The truth of the matter is, my heart is kinda @ss.

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My heart rate has always been… difficult.

It’ll run really fast whenever I do the least bit of workout (or, you know, walk across the room) and then it drops back down faster than the stone that I could stand to lose from my child-bearing hips.

When I was training with Webster, this meant that I would do 10 or 15ks on the erg for a HR

note for non-rowers: Theoretically, your steady state rate should be about 16-20 seconds slower than what you would pull on a 6k. My 20′ test last winter when I was injured was about a 1:58, 1.59. So I was pulling about… thirty seconds above. Not kosher.

CoachIan moved me up to a 166 threshold, not only to see how I’d do, but also because I was just way behind everyone else, since on the water maintaining a 150HR had me at a 2:42-2:45 split. There I could at least apply some modicum of pressure, but yah. Still not really the ideal in terms of solving the actual problem of why my ticker doesn’t tock right.

In the last year, the overall splits have actually gotten better, which I think is due in great part to the fact that my life has so much less stress than I did when I was working with Webster — I have a stable job, which just makes everything easier to plan, I’m not running an entire team, and on a personal level, there is currently no one related to oars trying to f*ck over my life, which is a blessed change after the last… four years.

In the course of things, Z & I were discussing my heart rate, & when I explained that I was doing my steady state with a 166 threshold, his reaction was literally,
“Are you half hummingbird? What’s your resting HR 110? Great googley-moogley… ”
yes, he actually said “great googeley moodgely” — of course I’m gonna quote that, it’s awesome.
–> and for the record, as of Wednesday morning, my resting HR is around a 46, 47, although in the minute I had the HR monitor on after I woke up, I did see 42, 43. Meditation, man — it really does kinda change your world.

So we decided to do a step test, which no coach has ever done with me — mostly, I just got told I was out of shape.
(Before anyone has Sachiel’s reaction to that, they mean out of shape for a rower.)

I just wish Z had suggested that four hours sooner or I wouldn’t have used this last Monday morning to try out my new Vibram runners for the first time.

You know how they say that the first time you run in the barefoot shoes, you’ll do shorter distances at a slower pace & your muscles will hurt from running in a completely different way?

It’s totally, totally true. Especially the hurting part. Mostly on my calves though, so erging didn’t hurt, & I figured “F*ck it, let’s just get things done.”

I tried to do my step test Tuesday morning & discovered why the test said to have a person there monitoring you — because a C2 won’t record anything below 20 seconds, & the test required numbers for every 15 seconds.


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So Z came in on Wed morning, & we had a go at it. He got there in time for the 4′ section of the warm-up, where you’re supposed to just go for 4′ under 140 HR, which I… could not manage if I wanted to keep a flat to my power curve. We watched my HR hang out around 143, 145 around 100 watts, & I finally said, “I swear to god I’m not pulling.”

Then we went ahead & did the actual test, where you step up 25 watts each 90 seconds. I felt like because I started so low, I spent more time on the test trying to hold back & control the watts than actually doing anything, and when Z called stop, I didn’t feel like I’d hit my fail point so much as that I was just tired. Honestly, I feel like I could have gotten higher on the watts — in terms of muscular effort, it wasn’t hurting like a 6k does where you stop & your legs are on freakin’ fire, just more that my body was like, “Dude, I’m tired. Sleepy time.”

I’ve been running into that a lot, actually. I get done with a workout, and my body is like Ernie in Cuddle Mode — it just wants to turn on Mumford & Sons, curl up in bed & snuggle, & we have nappie times now, m’kay?
I don’t actually know if Ernie likes Mumford, but personally I find it calming in the same way as that when I need to mellow I’ll just hit repeat shuffle on Jack Johnson and spend a couple hours coding a page while a part of my brain says, “One of these days, I really do need to finally call Alley & learn to surf.”

It’s not the actual workouts, because I’ve been doing two a days on & off for five years now and it’s never been this bad. It’s almost like my energy levels now match my heart rate — good to go like a freight train while the workout’s on, & then afterwards it’s all fwah-bam! straight south through the floorboards to the basement so that the camera can pan up to frame Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law looking down through the hole as they deliver a dryly pithy dialogue exchange courtesy of Guy Ritchie.

Part of it is having to give up bread/wheat. For endurance athletes, bread is life. You get a lot of fuel out of it, and my body’s still adjusting to not having that to depend on. Whereas back in May I would have said that I was about 85-90% off bread, I finally sucked it up in early July & changed my dinner habits (since a love of pizza was my last bastion of bread-consumption) so that now I’m pretty much bread-free. I say “pretty much” because every so often I will cave and totally have a Girl Scout cookie or eight :cough:Tuesdayafternoon:cough:
Or, I’ll have a long day & be so tired that I stand in Trader Joe’s & go, “Oh screw it, I’m having a small goat cheese pizza*”.
*Yah, those. That one, that’s like $3.50 or whatever. I know, they’re really good, right? Totally.

…and then I end up with an eyegraine.



noun \’ī–grān\\

1. when you have what feels like a migraine, only the pain is in your eyes.

2. And since I’m making that word up all on my own, bread-induced eyegraines as of late also involve spending an hour or two enjoying the anatomical entertainment of sporadic periods with your right eye twitching.

See also: good times, man. good times.

I think part of it is that I need to just approach life Hobbit-style and invoke Second Breakfast.

It’s that section of time between when I get done with my workout & head up to Museum!Co that’s kinda killing me. Wed morning I ended up having a bunch of time since I only did the step test, & I parked at 52 thinking I’d do my morning meditation — totally ended up having a full out asleep nap for half an hour before I headed up to work.

Then there’s protein powder, which is the natural thing to suggest. It just seems like I go through a whack of it already — on Tues & Thurs nights when I stack spin & yoga at YAS, I have orange juice w/ protein powder in it — first after cycle & then again with a Clif bar on my drive home… do I really need to get a third mini-nalgene & add another protein round? or maybe I’m better off buying the gatorade powder & just adding that to my water post-row to tide me over until I get to work?

As it is, since I’m prepping my breakfast & lunch to take most days anyway, I already feel like I carry a small restaurant into work with me. Plus I spend so much time standing at my kitchen counter chopping & prepping food now that I just got myself a softie kitchen mat to stand on because my feet were starting to hurt on the original 1930′s tile & grout that is my floor.
Oh, and on a fun note, Ernie decided he doesn’t like the way the mat smells, so whenever he’s annoyed because Zoey & I have left the house without him, he pees on my kitchen mat. Thank god those things are water-resistant to begin with. :sigh:

The point of this whole ramble being I did a step test to see if we can figure out my heart rate freakishness, and now Z‘s got a bunch of numbers to chart. In the meantime, I asked what he suggested I shoot for on my steady state until he got a chance to actually analyze things, and he looked at me & said, “I have to say 150″, and then he snerked at the incredibly pained look on my face.

Oh god, dude. The monotony of it… Seriously, it makes the Baby Jesus want to cry. I just can’t even tell you.
Dear Heart:

Why can’t you work like everybody else’s? No good very bad, dude. No good very bad.

~ Claris




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  • Mr. Whyt

    eyegraine! perfect description for things I’ve had over the years. And now I must add: Facegraine. Caused by squinting through an eyegraine for hours on end so that all your face muscles become tense and sore.

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