Tag Archives: Ironman

Metabolic Efficiency Part 2–The Weight is Coming Off!

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So I started this whole Metabolic Efficiency thing at 243lbs back on July 21st and since then I’m down to 226lbs.  I knew the basics to it, burn more fat for fuel instead of carbohydrate.  I knew that it didn’t include counting calories.  I knew that it included the whole low-carb high fat diet.   I had my doubts about it, because it went against everything that you learn from personal training and in terms of fueling the body during long endurance sports.   I also know that 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories of energy and 1 gram of carbohydrate gives you 4.  So you have more than 2 times the amount of energy in fat then carbohydrate.  However, your bodies preferred method of energy is carbohydrate.

So how am I going to get my body to burn more fat and less carbs… well decrease the carbs and increase the fats!   Been doing this for 2 weeks now, and surprisingly I’m eating more spinach, squash, zucchini, and kale then I ever have before.   I’m eating more fish (I try not to eat beef, pork, or chicken), and I’ve reintroduced actually bacon and butter back into my diet!   Little did I know that even though I’m eating tons of greens/carbs I never really knew how low value of carbs they were and filling.   Stuffing my face with spinach and kale (about 2-4 ounces) every day is hard work.  You can see from my MFP (My Fitness Pal) screenshot that I eat… a lot.

MFP

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In doing so, I’ve actually started to become accustom to finding that I’m enjoying cooking more, and looking at more veggies, and the side effect is little to no sugar!  So you can see that even with 80 grams of carbs I’m still getting most of my energy from “healthy” fat sources.  You can see on there avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and butter.   Now keep in mind yes I’m under my calorie goal by MFP… I don’t count calories so I couldn’t care less about it.

So what about my performance during my workouts?  Let’s just say that I can go 2 hours without needing anything besides maybe water and electrolyte salts on a hot day.  How do I know this?   Well I got a Metabolic Efficiency Profile test does that tells me what % fat vs carbohydrate I’m burning at various intensities.   I now know that if my heart rate is cruising at 151 (Z2) I’m burning roughly 75% of my calories from fat… and with 2000 calories of stored carbohydrate I’m going to go for a while.  If my HR is racing at 155 then I’m reaching that 50% cross over area where I’m getting half my energy from fat and from stored carbs.   So since I’m a slow runner I can now start increasing my effort while trying to maximize my fat burning engine so I don’t need to worry about all those sugar based drinks and gu’s out there that could cause all those wonderful GI issues.  So what do I take on those long training days that are 2+ hours?   I hate Generation UCAN, which is a super starch designed not to spike your insulin levels so you can keep burning fat, and not sugar.  Yeah it can get a bit goopy but so far, it’s working out great!

So now that the science behind it is out of the way, I’m 2 weeks into it.   I haven’t felt any energy crashes.  I raced Solana Beach Triathlon on nothing but water and felt great the entire time.  Took 4th in my division, I’m ok with that cause once again I’ve been training for an Ironman, not a Sprint.  I’m down almost 14lbs, mostly fat.  I’m sitting at approximately 18% BF and I’m feeling like things are falling into place.  Putting on some muscle to get some power back on the bike and I’ve never really ran at this weight for a long time so I’m going to be curious to see how my body adapts to being not just lighter but leaner.

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Oceanside 70.3–Volunteer Race Report!

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Well, here we are at the end of our shift.  We all volunteered to be swim handlers at the 2015 Oceanside 70.3 Half Ironman.  I wanted to race this race but I missed the signup, so I went with St. George instead.  The next best thing to racing is volunteering.  It’s my chance to give back to the sport and to the racers.  In my early days of racing I never really paid much attention to volunteers, in fact I really didn’t care about them.  I paid my money and most of the time I was out there suffering just trying to finish.  Then after my first volunteer gig as a swim buddy I started to really take notice and start thanking them as I’m running or biking.  I’m usually a swim buddy and out there swimming with the slower swimmers.  At Ironman events that’s not allowed, so I took the next best thing.  Making sure everyone gets in and out of the water safely.

Race Day11068401_10205307342034859_4408981667675072733_nHanging out with TCSD before reporting.

