Monday, November 23, 2009

Best way to explore

Is running! Or biking, or swimming...... ok, not so much, but cycling yes. I had the opportunity to fly out and stay with my twin sister Stephanie in Michigan this last weekend for our birthday and snuck away for a little 6 mile run Saturday. I would've loved to explore longer, but there was shopping to be done! :)

Oh and pedicures! This is the about the prettiest you'll ever see my toes - thanks Sis!

Check this burger served at Steak n Shake. Yes folks, that's a Wisconsin Buttery Steakhouse burger. A cheesburger "slathered in butter". Wow. Seriously? Yikes

On to the lovely run. I ran around this cute little lake. A nice paved path like the JRT here. 1.25 miles around - how sweet would that be for speed work?!

It then continued through the "forest" in the middle of Lansing winding around a river and tons of tall trees. I even saw an elusive black East Lansing squirrel. I've never seen a black one before.

Continued over several lovely bridges like this one, and also discovered this cool inner city spot. I had a cool pic on the flower chair, but my phone somehow deleted it. Uhg. What a great run though! Perfect weather. I didn't feel any real advantage being at 800 ft vs my normal 3500ish but I did run 7:30 pace without pushing it.

And bonus points, maybe even a cool prize for whoever can tell me where this mystery pic was taken (Sis, you can't answer). Remember, I was in Lansing. Good Luck!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Couple items of buisness real quick.

1. HAMMMER NUTRITION is having an awesome sale right now! Through the 17th of December they have 20%-50% off basically everything. Pretty sure they only do sales once a year, so this is definately the time to stock up. Nice part about this too is everyone can get the discount. Normally, if you enter my referal number 132708 as a first time orderer you get 15% off, but with this sale that discount doesn't apply. Luckily this sale has better discounts than that and is available to everyone. I still suggest entering my referal number if you haven't ordered off the site before as I'd bet they'll still throw some freebies in. Here are some examples of sale prices right now.
*Endurolyte 120 capsule bottle $19.95, on sale for $15.95

*Hammer Gel 1 serving packet $1.25, on sale for $0.95

*Hammer Gel 26 serving jug $19.95, on sale for $15.95

*HEED 32 serving drink powder $21.95, on sale for $17.55

*Perpetuem (for use over 2 hours) 32 servings drink powder, $44.95, on sale for $35.95

2. I finished up my last VO2 Max test yesterday and got it up to a 62.9 - Yay!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Telos Turkey Tri

Pumpkinman was supposed to be my last race of the season, but it didn't go so well and I really wanted to end my season on a fun note. So I signed up last minute and raced the Telos Turkey Tri. So Much Fun!!!
It's a neat race because it benefits a school helping struggling teens, Telos. They train for triathlons and other physical activities as part of their therapy and they were all out in full force volunteering Saturday. It's also a fun race because there are a lot of newbies there, plenty of mountain bikes to go around. I think it's fun to be around newbies (until I get to the bike course and they ride in the middle of the road and in packs - ride to the right, pass on the left!) because you can see their anxiety, and their excitment. It's fun to answer questions and just to see them complete something they've never done before. Triathlons are so rewarding.
So the race started off with a 5k run. Mostly flat, some down, 1 longer climb back up to the finish. I ran it in 20:19, and I'm pleased with that. A friend and super cool girl Sarah was chating with me before the race and mentioned how I had the advantage today with us running first and all. She so graciously let me lead the race for all of 1/4 mile before passing me and beating me by 30 seconds or so. Oh well, she had a great run today and at least she was always in my sights. It would've been fun to just sprint up and catch her, but I still had a bike and swim to go.
Bike was 2 5-mile loops, so 10 miles total. Flat, fun descents, curves and turns while descending, then a big climb up 400 S in Orem to get back where we started. It was lots of fun and I handled the technical stuff well. I played cat and mouse with a couple guys through most of it then blasted past them on the last standing climb - that was awesome! You could totally hear them groan like "ah crap". I held my own pretty well today on the bike, I'm happy with it. I wish more courses allowed you to go so fast and have so much fun.
The 350meter snake style swim was in an indoor 50 meter pool. It wasn't that cold Saturday so I didn't feel any stinging getting in the water, but it was way too warm. Like swimming in bath water - not fun! I didn't realize how tired my arms were, and it was like swimming through cement sometimes. Short and sweet though.

I finished 2nd overall (yay!) and had a great time. That's all I could have asked for. Well, I could've beat Sarah Jarvis, but she's sort of super human, so I'll save that for another day when all the stars align perfectly. Seriously she's an awesome girl and it was fun just to try to keep her in my sights.
Oh and good prizes too -no hair products that day :) New running shorts and a Road ID gift certificate. Perfect weather with lots of sunshine, great friends, good prizes, a very well organized event, and fast racing - mmmmm, does it get any better than that?! I think not :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

VO2 Testing Part 1

I had the opportunity to have my VO2 tested today by Aaron at PEAK Fitness & Performance. This is the first in a series of 3 maximal tests I'm participating in as part of a study so to speak for some new shoes under development. For those unfamiliar with VO2 max testing:

VO2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is one factor that can determine an athlete's capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to
aerobic endurance. VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. It is measured as "milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight."

