Heart Rate with Fever

Been a long time since I posted.  Lots of stuff going on; no lack of that; just lack of priority…  Well, one of the things I’m looking at is “why did I post”, looking at those motives, calling them into question, and redirecting energies.     That could have been another post, if I were to post that stuff .. see how meta this is?

Anyhow, here’s an interesting thing that developed over the last few days.   I started feeling crummy, definitely crummy by Monday 7pm or so.  Ended up with a fever.  Better now.   Looked back at Heart Rate data, and … I can tell!   That heat has to come from somewhere, right?


Sunday is provided as a reference for a normal day.   HR hanging between 70 and 100.

In case it was a stomach bug – Monday 9am: Instant Oatmeal from Aldi   12pm: Chipotle Steak Bowl

Monday, about 3pm, you can see it start to rise.  I didn’t realize I was sick until about 6pm.  At the time, the single read temperature was 98.9 degrees, compared to my normal of 98.6 or is it 96.8 I can never remember… not enough to count.

Tuesday, I had an important meeting at work, so I went in .. then headed home.  Slept a long time.    About 6pm, actually detected the fever at 100.5, took a Tylenol.    Heart rate and fever started marching back down. 

Wednesday – kinda-working-from-home — my appetite seems to be coming back. 

Pretty cool stuff.

Optimizing Cycling

Now that we have youtube, I watched some videos on “Fitting” a cycle.  Armed with that info – maybe my bicycle is not the best fit for me, but I could change some things.

imageI rode the same route three times .. ignore the dark part, that’s me putting the app on “pause”, but apparently it continues to record while doing so, which is actually great.  Its about 1.1 miles mostly up-hill.  I did it three times ..

Look at the pink.  That’s my speed going up the hill.  Note how second and third ones were definitely better.

Look at orange.  That’s my heart rate.  Look at how second and third ones were higher.

Here’s what it was: 

  • My seat was not high enough.  As a result, on the downstroke, at the 3pm point, my knee was actually out beyond where the pedal was – which brings some strain into the system. As a result, my legs hurt  .. kneecaps back to hamstrings .. so my heart couldn’t drive my legs as hard as my heart actually could.
  • 2nd trial – I brought my seat up about 2 inches ** , so that my leg was almost fully straight but my foot still parallel to the ground when the pedal was at its lowest.    I also inflated my tires up to 70 (they were at 40 before), which maybe helped some as well – although you’d think you’d see that on the downhill.  I guess air resistance trumps rolling resistance there.  ** because the seat rises up and to the back, raising the seat also moved me back a little bit. 
  • 3rd trial – I brought my seat up another inch or so, so that my foot points a bit down at the lowest spot.  It also for sure got my knee behind the line of the pedal when the pedal is at 3 o’clock.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but … seemed smoother, and .. the heart rate vs speed graph seems to agree.   I also reinstalled the bar-ends so that my hand position was further out, and I think that shows up in the downhill speed (the part not marked with pink) is higher for this trial. 

This could also all be B.S.   It could also be that:

  • The evening progressed and it got cooler
  • I drank more water so the weight of the bike went down
  • I got more properly warmed up.

Things I did not do that would probably make things even better:

  • Put my seat further back.  Its as far back as it can go.
  • Use a lighter bicycle.  Mine is a hybrid with shocks and stuff .. quite heavy.
  • Take off my very heavy bicycle pack (leftover from RAGBRAI.  I needed somewhere to stick my towel and other stuff for my commute to work.  Don’t leave home without your towel!  (Don’t panic!)

Things that I am doing already:

  • I’m using .. clips?  and cleats?  I don’t know the names of them.  Basically, i have power on the upstroke as well, I just have to remember to try to bring my knees up to touch my arms.

The real test will be riding to work .. I hope on Monday .. and compare that against last Monday, see how I do.

I am excited.

Running Metrics

Looking at (some) of my numbers from this round of getting back into running –


  • This does not take into account exhaustion (time of day) or heat
  • The graph does not take into account distance – in general, over longer distances, your body can do less for a given HR.

Most of the numbers are in about the same line – the green line (which is data between 7/2 and 7/19). 

You can see me actually being worse than the blue line (which is data from 6/3 – 6/10).

However, notice that once I got serious and did a “long run” at low HR (the 125 HR on 7/19 which ended up at 90 minutes), my next performance jumped to the north significantly.  This is what HR training (LONG and slow, 50% between L1 and L2) can do for you.

Or, maybe I’m full of falafel and the next piece of data I get will be completely different.