The best part of being in the water is that you have access to transition and you don’t have to be down at the entry/exit till 20-30 minutes before the pro’s start.  So I was able to wander around T1/2 and talk with some friends and give some final words of encouragement to other first timers I knew racing.  Before I knew it, it was time for me to head down to the swim entry/exit.  I really wasn’t expecting anything since when I’m running out of the water I don’t take any assistance and I’m off down to transition.  However, I got to talk to some of the pro men and women before they got into the water and they thanked me for volunteering.   Andy Potts is a nice guy on top of being fast in the water, and Jesse Thomas is flat out funny before the swim.  I couldn’t recognize the women with their goggles on already and caps, but that’s ok.   The gun went off and the mass flow of racers entered the water in waves in what seemed 3 minutes apart.  All the swim handlers cheering them on as they marched towards the water.  They even had the seals to cheer them on and provide some entertainment while they made their way to the start line.  About 22 minutes after the start the pro men started to come in and I had to go over to the exit for safety reasons.

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As the pro’s came in the mass of age groupers were not far behind.  At about 45 minutes after the start it was madness.  I was assisting swimmers up and unzipping wetsuits.  I pulled up several of my friends swimming and cheered them along the run.  Then I felt someone grab my hand and as I turned and looked at her she said, “I have no legs, will you help me?”  I got down and picked her up and carried her to her chair that was waiting on the ramp with her legs.  She was an amputee racing with CAF.  Everyone was clapping for her and she was smiling.  I was moved and inspired to be sharing her moment with her.  Every day I listen to people complain about how bad of a day they had or are having, but here is a woman with no legs out there swimming and enjoying the simple things that we often take for granted.  It was an honor and privilege for me to assist her.  In a moment that seemed like it took 20 minutes had only taken a couple and I was back to action holding up swimmers who couldn’t find their land legs after being in the water for so long.  As the slower swimmers started coming in we started seeing a lot of people disoriented so we spent some time walking up the ramp with them till they found their land legs and knew what was going on.  I saw an older man who waved me over and I grabbed his hand.  He really grabbed on strong and started to shake as I pulled him up and he stood up.  He looked at me and said “I did it, I didn’t think I’d make it, but I did it!”  I said “Congratulations, the hard part is done right!”  We both laughed but when he took off his goggles he had tears and a smile ear to ear.  He gave me a big hug and said thank you for being here, and said “I did it” one last time as he went up the ramp.  I started to get teary eyed.   (I’m starting to get teary eyed just writing this).

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As less and less swimmers came in we know the swimmers coming in now were at risk of not being able to continue.  Then the race official appeared and there were 3 swimmers who weren’t allowed to continue.  It was a little heartbreaking to see.  Some of those swimmers were in the water well over 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Then the floatilla of boats, SUPs, and wave runners came towards the dock.  It was the last swimmer in, and everyone gave him a cheering welcome back.  We all knew he wasn’t going to make the cut off but he at least finished the swim which is a great achievement.

last swimmer out

As I was helping him up since he couldn’t stand on his own we got to the race official and I heard the official give the DNF speech.  It’s not one that I ever plan to hear for not making a cut off.   I really hope he comes back next year and finishes the entire race.  I could feel how deflated he got after receiving the news.   Once all the swimmers were out we got the dock all ready to go for use again and I was off to the TCSD and FilAmTri tents to cheer on the racers.  All in all for the day I walked/ran over 12 miles and cheering is a workout on it’s own.  I was exhausted all evening.  I tried to get my 8 mile run in but got 2 miles before I was done.   I was sleeping by 8:30PM… ZZZZZzzzzzz

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.

Ironman Arizona Race Report

0823_098542Here it is my race report.  First I’d like to thank my coach Julie Dunkle and the group that I trained with.  Without you girls it would not have been as much fun.  Also want to thank my parents for supporting me through all this and my kid sister Jill who was my sherpa and handled a lot of stuff for me on race day.

Arriving in Tempe on Thursday allowed me to handle a lot of the athlete requirements before everyone got into town.  This helped keep a lot of pressure off of me.  Saturday was gear check day for my bike and my gear bags which helped even more come race morning.

Race Morning:
Thankfully I got to bed early and I slept like a rock!  Woke up and ate 3 peanut butter and banana sandwiches while sipping some water.  Got the rest of my special needs bags set to go went through my race checklist and once everything was good my sister and I went down to the race venue.  It opened at 5AM and we were there around 5:15AM.   Once down there I had to get my nutrition into my bike and everything all set that I couldn’t leave overnight.  Got my special needs bags dropped off, dropped my friends off at the pool, and completely forgot about putting my salt sticks into my bike as well putting on my HR monitor.  Said good bye to the kid sister and got in line for the swim start.

