Well, it was another gorgeous weekend here in Colorado. The sun shines over 300 days a year here, so it was no really no surprise that the weather was great. When we do actually have a crappy, snowy, or rainy day; it’s always a nice change. I love to sit in front of our fireplace and look out of our floor to ceiling windows and watch the snow softly fall.
We didn’t do much Friday night, I cooked dinner and then we took Madison over to a friend’s house to spend the night. Rick and I hung out, talked, and just enjoyed the quiet of a childless evening.
Saturday, we got up and went for a coffee run. I got my Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte and Rick went to Einstein’s for coffee and a bagel. The mountains were beautiful and clear and I couldn’t wait for the world to warm up a bit, so that we could go play in them! The tops were capped with a fresh coat of snow and the blue sky was crystal clear. In the summer, sometimes the view can be a bit hazy from the pollution, but the cold November air had zapped the haze and left us with a breathtaking picture.
We went home to do chores and wait for the weather to warm up. We decided that it would be a trail run day. The high was only going to be 50, so it would be a little too chilly for a mountain bike ride, but perfect for a trail run. We loaded the dog, water, cliff bars, Garmin forerunner, and ourselves into the CRV and set out for Lair O the Bear. I had strapped on my heart rate monitor for the first time and was curious to see the readings while doing a trail run. There are five zones that your heart rate can fall into during training. I did a little research to figure out what the heck these were and how to figure my maximum heart rate. Training in zone 1 is the safest, most comfortable zone, reached by walking briskly. Here you strengthen your heart and improve muscle mass while you reduce body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure, and your risk for degenerative disease. You get healthier in this zone, but not more fit -- that is, it won't increase your endurance or strength but it will increase your health. It should only be about 50-60% of your max heart rate. Zone two can be easily reached by jogging slowly. While still a relatively low level of effort, this zone starts training your body to increase the rate of fat release from the cells to the muscles for fuel. This zone should be about 60-70% of your max heart rate. Zone three is reached by running easily and you improve your functional capacity. The number and size of your blood vessels actually increase, you step up your lung capacity and respiratory rate, and your heart increases in size and strength so you can exercise longer before becoming fatigued. You should be about 70-80% of your max heart rate. Zone four is reached by going hard -- running faster. Here you get faster and fitter, increasing your heart rate as you cross from aerobic to anaerobic training. At this point, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to supply the exercising muscles fully so they respond by continuing to contract anaerobically. This is where you "feel the burn." You can stay in this zone for a limited amount of time, usually not more than an hour. That's because the muscle just cannot sustain working anaerobically (this means without sufficient oxygen) without fatiguing. The working muscles protect themselves from overwork by not being able to maintain the intensity level. You should be about 80-90% of your max heart rate. Zone 5 This is the equivalent of running all out and is used mostly as an "interval" training regiment -- exertion done only in short to intermediate length bursts. Even world-class athletes can stay in this zone for only a few minutes at a time. It's not a zone most people will select for exercise since working out here hurts and there is an increased potential for injury. It should be about 90-100% of your max heart rate.
Ok….I know that’s pretty wordy, but how’s that for a lesson? I mainly plagiarized it from the internet, so I hope that it is all correct, if not, correct me. Anyway, we drove out to Lair O the Bear and prepared for our trail run. The trail starts out on a nice little incline that is not too terribly steep. Rick and the dog ran a little ahead of me while I trudged along letting my inhaler kick in. There were tons of hikers and mountain bikers out and about and I swear it was warmer out there in the foothills then it was in Denver.
Rick and I split up since I was planning on a longer run and he took the pup. I slowly climbed up the trail and finally remembered my heart rate monitor. I looked at my GPS and my heart rate was 187! Good god, I was working in my zone 5! Surely that can’t be right, I thought, zone 5 is reserved for intervals and sprinting. I stayed in zone 5 until I started to descend the hill. Ahhh….relief. I only put in about 5.5 miles, I was having a shitty run and my asthma was acting up due to the cold and the hills. Oh well, some days are better then others.
Saturday night, Rick and I took Madison to a friend’s Bat Mitzvah and went shopping for pictures for our house. We ordered a couple, and then went home to watch the Mizzou football game and eat Blackjack pizza.
Sunday was supposed to be 65 degrees and I was very eager to get outside. Rick decided that he wanted to add more mileage to his runs, so he decided to just do a run in the suburbs. I was aching to get out to the woods again, so I packed up and headed out to Deer Creek Canyon for a little trail running. I started up the climb and I was hurting bad. My breath was ragged, my heart rate monitor was screaming 188 and I was HOT! I told myself that if I could just make it up the first mile, I could take the downhill option instead of the trail that ascends further up the mountain. I passed hikers upon hiker and I kept waiting on one of them to tell me just to STOP and sit down (I was beet red and breathing like a train), but none did or would. “You can do it…you can do it…if you just set your mind to it” I kept singing to myself. I was just about at the fork in the trail where I could turn and go downhill or I could make the decision to go uphill when my favorite Lance Armstrong quote popped into my head. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, and hour, a day, a year, but eventually it will subside…..If I quit, however, it lasts forever. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?” Ok, Tara Fuqua, I thought, you didn’t drive all the way out here to run just two miles. I promised myself that if I took the harder route, I would stop quoting Lance, so I turned and ascended the trail. The run somehow got a lot easier after that and I was able to put in a seven mile trail run. I even ran the very steep section without stopping and I felt amazing afterwards.
Sunday afternoon, I barbequed chicken, burgers, and tried some of my bosses goat sirloin steak. The goat steak was really good, but they were in very small pieces. Rick called them “steak nuggets”. I was surprised that he liked them.