Ironman 70.3 California 2014–Race Report

WP_20140329_14_03_27_ProWell I finished!  That’s what is important when the day is done.  They say that the training is the hard part of the journey and the race is the reward.  I guess I didn’t fully understand it till I hit the run.  When I signed up for this race a year ago I was 275lbs give or take and I had just done my first triathlon in 3 years the ITU San Diego at a little over 280lbs.  I didn’t think I could even do a Half Ironman.  It was a goal that I set that at that time seemed impossible but I had to try.  My goal signing up was to aim high and just finish the race.  I didn’t care how long it took me to do it, I just wanted to finish.  I wanted to achieve my goal of completing a Half Ironman before the cut off time.  In fact, I didn’t even know there was a cut off time.  With the help of the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) and their members I was able to get the training I needed and join in on their many free workouts.  It’s a privilege to live in such a great city and have such great support from the TCSD.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support me and the other triathletes and thank you to all the volunteers who help make this race awesome.  So without further delay here is the report.

Race Report: Lead up
Weather this time of year is crazy and the week before the race was dark and rainy and cold.  So I was a bit worried about having to race in cold and rainy.  Thankfully it died that Friday and it was sunny skies.  Friday my family came down from Thousand Oaks to come watch me race.  This is a huge thing for me having them there for the support.  I’m glad to see that they get to see me out there being active and accomplishing my goals.  Friday evening we kept dinner simple at Luna Grill and I got everything finalized for my race and set to go   The excitement, anxiousness, nervousness, and confidence was all a melting pot for me head.

Race Morning:
I was up early ate my whole grain, almond butter, and banana sandwich at 4 with some water and then proceeded to get everything packed in the car and on the way up to the venue.  I didn’t worry about my nutrition at all which was a huge thing for me coming into a longer endurance race than a sprint or Olympic Distances.  Thankfully my coach Julie Dunkle really got us well prepared with what works for us and how plan for our race.  Had my Swedish Oat Starch Protein shake around 6:00 which was supposed to be 1.5 hours before my race start.  Either way I got down to the venue and marked up my T2 with my chalk and off to T1.  I had my sister along helping me out and I unfortunately had to ditch her to make sure I got my stuff setup in time.

The Swim: 00:31:42
This swim is without a doubt my strongest leg but unfortunately you can’t win in the swim but you can lose.  My wave for some reason was at 7 instead of 7:36 so I was off to the water 30 minutes before I was expecting but it was fine.  I warmed up on my swim out to the start buoy which is about a good 50 yards to the start.  I should have seeded myself closer to the start line but this was a 70.3 I expected to have some faster swimmers up here (BIG MISTAKE).  Finally got relaxed a bit and then the horn goes off and we start swimming.  I must have been behind the slow people because I spent a lot of energy getting through a lot of the other guys.  Finally after the first red buoy I found a good rhythm and then shortly after is when I started swimming up into the waves that went ahead of me.  Had to swim around and over a few other swimmers (I’m sorry).  The water temp felt great even at 60 degrees.  During the 30 minutes I’d love to tell you that I was thinking about something but to be honest I wasn’t thinking of a damn thing I was just swimming enjoying the moment.  As I sighted and saw the boat docks I picked up the pace and got out of the water strong.

Unlike the Life Time Tri they had carpet through the entire transition run so I didn’t kill my feet.  I jogged through T1 to bring my HR down.  I took my time in T1 since I knew I had a bit more things to do for a 56 mile bike, like put on socks!  It was nice to not have to hurry.

The Bike: 03:02:13
The bike as most know is an easy first half that’s fast and mostly flat with the back half being filled with 3 hills.  I’ve been through the first half several times and I’ll be going through many more times.  The back half though I didn’t get a chance to drive through with a car at any point so I didn’t really know what to expect.  I thought about that as I was going through the first half all the time.  I faced the challenge and I didn’t stop on the first unforgiving hill.  I spun up with like a kid on a bike at times going from side to side.  I kept telling myself I just have to make it up this hill and then that’s one less hill I have to worry about.  The second hill was more of a false flat for me as it was a gradual climb with a nice little peak at the end.  At this time I was getting passed by Coach Julie, which I’ll admit was a little disheartening but she’s a much better athlete than I am with the hills.  I secretly think that she has a love affair with hills.  Anyways after the last of the hills I was just happy to be past the hard part of the ride and looked to let my legs recover and prepare for the run.  As I got closer to the harbor I knew the bike was over and I was excited that I was 2/3rds the way done with my first Half Ironman.  I had no clue what my times were at this point but I thought I had a solid bike.  I did have to stop on the last hill to massage out a hip flexor spasm but it probably cost me all of about 4 minutes.

