Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week Re-Cap

This week has been challenging to work out.   Between more snow at the beginning of the week, the still standing snow and grey skies, the weather hasn't been very helpful.   I have also felt very tired this week.   So, rather than fight it, I have given in and taken a few more rest days then normal.   Hopefully next week will be better.  

Stats for last week:
Monday: 60 minutes, 6x400 at hard pace at DRC track, 30 minute strength train
Tuesday: 45 minutes on the trainer
Wed: rest
Thursday: 2400 swim, 60 minute run
Friday: rest
Saturday:  11.4 mile hilly run
Sunday: 45 minutes on the trainer

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Welcome Winter Olympics 2010

Let the Winter Games begin! I am very excited about the Winter Olympics this year. Hopefully it will help to break up some of the monotony of snow and being indoors around here. This week has been very low key due to all the snow. Unfortunately it looks like we could be getting 5 to 9 inches more over the next few days. Guess I will have to continue my training indoors. . .

Stats for the week:
Wed:  6o minute tempo run (DRC track)
Thursday:  30 minute recovery run (DRC track) + 12 minute VO2 max testing, 30 minutes core strength
Friday: rest
Saturday: 15 mile run through the hills of Worthington, no timing
Sunday: 2400 swim (52 minutes); 400 warmup, 800 freestyle, (100 pulls, 50 kicks no fins) x4, (50 breast, back, free, side) x2, 200 cooldown

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fitness Test

Winter is officially in full swing.   Along with that comes all the winter resolutions to get "fit" before swimsuit season, or in my case - tri season!  

My workplace this year  introduced several different programs to get fit and many offer additional incentives, such as gift certificates and free stuff if certain goals are met.  I, of course, being the fit person that I am, signed up to either participate or mentor in a few of them.   The first is what is known as the Momentum program.   This is a free service they are offering to employees that are interested in starting or progressing a run/walk program.   I was asked to be a mentor given all the races I have done as an endurance athelete.  No problem, right? 

 The second program I decided to participate in is a "Fitness Challenge."   This goes from the first week in February to the first week in April.   The winners can get up to $100 of gift certificates and it includes categories such as; most weight lost, most fat % lost, best increase in strength, and most steps taken.   Since I am currently training for a marathon I figured I may have a chance in the "most steps taken" category.   As part of challenge you have to complete a pre-test to figure out where you are at the start of the contest.   This included weight, height, % body fat, # of pushups done in 1 minute, # of crunches done in one minute, and a flexibility test.   So for the past week I put myself through a battery of tests, including blood work done for free though Ohiohealth to find out what my current level of fitness actually is!  

The % body fat has to be measured by calipers or the bod pod.  Since I don't know anyone who actually owns calipers, I decided to go to the Dublin Rec Center and use the bod pod there.   To my surprise, they can also check VO2 max and metabolic rate.   So I opted to do the whole Fitness Test package and get all 3 done this morning.    So, the following is a few pictures and description of the experience I had this morning:

The Bod Pod

Supposedly this device takes your weight and uses air to figure out how much of the density is fat vs. other tissue.   This was definately the easiest test I have ever taken!   I just had to sit in this machine as quietly as I could for three different 45 second body scans.   You do have to wear a swim cap and remove all jewelry, watches, clothing, etc. except for a swim suit.   I opted for a sports bra and tri shorts as I was following this with the VO2 max test and didn't like the idea of running in a swimsuit! 

Metabolic Rate

The next test was also pretty easy in terms of activity level.   Again, I just had to sit there.   But this time it is with a mask over your face and it is 12 minutes long.   It tests for the amount of carbon dioxide that is exhaled "at rest."  They want you to sit as still as possible for this as well.   The mask is akward and uncomfortable and sitting still for 12 minutes looking at the bod pod was pretty boring.  I decided that I am not very good at sitting still.   They tester guy, Matt, finally got me a magazine to look at after a few minutes!  

VO2 max


For the VO2 max testing you have to wear the same mask and now run on a treadmill in it.   Again, the mask is very akward and it is also heavy and hard to see around.   The test starts at 2.0mph and increases by one mph every minute until you get to 5.0mph.   At this point the incline is increased by 2% every minute until you reach your lactate threshold, max heart rate, or you tell them to stop.   Funny thing is I never actually got to my max heart rate or lactate threshold.   After 10 minutes and at a 10% grade I finally asked them to stop because I felt like the mask was suffocating me.   So the computer had to guess at my lactate threshold. 

So, what did I learn?
1) I need to do more strength training.  My arms hurt for 3 days after doing the pushup test. 
2) My RMR is much higher than I thought. 
3)  My VO2 max is (probably) higher than I thought.  
4)  In order to get faster on the run or bike I am going to have to stop being such a whimp and get used to be "uncomfortable" for a set duration. 

