30 Days till Summer/Fall Racing, 15lbs of Fat to Lose.

As many people know already starting May 31st I have an Olympic distance triathlon every month with very little down time all the way through to my Ironman in November.  Making it through it all will be hard and mentally challenging.  I know it’s going to be hard, but at the same time it’s going to be exciting.  Isn’t that what life is about anyways?  Challenging ourselves, find our boundaries, push our limits?  Some people are content with their lives not knowing what they are truly capable of and what they can actually accomplish.  We always here that people are all the same and people are equal.  The truth is that we are not equal, we are all different.  Some people say that they can and some people say that they can’t, which one are you?

So 30 days from now I’ll be doing my first Olympic distance triathlon of the season up at Bass Lake.  The course looks stunning compared to the city scape that I usually race in, and of course there will be some altitude.  I’ll be racing Clydesdale for this race as my weight sits around 225-230 but that will depend on what my weight is come the 30th of May.  I signed up for this race on a whim after looking at the course as part of my “1 race per month” goal.  I am out to win Clydesdale as well that is my main goal for the race.   This is a test for the ITU race in June to see where I truly need to improve.  It will most likely still be my run, no surprise there.  It will be a freshwater lake with a hilly bike and a somewhat hilly run.  It’s just what I needed.  It’s also going to be a small triathlon so I’m not expecting the usual glitz and glamour of a race that I normally see.

Now I said summer racing in my title because I fly to Chicago at the end of June for the ITU Triathlon.  Then 2 weeks later I fly to Minneapolis for the Life Time Tri followed by the New York City Triathlon 3 weeks later in August.  First week of September will be the San Diego Triathlon Classic.  2 weeks after that I’ll do the swim portion of the Tri-Rock San Diego.  3 weeks later the San Diego Triathlon Challenge, then the following weekend the Oceanside Life Time Tri.  Then it’s 3 weeks till Ironman Arizona.   We live once and I said last year that it would be fun to go out and see what it’s like to be a travelling triathlete and race like you’re on a racing circuit, 2014 is that year.

Every single person that has done a triathlon of any length can tell you that at some point they have heard from someone that they are crazy.  I hear it on a weekly basis.  I can’t stop but to think that is it really crazy?  Is it crazy that I’m out doing what I set out to do?  Is it crazy that I’m not doing what society dictates what I should be doing?  In case your wondering society thinks that I should wake up every morning grab fast food breakfast on my way to work and then sit in my car in traffic while oogling over my latest technology gadget while on my way to happy hour to meet up with the guys before finally heading home and watching some TV before bed.   All so that I can wake up every day and live to work.  If people think that doing a triathlon is crazy then yes I’m crazy.  I know I’m the type of person who wants to find out how far they can go, where are my limits and do I even have boundaries?   Outside of physical limits the only thing that limits ourselves is our mind.

Oh this 15lbs of fat to lose… you are proving to be very difficult.  Yes I know my diet has been sketchy lately and I have no excuse for it.  Make no mistake you will vanish by the time my Ironman comes around.

Giving Back, Looking Ahead

Here are some pictures from my first triathlon back in 2010.  My how times have changed.

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It’s hard to believe that it was 4 years ago I tried my first triathlon and I just had the basics.  I had desire, motivation, and excitement.  I remember this race like it was yesterday.  I remember worrying about everyone looking at me like who’s this fat guy in no wetsuit.  I felt like a beginner swimming in a sea of seasoned triathletes.  I was intimidated.  Those feelings helped spur me into volunteering for the Tri Club’s Beginner Open Water Swim (BOWS) group.  It’s beginning triathletes who are new to open water swimming and/or triathlon.  It’s been very rewarding every time I’m out there and can’t wait as the years go by..   Arnold once said that one of the secrets to success is to always find a way to give back.  He’s right, I can’t wait to see this group complete their first or any triathlon.

I’ve started following more people trying to lose weight on Facebook while sharing my story and how I’ve kept it off.  This has been a great way to inspire others that no matter how hard it seems, it’s possible.

Looking Ahead:
As I move towards that Ironman staring me in the face in November time is flying by!  Before I know it I will be on flights to different cities and racing across the United States.  It’s like a dream but it’s something that I’ve earned and worked hard for.  Life is short so you have to enjoy it.  I’ve begun looking at races for 2015 starting with IMOO in Wisconsin come September and who knows what else.  I’ll be doing another 70.3 just not sure which one.  I’m always looking ahead, but enjoying what’s in front of me.   I know I haven’t even completed my first full Ironman why on earth would I do another?  Well cause I want to.  It’s important to have personal goals and not to get too caught up with waking up every morning to just go slave away at work and then come home to exhaustion every day.  You have to wake up everyday and want to live.  We’re all stuck working but work should support how you want to live and not the other way around.  So go out and work to live, not live to work.

Why do I feel like Forrest Gump?

