Heart Rate Training – Week 1

Good morning. It’s rest day and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my training thus far. I did some googling and couldn’t find many blogs that explained how this process went so maybe (maybe!) I can be the first. That of course assumes I keep up with blogging and my track record says that isn’t likely. Still, I have thoughts and this is my own little place in which to share them.

The big started back to school this week. That means a new running schedule for me. Instead of running at night 3 days a week, I will run in town 4 days a week. I keep my long run on Saturday the same. The other change to my running is that I now push the stroller with over 100lbs of child and metal and plastic and supplies. ha.

Monday 8/22 – This was my first stroller run. Incidentally this was also my last run without a heart rate monitor. All of my runs are hard (or had been to this point… we’ll get there). I pushed. I walked some and ran some. I ended up with 2.61 miles at an average pace of 11:44 (10:21, 12:37, 12:51). My goal was to run at an 11 pace and with the weird way my brain works, this was a success. The plus side of training by myself is that my goals/paces don’t have to make sense to anyone else. When I say an 11 pace, that means anywhere from 11:00 to 11:59. lol.

This evening my heart rate monitor came in! I purchased the Polar M400 after tons of research and some wonderful birthday gifts of cash. This was the cheapest watch I could find that did what I want. Basically I wanted runkeeper without my phone. The interval timers are what made it really difficult to find a watch, but eventually I did. The Polar M400 also comes with a heart rate monitor. “What? Ok cool, I guess. I’ll give it a try. Whatever.”

Tuesday 8/23 – First run with my heart rate monitor. Luckily, I hadn’t had enough time to fool with the monitor yet so this run was pretty natural. I didn’t look at plans. I didn’t look at training. I didn’t see what other people were doing. I basically repeated Monday with a strap under my boobs. The run was harder but I wasn’t surprised. I was tired from Monday. I knew the stroller would make things harder for me, so I went with it. I wasn’t the only mom with a double jogger out that day. I made a game of (jokingly) competing with the other mom. I’m sure she has no idea. At the end of our run we kept switching who was in first as we were both taking walking breaks. It was hard but good. I felt like I was on top of the world for pushing myself hard. Hulk smash! Also, this is the run I would have considered an “easy” run. It isn’t intervals. It wasn’t as fast as I could go. Therefor it was easy.

Until I looked at my data… I ran 2.67 miles at 11:12 pace (10:23, 11:37, 11:47). So pretty much like Monday, just a little “better.” wahoo! Those numbers look great. But the HR data… oops. I spent 53% of my run at the 90-100% range (zone 5), 36% at the 80-90% range (zone 4), only 5% at the 70-80% range (zone 3), and 3% each in 60-70% (zone 2) and 50-60% (zone 1). After a little bit of reseach I realized that’s bad.

Let’s back up and talk about my symptoms lately. I’m exhausted. Always tired after a run. Unable to finish long runs. I blamed the heat. The hubs said I was doing “too much.” I took that to mean that I worked out too often and I disagreed. People work out even more often than I was, so that couldn’t be it. It never occurred to me that “over training” could be a quality issue, not just quantity. I also never understood the idea to “run at a pace you could run forever.” I guess my black and white mentality translated a little too well to my running. I run full out or I walk. That’s it. There is no grey.

Time for some more google research. I decided to follow the Polar training plan, sorta. I can’t figure out if there is a way to change days for workouts and I can’t run on Sundays so… I took the recommended workouts and made them work to my schedule. Of course I had already done 2 really hard workouts this week, which meant Wednesday and Thursday would have to be a lighter work load. I decided for a Polar “easy” run Weds and a Polar “medium” run Thurs.

