Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Joshua Tree pics

The day after the race we headed south towards Joshua Tree National Monument. Peter's been here 4 times already, this to be his 5th. Driving into the park was something else. The scenery was spectacular! Joshua tree's are such funky looking things and there are soooo many crazy rocks. I couldn't wait for Pete to take me rope climbing. The first day we went for a fun scramble in the boulders. Pete also got up to some bouldering later on.

The next day we went to a FaCT level 1 coaching certification course. To sum it up quickly, we were getting certified as Lactate Balance Point testers. This is where you perform a step-test, ideally running on a treadmill or hooking your bike up to a Tyax machine. We naturally produce Lactate and as you increase the intensity of your exercise, lactate levels rise. At low-moderate intensities your body is capable of buffering lactate as fast as it is producing it. At some point, the intensity gets to high, and your body can't buffer the lactate as fast as it is producing it and lactate accumulation occurs. Our goal is to determine the Heart Rate where the switch in Lactate balance occurs.

I had this test done a few years back and have been heart rate training ever since. The only thing I didn't realize is that, I should have been re-testing it frequently (every 6-8 wks) to see if my performance is improving. This test allows you to measure whether or not your training is making you better or worse and which system you need to improve. I know that my times in certain races are getting better but is that because I am young and I had lots of room to improve? Is it the long slow distance runs that make me better, or the hill and speed workouts? Are hills my weakness because I need a stronger heart? or is my respiratory system the problem? You can manipulate all these variables in training, re-test yourself, and monitor performance. Now that I am certified, I am excited to use myself as a guinea pig as well as help others around me.

We spent the next few days after the cert, climbing, hiking, and running. It was hot! A real nice change from the snow in North Vancouver.

Here is a pic of Pete repelling down a climb we did. He went to the top and I, well, I made it half way!

This is how I spent the trip, when playing wasn't an option:

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