Friday, May 29, 2015

Paging Dr. Maffetone

So I'm on day #10 of iron pills to fix my iron deficiency anemia.  I think I'm feeling better every day.  Whereas last week I was having to stop every mile and walk to try to catch my breath, and earlier this week my friend Steph practically had to drag me through a 5-mile run, today's and yesterday's runs have felt much more manageable.  I'm trying to be smart and build back my speed slowly (I use the term "speed" loosely), by using the Maffetone method, which is basically running slowly enough to keep your heart rate below the answer to this math problem: 180 - (your age).  For me, that's 148, and with the South Texas heat and humidity of late May, in combination with my present conditioning, that means 10:15 per mile today.  Towards the end of my runs, I'm having to really pull pack as my heart rate creeps into the 150s.  I'm practically walking.  But I just have to trust that what I've heard about the Maffetone method rings true: that over time, my pace will get faster and faster at the same heart rate.  In the meantime, it's kind of a lonely road using this method, as its such an individualized pacing strategy that it's hard to run with anyone else.

Fortunately, I'm getting my exercise-social kick from workouts at the gym -- Explosive Sports Performance, which I heartily recommend -- and from yoga.  Tonight is "Friday Night Live" at Southtown Yoga, with live music.  I'm predicting there will be a sitar involved.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Horseshoe 50k Random Race Thoughts

The Horseshoe 50k was yesterday, and it was so fun!  As RD Rob Goyen promised, about half the course was underwater, and the other half was a shoe-sucking, slippery mess of mud.  As I passed one runner, I commented on how much fun this was to run through, and she said it would be fun if the course were dry.  I thought, "You're totally missing the point!  That's why this is so fun!  It's an adventure!"

Random thoughts from the five loops of the race:

Loop 1: At the first water on the trail, a few people in front of me were stopping and trying to walk around the water, like they didn't want to get their feet wet.  My reaction:

Loop 2: The second loop seemed more slippery than the first., I think because all of us were churning up the trail.  While trying to go up one particularly slippery hill, I couldn't gain any traction, and just slid right down the way I came, like Goofy in that old skiing cartoon.

Loop 3:  "After this loop, and the next loop, there's only one loop left!"

Barney: Hey Homer, I'm worried about the beer supply.  After this case, and the other case, there's only one case left! [pretending to be the other people in the room] Yeah, yeah! Uh, Barney's right. Yeah, let's drink some more beer. Yeah! Hey, what about some beer? Yeah, Barney's right.

Loop 4: I saw a baby armadillo on the trail!  It was so cute!  I didn't have my phone to take a picture, but it looked like this:

Loop 5: By the final loop, I had devised a system of "cleaning" off the top of my water bottle with the bottom of my chin each time I wanted to drink out of it.  Running through the muddy water (that stank suspiciously of horse poop) resulted in the top of my water bottle continuously getting dirty, and I thought it would be best to try to avoid consuming standing water, even if it didn't really contain horse poop.  No square inch of my clothing or skin was clean, so the bottom of my chin seemed like the best bet.

I really needed this experience -- just having fun out on the trails, ignoring my pace, enjoying the adventure.  My runs lately have been pretty crappy, and I'm waiting for the results of a blood draw to see if it's anemia or what that's leaving me short of breath and lightheaded whenever I stand up, climb the stairs to my apartment, try to run down the block, etc.  I've been thinking maybe I'm just really out of shape, and maybe that's true, too -- I recently took 4 weeks off running to try to heal a knee injury -- but whatever it is, I'm so happy and thankful for a fun experience yesterday, that was challenging because of the terrain, not because I can't run fast.  And I'm so grateful to Rob and Rachel Goyen for putting on such a wonderful, well-planned event.  I can't wait for the next Trail Racing Over Texas event I can attend!

Post-race muddiness