The volunteers where there directing me where to go but I had drawn big blue arrows to my transition area so that I could quickly identify them (thank you Steve Tally).  It made it easy and I was able to get out of T2 after a quick potty break and having to turn around to throw the bike gloves down.

The Run: 02:40:35
My weakest part of the triathlon was finally here.  I trained hard for this and wanted a 2 hour finish.  I had a solid plan which was to stay in zone 2 for the majority of the run and then crank out the last 3 miles in Z3/4.  My first mile I was dead on pace and hr zone I was moving at a 9:25 at 149BPM and I was feeling great and my legs were feeling good as well.  I had no issues going up the steep climbs of the pier, my training had paid off!  Then suddenly going down the steep hill down to the strand I felt a sharp pull in my right groin and couldn’t get my stride back going so I decided to walk for a bit and see if I could shrug it out.  Tried to run again and just couldn’t keep that pace without severe pain.  It upset me a bit that I wasn’t going to make my 2 hour run and I had a little talk with myself.  I told myself that I had nothing left to prove, I was going to finish, is it worth further injury?  So I decided that I was going to walk/jog as much as I could and just enjoy everyone that came out to support me and all the other triathletes.  I didn’t even have the question of quitting at any point, it was not an option.  The one thing I had learned about myself and listening to the motivational speeches during training is that whatever I do, make sure no one can ever call me a quitter.  I might not be the fastest and I might just be the slowest, but make sure that no one can call me a quitter.  I didn’t quit and I mustered all the strength to block out the pain and I ran down the finish shoot.  I had finished my first Ironman 70.3

Final Time: 06:24:03

Looking Back:
As fast as it got here, it’s already over.  Looking back I can’t tell you exactly how it was to run down the finish shoot.  It really was a blur of emotions along with disbelief.  I know I immediately said that I don’t think I’d do another one, but that was quickly retracted and yeah I’ll do another one probably not this one though.  It was a journey that I didn’t expect and I found out a lot of things about myself and that’s why reaching for these seemingly monumental tasks are so important.  When I first signed up for it, this race seemed monumental and that it would be a miracle for me to even walk across the finish line by the cut off.  As it approached I found confidence in myself that I can do it and that it’s possible in under 6 hours.   Even though I was 24 minutes shy of 6 hours and almost a full hour past my predicted finish I did it.

My training groups celebration party was last night and while we didn’t train as a group we all had a common bond of setting a goal and achieving it.  We all had to overcome our own struggles and we each had them.  We all crossed that finish line and we were not going to be denied that finishers medal.

1 Week Away: Excited, Nervous, Confident

V__352EThis was me several years ago.  I was in my late 20’s and I was overweight, drank a lot, and did no exercise at all.  If I was to go back in time in a magic phone booth and tell that man that in 2014 he would be doing his first 70.3 triathlon and he would have completed 9 13.1’s and a full 140.6 by the end of the year I would expect to be laughed at and then thrown out of the Open Bar for being stupid.  Truth be told back then I loved my lazy life with no cares in the world.  I really didn’t care about my health, and I certainly didn’t think about my future.  As the years passed nothing change really.  I had thoughts to myself if this was the best life was going to get for me.  I was running my own small business I was always out partying lots of friends.

