Applause for my mitochondria

The plan asked for 5x1500m intensive session but I decided to swap sessions and do another lactate test. After yesterday’s test, I decided that the next test would be to measure lactate after a steady state session at 200W. I slightly changed that to a 6x10min/2R to keep the protocol as close as possible to yesterday’s.

Temperature in my rowing cellar was 8 degrees C. Nice, because this is also the place where I stock and cool my liquid carbs  (read: beer).

Here are the data:

Workout Summary - Nov 23, 2015
Workout Details
02|04985|20:00.0|02:00.4|200.6|22.7|154.2|11.0|0.9 mmol/L
03|07481|30:00.0|02:00.2|201.5|22.9|157.0|10.9|0.9 mmol/L
04|09975|40:00.0|02:00.3|201.1|23.3|157.8|10.7|Lo / 0.7 mmol/L
05|12474|50:00.0|02:00.0|202.4|23.5|158.0|10.6|1.1 mmol/L
06|14973|60:00.0|02:00.0|202.4|23.3|159.5|10.7|1.0 mmol/L


Again the first measurement was a failure because of a bad stab, not  enough blood. This lactate testing is also a test of self-control. Of course I rowed the second interval angry and disappointed. After that interval I reverted to “multiple stabbing”, i.e. stabbing at 2 or 3 spots on three fingers, to see if I could discover a good spot.

All good spots were on my little finger. Some milking was needed to get good drops.

Also, I watched in frustration how, during the row, the leaks started to produce blood. I took my right hand off the handle during the recovery and watched impressive blood drops forming during the first three minutes of the interval. Interestingly, also from “old” stab holes. Then, when it was time to measure, I would wipe and wash and wipe dry, then stab, and then it would take a long time for a usable droplet to develop. The cleaning and stabbing took about 20, 25 seconds. Waiting for the blood another 20 seconds.

Here is the bloody graph:


A couple of points. I am still suspicious of the results, but:

  • It is possible that the long time between measurement and exercise causes the measurement to be off. But then, if I would be above the threshold, the lactate flushing from the muscles would cause blood lactate to increase initially. Measuring numbers well below 2.0 indicates I am really well in the aerobic training band.
  • The 40 minute date point was a second strip, measured a bit later than usual, because I ruined the measurement on the first strip by accidentally switching off the meter during the measurement. So even if this data point is lower because it was measured later, then that would indicate that I am extremely good at flushing lactate …
  • It could be that by taking relatively long breaks I “reset” my lactate levels and I was basically doing 6 separate 10 minute intervals, instead of one 60 minute continuous row. That may be true, but that would also point to fast flushing of lactate during the breaks.

My current theory is that I have very happy mitochondria, busily oxidizing lactate and running their Krebs Cycle at maximum speed. That would also explain unusually low steady state lactate levels and a lactate threshold which seems to be at a higher percentage of 2k speed than my other fellow blogging rowers.

It is true that even in periods where I trained less frequently, before I took up rowing again, I have been a happy long distance runner. Not ultra long distance, but just churning out the 10k and 12k runs over a weekend, or even on the treadmill.

Still reluctant to say that I “own” the 200W as a steady state training intensity.

I will give the lactate tester a few days off. Tomorrow is the 5x1500m session, and then on Thursday or Saturday I will do a continuous 60 minute row at 200W and measure lactate afterwards.


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