know they can do it, and they're not entirely on board with this new "age adjusted" MAF heart rate target. I did the whole run without having to walk my HR down, which was good to see.


The pace varies so much because there's a small hill on my street.

At any rate, the run went well, especially considering how much I slowed yesterday. I could feel a trace of fatigue building in the third mile, so it was good that I ended it when I did.

Walked last 2 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 129


Last edited by Mark B on Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:12 pm

Loved the old photo...hard to believe things that happened in the 90's are old they seem like yesterday.  I hadn't discovered running at that point in my life.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:55 pm

@nkrichards wrote:Loved the old photo...hard to believe things that happened in the 90's are old they seem like yesterday.  I hadn't discovered running at that point in my life.

It was fun stumbling across it, Nancy. I'd totally forgotten it even existed.

I'd been running for probably 10 years before that photo was taken. The amusing thing to me is, I'd never considered doing a marathon until I was much older.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:04 pm

LOW HR Run: 7.09 miles

Weather: Foggy, 46° Gear: Lunas, lightweight pants, long-sleeved T, jacket, hat. Fuel: Coffee and Grape Nuts before (caused GI issues); water after about an hour of running.

I was uncertain starting this run. I regurgitated part of my morning snack of coffee and Grape Nuts, and my legs felt off as I began my warm-up walk. I had to remind myself that the first mile lies sometimes.

Turns out, it was lying this time, too. After a sluggish start, I slowly relaxed into the run, actually getting faster in later miles at the same or lower heart rate. I ran solo, which let me set my own pace, and was happy to use the restroom after about an hour. (As much as I like Grape Nuts and coffee in the morning, and how much energy I seem to get from them, I need to find something else. Burping stomach acid and food is just no fun.)

I experimented a bit, too. On the outbound leg, I tried to take the top off of HR spikes by slowing down until my HR fell back down to the proper level. That ended up with higher average heart rates and slower times. On the return trip, I tried walking my HR down instead, resuming running when my HR reached 125. That gave me slightly faster splits and lower average heart rates.



That might be partly due  to terrain...  


I know it looks like it, but I did NOT climb the tower of Orthanc to poke the Eye of Sauron. cyclops

... though I think the walking had a bigger impact.

Still, I wonder which is actually better conditioning, though? Hm. Thoughts, anybody?

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 125
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:57 pm

Catching up on the week.  First, cool picture, though I honestly would've never guessed that was you.  I think the blur is giving you a bit of a curly look to your hair that is probably not actually there.  The overstriding doesn't look that bad, IMO.  I guess it depends where you were in your stride.  At least your foot isn't kicked straight out.

Re: your conditioning question...  Well, you're training for ultras again, right?  Or at least a 25k mountain race?  Hiking will come in handy and will be necessary, which would lead me to argue in support of it during your training.
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