Confessions of a Coached Athlete – Running to Heart Rate

OK, I feel a trend of posts coming now that I am using a coach.  I made the decision back in January to work with Jen M. from One 10 Performance and Nutrition and I couldn’t be happier with it!  I have really enjoyed not having to figure out what to do everyday and the variety and challenges she presents me with are really working.  I have seen gains in all three sports and I am excited to see what happen at Ironman Arizona in November.


HR data from run. Spot on!

Last night I had to run to a specific heart rate for two 15 minute segments.  I was to run just below threshold and see how far I could run.  It was so much fun! It was nice not to be focused on distance or pace but just my hear rate.   I found that actually made the running easier.  I have been doing the same on the bike and what amazes me  that even though I am holding back on my HR (trying not to go anaerobic) I am still PRing on Strava segments!  Just more proof the training is working.




Saucony Womens Guide 7 Review

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I was very lucky to have a pair of Saucony ProGrid Guide 7′s sent to me from Saucony to try out.  I was very successful in the Guide 6′s so I was excited to try the 7′s.  I had bought the Triumph 11′s and ran in them for a short period of time so this review is a little bit of a comparison.

Like I said in my previous review of the 6′s I was very happy with what the Guide shoe had to offer.  When I went to the local running store to get a new pair of shoes I thought it was an opportunity to try something new.  You never know what magic shoe might be out there.  I tried the Triumph and the Cortana (Saucony shoes work for me so that is where I started).  I felt like the Cortana was a little too minimalist for me.  My foot felt like it was working too hard to land properly.  It was a very fast light shoe but I have found that I do better in a stability shoe.  I liked the Triumph because it felt like a very well constructed shoe that had stability characteristics but was helping me work towards a more natural/less assisted run.  I took home the Triumph and ran in then for about a month.  I had two small issues.  First the height of the shoe on the inside of my ankle felt too low so my ankles got tired easily. Second, the combination of a more flexible upper and the super cool stretchy laces made finding the right tension/tightness difficult.

Guide 7 on left, Triumph 11 on right

Guide 7 on left, Triumph 11 on right

Now, there was nothing wrong with these shoes.  I really like them other than the fact that they weren’t the right shoes for my feet and running style.  Luckily, Saucony sent me the right pair, the Guide 7s.

Once I got into the Guide 7′s I had a better understanding of what my foot need and that is what Saucony calls a guidance shoe.  When I ran I could feel the shoe guiding my foot to the proper placement (more midfoot than heel strike) when it landed and supporting it through the whole motion.  It had just a touch more stability of the Triumph, and I needed that.  It also supported me better in my ankle and immediately I could feel the difference.

Here is the description from the Saucony website,

“The Guide 7 is the ultimate training partner, providing stability with flexibility in a lightweight package. PowerGrid provides responsive cushioning from heel to toe. A fully decoupled SRC crashpad minimizes impact, and the redesigned medial support system creates a smooth transition to midfoot. A flared forefoot design adds support during toe-off allowing the runner to spring forward efficiently and powerfully. Added flex grooves ensure the shoe moves with the runner with comfort and responsiveness. All hail Guide 7! Weight: 8.6oz./244 g (Size 8)”

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In my opinion, the Guide 7 is more of a classic running shoe.  Less frills for simple straight forward running.  The upper is made of a couple different materials  so that  keeps the shoe from being too stretchy.  It maintains it’s form well and encases my foot without being too tight or loosing up as I run.  Like the name implies and I said before, it guides my to a proper midfoot landing and an efficient take off as well. It is the shoe my running and my feet needed.



Confessions of a Coached Athlete

I wanted to take this opportunity to fess up to the fact that I am not doing my core exercises that my coach has put on my plan.  She knows this but I thought if I fessed up to it maybe I would become more accountable for this.  I know it works.  I can feel it the next day/week and I think that is one of the reasons for the improvement in the pool I have seen recently.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to come clean. Thanks.

Chesebro Half Trail Marathon 2014 Race Report

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I hear about this race every year but this year I finally signed up for it.  It is run on a local trail that is actually where I had my trail running debut in 2011. I decided to do this race a long time ago and signed up nice and early.  I like to put my money down early so that I feel committed to a race.  My training was pretty consistent and I got out to the actual trail whenever I could. I thought that a 10:00 min/mile pace was a good goal which put me finished in about 2:20.  I got to the race around 6:00 AM for a 7:00 AM start because I needed to pick up my race number. I headedup tot he start and waited with all the others

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After a couple sportive messages from my husband and coach the gun went off and down we went.  I chose not to run with music for this race.  I won’t be able to run with music at Ironman Arizona so I figured I better start practicing.  Also, recently I have found the music to be distracting.  I really wanted to pay attention to how I was feeling and be aware of people passing me on the trail.


