06 January 2011

Holy Heart Rate Homeboy!

Oh Heart Rate... you really rue the day.

My last four weeks of training have been great, and I contribute that to a number of factors:

1) I have an exceptional new coach who is accessible and makes my swim workouts tolerable. 
2) I have made the Trakkers Team and have a lot of great new teammates to bounce ideas off of.
3) I have a positive mental attitude. 
4) Am learning that proper hydration and a minimum of seven hours of sleep can go a long way.

Unfortunately, with only three seasons of triathlon under my belt, I am at that point of knowing just enough to be dangerous.

For instance, this season, I actually took the time to learn the difference between a tubular and a clincher tire. Sure, simple enough you say. I had always heard the terms, but thought they were associated with World Wrestling Federation moves performed by the likes of Superfly Jimmy Snuka:

"... He's got him in the dreaded tubular now... and it appears... yes.. my goodness... he went right into a full clincher."

You know.. in a lot of ways, professional wrestling is just like triathlon. You get to wear a lot of tight spandex without anyone looking at you funny. The competitors are spent, and soaked in sweat while hugging their teammates at the end of the competition, and both sports have athletes that enjoy throwing their arms in the air, and making the number one sign while shouting like an air raid siren for some odd reason.

Oh, for those of you who are unfamiliar with these therms, :

Tubular: A type of tire mainly used for racing. A tubular tire has no beads; instead, the two edges of the carcass are sewn together (hence the term "sew-up") with the inner tube inside. Tubulars fit only on special rims, where they are held on by cement. If you do not glue those puppies on correctly, they can come undone, you could crash, and most certainly die, or at the very least, be held up in a hospital bed for 6 to 8 months. 

Clincher: This is the normal type of tire—you know, with the rubber balloon inside of the tire, referred to as a tube. It fits inside the tire and is mounted to the rim. 

If you want to sound really smart talking to the bike shop mechanic next time you are there, check out Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Glossary. 

So, about this heart rate thing. Apparently Coach Mary thought I knew things like my lactate threshold, maximum heart rate, and who this Joel Friel guy is. Heck, I still do not understand the difference between a $150 and $500 dollar wetsuit, and I am totally convinced that Andy Potts could beat me wearing one of those suits from 20,000 Leagues under the sea, much in the same way Lance could smoke me in a time trial riding a 1970's Schwinn.

Coach Mary—the greatest, most patient coach on the planet—had me doing a lot of my early base stuff in zone 2. Unfortunately, for the first two weeks of training,  I really had no idea what my zone 2 was, nor was I overly concerned until I remembered the reason I decided to work with a coach was so that I would actually improve my results from last season. I think she probably thought, this guy has some experience. He understands zone 2. Negative Ghost Rider. So, I took a lactate threshold test with a nerdy science friend of mine, and learned that my HR zones were off. Way off. I had previously thought that the ceiling for my zone 2 was somewhere around 125-127. Turns out, my ceiling is closer to 165 in zone 2. How did I get 125ish? Well, if you plug your maximum HR into your fancy Garmin by doing the unofficial "poor-man's" method of figuring out your HR (i.e. 220 minus your age), Garmin will conveniently spit out some generic HR zones for that work equally well for me as they do for the guy who smokes two packs of Marlboro's a day. It only makes sense that I should have a higher maximum HR than cancer stick guy. Now that I understand the zones, it is still a challenge to be patient and remain within them. I find little things like ego and boredom start creeping in and I just want to run. However, I understand what the idea is: slowly and steadily build up your zone 2 to allow yourself to run faster in that HR zone. In other words, I want to go from running a 9:30 mile in zone two to running and 8:30. Duh! There is no getting away with anything. I wear my HR monitor (most days—and when I don't, there are severe consequences).

Twilight Update: As many of you are aware of, the wifey and I have watched the first three Twilight movies and I hate to admit it—but I was completely sucked, er... bitten.... I mean... we really liked this teenage campy movie. I am totally Team Alice for sure.