Wednesday 8/24 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. I was feeling confident. I got this! Completed 2.46 miles at 17:14 (15:38, 17:12). Is that even running? For me, the answer was no. I had to walk soooo much to keep my heart rate that low. It was hard. I didn’t want to walk! Good thing I didn’t run into other double jogger mom. Did I mention she also runs with a dog? And she’s faster than me! And she runs farther than me! what would she think?! (I’m kidding of course, sorta.) This run was eye opening. This is the “run forever” zone people talk about. I had never felt it before. It felt good but was that even a workout? This is mentally tough.

Thursday 8/25 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. My big kid was sick and home from school. The double jogger unfortunately only fits 2 (ha! get it?) so I had to postpone my run. I went that night after bedtime which means these times do not have a stroller. They do have increased heat. Maybe that evens things out? I don’t really care. Just trying to share all the facts. Completed 2.68 miles at 15:49 (14:14, 14:58). First thought of course was: soooo sloooowwwwww. It’s hard to go that slow. But I did get to run more than at the 1-2 level (which makes sense). It’s hard to reign myself in when I want to go faster. I want to move because that is what I am used to doing. But I’m committed to figuring this out.

Saturday 8/27 – I woke up ready to go! I had to wait impatiently for the sun to come up. ha. Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 4.67 miles at 15:32 (15:28, 15:33, 15:30, 15:13). It’s important to note that the route near my house is much more hilly than the route in town. So there is a lot more fluctuation in my pace when it’s an uphill mile vs a downhill mile. This is exasperated by trying to stay within the heart rate zones, as sometimes a hill is steep and I have to walk up it. Anyway this run was great. It’s totally humbling to do this. It goes against everything I want to do. Every car that passes I’m like “no! I can run for real! Don’t judge me!” How selfish a thought. Do I really think those cars care about me? I can guarantee one didn’t. I had to jump off the road because he didn’t even see me. So I think he somehow cared that I wasn’t running “fast enough.” ha! Anyway this run really helped me to see the big picture. I ran almost 5 miles. I ran over an hour. I could have kept going. In fact, I ended up running farther than necessary because I wanted to go down and see the deer that just moved in about a mile away. I mean that literally. New family, new fence, cow, horse, deer (and a few dogs and chickens). It’s great!

Prior to the new Polar M400 my long runs were done at a 5:1 (run:walk). I would come home (usually early) exhausted. I couldn’t immediately deal with my family. That sounds horrible but it is true. I would come in, drink a ton of water, use the bathroom (see 2nd break through below), and then lay on the floor for 10+ minutes. I couldn’t function. After this run, I came in and played with my kids. We joked around. I had energy. I felt great. Truly I could have “ran forever” at that pace. I did get tired later in the day but that’s not shocking to me. What struck me was that I could return from a long run, drink some water, and be a part of life. I love that. That alone is reason for me to do this.

I had a lot of time to think during this run. I came up with a goal. Currently my 5 effort is about 10 min pace and not sustainable at all. My 2 effort is 15 min pace. I want to get my 2 to be a 10 min pace. I think at that point I may be able to do a 7 min pace on my 5. We shall see. Of course I’d love my 2 to continue to grow but that is my starting goal. I wonder how long it takes. That is partially why I am putting this here. If I can keep up with the blogging at least once a week, then perhaps someone can stumble upon this and find a time frame to give them an idea. I really have no clue if this is a weeks/months/years goal, but that’s ok.

I had another break through on my long run. Before, I couldn’t go 3 miles without having to run home to use the restroom. Yea, we’re going gross here. It was devastating that I really couldn’t run anymore without seriously aggravating my GI. I wasn’t thinking about it until the end of my long run, but I haven’t gotten the runner runs once since I started doing this. That doesn’t sound like a big deal because it’s only been 4 days BUT this was an every. single. day. occurrence. So I guess more than diet, or hydration, or anything else I was trying, the issue was exertion. Apparently my body doesn’t like to function at a 5 for long periods of time. Who’d have thought.

Today is Sunday and a rest day. I’m happy for that. And I’m happy to start my new week tomorrow. I have a plan so I’ll leave this here for posterity.