Swim:0823_076121
I positioned myself up towards the front to avoid having to swim over people.  As I treaded water and waited for the gun to go off I was anxious to get started.   The excitement in the air was astonishing.  As the cannon (not a gun or horn) went off the washing mashing began and for me it didn’t stop till I got out of the water.  I swam a 1:10 which I was pretty disgusted with but I also wasn’t swimming as fast as I could.  I held back some because I had a 112 mile bike and a marathon to do.  So I wanted to conserve some energy seeing as though I’d never gone so far in my life.  I settled into a good rhythm away from some people and just kept swimming.   The turns got a bit crowded but nothing crazy.  On the return there was some waves pushing from the rear which helped and the sun was not in our eyes anymore.   I didn’t wear my Garmin this time around I kept it on my bike.  I didn’t really have any issue’s exiting the water but once I was out finding a wetsuit stripper that was available was a bit interesting.  Finally after that was done I trotted into the transition tent.

Bike:
0823_020538I was fully expecting to get a 5 hour ride with at least 20 MPH average here.  I jumped on the bike feeling great   It wasn’t till we got to a clearing that I had felt the wind gusts and knew it was going to be a long day…  Once I turned onto the Bee Line Hwy it was 11 miles of straight headwinds all the way out and then tailwind all the way back.  I didn’t have my HR strap on but I don’t use HR when riding since I have my Power2Max Power Meter.  I kept my watts under 214 to keep me in Zone 2.  Even going downhill I didn’t want to hammer it out too fast and not have any legs to battle the headwind going back.   With each successive loop the winds kept getting stronger and stronger eventually slowing me down to 8MPH at some points.   During the bike I also had 4 damn flats… 4 of them.  As that 5th hour ticked away I just kept riding to get to the run.   My nutrition was dead on (could have used more salt sticks) but I felt great getting off the bike and ready to hit the run.   The change to the speedfill bottle on the frame and the aerobar bottle holder worked out great!  I kept my APX in the bottle and then the water bottles from the aid stations in the aerobar holster.

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My plan here was to run 4 minutes and walk 1 minute all at an easy pace for the first loop and then crank out some more intensity.  Grabbed some water at the first aid station along with Gu Chomps (Not sure I should have).  Then ran into Stuart from the Tri Club and we chit chatted and both were along the same run/walk plan.  We were cruising a nice 11 min mile pace which I was OK with.   At the 2nd aid station I took some cola (I wanted a caffeine pick up after the head winds.  Well the cola was not flat by any means and right around mile 3 I started to feel gassy… very gassy.  I was burping hoping it was just gas and then you have that ah-ha moment where as they say “Don’t trust a fart”.  I told John and Stuart that I’d catch up to them.  I spent the next 10 minutes or so in that porta-john.  Then it seemed I would repeat that for the next 10 miles except only taking in water, pretzels and grapes.  I didn’t know if that combination would help but in my mind my thought process was like this.  Pretzels to help absorb any carbonation, water to help dilute the cola more, and grapes for the sugars.   I don’t know if it was the “best” thing but for me it worked.  I started to feel human again around mile 12 and I was off to run/walking with enjoyment (Yes I said enjoyment).  I saw my parents when I started the 2nd lap and asked where some others were and they said they are out there running.  I was relieved they made the bike cut-off.  I stopped at my special needs bag and changed out my shoes (I shouldn’t have done this either).  Why did I change out my shoes when the one’s I was wearing seemed perfectly ok.  Either way I started running again with my 4/1 ratio.  Around mile 16 I was in a daze of things tunnel vision to just make it to the far turn around and that’s when I asked a volunteer for some water and instead she gave me perform.  Well, after that perform went down the hatch in about 15-20 seconds it was coming back up along with everything else in my stomach.   I took some water and tried to jog it out a bit which was fine for a bit and ended up puking a couple more times.   Finally at the mile 20 or so turn around I had been feeling really good.  Then my coach Julie started running with me for a bit and we had a chit chat.  She asked if I was alright and I said not really.  Explained the stomach stuff to her.  She said I was going to make it, even if I ended up walking the rest of the way I was going to make it.   By this time by feet were really starting to hurt (damn shoes, I knew it was the shoes).  I should have never changed them out.  I hit mile 24 and I could hear the finish line.

The Finish:0823_090644
At mile 24 once I started to hear everyone being called an Ironman everything kind of hit me.  I really was going to make it, I really was going to become an Ironman.  I didn’t care about the time I was going to make it.  I started thinking about how many people supported me through this.  How I wish my father could have been alive to find out that his oldest son had turned his life around from a heavy drinker to an Ironman and an inspiration.   I wished my grandparents were still around as well.  Finally as I turned the final corner down the finish chute I remember seeing the lights.  I remember seeing all the hands wanting hi-fives.  I remember hearing “Christopher Holley, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”.  I couldn’t tell you my emotions at that moment.  I can’t tell you what else I heard.  I can’t even tell you at what point I got my medal.  I don’t even remember taking the finisher picture.   I remember seeing Rhonda at some point which surprised me that she made it out.  I remember my parents meeting her and not much else after that.

