Pip Running

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Filtering by Tag: HR Training

Rolling Off

Today finds me writing another blog post with yet another child at home. Maybe I'm finding time to write since I am housebound due to illness. My run for this morning and my Costco trip have been waylaid along with my workout at my ninja gym.

Things have been kind of weird over here. I have been very much enjoying most of my evenings at home these days. I can't believe I am saying this but cooking for my family in the evening has been rewarding (or maybe it's that little glass of "cooking wine" I discovered) and being here all the hours with them has been fun. Every day isn't a party but we have found ourselves having impromptu wrestling matches and family games develop like "Ball Face". I said Family Fun!  Get your mind out of the gutter. Anyway. this game is literally trying to hit the other person in the face with a ball. My kids found it so ridiculously fun my daughter deemed Monday nights "Ball Face Night".  Even though I would only be gone an hour or two several evenings out of the week guiding my running groups it was enough to miss out on these little things. So when I was asked recently to run a Jeff Galloway training group this summer I was caught a bit off guard. My first thought, of course, was definitely NO!

I know about Jeff. I know about his system but I don't know his system. I have since decided it would be a good learning experience and could actually fit in with my HR training so I said Yes. The commitment is only one day on the weekend. Of which my kids don't miss me too much those mornings, if they even notice I am gone at all. So a fun new adventure is in the works for Pip Running.

My running. What has been happening with my running? I have been working on the sub 127 HR for a few weeks now. I did my first MAF Test on March 6th. I got a 9 or 10 on my HRV that morning so I said let's do it. I started out with a 1 mile walk to my starting point then did a 5 mile jog (which actually turned into a 6 mile jog) as a warm up. I came back to the soccer fields did a 2 mile MAF test there running laps then a 1 mile walk/jog warm down home. I felt pretty good through the whole thing although I seemed to run through every type of weather system. There was sun, wind, snow and ice rain. My times weren't great but hopefully with dropping my HR 5 beats I'll start to see more improvement.

I was pretty happy to see that my HR stayed below 150 even when it spiked up a bit. Those spikes were very short and the intervals are getting closer together (run/walk) in which I hope they just become run. With the take off and landing in running causing the HR to spike up I try to keep my take-offs to a roll-off. If you've ever taken a Chi Running class you may be familiar. I try to keep my cadence high so my feet are off the ground as quick as possible with trying to keep the impact as minimal as possible. The test went as it should with the 2nd lap taking a slight bit longer than the 1st. If I went on to do more laps each successive lap should take a little bit longer than the previous.

Here's a graph of my HRV for the week of the MAF Test.

Here's a graph of my HRV for the week of the MAF Test.

Above is my HRV graph for the week I did the MAF Test. March 5th I received a reading of 3 so I took that day as a recovery day. On March 6 I received a 10 on my HRV so decided this was the day to test. I should note that I got my period later that day which may account for the low HRV the day before. I think the same thing happened last month which is something I will keep a watch on. March 10th was another day that I received a 10 on my HRV. I have been chomping at the bit to do some intervals. It has been a long time, months, since I've done any type of speed work. Since I was training at too high of a HR I was going to wait another 8 weeks at the lower HR but I just felt the need. So I went out on Friday 3/10 and did 5 sprints across the soccer field. I walked a mile first, than ran 1 mile at a tempo pace which maybe I shouldn't have done, did some drills and dynamic stretching before going into my sprints. They felt good. I took some video so I could analyze form but I wasn't happy with the quality. Maybe something not to be done by yourself. Hopefully I can coax one of my friends out there next time to grab video for me. Here are the results:

The 3rd sprint took longer because I went to turn off the camera before stopping my watch.

The 3rd sprint took longer because I went to turn off the camera before stopping my watch.

First of all I realize now these sprints weren't long enough. I needed to go about 30 more yards. Man it felt long though! I also was only planning on doing 4 but I was trying to get a side view video which of course I didn't think of until after I did 4. Work in progress.

