Tag Archives: running

Ironman #3 Wisconsin

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Here it was…  Race Week!  The weeks leading up to race week were busy with the day job, coaching, swim lessons, and trying to plan a fundraiser for my Arizona 70.3.  It (race week) snuck up on me like Ashton on Punk’d.  This Ironman was different, I was having a hard time overcoming some nagging injuries and for the first time, my work really affected some of my long training days.   Anyways, we flew into Madison on Thursday and stayed with family outside of the Madison.  This was awesome because I rarely get to see family in the midwest.  It also kept me out of the excitement and I was able to focus on things for the race and stay off my feet for the most part.

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Sunday morning I arrived early and got everything situated with my bike and my bags.  My race support crew had already begun her plan for the day of spectating and supporting me.  What was cool about this race is that everything is inside.  That means no dirt or grass, but it was a long run UP to transition.  I got into the chute early so that I wouldn’t be just getting into the water as the gun went off.  As we made our way out to the start line there was a 9/11 tribute and the national anthem was playing.  I was getting ready to get this show on the road.

The Swim: 1:13:xx
56_m-100735778-digital_highres-1364_104123-3746856The cannon went off, and whoa.   This mass start was a washing machine the entire 2.4 miles.  From the start I had some people not just brushing my feet, they were grabbing them and holding (WTF?).  So I kindly kicked them in the face.  I’m sorry (#notsorry), but you don’t need to be holding onto someone’s feet when they are trying to swim.  It’s dangerous for them.  So for 1 hour and 13 minutes I endured a constant body to body contact sport.   Thankfully I am very confident in swimming and didn’t have any issue’s of panicking.   I can see how beginners hate the mass starts, it can get downright insane.  From the swim I had a nice run up the parking ramp up to transition.

The Bike: 6:26:xx
8_m-100735778-digital_highres-1364_022787-3746808There really isn’t much to write about when it comes to one of the best supported bike courses by the community other than, it was fan-f8ckin-tastic.   Getting out the doors and finding that a volunteer had my bike ready to go was awesome.   I rode it down the helix and got my Edge 1000 situated and my HR turned on.  The first thing I noted that was missing was my power was gone.  It wasn’t pairing or something.   So I took 2-3 minutes to mess with it, and then said F it.   I was to ride this old school by HR zone and feel.  Humming along at an avg 20 MPH my HR didn’t go above 141-150 much and I didn’t feel like I was over-extended which was good.  The hills were rolling and the climbs were easy since you had a really good downhill leading up to it.  There was only 2 hills that presenting a challenge:  Barlow and some other.   I had driven the course the day before with my family.   I knew what to expect so I tried to conserve leading up to it.   Then finally it where there.  Both sides of the climb were lined with fans cheering everyone up the hill.  There were people unclipping at the bottom and mid-way through.  As I approached the guy next to me looked at the hill and said F-This, and unclipped.  I powered up it out of the saddle and felt surprisingly good.   The other hill wasn’t as bad, but again it was Tour De France style cheering which helped out alot.  I got to special needs and as I was swapping out my bike bottles I was hit by another rider.  I went to the ground pretty hard and was totally unexpected.  Could tell that something was wrong once I started pedaling again and my entire right side of my butt started to really hurt.  Thankfully I didn’t have to ride up Barlow again, but loop 2 had more wind.  As I headed back to Madison, I was really worried about being able to run.  As much as I wanted to let the crash disrupt my race and get frustrated, I kept remembering what I tell my own athletes:  Don’t waste anytime worrying about stuff you can’t control, all it does is waste time and energy.   So I kept my head up and hit T2.