762765-1070-0028sWell 10 or so years later here I am 1 week away from my toughest race yet that I signed up for in the summer of last year.  1 year ago to this day I had only done 1 triathlon with the ITU Triathlon in April.  As I sit here 1 week away from it, I can’t help but look back at the last year and look at how much I have achieved.  Dropped 60+ lbs improved my run times and kept the weight off for over a year.  I will say the last 2 weeks have been rough though keeping my head in the game again as I’ve strayed a bit from my diet and training has kicked down a bit intensity wise.  This is where we trust our training.  In my last 30 minute easy run I was maintaining a 8:13 per/mile average!!!  I remember when I was training for Tri-Rock San Diego I was looking at the results saying that I need to get to at least a 9 minute mile.  Well I’m proud to say that I’ve done it!  I had never in my life cycled more than 50 miles in under 3 hours and last weekend I did it, after a 1.4 mile swim no doubt.  Now we didn’t get the back of the course that has the hills but I kept the ride easy so it’s possible I’m looking at a 3:30 bike time.  I’m no longer worried that I’ll be able to finish the race and I’m no longer worried that I’d even survive or even be worried that I can walk the day after the race.  My self confidence and self belief has grown and I’ve now got to carry that over to race day.

Probably the smartest thing I’ve done was hire a real coach this time around.  I new the longer distance would require something more than an online coach and I went with Julie Dunkle who’s an established Ironman athlete who has been to Kona.  I saw a thing she sent out through TCSD and figured why not?  What do I have to lose, but I had all to gain.  It’s more than just getting out there and putting feet to pavement.  I didn’t have a clue about nutrition or pacing outside of what I’ve read.  Even then I had a hard time putting it all together.  I will most likely use her again for my Ironman Arizona training but not in a group setting, ok maybe if the chance is there.  The support around the group was amazing and I’m actually not looking forward to the end of this journey but the memories will remain.  As the excitement and nerves keep building up until that gun goes off all I can really do is to keep trusting the training and telling myself that “I’m the one, I’m the one who was supposed to do this for me.”  My next blog post will most likely be after the race so here is a quick look at my goal times.

Goal times for Oceanside 70.3
Swim – 31:00
T1 – 3-4 mins
Bike – 3:15:00
T2 – 2-3 mins
Run – 2:00:00

Total Time: 5:45:00-6:00:00

SEAL Sprint Race Report

I signed up for this race as a warm up race for Oceanside.  Something to get my feet wet into the excitement of a well known race in San Diego before heading into Oceanside.  The day before the race my coach had our final race simulation for Oceanside which I was not expecting.  Saturday started with a 1.3 mile ocean swim, 56 mile bike on the front side of the Oceanside course and then I just did a 4 mile run.  I reached my goals for the simulation and I can tell already if the sun is going to be out like it was on Saturday (83 degree’s and no clouds) then the run will be challenging just trying to keep cool.  I’ll have to adjust my salt tab intake accordingly.  Racing on tired legs, this should be fun.

Race Day:
I woke up at 5AM and I had everything from the day before still in my car so I didn’t have to spend much time loading things up.  Got down to the venue and had a pretty good feeling going into the race.  My legs felt good and not really totally wasted (I wonder now if I pushed it hard enough during training).  This was a small field of racers judging by the transition area but I’m ok with that.  I prefer smaller fields, just means less crowded on the course.  Got everything setup into what I think is a great transition setup.  Warmed up said hi to some of my fellow TCSD racers and started down towards the water.  This is a LONG run from the bay to T1 and I hate long runs like that.  I was in wave 2 which was Males 39+ with Clydesdale, Clydesdale Masters, and the relay people, this wave was HUGE!  Now this was my first beach entry start to a triathlon and I stuck to the right side.

The horn goes off and it’s a mad dash to the water, at first I was a bit irritated with all the people it was crowded and everyone was swimming everywhere.  It was a good thing too so that I can use it as experience come Oceanside and IMAZ.  The swim was a bit rough as the sun was right in our faces where the buoy was to turn right so sighting was a bit hard.  Once out of the water there was a long run up to T1 where the timing mat was (this explains my 12 minute 500M swim).   Had a quick T1 considering I need to work on getting out of my wetsuit faster.

Been working on my bike mount so that I don’t have to completely stop and I nailed it this time and was able to maintain a 21.6 MPH average on the whole course.  It was flat and fast the way I like.  I could have pushed a bit harder but I didn’t want to kill my legs (I should have pushed it and gone all out).  I need to really get my head out of the whole go slower part of sprint triathlons.  My overall time was 34 minutes on the bike when it should have been closer to 30.  T2 went really well and I was out in no time.