I've been cooking up a storm over here lately and trying to toggle meals around to keep my carbs below 30g (20g ideally) and my protein to around 70-80g. Carbs not so much of an issue but there is protein in everything! I have had the most problem keeping that in check. I've done more intermittent fasting over the last week and did both my MAF test and sprints fasted. I did not feel any energy drain before, during or after. Here's a couple pics of the fabulous meals we've been eating (well Mike and I- The kids barely try any of it):

Brussels Sprouts and Hamburger Gratin via DietDoctor.com

I'll have to tell you about my awesome Chocolate Avocado smoothie next time. Well I got most of the recipe elsewhere but I have tweaked it to be my own. I'm a bad Keto-er with my lack of avocado eating. I try to add it in here and there but there is such a small window on when these things are really ripe I tend to miss it. Anyway I think these avocado smoothies have helped and man do they keep you full!

Slowing Down

I seem to have some kind of cold. Early this week I noticed my throat a bit sore (or more dry?) and what I can only call a tightness in the base of my throat. It has been so subtle that I hardly want to even acknowledge it as a sickness. As in the previous post I have been diligently checking my HRV every morning (more on this later) and nothing has shown up there. I have been trying to run/workout as I normally would (more on that later too) and despite the kids having half-days all week I've been doing my usual business during the day. I haven't felt particularly run down but there are moments where I cough up phlegm (where'd that come from?), or I feel nauseous for a spell and one day I even had a sinus headache! What the hell is going on inside me?!? I have no explanation but with my half marathon in Phoenix next weekend I hope it works itself out.

So yeah I'm taking a little trip. I'm excited to see my best bud Katey but kind of dreading this half. It is not really the race itself. I'll just be plodding along anyway. I think it's just all the nonsense surrounding the race. I hate flying. I find it stressful. Even a short trip like Seattle to Phoenix becomes a whole day event that is exhausting although all you're doing is sitting. Maybe it's the constant "hurry up and wait". Katey is running the marathon while Emily and I run the half. Good god this race starts at 6:30am. Katey wants to leave her house at 3:30am to get to the shuttle buses! More hurry up and wait. We take the shuttle buses to the start where we do even more hurry up and wait. The lack of sleep on Friday night, coupled with the exhaustion of traveling and the early morning start on Saturday, in a unfamiliar place, is making me think I must really love Katey! Which I do but remind me that the next visit I make should purely be social.

A couple days have past since I started this post. I still have something going on but whatever it is really hasn't reared it's ugly head. Yesterday my morning readiness HRV score was a 7 so I decided to go for a little jog. I have also decided it wouldn't hurt anything and probably only helps things if I lowered my heart rate training. I was previously trying to keep my HR around 132 but decided to drop it down 5 beats more to 127. I've done a couple runs at this HR and strangely enough, maybe not, my runs weren't any slower.  I have already come to the determination that I needed to warm up more so I set my mind on a 1 mile walk to the park. I was going to run laps around the soccer field for 2-3 miles then do a 1 mile walk home for warm down. I knew it was somewhat rainy but I didn't realize until I was outside that it was really coming down. I didn't think it was particularly cold so I just went with a vest. I did my 1 mile walk to the park and GD it if there wasn't a GD soccer game going on! Are those kids always there? It was President's Day, shouldn't they get that off?!? I changed plans. I ended up starting my run from the park and ran a mile up a long , gradual hill. I'm being very generous when I use the term "run" because it was mostly a walk up. I was able to keep my HR pretty low but not low enough to start jogging. It spiked a couple times in the 140's but I was overall happy. I was able to jog down the hill for most of it and added an extra mile running to and fro Lake Youngs Trailhead. The 1 mile warm down was a little interesting though. I noticed my HR jumping around a bit and getting into the 150's. I didn't feel like I was under any stress other than my left foot was bugging me a little.  Couple that with the realization that it was a bit colder than I originally thought (my arms were pretty chilly) and whatever I have still lingering my HR was probably being affected. 

I've talked a bit about my HRV and have been taking morning readiness readings every morning for the last 3 weeks. The readings tell me about changes in my Autonomic Nervous System (the balance between my Sympathetic and Parasympathetic systems). My scores have generally been pretty good 8's, 9's and some 10's but I've had a couple 3's and a 4. This morning I got a reading of 3 and was told parasympathetic activity was abnormally high. I did the run yesterday and worked out at the gym last night. I might have overdone it so I decided to take today off. By off I mean do errands and deal with child not in school. Not exactly low stress but what are you going to do? I'm not sure what all this is telling me yet and I'm still wading through all the information of slowing down my running and taking HRV readings. I am also going to start adding tags about sleep quality and exercise done the day before. This is something I really wasn't logging on the HRV readings.


