Monday, April 5, 2010

Can a High Pollen Count Impact Heart Rate Training?

I went for a run today after work and the heat had inched up to about 85 degrees. I am happy to run in the heat, and actually welcome it. I am somewhat accustomed to running in heat and humidity so I was shocked to see my heart rate was about 10 beats per minute higher than it would typically be in a run like I had today.

So, I started thinking about other variables that could be in play here to raise my heart rate above normal. 1) Stress? Yes, I'm stressed. 2) Lack of sleep. Well, yes I could probably use a few more hours of sleep. 3) High volumes of caffeine intake throughout the day? Yes, I'll have another double espresso please.

Okay, okay, so all of these factors are probably likely causes that raised my heart rate up a couple of ticks, but what about POLLEN??? My heart rate must have been impacted by this, right? I guess I'm just looking for an excuse that is based on something I have no control over (Mother Nature) rather than something I could simply alter in my daily life... like one less cup of double strength coffee.

I'm heading back out to the trail tomorrow after work. Less coffee, more water, and will train at a heart rate of 145-150 to see what my pace is.

Should be fun!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What word defines you as an athlete?

Do you define yourself as an "athlete"? If so, do you use words like, "I'm a"... swimmer, runner, triathlete, IRONMAN, marathoner, sprinter, jogger, or cyclist in your definition? A week ago, a guy asked me, "Hey, are you some kind of athlete or something." I quickly replied without hesitation, "Yeah, I'm a runner." Seven days later I was still thinking about that question and how I answered it. Okay sure, I was obsessing, but what else is new?

So in my moment of over analysis, I wondered if the word "runner" really defined me? Is that who I am as an athlete? A runner? I mean, I swim, bike, run, lift weights, and I cross train with all sorts of crazy activities. In short, I do a ton of "athletic" things as I'm sure you do too. So if that is the case, does saying, "I'm a runner" accurately define us as athletes or should we be more creative with the definition to get closer to who we really are?

Well, I've had 7 days to think about this and I'm still not sure what word defines me best as an athlete. The deeper I looked, the less tangible the words got. They were like: Competition, Challenge, Inspiration, Adrenaline Junkie, Suffering, Winning, Losing, and "Not a Quitter". Those 7 days didn't get me any closer to a true definition and checking Webster's dictionary wasn't any help either.

As "Athletes" we do the things we do for our own personal reasons, and I think that is what defines us. You are not just a "runner". You are a competitor who hates to lose, but you don't care if you do as long as you gave your best. You're not just a triathlete, but you love the endorphins you get from the brick workout just as much as you love a short swim session. Sure, you're a "Marathoner" but you ran it to support your mom who has breast cancer and now your an inspiration, not only to your mom, but also to yourself.

So the next time some guy asks, "Hey, are you some kind of athlete or something." The reply should simply be, "Yes."

I'm an athlete.

  Sunday run in the rain.