Crossing the Threshold

Leave a comment

The last couple weeks of running have been pretty terrible. On one day I ran 4.5 miles barefoot followed by 10.5 miles in minimalist shoes and I think that was a bit more than the lower extremeties currently allow. I developed some achilles soreness so I backed off of mileage and speed. Toss in the extreme heat of the recent past and some outside committments and you get, well, not much.
So after a very good sleep last night and some tolerable weather today I was planning a good run for after work. Except that work hours had to be extended. We are trying to solve a leak and needed to place some pressure gauges and turn some valves.  Everything had to be started after 5 today, with everything reopened prior to 7am tomorrow.   So I left around 4:30 with my coworker Boban (from Bosnia). We finished up quickly and returned the company truck by around 5:45.  We decided to go get a beer to celebrate his recent promotion.  It is both an honor and humbling to spend time with someone who watched their country self destruct, then walked 300 miles through a war zone to escape to a country where they didn’t know one word of the language.

So 1 beer was really 3 beers which was probaly limited due to a soccer game at 7:00 for him and the need to run for me.  We talked briefly how your passion becomes a natural part of what you are.  Running or soccer are no longer limited to certain times, clothes, or preparation.  A 10 mile run after happy hour is as natural as walking across the lawn.  So what does a 10 mile run on 3 beers and no dinner look like?


Temperature Rising

Leave a comment

When I ran my first marathon, at check in there were lots of those big blue water bottles, loads of paper cups, and signs everywhere stating “DRINK!”  I dutifully drank a cup of water then tossed my paper cup after using it all of 3 seconds.  Later I ate a pasta dinner sufficient to make a rhinoceros barf.  A marathon is such a long way, hadn’t people actually starved to death prior to mile 23?  I began reading magazines with lots of articles on hydration, the importance of knowing your sweat rate to maintain body weight and the importance of drinking before thirst.  So, being somewhat expirementally inclined and with an available laboratory (me) I began measuring sweat rate under a variety of conditions.  Even going so far as running 30 miles on a hot day, recording temperature, weight and fluid intake each mile.  What did I learn from all this?  That the only time I could maintain weight was with the temperature below 60 deg and drinking until I could feel the sloshing in my stomach.  I kept wondering if there was anyone that actually maintained weight or if it was all just a big farce.  I got my answer.  At the Leadville 100 prerace meeting last year the race doctor stood up and said that the consensus of an international group of physicians, coaches and sports medicine professionals was that you should drink when thirsty.  No further comment on that.

So here is how it looks.  I used an exponential fit because it just feels right, though I don’t really think this is the best fit.  I’ve looked at sr versus temperature, humidity and pace but it primarily seems to be a function of temperature.  Below 50 deg I dress warmer, so I think that skews the data at the low end.

Sometimes I go running with my doctor.  We talk about things like whether sweat rate changes over time with improvements in maximal oxygen uptake.  We decided that both should rise and fall together but don’t know if it is a direct relationship.  I think I am his only patient who shows up for an office visit with a lap top.

In the beginning…


If I had to pick a date on when this started, I would say December 2003.  About a week before Christmas at my parent’s house.  My brother asked if I was still running.  I replied yes but it’s been a while. Actually it had been several months since I had run a step. He asked if I thought I could break a 5 minute mile.

“Probably not, that’s pretty fast and I am getting on in years.”
“Do you think you could run a marathon?”
“Yes, I would have to train, but I could do it.”
“Do you want to run a marathon with me?”

Well, there wasn’t much backing out at that point. The thing I never counted on though, was how much I like training and preparing for the big races. Now, with 15,000 miles under my belt, a bunch of marathons, 3 Ironmans, 5 ultra finishes at 100 miles, and 10 months away from turning 50, I am trying to find the limits of my ability. For the past 5 years at the marathon I seem to be terminally stuck in the 2:50’s. When I train hard, it’s the low end, but then last March on minimal training with no speed work or long runs over 16 miles I still ran 2:59.

My basic plan is to run as much as I can, which is usually about 80-100 miles/week, mostly alternating days between very easy runs with heart rate below 140 and moderate runs with heart rate in the 150’s.  About 1 day a week I want to spend some time at race effort, which for the marathon is 165 – 167 bpm.

I decided to start this blog mainly to give myself a reason and a place to document all the performance data I collect, to share my results and way of looking at things with anyone who is interested, and hopefully get some new ideas as well.  So anyway, this is where things are…

July 17, 2011 – Week #2 State of Fitness

To measure my performance I prefer to look at the entire range of workouts rather than a few specific tests.  I typically set my Garmin gps to record splits every mile and then turn those results into the chart below.  The trend line is not mathmatically based but is my gut feel on the best fit.  For example, I ignored the few points showing hr of 167 at an 8 minute pace.  These were recorded on a recovery run, at mid day in full sun with a long sleeve shirt and temperature around 98.  The data fits pretty well with my last marathon in March where I ran 2:59.  Hopefully this line will drop over the next few months.

Week #2 Training

Total miles:  82

Total time:   11:52

Here are histograms of pace and heart rate for last weeks training.

Well, no point in trying to get everything out on the first post.  I need to go for my second run of the day and get ready for the week ahead.  And if you haven’t figured this out yet, I work days as an engineer.

Newer Entries