Finally, diet is going well. Really trying to keep my protein intake in line. Strangely enough it hasn't been as difficult keeping my carbs low. For the most part they are always under 30g, closer to 20g, but I find myself going over the 95g of protein several times. I definitely try to keep it under 120g and have even gone over that on occasion. So once again I am trying to figure out what works for me in my daily life. I have been doing intermittent fasting and I feel I've been pretty successful at that. If I'm really hungry I might go 15.5hrs instead of 16hrs before I eat but I'm generally in the ball park. When I do have breakfast I've fallen back to what I should have been eating probably all along... bacon and eggs.  I add a little heavy whipping cream to the eggs along with some extra sharp cheddar and scramble in Kerrygold butter. Yum, yum!


My Left Foot

The trials continue. Yesterday I set out to do what I thought was my 3rd MAF test. As I usually do I run a mile from my house to the park as my warm up, 8 laps around the soccer fields for my test then 1 mile run home as warm down. The warm up mile was a little rough. I didn't feel bad but did not feel GREAT. I was a little worried about my left foot. It has been giving me a little grief lately. As a matter of fact I did not run Tuesday morning because it was a little sore and I wanted to give it an extra day. So 1:45 on Saturday (30 min longer than planned), 2:30 on Sunday, Monday off and Tuesday off. My foot felt OK Wednesday morning, a little sore, but not too bad.  

Yesterday (Wednesday) the weather was what I would normally consider perfect running weather. Overcast, no rain but the threat was there, and cool but not windy. As I was doing my laps I realized I might be enjoying this more if it was sunny and cold. Not sure if that was just reflective of my mood or if it was true. The first 4 laps seemed a little slow to me especially compared to how I feel I have been running. On the second mile I decided to open up a little knowing that my HR would go up corresponding to the faster pace. There goes that MAF test I thought but I was interested in seeing how fast my recovery was comparatively. As you may have guessed it took longer. The mile run home was my fastest. 

As I was reading more on ther Maffetone website last night about MAF testing and the comments section on training I found out my splits are expected to get slower! If my first split is the slowest than the idea is I haven't warmed up enough. That's something to think about. I also thought about making the test longer. I also read it is recommended to run 5 days/week. I have cut down to about 3-4 plus gym due to my foot issues. I almost feel like I'm back to square one but I'll just keep moving forward and really make some decisions after Seattle Quadzuki.

Speaking of quadzuki...that's coming up soon. Yikes! 4 days of getting up at the crack of dawn. Ugh. By the way from a coach's point of view this is kind of a dumb thing to do. I agreed to it well over a year ago. A lot happened in that time but it is an experience and coaching from experience can be tremendously helpful. My plan? Run it slow of course. I'm not really that worried about the mileage other than the flare up with my foot.  I'm a bit concerned by day 3 that I'll barely be able to walk. I'm rolling, doing rx'd exercises and wearing my Strassburg sock. Trying to get in a little ankle mobility as well since I'm pretty sure that is in which the problem lies. I'll keep you posted.

Lately, eating has been the easiest thing going on but as with my running I'm still working on it. Last post I talked about adding some fat bombs which definitely got my fat % up there. The problem I'm having right now is logging. There are lots of apps out there but none of them really do exactly what I want. MyFitnessPal is the closest because it has a huge database and barcode scanning. However, it doesn't calculate Net Carbs. I can add the food as a modification but it is time consuming. I wish there was a setting to do this for you automatically for database items and for added foods/recipes. If only I was married to some kind of developer...wait a minute...

The Mad Bomber that bombs at midnight

Oooo I had a whole bunch of runs and InstaPot experiences to write about but all that running, Instapotting plus mothering got all of my time. I was set to do my 3rd MAF test in the last 2 weeks but that is really something you should be feeling really good before you do it. You want to go in feeling fantastic but one week I wasn't physically feeling fantastic (non-running related) and this week the election really had me stressed out so I wait.

