Friday, February 22, 2008

No news is good news

I haven't blogged in about two weeks, which is weak. But writing about, let's see . . .a four year-old's runny nose, or my wife's haircut, or my contemplation of whether or not to shave my legs again just don't seem to carry the exigency I want associated with my blog. Not that post titles should read like declarations of war; it's just that we're in a nice little aerobic state, plugging along. No news is good news.

But let me catch-up on some minor things. I got my first acupuncture done about a week ago. It was pretty interesting listening to the therapist narrate her work, the cause-and-effect of some of her procedures. While she stuck me with needles, she also massaged. I think this is a little unusual. Most people get either stuck or rubbed, but not both simultaneously. Having filled-out some paperwork beforehand, she had some ideas on what she would address. In short, she worked on my hip, my lungs/immune system, and, I think, my hypothyroidism. The first thing she looked at was my tongue. She determined I had some kidney deficiency. She said the body's joints are related to kidney health. She said there wasn't enough time to address everything. Obviously, she would recommend I make another appointment to see things through. I want to get my wife over there and maybe even my kid. The therapist said she totally recommends acupuncture for kids, but for younger kids, the needle-work is superficial, without breaking the skin. She said the results can be just as effective.

I liked the massage a lot, too. On the previous day, I had done a pretty solid hr+ on a very soft surface, which kinda banged up my feet. I still have a little plantar strain that occurred on Boney Mt. She worked that. She also massaged my stomach. I thought this was interesting; she said therapists rarely do that. Here I am week later with a very odd gastrointestinal "bug." Maybe she released something. Anyway, good stuff. My hip feels good and I was able to really log some good longer runs last week before getting kinda sick on Monday with this stomach flu thingy.

Since she's an ultra runner, it was handy to discuss my possible aspirations to chew on some big off-road mileage. She didn't see anything with my body that might justify this apprehension I'm having. She noticed some hip issue, but said she's had vertebrae fused/back surgery, etc.; she just has to be really conscious of recovery/maintenance. Sounds good to me. I'd like to complete a 50k in 2008. That's a good start.

The training has been strictly aerobic. All of my runs have averaged about 147BPM. It's been odd, sometimes nervously checking my HR to make sure I don't get too high. . .
And there will be those sections of a run where I decide to ramp it up, perhaps I'm going to be late for an appt., so I'm suddenly outside my "zone." To my relief, the avg. HR is still well within the "zone." It makes me wonder. If I keep it nice and aerobic for a good 1/2hr and then throw-down a little tempo, and then back down to aerobic, my HR will probably be high 140s. So that's still an aerobic work-out despite the 15-20 min. when I'm up and out? This attention to such detail is just new to me, so pardon the curiosity/skepticism/ignorance tea party. As I've said more than once, I've never been coached, but I've been an athlete all my life. If the technical science is that good, I want to definitely better on the fitness that enabled me to lay down 1:32 1/2 marathon on my own without the science, without a HR monitor. This aerobic training I'm doing for a month at least should, according to some experts, make me stronger and faster, at least give me the capacity to become those things.

I'm going to start mixing up the terrain a little. I've been staying flat recently to make sure my HR stays low. I think I can start hitting some trails again and working on other aspects of my conditioning. I'll keep it aerobic, but for a day a week when I do need to start charging "it" a little.

Speaking of charging it a little, I went down to see the XC nationals men's open race. My son and I caught the end of the women's open and I did catch a glimpse of Beth, who was under the weather. Props to her for toeing the line with those gazelles. The men's 12k race was great for about 6k; that was when Ritz made his move and crushed the rest of the guys, including Ryan Hall. The top nine qualified for world's in Ireland, so Hall's 5th place is all good. When we were leaving Fiesta Island we saw Hall heading-out for another run. What a life. Live and train at altitude, win the marathon Olympic trials, qualify for xc world's. . . . Interesting note on the Mission Bay xc nationals. The last time it was held at Mission Bay was 1972. The winner there went on to win the gold in the Olympic marathon. Guy's name was Frank Shorter. Nice precedent. Can Ritz repeat the feat? He came in 2nd in the trials. I'm McLovin the American racing program!

I've got to say, even though I've already said congratulations, big props to Mr. Walsh for his insane dedication, infectious spirit and the recent fruits of his labor. He's the real deal. Guys like him add a lot to this discourse community, this life-style. We all need to remember that life is so so short. People like JW don't have to be reminded of that. Everyone, keep up the HR and seize 2008!


  1. thanks for the props homey! I think your "all aerobic" block will pay off huge and you'll realize it pretty quick when you start adding in some race pace tempo runs. Get out on those trails!

  2. Matt-
    Interesting notes on the acupuncture. I think we westerners are in the dark about alternative medicine.. we usually just pop a pill!
    To answer your question on my blog about HR's and my recent recovery run with an average of 130. The run I did was recovery only- my only goal was to increase blood flow and stimulate a little neurological action with my running muscles. I did not have the goal of building fitness in any way. You had mentioned that you performed a long run at a HR 130 (?) and the purpose of a long run is to stimulate fitness. Now, if you are going to run long at a HR that is that low then it needs to be truly long- like 3:00+ in order to exhaust your aerobic system and stimulate growth... or: you run faster and bring your aerobic system up a notch and closer to it's aerobic maximum (aka:steady state or AeT )
    What you are attempting to do with your training is absolutely correct. And remember that you are trying to maximize your pace at your aerobic HR (140-150?) so monitor this frequently with tests- 5 miles at HR 140-150 with average pace. Once your pace per mile stops getting faster then that is your body telling you that it is time to move to the next phase of training.
    What you have done recently with the elevation of your HR above AeT, then dropping it back down is in my opinion very good. It is the best way to bring your AeT closer to your LT. Just be cautious and avoid going above LT now, it has mostly risk and little benefit.
    You will see in my next training block (32 weeks) that I will be attempting to simply run at HR 140-150 for 14 weeks and see if I can get my pace down to <5:30 at this HR.
    You want to race a 50k? Keep with the aerobic training and change the volume rather than the HR.. run longer!

  3. Matt,
    I posted this on Scott's blog, but then noticed you started the whole thing.

    Was a pretty cool, intense, artsy but engaging film.