Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blaaaaaaaahg SLUMP

Hello! Remember me? It's been a while. Summer in my home has proved to be just as busy, if not busier, than the school year. How in the world did I make it through grad school? I feel like I couldn't do it now!

What have we been up to since the last time I posted, like a month ago? Sweet Laura left a nice comment on my blog inquiring, so I thought I'd get on and give an update. You can expect another one around summer's end. HA!

Mid-June marked my middle son's 6th birthday. We celebrated with a party at a fancy establishment called "Rodent du Fromage." Quite exquisite!

Rodent du Fromage = Chuck E. Cheese
Happy 6th, Tyler!

Then my husband went away on a training exercise June 13th, and I pretty much lost the will to live. I'm telling you... Raising 3 boys is not a job for 1! The middle to the end of June was ROUGH! I was dragging everyone out of bed at 5 am each morning so that I could get my oldest to 5:30 am swim practice. Good times. And then the rest of the day meant finding time to either get to the gym for a treadmill run or if I couldn't get a sitter, pool run in the back yard while the kids splashed around me.

I survived with the help of my mom, who flew in to help around the 10-day point. I was seriously losing it!

These 5:30 am swim practices for Evan have been a challenge... But as they say, "The early bird gets the worm." And if the worm symbolizes qualifying for 9 events at the Arizona Long Course Age Group Championships, then the worm has been gotten! I'm tremendously proud of Evan. He will be swimming in 6 events at the state meet July 20-22 (*swimmers are allowed a max of 6 events). Again, we're looking at this as a fun experience where he can hopefully snag a few more PRs. His times have been dropping like crazy since he moved up to the more advanced group at swim practice. 

On fire in the water!

RUNNING (in bigger font/bold just in case you wanted to skip the kid crap and head straight to this-Haha.):

I was SO happy to move on to July. June was rough for running with my back recovery and then my husband's travel. Ugh.

With that being said, July is the hottest month in Yuma, and I do feel like a lot of my running this month is being done in survival mode. Take yesterday's run for example:

93 degrees at 5:42 am. WTF?!?!

The day before, however, I had a fantastic speed day! My coach's goal for me was 6 miles with 2 X 1 mile @ 7:10P with .5 mile recovery between miles.  I went balls to the wall and did my first mile in 6:57 and the second one in 6:49. Not bad for 86 degrees at 6:30 am!

I know that I touched on explaining the numbers from my Cardio-Metabolic testing in June in my last post, and I know I could get into it more here, but I hate LONG blog posts. I will briefly discuss some crucial numbers, however, and how I've been putting them to use.

Heart Rate Training: 

After my testing, Ken presented me with a sheet of  personalized HR Zones that I could use to smarten up my training. 

Zone 1 (111 bpm-145 bpm) is what is known as the "recovery zone." I have been trying to stay in Zone 1 for the days after my long run, speed days and hill days. Believe it or not, it's hard to stay in this zone. It means slowing down A LOT. Since my HR is naturally higher than most, it actually doesn't take me long to get to 145. And I'll be honest, I've fudged this number a bit higher because of the higher temps here. Naturally with higher temps, one's HR goes up. On my recovery days, I try to stay below 155 (fudge factor of +10). The past month's running has shown me that this number can range anywhere from 9:20P-10:00P. It actually takes effort for me to slow down to this pace, but I am really trying to honor it. I wonder if some of my injuries aren't happening because I am still not going easy enough on my easy days. It will be interesting to follow this in my next training cycle.

Zone 2 (146-163) is the "endurance zone" and is where one should be spending most of his/her time with running. While I have not been wearing my HR monitor for runs other than recovery runs, I suspect I mostly operate in this zone. If I wander into this zone on recovery days, I don't stress too much because it is a "safe" zone.

Zone 3 (164-173) is for tempos and long intervals...  I'm probably here during *recovery jog* on hill workouts and speed day repeats

Zone 4 (174-179) is for threshold intervals/cruise/fartlek... Speed/hills

Zone 5 (180-187) is for repeats... such as my mile repeats on Tuesday

Zone 5 anaerobic & peak (188+).... I probably got here on my last mile repeat Tuesday. Ken tells me that you should not spend much time in Zone 5 or you're looking at injury/burnout.

There's a ton of information out there about HR training. For me, I'm using it strictly to monitor my recovery paces. I don't wish to become a slave to my HR monitor, and the limited research that I've done indicates that relying solely on HR training can actually hinder performance. Some days your HR might be higher than others (e.g. hotter days), so I think it's good to balance your HR training with perceived effort. 

And with that, I'll probably see you next month! Off to catch up on all of the blog reading that I've neglected!


  1. My husband has long international trips that leave me a single mom for a week or two at a time - it's awful! Glad June is past for you!
    Congrats to Evan!!! Summer swim team is so demanding - hard to believe that it is prelim tim already!
    HOW??? HOW to do run in that heat??? I'm getting better running in the low 90s but it is mis-er-y for me! Great job!!!

    1. Kathy, I do think my body has just gotten used to it. Not that it's fun by any stretch of the imagination, but what can you do? Even getting up early doesn't help that much!

  2. Ah! I would positively DIE in that heat. Seriosly? We might have hit 92 yesterday, but not at 5:42. It was probably 55 then.

    So doing a little heart rate training? I have been wearing mine almost all the time running for the last few months. The heat does a real number on my heart rate though. I find that I end up having to slow down or end up in the wrong zone.

  3. Forgot to say- those boys are doing the PERFECT exercise for this weather! They have the right idea. Glad your mom could help :)

  4. Yay, thanks for the update! :) Um, seriously, waking all 3 boys at 5am and solo parenting? That sounds awful. I would have been losing it, too. And your weather sounds all too familiar, other than these weird thunderstorms we're having this week. I'm counting down to fall!

  5. Good for Laura for nudging you just a little...not that you haven't had an excuse....:^) I meant to email you last week, but was distracted by the camping trip we just returned from. I'm so glad to hear that you are well, if hunkered down by single parenting and early swim practice and HEAT!! At least your back is being nice to you. I wish I could say the same....Camping+SI Joint Issues=Unhappy Back

    Thank you so much for the HR info! I'm hoping I'm doing well enough at this point to get my test done and get my ranges. I fear I will be looking truly sucky, though.....