Last night the Pip Running Badass Membership had our workout at the track. While Coach Dave handled the circuit training workout I ran laps. Earlier in the day I returned to seeing Dr. Stephen for maintenance on my left foot. Ankle mobility/non-glutes firing...nothing new here. I did ask him for one exercise (so that I would do it!) and was pleasantly surprised and somehow vindicated that he gave me an exercise that the awesome Travis and Meghan from DOS Performance had already given me. I probably should have been feeling sheepish and embarrassed. I'll let you know how that progresses. One day my butt will work but until then I wanted to let you know that I went into last night's laps feeling pretty good. My times have improved but I really need to work on keeping it level. I'm still stopping to walk to let my HR come down but I am running must faster in between those walk breaks. It definitely felt good to run but I need to work on keeping that run pace slower to be able run longer in between the breaks. I will have to look at my data but it did seem that my HR would not spike nearly as high as in the past so that's something.

Looking at Max HR: I'm pretty happy with how even this is starting to become without big spikes.

Looking at Max HR: I'm pretty happy with how even this is starting to become without big spikes.

As you may remember I noted that I felt I was not getting enough fat in my LCHF diet. I am definitely eating more but I am trying for 70%. I am really now looking into Fat Bombs. Mike and I tried a few previously but they were not good. Not good at all. I found a recipe yesterday, made them and tried it out last night. I felt it was pretty good and may add a little sea salt on top next time. Looking into savory bombs too. If I find a good one I'll post that too.

Here's what I made: 

Click on the picture for the recipe. I used ice cube trays to make the bombs so my qty was 16 not 24. I also added a macadamia nut in the middle and sprinkled with unsweetened flaked coconut. When I worked out the nutrition info it worked out like this:  Cal 194, Total Fat 20.8g, Net Carbs 1.5g

Click on the picture for the recipe. I used ice cube trays to make the bombs so my qty was 16 not 24. I also added a macadamia nut in the middle and sprinkled with unsweetened flaked coconut. When I worked out the nutrition info it worked out like this: Cal 194, Total Fat 20.8g, Net Carbs 1.5g


This morning it poured rain. When you are snug in bed drinking your coffee leisurely going out in that mess may be are hard fight. Thankfully that is not a fight I had to fight today because tonight was my strength training night at Ronin Training.

I have to tell you I ❤ this gym and my 6pm crew. Strength training while HR training can be a little complicated and while I'm still base building strength training really might not be the best idea. Like I said I ❤ this place and did not want to give up strength I had built or miss out on fun workouts with vaults so I have to be careful. When at the gym I make sure to wear my HR monitor and try to keep a very careful eye on my numbers. It's funny because some of the things that I think are going to shoot my HR up there really don't but lifting heavy? That is out...for now. I will add a period of heavy lifting without HR monitor a bit later.

If this was running I would be all over this form. It's been a little while since I've done Turkish Get Ups. Most important piece of equipment right now is on my other arm.

If this was running I would be all over this form. It's been a little while since I've done Turkish Get Ups. Most important piece of equipment right now is on my other arm.

While in the base building stage I am keeping with light weights and stopping when I need to stop to let my HR come down. That means I am generally walking any laps around the building or have to set the bar down halfway through a front squats set. It can be annoying to have to stop but the coaches have been awesome and even with my trip to HawaiiI and working on my HR for a couple months I came back able to broad jump further, still do some pushups and maintained the black band in pull-ups.

Breakfast: Kirkland Protein Bar 

Grande hot SF Coconut Americano w/Heavy Whipping Cream

Lunch: Tostada salad w/steak, guacamole and no beans (did not eat the shell)  

Dinner: leftover Butter Chicken w/cauliflower rice

Plus grazed on macadamia nuts and Dubliner cheese. 


And we're back

This morning I was able to get out and run the 3 miler I had planned. It felt good to be out running around mid-morning. I missed the bulk of the rain and just ran in some sprinkles but it was still cool and not humid feeling. I normally like to set out late morning for my runs from home. This still gives me time to ease into my day with leisurely coffee drinking while the kids gets ready and ship off to school. I can then get my run in, still have time to shower and do a few things around the house like laundry or dishes before all hell breaks loose when the kids come home.