Coming Too:WP_20141116_21_21_58_Pro
My parents went back to the hotel they were tired, I could tell by their smiles that I made them proud.  I still had to watch the rest of Team Dunkle come in.  I heard some of the ladies and Henry finish but I couldn’t make it through everything in time to cheer them on going down the chute.  Nicole had finished as well but couldn’t move fast enough either.   Finally I made my way around everyone to the inside turn of the finish shoot.  As the final hour approached more and more of the ladies from Team Dunkle finished.  They had did it.  My certain someone had finished and I was so proud.   Finally Erika crossed the finish line all smiles.  She was soo excited she ran down the far side of the chute away from her dad and she hi-fived every single hand she could.  We all did it, we all become an Ironman that day.

Wrapping Up:
I still can’t believe it’s over just like that.  It was a 5 month journey that brought me to places that I’d never been both physically and mentally.  As I look back at the race day while writing this.  I had a LOT of fun.  At the end of the day that’s what being an athlete is all about… FUN.

Ironman Arizona–My Experience.

Just like that the race is over and the post race celebrations are coming to a close.  What started out as a childhood dream came true November 16th, 2015.  It was a year in the making though.  None of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for me asking my mom to help get me in through the online registration.   2014 has been quite a year and ending it by becoming an Ironman.

Most of the race was a blur so I’ll get to my race report later once the emotions settle a bit.   I’m not a Kona qualifier and probably won’t ever be, but when you decide that something is possible you need to go for it.  I trained under the same coach I used for Oceanside through her group special.   Some of the people I knew and others I didn’t.  We all embarked on this adventure to become Ironmen together.  Triathletes of all shapes and sizes all out to achieve what many people say is nothing short of crazy.   We trained together, we traveled together out to AZ a couple weeks before the race and we all kind of bonded in a special way.  The memories we will cherish and remember forever.

I signed up for this race on a whim of believing that it’s possible that regular people can do this and it’s not just for pro’s.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I knew it was going to be hard.  I found new limits for myself that I didn’t think possible.  With all my weight loss I wanted to prove to myself that I could go out and do something great.  They say Ironman is a drug and in part they are right.  You get this high going into race weekend and then once it’s over you go through a down period.   Everyone goes their own ways again back to their regular lives or in my case my off season.

Once in Tempe I was excited to be a part of the experience.  Go down to Ironman Village get my athlete check-in process done and check things out.   Lots of vendors, lots of athletes but not much of anything real like clinic’s or things for inspiration.  The underpants run was fun to take part of and Friday was getting a tour of the transition area’s with places to spectate at.  There is so much more to think about while doing an Ironman verses other distances.  That time my parents were in town and the excitement started to really build.  We went to the opening ceremonies that evening which just fueled the fire of inspiration.  Saturday had a great swim with the group in the morning and gave my parents the same tour I got.   Having my family there really meant a lot to me.  It’s important to me that they see that anything is possible no matter what age.  We saw a 72 year old woman who was doing her first ever triathlon finish the race.

After the race was over and everyone who finished was still on their highs the village seemed to take on a different excitement.  The previous day was done and everyone was already looking at IMAZ 2015.  Different athletes looking at their previous days race in different ways.  Some were happy to be done with it and never do it again.  Some looked to their Garmin data to already start looking at what they could have done better.  Some started to compare races year through year.  I already know I’ll be volunteering at 2015 so I’m not signing up for it.  I didn’t have my HR monitor on during the entire race (major fail on my part) so I don’t have much data to analyze for the race.  At mile 22-23 though is when I could hear Mike calling people an Ironman.  I knew that I was going to be an Ironman and while I was overcome with emotion the rest of the race was just enjoying my accomplishments.

What Would I Tell Myself Before This Started?

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That was me back in 2009 before making any type of lifestyle changes and on the party have fun train.  It was a friends birthday party in Las Vegas and it was fun and a memorable trip.   But this blog post isn’t about the trip or the party, it’s about the guy that you see in the picture.   As some of you guys know that currently I’ve helped mentor Rhonda from Living Instead of Existing into the world of triathlon and believing that she is an athlete .  I recently asked her what would she tell herself hears ago before starting her lifestyle change.   So it’s only fair that I answer that same question.

First I’d wait till after November 16th and this would be my speech/lecture (I’d view it as a lecture and get defensive about it).

