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What Drives Us and What Works?

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What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by Dave Tuttle on Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:36 pm

So from a few recent comments I'm getting the impression many of us are asking ourselves a lot of the same questions these days... What is the right level of performance for me? Is all out what I want/need or is an approach targeting maintenance, optimal fitness, or conservation a better option at the moment? Why?

It will probably be a while before I can add my 2 cents but I'm very interested in what you all think.

4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
Dave Tuttle

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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by RoadKillBill on Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:32 am

Personally, I find that "all out" is unpleasant, frightening, and still doesn't result in performance worth bragging about, so I back off and savor the extended experience. Once upon a time I experienced the joy of winning, but it's ancient history and I've let that go. At this point in my life I'm interested in staying active for as many years as I can. I get a buzz just from moving around, I don't care if others do it faster. That said, I have great admiration and respect for our friends who can still burn up the course -- and if I was at all capable, I would certainly be doing that myself -- but that's not my reality so I've adjusted my personal standards.

Mitral valve repair 2002
Cleveland Clinic

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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by EugeneRunner on Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:28 am

RoadKillBill wrote:Personally, I find that "all out" is unpleasant, frightening, and still doesn't result in performance worth bragging about...

It is interesting that the best running I did in 35 years as a runner (40 depending on how you count!) occurred in the first 18 months after my MI/stent. That was in the period where I was going out of my way not to run "all out" or particularly close to it. Just cruising along and avoiding things like pushing the last mile of a race, running hard workouts, sprinting, etc. A few years later now, I sometimes race all-out, and find I run slower when I do that than when I run controlled and hold back a bit. I'm not entirely sure, but I think relaxing and taking pressure off a race causes me to run more efficiently. Certainly it is more enjoyable, especially when the result is at least as good if not better.

The race I ran last weekend, I literally woke up that morning and decided "I guess I'll run that half marathon today." I intentionally left my racing shoes at home and had no intention of running fast. I don't think I've ever been less nervous before a race. I was just cruising around enjoying the scenery, at least until the 10 mile mark. The end result was far better than I could have hoped had I actually approached it as an all out race. Plus it actually felt good!

I hadn't really thought about it until I read your comment Bill. But that might be the key for me. Run relaxed, which reduces the heart risk, and there doesn't seem to be a real downside in my case. I think sometimes I just get too caught up chasing times and places, which hurts more than it helps.

The other thing I'm having to come to grips with is slowing down each year. I'll be 50 next spring, so no matter what my targets will get slower and less competitive each year.

MI and stent - March 2011

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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by jerseyguy on Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:24 am

I think my perspective may be that years (or decades to be more accurate) had passed since I was active with running. So in a sense this activity is all new to me again. Also, I just turned 50. So I think at some level of my psyche the whole "middle aged" thing is factoring into the equation.

I realize that some of the contributing variables to my recent experience were beyond my control but that comes with the territory of marathon running. In hindsight I also think its possible I over trained for this event and went into it fatigued. I can also say I was very anxious going into it and I am not sure why. The silver lining behind all this is that it did force me to ask myself why I am pushing myself to the extent I am. I would love to get to the point where I can "savor the extended experience."

Maybe I have reached my potential I don't know, but I am looking to 2017 as a period of re-evaluation.

LAD STEMI / Xience Stents


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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by Sumorunner on Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:11 pm

In a meeting recently with people who knew about my spinal issues with running and how I had shifted to swimming instead, I mentioned signing up for my 1st ever mile open water race (at age 68). One woman turned and said "OMG you really are competitive."

I never saw myself as competitive in the combative sense, needing to go mano-a-mano against others. It's more that I have a need to test myself against the clock and test my training & conditioning program. And yes, that means going all-out from time to time.

I signed up for a few swim clinics this fall to improve technique, not because I think I'll set any age group records or anything, but so I'll get the maximum benefit out of each workout. One simple thing that makes me happy, is taking a resting pulse in the morning and having it register between 51-53. That has always been the real test to know the conditioning is on the right track.

Aortic Valve Replacement, St Jude Medical artificial valve, July 1991, Albany, NY
I have a new web site for my artwork. http://jackpaints.wix.com/jackberkeryart

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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by Marc Thayer on Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:29 pm

Geez its been a while since I've 'been in town'. I do enjoy the directed subject forum for discussion...not that there isn't opportunity in other social media outlets. I'm just more comfortable here.