The first almost 2 miles of this run is in the sand so I already hated it.  I ran 3.4 miles in about 28 minutes and averaged an 8:29 average which is by far one of my best performances.  Again though I kept looking at my Garmin and kept telling myself that I needed to go slower so that I could finish and not blow up.  I crossed the finish line not gassed and I felt that I didn’t go all out at all.  Looking back I was not happy with the race at all and it was all myself to blame.

I need to really get my head out of going slow for sprint triathlons.  It’s a sprint, it’s all out or go home for me these days.  I need to realize that I’ve got potential and I need to stop viewing myself as the fat guy on the race course.

San Diego Half Marathon 2014 Race Report–New PR 2:11:59

Well, I signed up for this race very last minute.  I had a 14 mile run on my training schedule so why not fit in 1 last half marathon before the Oceanside 70.3.  I had just finished my first peak week of training and really been focused on keeping my run in Zone 2.  So that was my race plan was to keep it to a training run with Oceanside in mind.    I also changed up my nutrition plan as well which scared me a bit but I had to trust myself and my training.  I’ve been trying to stick to more low glycemic high molecule carbs such as Swedish Oat Starch for my pre-race meals/shakes..   Then on my longer bike rides I’ve been using Karbolyn.  With my goal in mind to better utilize my fat stores for energy instead of ingesting dextrose for energy.  So far I will chalk this up as a win for nutrition for a half marathon.

Race Day:
The time change played a big role for this race for me.  The upside is that I’m used to waking up at 4AM so waking up at 5AM didn’t really hurt me for this race, but falling asleep the night before was a totally different story.  Woke up and threw on my TCSD Tri kit and my other gear got my shake with my SOS and Protein powder and headed down to the start line.  It was good to see all the other TCSD people racing before the race.  Sadly I’m one of the slower racers so didn’t have any one to pace it.  I was stuck in wave 9 which was a 2:20:00 pace group.  I doubted my choice on that time because deep down I wanted to PR but I had to tell myself to go slow and keep my HR in Z2 (147 BPM) so that I can maximize my fat for energy instead of stored carbs.   Took about 30 minutes for my wave to go which really irritated me.  I couldn’t get a solid warm up in because by the time we had to cram into our waves I’d have been cooled off and recovered.  So the first 2 miles my HR was all over the place so I had to keep slowing my pace while my body adjusted to the increased work load and switching energy systems from anaerobic to aerobic and getting that fat burning going.  I settled into a 10:05 average and this guy Shawn was pacing me and we had a good little chat going till mile 8.5 when the hill started and we parted ways.  He said he couldn’t keep the pace up the hill and we wished a good race.  By this time I the sun was out and I was taking in my salt sticks about ever 35-4o minutes along with just water at the aid stations.  The course for this run for the most part had been nice and flat and really took you through some scenic parts of San Diego’s bay front community.  I want to also thank the medical community that was on the course, I passed a guy who didn’t properly hydrate and keep his body cool as it started to shut down and he passed out in the shade of a building.  He had the medical team with him already so I felt he was in good hands, 911 had been called so there was no need for me to stop and assist.  Otherwise if the medical team was not there I would have assisted since I’m trained in first aid.  I can’t stress enough that running a half marathon in the sun is not an easy task and you need to hydrate your body at all times and keep your electrolytes up.


At mile 8.5 you start running up Washington St which is a steady incline of about 6/10ths of a mile.  You can see from the elevation chart above it was the only serious climb.  I ran the entire way up I kept a steady pace of about 11:00 mile and passed a LOT of people who had to walk up the hill.  My goal was to keep a steady pace up the hill and then push into Z4 for the remainder of the race.  I did a great job at this with an exception of a potty break at mile 11, I couldn’t hold it any longer.  The rest of the course was downhill so I let gravity do it’s thing and really opened up the gas through the finish.  I should note that I had 1 GU at mile 9 as a precaution along with some water.  Since I am a sweater, I too need to make sure I stay hydrated and cooled off!  The run down 6th was great it was in the middle of the street and the finish shoot as well.  My Garmin on the watch said 2:11:59 but the Garmin site has me at 2:12 something.  I’m going to stick with my watch time.