Run: 5:33:xx
As I set out on the run I didn’t really know what to expect since I did virtually no research into this course.   I wanted to be healthy enough to run it.  I was a bit concerned about my legs from the bike accident but I set out anyways.  At this point the course was very high in energy as we ran through the capital area and out around the University of Wisconsin campus.  Soon we were on the field of Badger Stadium which as awesome.   It’s been a while since I was on the field and it was great to relive some of the memories of being a football player under the lights.   I was cruising a 10-12 min mile as I was walking up the hills and had a positive mindset the entire time.   As I approached the first turn around I was able to see my family out there cheering me on.  This was a welcome sight since I’m normally doing these things with my main girl as my on-course support.  The Base Performance tent is always the life of the party out on the course.  Matt Miller and Tony Demakis always have the energy to get everyone going, and being a part of their team is a blast.  The 2nd loop I decided it was time to enjoy some of the scenery, so I walked the entire field of badger stadium.  When’s the next time I’m going to be on the field?  Here I was at mile 20 and it was still light out and I was feeling really good still.  Everyone has read stories about the finish line at Wisconsin, it’s what sucked me into wanting to do it.  As I approached mile 25, you can see the energy on both sides of the street.   As you’re running through it, you suck the energy in and you turn the corners to the chute and it’s nothing short of amazement.   The community there is fantastic and the best that I have encountered at any of my races of any distance.  As I was running down the finish chute I made sure that there was plenty of time between me and the next person.  I was pretty happy to have a 5:30 marathon time after everything.

I really recommend this race to any athlete who wants to do an Ironman.  I believe the course and the community really set this race apart from all the others.  Yes there are so many other races out there that have scenic courses and great community support, so what makes this one different?   In my opinion having Mike Reilly there and the transition being inside really bring it out, but what brings it over the top is the bike course support from the community.  Having them out there on those climbs kept us all going and lifted our spirits.

 

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Metabolic Efficiency and the Plant-based Endurance Athlete – Dina Griffin @ eNRG

Metabolic Efficiency and the Plant-based Endurance Athlete
Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II
Sport Dietitian
Certified Level II Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist
Metabolic Efficiency and the Plant-based Endurance Athlete
Before we get into the “meat” of this article, let it be known that I am not trying to cause any controversy or debate as to whether vegetarian or vegan nutrition patterns are superior or inferior to omnivorous patterns.  There are many reasons athletes choose to follow plant-based patterns such as ethical, moral, spiritual, and/or health reasons; there are also many militant perspectives to try to persuade you one direction or another.  The purpose of this article is to highlight a few concerns for vegetarian and vegan endurance athletes from a sport dietitian perspective and to provide a short Metabolic Efficiency case study on a recent female athlete with whom I worked.
*Abbreviation you will see throughout this article:  PBEA = plant-based endurance athlete
For those who need a clarification on “vegan”vs. “vegetarian”, here is a brief description:
  • Vegan:  Avoids all animal foods, animal by-products and any food that contains any animal-derived food in it. This means no meat, poultry, dairy, fish, or eggs in any form or contained in any other food (such as baked goods). True vegan followers avoid honey, animal broths, and gelatin.
  • Vegetarian:  There are different “levels”such as those who permit eggs, dairy, or fish. All other animal foods are avoided.
Next, let us highlight some issues and concerns in the context of plant-based nutrition patterns.
Protein
While true there are ample plant-based sources of protein, I can report that many of the PBEAs with whom I have worked truly have inadequate protein intakes.  Following nutrition periodization principles, there are certain times of the training year (and within certain types of training blocks) where protein needs are increased based on the volume and intensity of training. This is a common area where I see PBEAs struggle or are simply unaware of their body’s needs.  This particularly holds true for athletes who are restricting their dietary intake to pursue weight loss. Protein intakes can range from 1.2-2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.55-1.1 grams per pound of body weight) depending on health and training. This can be difficult to achieve for some PBEAs, especially if they have several food “dislikes”and are not a fan of cooking.
Tips:
  • Know your protein sources.  For vegan followers, these include the general categories of legumes (beans, peanuts, lentils, peas, etc.; try sprouting to improve the nutrient profile and digestibility), nuts/seeds, nut/seed butters, soy foods, whole grains, seitan, spirulina, sprouts and protein powders. Yes, there is protein in vegetables (such as leafy greens), but you must eat A LOT of vegetables. Vegetarians have more flexibility in protein sources if including eggs and dairy.
  • Vary your protein sources.  This may seem like an obvious one, but I see countless PBEAs who eat the same thing every day with little variety.  Know that not all proteins are the same, meaning the amino acid content can be quite variable. There are “indispensable”amino acids which must come from dietary sources since the body cannot make them. Supplementation of amino acids may be necessary, especially for ultra PBEAs or those in strength-building training blocks.
  • Keep it clean. It’s interesting how many PBEAs eat processed and refined foods for their protein sources, yet these items can be loaded with fillers and synthetic ingredients. Do the body better by keeping your protein sources as simple as possible.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
 
