Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Focus on Heart Rate

As I mentioned at the end of my post from yesterday, I want to focus on where my heart rate is during my runs for the next couple weeks.  Hubby asked me why; I just want something different to focus on for a little while.  I like having goals.

In doing a little research on heart rate zones, I came across this website. Running For Fitness has a cool little tool where you plug in your resting and maximum heart rates and it will provide you with training paces based on heart rate zones.

In my case, I have a resting heart rate of 55 (should probably test this again soon, as it's been a while - but it's hard to remember to check your heart rate in the morning before you get out of bed, when your alarm hasn't just startled you)

...and a maximum heart rate of 198 (for my maximum, I did not use one of the many formulas I've seen that involve subtracting some percentage of your age from a number in the 200-220 range; I've heard they can be inaccurate -- My heart rate has gone up to and stayed at 198 while really pushing myself while running, though I don't like it to be at that level for long!).

This is what it gave me:

(click to enlarge if needed)

Based on this little chart, I ran an easy run this afternoon trying really hard to keep my heart rate under 165.  My Garmin FR 405CX has a feature in the Training section that allows you to create a workout based on Heart rate.  I set it to stay within Zone 3 (the 151-165 range).  It beeps at you if your heart rate is too high or too low (see video in links below)

This was actually a little too narrow of a range -- it was annoying as I was just getting started with running and my HR was below 151...it kept beeping to tell me my HR was not within the zone.  I stopped the workout and changed the HR-based workout to be a custom zone, with 100 at the low end so it wouldn't annoy me for the first couple minutes of my run.

There's my run.  It was 25 min; 2.14 miles. It was 47F and sunny out.  I mostly did a good job staying under 165.  It's tough! Especially after the first half mile or so once I'm warmed up.

Here are some links on heart rate-based workouts and figuring out your maximum heart rate, etc:
Runners World: How to Use a Heart Rate Monitor
Marathon Guide: Heart Monitor Training
How To Be Fit: Training with 5 Exercise Heart Rate Zones
Garmin: More Heart Rate Options (video - helpful for HR stuff on a Garmin FR405CX)
FitSugar: High Heart Rate After Running?

Do you have experience with heart rate monitors or with training based on heart rate?? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recipe: Apple Almond Yam Cakes

Wednesday night I tried a recipe from my latest issue of Wegman's Menu Magazine: Apple Almond Yam Cakes.

I peeled the sweet potatoes (approximately 18 ounces) and a jazz apple (not Granny Smith, as called for - it was in the fridge).

Hubby and I have been married for over 3 years now, and as of last Wednesday night, had yet to use one of our wedding gifts - the slicer/shredder attachment for our Kitchenaid mixer.

A couple minutes later, this is what the sweet potatoes, and apple looked like after going through the course shredder (onion hand chopped):

After adding eggs, flour, and a little sour cream, I formed the mixture into patties, probably about 4" wide.  This was messy. They were really goopy, so I added a little extra flour for some reason.  I'm not sure that it was necessary.

In fact, the flour is probably what made the patties a little crispier than I had intended.  They were good anyway though!


My mixture made about 11 of these; I was a little short on yams.  I had planned on making a half batch, but there was no point in wasting some extra yam and half an apple, so I used it all up.  We ate 2 each on Wednesday night, I froze the rest. I'm hoping they will heat up well in the oven.
Modifications: I used Wegmans Light Sour Cream instead of regular.  I didn't add any salt.

Before making the Apple Almond Yam Cakes, I went for a 4.34 mile run.  

As I had already decided not to run an official Turkey Trot the next morning, I sort of took it easy. I ran the intervals that I was supposed to run according to the 5k training plan I made up 3x(800 in 4:59, 400 jog) but paying more attention to my heart rate, I walked if necessary to lower my HR during the recovery periods.

I went out at 4:45, it was 45F.  I wore my Lululemon Run: Team Spirit crops and Run: Swiftly Tech L/S, as well as my Brisk Run headband.  I threw my Momentum Vest by The North Face on top.  I also brought along my blinking safety light as it was already nearly dark when I headed out.

