Tag Archives: 70.3

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.


SwimLabs–Swim Analysis. Always Improving!

I’m a fairly good swimmer and I’m among some of the faster swimmers out there.  I’ve been a swimmer since I can remember.  Hot summers in Minnesota and spending time at the Community Pool in Minneapolis somewhere.   I was a tall skinny guy but loved the water, I was a natural at it.  I was a swimmer in high school but mostly a sprinter, and never really got into it past then in terms of competitively.   Looking back I probably should have, but I was young and stupid.   Then when I came across triathlon I didn’t anything about it, I thought I could freestyle.  Noticed how I used the word “thought” instead of “know”.  I read some books on swimming and looked at countless YouTube videos on how to improve my stroke and even started to learn this “High Elbow Catch” and I knew I had some issue’s the mechanics of it all but I was getting faster.   But you can’t really see how your body is while in the water.  So I always wondered, I know I’m fast but am I efficient and just cause I’m fast am I actually “good”.

Then one of the guys in my Oceanside training group who’s also the runner in my Triathlon Relay Team went to this place called SwimLabs in Encinitas, CA.   He wrote a great e-mail about this place to the Tri Club we’re both in and he told me about everything including a DVD to take home that goes over some of the findings all for 100 bucks!   Now I always thought this type of stuff was super expensive and only for the professionals so I never even thought of it.   After hearing about this though I was interested and started to look into this.   Then I heard at our club meeting that they are now a sponsor as well!  I had no reason not to go now.  Then just as I was about to call I saw that because I’m one of Julie Dunkle’s athletes I get special pricing as well which sealed the deal.  I had no reason not to go and see where I can improve…  Yes even at 38 I’m still learning, but how can you improve if you don’t find out what you’re doing wrong.

Earlier that day I swam 1.2 miles as part of a race simulation for Ironman Oceanside 70.3 but didn’t worry about it since 1.2 miles is easy as pie.  Walked into SwimLabs and could see the pools along with Mason and Julie who was working with another athlete of hers.  I got to admit I was nervous.  I think being nervous is healthy it’s part of overcoming your fears and I don’t like hearing about things that I might be doing wrong.   I know it’s needed but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it right?   So anyways it’s my turn in this pool with a current generator so that I don’t need camera’s to follow me through the pool.   Starting out it was a bit awkward cause I’m used to actually moving but it’s a treadmill for the water.  Well right from the go we were recording and I could clearly see some errors in my stroke and we worked on drills to do so that I’m crossing my arms in front of my face as well as working on my early high elbow catch with my left arm.  It seems that my left side of things really needs some work.  The upside was that the right side of things was perfect and didn’t need any improvement..   I have the ability to do everything I just have to do it more in the pool to get that muscle memory down so that I can do it in races without having to think about it.

SwimLabs Analysis Video

This was awesome to go through and I will probably do it a year from now to see how I’ve improved.  I can’t say enough good things about SwimLabs at this time.  I got a DVD with the videos of my session along with drills that I need to do to correct my stroke and videos of pro’s doing it properly and notes taken during my session.   I highly recommend going to SwimLabs if you are concerned about your swimming.

Travelling for Triathlons: Another Job by Itself!

So as you’ve seen from my schedule I’ll be travelling over the summer for a few races, ITU Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City.  The logistics of making sure that your flights, hotels, and travel to and from airports can really go crazy with the schedule.  It’s always one thing to sign up for a race but it’s another to actually get to the starting line when you live on 1 coast and you’re flying around.  Once you get the obvious scheduled (Hotel and Flight) it then falls on getting your gear there!   You spend thousands of dollars on this bike and if you’re like me you certainly don’t want to take it apart.  You need to get the rest of the small stuff together to check so that you aren’t doing a full blown transition clinic for the TSA agent.

I’ve had to extend my Chicago stay flights from Thursday to Monday were the only ones that made sense.  So that mean’s my hotel stay is Thursday – Sunday.  I decided that I’ll just stay centered around my hotel instead of dealing with the hassle of getting a rental car and dealing with staying at a cheap hotel till race night and check in to the hotel a couple blocks from the start only to rush and check out after the race.   Race day transport I just heard back from about getting my bike from San Diego to Chicago so I won’t have to deal with that fiasco of getting it shipped to my hotel and then me having to deal with it onsite.   I think having that Friday/Saturday though to see some friends and then have all afternoon Sunday to hang out will be great instead of trying to rush through it all.  Total Cost so far is $1100 bucks.