If you are a PBEA who is an ultra runner, long course triathlete, or a female, micronutrient deficiencies are more common than you realize.
Tips:
  • Work with a board certified sport dietitian who can assess your nutrition intake and physical training patterns. Food choices can be optimized to enhance the micronutrient quality. Appropriate supplementation can be recommended as it fits your own specific needs.
  • Get regular blood work. The blood work you get with your typical annual physical is rarely adequate for PBEAs. Seek guidance from a board certified sport dietitian so that appropriate labs can be ordered.
  • Variety in food intake will help.  If you refuse to follow the above tips, then I strongly recommend you get into the habit of eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
A Metabolic Efficiency Case Study:  The Female Vegetarian Endurance Athlete
 
Many PBEAs assume that to improve metabolic efficiency (how your body uses fat and carbohydrate as an energy source at rest and during exercise), you have to convert to omnivore patterns and eat gobs of steak. While omnivores have more flexibility in food choices to facilitate metabolic efficiency, it is not necessary to begin eating animal proteins to make an impact on how your body uses its fuel sources. The underlying “trick”is to learn how to put together foods to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout daily eating.
Meet “Dee”, a female marathoner in her 50s who is a lacto-ovo vegetarian (no soy). Her goals were to find out her metabolic efficiency (M.E.) level and to lose weight.  Her daily nutrition resembled this prior to beginning the M.E. journey:
  • breakfast: coffee, bagel, cream cheese prior to run OR 2 eggs with wheat toast if no run
  • post-run: baked good from coffee shop
  • lunch: veggie dog on wheat bun with ketchup, mustard
  • snack: nonfat greek yogurt
  • dinner: “fake” meat with spaghetti or risotto or pizza
This is her M.E. test data before making any nutrition changes:
As you can see in the graph, Dee was unable to utilize fat as a predominant energy source in her running paces.  After the testing, we reviewed her food preferences and devised strategies for her to begin changing her food combinations to promote M.E.  Her new nutrition day resembled more of this:
  • breakfast:  oats/quinoa with walnuts + 1 egg before run OR eggs, veggies, cheese if no run
  • snack: full-fat greek yogurt with berries
  • lunch: wheat tortilla with beans, seitan, veggies, avocado or cheese
  • snack: almonds
  • dinner: roasted veggies or salad with a whole grain and protein source such as BeyondMeat or legumes
A blood workup found that Dee was headed towards iron deficiency anemia. She also had low levels of vitamin B12, zinc, and vitamin D. This explained some of the fatigue and sluggishness she had felt during her recent training runs. Dietary suggestions were made in addition to providing her supplementation recommendations.
Dee continued with her running program, which involved 4-5 days of training per week. When she returned to the eNRG performance facility for her second M.E. test 4 months later, she had lost 9 pounds. She reported feeling stronger for her runs and having good energy throughout her days.  Here are the results of her second M.E. test:
Through her training and her dietary changes, her Metabolic Efficiency Point moved to within her targeted marathon goal pace. She ended up with a new PR and reports feeling in great health with the M.E. lifestyle.
In summary, if you are a PBEA, I recommend working with a sport dietitian who can assess your needs (in conjunction with your goals) and guide you towards optimal health within your food preference parameters. Improvements in Metabolic Efficiency can align with your health and performance goals with further dietary and training fine-tuning.  To all of the PBEAs out there, give it a try!
-Dina

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.

Run:WP_20141116_15_39_57_Pro
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.

Life Time Tri: Minneapolis–Race Report

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Well I’m halfway through my season of travelling for races and man it got here fast.  Strangely enough this felt like my hometown race.  My family from my mom’s side live in Minneapolis and while only a few of them made it out to the race.   Everyone made it to the BBQ we had later that day, and that’s really what made this trip for me.  I rarely get to race with my family watching so it was extra important that I had a smile on my face and that I got over that finish line not looking like death.

