Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quick update

 I'm still here. Just busy doing a full remodel of our spare bedroom in prep for moving the boys in to it. Our house was built in 1951 and it has issues. I pinched the tip of my finger off and it lit my world up, stars and endorphins and I was almost high from it. When I was roofing in the Virgin Islands I hit my thumb with a hammer and the pressure and swelling under my thumb nail built up for two days... on the third, I hit it again and my thumb exploded like a grape and I remember tears squirting out of my eyes. This was close today. I had two ER visits this year... so some gauze, tape and a glove will prevent another. Really really really intense pain is like a drug. A really painful one.
 I have a write up on my athletes coming. I'm behind on this.
 Trainingpeaks is going downhill at the same rate that they are trying hard to get better. It was perfect a couple of years ago. Simple and very effective. Now it's just tedious and complicated.
 I should be getting my (free) i-phone in the next couple days. No cellular plan, I hate cell phones, but I will be far more mobile with just the wifi thingy. Plus it will have Angry Birds.
 Tomorrow is my podcast with
 And hopefully I will be doing a weekly podcast with Ben Greenfield at Endurance Plant.
 I've never listened to a single podcast and I'm not sure what it/they is/are. I think it's for people who are bored at work. Like my blog.


Wassdoc said...

Angry birds is highly addictive. You can get free wi-fi at Starbucks. Reading blogs reminds us that others suffer through the same things. I followed ironman all day on the web, following your athletes and others, and now read their blogs to get the true picture of an incredible day. It's amazing how some athletes hardly mentioned the oppressive heat, but focused on the physical ramifications of that heat. I've literally devoured the book Unbroken the last few days. What Louis Zamperini survived during WWII is truly cause to reflect on the depths of suffering that a person is capable of withstanding, and puts our minor struggles in perspective. Watch your thumbs! Those two boys are in for a treat!

Art said...

Whew....! Glad to hear we don't have to send S & R out to find ya....4 days is a long time to go without any posts to chew on....I figured you were sick or still out skiing in the backcountry....;-)

Paul said...

For me it's bored in the car. On long trips podcasts help me pass the time easier. I also like them on the trainer if I'm forced indoors for longer sessions. Be careful with the remod work.

Rob Timko said...

Bored at work here and there certainly aren't enough good podcasts out there. Looking forward to it.

As for training peaks. I keep trying...then after a week I get so frustrated I give up. They have some fantastic data analysis, but for fucks sake, especially on a mac, it's ridiculous. I tried again last week because someone told me they had a neat feature to see how I'm improving on running hills/climbs called normalized graded pace....but promptly gave up on trying to upload my data/gps/altitude correction, etc.

Do you know of a good way to get that info (finding out if my incline running is getting better without doing regular TT's up known routes?)

Fred (aka ace) said...

Your blog is for people who would rather be running instead of at work. That isn't boredom, that is "sanity". I hope your finger heals quickly.

Lucho said...

Thanks guys!

Rob- The new TP is way too over done. And they recently made a change in the drop down menus that is ridiculous. They basically just made it harder. And when you get a pop up on a website that reads "Watch the tutorial" regarding how to use it, that's a sign. It is way over complicated. I'll stick to my weekly hill time trials and my handwritten log book for the hill climbing thing. GZ is maybe the guy to ask in that regard.

GZ said...

Meh, I have tried training peaks a few times because my company has some fitness program through it. I gave up though because I was just not enthused with it.

You don't have to TT a known route. You could go fixed HR on a known route.

Say you fix the HR at 160 on an uphill route. For the average fella, that ain't all out, but it ain't all aerobic either. For most that would probably be some sort of tempo moderate thing. Say you hold that on a known hill route for 20 minutes. Whatever. You can fix the HR where ever you want (well, sort of) and the length to whatever you want.

This really just like a MAF test of course. Except that typically those sort of things are done on a track so you can really just dial the pace in at your MAF HR.