Here was my heart rate graph:

And here were my splits:
Lap 1 was the warm up; 
Laps 2, 4, 6 were run at close to a 10:00 pace, 
Laps 3, 5, 7 were the recovery -- as you can tell by the paces (13:11, 14:00, 14:43) I walked a little bit to bring my HR back into the low to mid 130s.
Lap 8 was the cool down.
The last nubbin was a walking cool down to bring my HR into the 130s again before stopping the watch.

I am going to try to pay more attention to my heart rate in the next couple weeks before (*I think*) I will officially start training for my 3rd half marathon in early spring.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Early "Turkey Trot"

Monday night I went to the nearby running store for their 6:30pm group run.  It was super warm; still 54 at 6pm when I left my apartment.

I ate half of this Iced Gingergread Clif Bar on my way home from work, and the rest of it right after taking this picture and right before heading to the group run.  Good flavor!

Next was our fabulous 3.33 mile group run, in 33:56.  I was expecting a somewhat slower pace like the group run I went on two weeks ago (Cut short at 2.14 miles, 11:14 average moving pace). However, this one was much closer to a 10 min/mile pace!  (10:11 average pace; 10:02 average moving pace).  I was one of 6 runners.  I was definitely not one of the fastest there (and at least 2 of them had just recently run full marathons), but it was nice being pushed to run at this pace slightly faster than I'm used to running.

Click to Enlarge

The splits were:
1- 10:11
2- 10:14
3- 10:19
4- 9:39 (last .33)

As you can see, I hit the 3.1 mile mark at 31:43.  That's an average 10:12 pace. (That doesn't look right based on the above numbers, but I used the Cool Running pace calculator).

That's pretty stinkin' close to the goal time I was working toward if I were to run a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot with 5 full weeks of training (31:27, 10:07 pace) or 4 full weeks of training (31:46, 10:13 pace).

I had been holding off on signing up for a Turkey Trot to see what the weather would be like, but after Monday's run I decided not to sign up for a Turkey Trot. I was pleased with my quick run and felt that I was able to keep up because of the training plan I'd been using for the last 5 weeks.  What's the point of paying $27, getting an over sized t-shirt that hits at my knees and trying to do it again Thursday morning, when I just did it Monday night.  Not to mention, I was able to sleep in til nearly 9 on Thanksgiving morning!

And so, I will say 31:43 was my unofficial 5k Turkey Trot time culminating the past 25 days of my training.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Try On Report: Lululemon Run: Alpine Pullover

As I mentioned a couple days ago... I ordered the Lululemon Run: Alpine Pullover in haze.  This is in my usual lululemon size 6. This top again fits true to size, in my opinion.

The Alpine Pullover is made of a moisture-wicking tech fleece.  It features a snug-fitting scuba hood with slit to "set your pony tail free."  There is a kangaroo pocket in front with a hidden key pocket (more on this later), and a zip pocket in back.  The neck zipper and the back pocket zipper are reflective, as well as the logo on the hood.  This top has thumbholes and cuffins to keep your hands toasty without gloves.  There is circle mesh for venting under the arms.

modeled with my Old Navy running shorts in Carbon.

Check out the pony tail slit:
(And view of both reflective zippers)


With the hood down.


So you can see the circle mesh under the arms:

Detail shot of the pleated (static haze?) luon trim on the kangaroo pocket.

More static luon on the cuff:

Puckered static luon on the shoulders.  This provides a little stretch in the shoulders if needed.

When the neck is unzipped, there's circle mesh underneath:

Some more detail shots...

When I was trying on this top, I noticed a strange little rectangle outline on the inside.

Turns out, if you look inside the kangaroo pocket, there's a little (secure?) circle mesh key pocket.  The fabric overlaps in the center of this little key pocket; there is no zipper. 

 The key pocket is oriented on the diagonal inside the kangaroo pocket.  It measures 3.25 x 2.25.  You could fit your license or credit card in there if you stretch the fabric a little.