”Chris, you are an Ironman (Yes that race you watched on TV years ago)   You’ve done it.  You’re something more though.  You’ve become an inspiration to many people.  Quitting the party/drinking every weekend lifestyle has opened your life to more than you thought possible.   It’s not going to be easy and you’ll lose some friends along the way.  Don’t worry though because those negative people will be replaced a hundred fold in people who help bring out the positive in you.   Be strong and be courageous cause it won’t be easy and you will doubt yourself.  The rewards will be worth it though.

In 5 years you’re going to lose over 170lbs not through surgery but through true lifestyle change.  You’re going to eat right, exercise, find that competitive spirit that you thought you lost back in High School, and you’re going to become a triathlete.  You will find it rewarding to help others out who have dreams but don’t think they are able to do it.   You’ve changed peoples lives for the better through your actions.   You lead by example, and those actions inspire others around you.  You’re going touch the lives of people around the nation that you’ve never met before.  You’re going to tell people that you believe in them and mean it.   You’re going to meet people who inspire you through their actions.   You have a wild crazy adventure ride coming up so buckle up.”

Yes, that is what I would say to myself.  I’m sure my old self would get defensive and rationalize every possible excuse to stay on that train track.   However now I can inspire and motivate him so that they aren’t excuses any longer.   On another note it’s actually really hard for me to look at that picture.  On the outside I was happy but on the inside I was wasting away.

It’s The Small Steps That Create Progress.

WP_20140809_18_15_31_ProWhat a weekend.  I was a date for a friends High School Reunion which meant I had to go shopping.  I stayed away from shopping for a while because I was kind of afraid of buying nice clothes.  It was always an awkward experience for me.  I’d have to go the fat guy section and piece together parts of suits that fit.  I was pretty stoked that I could actually shop in the regular sized part of the store and that I actually put on a L shirt.   It was a huge moral victory for me.  I didn’t really realize how good I’d look in the till my sister happened to catch this candid shot of me talking to my step father.  It was for the first time that I honestly felt pretty damn handsome and people weren’t just being nice by telling me.  They honestly meant it.

I couldn’t say that it wasn’t without my challenges either.  in 2010 I had dropped down to 246 lbs and let the success get to my head and after a snow boarding accident that kept me from working out I let myself balloon back up to over 330lbs over the next 2 years.  My party lifestyle had taken over and I was unhappy with my job at the time.  Everyone loved the big drunk Chris except for myself.  Then in 2012 I had taken a vacation to Japan with my friend Gregg and it really hit me how big I really was.  I could barely sit in the airplane seat and it hurt to squeeze into the seat.  When I was at a baseball game I had to squeeze into those seats as well.  Yeah I know it’s Japan and all but it looked like I was going to spill into other seats.  So over the next 2 years it’s been a lot of small changes like workouts, diets, quitting the party life, getting serious about triathlons, and getting serious about my health that have all stacked up to where I am now.  It’s ok to take your time work hard for your goals.  It’s OK to set lofty goals and have high expectations.  Change doesn’t happen over night though.

When I first decided to lose weight and get healthy back in 2009 I had no idea that 5 years later I would have dropped over 170lbs, ran in over 10 half marathons, a half Ironman, and training for a full Ironman (140.6) miles.  I started small with just the 5K’s which at the time took me 50 minutes to complete and through the years my fasted 5K now has been 24 minutes.  My first half marathon back in 2008 took more than 3.5 hours to finish and now it’s a little over 2 hours.  It’s all those small runs that add up over time that has allowed me to get faster and stronger.  Just like weight loss, it’s the consistent loss of 1-2lbs over time that add up and before you know it that 2 lbs turns into 10 lbs and that 10 lbs turns into 100lbs.  The clothes slowly start to inch down from 4XL to a L.  You’ll notice all those little changes in your life that transform your passions and interest.   Your no longer living to work, you’re now working to live.  All those small changes add up and you’re progressing with each small thing.

Pic_14bf88d7-a1a8-4800-95ec-0149242f1833I also did a Transformation Tuesday picture on my athlete page since it had been a while.  As I was looking through my pictures and I found it incredibly difficult to look at my fat pictures without being completed disgusted with myself.  I kept asking myself why did I let myself get to that size?  What on earth was I thinking?  Why did I let myself get complacent with things?  I thought about them all for a couple seconds and thought to myself never again.   As I’m writing this out what I can see is that aside from all the small physical things adding up so did my confidence and my sense of self belief.  It’s the small mental changes to that add up and build that confidence in yourself.  There are so many small things working together that push you forward and progress you through your life to where you want to go and what you want to do.   Enjoy them, don’t be in a rush, cherish them, share them, and most of all be PROUD of those changes.