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.
Training 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.
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.
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.
Well a new year and a new PR out and the Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon. Here is my race report.
The week leading up to the race I was dealing with a cold that turned into bronchitis that ended my taper by Tuesday and sidelined me till race day. I drove out to Tempe from San Diego the day before the race. I know it’s a no-no but as I do more and more half marathons I’ve realized that I don’t take them as seriously as I take my triathlon races. The expo was just as crazy as every other Rock N Roll branded race which seems to become a staple of it. Which is good, I like seeing the growth of running and people becoming more active. Although that is not without it’s downfall of having too many people on the course. After I was checked in at the hotel and stretch the legs a bit, I was able to hang out with my old buddy John Saturday night so it was a good distraction from never running this race before. I got a decent night sleep with all the coughing and woke up at a decent hour as well. I probably should have studied the race course but I figured it’s only a half marathon and I’ve done several of them prior. I looked at the course enough to know that aid stations will be 2-3 miles apart and there would be at least 1 GU station most likely out of GU, so I brought my own.
I took a shower like I normally do and just felt calm for the race and didn’t even really think about how cold it might be. Got a banana and some yogurt from the breakfast downstairs, which I probably should have ate more. It was a good mile walk to the start line and I wanted to get out early in case there was a huge crowd that might cause me to be late. Got there with hardly anyone around (If it wasn’t for the visible start sign I almost thought I was lost) and I was able to catch up with an old high school buddy Damien (It’s always nice to see friends when you travel for races). I was in corral 11 since I seeded myself at a 2:20:00 start time and as the time ticked downward more and more people showed up to where it was insanely packed. Thankfully I was at the beginning of my wave and wouldn’t have to fight through the crowds out of the gate. The gun goes off and I started way too fast and slowed down a bit to settle into a comfortable 9 min/mile pace. Things were going well and I was feeling great minus my feet being cold and feeling like pegs. But low and behold around mile 2 I caught up to the mass of walkers who seeded themselves too fast. As I expended more energy than I wanted to so that I can go around them or tell them I’m on their left or right I got really frustrated at these people. If you’re going to walk, move to the sides don’t walk down the middle of the lane. I can respect you’re out there walking for a cause but you need to be respectful of other people as well. Anyways as the miles ticked off away with ease I noticed something I’m at mile 7 and things seemed to be going really well. I also wasn’t battling my usual “This Blows” mindset. Even though I had some pains on my heels from what turned out to be my Achilles being chafed to hell from my shoes. By mile 10 it hurt to even slow down for my 1 minute walk. Between the constant uphill between what seemed to be mile 7-9 and being stuck with walkers that I had to weave in and out of I was getting spent. Thankfully the rest had to be downhill or at least level right? Thankfully it was and then I actually looked at my time on my Garmin and knew I was going to beat my Las Vegas time when I saw mile 11. I was jazzed, I didn’t really feel the need to push it anymore since it was already hard to breathe and my Achilles were bleeding all over my shoes. I finally crossed the finished line. 2:14:21 is what was on my Garmin and I’ll take that. I even got another medal for doing Las Vegas and Arizona back to back. Yeah I’m an over achiever.
I had to walk back to the hotel which was just insane and every step hurt worse than the next. But I had to shower and get on the road back to San Diego. Surprisingly enough all I wanted to do was swim in the pool for a while. I will say that the drive from Tempe to San Diego is boring. I think my brain clocked out during the drive since I can’t remember portions of it. Looking back I think had it not been for all the people and the chafing I could have broke that 2 hour mark. I think I will have to work even harder now so that I can break that time come Oceanside 70.3. If I can do that and keep my bike to a 3 hour that should put me at a sub 5:30:00 finish!
I’ve been going hard since December with a moderate break for the holidays. I was feeling ready for the Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon coming up on January 19th. Then on Saturday disaster struck with a cold. To much of my disproval I took Saturday and Sunday off from any training and instead took a trip to the local CVS and stocked up on supplies.
Monday morning I woke up and could still feel the linger cold stuff but Operation Kill Cold is still in effect. The ammo currently being used is: Sudafed, Mucinex Spray and Tablets, Dayquil, Tunnusin DM, Airborn, and Zicam. With morning and nighttime neti pot treatments. So far it appears I’m winning the war, but not without some cost… Training Time.
With 1 week till race day in a state I rarely visit but will be doing my first full Ironman in thank god it’s only a half marathon. Thankfully my taper week is on, but I really wanted to get out and do a full 13 miles before hand and keep my training on pace for my half Ironman. Over the weekend mileage wise I was supposed to get in roughly 16 miles and I got 0 in. It’s like everyone says the hard part is not training and letting your body rest. Well this morning on Monday I decided I was going to go to the gym and keep it a very low intensity workout which I did. I did 2 miles at maybe 50% capacity and then finished it up with a 1 mile run. I still kept up with the drugs and sat in the sauna for about 20 minutes to sweat things out and keep the airways clear. Which means I have to be even more strict on the diet as this last 5-6% Body Fat is proving to be next to impossible to get off as well. I’m finding that dropping weight these days is almost next to impossible which means my body is at it’s walking weight which is good. Now I just have to improve on it even more.
