Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pre-Training Annual Physical - Stress Test

Because my brother had a heart attack, and because my heart rates are WAY above the charts, I always get an annual physical and check up with my cardio before running/training season.

This year, since I am almost 52, the cardiologist chose to include a stress test since my last one was two years ago.

I showed up and this is pretty much how it went.

RN plastered my chest and such with electrodes and wires. She also taped a blood pressure cuff to my right arm. THAT was different than the first time.

I noted that the room was very cold. She smiled.

I stepped onto the treadmill and she punched in my data.

  • HER: "Your target heart rate is 143 and your Max Heart rate is 169. We will probably stop somewhere in between."
  • ME: "Can we please go up to 180?"
  • HER: "180?! Your max is 169."
  • ME: "My average heart rate on my 3 to 6 mile runs is 167-169. My highest is usually between 178-180 unless I am racing then it gets to 181 or 182. It hit 191 once but I won't let that happen again."
  • HER: "If you are feeling okay when we get to those numbers, we will go to them. But please let me know if you feel any pain or get dizzy."

So - the first few phases are just walking at steep inclines as the machine speeds up. I was bored and yakking up a storm.  She took my blood pressure a few times during those phases.

Then the machine started at a running pace at 14% incline.

I was STILL fine, but starting to sweat. By the end of the 3 minute section though, my heart rate was in the high 160's and low 170's. She said it was the 14% incline that made it happen so fast.

Then the machine cranked up the speed again, still at a 14% incline. I was still talking. I was getting sweatier. At about 2 and a half minutes in, my heart rate got up to 180. She asked if I was okay and if she could take my blood pressure while I maintained that. "SURE" and still I was able to talk. But, it was getting hard to do that.

My blood pressure (while my heart rate was 180-182) was at 175/89.

She said that was "GREAT" for that level of intensity!!! Then when she was done, with just 10 seconds left to go before it sped up again I told her, "Okay. We can stop now."

She asked me what I was feeling when I told her we could stop. I told her that I felt like I was having a hard time getting a decent breath. "That's it?" Yeah. "No dizziness, pain or weakness?" "No. Just getting out of breath." I also commented it was so hard to breath with how hot and muggy the room was.

She reminded me that I had called it an icebox 20 minutes earlier. Oh yeah.

After I stepped off the treadmill, she sat me on the examining table. My heart rate dropped to 99 within minutes and she said that was indicative of being 'super fit'. I asked her, "Not bad for a fluffy old person, huh?" and she said, "Nope! Not bad at all!"

This was the FIRST time they ever let me go over 155 heart beats per minute on a stress test. I am glad I asked her to please let me keep going. I didn't know to ask two years ago.


If they say no, at least you tried.

Now I wait for the results - and I am not worried in the least. I even signed up for a second Half Marathon for this summer. Let the training begin!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another 2014 Goal Accomplished!

Even at my fittest (fall 2012) when I weighed 158-163 and ran 13.1 miles, I was only able to run a NON-STOP mile under 10 minutes ONCE (that was September 2012).

One of my goals for this year was to do that again, so I was very surprised when I was able to do it so soon, since I weigh 19 more pounds than I did then!

It showed in my heart rate though.

Sep 2012 sub-10 mile heart rate:  162 average and 172 MAX
Jan 2014 sub-10 mile heart rate:   165 average and 181 MAX

I really REALLY need to lose the 19 pounds I gained but have been struggling with diet while home with the husband all day. If I don't eat what he eats, I am literally making two different meals per meal. It gets old cooking two different meals at a time, two or three times a day.  It is tedious, plus I was raised you only make ONE meal per meal, and if you don't eat it, you don't eat.

I need to run more - indulge less - and just take the time to cook twice at each meal.

The ELEVATION chart for this run: FOUR laps, each with an 18 foot incline/hill.

My CADENCE chart for this run: I am VERY PROUD of how I went from a low number of steps per minute (yellow), to higher (green) to highest (blue). GREAT REVERSE NEGATIVE WORK FOR ME!! WOOHOO!!

My SPLITS: Not exactly the desired order of things with the first two - although the last two were SPLIT NEGATIVES. YAY!!

The Details of the run:

Updated my GOALS page to say I hope to run TWO miles non-stop under a 10:00 pace. It can happen. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

1st Completed Goal of 2014

This morning I jumped out of bed, got into my running gear and then went to let the dogs out. There was white frost covering everything. I went out front and walked to the street, finding slippery spots under the frosty layer that was left behind by last nights freezing fog. This worried me because the race was in an area that is colder and gets more snow and ice than my area.

I wrote my friend who lived near the race and she confirmed that the area there was frosted and icy and at 9am it was 23 degrees. The race was scheduled for 10 am.

Having that small tear in my meniscus (see here) I was worried that any slipping might cause my knee to twist. I decided to NOT run in the race.

HOWEVER, after the temps went up a bit, and hit 35*, I drove to the race site dressed and ready to run. On the way, I saw white frost and ice in all the shadows on the road. Living in Washington state, there are a lot of trees.....and a lot of shadows! I was a little concerned.

At the race site, I found the start/finish balloons were still up. The beer garden was still open and the band was still playing. I walked to the start line and found a layer of ice and almost lost my footing. A race volunteer explained that yeah, it had been icy there all morning and reminded me to be careful. You can see how large the icy patch was in this photo.

The volunteer explained there was ice on the course, but most of it was on the south side of the roads, and very bad on 199th.

My goal for this race was to beat my 12:44 pace from 2012, and to run faster than 12:00 per mile. 

On the run, I did find a lot of ice and went from side to side of the streets to avoid the worst patches. As bad as the patch is in the photo below it was by far better than what was on the other side of the road!!

When I ran up to the finish line one of the volunteers that knew I went out to run my own race starting cheering for me and ran out to greet me with a high five. THAT was awesome!!

Even though there were no other runners out there, I ran HARD for myself. I weigh 12 pounds more this year than I did last year, and it wasn't easy.  My heart rate was up there in scary zones even though I felt better than I should have with it at 176-180 for a mile and a half! I had to trust on exertion and began paying real attention to how I felt. Still, I have my annual appointment with cardio on Tuesday.

Pace was 11:33 minutes per mile.

Here I am with one of the race signs.

2012 pace - 12:44
2013 pace - 10:32
2014 pace - 11:33