Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HR Training Bust!

Summer is here. . .  as you may have read in my previous post, I was playing around with heart rate training.   Did I mention summer is here?  I live in the midwest.  Hello humidity!  Hello turtle pace.  Last week, during lunch I went to the park, like I always do, for another heart rate run.  This happened. . .

Umm. . .  I officially declared hear training a bust.  I had to go much slower than the previous week just due to the weather.  I don't have time for this.  I may not be able to continue lunch time running anyways.  The weather makes it too hard to clean up post-run without a shower at work.  So I only run during lunch when the weather is nice enough.  But still. . . I am putting any more attempts at heart rate training on hold until the weather is better. It's hard enough keeping my HR at or below 148.  I don't need the weather making it more challenging.   I'd like to give this a fair chance, but it's just frustrating right now.

This weekend was a mixed bag. . . we didn't do anything special. The weather has kept my husband out of the field for a LONG time.  If you had asked us back mid-April if he'd be done with planting by now, we'd have said yes with no hesitation.  Then it rained almost non stop for a month, not allowing the field to dry out at all.  He's finally been able to get some bean planted, but not much and we have a long way to go. . .

I took this picture when I stopped by the field to see how he was doing.  This field is not at our home, so I had to help him move equipment here by picking him and bringing him back and forth.  This is a 25 acre field and he was able to get it planted yesterday.  He's trying to finish another field this morning, but the rain is on the way again.

Saturday and Sunday we did some gardening - planting flowers that is.  We cleaned out flower beds, added new mulch and planted some flowers.  I seem to either plant *no* flowers at all or I want to buy every flower I see.  This year it's the  "must buy all flowers" mentality.  I planted 2 more pots this weekend just because I fell for some flowers and had to have them.   I don't know if I posted much here, but I can't stand my "home". . . so some years I don't bother with the flower beds because in general I don't allow any one to come to my house.  So no one sees them, so what's the point?  It's a LOT of work watering all the flowers in the summer.  But for some reason this year I got the itch.

I finished this wreath this weekend.  This was flying around Facebook.  As a result it was really hard to find all the supplies.  All the red. white and blue bandanas were sold out everywhere.  I hung it on the door, but we don't have a porch or any type of awning, so the sun will fade this over the summer.  As a result it's now hanging on the *inside* of the door.  I spent too much $ on this to let it fade, but I don't like it hanging inside.  I should just give it to my mom. . . 

I made a cake to take to my barn this weekend.  I originally started making this in Christmas colors but have branched out for other holidays :) 

And yesterday afternoon I hung out with my kitty boy - Pudding.  Otherwise known as Puddy, Puddy McPoppers, Puddy Pop Pop . . .   he's the last cat left of a litter of five that we had a year ago.  I dont' know what's happening to my cats, but the two girls vanished fairly early on.  Then I had three boys left.  One went missing early in Oct and then we had two. . . they were best of friends. . .  last week Wednesday the other one went missing. We searched high and low.  I just don't know what's happening and it breaks my heart and I don't want to lose this kitty, as he's just so super friendly.  But he's very lonely without his brother.  It makes me so sad. 

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2016

My first attempts at heart rate training. . .

Hey all . . .  I hope you had a great weekend!  I think some of those very few of you that read this blog found me from Katie.  If you follow Katie you know she's been doing 80/20 training and the 80% is following heart rate training.  I also follow Stephanie and she's getting her feet wet with HR training too. 

The idea here is to keep your HR at or below you MAF (maximum aerobic function).   This stops your body from going into anaerobic function.   Take what I say with a grain of salt because I'm not totally sure I understand, nor have I read very much in detail about this.  However, I look at this at training your heart.  :)   The idea is that over time you will be able to run faster within you MAF heart rate.  My heart rate is 148.  

180 (base number)
- 37 (my age)
+5 (I have been training for 2+ years with improvement and without injury)

I will admit that I have to run really really slowly . . . kind of a wog if you will (walk/jog ha ha ).   And I read this is normal.  The first mile will be the fastest cause once your HR is up, it's up!  Some people struggle with how slow you have to go.  The first time I tried this, I wanted to see just how low I could keep my HR and still kind of run . . . I was at 160.  I thought "holy cow, 148 is going to be impossible!"  I was sure 148 was my number.  I double checked and yup, that's my number. 