We all know it’s coming, the holiday cookies, candy, and drinks, but the hardest part is controlling yourself. You’ve worked so hard through the year to lose weight and keep it off and you don’t want to put it back on. I can’t say I followed mine to a “T” this year around I did cut back on the usual items and played everything in moderation. I was 2 weeks into my Half Ironman training but still wanted to enjoy the holidays as well. My nutritionist won’t be too happy about it but the serious training starts now and I am thankful that I had a solid base level of fitness to improve upon. So while I kept to my main diet plan I didn’t have seconds of anything on the menu’s and I kept my portions small. I paid close attention to my macros as well. Overall I’m sure I put on a few pounds but nothing that won’t shed off come next week. It was a bit strange to watch everyone going back for more and I wasn’t but that’s just part of how it all goes. For the most part though everyone was pretty accepting of the fact and yeah some people looked at me like I was nuts. Well I am nuts, I signed up for an Ironman!
Looking forward to 2014!
Aside from races I have a lot to look forward to and I have a lot of goals lined up personally outside of racing. So here are a list of my resolutions.
Non racing items.
1. Cut down to 10% body fat.
2. Find more time to date.
3. Complete 1 college course at Mesa College
4. Learn more things to do around San Diego that doesn’t require drinking
5. Listen to more audio books about non-fictional subjects.
Race wise there are a lot more items.
1. Goal time for my Half Ironman under 6 hours.
2. Top 3 finish in my Clydesdale races.
3. Qualify for USAT Nationals in my 35-39 Age Group.
4. Ride a Century before June.
5. Run a 13.1 in 2 hours.
Lofty goals but I feel that they can be achieved. Here’s to an even better year in 2014.
Wow it’s the end of October and where did the year go? The days are shorter and the temps are cooler, and like clockwork I step on the scale, except this time it’s not reading 320lbs. I’ve been hovering from 240-250 during the week as training has slowed down (I use that phrase loosely). It’s hard cause in the back of my mind it’s not low enough. But when I first started my weight loss journey I said that I would be happy around 240lbs. Surprisingly enough now that I’m here it’s still not good enough. I want to get down another 20-25lbs so I’m sitting around 220lbs which I think is a solid racing weight and a healthy body fat weight. My current BF% is around 17-18% and I’m looking to get it down to 12-15% which should be a healthy level for being as active as I am. That will be my goals next year. With 2 more months left in the year and 2 more races before my couple weeks of off season I’m going to call 2013 a revolutionary year for me. So looking back at 2013, I’ve found some direction in my life, I’ve found a sport that I truly enjoy, and I pushed my limits. Yeah, sorry didn’t find a girlfriend yet, sorry. Dating is actually a whole other blog post.
Finding direction through the means of fitness and helping others achieve their goals. As people saw the weight shed off from my frame people started to ask me how I did it. How this, or why that, and that’s when I decided it was time to educate myself in personal training and cater strictly to obese people. So with my training done I’ll be looking to get those certifications early December and January. A few people I’ve been helping on and off here and there and their results have been inspirational.
I truly enjoy the sport of triathlon. Yeah it’s 3 sports thrown into 1 but it’s awesome, and the tri community is nothing short of a family. Since jumping in officially since June 1st, I’ve been on the podium in every triathlon race I’ve entered. Even if it’s Clydesdale, it’s a start and it felt good to be up there and hearing my name called. 2014 probably won’t have as many podium finishes as I am focusing on the longer distances but I will hear my name being called by Mike “Chris Holley, You are an Ironman”
So how have I pushed my limits? Lets see, I’ve had some type of race every month so far. Then in June I had back to back half marathons which I broke personal records with. Then in September I reached my goal of 1st place in the Tri Rock San Diego Olympic Distance race. My longest triathlon distance to date. I was able to bike 53 miles without passing out. I’ve started to believe that I can really do an Ironman distance at 140.6 miles. I full believe that once you believe you can achieve something you will do it.
So what is 2014 going to have in store for me? Racing wise lets just say during the summer I am going to be very busy. Training wise I’ll have a very small social life if I even have one. But the rewards of accomplishing a childhood dream will be worth it. As the lifestyle change has been a constant journey for me from a partier/drinker to a full blown triathlete. When I started I just knew that I needed to change and I had the direction of where I wanted to go, with the rest of it stuff along the way. It’s a constant change and staying focused on what you want to achieve.