This measurement is generally considered the best indicator of an athlete's cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. Theoretically, the more oxygen you can use during high level exercise, the more ATP (energy) you can produce. This is often the case with elite endurance athletes who typically have very high VO2 max values.

How Is VO2 Max Measured?
Measuring an accurate VO2 max requires an all-out effort (usually on a treadmill or bicycle) performed under a strict protocol in a sports performance lab. These protocols involve specific increases in the speed and intensity of the exercise and collection and measurement of the volume and oxygen concentration of inhaled and exhaled air. This determines how much oxygen the athlete is using.

An athlete's oxygen consumption rises in a linear relationship with exercise intensity -- up to a point. There is a specific point at which oxygen consumption plateaus even if the exercise intensity increases. This plateau marks the V02 Max. It's a painful point in VO2 max testing where the athlete moves from aerobic metabolism to anaerobic metabolism (See the article: Energy Pathways for Exercise). From here, it's not long before muscle fatigue forces the athlete to stop exercising. The test usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes and requires an athlete to be completely rested and motivated to endure the pain long enough to find the true VO2 max.

Anyway, I warmed up on the treadmill for about a mile. Then we put in my height, weight, age, etc into the machine and got me hooked up. The silicone mask was not the most comfortable thing, definitely not the most attractive thing, but not too bad. It weighed more than I expected (being connected to a long hose doesn't help), and it did bounce a little which combined with the weight left me with a bit of a tender nose, but not a huge deal. I did get used to it as we went on. Aaron mentioned that a different headpiece that can be used requires you to use a nose plug and breathe through your mouth while biting a mouthpiece -now that would get annoying.
Anyway, time to get started. I ran for about 12 minutes at 7.8mph (7:41 mi/mile). Every minute we increased the incline 1%, eventually ending up at about 10% I believe (not sure, I was busy not falling off the treadmill). Every so often Aaron would have me point at what my RPE (rate of perceived exertion). I was working hard, but really was ok until about the last 1:30. Muscles were getting a little fatigued and it was getting difficult to get a full breath in. But he encouraged me to get to 20:00 (that includes warm up), so I pushed through it. I wasn't totally fall-on-the-floor-dead when we finished, but that incline definitely maxed me out. I was relieved we were weren't going 30 minutes like I anticipated, that would have been really hard!

Kept the mask on for a few minutes to track my recovery, then sweet freedom :) The result? 60.2 I'm very happy with that considering I lost some fitness this summer with the broken foot hiatus. A lot of VO2 max is genetic (thanks Mom and Dad!), but Aaron thinks I can get it up to 63-64 with some serious high volume training.
It's hard to find a definitive chart as I don't think I saw any two the same in the dozen I googled, some more geared to the general population, some more athletic. There is some variation, but most charts put the top superior values around 41-50. Check out this chart :)
Nordic skiers generally have the highest numbers, followed by distance runners then cyclists. Cross country skiers hold both the men's and women's highest recorded numbers at around 94 and 77. Ingrid Kristiansen, a marathon world record holder had a VO2 max of 71.2. Steve Prefontaine came in at 84. Greg LeMond (the first American to win the Tour de France) had a VO2 max of 92.5 at his peak. In comparison, the ever-popular Lance Armstrong is said to have a VO2 max of 85. Ironic Lemond accuses Armstrong of doping.....Yeah......Anyway, VO2 max numbers go up according to the amount of muscle being used, and cyclists use much less upper body than endurance runners and Nordic skiers. Those cycling numbers are unbelievable.
THIS is a really cool website showing more record numbers and has some cool tools on the left sidebar based around VO2 (including ways to roughly calculate it without the lab method)

The machine printed out an awesome little sheet summarizing my results. A benefit to having this testing done is it works out your HR training zones more precisely than the math equations. So now I have HR zones really tuned into my specific running. I go in for the next two tests T and TH of next week, so stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's On!

Today marks the 6 month mark before the race. I've been waiting for this so that I can get started training and start the travel details. I was supposed to book our condo today but the guy decided not to rent those dates out afterall - uh that would've been helpful info say.....months ago! My parents and 3 siblings are coming down with us, so it's not like we only need a hotel room. So now the hunt is on for another 3+ bedroom condo or house that won't cost us a fortune. No easy task now that everyone knows IRONMAN is coming to town.
Just a tip for all you spectators wanting to come down. Book a hotel room NOW! You can always cancel it later, but there's going to be slim pickings if anything in the coming months. I wish we could rent out a big mansion and have all my family AND friends under the same room, that would be so much fun!
I ran with a good friend and experienced Ironman triathlete Charity yesterday and she helpfully reminded me to keep my excitement a little reigned in so that I don't overtrain and get mentally burned out. Sometimes I'm super excited for this and other times, like when it's 30 degrees out or there's snow on the ground, I think "Oh crap, what have I done signing up for a spring Ironman". but I'll get it done. 6 months can sound like such a long time, but then othertimes seems like it's right around the corner.
So here we go, my journey to my 140.6 mile payday May 1, 2010