Upcoming events –

Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, September 13, 2000


G'day, mates!

It's another sunny, breezy day here in Australia's River City. Nearly all of my U.S. Olympic Track & Field teammates left yesterday for Sydney and the Olympic Village. The four U.S. racewalkers, our coach, and our training partner, 1996 Olympic Champion Jefferson Perez, are all that remain here at the Brisbane Marriott.

This morning we took two taxis down to our 4 kilometer loop course on the Brisbane River Bikeway. The plan for me and my 50K teammates Andrew and Curt was get in one more good, tough distance workout (coach may surprise us with another next week, too). On today's menu we had 30 kilometers, zone 2 heart rate, which was seven and a half laps of the bike path.

Every day in training I use a heart rate monitor. The monitor has a watch and an elastic band that goes around my chest and sends a signal to the watch. With a heart rate monitor, I can keep track of how many beats per minute my heart is beating. It gives me a very good idea of how hard I am working. A week before we left San Diego, we did very detailed sports science testing to determine our target heart rate zones for certain lactate levels.

(Basic sports science lesson: When you exercise, your muscles produce lactic acid, that burning sensation you get when you are climbing a flight of stairs or running hard. At slower speeds, the body has the ability to flush out any excess lactic acid from your muscles and you can continue to run or walk comfortably. That's called training aerobically, with enough oxygen. As you get going faster and faster, your body produces more and more lactic acid. Eventually, your body can't remove the excess lactic acid and your muscles fatigue and cramp. That level is called the aerobic threshold. Suddenly your body doesn't have enough oxygen to give to the muscles and it begins to work anaerobically, without oxygen.)

So, based on the lactate testing and using the heart rate monitors, we can determine our aerobic threshold and walk just below that level. That way, we can walk for a very long period of time without cramping up and slowing down. As you can imagine, there is always a margain of error and sometimes you go over the threshold and have problems.

Today, I was able to walk within my zone and go faster than I had gone in any previous workout for 30K in many many months. I was a bit nervous because I wasn't positive that my muscles would be able to endure the speeds I was going, but I finished very strongly.

Now I am very tired. I swam in the hotel's swimming pool a bit this afternoon to loosen up my muscles. I ate an extra helping at both lunch and dinner to make up for all the energy I used during nearly two and a half hours of continuous walking this morning. And now I am getting ready for a very very good night's sleep.

Tomorrow is going to be a BIG day. Andrew, Tim and I fly down to Sydney, check in to the Olympic Village (oh my goodness, it's all very real!), and on Friday we march in the Opening Ceremonies. Wish me luck!



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