My Fitness Levels:
Push Up Test:  15
Abdominal Test:  15
Weight:  134.6
Height:  5'8"
BMI:  20.4
Waist Measurement:  28 inches
RMR:  1973 (this is "fast" compared to a typical person my age, weight, etc.)
Fat%:  30.1 ("moderately lean" description says fat level is acceptable for good health)
VO2 max: Peak 38.4, AT 37.3 (35.7-40 = excellent)   according to this my AT (anaerobic thereshold) exercise zone is 174-175 bpm, moderate zone is 169-174 bpm, and low zone is 103-169 bpm!

How do you like them apples?   

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow, snow, and more snow

Central Ohio is under another snow advisory.   It is supposed to snow an additional 4 to 8 inches over the next 24 hours.   Looks like I may be resigned to more indoor workouts this week.  Although the trails in Dublin are fairly clear, there is ice underneath the snow.   This is something I am very careful about, so I would rather remain safe and indoors than risk an injury outdoors.  

One nice thing I have at my disposal is the Dublin Rec Center.   It gives me the option of using an indoor track (13 loops = 1 mile), treadmills and a lap pool.    Runner's World recently posted an article about aquatic workouts, which I may have to try out one of these days.   I already do the lap swimming 1 to 2 days a week, but maybe one of these days I will actually have to try some deep water running!  

Indoor Workouts this week:
Monday:  50 minute recovery run at DRC track
Tuesday:  2700 swim (400 warm up, 50x8 kicks on 1:00, 100x8 on 2:00, 50x8 pulls on 1:00, 100x4 on 1:50, drill "sensitivity"  50x4, 200 cool down)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wintertime Fun

Well, central Ohio got hit with a big snowstorm over the past few days.   The Columbus area recieved anywhere from 8 to 12 inches in 24 hours.   Makes it difficult to get outdoors for a run.    I opted to skip yesterday's workout and wait for an extra day for the roads and trails to be cleared.    I am glad that I did.   Although it was very cold, the trials at one of the local parks was fairly clear and I had a nice group to run with this morning!  The only draw back was that it was 12 degrees (F) when we got started this morning.   

So, how does one dress for colder temps??  Very carefully and with lots of layers.   Typically with at least a few layers of technical gear.   Technical shirts which wick away sweat and moisture are normally suggested for a base layer.   Follow this with fleece or a warmer layer and then some sort of windbreaker or jacket.   Pants can be one or two layers, again insulated or warmer layers suggested.   I also added 2 pair of wool socks today to keep the feet warm and dry.   For really cold days, a face mask/hat is also advised and mittens or warm weather gloves.  

The only drawback with winter gear is that it can be hard to recognize your friends and it can be hard to move in very efficiently.   So most programs will tell you not to worry about going at a quick pace.  As a result, today I didn't track the workout or monitor pace at all.   So I was surprised when 1/4 the way into the run (when I was out in front) I got yelled at to "slow" the pace.   I was going a 9:45 pace (45 seconds faster than normal)!!  WTH??

Thanks to my friends in MIT for a turning what could have been a brutal run today into a very nice one!

Stats since last entry:
Friday: rest
Saturday:  45 minutes on the trainer
Sunday:  10 mile run

Thursday, February 4, 2010


So I decided to register for the NYC 2010 Marathon Lotto. They don't actually decide until March, 2010, so I will have to wait a little while to see if I will actually get into the race. Figured what the heck, if I am going to do more marathons at this time then at least I should choose some good ones!

So far this year I have the following races on my agenda:
1) The Arizona Distance Classic in March.
2) The Big Sur Marathon in April, which I will do with my sister, Lora, as a relay.

I also plan on doing a few tri's this summer but haven't actually decided which races yet.  Still a long way off! 

Stats for the past few days:
Wed:  6.08 mile run (60 minutes)
Thursday:  2400 swim (350 warm up, 100k on 2min, 100p on 2min, 100k on 2 min, 100 swim with fins on 1:45, mainset: 200 on 4min, 100 on 2min, ez50 on 1:30 x 4.  Drill: under/over x 50, cross over 2 x 50, 150 cooldown).  Followed up with an easy 30 minute run. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Experimenting in the Kitchen

The past week has been another quiet one, mostly just trying to keep up at work, stay on track with exercising and trying out a few new recipes.  Fortunately, I found a couple of "keepers,"  that were easy to make and delicious!  

The first was inspired by some old sweet potatoes that needed to be used.   So, I consulted my cookbooks to find a recipe that I had the ingredients and could use.    To my surprise, I found a great recipe for:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos:  (from Simply in Season)
3 cups sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/2 onion (chopped)
Saute in medium to high heat in 1 TBS oil until just tender.   Add water or apple juice as needed to prevent sticking.
2 cups cooked black beans
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Add and cooked until heated through.
8 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.
Divide bean mixture and cheese among the tortillas and roll up.  Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Lightly spray with olive oil if desired.   Cover pan with foil and bake at 350F  for 20-25 minutes.  Garnish with salsa, sour cream, and fresh cilantro if desired.

I also found this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My stats for the week:
Wed:  50 minute run
Thursday:  2800 swim, 30 min run
Friday: rest
Saturday:  13 mile run (bitter cold, did 2 loops in Worthington Hills)
Sunday:  45 minutes on the trainer
Monday:  60 minute run
Tuesday:  2450 swim