Thursday, December 30, 2010

Assessment Take 2

Last week I broke the iPower Vo2 assessment machine from New Leaf technologies simply by sitting in a chair with a mask on my face. Today, I was able to do the full assessment.

It was pretty good news. My Aerobic Base, which is the maximum heart rate at which I burn fat as the dominant fuel in my body went from a 141 to a 152. And my Anaerobic Threshold, which is the maximum sustainable rate at which I burned calories (fat and carbs) was a 169. This number was up from a 156 last May. In a perfect world, I'd be able to have an athletic performance that hung around my Anaerobic Threshold during my whole performance. I'll be working on that one for a while...

The good news is that I can run harder, longer and still burn fat at a higher heart rate. I got a giant high five from Jeff, who ran my assessment. This is reassuring as I'm hoping to enter the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Florida at the end of September. I can't register until February. Given my current medical issues, I thought it might be good to give my body some time to adjust, and I want to make sure I'm taking it slow and steady. Keep training. Keep sweating.

I checked out Born to Run by Christopher McDougall from the library the other day. I guess I was expecting it to be this manual on how to run barefoot. But so far, it's actually reading as a really fun adventure travel journal. My favorite aspect of the book is that the author (and several of his medical care providers) clearly state that people with his body type weren't meant to be distance runners.

He found running later in life (40) and enjoyed it and wanted to keep doing it and improving. But in the five years he'd been running he'd "ripped my hamstring (twice), strained [his] Achilles tendons (repeatedly), sprained [his] ankles (both, alternately), suffered aching arches (regularly), and had to walk down stairs backward on tiptoe" from sore heels... But McDougall wasn't a fitness novice when he started running. He was the "Restless Man" columnist who did extreme adventure sports to write about them. He was also a wartime correspondent for AP and spent some time in some dangerous parts of Africa. So he's not a wuss. He did all of that without ever hurting himself. "But jog a few miles down the street, and suddenly I'm rolling on the ground like I'd been gut shot by a drive by."

And he states that in any other sport, that kind of injury rate would kill his chance at success, but in running, injuries like this are -- Normal.


Thank goodness for the bike at the gym. And, yeah, I really gotta get back to the pool once a week... And maybe I'll just head on back to spend some time with Garin at iPower this month while I'm starting the 12-week workout program that Jeff gave me.

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