Tag Archives: 13.1

Starting the New Year

Well, 2014 was a blast of the year.  For the most part I’m 2 years into my lifestyle change from a fat bar hopper to a competitive triathlete.  I’ve been able to inspire those around me to achieve what they didn’t they could.  Been dating a great gal, and I finished my first ever Ironman.  I’ve been able to keep the weight off for the most part, I did put some back on after the Ironman and holiday season.  That’s how it goes though when you’re training 16-20 hours a week and eating 6-8K calories a day to almost nothing for a month.

So what do I have in store for 2015?  Well, I’m agreeing to another race a month of some form.  So that mean’s that once a month I’ll be doing anything from a 5K to an Ironman.  Swim, Bike, or Run race of some type.  I’ve got my first half Ironman in St. George, UT on May 2nd and a full Ironman 140.6 in Louisville, KY on October 11th.  On top of that I’m the proud Ambassador of SunRype!  SunRype is a fruit drink and snack company that uses 100% fruits and juice in their products.   I’m super excited to represent them in 2015 and hopefully longer.

Weight goal wise I’ve slacked a bit.  I’m not under that 220lb mark that I wanted to so this year, so I’ll be trying to get under that mark.  I’ve had quite a few people talk to me about becoming a life coach which I’m looking into along with finally getting my personal training certification.  Then look into what I need to do to become a life coach and possible pursue it a bit more when I’m not on my day job.


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


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.

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

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!

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.