Post Finish:
There was something strange going on with my body at this point that I hadn’t felt in my previous 7 half marathons.  I didn’t feel exhausted at the end of this race and I could have gone another 6 miles (did I just say that?)  I also didn’t have any of the typical quad cramping towards mile 12 or after I finish.  I also didn’t feel like death afterwards.  Even though my time from Arizona only shows a 3 minute increase, I ran a completely different race and my body is better trained.  I also didn’t do my usual run/walk which resulted in a slower pace per mile but I’m sure it also contributed to me feeling so damn great afterwards because I wasn’t shooting my HR into Z4 and having to recover for a minute.  I think that I’ll miss my 2hr mark for Oceanside’s run but I’m confident now that I’ll be better than 2:30-2:40 if I can keep my pace down to Z2 which will be the most difficult thing to do after cycling for 56 miles.  3 weeks out and I’m feeling ready!

Throwback Thursday–What a Trip!


I went and changed my profile picture on Facebook to the picture (above) on the right.   It’ was from my first ever Half Marathon in 2008 I was around 350lbs at this point.  I knew that at some point I could walk the whole thing if needed but I ran until I had to walk/run and around mile 9 with all the cramps in my legs I was slowed to a slow walk and didn’t know if I would be able to finish.  Looking at the picture brings back a lot of the emotions I felt on that day.  Walking around that final corner with cramped hamstrings, quads, and calves.  As I wobbled towards the finish line I saw the clock at 3:19:** and as the person put my finishers medal over my head I cried.  I had just accomplished something that I didn’t think I’d do again and I just finished something without quitting.  I had done it.  The next 5 days I could hardly walk, the muscles, the chaffing, it was ugly.  I had conquered my doubt that I could do it, and I faced pain that every muscle in my body told me to quit and that I had already come so far that I didn’t have anything to prove.  But I didn’t quit and I didn’t give in, I finished.

“Pain is temporary.  It may last for a minute, a hour, a day, or even a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take it’s place.  If i quit however, it lasts forever.” – Eric Thomas

748545-1075-0034sWhen I made this picture (above) with me on the left from the Rock N Roll Half Marathon Arizona I only thought of progress and look at me running my 8th Half Marathon!  As I wrote about my first Half Marathon experience I realized that during that Rock N Roll Arizona I faced the same pain that reared it’s head.  I didn’t meet it again at mile 8, but rather mile 12.  In the picture (right) you can see that something was not right.  Everyone muscle and both Achilles  tendons were telling me to quit.  You can walk the rest of the way and still beat your Las Vegas Half Marathon time.  I picked it up and finished the half in 2:14:20.  The picture below is what my shoes looked like after the race.  The point is that even through all the training, all the personal achievements, at some point you are going to reach the end of what you believe you can do.  It’s at that point you find out if you’re an “I can” or “I can’t” person. 

Some of my last blog posts had to do with goals and to keep reaching for new goals.  It’s also important to look back and cherish the journey.  Realize the struggles and how you dealt with them.  You’re going to have those struggles again and how are you going to deal with them?  Will you quit when your body tells you that it has nothing left, or will your mind prevail and find a way to keep going. 

Moving forward to the SD Half Marathon this Sunday I’m nervous.  Back in January when my coach said I should sign up for this race I felt that it was too close to Oceanside to run a 13.1 so I resisted back then.  Fast forward to last week, when I checked my training plan and saw 14 mile run, but oddly enough this time around I feel like this won’t be a challenge at all.  In fact I have a very good plan for this race since I’m not trying to PR or anything.  My plan is to keep my HR steady in Z2 through most of the race and then around mile 9 start picking up the pace.  There is a steady hill climb up Washington St. that starts around mile 9 and ends around mile 10.  This hill looks like NO joke, but thankfully I do most of my training runs on a treadmill at incline level 4 so it won’t be a total shock to my system.  The climb up I’ll probably shift into Z4 going up and then I’ll let my HR settle a bit for the final stretch.   Report to come!

Weight Loss–If it Was Easy… Everyone Would Do It.

As I’m watching Ghostbusters on TV and the passing of Harold Ramis Monday I felt the need to blog about my weight loss a bit more instead of my usual triathlon related stuff.  I was at a loss at what to write about till a friend of mine Spencer wrote “Overcoming doubt is a great topic to help others” and I thought that it is actually an awesome subject to blog about.  So lets have a look at some of the doubts that I’ve had to overcome and some of the sacrifices that I had to make.