My trip to Minnesota will be really simple because my family lives there so I just have to worry about flight and getting my bike there… less than 2 weeks after Chicago.  So far though there is no bike transport for this race so most likely what I will do is take my bike to my local shop and have them back it up for me and then ship it to my Uncle and Aunts place that I’m going to stay at and then bring it to a shop to have them assemble it.  Since it’s at my hometown I might stick around after the race for a couple days to spend some time with everyone.  Total Cost so far will be around $600

The New York City Triathlon which is the race I’m more excited about because I got in via lottery and I did it on a whim is all paid for now.  Flights, hotels, and bike transport is all taken care of so it’s just getting all the small stuff taken care of.   I won’t have spare time to really spend with friends but I will have Friday and Sunday evenings and I’m right in midtown.  Total Cost so far is $1400 bucks.

So for a little summer weekend getaways it’s not that bad I think.  Pay for a vacation to get out of town and still pay that much and not get to race seems like I’d be missing out on things.  I know for 2015 though I won’t be travelling so much.

Confidence Building 6 Weeks and Counting!


Got to meet the Women’s 2013 Ironman World Champion and the US Top Men’s Ironman Finisher Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Timothy O’Donnell at our Tri Club meeting how cool is that!  I have to say that joining the Triathlon Club of San Diego has been the smartest choice I’ve made since deciding to jump into the triathlon community with competitive goals in mind.  The people are awesome and are always nice regardless of your walk of life.   That’s been something that I’ve noticed amongst triathletes.  It doesn’t matter what you do for your career or the distance you race.  You’re a triathlete and you’re an equal and everyone is treated as equals regardless of your speed.  So anyone who is thinking about doing a triathlon and enjoys doing them afterwards go out and join your local triathlon club.

6 weeks out and counting down, YIKES!   It’s hard to believe that I only have 4-5 weeks of hard training before the taper down to race day.  Physically I feel that I am prepared for what race day is going to have in store for me.  I’m confident I’ll be amongst the top swimmers and I’ll be able to hold my own on the bike.  The run I now feel that I will be in the top 50% compared to bottom 50%.  I’ve started mentally preparing for the race and spotting my mental low points during the bike and the run and how I can conquer that evil voice telling me that this was stupid and why did I sign up for this?  I’ve made some adjustments to my nutrition preparation/plan, but I still need to execute it properly.  I’ll have 2 sprint triathlons before race day along with 2 more race simulations for the distance so I’ll have a solid stance on where I will be race day.  Speaking of races here is a list of my official race schedule for 2014.   Sadly they had to cancel the Jump Aquathon so I am looking for an April race.

2014 Race Schedule
Feb 28th – Tritonman Tri
Mar 16th – SEALSprint (Sprint)
Mar 29th – Oceanside 70.3 Half Ironman
Apr 26th – Jump Aquathon (Cancelled)
May 4th – Spring Sprint (Swim Relay)
May 31st – Bass Lake Tri (Olympic)
Jun 29th – ITU Chicago (Olympic)
Jul 12th – LifeTime Tri Minneapolis (Olympic)
Aug 3rd – New York Triathlon (Olympic)…
Sept 6th – SD Tri Classic (Olympic)
Sept 21st – TriRock Bike Relay (Olympic)
Oct 5th – Mission Bay Sprint (Swim Relay)
Oct 19th – SD Triathlon Challenge
Oct 26th LifeTime Tri Oceanside (Olympic)
Nov 16th – Ironman Arizona 140.6