So. . . here's my first HR run where I walked or sloooooooowed way the heck down when I went over 148. 

My avg pace for 4 miles was 13:20!   In general my avg pace is 11:00 - 11:20!   I did this in the town where  I work, so that meant lots of little hills.  Hills really pop up your heart rate!  I also learned that breathing deep, slow and long really helps the heart rate.  The time went by so fast because I was doing something different and challenging. 

The next day I did the exact same thing.  I also got smart and set my Garmin to beep when I went over 148.  But I had to watch it drop cause it did not alert me when I was back in range. 

So this time I had an avg of 147 bpm.  I had the same overall pace.  I think I got smarter about when I had to walk.  I learned what I had to do to get my rate to drop.  Sometimes my heart rate didn't want to drop very easily and I flat out had to walk really slow.  So I learned a few things about controlling it, but gosh it's hard.  It's almost impossible to find that steady pace / rhythm that keeps the heart rate steady.  I wondered if that was because of the hills? 

So the next day was Saturday and I woke up with some horrible sinus/allergy headache.  Not sure which but if I moved my head too fast I felt whatever was inside move.  Yikes!   That slowly went away and I decided I could do a 3 mile HR run.  My hubby came along and I warned him that it might be tedious.  I also tried not to talk to him too much.  It was tempting cause the run was *so* easy, but talking does inhibit my breathing and therefore the HR goes up!

So just a hair faster with 13:10 pace. . . on flat ground.  I really thought the pace would be a bit more different.   However, I did keep my HR at 146, so maybe if I had pushed it to have an avg of 148 I'd have had a faster pace.  But it's so up and down. . . and beep beep beep goes the Garmin!  Plus I'd rather not have too much time over the MAF range.  So I was happy with this.  

Where is this all going?  I have no idea.  I don't even know if I will keep doing this.  It's fun right now, but every run takes more time.  I'd like to try it for a month to see if I get a pace improvement withing my MAF.  But I don't know if I have the patience.   I haven't made any decisions.  

I was thinking of doing the 80/20 running that Katie is doing as I mentioned above.  You are suppose to have 80% of the *time* you run at as an easy run.  The other 20 can be speedwork.  Not sure I really want to sit down and figure out the time math.  But I thought if all my solo runs were HR runs, and my weekend run with my husband was "normal" then maybe that would be close enough to an 80/20 ratio? 

On Sunday I did run with my husband.  This was my 5th day in a row of running. And even though the previous 4 were "easy" (the first was that attempt at how slow can I go which didn't keep me in my MAF range so I didn't post it here). . . . that's still miles on the legs.  So I was a bit done for on Sunday.  I had that head issue again in the morning, but didn't really realize it till we started running.  Every step I took made my head pound.  Thankfully that went away in the first mile.  I had to take a brief walk break in the last mile. . . 

Those are my splits and my avg HR was 167. .  which is way out of my MAF range.   But again 80/20 right?  We'll see!

I just thought I'd share my experience here.  Keeping your HR withing aerobic function is suppose to be good for the body.  It's also suppose to encourage more fat loss I think.  I'm all for that!   I have read that there's a "junk" heart rate that doesn't do your body any good.  So at the very least this is shaking up my HR.  It's also easier on my body since the pace is slower.   But ultimately I'm not sure where this I'm going to go with all of this yet.  Does anyone else have experience with heart rate training? 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Little weight check in. . .

I've been so busy that I haven't posted much about my weight. I'm sad to say that I'm not in the 170's.

I was 181 the morning I left for Rolex.   But at one point last week and this week I was in the 185's.  No clue what happened, but I wasn't eating the best that's for sure.  I got sick with a 24 hour stomach bug this week and that dropped my weight and I've been able to keep it down for the 2 days since I've felt better.  Hopefully it lasts.  I'm not terribly worried, but I do really really want to see 176. Just once dammit! :)

I've been running about 3-4 days a week.  The break while I was in KY was both good and bad.  It made it hard to get back in the groove and I was hating running for a few days.  

I shared this photo on Facebook earlier this week to keep myself motivated. . .

