Monday, November 12, 2012

Operator Error

This year's HR distribution
Well, I didn't run my goal of 1:36.  In fact, I didn't improve on my time from last year.  I ran a 1:42.  Last year's goal.  That's two races in a row that I haven't improved upon.

The thing that most threw me off was that I knew from last year that my watch measured the course a little bit short, but yesterday every mile marker I got to seemed to be further down the road by as much as 10%.  So my watch said I was running a 7:20 pace, but I got to that first marker around 7:40.  It messed with my head.  Were the markers off?  How were they going to catch up?  My grand total distance on my watch was 13.9.  Did they change the course?

Last year's HR distribution
It wasn't until I uploaded my data that I found the problem:  I had neglected to turn the GPS on.  My watch also has a footpod to collect cadence data, so all of my distances and paces were being estimated based on the footpod, not on the actual GPS.  According to my watch, I ran 13.9 miles at a 7:20 pace.  I wonder, had I had the GPS on, if I would have adjusted my pace down to run the 13.1 at that pace?

I somewhat doubt it.  I ran at the top end of my HR zones throughout.  Basically, I ran harder (see graphs), but not any faster.  In general, I feel fitter than I did last year.  A summer of PRs supports this feeling.  And this leads me to think that perhaps I am over-trained/under-rested.  I did race Devil's Chase 2 weeks ago. And, though I did both Devil's Chase and Chilly last year, I was coming off of a less consistent training base from the summer.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.  I want to PR every time, but sometimes, it's just not in the cards.  I will to use this experience as the impetus to review my racing and resting schedules, but I also don't want to read too much into one race.  The plan has been very successful for me in the last year, a little fine tuning is not a bad thing.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Talking with a friend the other day, he mentioned making a placard as a kid out of poster board and yardstick.  I realized, I don't own a yard stick, and I asked:  neither he nor his girl friend owned a yardstick.  Does any one own a yardstick any more?  Maybe if you sew?  Why did this seeming ubiquitous item just disappear from households?

This weekend's Chilly is the same course and very similar conditions to last year.  It's a figurative yardstick for performance gains in the last year.

Last year, I exceeded my goals by 2 minutes, improving 6 minutes over my previous PR.  This year's goal is a further 4 minutes improvement.  The plan is to take off at a 7:20, then be governed by HR for the remaining 12 miles.  I should know by mile 3 if I'm gonna hit 1:36 or not.  I will need to be able to run faster at a lower HR than I did at the Devil's Chase.  I've had a good taper this week, and low resting HRs, so I'm hopeful this is possible.

I'm looking forward to the race.  It's been a sorta crazy week at work, so I haven't focused much on it.  But I have hit my workouts, eaten well (even without the cheese), slept pretty well and had nice low resting heart rates all week, so fingers crossed that all equates to a speedy new PR.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Moo Cow, Don't Bother Me

I've been having some tummy troubles.  And not just while I'm training.  I've been trying to manage the symptoms with over the counter aids, but it's started to feel like some sort of arms race between my gut and my meds:  at some point I'm the one who loses out.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to track what I was eating and my symptoms and see if there were any patterns.  I bought an app called Food Allergy Detective, which monitors likely food offenders.  They suggest tracking for 4 weeks to have the best data, but after two a few things are clear (1) I eat some dairy with every meal and (2) dairy does seem to coincide with symptoms.

I've suspected for a while that dairy may be a problem.  When I would drink a whey-based protein shake the symptoms were at their worst.  But I've also tried lactose-free whey protein, and I still had trouble.  I've also tried taking lactaid with meals with large portions of dairy (hello, cottage cheese snack), and not had much improvement, so I worry it's more than just lactose that is the problem.

Here's the trouble though.  I love cheese.  On our second date (the one where Paul flew down to Australia for two weeks), we went on a wine tasting tour and spent more money on cheese than on wine.  We often point to that day as a definitive sign that we were meant to be.  In the past, when I've gone on diets, I have always found ways to maintain just a little bit of low-fat cheese to preserve my enjoyment of the meals.  In fact, I just can't bring myself to try to go dairy-free until after this election night pizza party tomorrow.

But dairy-free I will go.  I've got coconut cream for my coffee in the mornings, and several stir fries planned for dinners.  My goal is to do 2 weeks dairy-free and see if that addresses symptoms, then to try adding back in one item at a time to see if I can identify if it's all dairy or just lactose (hurray for lactose-free cheese!)

If you have favorite dairy-free recipes, I'm all ears.  I need something to keep my taste buds happy in the next two weeks, so please do share.

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