What you look for in that test, or the F(ixed)HR test is to see if the time is dropping. If it is, at the same HR, then you are improving.

Regardless of what TP says or not.

Of course, other shit can screw that up (hydration, heat, snow, wind, diet, stress, ass eyes ...)

Not really helpful I guess ...

I never listen to podcasts at work. I do listen to some while I run, or maybe during a car ride. I go about 1/3 music, 1/3 podcast. and 1/3 nothing at all.

Lucho said...

G- Any insight in to the software stuff that Rob was curious about?

Rob Timko said...

Thanks GZ. That's a good idea. I'll have to check some of my frequent routes and look at HR's/pace. Then look at the splits a bit and see if I'm gaining the time more weighted on the ups or the downs.

I'm not really a data whore like some folks, but that's certainly data point that interests me since moving out here.

I heard sport tracks may do it, but I have one of those suckey mac's and would rather spent my computer time talking smack on the interwebs than fiddling with stuff.

Fred (aka ace) said...

At this point I'm really just wondering what "ass eyes" are?

Lucho said...

Ace- Ya, I'm kind of curious myself. There's ass over elbows, dragging ass, handed you your ass, feel like ass, ass hat, a bag of ass... ass eyes?

GZ said...

I use Sporttracks and you can get all sorts of stuff like pace, grade, HR, elevation, and then use plug ins like Brandon does (and I have) to look at things like TSS and TRIMP (stress scores) but I less than convinced it tells you a lot.

Ass eyes ... all I can tell you is you should ask if Testemax is right for you.

Lucho said...

Oh man! I can't believe I forgot that video! Ass eyes... of course..

My take on a lot of that high end tech stuff is that the greatest benefit comes from having someone else look at the data points. The more you can offer the more someone can help you. Aaron K recently asked for help in predicting his marathon pace and all he gave was pace during a single run. That's sort of like calling a car dealer and asking 'how much is my car worth?' The more information I get from an athlete the better.
Second, I think the high end tech stuff is fun and almost like a hobby. Outside of those two things though I doubt very much that many athletes are using the information effectively enough to make it worth while. If you don't know what the numbers mean or their relevance to your performance then it's more of a 'fun' thing. I suspect that, secretly, in ever mud hut in Kenya they all have laptops and trainingpeaks and are logging away and analyzing :)

Lucho said...

And just to clarify, I'm not ragging on the tech stuff or the hobby aspect of using all that. I'm fairly geeky in my own training logs and I have plenty of tech stuff. I enjoy the data more than most maybe, but after having coached ~150 people now the numbers mean a lot to me. Almost like a blueprint for a building, either one that needs a remodel or one waiting to be razed and then re-built.

Rob Timko said...

So much for a quick update, we've been clogging up your comments. Mea culpa.

what do you think are significant/most important data points in predicting (trail)race times? I ask because I'm running a 50k this weekend and I have a prediction contest going with some friends who are east coast triathlon guys and don't know trail running at all. They don't quite understand why some runs are 14:00 pace and some are 8:00 at the same HR. It's awesome to hear the predictions and reasons why based on my 'data' (I'm not a data geek but do log all of my data to Garmin connect).

My own prediction seems unrealistically ambitiously arrogant, going by how I feel, despite basically no training.

Some of the things I'm having trouble guessing is, I'm used to (and suck at) longer trail climbs rather than the short steep up and downs of this race. I'm curious if shorter/steeper is going to benefit me or hurt me. I'm also having a bit of an issue trying to figure out what 'pace' is safe to go out at based on HR.

(see how bored I am at work?)

Lucho said...