I was one of those fat guys who knew he needed to lose weight, but always said I’d get around to it.  I mean I was over 380lbs and I saw the shows I read the diet stuff, hell I even gave up enough to try and get on “The Biggest Loser”.  I tried Nutrisystem which I had some success with but it was expensive and not all that great.  I mean I had over 100lbs to lose and it seemed like an impossible task, in fact I still thought it was impossible and that I couldn’t do it.  I tried months in and months out and my weight yo-yo’d up and down.  In 2009 I managed to get myself down to 250lbs but it came back on when I started to go out again and got into partying and drinking again.  Inside I honestly didn’t believe I could lose 100+lbs and it’s probably why I failed.  I didn’t have a real reason to lose the weight either.  I mean after all I could still go out and get women.  I was out drinking and partying, and enjoying my life.  So then what changed a little over 2 years ago to make me stick to it this time.  How did I overcome some of the challenges mentally and find myself during the process?

Well to start I changed my career from an IT consultant to just Technical Support.  The pay was a step down but I was completely unhappy with my career direction.  I was working all the time and I would find my escape Friday through Sunday out in PB.  Everyone remembers that 80’s song “Working for the Weekend” or that classic Bill Cosby: Himself talking about the weekends.  These days when I talk to people this is the biggest excuse that people use about not committing to a healthy lifestyle.  Yes it’s a HUGE change in todays society and I had doubts about doing it like paying my bills.   I tell people that if it’s important to you, you will find a way!  I mean if you’re living to work, instead of working to live.  You are in the wrong career and only you can act to find your happiness!   Now I don’t’ find my career in the least bit fulfilling but right now it’s allowing me to LIVE!  I am happy with that for now.

I was unhappy about my living situation not because I was paying too much but I was unhappy with the people I was living with.   Moving is always a big change and it takes courage to act in order to change your living situation.   You have a great rent deal, great neighbors, it’s in such a great location… the excuses are endless.  If you aren’t living in a place that is going to help promote the life that you want to achieve then where you’re living isn’t a great place at all and only you can change that.  You sitting around complaining about how you have to commute with traffic 45 minutes to work is not happy!  That’s 1.5 hours a day that you could be out doing something that you want to do!  Take control of where you live because that is where you wake up and start your day and if you can’t start it in a good environment then why stay there?

There is a lot of different opinions out on this one.  Some people say don’t make too big of goals, but at the same time make realistic goals.  There are other people who don’t even make goals and will settle for being average or “normal”.  Starting out I had 1 goal in mind… LOSE WEIGHT!   Yes it was generic since everyone says that, but that was my goal.  From there I made smaller goals on how to do this.  I’m going to go to the gym once a week, then 3 times a week etc.  Then I made a goal to check-in on Foursquare every week at the gym for 1 whole year.  Then I added more smaller goals like running a 5K once a month or a half marathon once a year.   I didn’t lose track of my main goal of lose weight.  Every smaller goal that I made had to have my main goal in mind.  I also had 1 seemingly impossible goal a 5K a month and 1 half marathon a year.  As my weight came off and I moved into more triathlon specific goals my weight loss was still my main focus till I got to my goal weight of 240lbs. I needed to find more goals.   Something happened though when I was looking at more goals to make.  I realized that stuff that I once thought impossible for me to do was all of a sudden possible!   I ran a 5K, 10K, Sprint Tri, or Olympic Tri once a month, but I had done 3 half marathons in 1 year!  I signed up for the Oceanside Half Ironman which at the time seemed like just a challenge to finish and my main goal is to complete Ironman Arizona in November.   Yes I might fail, but you can’t be afraid to set those goals and even set a goal that at that time seems impossible, but all of a sudden might be possible at some time!

Negative People:
You’re always going to have those people who are going to tell you that you can’t do it.  I had a few people that would always say “Stop telling everyone about your weight loss or achievement’s you’re making us regular people feel bad.”   You’re also going to have people who feel that they need to put you down so that they are afraid that you’ll leave them as a friend.  It’s your life and friends are always hard to deal with because you have this feeling that you don’t want to hurt their feelings.   Even when they use you as a welcoming mat.  This takes more courage to overcome than most other things because of the emotional nature of it.  Once you free yourself from these negative people in your life you’ll find it much easier to stick to the lifestyle change that you want!

