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Building A Better Bumblebee

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Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:59 pm

Looks like you're beginning to mold. Shocked
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Building a Better Bumblebee: Chapter Two!

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:32 pm

RED ALERT! (Added March 29)

You may have noticed this blog started awkwardly, mid-banter between Ounce and myself. Now, I love my bantering with Ounce, but this is a little weird, even for me.

Turns out, my original "Building A Better Bumblebee" blog has been locked, with an unexplained redirect on the last page to this new blog. I just realized it in late March.

Anyway, if you want to jump back to Page 40 of the other blog, CLICK HERE.

Not perfect, but I guess it'll have to do.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


ounce wrote:Looks like you're beginning to mold. Shocked

Only slightly. But I'm liken' the lichen. alien


Last edited by Mark B on Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:30 am; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:24 am

Mark B wrote:
ounce wrote:Looks like you're beginning to mold. Shocked

Only slightly. But I'm liken' the lichen. alien
Be careful not to wash clothes with bleach or bleach alternative.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:26 pm

Today's my scheduled rest day, so I decided to take a peek at the past few extra-low HR runs and see how things stack up. I picked only the ones that had the same route, overall heart rate and duration. Apples to apples.



The overall comparison shows that I'm getting a little bit faster, which means I'm going a little bit further. This is good. It's what low HR training is supposed to do.

To drill down a bit more, here are the splits for each of those three days.

Dec. 11


Jan. 15


Feb. 6


(The first mile includes my 5-minute walking warmup in all  three, and the last split shows the pace for the last fraction of the run, which includes more of the walking 5-minute cool down as the run gets longer.)

I hadn't compared these three runs side-by-side until just now, and I have to say that I like what I'm seeing. I'm still astounded by the fall-off between Mile 2 and Mile 3, but the improvement in those times over those three runs is striking. I'll take it.

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:40 pm

LOW HR Run: 7.21 miles

Weather: Partly cloudy, 45 degrees. Gear: Sandals, shorts, T, jacket, hat. Fuel: Coffee and corn cereal before, water during in handheld. (No GI issues from cereal!)

Since I'm stepping back this week, I talked my training partner into shortening our Sunday run to about 7 miles. It was a relatively mild morning with no rain, though heavy rain in the past few days put Salmon Creek out of its banks and onto the path in a couple of places. Good thing I didn't have socks to get wet. Smile

Here are a few photos:



It was nice and gloomy when we met up, with patchy fog, but the skies above had some blue in them and the clouds didn't have any rain.



Normally, this area is just grassy -- not a wetland. But the creek was causing some minor flooding in the greenway. The ducks were happy with the additional swampland.



A slightly different view, which makes the whole area look like a giant marsh.

We kept the run easy, and I see that the heart rates were all under -- sometimes well under -- my target, which is good. The paces were a little better, too, which is nice. I accidentally left my Garmin off for part of the run, but I was able to determine the distance and approximate the time from previous runs to get my total correct.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 121
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Tom H on Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:47 pm

Glad to see you finally had a day with ideal weather for your run.  I'm still jealous of the great routes you have for your runs.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:05 pm

Tom H wrote:Glad to see you finally had a day with ideal weather for your run.  I'm still jealous of the great routes you have for your runs.

Yeah, I have to admit I kind of lucked out where we found a house. There's lots of great spots in the metro area, but it's sure nice to have some a few minutes away.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:13 pm

Trail Run: 60 minutes (3.39 miles)

Weather: A bit wild. Some rain, wind (gusts to 29 mph), but mild. 51 degrees. Gear: Terra Kigers, shorts, T, jacket, hat. Carried nuun in handheld.

I explored a few more trails in Whipple Creek Park this morning in the midst of some pretty active weather. I managed to miss the downpours we've had lately, tough I got some rain, but I got to experience the forest when the wind is hitting 29 mph.

It was calm on the forest floor, but the treetops were moving a LOT, and there was some debris falling down from the canopy. Every Pacific Northwest native of my generation has heard about "windowmakers" -- tree branches that break off 60 feet up and drop on unsuspecting loggers -- so I jumped a bit whenever I heard a *crack!* punctuate the sound of the wind in the trees. It was always at a distance, but still.

The terrain in the woods does not lend itself well to my extra low HR target. Even power hiking, I blew past it a few times.  And some of the downhills were steep enough to rev my heart rate on their own. Ah well. Probably great conditioning.



Not exactly flat, hm?


I did one thing differently today: Rather than dance around muddy patches, I decided plow right through them. It actually gave me better footing that way.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire ru: 127
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Nick Morris on Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:17 pm

Sounds like a pretty adventurous run this morning. Did you feel like a kid again running through puddles?? My final question is, "Why are you wearing shoes?" Wink
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:40 pm

Nick Morris wrote:Sounds like a pretty adventurous run this morning.  Did you feel like a kid again running through puddles??  My final question is, "Why are you wearing shoes?"  Wink

I tried to get video of the wind rushing through the trees, and the trees swaying overhead, but I couldn't do it justice. I did have to climb over one downed tree and saw a couple of smaller branches land in front of me. At one point, I asked myself how fast I could get out of there if the wind really picked up. I decided I could probably floor it and get in the clear pretty quick.