Me in pink in the middle. On our way into Chesebro Canyon

I switched the screen on my Garmin 910 so that all I could see was my HR zone and the current lap time and distance.  I worked very hard to pace evenly and  not go out to fast .  I knew what the climbing was like and I didn’t want to walk it.  I felt great and just kept chugging.  Around 60 minutes in and at a very steep point in the trail I had to walk so I used that opportunity to have a Salted Caramel GU. No problems at all.  Once we reached the top I flew (relatively) down the hill.  I really wanted to take advantage of the downhill section.  After one last little up and out we were back on the streets and cruising down back to the start. I did all I could to pass as many people as I could and even had one little burst at the very end to keep from getting passed in the finishing shoot.  I stopped my watched and was so excited to see the time. 2:03 and change!

photo 3I did so much better than I expected!  This race was a real ego boost after having a couple years of not-so-great running.  I beat what I thought I could do by a good 15 minutes and felt completely in control of the whole entire race from start to finish.  I also did it with a lower average HR than usual (175). Garmin data here.

First race of the year….Tick!


Here is a video someone took during the race.  I saw this guy pass me a couple times. I don’t know him but it shows the course pretty well.

(Also, I have no sound on the machine I am writing this on so I haven’t listened to the audio.  If he is crazy talking, let me know and I will remove the video)


SportTracks For All Your Data!


As a triathlete I have grown to love capturing data from my workouts and then using it to see how I am doing.  Most devices will come with some site/program that you can use to store and review your data with (Garmin has Garmin Connect).  Or you can use a service/site/ application that you can upload data to that is independent of the type of GPS/sport computer (for lack of a better term) like Strava, DailyMile, or Training Peaks.  I recently have downloaded the free trail version of SportTracks because they now have the capability to analyze swim data (something I have a lot of).

First thing I like, the speed at which it uploads your stuff.  In a very (un)scientific study last night I started uploading my data from my Garmin 500 Edge to three places at once; SportTracks, Strava, and Garmin Connect.  SportTracks was the first to finish…by far.  When I am uploading my data I want it to go in quickly.  The interface for uploading is really simple.  You don’t need to navigate to find the files. It handles all of that behind the scenes. (It was really easy to put in a big dump of all your data at one time.  It didn’t take any where near as much time as I expected it to.)

The next thing I like is the dashboard. It gives you a great look on one screen to a summary of your week, month, and easy access to your recent workouts. A very easy to understand summary of ALL your data. Nice!


Obviously you can drill into the details of the specific workout to get more data analysis in the summary screen for a specific workout.  This is where this product shines compared to the other alternatives. Depending on the data your device captured for the activity, you can change your view of the workout with a few easy clicks; and all the data overlays on one graph.  Strava does this for cycling and running, but not for swimming.  Garmin can show you most of this in graph form, but not on one graph. (If I am wrong, let me know)



You can chose the information you want by just clicking on it and you can keep adding more and more elements. This gives you the ability to see, for instance as shown above, what was your pace compared to your strokes per length.  This comparison is great for showing if your form is suffering as you try to swim faster (a problem I have).

If you want to see the raw data/intervals that is all available to you in the intervals screen. It shows you the data for each interval and the rest time between each interval.



The last thing it can do that I will talk about now (there is more but I can’t cover it all now) is compare similar workouts.  This feature will hopefully show you improving over time (something I am looking for). This is a pretty neat feature that I haven’t seen in other systems. This exists in Strava with the concept of the segment; but that doesn’t apply to the pool. And let’s face it, 25 yards is 25 yards where ever you swim it (it the pool that is)!


Now, it also allows you to connect with people, comment on their activities, and track your gear.  There is some pretty sophisticated data analysis that it does regarding training load and some other metrics.  I haven’t looked at this in depth but my husband Stuart did.  You can read about that here.

I still need to use Training Peaks to work with my my coach but I have been looking for a one stop shop to house all my data…I think I may have found it!



Friday Update

greatracelogo14_385x425I don’t have anything super exciting to write about this week but I am running my first race of the year.  I am doing the Great Race of Agoura Chesebro Half Trail marathon. I have run this trail many times but I have never done this race.  I had a small slip last weekend when I was running the course and in an effort to not mess up my ankle I strained the muscle in my shin.  I took an extra day off running and did 30 minutes yesterday with no problems at all.  I am really hoping to have a good race.  I don’t expect to do well in my age group but a good solid run would be nice!


In other news, my husband Stuart is going for Sufferlandrian Knighthood in April.  He is using this event to fund raise  for the rescue, Beagles and Buddies, where we got our two much loved dogs, Cali and Sprocket. We would be thrilled if you would consider making a donation to this rescue.  They do great work there and they could use the support.  (and he will kill me if I rescue another dog!)


Have a great weekend!