Monday – Medium run and weights
Tuesday – Interval run
Wednesday – Easy run
Thursday – Tempo run
Friday – Weights only
Saturday – Long run
Sunday – Rest

I have the hard runs spaced out which I think is good. The week day runs will be done in town pushing 100+lbs. The long run will be done out here by myself.

Definitions for now:
Easy run – 5 min warm up (1-2), 30 min work (1-2), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Medium run – 5 min warm up (1-2), 30 min work (3), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Interval run – 15 min warm up (1-3), 4x 3 min work (4-5) + 2 min work (3), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Tempo run – 15 min warm up (1-2), 13 min work (3), 12 min work (4), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Long run – 10 min warm up (1-2), 50 min work (2), 5 min cool down (1-2)

I see no reason to change these right now. The distances will grow and the pace will increase as my respiratory system improves. So the workouts don’t really need to change. As an aside, this is the first time I have ran for time (not distance) since I did c25k last summer (and in the spring of 2010). It’s kinda cool how it works out. I don’t have to keep increasing my training because it will happen naturally. Then when it comes time to (aka my HR is where I want it), I can increase my long run time to add even more miles, or switch up my interval runs by adding more intervals. Really I can increase the time on any/all my workouts to add more work. But I think staying within the 5k range is good for now.

I’m really excited about this. My mechanics are good (or good enough) but apparently my respiratory system was lacking. I’m excited to train it and excited to see where I can go. I have a friend who told me it takes here 2 miles to get her heart rate up. It takes me 1 min 30 sec. lol! It also makes the instagram workouts I see make so much more sense. People will post that they warmed up for 2 miles, then ran hard for 3 miles, then cooled down for a mile. I always think how? How on earth do you do that? My warm up would knock me out and I couldn’t run any harder. It really just didn’t compute in my head. But now it makes sense. And now I’ll be doing that workout on Thursday for my tempo run. And really I’ll be doing the same concept on Tuesday with my interval run. Those are the 2 I am most looking forward to because those are the 2 I haven’t done yet. But really I am looking forward to all of my runs. I’m so excited again.

I read on Shut Up + Run an article about starting HR training. What she said made a lot of sense to me. Of course she complained about the speed which I agree with 100%. She also mentioned that it is hard to accurately gauge your perceived exertion if you aren’t accustomed to doing so. That is so true. I never imagined I was pushing this hard, and yet I was. It’s kinda cool to think that I was pushing that hard. Like woah! I’m a bad a! Look what I was doing! But at the same time, it’s not a good thing. Haha. So I need to learn how to dial back. I need to find that grey area and embrace it. And I’m excited to see what comes of all of this.

Random ending thought: Hubby and I had decided to step back from half marathons after the balloon festival in September. I wanted to focus on 5ks because I was feeling so worn down by the half marathon training. And it’s not like I’m ready at all, or will even be ready by the time the race gets here. I’ve trained all summer and will still end up winging the race like I did last time. But now, seeing how it feels to run long and not feel like I’m dying (hello 1hr 12 min run Saturday), maybe I do want to train for half marathons. Or maybe I just want to run half marathon training distances without committing to anything. That’s probably the best place to be for now.

 

Gut Check

Praying this morning, I got to thinking about complaining. I complain a lot. I wasn’t always like this, but recently I think I have gotten a lot worse. I made a point this morning to try not to complain. Then I forgot about that plan.

I went for a run on the treadmill while the baby took her morning nap. It wasn’t my best run and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I sent my husband a text complaining about the run. Then I noticed an alert from my runkeeper app. I checked it, and right after my run had posted, my husband had commented “good job.”

Wow. What a gut check for me! i did a good job. He is proud of me. I should be proud of me. Because I did SOMETHING. Even though I’m still adjusting to the treadmill, and even if my treadmill runs are never as good as my outside runs, I still did something. And that is nothing to complain about.