Rob- This is exactly what the comment section is for! And I love this stuff. Answering your questions while you're bored IS my work. When I'm bored at work I do the laundry.
It's impossible to give you an idea or an opinion with out seeing past training data. PE is a huge one and the most simple and low tech... IE: HOW hard was the run? Let's say you run 10 miles with 2000ft of climbing in 1:30 and it feels about like a 5 out of 10 over-all. Then you do it in ~1:20 with a PE of 7-8. Then 1:10 with a PE of 9-10.
So lets say you are racing ~15 miles and the course has say 3000ft of climbing... I would have you start off at ~8:30 pace for the first few miles and then assess PE and how you feel and then make a pace adjustment. This is all a pretty rough example off the top of my head.
Using HR gives you much more clear data point that can give you an IDEA of where you are, but HR is by no means an infallible guide. Use PE with pace with HR though and you can triangulate quite accurately.
I read something recently regarding Max King's time/ pace at the world trail champs, people commented that he ran pretty "slow". Adorable, ignorant people.

What are some examples of average pace in a couple of your most recent long runs? With a 50k, actual speed from shorter runs will be much less of a predictor for performance in the 50k.

Rob Timko said...

Keep in mind I'm a complete newb and embarrassingly slow, especially on the trails out here. Prior to two years ago I never ran a mile in my entire life. I grew up on the east coast and just moved to Boulder in April out of love for the trails/mountains. Here is the email I sent to my east coast friends who are triathletes. I turned them on to your blog and they absolutely love it/stalk it. Their predictions are here: data to follow...

Rob Timko said...

Before I even say anything, I'm going to kill it. Really. Closest pace/time without going UNDER wins something yet to be determined, but I'm not stingy and it will be worth it.

- The Race: Mountain Madness 50k
- 30 miles
- 5k feet of elevation gain so 166ft/mi
- Technical
- the course details: -
Note: This person finished 34/83.
- 83 finishers, ~20 DNFs
- last years results:

I raced the 25k (harder half of the loop) last year, and my time was 4:33 (because I had to walk it in!!!). I came in 37/58 ouch, but I had maybe 40 trail miles under my belt at the time.

Some recent (within the last 30 days) training runs :
10k road run (Saturday) - - HR: 165 Pace:8:51 - 25ft/mi
Blue Sky Trail Marathon - -HR: 147 Pace: ~13:00 until I got sick problems at mile 20 and had to sto for 22 minutes at the aid station, then walk it in - 128ft/mi - HOT 88 degrees.
5.6mi technical trail run - - HR: 147 Pace: ~12:00 - 191ft/mi
Bear Chase Trail Half-Marathon - - HR: 161 Pace: 10:26 - 62ft/mi
19mi technical trail run - - HR: 145 Pace: 14:55 - 169ft/mi
4mi technical trail run - - HR: 162 Pace: 11:55 - 206ft/mi
I ran with JV on a kind of downhill TT on the Boulder creek path and after a 3.1mi warmup, on the down I managed 7:06 pace at an avg HR of 179

Rest of my run data:
summaries of my weeks here:

....still some more

Rob Timko said...

- Currently at 155lbs. 12.4%bf - Not sure what I was last year probably 160-162
- This will be my first time at sea-level since April. Since, I've been at 5200' or above. I arrive Wed afternoon, and the race is Saturday morning.
- Since April, I really haven't taken more than 1 day off in between runs and run 5x a week. I tapered a bit this past week (25mi total as opposed to 35-45), and will continue to taper the rest of the week, significantly. With a short 4mi road run today and maybe 1 more short road run before the race in NJ.
- After than Marathon training run, despite being on my feet running for 7 hours (with a good 30 minute break at mile 20), the next day I felt great and went on a decent 6mi group run.

Summary of my last 30 days
Count: 22 Activities (17 have been technical trail)
Distance: 144.78 mi (126 have been technical trail)
Time: 31:42:16 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 18,495 ft
Avg Pace: 13:00
Avg ft/mi: 128ft/mi
Avg HR: 148 bpm
Avg Distance: 6.58 mi
Avg Elevation Gain: 841 ft
Max Distance: 27.22 mi
Avg Time: 1:26:28 h:m:s
Max Time: 6:58:48 h:m:s

My Goals: My main goal is to finish in the top 50%. I'd then like to beat that guy who's Garmin data I posted. Then, I'd like to break 7:00:00.