I didn't really feel like a kid, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that running through mud is actually less slip-slidey than trying to walk in it, or dodge it.

As for these...



I'd love to be able to do these trails barefoot (I did at one point), but the effort to make the trail usable in all weather has dropped tons of freshly crushed gravel over most of the trail surfaces. There are some people who can handle that barefoot, but I'm not one of them yet. I'd try my sandals, which is nearly barefoot, except it's pretty muddy and the sandals have zero traction. I'm playing it safe. Besides, I will need shoes on some of the technical courses I'm planning later this year. Might as well get used to it.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:06 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Mostly cloudy, cool. 41 degrees. Gear: Bare feet, lightweight pants, long-sleeved T, jacket, hat and gloves (shed after a couple of laps).

My feet have been BEGGING to go bare lately, so who was I to refuse? I headed out before work, on dry asphalt and cool but not cold weather. I didn't overdress as much as I have at this temperature, and it worked out pretty well.

The run turned out to be everything my feet were begging for. I bypassed the walking warm-up and slowly worked my way through the first mile. I was extremely pleased to see it come in at under 12 minutes and an average HR well below my target of 129. Very encouraging. I was eager to see what the next mile gave me, and it gave me not too bad a fall-off.. I hit it in 12:23, with a HR at 130. Not bad! My average HR sneaked up 1 more bpm in the third mile, but my pace barely fell at all, at 12:30.

So not a perfect low HR outing, but golly... it felt so good. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Average HR for entire run: 129
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:53 pm

Sometimes, you gotta go with the flow, man.  Hippie emphasis added for your feet's (that's a weird plural possessive) desire to run free.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:18 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:Sometimes, you gotta go with the flow, man.  Hippie emphasis added for your feet's (that's a weird plural possessive) desire to run free.

It was definitely a sole-enriching experience, but I think its charms predate the Summer of Love by quite a bit.



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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:18 pm

I enjoyed my first REALLY WET run this weekend.  We stopped at our daughters house in Cornelius on the way to Lincoln City.  I can't believe all the water in that part of the state!!  I've never had to run in the rain much at all but I was determined to get a run in on Saturday.  Managed 9 miles around Devils Lake.  I could not believe how wet I got!  And oddly enough I actually enjoyed it.  No mud...I stayed on roads.  And it was a warm rain.

I always thought you folks that ran in the rain were a bit odd...and maybe you are...but I guess maybe I am to. Very Happy
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:45 am

nkrichards wrote:I enjoyed my first REALLY WET run this weekend.  We stopped at our daughters house in Cornelius on the way to Lincoln City.  I can't believe all the water in that part of the state!!  I've never had to run in the rain much at all but I was determined to get a run in on Saturday.  Managed 9 miles around Devils Lake.  I could not believe how wet I got!  And oddly enough I actually enjoyed it.  No mud...I stayed on roads.  And it was a warm rain.

I always thought you folks that ran in the rain were a bit odd...and maybe you are...but I guess maybe I am to. Very Happy

Welcome to the League of Drowned Rats®! Very Happy

You picked a good weekend for your initiation. It was kind of insanely rainy this weekend, but quite mild thanks to the "Pineapple Express" running tropical moisture our way like a giant atmospheric conveyor belt -- or sluice. And when it's not too cold, and you've surrendered to the fact that you're going to get wetter than you've ever been in your life outside a bathtub, it's kind of fun. Glad you enjoyed it.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:05 pm

LOW HR Run: 90 minutes (6.51 miles)

Weather: Sunny (!), warming from 47 to 55. Gear: Sandals, shorts, T, jacket (shed after 3.5 miles). Fuel: Nuun in handheld.

An absolutely gorgeous day for a run, with mostly blue skies and mild temperatures. I headed out on my 90-minute Llama Ridge route and enjoyed the early spring conditions and peek-a-boo views of Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens.

I even was able to slip out of my jacket partway through the run and spend the rest of it running in short-sleeves and shorts!

I could tell I ran yesterday. I was slightly fatigued and had that oh-so-familiar disconnect between how fast my legs wanted to go and how slow my low HR regimen dictated. I bounced around my target throughout the run, but I was happy that things didn't go totally wacky.

Comparing my last two three runs on the same route:

Jan. 22 (6.07 mi)


Jan. 29 (6.27 miles)


Feb. 12 (6.51 miles)

(Ignore the HR strap goofiness in Mile 1)

Progress! You can see how I'm faster at the outset and slow down less over time, which meant I was able to squeeze more distance into the run. All I need to do is improve enough to eke out another half mile in this time period to be able to see Larry and Moe again.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 126


Last edited by Mark B on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Nick Morris on Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:49 pm

It's great to see progress. At least you know what you are doing is working. Keep it up!

