27 February 2012

The Kübler-Ross Model As It Pertains To Running

If I've been a bit quiet on here lately it's due to the fact that I had my blood lactate test done last week at Peak Centre Vancouver.

I actually thought that I did pretty well.  I ran until I couldn't and was proud of not falling off the treadmill.  And then I got my results.

First, a little bit of an explanation.  Now, I fully understood going into the test that I would be told to run my long runs slower.  Heart-rate based training is a pretty exact science if you get tested.  You run on a treadmill and, in my case, blood is taken every 3 minutes.  Eventually you "voluntarily" quit and where you top out is where your maximum heart rate is determined.  Your blood is then tested to determine how fast you accumulate lactate.  Obviously the less lactate the better since that's what makes you feel like you're dying when you run.

So here's why I haven't posted.  I've been processing.  And I have to admit that they way I've dealt with the results is a lot like grieving.  Hence, the reference to The Five Stages Of Grief:

Denial:  What?!?!?!  They want me to run my zone 1 how slow?  That's a walking pace! (Note: pace is personal.  My standard for slow is slow to me.  It may be way slower than yours or you might think it's super fast.  For that reason I will not be discussing my actual paces.)

Anger:   WTF?!?!?!?!?!?  Here's part of a fb email to my friend (who understands as she's been tested too): I'm going to be walking my effing long runs.  I did my run yesterday entirely in the middle of zone 2.  And that felt ridiculously slow.

Bargaining:  Maybe I can just sneak in a few kilometres in zone 2.  That won't make much of a difference, right?

Depression:  I can't do it.  I paid good money to get tested and they're telling me to freaking walk?  Why'd I even bother?  Another excerpt: Anyways, sitting here bawling my eyes out.  Maybe I should just drop down to the half.  

Acceptance:  I know how much this will make me a better runner.  I will follow it religiously so that I don't get stuck where I've been for the last couple of years.  I've seen how it's benefited those friends who've stuck with it.  It will be hard, but it will make me stronger.  

Luckily I experienced all five stages in one day.  I'd kind of sucked it up after writing the top part of this post.  I just wanted to make sure I got it down while I was feeling that way...  I'm still pretty emotionally traumatized by the whole thing to be honest.  It felt/feels like such a blow to my running "career".   I know it won't last forever, but, with an "it'll probably be 6 weeks until you see improvement" philosophy, it will seem that way!

Here's a quick and probably insufficient explanation of heart-rate based training*:
  • When you run you produce lactate.  Lactate produces fatigue.  It's that fun "I feel like my lungs will explode and legs will fall off" burning feeling.  You want to train your body to run longer before feeling that way!
  • Generally in distance running you want to stay within your aerobic threshold (zone 1) which feels like you can run all day.  
  • Heart-rate based training helps you increase your aerobic threshold by teaching your muscle fibres to eliminate lactate more efficiently.
  • We have slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibres, as well as intermediary fibres.  The more zone 1 training you do the more you train your intermediary fibres to act like slow twitch fibres.  Peak's example is of a sink: the fast twitch fibres produce lactate to fill up your sink and the slow twitch fibres are the drain.  The more you train your slow twitch fibres the better they are at removing the lactate - it's like widening the drain so the lactate leaves your body more quickly.
  • Intermittent zone 3 and 5 work, which are higher intensity work, will help elevate your lactate threshold. 
The best news that came out of my test is that I have a lot of room to improve!  My massive zone 2 range means that I can increase very well as long as I do the runs correctly.  

About 90% of my running should be done in zone 1 to increase my aerobic threshold.  The rest of my runs (10% or once a week) should be in zone 3.  It'll take a while and a whole lot of discipline to get there, but I know that I'll see results eventually.  I'm going to have a kick-ass marathon in October!

Anyone else out there had this test done?  How'd you feel about your results?  Does it get easier/better?!?  

*This information is how I understand what I have been told by Peak.  I am not a doctor, lab tech, or scientist.  If anything is incorrect the error is mine.  

15 February 2012


So, yeah.  I was a little shocked to see that I haven't posted anything since 2 February.  Not that I believe for a second that any of you were sitting there every day waiting, but that's way more of a break than I expected to take!  There hasn't been too much to report lately other than "went for a run; it was okay."  Here's a quick look back at the last two weeks since there has been some good stuff in there.

1.  We are all signed up for the Half Corked Marathon at the end of May.  

It's really close to Colin's parents' place so we have a built in babysitter for Spud.  It also falls on the same weekend as my mother-in-law's birthday so here's the present of spending time with your grandson...  

We were lucky to get in.  We knew, from friends who ran it last year, that it is a fun "race" and that it sold out quickly.  We made sure that we knew the on sale date/time and were prepared.  Colin was ready at the computer last Tuesday night.  The early bird rate (only 10% of tickets) sold out immediately.  The entire race sold out in 3 minutes!  Our friend, Gina, had a scare because in the time it took her to phone Colin and ask if we were adding the pre-race dinner as well (we're not) she ended up on the waitlist.  But I guess other people couldn't complete their registration(s) within the allotted time because a few minutes later she was notified that she was in.  

Anyways, the reason it's so popular is that it's a 17-19km course through up to a dozen wineries.  I love this sentence from their FAQs: "If you're planning on setting a record, this might not be the race for you."  No kidding.  The water stops are actually wine/appetizer stops.  If you can't finish (re: are too tipsy) you can catch a ride back to the post-race lunch.  Finally, it's a race Colin and I can and will run together!

