Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Take on Lance

Seems like everyone has an opinion on Lance Armstrong so why should I be any different? Plenty has been said on this subject so I’m going to try and keep this short.

Unlike seemingly everyone out there, I’m not a Lance hater. I wasn’t before and I’m not even now when it’s become fairly clear that yes, he did indeed take performance enhancing drugs while competing. Much as I hoped he was not, it does seem likely that Lance is guilty as charged.

Regrettably, our society tends to revel in the falls from grace experienced by others. I hate to be a cynic, but it often seems that the whole reason for building up our heroes is only to enjoy knocking them down again. The phenomenon is known as schadenfreude: pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. It’s not exactly humanity at its best.

Make no mistake; I believe Lance Armstrong deserves the punishment he is receiving. Cheating is always unacceptable and actions have to have consequences.

But I’m not happy about it. As one who typically eschews hero worship, I have to admit to being nonetheless, an admirer of the man and what he’s accomplished both on and off the bike. Cancer has affected many people I know and Lance has served as an inspiration to so many who have been sick. Indeed, I’ve see it throughout social media, those who are cancer survivors, or those close to them all still carry a lot of respect an admiration, doping charges notwithstanding. It is no stretch of the imagination to understand that to someone who’s taken strength and solace from his triumph over cancer is not going to throw away their yellow LiveStrong band because of the doping scandal.

In time, this will pass from our freshest memories though I expect the stain it leaves on the world of competitive cycling will take decades to fade. I hope that all of the parties involve work diligently and thoughtfully to clean up the sport and allow those who inspire us to be heroes worthy of the name.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Short HR Update

I spent a few agonizing minutes last Friday to test my MHR on the bike. It was not the warmest of days so unlike last year, I did the test on the trainer. It was loud enough to be heard the next county over, but I think it gave me a good read:

That big spike is 152 bpm which is only 2 bpm below last year’s results. That sounds about right to me.

A year ago, I also did a test to estimate my MHR in the pool. Absent any real testing equipment such as a Finis Aquapulse I’m going to stick with last year’s number. In truth, I don’t really pay too much attention to HR in the pool. I’ll swim easier while I build a base.

Right now, in addition to just getting in the long workouts, I’m also working on my flip turns. At the moment, they are more like somersault turns but maybe that will improve.

For now, I’m happy to be doing just some basic workouts with no pressure for an upcoming race.

Thanks for reading and have a upcoming weekend. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Fall Ride

Shorter days and cooler temperatures usually make me less than thrilled about this time of year. But temperatures in the low 80's and scenery like this make me appreciate it all again:

I haven't been on the bike in a few weeks. It's good to be back!

Monday, October 1, 2012

MHR Test - 2012 Edition

After a well-deserved week off, I broke my respite to test my maximum heart rate--at least the one that applies to the run.

The process is simple, but not easy. After a warm-up, run as fast as you possibly can until you just can't anymore. This will typically be accompanied by your heart rate reading maxing out.

First things, first. Being a Sunday, the track was completely empty. Just me and my wife doing the photography.

It seemed like a good chance to use the panorama feature in the iOS6.

For years, many of us have been told that we can learn our max heart rate using this formula:

MHR = 220 - age

So for a 43 year-old like me, that would mean that my MHR is 177 beats per minute.

The reality was something else, however.

Not the kind of plateau thing to the right-center of the chart. That's the point where I was in pure hell loosing oxygen and feeling just awful. In other words, this was as fast as I could make my heart beat.

The first two laps were great, just a nice easy stride at 8:30 - 9:00 pace:

At the end of that second lap, however, I began to pick up the pace and when I came back around to this point, I was running at about 4:30 pace. See...I'm so fast that the camera blurred!

That peak number turned out to be 166 bpm. That's also 5 bpm lower than a year ago:

I'm a little surprised that I would be nearly 3% lower, but I also feel reasonably certain that I could not have pushed that number any higher. Believe me, I really tried!

There's always the possibility of testing again, but for the time being, this will serve as my baseline for my off season training which should be at at about 60% - 75% of the max or 100 - 125 bpm.

Since the bike typically produces a lower max, I'll test it in the near future as well and report those results.

For now, I have the baseline for my plan. 

Thanks for reading!