So I’ve commit to running at least a 5K everyday through the end of May.  Everyone knows that running just isn’t my strength and it’s a bad weakness in the sport of Triathlon.  So the way to get better at it is to increase the volume you run on a weekly basis.  Yes I know but it will only build your aerobic endurance and not your over all speed.  I know this but the speed will come, the speed will come.

When I first started running back in the good ole fat boy days it was all about trying to be fast.  I’d run well into my Z4 or Z5 until I couldn’t do it and then I’d have to walk to recover.  To translate what Z4 and Z5 is for people… it’s heart rate training zones.  I was basically flooring the gas pedal and then once the gas in the tank was gone I’d have to wait for it to fill up.  I did this and slowly watched my average mile times inch lower and lower with this run/walk technique.  I really didn’t have a concept of building my aerobic base.  I thought I was doing the right thing, but it didn’t really click till I ran the Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon back in June of 2013.  I found that if I kept my run consistent and my HR around 140-150 that I could run the entire thing.  For some reason though it didn’t really stick and I couldn’t really explain why that number seemed to work for me.  In fact I wrote a blog post about it here, and I go on to explain it a bit more but I didn’t really fully comprehend what was going on.  Well now I do and I’ve known it back from my test at The Fit Stop and now since I’m in a building phase for IMAZ I can really focus on it.   It’s a bit depressing to know that my Z2 pace is 10:30 according to the numbers but as my body becomes more efficient at burning fat for fuel and my body adapts the pace will get better.  Again I have to trust the training.

So then what got me away from that HR training if it clicked back then?  The answer is simple I got more concerned with the per mile pace instead of efficiency.  That’s been my biggest hurdle is worrying about those pace numbers.  As I have a training plan for my ITU Chicago race that has speed work in cause it’s an Olympic Distance I’m still increasing the volume as I build a big base for IMAZ.   Yeah I’m crazy but it’s going to be fun.  Now if only I can stick to the diet aspect.  I went overboard during the week off and I’ve been skipping some days last week.  Well that’s going to have to stop.  I have to drop 25lbs of fat still, but the increase in volume at my Z2 pace should assist with it.

Looking Back at My Weight Loss Journey

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It’s hard for me to look at those pictures of me when I was for lack of better words “Fat”.  I had grown to accept that I was going to be fat for the rest of my life.  I had given up on myself.  It’s been a year since I started this blog and I started with me basically coming clean with where I started and what got me going.  It’s been 5 years since I started my weight loss journey.  When I wrote that first blog entry found here I didn’t know if I would be writing it still or that I would become a 70.3 Ironman.  I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to keep the weight off.  It’s been a true lifestyle change and that part I do know.  So how did I do it?  Did I go on some special diet?  Did I go on some brand new exercise diet that the experts hailed as the next best this?

How I did it?
Diet and exercise right, isn’t that what everyone says?  First thing I did was quit drinking.  This was a crutch that I was using to make me feel better about myself.  Then I started eating more cleanly.  While I quit drinking cold turkey I didn’t quit eating crap cold turkey.  It took about 2 months to get completely clean of all the crap.  Now I still have my day a month now where I’ll have a whole medium sized bag of Peanut Butter M&M’s.  I have also noticed that I really have no desire to drink booze.  I can have a beer or glass of whine, and even a cocktail without feeling the “Need” to drink to get drunk.  I also started going to the gym and doing more strength training with very little cardio except for that 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill that progressed into jogging.  The single most important thing though is the mindset of needing to do whatever it takes.  I needed to do whatever it takes to get to where I need to be.

Did I go on some special diet?
Yes, it’s called eating!  The one thing I heard and still hear is people saying don’t eat more than this many calories and it was typically under 1800 calories.   This is disastrous to your metabolism and only makes weight loss harder.  I started eating lots of fruits as snacks and found that I eat all day long.  I also can go out and have just 1 glass of wine or a cocktail and not want to keep drinking till I blackout.  Eating is fueling your body for whatever function you need it to do.  It’s not some glorious experience that’s going to change your life forever so stop treating it like one.  Eat to perform and be your best.

Did I go on some new fad exercise program?
No, I did it through strength training and aerobic cardiovascular exercise.  I’d wake up and go to the gym in the morning… every morning.  The goal was to go before work so that I can’t use the excuse of too tired.  Then I noticed I had a lot more confidence through the day and less stress.  I also ran in the evenings a few times a week.

The one thing that I can say that makes some people successful at weight loss and keeping it off has been keeping the mindset that I will do whatever it takes for me to reach my goals.  So many people think it’s going to be easy and they don’t realize that you’re going to have to make some life choices.  We’ve spent years gaining weight and living an unhealthy lifestyle.  To think that it’s going to be easy to change that is just naïve and ignorant.   Some people chose to to compete in a body building or physique competition to show off their new found fitness.  I went the endurance athlete path and I can honestly say that I’ve found out more about me than I even thought I would.  Set your goals and achieve them.  Don’t expect it to be easy and prepare to suffer at times.   It’s that suffering and struggle that builds the pride within yourself.