The left is 2010, middle is 2012 and right is this year, 2016.   I was quite large in 2010 and that may be one of the only full body shots I have at that size.  My max weight was 250, so it's possible I was a bit less there, but not much.  I remember those pants like it was yesterday.  And those freaking pants were sooooo soft and comfortable. I was almost sad to shrink out of them.  They were Old Navy and I was unable to get a replacement pair.  I think the jeans in the other two photos are the same pair, even thought hey don't really look it.  There isn't a huge difference in the two photos on the right.  Not even in scale numbers and clothing size, but in between those years I went back up in all numbers.  I remember when those jeans didn't fit.  I believe it was last year, 2015, when I wore them again at Rolex and I was so happy.  I think I look happier and healthier in this year's photo.  Why?  The 2012 photo was after doing HCG.  I don't regret doing that.  But I don't think I'd do it again and I don't think it was the healthiest choice.  I think I was tired and certainly didn't feel as good as I do now.  So that's the difference I see when looking at those photos.

In other news. . .  I was at Macy's last month and I saw a purse that caught my eye.  I took a photo of it but I didn't buy it.  I stalked it online and when I got back from KY, I saw the price dropped so I got it.

I'm usually a solid color purse girl, but for some reason I fell for this.  And I love the striped interior. 

And yesterday I got a package in the mail. . . . a total surprise gift.  . . . 

That's a Dooney and Burke cross body Cardinals purse!   How cute is that?  I've noticed them but never spent the $ on one.   I was really really surprised to receive this in the mail!  I might have got teary eyed. 

I have a busy weekend coming up, including a graduation party.  I'm pretty anti-social right now. I'd like to just stay home and do nothing.  I haven't been able to do that in some time and I need that kind of break to be honest.  Have a great weekend peeps! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Competition Photos

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I wanted to share some of the photos I took while working as a member of the media at the Rolex KY 3 Day Event last weekend.

Rolex is a 4 start event. . . the only 4 star in the US.  It's the highest level of 3 Day Eventing and it's often part of the Olympic selections, as it was this year.   I'll try to explain Eventing briefly as I post the photos.

 The first phase is Dressage.  The horse/rider pair will ride a dressage test on either Thursday or Friday (there are too many horses for them to get done in one day). Dressage is the discipline I ride.  It's "dancing" with your horse.  You must complete a certain pattern with certain movements at certain points in the arena.  (similar to figure skating)  Each movement is scored give up to 10 points and then there are overall collective points at the end.  A good score is say 70+ . .  and that is reversed to 30 for eventing.  In eventing the lowest score wins.  So you want your dressage test to be the best that it can be because you won't be able to reduce your score after the first day.

This is Michael Jung and Ficsherrocana.  They led after dressage and proceeded to win the whole competition.

Saturday is the second phase of the event.  Cross Country!!  It's the heart of eventing and probably the reason these crazy people actual do this discipline.  The horse/rider combos gallop a course that is approx 4 miles with many obstacles to jump and water to go through. Some jumps are combinations of 2-3 jumps, so there are even more jumping efforts than the amount of numbered jumps.  There is an optimal time to complete the course and if you go over you get points added to your score from dressage.  If you have a refusal or another jumping penalty (broken pin, etc) you get points added.  If you fall you are eliminated.   It rained all day on Saturday and was pretty miserable.  The course got muddier and harder on the horses as the day went on. 

Again this is the winning horse/rider - Michael Jung and Fischerrocana 

On Sunday the riders have to present their horses in what is called a "jog".  The riders are not on the horses, but they lead them in a trot away and back from a panel of vets.  If they pass (at this level they most always do) they proceed to the last phase of the competition.  This is Show Jumping. . . it's a course inside an arena.  There is a time limit just like in cross country.  Time over adds to your score. Rails down and refusals also add to your score.  Remember lowest score wins.  These riders are riding horses that are pretty tired at this point and the rails can fall very easily!

