Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vernon + Sloppy Joe

Thursday morning, Jen Segger and I headed up to Vernon, B.C to get some athlete testing done with Andrew Sellers (F.a.C.T Canada). He and his wife, Ginny, put us up in their beautiful lake front home for the entire duration of our stay. We were in a bit of a rush to get up there because we were supposed to do some athlete testing once we got there. As it turned out, Andrew wasn't working the following day, like he thought he was, so we just hung out and got our selves settled in.

Jen, Andrew and I sat outside, staring out at the calm lake, catching up on life and what is coming up for us in terms of life and racing. Afterwords, Andrew got us set up on something called "The Fitmate" which is a machine that tests various things including Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This entailed wearing a breathing mask and laying supine and still for 15 whole minutes. I found this rather challenging because I kept wondering if I was truly breathing 'restfully'. We did this test several times over the next 2 days and each time was a little different. The first one I did was right before dinner and was 1163 kcal/day with a HR avg of 34bpm. Now, this isn't the number of calories I should eat per day but if I did absolutely nothing but sleep for a whole 24 hours, this would be the caloric intake that my body would need simply to function. I did a test directly after breakfast on day 2 and this one read 1311 with a HR avg of 58 bpm, much higher than the previous day. I am not sure if eating directly before has something to do with it but it is my only assumption. Day 3 I did it for the last time right before breakfast as I thought this would give me my true BMR. This was was 1033 kcal/day with a HR avg of 50. This was good to know because this number is somewhat of a baseline. If I take into consideration the amount of calories I burn during exercise and during daily activity I can add that to the 1033 and that should be around the number of calories I should eat per day. However, there are going to be times when my BMR is elevated (after a strength training session) and I'll actually burn more than the 1033 kcal/day and I'll have to take that into consideration.

Jen did this test a few hours after exercise and her BMR was elevated significantly around 1800 calories.

On Friday morning I did my Balance Point test and a Vo2 test, where I was strapped up to a face mask. Notice that I wrote Vo2 not Vo2max. In my sport, ultra running, I will almost never be running at max speed, thus Vo2max is an irrelevant test. Knowing my Vo2 patterns in general is much more relevant to me and my sport. I contracted something the day before and wasn't feeling very well and was hoping it wouldn't effect the results too much. Unfortunetley, the treadmill they have was a bit old and as we were nearing the pivotal point in the test, it shut off! I broke it! We got it back working but it kept shutting itself off every minute or so and we never got to finish. The Vo2 info was also lost because the machine shut off and all the data was gone. Andrew however, was able to make conclusions from what he saw during the test and my respiratory system seems to be working optimally.

Andrew determined a weakness of mine which is my cadence (turnover) at lower speeds (it wasn't too bad at higher speed). You can increase speed in 2 ways, 1) increase stride length and/or(2) increase cadence. I seem to have a pretty good stride length, so to get faster, I need to move my feet a bit quicker. This will be important in a race like Elk Beaver 100km.

That afternoon, Jen and I went for a nice hike in the area around the lake. The trails we were on turned out to be great running trails and I will have to come back to explore them further. The next morning we went to a 'cardiac pulmonary' talk in Salmon Arm, followed by a great run on the Salty Dog mountain bike trail. It was a very hilly course but Jen and I had a blast ripping around on the trails. I was glad we got out for just over an hour and a half of running because this was followed up with a 6 hour drive back home. All in all it was a great trip and I learned a lot, not only about myself as a runner but ways I can be an even better coach. One thing I learned was the importance of determining your limiting factor, especailly if you have hit a plateau in your training. Your limiting factor could be neuromuscular, respiratory, muscular, cardiac, etc and once you determine that, focus your training around it. As athletes we often train our strengths because it is what we are good at but you will be a much more well rounded athlete if you focus on your weakness's. Go into each workout with a goal/focus. Use B and C races to work on your weakness, whatever they may be. What is your limiting factor????

Today, Peter and I went out for our first 4 hour run of the year. It seems pretty late in the year do be doing our first 4 hour run but we have been building up slow and steady. We have done a million runs at the 2.5-3 hour range and I think it is the reason the 4 hours felt great, although I tripped a bunch of times and felt a little sloppy. I am still feeling a bit sick but it's all in my throat and my body actually feels fine. We got in a great Western States training run. Lot's of ascent and descent (5500 feet up and down). We started out running to Grouse Mountain (about an hour) and power hiked straight up for 50 minutes. That was followed by 25 minutes of steep downhill. My quads just got worked but they came around pretty quick. After about 20 minutes of rolling terrain we started up our second power hiking effort, followed by another long descent on kick ass mountain bike trails (the same one's as usual).

The title "Sloppy Joe" refers to the massive bail I took on the final part of the last descent. We were already on a fairly technical trail but it was particularly rocky where I supermanned. I must have tripped on a rock and literally went chest first right into one the size of a volleyball, landing hard on my sternum with scrapes all over. I was surprised that it didn't really hurt that much but I was nervous that I broke something. I was able to get up and continue running the lat 30 minutes of the run. Now however, it is getting increasingly sore and is quite painful every time I twist to reach for something. I am sure it's just bruised...

Anywho, the last 3 days have been great/educational and I can't wait for the adventures to get even longer!

ps- I love how long runs tire you out, which makes sitting on my couch, watching the Oscars guilt free.

See you in the trails!


Ellie Greenwood said...

Really interesting about all those varous tests you had Nicola. I really should pick your expert brain sometime as I am so untechnical and unscientific in my training! Hope that injury from the spill doesn't last long!

Nicola Gildersleeve said...

You seem to be doing pretty well with whatever method you have been doing for the past bunch of years!!!!

ayarella said...
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Anonymous said...

That number (1200 ish) seems really low for a BMR- even with 2 different heart rate values. I guess I don't understand how this works? I had my BMR tested recently and it was 1550 (after 8 hr fast and sleep). My typical HR is 45-48...

Nicola Gildersleeve said...

The other girl I was testing with had a BMR of 650! I thought I was doing pretty good!