Close up shot of the hood.  The hood is also fleecy inside, and has that static haze luon trim.  You can see the optional pony tail slit.

On some other Lululemon tops (Inspire Pullover, Dash Pullover) there have been concerns about the back pocket not being tacked down on the inside. The back pocket on the Alpine Pullover is made of circle mesh and is sewn at the bottom and on the sides, but not on the top.  There are no rough edges, so I don't see this being a problem (in this picture, the bottom of the pullover is on the top). Also, I'd likely wear this over something, even if it's just a tank top.

Here's a picture to show off some of the different textures of the fabric on this top.

And if you've never experienced cuffins before, here's what they're all about.  Say your hands get chilly, even though they're already in those cozy cuffs with thumbholes. You would just pull at the little seam that goes across the back of the wrist, and pull the fabric over your hand.

Voila: Cuffin hand.

Some measurements based on the size 6:
  • From the underarm to the bottom hem along the side (no side seam to measure along, but I just measured straight down) is 17."
  • Underarm to the cuff (while cuffins not in use) is 22.5."
  • Shoulder seam to shoulder seam across the back (unstretched) is 14."
I was concerned that the kangaroo pocket would bag out, but it laid surprisingly flat.  The Alpine Pullover isn't as "boxy" as I was expecting it to be after reading some opinions of it on the lululemon facebook page.  While it is not the Spirit Pullover from last year (that I really loved but disappeared before I could re-order in the proper size) I'm thinking I like it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Speed work and Coffee

Since on Thursday night I skipped out on the speed work in my training plan to do a shorter run with my husband, I did my speed work today. 

I had a handful of these before embarking on my run this afternoon.

I like the ruching detail that runs from the neck to under the arm on both sides.

The collar is not too tight when fully zipped, but also not too loose like some lululemon hoodies.

The zippered pocket is great; I use it for keys and ID.
Note the sad little basil plant I am desperately trying to save.
I'm also a little excited to see in this picture that the backs of my shoes are reflective!

I love this top from last winter.  It's made of running luon; has thumbholes & cuffins; circle mesh from under the arm all the way down the side and all the way down the arm; stand-up collar with ruching; ruching along from shoulder to arm pit in the front, and a back zip pocket.  I only wish it had some more reflectivity besides the logo at the back neck.  I bring along my clip-on light just in case.

I was supposed to a mile warm up, 4x[800@4:59, 400 jog], and a mile cool down for a total of 5 miles.  I tacked on a little extra distance in both the warm up and cool down since today really should have been my long run day.
So my 4 intervals that were supposed to be at 4:59 were... 4:53, 5:08, 4:49, and 4:59.  Not too shabby! I'm amazed I did as well as I did on the first one as that was uphill and on large gravel. I don't have an excuse for number two being slow, it was flat or slightly downhill.

I went out at about 4:15 pm, it was 49F and sunny, no wind; and dropped to about 44F by the time I was done around 5:25 (when it was dark).  I got pretty toasty while doing the intervals, needing to push my sleeves up and unzip my collar.  However, this is what my legs looked like when I got home!

Bright red thighs.  Also, knees are funny looking.

When I came inside, I reached into my handy back zip pocket to put my ID back into my wallet.  And my license was not there.  I had a minor freak out.  I checked the back of the couch, the kitchen table, the counter...the limited places I had been in the thirty seconds since getting back from my run.  I could not find it anywhere.  


Was my license sitting somewhere on a trail, not accessible by car, 2 or more miles from my apartment? I knew I had put it in my pocket when I left!  And I was pretty sure I zipped up my pocket (I checked in the above pictures, actually - to make sure the zipper toggle was over to the left).

Then I remembered that only a short ways from my apartment, my two apartment keys (outside door, apartment door) were jangling together, so I took one of the two from my back pocket and put it in my tiny shorts pocket. Could my license have fallen out when I moved keys around?  I grabbed my keys and ran out the door, to right around where I did the key shenanigans.  Luckily only a couple tenths of a mile away.  And PHEW.  My license was sitting there on the side walk, face down, in front of our nearby bakery.  Where it had apparently been sitting for approximately 1 hour and 9 minutes.