This is kinda fun.   I wonder if I could convert this into a 3D sculpture of sort.

Picking up Running again–analysis of Heart Rate vs Speed

In 2010, I started running.  I started at a max distance of 0.25 miles; ran into shin-splints; did a bunch of research, bought some Vibram Five Fingers, and ran my first 5k in 36 minutes or so.   I (too) rapidly progressed to running the Bourbon Chase that year, and in 2011, I competed in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.  At the time, I was pretty well conditioned (for me). 

2012, nada.  I had a knee injury late in 2011, and didn’t do much of anything.

2013, I’m back in running form.. just barely.  I started a few weeks ago, I’m barely keeping up with the distance I need for the Triple Crown.   The 10k is tomorrow morning.


I have heart rate data from both years:


  • I have no idea what unit the speed is in. 
  • The Y Axis starts at 70, although for me it could start at 90.  If it were zero, I would be dead. Smile 
  • The Purple shows a training run (I think) from 2011 January, when I was running around 4-5 miles.
  • The Red shows me competing in the 2011 Rhodes Run (I think). Or, it was a long run.  You can see the significantly higher speed (to the right)
  • The Blue is my training run from last night.  I went REALLY slow – that’s probably 3-3.5, somewhere between 15 to 18 minutes per mile.

My take-away is that purple is shifted to the right of blue – I could go faster at the same heart rate, back then.

Here’s a slightly different view, courtesy of the free-compare tool at www.movescount.com – which came with my kick-ass Suunto t6d watch


  • Orange are all the runs from January to March of 2011.
  • Black are all the runs from 2013 (I haven’t “associated” the workouts with running, so they are still black)
  • Once again, same heart-rate, less speed.   
  • I have some room for improvement.

There is a direct relationship between heart rate and speed. 

Heart Rate Training

According to the book “Total Heart Rate Training” there’s also markers of heart rate zones to be found.   Here’s my interpretation of it, augmented with data collection devices:

  • Walk for at least 15 minutes first, to get the “jigglies” out.  
  • Start slow, on a treadmill, but at least jogging, like 3.5 mph.   Your jogging speed could be slower than your fastest walking speed! 
  • Slowly speed it up.  Let yourself adjust to each new speed.  I do a count to 8 or 16 before adding another 0.1 mph. 
  • At some point, you will feel yourself start to breathe a bit harder.  You will still be able to talk, just not as easily.   (There is no telltale thing on the graph for this).  Call this point “A”. 
  • This will last for a while.
  • At some point, it will start to get much harder much quicker, and you won’t be able to talk anymore, and you’ll be sucking for air.    Welcome to Anaerobic?  Aerobic?  THE OTHER ONE, the zone where you have 5 minutes of energy left, use it, loose it, and you’re done.  Call this point “B”
  • Charting the heart rate vs speed, you should see a bend where you switch to the other zone.   Up till that point, everything should be “approximately” a line.   When you switch to the other zone, there will be a “bend” and you’ll get a new (line/curve).   


  • These are from two this year.  I had a beautiful sample from 2011, BUT, I didn’t have any distance measuring equipment, so no speed data, only HR.
  • I’ve added an elbow in blue (older), and orange (more recent), as to where I think my transition point “B” was.
    • Another sign of transition:  Your heart rate does not slow down, so no “wobbles”.  Just unpeels upwards.
  • You can see my transition point move up – that’s me getting heart-toned, or, well, shaking the cobwebs out.
  • You can also see the orange is just a bit to the right of the blue – better speed at the same heart rate.    Although I suspect I was getting bored, hence there’s very few data points for 28 to 30.
  • I’m pretty sure my “A” point is somewhere around 145. 

Anyway, the heart rate training book talks about this in depth.   My understanding:

To improve performance, you need to keep your heart rate UNDER that elbow of “B” but near the top of it.  This helps nudge it upwards, which gives you more range to go faster for longer.   And it will get your muscles accustomed (built up) to that kind of workload.

To improve endurance, you need to train with your heart rate closer to “A” (just north of it).  This also helps improve “B”, but then your (leg) muscles will need time to catch up.

Caveat:  I tried this out with a friend who is VERY much out of shape.    While Walking, he got to his A point.  As SOON as he started jogging, he crossed “B”.  He needed a lot more heart toning before he would be ready for jogging.  My suggestion to  him was:  Get to walking 4 miles comfortably, before you start trying to jog for one.  And then when you jog, jog slower than you walk. 

Double Caveat:  The other really awesome exercise for running if you can stand it, is the Hundred Up.  Helps with all the muscles and landing your feet.