I think with all the races leading up to IMAZ that I’ll be ready to take it on.  The upside to my fall race schedule is that most of the races will be a relay so I won’t be completely out of gas and I have 2 weeks from LifeTime Tri Oceanside to IMAZ to recharge the batteries.  I’ve also made the decision to move into my Age Group of 35-39 for the Bass Lake Triathlon instead of racing Clydesdale.   I looked at the results from last year and I feel that I can race competitively and get in the top 3 and possibly win the race and qualify for USAT Nationals.  Now I could go to Wisconsin and race the USAT Nationals as a Clydesdale since it’s open, but I want that letter saying that I qualified.  If you look closely you will see that there is NO 13.1’s or 26.2’s in there.  I just don’t have the desire to run any of them this year as my focus is really going to be on triathlon and preparing for November.  I realize that running is the only way to improve my run but I’m going to focus on my run training and running at least once a day for at least 3 miles.   I can put aside 30 minutes somewhere to get in 3 miles.  I’m also going to keep my treadmill runs to a minimum of incline 4.  My weight has slowly creeped down which is a good thing but I am not happy that my BF% isn’t dropping as much as I had hoped but I just need to keep on it.

Head is Back In the Game–Fine Tuning Errors

I have been spending basically the last week listening to motivation mantra’s and searching for things that can keep my head checked in.  It’s been working as well thank god.  I was beginning to feel like I was drifting away and not ever checking back in.

“You got to get up and say I want to be a champion and I’ll do whatever it takes.  Visualization, looking at motivational quotes, whatever it takes” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

I think part of the problem was that when I first signed up to do the Oceanside 70.3 I set out with a goal of “Just to Finish.”  Back in June when I signed up it seemed like an almost impossible feat.  I had just made the choice to do triathlon in a more competitive nature and not just do triathlon to finish but to actually place in the top 10 and top 5 of all the races I do.  As training progressed through the months and I’ve improved I came to the realization that yes, I am going to finish.  I think I became satisfied with the main goal of just being able to finish a 70.3 is what has caused my mind to drift.  My mindset has returned to training like a champion and doing whatever it’s going to take.

This past Saturday my Oceanside Training Group had a little race simulation.  I looked at the night before and everything just as I would the race.  Nutrition has always been a weakness of mine for my size and thankfully my coach had a little class on this with tips and how to work everything out.  I came up with a very solid plan and she approved of it.  I got my bike prepped and all my gear and stuff all set to go so in the morning I was all set to go.  Woke up and got everything in my bag ready to go except I decided to go back to bed for another 30-45 minutes so I put my liquid nutrition back in the fridge.  Well I forgot to grab them back out of the fridge.   So I clearly have an issue with plan execution and it hurt me on the race simulation.  I had the solid calories but nothing liquid other than some Gatorade.  I was short of ohhhhh about 600 calories over bike ride to get me through my run.  See, I burn about 1000 calories an hour on the bike and your body can only absorb a certain amount at one time.  You don’t want too many solids jumbling around in your stomach during an endurance race because you’re going to have all your blood going every where BUT your stomach.   So anyways, outside of that I had a great race sim.  Need to work on running off the bike a bit more and execute my race plan.   I hit some goals like out of the water in under 30 minutes, keep my HR out of the water down on the bike to 140-150.

100 free in workoutTraining wise I’ve hit my fastest times to date this week… EVER!  Who knew a 240lbs man could run a 6:39 min/mile.  We did some 25 yards at the pool in masters and I hit a 14 second 25 yard.  I was hitting my 1:14 min/100 yards.  I’ve always been strong on the bike just not climbs and I’ve decided that I need to get back into climbs and hills.  Yes I could change out my gearing but if it’s hard now why make it easy the easy way.  Hard work and sweat baby.

It’s Possible! Push Yourself!

So as I said in my previous blog my training physically has been going ok, but I’ve been checked out mentally for the past 2 weeks.  Up till yesterday it was starting to get frustrating and it was affecting every part of my life.  You watch the videos, you read the articles and they all say that when you train for any Ironman either the full 140.6 or 70.3 you confront yourself, and you test out the boundaries of not just your physical ability but your soul  Well going into training I knew it was going to be hard, but I was unprepared mentally for what I was going to find along my way.

