Monday, October 19, 2015

Capt. Bluetooth's Week in Running: 2 Half Marathons, Ambit3 Run,RunScribe, and Maffetone Training

Mount Desert Island Half Marathon and Acadia National Park
The Captain and Mrs. Bluetooth returned from magnificent Mount Desert Island, Maine Acadia National Park and the MDI Half and Marathon all smiles. What an incredible place to visit and run in fall. Spectacular mountain and ocean scenery with leaves in full color and the best organized race I have ever been in with the bonus, intimate small towns feel and attention to every detail.  Last year I ran the Marathon with my daughter. This year Mrs Bluetooth  and I ran the Half. Both highly recommended and very tough courses.  Small town feel, careful attention to every detail, and magnificent scenery. Rated Most Scenic and Runner Up Overall by Runner's World readers and well deserved.

Many came from far away, 47 states and 7 countries, for a "running vacation" including these 2 newlyweds from Pittsburgh we chatted with in the "warm up" room, the Northeast Harbor Community House, not too shabby a place to stay warm on a 27 degree morning. They placed 1st and 2nd in the their age groups, 1:35 for Jo and 1:31 for Tom. They weren't spring chickens either! We gave them our Acadia park pass so they could take a post race tour of the park, a wedding present.

 BAA Half Marathon 
I almost forgot... a week ago I ran another half the BAA Half along the Fellsway in Boston. I did OK at 1:40.27 but struggled a bit the last mile through Franklin Park zoo on the pathways.
So going into another half a week later I kept all my running at my Maffetone HR (MAF) of 180-age+5 beats or my maximum aerobic heart rate of 127 and took a couple of days off as we toured Acadia before the MDI. I really believe that keeping 80% of training at the MAF heart rate is already paying off.  The other 20 or so percent of training or racing at a higher intensity and heart rate. My average heart rate at the hilly MDI Half was 164.

MDI Half-The Race

Mrs. Bluetooth and I had fine races. Mrs.Bluetooth was expecting around 2:10 but ran 1:57.45. 8th in her age group. She is known as the Sandbagger! I ran 1:38.34 on the very hilly course with 800 feet of climbing. The views along Somes Sound were spectacular.
My annual goal as I am pushing 60 is to run a half under 1:40. Mission accomplished so now to really push it hard at my final half the Seacoast Half on my flat home roads in a few weeks.

I set a goal of keeping my heart rate below 170, even on the climbs, and pushing all the many downhills hard, not my strength. My average heart rate was around 164 and my splits relatively even. I started the first 2 miles with the 1:40 pace group to keep my usual overly fast few miles under control, a smart move.  I was 5th in the 50-59 age group and am about to age out of it.... As the week before in Boston, I rocked the incredible Altra Impulse (review here), with a heel wedge. They were perfect and fast.  Particularly appreciated the responsive forefoot cushioning on all those hills. Unless something else appears at the last moment they will be my Road Shoe of the Year.

Suunto Ambit3 Run
Suunto Ambit3 Run

I have been using the Suunto Ambit3 Run lately with the Smart Sensor heart rate strap, a smaller pod and comfortable. While it seems to race high at the start of runs after 5-10 minutes it settles in. The watch is rugged, sort of the high quality "Rolex" of GPS watches.  Made in Finland and easy to see and operate with metal buttons instead of a touch screen it is great for winter and sweaty fingers. I am particularly liking the recovery calculations (based on pace and observed hear rate). After the BAA Half it told me I needed 80 hours to recover and the recovery time cumulates new hours if you train while in the recovery time. I hit zero recovery to go late Friday for my Sunday race and felt great.  After the MDI Half the Ambit told me I needed 87 hours to recover so clearly it was a bigger effort race.

I participated in the Kickstarter for RunScribe which claims:

"RunScribe™ provides 3D insight into the mechanics of how you run. Let the data drive you toward smarter training decisions."

After a rough beta, the RunScribe, pods you attach to either the heels of your shoe or laces, is now generating a lot of data about my stride, contact time, and various other metrics I need to work on understanding and maybe "doing something about". The app and website is very well done if a bit data rich. I might wish for more coaching on the run via the app, for example to work on reducing my contact time, a key metric, but the pods only record and then you upload to the app. I am most eager to see the differences in metrics between shoes, if any. As I often run the same loop at the same max aerobic heart rate I believe this will be a useful tool for seeing if shoes do make a difference in affecting the metrics. It takes 3 runs to  generate a baseline for a shoe. Full review soon.

Happy Running!

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