I am also jealous of your weather! It by far better than the close to zero windchill that I have ran in the last couple of nights. I am glad that you get to take full advantage of it.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:09 pm

Nick Morris wrote:It's great to see progress.  At least you know what you are doing is working.  Keep it up!

I am also jealous of your weather!  It by far better than the close to zero windchill that I have ran in the last couple of nights.  I am glad that you get to take full advantage of it.

Thanks, Nick! I'd be lying if I said I didn't occasionally curse the idea to drop my heart rate target, but it seems to be working. And it'd be really quite amazing if I was eventually able to tool along in the 10s at this low HR. It would be really helpful for the type of running I like best (that would be the running all day variety) ... and it'd give me a good base should I ever want to see how fast I could go, too.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:18 pm

Mark B wrote:
Nick Morris wrote:It's great to see progress.  At least you know what you are doing is working.  Keep it up!

I am also jealous of your weather!  It by far better than the close to zero windchill that I have ran in the last couple of nights.  I am glad that you get to take full advantage of it.

Thanks, Nick! I'd be lying if I said I didn't occasionally curse the idea to drop my heart rate target, but it seems to be working. And it'd be really quite amazing if I was eventually able to tool along in the 10s at this low HR. It would be really helpful for the type of running I like best (that would be the running all day variety) ... and it'd give me a good base should I ever want to see how fast I could go, too.

+1 on your great progress

+ 2 on our great weather
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:39 pm

Thanks, Nancy!

As to the weather, I was just seeing today that while we have near-normal rainfall at lower elevations, we have record-low snowpacks up in the mountains. That obviously doesn't bode well for this summer. They're talking about water supply for fish and hydropower, but I'm worried more about wildfire. Those fuel moisture levels are going to be low-low-low when summer rolls around. pale
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:22 pm

Barefoot Run: 4.13 miles

Weather: Nice. Sunny and mild with only a few scattered clouds. 47-50 degrees. Gear: Bare feet, shorts, T, jacket (shed) Fluids: none taken

I debated between making this a rest day after two decent runs, heading to a hilly stretch in my sandals or taking my bare feet for a spin around the area. The bare feet won out.

I headed out of the neighborhood on one of my loop running routes. There's some asphalt, but mostly the surface is comprised of concrete sidewalks, with some permeable pavement that mixed things up a bit. The sidewalks are a little too smooth for my taste, but I'm not quite ready for chip sealed roads in the country -- and I don't have to worry about getting sideswiped by a car.




My heart rate was slightly elevated when I started the run, and given the different terrain I wasn't horribly surprised to see that my HR was above my "LOW HR" target by a couple of bpm. I tried to keep it down, but I didn't have much luck with that. At least it was well under my old "low HR" target, and I was interested to see that my pace was actually pretty consistent.



I didn't do a walking warm-up or cool down. Average HR for entire run: 131
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:24 pm

One more photo, partly because I was feeling artistic, but also because people often wonder what the soles of my feet look like after a run. Click it if you dare, but don't say I didn't warn you: It's a close-up photo of my foot.  Very Happy

Spoiler:


Last edited by Mark B on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:32 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Added code to make viewing the image optional. You're welcome.)
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  mountandog on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:14 pm

really - we need to look at that!!!!
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:17 pm

mountandog wrote:really - we need to look at that!!!!

Heh. Well, people have asked...

But fear not! I took a stab at a little html editing and figured out how to create my own "spoiler" box that allows blog readers to "opt in" and see the image with a mouse click. I am not responsible for spilled coffee or yelps of surprise.

Whew! Now my blog is once again suitable for work, small children and those with delicate constitutions. geek

(Personally, I think it's a cool photo with some fascinating detail. But that's just me.)
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:10 pm

A rest day today, with ridiculously spring-like weather outside, but I got my heart rate up anyway because IT'S SIGN-UP DAY FOR MY TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO ULTRA TRAIL RACING!!!

Ahem. Sorry. Got a little excited.Smile

The race is the Beacon Rock 50K. It's On June 13 in the Columbia River Gorge, about an hour's drive east of here. I ran the 25K version of it several years ago, and what I learned there has guided my training approach ever since. I've been back up there when I was training for the Mount Hood 50, and I plan to head up there a lot over the next several months. Nothing like race-specific training. And besides, it's gorgeous up there.


(And just a little bit hardcore.)

Here is a link to the Beacon Rock 50K website.

One very cool thing about this race -- and a big reason why I'm choosing it -- is because the race organizers are the same ones who do the Oregon Coast 50K. I had to drop from it last year, and they let me carry a credit over for a future race. I chose this one.

I'm also going to get another credit for volunteering at the Oregon Coast 50K, and my plan is to apply it to running that race in October.


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