Coming off my Arizona 13.1 and being sick my brain checked out completely.  I felt like a zombie waking up everyday and going through the motions every single training day.  I’d be on a 6 mile run and not really have any desire to go past the easy pace, I’d hope on my bike trainer and would just drift off into the distance with no real clue of what was going on.  Even in the pool after that first 100 yards I couldn’t tell you any of my base intervals if it wasn’t for my Garmin.  Yeah it took me out to the dark parts where I started to question what was I doing, did I bite off more than I can chew, am I going to fail and not be able to finish, am I going to let everyone down?  It’s scary when you look back at your workout and you can’t even remember what was going on.  I knew something had to be done and I was the only one who could do something about it.  Your friends and family will sit there try to comfort you and tell you that you’ll be ok and you’ll be fine.  I remember feeling like this during football or wrestling back in high school and my step father was the one who basically stood against that and said that if you want to do something you need to go do it and don’t settle for 2nd place.  I had forgotten the speech (I wish I could have recorded them) cause I never thought that at the age of 37 I’d be reminded of it again.  He also taught me not to just meet expectations of other people, you need to exceed your own expectations, so set them high.

Wednesday morning I woke up and something just felt different, I knew that I had to find a way to bring back my mind and get focused on these last 2 months of training.  I just happened to see a Facebook post from a friend of mine with a YouTube link to a motivational video that just happened to move me.  I felt a little grounded after watching it and it started a little fire that I knew I needed to listen to this some more.  I spent most of the day watching some of these videos and converting them to mp3 so I can listen to them while I’m working out.  One though seemed to remind me of why I even signed up for not just the Oceanside 70.3 but for the Arizona 140.6.  It was part of a larger talk by Les Brown… It’s Possible.  Just hearing this statement brought goose bumps to my skin, and I felt empowered just by saying that out loud.  I even said it out loud at the office and one of my co-workers said over the cube that I was crazy.  (They do that cause they do think I’m crazy for even signing up to do an Ironman).  I said it out loud because when you say it out loud you hold whatever you’re saying with a little bit more conviction.  It made me think when the last time I said that phrase and the last time I said it was when I was explaining why I signed up for the Ironman Arizona.  “I’ve always wanted to do an Ironman, but never thought I could do it.  Now after losing weight and competing in other triathlons.  I started to believe that it’s possible and I can do it.”  It was part of why I started even lost weight, it was to show people that it is possible.  I had forgotten the purpose of what I started and why.

So, why did hearing and saying “It’s possible” spark such an emotional response?  Because it forces you to change your belief’s.  At one point everyone thought a 4 minute mile was impossible.  We now know that it’s possible.  At one point we thought a 10 hour Ironman was impossible and now 8 hour Ironman’s are possible!  It forces you work outside of a larger vision of yourself and I had lost that.  I had lost the vision of believing that it’s possible for me, someone who was almost 400lbs at one point could change his life and complete an Ironman.  It’s one thing to watch a video of someone completing an Ironman from the comfort of your computer screen or TV, it’s another to believe that you can do it.  I started to question that belief.   I know I have to start saying “It’s possible” more and more and train my soul for the challenges ahead.  I know I’ll be hitting this point later this summer/fall right before IMAZ.  I need to wake up every morning and say “I’m a Champion, and I will do whatever it takes.”  They are right, when you’re training for an Ironman, it changes you.

Recovery Week–Maintaining Focus??

Well I’m not going to lie, it’s been a very hard week staying focused as I recover from the RnR Half and getting over being sick.  My body feels run down lately, and mentally it’s been a challenge.  I’ve been in the pool and doing some training but hadn’t done any serious intensity to anything and just kind of went through the motions with no real goal.  Was in the pool today with my workout and felt good through it physically but mentally I was checked out.   My interval times were good, but mentally my head just was not in the game.  With Oceanside just 2 months away I need to really start staying on track or I certainly won’t come close my my 5 hour personal goal time.  Realistically it will probably be more 6 hour but I set the bar high.  Even my diet this week has taken a back seat and I’m kind of afraid to even set food on the scale but I’ll do it tomorrow morning.

On another note on yesterdays short ride I was able to try out my new carbon wheel set.  Everything felt good and I didn’t even get out of the small ring during the entire ride and I certainly didn’t feel like I was using even 70% of what I have in terms of capacity so this coming race simulation on Saturday will be fun.   I got an Xterra Stand Up Paddleboard this week for some weekend fun after training which I can’t wait for.   Did some ocean kayaking for the first time ever this past weekend as well which was amazing!   Got out past La Jolla Cove where I usually swim and hung out with some of the sea lions and some birds.  I think I need to get a kayak so that I can take it out farther next time and maybe see some whales and other animals.