The winning pair

That's a wrap!  I hope you liked the photos.   It's always a fun weekend with a lot of perks being a member of the media.  I enjoy every moment and some years I count down to Rolex like a child counts down to Christmas.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My weekend in KY at the Rolex 3 Day Event

Every year, the last weekend of April, I travel to the gorgeous KY Horse Park in Lexington KY for the Rolex KY Three Day Event.  I "think" 2005 was my first year, but I'm honestly not sure.  I work as a member of the media. . . I photograph for various publications, organized by friends of mine.  It's super fun as there are many perks to working media.  But it is *not* paid and everything including hotel is on my dime.  As a member of the media we do get many free meals though which helps.  But it's not as glamorous as it might sound.

What is the Rolex KY 3 Day Event?  It's a 4-star 3 day event (the highest level of Eventing and the only 4-star held in the US).  It's an international level competition and often times part of the Olympic selections.  I'll summarize it in my next post when I share some competition photos.  First I wanted to share some personal pics of my adventures first.

First up was dinner the first night.  We went to Windy Corner Market. I had this gigantic po-boy called the "Kentucky Boy". . . .Pulled pork in Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, crispy fried pickles, Bourbon Barrel beer cheese, red onion, shredded lettuce and our Special Sauce.

 I would like to say that it was yummy but it was just ok.  I don't think this stop in on our list for next year.

Our group of 7 people divide the 2 days of dressage into shifts.  My friend Kristi and I had the Thurs afternoon shift.  So on Thurs morning we hit the trade fair and shopped.  Gotta get the good deals and the sizes you want before the crowd arrives.  There are significantly less people there on Thurs than the rest of the weekend.

The first place we hit is our favorite booth - Animals to Wear.  This place is expensive, but they run a show special of buy 3 get one free.  Kristi and I split that - we pick out 2 items each and split that discount for the free 4th item.  This year and last our items have all been the same price so it's just divide by 2 and we are good to go!  Most of the clothing is Kerrits brand.  I have a love/hate relationship with it. The sizing is hard.  Which is why we go here first, but I also wish they'd offer other brands.  Specifically Under Armour and stuff that is more sized for the average person and potentially that holds up better too.

I bought this purple ( yes it looks black) light weight vest and this pink/orange colored technical fabric shirt.  Here are the backs. . .

I love the backs.  So fun to wear!!!!

I bought too much stuff so I won't bore you with the details.
Thursday afternoon we shot our dressage session.  We had 13 horses.  The morning shift was much longer so we got the better deal this year!

Did I mention how few people are there on Thursday?  You can see the empty stands.  Those get more packed as the weekend goes on.

Friday we didn't have to shoot, but we did get invited to an Absorbine press gig - they gave us appetizers and drinks. . . . and told us all about their new fly mask, which seems super cool.  And we got a free one!

 I also played the Cosequin facebook game where I posted a pic of the Cosequin logo located somewhere on the park for a free prize.  We happened to go claim our prize at the same time they were giving away their buckets.  They do bucket giveaways a couple times each day and people line up well in advance.  I don't know what people do with the buckets.  But I got one.  I chose this cute little horse as my FB prize.

Saturday was Cross Country day.  This is the heart of eventing and brings in the most people.  It rained all day.  I don't have many pics from that day because I was huddled under an umbrella.  My expensive lens that I use for that day was not working and I'm really bummed.  Beyond bummed as I have to send it to Nikon for repair.  I wanted to cry.  But I did get a photo of before the rain started. . .  I lived in that jacket.  It's an Animals to Wear jacket that I got last year.  It's an icefil jacket so it's very lightweight and also blocks the sun.  I wore it every day.  Unfortunately I have the snags to prove it.  That material sucks in terms of durability. 

Saturday night we got media passes for the Hunter Hayes and Friends concert. . . 

This was the first time I've had a press credential for a concert.  It was so fancy!

You can see how close we were. That speaker was right next to the stage.  We had to wear ear plugs.

I'm not a huge Hunter Hayes fan, so we didn't stay for long. . .

What would a concert in a horse arena be without a horse?

Sunday was Stadium Jumping and I got rained on again.  I had a new cover for my camera and I don't like it.  It wasn't really meant for my camera, but the plastic window is shaped funny and I'm not sure I get what camera is shaped like that. 

My friend bought a spirit horse while we were shopping - to hand from her rear view mirror. Sunday morning when we got in our cars to drive to the park one last time I said "I want a spirit horse!"  So I got one. . .