Posted in Mental Health, Musings, Racing, Training, TWLOHA

Is racing for 12 hours a good idea?

As we were driving a couple of days ago my son asked me a question:

“Dad, do you think that (racing for 12 hours) is a good idea?”

I collected my thoughts and said:

“I have no idea.”

For the first time in decades I am embarking on a voyage that I have no idea how it is going to end. It is equal parts, exciting and scary. 12 hours is a ridiculously long time and I have no idea how my body is going to react and respond. I have never raced much more than 6 hours and that will only be bringing me to “half-time” of Toughest Mudder East. But as much as the physical part of the event is daunting, it is not what frightens me the most.

What I think is going to be even harder to predict is the mental aspect of the race. I am pretty sure that there will be a least one point in this race where I will be in a “dark place”. That place where I begin to question everything in front of me. Asking:

  • Why am I out here?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Why does finishing this matter?
  • If I quit, who cares?

It is that final question that scares me the most and is one of the reasons wht I need to be mentally prepared for the race. Right now, I have all of my answers ready and I hope they stand up to the darkness of 3am knowing that the sun won’t rise for another 2 ½ hours and that I still have 2 ½ more hours to race. Standing up to aching legs,, sore feet and myriad other physical problems that might pop up along the way.

It is at that point or those points along the way where I will need to dig deep and remember all of those who don’t get the option of stopping their suffering any time they want. I will need to use that as a part of my motivation to get this done and to press on to the finish.

I you want to help me in this endeavor click on the photo at the bottom.

Until next time when I begin to dig deeper into my motivation and my questions.

Toughest - TWLOHA-Small

Visit To Write Love on Her Arms at TWLOHA.COM

Posted in Racing, Training, TWLOHA

Training and Fundraising Update

I know it has been a while since I have posted here, but most of my “free time” is spent over on Instagram chronicling my journey. So far, even though my training has been very high volume, I have been able to manage the load quite well.

Running Miles

My biggest setback was in February when I caught a serious cold and lost a week of training.

My main takeaway from that illness was:

“If this was just a cold, I NEVER want to get the flu!”

I have also managed to keep up with mostly aerobic Zone 2 and Zone 3 training. 65% of my miles have a HR at or below 150 bpm, which is 80% of my maximum heart rate.

HR Zones.JPG

This I believe is one of the main reasons I have been able to maintain a high volume. I am not pushing my body into the “Red Zone” on a day-to-day basis. This is especially important since Toughest Mudder East will not be about top end speed, but will be 12 hours of grinding out the miles. I hope to get 45 of them. Time will tell how realistic my goals are.

My training plan for the next two months are to continue to put in the miles and ramp up my strength work at the same time. I would like to get 200 miles in for March and 210 to 220 for April. I am still debating if I want to run the Delaware Marathon on April 28th as my last big workout before Toughest Mudder. If I do it will give me three weeks to recover and taper between the two races, which should be plenty of time. Especially, if I only do it as a medium intensity training run and not as a race.

On a fundraising note, I have managed to raise $300 so far for To Write Love on Her Arms. That could be going better, but in the end, every dollar counts so I will be thankful for any amount that I raise. To learn more click on the photo

Toughest - TWLOHA-Small

or click the link below.

DONATE HERE

Thanks for visiting!

 

Posted in Life lessons, Racing, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Nov 26 – Dec 9

I know I that I intended to post weekly updates, but of course life got in the way and one week turned into two and before the it becomes three, I decided that it was time for me to sit down and pull a post together. So here goes.

As I look at my calendar from the past two weeks, one thing is crystal clear. I have been able to get in all of my workouts without fail. As I said in my last post, it is pretty easy to get these in since none of them are very long, averaging well under an hour. What is is also clear, is that I am recovering well day-to-day and don’t have a need to add rest days into my schedule at this point. I am sure that will change when I begin to build more intensity into my program once 2018 rolls around. For the foreseeable future, I intend to stick with a 3 day per week running program and begin to build in my OCR specific workouts around that base.  I intend to hit 2 or 3 of those per week depending on how well my recovery goes between workouts.

Nov 26 - Nov 9 Training

As I look at the past three weeks, one thing that I can see is that my volume is ramping up nicely. That is show in the chart below. The only thing that might be a problem is that I am probably ramping up a bit faster than I planned. But as long as I feel good and my foot stays pain free, I intend to keep raising the duration until I get up to about 10 hours per week. I don’t expect to be there until the end of January or early February at the soonest.