How I think it will go: I'm fine with the technical trails. I'm unsure about the elevation profile. I'm used to a few longer steeper climbs (1-2mi), rather than many shorter climbs. I'm not sure if that's going to benefit me or hurt me. If I had to bet, I think it's going to benefit me. I'm a little unsure of my nutrition/hydration. So far this year I've bonked HARD 3x on longer runs, but, heat seems to be a common thread when it happens (85+). The weekend temp looks to be about a high of 62. perfect. If my nutrition plan goes as it usually does, and works out, I feel I'm going to kill it. 13:30 pace/6:45 finish would be ideal. I've never, ever, ever, ever, felt faster, fitter, better at trail running. ever. I haven't put out a real race effort in a while. I ran the above half marathon at 'almost' race effort, maybe tempo run-ish, and the marathon as just a training run/fun effort. I look at the 13:30 pace above, and for some reason, I think that's not a fast enough goal and I'm VERY confident about it, then I look at last years results and some people I've run with before and think there is no way I could beat them and they ran a bit slower and if I was actually being sensible, 7:35ish time seems right, crazy, I know. SO my predictions are all over the place.

Perhaps I'm just overconfident?

Nutrition is going to be 1.5liter water pack, re-filled when needed and a Clif gel every 30 minutes. I'm unsure of what I should do as far as caffeine gels, i.e. if I should alternate or what. I'm unsure of how frequently I should S-cap too. I'll electrolyte drink at every aid station and snag a handful of whatever I'm craving at that point too.

K. done!

Lucho said...

Holy shit.

Part of the reason you bonk is that your metabolic economy is not appropriate to the effort. That and undereating. Anytime you see someone bonk they made poor decisions, don't do that at the 50k. Straight maltodextrin powder... it's the cheapest and the most effective nutrition on the market. 2 gels per hour is about 1/3 of what I take in. 200-300 calories per hour WILL put you in to deficit and you'll end up sitting on the side of the trail with your head between your knees. And not all calories are created equal. You can take in ~80-100g of CHO per hour if it's the right solution and that can be doubled early in an ultra while your GI tract still has adequate blood supply. I think at Leadville I ate close to 700 calories in the first hour. Caffeine, whatever. It will have a minimal impact either way.
13:30 is not unrealistic if you feel good and maintain your nutrition. Once you fall off nutrition then you will see a drop off in pace, bank on that. If you use HR then the first ~5 miles should be capped at 145 MAX and expect to get passed. If you want to run your goal then you will just watch the go by. As your HR drifts then try more to maintain effort but still cap HR at ~155 up to 20 miles. Walk hills as needed. A 13:30 goal pace will not be affected by walking but it could be affected by not walking. After 20 miles then get to point B with the best effort you have.
Sodium. 1 S-cap per hour early while it's cool out. If you are hydrating effectively then bump that to 1-2 after 15 miles. You should aim for no less than 20oz of water per hour. If it 's cool out then there's no benefit to drinking more. If you start to pee frequently then bump the S-caps to 3 per hour and cut back on water. If your stomach starts to feel bloated and full then drink more water, your stomach contents need diluting to empty.
With your bonk history and nutrition doubts I would say that should be focus number one, pace second. Everything begins and ends with nutrition. I've seen Formula-1 race cars run out of gas... then what do you have? My Honda could kick it's ass then.
Start at 13:30 and see where it takes you. Your confidence in yourself on the day matters MOST. If you keep that belief, then you can do whatever you set your mind to.

Rob Timko said...

Thank you, so much. I will keep you posted! I really, really, appreciate the advice.

Lucho said...

Have a great race!

Rob Timko said...

Figured you may be interested in my race report. Wish it went better, but compared to last year, I guess I can't complain. Make no mistake, I will break 7:00 next year. I'll start on THAT today.