This race was unique for me and I had a lot of small challenges to overcome.  First was the weather.  It was rainy every day I was there except for the day after the race and then it was awesome.  During the race it was muggy and humid, and the course had a lot of mud.  The Twin Cities have been getting rained on so there were lots of flooded area’s around town and the ground was completely soaked.  Second was that I rented a road bike.  I didn’t have time to really get some saddle time before the race thanks to the rain.  So during the race I couldn’t really feel my butt past mile 13 or 14.  I also couldn’t really get into any aero position which means I was catching wind like a sail!   The other stuff wasn’t as important because I was mainly there to just have fun.

The Swim:
No wetsuit this time  While the water was warm I didn’t feel the need for a wetsuit and went about swimming without one.  The water was warm so I took advantage of it.   The start was a time trial start so they had us in pairs going into the water every 3-5 seconds rather than 1 big wave.  The entry was a beach start which was cool because I didn’t have to wait behind everyone else wadding through the water.   I got plenty of good leaps in and off I went.  During the leaps I passed 4 people just inching out.  I didn’t even get a swim buddy that I could draft off of in this race and there was a lot of jostling of elbows and kicks that where way off.  I will say this swimming in fresh water for a change is nice.  I don’t have salt crust on the face during the bike.

The Bike:
It’s been over a year since I had to ride a road bike during a triathlon so I knew it was going to be an experience.  The course was very scenic and it went through parts of Minneapolis I didn’t know even existed.  Seems the road crew didn’t either cause there were potholes, creases, and horrible divots through the entire ride.  I couldn’t seem to pickup much speed either cause after mile 13 or so I could no longer feel but butt.  The only reason it was still there was that every single bump I hit I could feel it.  I couldn’t even get into the aero position for the ride which felt really weird to me.  Of course spectators love to cross the street as bikes are going through and I almost hit a few of them but ended up in the oncoming lane of traffic to avoid them.  I’m lucky I didn’t get in a serious accident with other athletes.

The Run:
Well this was a 2 loop course around the lake I just swam in.  It was filled with water from the rains and mud from the soaked grass.  It was pretty humid and muggy out so it felt like I was running through a lake.  Not to mention it was hot without the sun even being out.  Thankfully I had a lot of fun and looking back it wasn’t all that bad.  There was another guy going across the finish with me and we both looked at each other and said lets smile and sprint it through.  So we did complete with smiles and a hi five afterwards.

The End:
Well I might do this race again next year or the Maple Grove Triathlon.  It was nice to see family and had fun exploring the trails that Minneapolis has to offer.   Till next year.

Where Did the Time Go?–3 weeks into IMAZ Training already!

It really got here before I knew it, and I would by full of it if I didn’t say that I’m a bit terrified.  Let’s be honest though, when you embark on the stuff you truly want to accomplish it is supposed to be terrifying.  That’s what makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.  I’m 2 weeks late in starting this blog post due to things coming up and trying to stick to training as much as possible.

The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of training, traveling, racing, and helping others reach their goals.  I’m writing this as I get ready to head to Minnesota this week for a race out there.  I have family out there so I’ll be able to stay with them and I’ll have a car as well to travel around.  The upside to Minneapolis is that it’s super bike friendly so I plan to do a LOT of cycling.  I’m excited for my family to be able to get out there and watch me race and I’m excited to see them. I grew up on the west coast for the most part and missed a lot of my family growing up and now as we’ve all gotten older we just don’t get time to spend together much.

My training for the most part has been on track however I don’t feel like I’m where I should be.   Part of that is because of my break for the month of June.   I think my run for the most part suffered the biggest set back and I need to get it back.  However when I look at the numbers though it’s my aerobic endurance that is gone.  Training for short course racing is all about speed and power over the short course instead of a steady pace.  So what does that mean for me?  More longer runs and bikes at a steady Z2 pace to get that endurance built up again.   What does it mean for my short course races coming up?   Well it means that I’m going to look at them as training and keep myself at a solid pace.

Also got to see my friend Rhonda complete her 2nd triathlon the weekend of my ITU Race.  She has come a long way and it’s pretty cool to see the effect that I have had on her.  From believing that she could do her first triathlon before October to now looking at training for her 3rd triathlon in September.   I’ve found it’s very rewarding personally to watch people accomplish what they once thought they couldn’t.

Why do I feel like Forrest Gump?

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

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

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

Looking Back at My Weight Loss Journey

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

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

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

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

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