I can't believe I had not noticed that it fell out, but at least I was able to find it! Guess that's a perfectly good reason to get something like a Road ID* so I don't have to bring my driver's license with me.  Or, I could have been more careful when I took my keys out.

Relieved to have found my license, when I came again, I fixed up the half-packet of Starbucks VIA iced coffee I had leftover from earlier this week.

Shortly after that, my husband came home from running errands with a Dunkin Donuts nonfat Gingerbread Latte for me!  It was a nice surprise, and my first gingerbread item of the season.

They asked him if he wanted sugar in the lattes... I can't even imagine drinking this sweet latte with EXTRA sugar.  I was pleased with the latte - sometimes I've gotten them and the flavor (pumpkin or gingerbread) has been over the top like maybe they accidentally put an extra pump in. But tonight's was just right.

Ahh, coffee.
I hope everyone had a good weekend!  
I am not ready to go back to work tomorrow, but at least it's a short week.

* If you want a chance to win a Road ID, check out the Road ID giveaway over at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls.  Contest ends Friday, November 26, and is open to those in the US and Canada.

Try On Report: Lululemon Run: Dash Pullover

I ordered the Lululemon Run: Dash Pullover online to try on.  9 days later, it arrived in the mail.  Its arrival was much awaited as I have two running luon tops from last year, and enjoy them both (the Brisk L/S and the Energy Pullover),

The Dash Pullover is made of Running Luon; it's moisture-wicking, there are anti-stink mesh panels under the arm and on the inside of the arm. Thumbholes and cuffins.  A reflective front zipper; reflective strips on the fore-arms with decorative little ruffle; and reflective zipper on the pocket at the back.

This one is in static coal, in my usual Lululemon size 6.  I found it to fit true to size.

(No, I would not typically wear this with denim-like trousers, but it was a little cool in the apartment when I got home from work and did not feel like putting on running shorts for the photos).

If you want, you can zip down the front and fold over the collar if you get a little warm:

Or you could really unzip the front...but this would cause the excess fabric to flap around like some online reviewers complained about.  I can't imagine unzipping it this far while running anyway... I'm a little surprised the zipper is this long.

Some reviews have also mentioned that this top fits long.  As you could see in the earlier pictures, when worn comfortably, the top hits at the hip on me and I'm 5'2".  It was long enough that I would not worry at all about it riding up as I ran.  The only way I could see this being too long is if you really stretched it out and pulled the bottom hem down.  Then I would be able to get it past my hip and over my butt.

I would never wear it like this.

This would be a more comfortable way to wear it unzipped to cool off, without the fabric flopping as you ran:

Here's another back view to see the "anti-stink circle mesh body mapping."  Those dark zones are the circle mesh.  In addition to the back zipper being reflective, there is a reflective logo at the neck.

Circle Mesh close up:

Here are some detail shots of the ruffle on the forearm.  I like that there is reflectivity on the forearms so that if you chose to layer with a vest for extra warmth, you'd still be visible to cars:

Here's the zipper garage:

And the back pocket:

I'm not really decided on this top... only days after ordering the Dash Pullover, the Run: Alpine Pullover came out.  I ordered it over the phone in the color haze, to compare.  It's made of a warmer material called tech fleece.  It's smooth on the outside, but soft and brushed on the inside, a little thicker than Running Luon (I had an opportunity to try on a top from the same material last year; the Run: Spirit Pullover).  Here's what it looks like:

[source: lululemon banff facebook page]

Assuming the Alpine Pullover fits well; I'd be losing some of the reflectivity that the Dash offers (Alpine has reflective zipper on front neck, back pocket, hood logo).  The Alpine pullover adds a hood and some extra warmth.  The kangaroo pocket isn't exactly functional.

Not sure which I'll end up keeping, or if I'll keep either.  My wallet would not approve of me keeping both...
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