Archive for March, 2014


Metabolic Testing

For about a year I’ve wanted to have metabolic testing done. This is where you wear a tight mask over your mouth and nose that measures the contents of your exhaled breath and gives an idea of what type of fuel you burn under various conditions. Since I’ve had trouble maintaining/losing weight, I was curious to get a better understanding of my metabolism. We recently joined the brand-new LifeTime Fitness in our area. As Founding Members we were entitled to a free health assessment and discounts on various services, including metabolic testing. I chose to have both resting and active metabolic testing done.

On my assign day I was required to fast – no food or water before the test. I arrived at the gym and was brought into a small cubicle. I was fitted with a mask and told to lay quietly in a recliner. No sleeping allowed! Image

Super attractive, right? I had to stay that way for about 30 minutes. For someone who is addicted to technology, it was pretty boring.

After we collected the resting data, I was brought over to the treadmill. They do the test on the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. I was doing the test to improve my running so the treadmill was an obvious choice for me. I was asked to pick a treadmill setting where I knew I could comfortably run for 30 minutes. Since I do run/walk intervals there wasn’t an obvious answer so I guess. The tester started me at a walk and every 2 minutes increased the speed on the treadmill. I wore the same mask as above.  After an 8 minute warm-up I needed to do a 5 minute rest. Then we started the actual test. Every 2 minute she increased the speed while monitoring my heart rate and the content of my exhaled breath. Even when I felt I couldn’t go further, I never truly maxed out my heart rate.

So what information did I get?

The resting metabolism information included my resting metabolism. This is 1174 kcal. Meaning that any day that I lay in bed all day without doing anything, I will burn 1174 calories. In the resting state I am burning 70% carbs and 30% fat. Unfortunately this is not ideal. I should be burning 90% fat and 10% carbs. Hopefully making some changes to my diet will improve this ratio.

The active metabolism helped to establish my heart rate training zones. Zones 1 and 2 are better for fat burning. The line between Zone 3 and 4 establishes the anabolic threshold or the point at which your body stops using oxygen to burn fuel and relies on the body’s glycogen stores. Most training should be done in Zones 1-2. 

Based on this data I was given a heart rate-based training plan. I will continue my long run each weekend (which should be done in Zone 2 and, as it turns out, the pace that Galloway has assigned me for long runs appears to be in my Zone 2 heart rate range). During the week I will do one “threshold” run where I do intervals that bring my heart rate into Zone 4. The other run is a base building run done in Zones 1-2.

Interestingly the Threshold run seems to correlate well with my Galloway-assigned speed work and the other run works out to be at long run pace for me. I have my next half marathon in about 3 weeks and we’ll see how well this new training works out on race day. I find heart rate training to be interesting. I’m someone who likes specific purposes for each run so this type of plan works well with my personality. In a few weeks I will re-do my metabolic testing and see if I’ve made positive changes.

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After crossing the 20 mile not-so-spectacular, we were in the final stretch to the finish line. We left ESPN Wide World of Sports and started the journey to Hollywood Studios. This is another stretch of road that is made far more fun by running with friends. Image

This guy ran the entire Marathon with a Mickey-themed tuba. He actually played the tuba. I heard that he ran the entire Dopey with the tuba but I only saw him during the marathon.

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My Merida outfit seems pretty tame in comparison….

I was surprised by how good I still felt at this point in the race. Mile 20 is usually a wall for most people. I had trained past 20 miles anyway and we were taking time to enjoy the race but we definitely put some extra distance in. There was a lot of sprint ahead and then walk.

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Another hilarious incident occurred when Michael bummed a (unlit) cigarette off a construction worker on the side of the road. There were several funny pictures taken of various people with the cigarette. All in good fun. Definitely makes the miles go faster!

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Almost to Hollywood Studios!

There were some Citizens of Hollywood as we entered the backstage area followed by the all important chocolate stop.

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Mile 23 and then a character stop.

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Some lovely cast members were handing out cups of ice as we ran by the ABC Commissary. Although the temperatures never got crazy warm, it was still greatly appreciated!

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Going by the hat.

As we exited Hollywood Studios, Michael decided to sing along with the course entertainment…

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With a Mickey bar, of course…

I love the stretch from Hollywood Studios over to the Boardwalk. It’s a route I’ve done many times in training when I’m on property.

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Apparently I didn’t pose the correct way. Lesson learned. I’ll do it better next year!

As we came around to the Yacht Club there were lots of friends of friends. As the newbie in this group of runners, I didn’t know all of the same people. But it was still awesome to see the amazing support!

As we entered the backstage area near the International Gateway, I was super excited because I knew my husband would be waiting in England for me. I was really hoping he’d have a beer but the alcohol didn’t go on sale until 11am and the line was long. We still got an awesome picture!

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I love running around World Showcase but we saw SO many people and kept stopping. I was starting to just get tired of the whole race. I just wanted to finish.

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But then something miraculous happened.  A few members of our group ran ahead to Mexico. And returned with some frozen yumminess!

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(Excuse the bad picture. It was mile 25.)

And then as we turned the corner to head towards Future World, my husband miraculously re-appeared with a BEER!

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This may be my single favorite picture from the race. Mile 25+ and I’m smiling and celebrating. This picture is what my friend Fast Eddie means when he says that Disney races are meant to have fun with friends. If you can run over 25 miles and enjoy it this much, you are doing something right!

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Heading to the homestretch!

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I love when you head backstage and the Gospel Choir is singing for you!

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And we finished together…

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The way it should be…

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So what was my finish time? I have NO idea. It was under 7 hours. Although it wouldn’t have matter, I wanted to finish within the official time limit of the race. And I know we did.

The was my slowest marathon ever. And the most fun I’ve ever had running in my life. It changed my life in ways that I can’t even explain. Several of the people who I was lucky enough to join for the race, I met for the first time on race morning. And yet I now consider them friends for life. This group has joined my fantastic running family with bonds that can’t be explained with words. I am so incredibly lucky that I was invited to be a part of this experience. 

I feel that I have to add that we were all well-trained for this race. I will never be a fast runner. I hope to be a faster runner but I don’t think I’ll ever be considered fast. But I know that I can always be a well-trained runner. It was because I prepared to go this distance that I was able to take extra time for fun. I hope to repeat this experience next year but that doesn’t mean I’ll slack off on my training. If anything I want to train even harder so I can keep up with the group!