So here’s to starting over with today’s pledge not to complain. It’s a beautiful day. It’s 10:30 and I’ve already worked out. We are having icecream at church tonight! It’s time to be positive.

A photo posted by Kristi G (@anestinthemaking) on Aug 26, 2015 at 8:20am PDT

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Getting Started Again?

I enjoy writing. I truly do. I also enjoy crafting – more specifically, sewing – even more specifically, quilting. I realized this morning that I have no idea how many quilts I have made. When I was first getting started, it was simple to count. But here I am 3 years in to my quilting journey and I have no idea. In an effort to keep these records, I will be reviving the dear old blog. I wouldn’t look for regular posts and I won’t be committing to anything crazy. Let’s keep it real, I am not the best blogger. But I am working on updating my finishes pages as well as adding a WIP page. I would love to be able to look back on what I have made and the internet seems like the most clutter-free place to store everything! I’m not saying no to blog posts, but I’m being realistic here! ha!

So if any of you are still following, hi! I’m here! I had another baby. Did I mention that? I moved to the country before the baby. I’m not sure if I mentioned that either. All is well in my world and I look forward to documenting my quilting journey a little better.

A Quilty Finish

The Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge a few months ago. We were to take a traditional quilt block and “make it modern.”

Yesterday I finished the binding on mine.

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I admit this qas quite a challenge for me.

The block I chose was a Dresden Plate. This is a block that has always intimidated me. I have never challenged myself to make one because, to be honest, I am not a huge fan of them. I have seen some great modern versions on blogs, but nothing I was in love with.

Piecing the plate was SO much easier than I had imagined. It went together quickly and I like the look of doing all one color.

After getting the top  together, I admit I was not a huge fan. I didn’t hate it, but it certainly didn’t appeal to me. I suppose that is the nature of a challenge, and so I pressed on with basting and quilting.

I had a few ideas for quilting but finally settled on echoing the plate design. Because the quilt is new born size, I wanted the quilting to be loose and the final feel to be soft and poofy.

After finishing, I love this quilt. I love the look of it all. The quilting really brought it together for me. Sometimes I see a flower, other times I see the sun.

I also love that I did not mark my straight line echoing. I used a walking foot, but I did the lines and angles without a guide. I like the slightly organic look to it. Straight lines, but not perfect.

The quilt finishes close to 30×30 and is destined to sit on my shelf until I make a decision on where it goes. This is the first time I have made a quilt without an intended recipient. It was fun.

Finish Friday

I have 2 finishes today. Both were started this week, and one was started today!

This quilt is for a yet-to-be-born little one. The back is a stretchy fleece-like material that I will never use again. Ever. I like the way the finished product turned out but quilting it was a beast!

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The started-and-finished-today project was a set of quilted letters for a sweet girl’s first birthday.

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They will fray up nicely when they get washed.

WIPW – Granny and a baby shower

Last week my husband’s grandmother, Granny, passed away. She was, among other things, a quilter. In cleaning the house for guests, my MIL brought me a few bags of fabric. I found these blocks inside.

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They are foundation pieced on muslin. The bag also had extra strips and more muslin squares.

Thinking about her, I got to work. This is what I made.

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These will be pillows for Grandad (her husband) and my Mother in Law.

In all the craziness of the last few weeks I completely forgot that my friend’s baby shower is this weekend. Oops! They do not know if they are having a boy or a girl so I had to go neutral.

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This is what I came up with. I have never worked with HRTs before so it was a learning curve. I do like the way it came out.

The fabrics are a mix of my stash and some from Granny’s house.

I am hoping to finish the top today at nap time, and get started quilting tomorrow. I am considering not using batting and having a flannel back. I have never done this before and I’m not sure how it would affect FMQing.

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Working with Granny’s fabric has been therapeutic for me. Prayers for my family would be appreciated as we cope. I also would love some feedback on how to quilt the pillow cases. I would like to highlight the squares she made (one per pillow). I was considering quilting over my 3 squares and leaving hers without but I am unsure as to what would compliment.  Any ideas?