That being typed...when I first got 'here' in the CA forum I was heading for AVR..and my reaction to the diagnosis/prognosis was gloom and doom. I was into my second year of running after a long hiatus ( that old devil work and family..who has the time???) My journal was full of training mileage and targeted times for events. All the hoopla that someone making an earnest effort to regain some form of fitness is wont to make.

I treated myself to a Garmin 410..and a heart monitor.
Like any good engineer I wanted as much data as I could get...to better fill out that journal...to better self assess.

Initially it worked. I was working toward that goal....(don't ask...I was delusional), hitting target times making progress.

I was pretty impressed with myself, 58 year old working construction and banging out 7:20 mile repeats with a big ol' honking scar in the middle of my chest.

And then the plateau. Progress more and more incremental. Instead of cardiologists I was seeing the PT.
Running, racing, was transforming into a task.

Then on a trip to KY I lost the charger to that fancy watch.

I came to the conclusion that my data gathering aka running wasn't a stress relieving process but an inducer of stress.

Sure...I time my runs...start and finish..with an old stopwatch...or my phone..or the kitchen clock. But not while I'm 'out there'

I love to see my race times..."That old sumbitch beat me again????" But its more about listening these days. To all the body parts and all the thoughts running amok twixt my ears.

Ok I can run 7:40's now. And I take some pride in that. I'm doing ok. There may be more left in this bag of bones yet.

It's a fun trip.

I mention my times only because that's MY metric. I'm not pounding my chest over that. Just check that 60-64 AG in any race and you'll see some guys that are going a whole lot faster than me. Bless them, I'm happy for 'em...impressed too!
Maybe I'll get there someday...maybe.

I ain't stressing over it tho.

Aortic Valve repair, Ascending Aorta graft; 2012
Marc Thayer

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Can't really describe why I do this, but...

Post by Gary E on Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:48 pm

Hi Gang, I haven't chimed in for quite some time.  I usually only sit down at a computer during the winter months when daylight is shorter (or when I have to pay bills, research the meaning of something that I used to remember well, or enter my exercise data on LogARun).  For some reason, today I stumbled upon this site again, and really enjoyed seeing your comments.  

I don't usually analyze my exercise, but I am convinced it is what is keeping me alive (considering my family history of heart disease...and despite my fast-food habits).  I try and run and swim daily, but only enter one race each year.  For those that know me as a "cheapskate", it is true that I only race when I get to run for free. Occasionally, I will "accidentally" join in at the back of the pack and run until just before the finish line (like in Shepherdstown) but I don't want to be known as a bandit, so I try and avoid situations that are so tempting.

Since I no longer have the urge to be competitive, or rather, because I can't seem to put one foot in front of the other very quickly anymore, it is now all about just being active and enjoying going through the motions.  It is almost like pretending to be an athlete again, and it does keep me from looking as pudgy as most of my life-long friends, but I know it is just a habit that I can't (or don't want to) break.

Hoping to stay in touch,


Last edited by Gary E on Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
Gary E

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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

Post by Dave Tuttle on Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:56 am

It's great to hear from so many of you on this subject and what a wonderfully different yet similar range of  experiences and motivations. I too much prefer the forum format we have here for discussion...

I'm also convinced running is the only reason I'm still alive and that is my primary motivation. That and I just feel a whole lot better when I run regularly. It's been a long time since my CABG surgery... 1999, I was 46 and not a runner. Once I started to recover from the physical and mental trauma I understood that going forward if I was to ever have any escape from the fear that my heart was going to blow up I had to make it very strong and walking simply wasn't going to do that. Way back then when I started running  most everyone thought I was going to hurt my heart or kill myself and I wasn't sure how safe it was either, but as it turned out running was just what I needed. In a few years I got to the point that I ran marathons, my heart was strong, and I was pretty confident it wasn't going to blow up... That was all I ever needed and it felt great! Sure, I liked to push it trying improve my times but the competition was always with myself and with my heart disease since the remaining blockages that were non fixable back then still tend to put a limit on how hard I can push.  

Now at 64 I'm seeing my speed and endurance slipping, not that I ever really had much but it bothers me some... Injuries and joint issues have reduced my weekly miles somewhat too but I still try to run at least every other day even when it sucks because it always feels so much better than not running... And now almost 18 years later, any day I can run still proves to me that my heart is okay.

4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
Dave Tuttle

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Re: What Drives Us and What Works?

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