The hard life changing choices are never easy and that’s why so many people are unwilling to make them.   They would rather get a surgery, take a pill, go on a yo-yo diet, or some get slim quick gimmick than to make the change within themselves and find their potential to be great!  Don’t be afraid to break the negative cycle you might be stuck in so that you can find a happier and fitter life.   Remember that if it’s important to you, you will make it a priority.

VO2 Max and Cardiovascular Metabolic Profile–COOL STUFF!

So this week I went and had a Cardiovascular Metabolic Profile at the Fit Shop and talk about lots-o-information!  I should also say it was an AH-HA moment as well.  All through training I really had no clue what an easy pace was for me other than a number on the treadmill.  I didn’t even think anything really had to do with what my HR was so I never really paid much attention to it and continued with my 8./1 run/walk method but at a slower pace.   I’d watch my HR go up during the 8 minutes and then recover some during that 1.  So all these numbers I was getting I “Sort of” had an idea how they all worked, I just didn’t know how it they worked with me.

VO2 Max: Definition: VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight

VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake is one factor that can determine an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness.


So I’m almost at good (42) but I am above the average.  So I can still improve and better utilize the O2 I take in.  So how do I do this?  Well I have to improve my cardiovascular economy.. DUH.   IN WITH THE HR ZONES!   We know them as Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and you can find lots of online calculators that will do them based on your age and weight and resting hr etc, but how accurate are they?  I have no clue.   Either way I got this chart  before that showed my actual fat calories burned verses stored carbohydrate (Glycogen) burned.


The black line is the total calories burned while the brown line is my fat calories burned.  Now with each minute after my 5 minute warm up the intensity went up after the warm-up.  Around 7.minutes when my speed was about 5.5 on the treadmill you can see that fat burning bumps and after 8 minutes when the speed was increased by .5 mph my use of fat for fuel went steadily down to where at 12.5 miles it stopped completely and I was using stored carbohydrate for fuel for 3 minutes before I was done.   So while I attained a max speed on that thing of 8.5 MPH (could have been 9) as I was getting dizzy you can tell that I don’t have a big gas tank once the peddle to the metal went down.   But when I was running at 5.5 I had a HUGE gas tank!   So how to improve?

HR Training Zones:

So from the graph above and my report I got this HR training zone dialed in for me to use.  Zone 2 is where I need to be to improve my overall running economy or efficiency.  I was very unhappy to see that it means I have to keep my HR no higher than 147.  I know this meant slow and currently from the 6 MPH, and most of all no way I can attain a 2 hour 13.1 race.  But looking forward to IMAZ it is what I need to do.

HR Zones

So then why do I need to run in Zone 2 and why can’t I just run faster?  Well remember that peddle to the metal up top?  If I run faster my HR goes up and while I will increase my top speed, I won’t increase that gas tank size.   So what I need to do is run in longer periods of zone 2 and as that gets easier I will gradually increase my ability to run at a faster pace at a great efficiency without running out of gas.   What about the GU’s and drinks that have all the carbs (gas) can’t I just take them?  I could, but here is the problem with that.  The body can only take in 200-300 calories per hour and as you can see above if I keep up in Zone 4 I’m going to burn through 1192 calories in 1 hour.   If I could somehow manage to even run for 1 hour at that speed that’s 1000 calories that I can’t get back and I will end up on the ground with nothing left.    I would have to be able to take in 1200 calories an hour to even maintain that speed (assuming my muscles could handle that of course).   So while I could maintain that speed for about 1 mile it just doesn’t make sense in my current state to try and run that for 13.1 or 26.2 miles.    Where I can run in Zone 2 and burn my stored fat as a fuel source.  By the way the average human being has 80,000 calories in stored fat!

So as you can see from everything above I have LOTS of room for improvement and it will get better as my weight and body fat goes down even farther.   I’ll go back for a retest in May before my Bass Lake Triathlon to see how I’ve improved but with everything coming together now I can’t wait to see the difference.