2.  I'm officially a Nuun Ambassador for 2012!  

I wasn't sure if I would be selected for 2012 since my 2011 selection was due to Hood to Coast.  To be given the opportunity to represent them again is a total honour.  My real-life friends can attest to the fact that I promote it all the time.  Or at least tell you that I seem to have my visor and water bottle surgically attached.  I've even gotten 2 of them hooked (but that could have been the free tubes I gave away...).

3.  Mel (Tall Mom) posted today about a new way to stalk find bloggers: 2 Slow 4 Boston's Running Blog Database.  

You can add your own blog or blogs you like (thanks whoever entered me!) to the database.  As Mel said, it's a great way to find local bloggers or people you want to hit up for a room meet at races.

4.  If you live in Vancouver, BC, please know that there is a new running store in town!  

Distance Runwear carries specialty running brands like yurbuds, VIVOBAREFOOT, and, my personal wish-list brand, Oiselle.  Colin's already been - peanut butter GU, anyone? - and I'll be going with birthday money to buy this lovely item:

02 February 2012

I Get To Play Too! {Revised}

Just when I thought no one would invite me to play along Tasha at Healthy Diva tagged me!  So here's the gist of the latest blogging world equivalent to a chain letter:

There are rules to this fun game that are as follows:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people. 

I'm going to do rules 1-3.  4-6 have been done to death by almost everyone else out there.  I don't really want to nominate 11 people who have already posted this and I never have been good at forwarding on letters/emails/etc that are in this vein.  I'm sure that my luck is horrible and I will never become rich, but so be it...

11 Random Things:

1.  Apparently I cannot follow directions.  That or I can't read.  I'm amazed that no one called me on missing this section yesterday

2.  I am a pack rat.  So it's probably a good thing that Colin is a purger.

3.  If I went back to school I would study to be an archivist.

4.  I'm scared of ladybugs.  

5.  I love kids toys, but find that I tolerate Lego only this much more than trains.  It's not so much the building that bothers me, but the constant hovering and "helping" from a certain almost-5 year old that does me in...

6.  I could not live without pasta.

7.  Favourite boozie drinks: Crown Royal and Coke, Strongbow, and frozen Bellinis.

8.  I picked out my wedding ring.  Colin got to decide how big the diamond would be.  

9.  I still have my first stuffed animal.  It's a rabbit that my dad bought for me the day I was born.  Her name is Bunna and she sits on my bedside table.

10.  We have a giant pine cone that we got off of the side of the road in California.  I'm sure with the creepy-crawlies that came out of it there was no way we were supposed to bring it back across the border.  But it's over a foot tall!  

11.  I'll take CFL over NFL any day.  And I don't even watch the Superbowl anymore because the half-time shows aren't that good and we don't get the commercials up here until after the game is over.

Here are the questions Tasha asked:

1. What is your favorite recovery drink?  Depends.  I usually have Nuun after a run - mainly because I have some left in my bottle.  I'll drink chocolate milk if I can have it super cold, but we don't have it in the house very often because Spud would want to drink it all.  I've been known to have a glass of Coke after really long runs.  The last time I did that it was with my sausage and egg breakfast at the pub with my running group.

2. Love the treadmill or hate it?  I've never been on one.  Fear it.

3. Name your favorite cross training exercise/routine.  Cross train?  What?  I've dabbled with core work and weights, but haven't fully committed to it yet.  Really should get on that.

4. Favorite book read within the last year?  Running Through The Wall: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon by Neal Jamison.  If you felt like running barefoot after reading Born to Run then reading Jamison's book will make you want to run forever.  

5. What type of dessert do you like to indulge yourself in?  I'm a sucker for pretty much anything.  Chocolate cake (specifically the one my mum still makes for my birthday), Colin's homemade apple pie, Swedish Berries, and Hot Tamales are all favourites.  And, yes, candy can be considered a dessert.  I'm fairly equal opportunity where diz is concerned.

6. What motivates you to get through a tough workout?  If I'm honest there are some days where I'm not motivated.  Usually it's that I know that I'll feel good if I do it.

7. Favorite race ran?  New Year's Day Fat Ass 50.  You can read my report here.

8. If you had to eat fast food, which would you prefer? In-N-Out Burger, hands down.  Unfortunately/thankfully the closest one is in Redding, CA, which is 1170km south of where I live.  I should admit that, prior to having Spud, Colin and I camped out way down the coast with the sole intention of driving inland to get a burger.  1 sketchy campsite, no A/C, and the hottest day they'd had in years led to an excellent lunch!

9. Favorite childhood memory?  Going to the same place for summer vacation every year.  We've gone to Tofino, BC, every summer (I missed 2 times - when Spud was born and last year) since I was 12.  There's a lot of outdoorsy stuff to do, but once you've done it a couple of times you don't really need to again - unless you love it, of course.  Eventually our days looked like this: wake up, coffee/tea while shell-hunting on beach, brekkie, read/go into town (all 3 stop signs) after fog rolls in, lunch, read, play cards, walk on beach/people watch after fog burns off, dinner, read, bed, repeat.

10. Runner’s World or Running Times or both?  RW sometimes, but it's expensive.  We don't get the cheap deal up here.  Usually Canadian Running.

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