Friday Finish

Riley Blake Designs posted a simple sun dress pattern on their blog. I had some large scale yardage hanging around with no use. I give you…

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My first dress!

The pattern was so simple. It came together quickly. There are a few adjustments I need to make for the next time, but there WILL be a next time. I can see having a closet full of these for summer.

Work in progress Wednesday

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The rainbow quilt is coming together! The rows are pieced and it is time to put it together. I still need outer borders (one with the perimeter wings and a solid white beyond that). I love it!

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This is some fmq play on a trivet for a friend. I based the design on (aka copied the idea from) living water quilter on instagram. Check her out! She is so inspiring!

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I have 10 of these pieced and cut out (so 40 little squares all over the place). This is my block design but i am still playing with the placement.

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I think that is it. I am hoping for a trivet and 2 pot holder finishes by Friday AND I have a fun dress to share!

Work In Progress Wednesday

I have been a busy little bee trying to make progress on my rainbow pinwheel quilt!

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I got all of the base pinwheels made this week. I also played with the layout to find a good randomness to the solid backgrounds. To me they feel like a glimmer off a gem. I hope this is not the final layout because looking at the picture now I don’t like it! Ha! But this is an older photo (days old I tell you!) So who knows what I did since then.

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Here she is on the (too small) design wall. I don’t have the room to spread it all out yet, but you get the idea on the left.

I have decided to sew it together in rows. The purple and red pinwheels are attached with their wings in between. Any other wings are just stuck up there for effect.

I will end up with long rows of pinwheels and rows of wings that I will put together. Then I need to figure the outside border with wings for the perimeter pinwheels. After that, I think I will add a final all white border so that none of my tips get cut off in binding. I think it will give it a better look to be floating in a sea of white… and the size addition won’t hurt!

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This isn’t the best shot but you can see a little better how the pinwheels will play together.

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I have piles and piles of HSTs to trim for the wings. I haven’t begun to cut my background whites for the interior (between 4 pinwheels there is a small square of negative space) or for the borders.

This quilt is for a May wedding so I have time. I am enjoying the process on this one a lot. I got so angry at my HSTs at the beginning but it is becoming soothing to me to work on.

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The next project on my table is another May wedding quilt. A great friend gifted me the fabric for this one. I have jelly rolls for the front and FQs for the back. I am thinking about doing the 3 Dudes block on the front with borders. I may just lay out the FQs in a giant 16 patch for the back. I want it to be calming after the business of the front.

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The other option I have come up with for the back is this grid pattern. It would only use 14 FQs. But before I figure out the back I have to make decisions about the front.

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I started working on these as leaders/enders for my pinwheel rows. I divided the strips into “light” and “dark” piles. A few of the batiks run from dark at one end to almost white on the other, but it is MOSTLY divided.

Right now I am stitching them together in light dark pairs. Then i will combine pairs to get groups of 4. Then… I’m not sure.

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The pattern calls for sets of four, but it looks like using more would just make for bigger blocks. I THINK that is right. But I don’t want to cut into it and find out I’m wrong. Plus, will I like it with more stripes? Decisions decisions!

I found a beautiful teal in my stash that I will bind it in. I think it is going to be great!

Saturday Finish

Because I couldn’t get pictures Friday…

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I cut this a long time ago not knowing for sure who it was for. When I received an invite to a childhood friend’s wedding, I knew this would be perfect.

I enjoy making wedding quilts. I know they are not typical. They are not bed quilts (intimidated much?) And they are not any set design. But I love the process of piecing while I think about the hapoy couple. Praying for them as I quilt. Sending the quilt off in the same way that I send my friends off to their new lives.

Edit: it is Tuesday but I promise I wrotr this Saturday. Apparently I am not so great at remembering to post…

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