Without Limits

This morning I combined my scheduled tempo run with my cardio point assessment test. My trainer had scheduled a mile warm up, two to three miles tempo running in my zone 4 range, and then a mile cool down. Instead I did just under 3.7 miles with a mask on my face breathing into a machine as I progressed from walking slowly to running full out at 7.4 miles per hour, or 8:06 minute miles pace. Even though toward the end I felt like I was going as hard as I could, the machine said I was at .95 of my maximum utilization. My trainer is still working on the details, but we do know a few things. My VO2 (the volume of oxygen consumed by my cells) hit 53 and my highest heart rate recorded was 166. This may not even be at my anaerobic threshold yet, which is a big advancement from two months ago when it was at a heart rate of 158 and my VO2 peaked at 47. To understand VO2 ranges a good chart can be found here. For my age, anything above 40 is excellent and the average range is 32 to 35. In sum – I am getting more efficient at burning fat while I run and I am getting faster.

When I finished my run it was only 7:00 AM, so I decided to get in the pool and swim. I did a total of 2,500 meters and surprisingly felt good. I was not tired from the run and I didn’t cramp at all. The main set was 2,000 meters that had a little of everything. First I did 5 x 200 meters to get a bit of endurance training in, then the speed work came right after with 4 x 100 meters with each one swimming faster until the 4th was the fastest. Here I was very happy. I went from 2:06 to 1:59 progressively getting faster each time. A little recovery with a 200 meter pull and then the variety segment of the workout began. 4 x 100 IM. That would be individual medley. The first 25 meters should be butterfly, 25 meters backstroke, 25 meters breast stroke, and finishing with 25 meters freestyle. As I commented to Iowa Bob on Saturday – I do not have much of an ability (if any) to do butterfly so I was granted dispensation and swam freestyle for the first 25 meters too. My lifeguard friend who taught me to flip turn will be helping me with the other strokes, including a little butterfly. I figure it is off season for triathlon and swimming so I may as well experiment and get a bit stronger in the process.

After having two good workouts this morning, I am happy to have the evening off and do not feel lazy at all. It was a good day and I learned much. My assessment revealed that my metabolic training is working. Running slow is helping me run more efficiently – and I am getting faster at it. My speed runs are advancing my anaerobic threshold so my faster running is also getting faster. Experimenting in the pool with different strokes is challenging, but I am enjoying it. It gives me something for which to strive. I am also learning just how much I am capable of doing, and not to set limits. I would rather be without limits (at least in my mind) and enjoy the journey to limitless levels.

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