So the wifey and I were sitting around the other night having a serious conversation about this whole vampire/werewolf thing. Here are some questions we have about all of it:

1) So, if Edward and what's her face get together, are they unable to procreate because he is.... you know... dead?

2) Do vampires poop? I mean honestly, they don't eat.

3) Can Edward and Bella have children? AND, if so, isn't it going to be weird once their kids are finally older than their parents?

Okay... plane to Seattle is calling... gotta run. More soon. Happy Training!


Anonymous said...

Now I'm going to be reciting old wrestling lines in my head all day. UGH! My husband used to love WWE or whatever the federation was called and like you were a good husband watching Twilight I spent a Friday night or twelve in my time watching sweaty men in spandex roll around on a mat . . .

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

I like the parallel's between Triathlon and wrestling - very spot on Mark!

More of an RPE guy here but I used to do the HR zones and did the lactate testing. It works, I am just too lazy to remember to wear a HR monitor

Have a good time in SEA!

Christi said...

Okay, so Angel Buffy's vampire was able to have a baby with another vampire so maybe it will work for the Twilighters!

RockStarTri said...

I loved staying up late and watching wrestling at midnight. Of course I'm dating myself with Bruno Sammartino and you are too with Jimmy Snuka.

I regularly fail training by HR so I train the bike by power and run by RPE; HR is too variable for me.

Kiersten said...

My sister and I used to watch GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) and WWF on Saturday mornings.

Twilight- Read the last book (that is all I am saying about that).

Love the Top Gun reference...did a whole blog post about Sharpie at Quassy called "Every Maverick Needsa Goose". I can't wait to hang out with you and your family at a race!

Meredith said...

You haven't read the Twilight books, obviously, or else you would have been able to answer your question. The last book is horrible though, as I'm sure the movie will be (and in my opinion--all of them).


The great thing about being over 50 is we talk about being in the zone.... and the nice thing is, there is only one.

Joel said...

Very funny post, Mark. I agree on the wrestling bit!

Curious about your HR zones. I've never had a real test done, and have always done the "poor man's" method. I wonder if my rates will be different?

Mark said...

Joel—I think they would most certainly be different. I would highly suggest doing a real test with a qualified professional. I was lucky in that I had a nerdy science friend administer the test, but I think a real test goes about $75. I think it might be worth it for you to do—especially if you train by HR.

Molly said...

Just wait until you read Breaking Dawn....just wait.

I have no clue about heart rate training. I have yet to use that feature on my Garmin, and I've had it for seven months. But I think I should.

Colleen said...

I literally have laughed outlaoud at least three times during this blog... first for the title, second for the wrestling comment and third for the time you spent contimplating Twilight.

Thank you for making me smile!

Anonymous said...

Yup; I know that ridiculous 220-age thing. Even in class for kinesiology, they teach that, and I've argued with the teachers PLENTY that it's total bunk...they don't believe me. As to your Twilight questions...

ONE-HER NAME IS BELLA AND IS PLAYED BY KRISTEN STEWART AND SHE'S AWESOME AND SO FAR MY CELEBRITY CRUSH THAT IT'S NOT EVEN...ok; sorry. I kinda have a thing for her. And vampires in general; before they were pretty and glitter covered and 'in'; Anne Rice's and Guillmo del Toro's books are better. And no; they can't, UNLESS, like Blade, a mother is bitten while pregnant, and the kid is turned into some kind of hybrid with/without certain vamp traits.
TWO-yes; if you mean pee. Even blood has some waste matter in it, and that has to be expelled.
THREE-That was answered in my first answer, BUT; when someone is infected, the vamp strain it changes them into their 'prime' form(which is why you don't see floppy and jiggly ones), so the kid, or hybrids, like Blade(great movies; you should watch them next), stop maturing once they get to that prime age.
I know; my geek is showing. That's ok; it's funny; I played football in middle and high school, hung out with the 'cool' kids, who weren't really cool at all, but still watched anime and read comics. I'm like the high school clique melting pot :)

jessithompson said...

Lol... love the Twilight comments. Read the books - SO MUCH better than the movies and like others said, it would answer all of your questions. :)

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