Duration

What I have also seen in the data is that I am doing well stick to the “Low Intensity Training Plan”. As can be seen below, the vast majority of my training is in Zone 2 followed closely by Zone 3. Those 2 zones accounted for nearly 85% of my training last week, just the way I want it to be. As I move forward into the new year, my plan is to slightly drop both the Zone 2 and Zone 3 percentages and add that time into Zones 4, 5 and 6. When that happens, I will be more or less training at two intensities, really hard and really easy. My goal will be for the intense portions to make up no more than 25% of my training volume.

Zones

In comparison, I pulled a selection of data from last year and it was far, far different. The vast majority of my training time was in Zone 4, the kind of hard, but not really too hard zone. The one that really wears me out when I grind through it day after day. This is what I am looking to avoid this season.

Data 2017

Finally, as I look at something that is completely new to me, I have my Heart Rate Variability chart below. Based on what I have gleaned from various sources, including EliteHRV and HRV4Training an increasing HRV and a decreasing CV is an indication that my body is responding well to my training load. If I see this heading in a different direction, then I will have to take steps to modify my training plan. But, until then I am just moving forward.

HRV Chart

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Injury, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Nov 19-25

This was not a good week for me to pick to start reporting since my plans needed to revolve around traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. This meant driving to Virginia on Wednesday and spending time with family until it was time to travel home on Friday. But, nonetheless, it was better to spend the time with my family rather than worrying about missing workouts. There will be plenty of time to make up for the missed workouts, but, you can’t make up missed family time.

Even with two days out for the holiday, I was still able to get five workouts in for the week. This isn’t too hard when your long workout for the week is just over 1 hour. That makes it pretty easy to make time in the day for a workout.

What was good about the week was that I was able to stay fairly true to my goal of easy aerobic workouts. The big column in the chart below represents the time in Zone 2 – what I am defining as my easy, aerobic pace and was where I was 54% of my time. The next bar is slightly higher in intensity and encompassed about 18% of my time. And in reality most of the time in Zone 3 was probably close to the Zone 2/3 border.

Training Nov 19-25

So what did my training look like for the week?

On Sunday, I thought I would start off with a fitness test – 30 minutes on the Concept 2 erg, shooting for max distance. I ended up at 7338 meters. The workout also included about 10 minutes of warm up. Cool down consisted of lying on the ground, gasping for breath. This workout was what gave me time in the two highest intensity zones in the chart above. My average HR for the effort was 167 and my max HR was 178, not bad for someone who’s measured max HR is 187.

Monday was 50 minutes on the elliptical trainer. I did intervals of 1 minute above threshold and 7 easy minutes.

Tuesday was an easy run. I went for 3 miles which was above the 2 miles I had planned, but my foot felt good so I added in some extra distance. The run was slow 9:28 pace but my HR stayed in the desired zone. This was a big win.

Wednesday and Thursday were off days, which was a good thing. My foot was a bit achy from the run on Tuesday.

Friday was another easy paced run, 2.5 miles at a 9:33 pace and once again I kept my HR spot on in the aerobic zone.

Saturday was an indoor aerobic circuit day of the elliptical trainer, inclined treadmill and erg. I did 2 circuits through with 10/10/12 minutes on each. I kept my HR low until the final time on the erg and then I let in creep up into Zone 4. All in all it was a great workout.

So I had a successful week of training. During the upcoming week, I am going to add a little bit to the duration of my workouts while keeping the overall intensity low. For the week I had 210 minutes of training, including 5.5 miles of running, So for this week, I will bump this up to 230 minutes and about 6 or 6.5 miles of running. Slow and steady will win this race.

 

Posted in DIY Obstacles, Gear reviews, Training

DIY Obstacles aka creating a home made OCR rig – Updated

Quite a while ago I added a post about how I created a home made OCR rig, DIY Obstacles aka creating a home made OCR rig. In the year since I added that post, I have updated the home made rig to be something far easier to use and much more convenient.

Instead of having to lug my things over to our local fitness center, now I can just attach them to the bottom of my kitchen deck. To do this I used 3 1/2 eye-bolts and pre-drilled holes into the bottom of the deck rafters and then I screwed in the eye-bolts. All of the attachments now can be added or removed with quick release clips. This is much move convenient than before.

I also make is much easier to do simple grip work since I can now do this at my house.

This made a huge difference this year in my ability to get across grip strength obstacles like the Ape-hanger at Palmerton.