This morning's run was fairly uneventful which is good. I spied some dropped candy on the ground and thought about the little kid that dropped it. I wondered if they would be pissed to know they dropped their precious cargo. I didn't see it on the way home and then wondered if an animal got to it. Often during the week when I do my short runs I run to by the local elementary school and park. I like to hear the kids playing outside and hope to maybe catch a glimpse of one of my kids. When I pass the school I run laps on the soccer field of the local park and eventually plan on doing sprint workouts there when I feel I'm ready. Really a perfect park for fartlek, speed and small hill workouts. Today I only ran 4 laps and noticed on my warm up mile run over to the park that my HR was spiking but seemed to recover pretty quickly once I stopped to walk. I think when I physically running my run time is actually faster than I have been running previously. I am trying to remain as even as possible and breathe through my nose. I notice when I start to let my mind wander I either miss HR monitor beeps, start running too fast and then I notice my HR really jump. I have to remember to stay in the moment and focus on how my body feels, breathing, being as relaxed as possible and just settle in. When you finally let your body settle in it is kind of like you just let out a big sigh and you relax. Additionally, my HR spikes might have something to do with my period so I'll just note it and look for any trends in the upcoming months.

This morning for breakfast: Kirkland Protein Bar

This afternoon for lunch: leftover Butter Chicken w/Riced Cauliflower

Soon to be had snack: Iced SF Coconut Americano w/Heavy Whipping Cream

Dinner: TBD (uh oh, maybe leftover Chicken Jalapeno Popper Chili)

Some of the Pip Runner's with me at Captain Jack's. I may have turned down candy yesterday but I couldn't turn down the free beer at the race.

Some of the Pip Runner's with me at Captain Jack's. I may have turned down candy yesterday but I couldn't turn down the free beer at the race.

I am adding a couple of split reports. The times are not great if you are looking on the surface but I am pretty pleased with the Captain Jack's splits. They were all sub-15min/mi and working their way pretty closely to sub-14min/mi. I know that does not sound impressive but considering my times we more 15-16min/mi previously I am happy to see the results and know that times are headed in the right direction. I even stopped to talk to some people so that's good to keep in the back of my mind too. I came out of this race not breaking a sweat and feeling pretty awesome afterward.

Saturday's Long Run was an out & back. The out was a slight downhill until almost 3 miles.

Saturday's Long Run was an out & back. The out was a slight downhill until almost 3 miles.

This is what I am doing

I have been conducting some experiments on myself over the past several months. My husband and I began trying to eat LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) first starting with the 2 then 4 week challenge on the Diet Doctor website. I have been trying to keep a strict low carb/ketogenic diet with my macros in the 5/20/75% ratios. Key word here is "trying". It is amazing where you find carbs so it has been a process filtering out the small products you don't ever think much about. I am also finding it difficult to consume as much fat as I need but I can go into more trial and error later as I am playing catch up on this blog post. I have not had weight pouring off of me like many people but I feel I am definitely leaner and my skin is better. My main goal is really to become fat adapted and a fat burning machine.

The next experiment I have been running on myself is HR training. This has also come with many trials and is an ongoing learning process. Using the Maffetone 180 Formula (180-age plus some additional factors) I came up with my number (I talked about it a little bit here in a previous post). Here is where some learning curves have come in. First I started with just 180-age but after reading the additional factors I realized it should be lowered. I had settled on trying to keep my HR below 133 but lowering it again may be an option if I am not seeing progress. I will probably get into why I am doing this more in later blog posts but for the most part I felt after 10 years of running and 4 years of coaching/running group runs I was overtrained and in the black hole. I am currently reading Primal Endurance (and listen to their Primal Endurance Podcast) and so far have found many similarities between Mark and Brad's ideas on training and Lydiard training.

I am a "trial by fire" kind of person so this will be a work in progress and I something I have committed myself to do over the next year. Results so far, I am now slow as shit which tells me my aerobic system was really suffering. However, even though I slowed to a near walk I am seeing improvements in my HR training times and even better than that I feel awesome after my runs. I can do my 2-2.5 hour runs and feel refreshed without aches/pains afterwards. Part of coming out of the hole was finding the joy of running again and I definitely am. I will post MAF tests results in a future blog post as I get into more daily posts about my progress.

I am not a foodie, food blogger or even a person that likes when people post pics of their food but I will do it here because part of the challenge/experiment with changing our eating style is that we have to cook a lot more often. We are discovering new ways to cook, what to cook and new things to eat. The last thing I made was Primal Butter Chicken from the Primal Desire website. I recently purchased a InstaPot pressure cooker and have been having some fun finding new recipes to cook for my family. This was one of them. I am not a huge Indian food person but this was delicious and we got 7 servings out of this recipe. Once I worked out the #'s this is actually higher in carbs than I would like (almost 15g/serving) so something to think about in the future if I make this again.