I wasn't always like this. In fact, I went many, many years training without a heart rate monitor, GPS tracking or even a training log - but first, a little history. My first taste of training with technology came in 1986 when I got a Polar Quantum XL while still a young aspiring cross country ski racer. Used in conjunction with a training log and heart rate zones calculated with the Karvonen method, this device logged many miles of skiing, running, cycling and roller-skiing.
Sprint racing in Kiruna, Sweden (1995)
For the next 12 years a succession of Polar heart rate monitors saw me through NCAA division 1 college ski racing, the World University Games and US Olympic Trials in 1992, 1994 and 1998. My routine was highly structured - coaches, training plans, training logs, heart rate zones, resting heart rate logs, Max VO2 testing, blood lactate measurements - all recorded, analyzed and fed into the next training cycle. When I retired from ski racing in 1998 I still had athletic ambitions (in running) but was eager to shed coaches, training logs and especially the infernal heart rate monitor........plus, I needed a job.
Me (105) getting smoked by 1995 World Champion Vladimir Smirnov (103)
For the next dozen years I trained almost exclusively by perceived feel and ran whatever type of workout I felt like doing upon waking up in the morning. Admittedly, the years of structure had trained my body to know approximately what heart rate I was generating during a given workout. However, when the workout ended the feedback loop was severed and there was no data to analyze, obsess over or use to plan my next move. It was a relaxed and opportunistic approach to training and racing......and I enjoyed it.
This changed a year ago when I discovered Strava and the addictive qualities of "social fitness". I first dabbled with Strava's iOS app but my data obsession didn't fully gestate until I got a Garmin. The Garmin was a big step up from the mobile app; it delivered accurate locations, ran for 6 hours on one charge and more importantly, it never failed to deliver the data to Strava. For the past 4 months I've been main-lining accumulated mileage, leader boards, KOM's, total elevation, heart rate distribution, comments and kudos.
All this came crashing down with yesterday's missing ride. So distracted by this loss I forgot to bring the Garmin to my afternoon 6 mile run and had to run naked AGAIN. Was this a sign from the lobster god, a blessing in disguise, an opportunity for personal growth and reflection or just a cruel twist of happenstance? Whatever the cause, the resulting Garmin-free run was refreshing - a nice change from the same-old, same-old and by the end of the day I'd made it through all 5 stages of grief intact.
Back to my normal Garmin connected self, today I ran 7 miles (see below) up at Sanborn Skyline County Park outside Saratoga, CA. With elevations up to 3200' this might be a good "high" elevation training site for the upcoming USA 1/2 Marathon Trail Championships in Bend, OR. I'll have to record a few more runs up there and analyze the heart rate vs. elevation data. Maybe someone will even give me a kudo.