Tag Archives: USAT

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.

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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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ITU World Triathlon Race Report

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This was the first triathlon I’ve done outside of California.  I knew ahead of time it was going to be hot and humid.  It didn’t disappointment in that regard either.  I don’t even want to look at the official time because of how bad my run was so I’m not.  But let’s just say this race was full of surprises from the time I stepped foot outside my hotel to walk to transition.

Race morning went off without a hitch.  Woke up got ready and packed my stuff into my transition bag.  Now my wave didn’t start till 8:55AM and transition closed at 6AM.  So I didn’t bother eating anything now I just finished getting ready and went to transition to get my stuff all setup.  First step outside and it’s pouring rain.  I don’t mean San Diego rain where it’s small drops and more of a haze of small drops either.  I am talking true mid-western drops.  In the back of my mind I already knew what was coming.. the rest of my day was going to be rough.  So by the time I ended up in transition I was soaked.  So wet course, 3 hours to kill, and the heat/humidity was picking up.

Swim: 00:26:19
The water wasn’t as cold as it was made out to be but then again I swim in the Pacific Ocean.  The water didn’t taste bad either… ha ha ha.  The horn went off and almost immediately I was passing people and found some nice feet to draft off of.  The pace wasn’t fast (for me) and I certainly wasn’t struggling to keep up with him so since this wasn’t a race I was going to place at I just took the swim easy does it and instead I focused on my stroke.  Make sure my breathing was done right with my head down.  I used it as a training swim… literally.   I think I did the catch up drill at one point.  I had one other person drafting off me as I felt their hands on my feet a times but it didn’t bother me since I was drafting off someone else.  Since it was in the harbor they had this ramp we climbed up on to get out of the water.   The guy in front of me could hardly stand upright so I held him up as we got going to transition and he thanked me for it as some other people were laughing.  The guy behind me also thanked me for the draft…lol   Got to love race day.  Little did I know it would be a half mile run through T1!

Bike: 01:03:29
I felt at home on my tri bike again and we flew through that fast and flat course.  I was concerned at this point cause the sun was out in full force.  I had some salt sticks along with some NUUN for hydration through the bike.  As we approached the river to my delight we went onto lower Wacker Dr. which is completely covered so no sun.. YAY!  Of course at this point my GPS on my Garmin didn’t work so I had no concept of speed, just power.  I kept my power between 170-220 for most of it with a cadence of 90+.   We had 4 loops of the bike course, and man I could have done that bike course ALL DAY LONG.  I mean I have never been so happy on the bike just flying with what I thought was very little effort.  Sadly though at the last lap all I could think about was the heat at humidity of the run and how am I going to stay hydrated.  I had 1 bottle of NUUN left from the bike and some more salt sticks, figured the rest would be from water along the run course.

Run: 01:10:57
At this point it was basically 10:30 and the sun was out in full force and the moisture was in the air.  My first mile felt pretty good I had a good pace going for my Z2 and then around mile 1.5-1.75 I started to get a bit dizzy and hot so I slowed it down and drank some water and threw some water over me from the aid station.   Sadly that’s all they had so no sponges this time around like Oceanside (might have to bring some for Minneapolis).  Then it just got progressively worse for me.   I just couldn’t muster the energy to move past a walk without my HR jumping and getting a bit more dizzy.  I suffered through the next 2 laps which at this point my teammate Forrest caught up with me and he was having some GI issue’s so we finished off the race together which was a good moral booster for me.  There was no leg cramping like I had at Bass Lake which I felt was a win.

Closing: 2:51:XX
So even though this was my fastest Olympic distance yet and my 3rd ever it taught me a lot about myself.  I raced out of my element and out of my state.  I knew it was going to be hard going into the race after having to basically take an entire month off of training due to fatigue and over training.  I came to push my limits and I feel I did, it could have been worse.  As the day went on I feel they really needed another possible aid station or modify the course so that it could have ran on the sidewalk under the shade of some large tree’s.  Might come back next year and do the Chicago Triathlon.

Training isn’t SOO Exhausting Anymore.

WP_20140412_07_27_24_Pro (2)I’ve been running a lot more lately and I have to admit…  I am no longer exhausted after running 6-9 miles.  There was a time where even running 1 mile left me exhausted and I couldn’t even run the following day.  It’s taken me many months to get to where I am at and it just doesn’t happen over night.  I caught myself saying that I’m going to go run 6 miles after work… for fun!  WTF?  When did I start to believe that running wasn’t as bad as I thought it was?  When did this raw hatred for running turn into not hate but not love?

After the Bass Lake Triathlon I’ll be returning to the pool on Monday/Wednesday nights along with swimming La Jolla Cove Friday mornings.  I really killed myself with the swimming volume and it soaked a lot of the fun out of it so I’ve had to take a break.  The Friday morning cove swims have been awesome and I’ve only done 2.  I’m finding some of that enjoyment in swimming again as I get to look down at some of the wildlife and reflect on things during the week without having to worry about turning around every 25 yards.

The bike I’ve been doing a lot of power thresholds and intervals on the trainer according to my TriDot plan.  I’ve quickly found that my training for the bike has been lacking and I need to really put some focus on it so I don’t fry my legs on the run for the long course.  I’m actually a little excited about increasing the volume though for IMAZ.

2013 A Life Changing Year–Happy Holiday’s (Late)

WP_20131225_15_57_12_ProWell it’s been a life changing year for me and a lot of changes both physically and mentally.  I know I’m a couple days late on getting this out but better late than never.  I’m down almost 70lbs from the same time last year and I’ve actually achieved my goal weight that I set out to when I first started back in 2009.  I’m back down to my 36 inch weight but it doesn’t stop there.  This year I set out with no real direction in terms of my fitness and as the year progressed I embraced my passion for competition, specifically triathlon.  In doing so I am in without question in the best shape of my life.  I am achieving what I thought was once impossible..  Next year holds more challenges that normal people do and call me crazy for even trying, but that’s part of living life.  When I first started back in 2009 and I looked into gastric bypass it was the easy way out and I didn’t really think anything of changing my lifestyle, and I still would not be where I am at today.  In all honesty I probably would have been thinner sure, but I would not have made the strides that I have and I certainly would not have inspired the amount of people that I have.  I take great pride in watching others achieve their goals and their dreams.  I love hearing from people that I have inspired them, albeit it’s still new to me and I am still accepting the fact that I have inspired them.  None the less helping people accomplish what they thought was impossible is such a rewarding experience.

Physical Changes this year alone have not been too much.  I started the year in 40/38” pants and currently in a 38/36”.  My shirt size was 3/2 XL and now I’m pushing a L.  I’ve had several people tell me that I don’t look 37 at all and that I look years younger.  The extra skin has been a struggle but I have to constantly tell myself that my body will do what it needs to and that I’m not going to resort to seeing a doctor about having it removed.  I started this journey out without help from the medical field and I’m going to stick to it.  I could barely run a half marathon in 3 hours without cramping.  In June I was able to run a half marathon in 2 hours and 28 minutes.  By the end of the year I was able to run a half marathon in 2 hours and 24 minutes without really training for it.  I love it.

Mental changes on the other hand have been very hard and have been the most profound.  So what’s been so hard mentally about all the changes?  When you view yourself as fat for so long and you view yourself every day you don’t feel thin.  So it really impacts your confidence.  I’ve got a lot of my confidence back and it’s getting easier to view myself as athletic.  I’m still learning to deal with all the positive change that I’ve had on people.  From being so down on myself about so many things it’s been a challenge to believe in myself that I’ve inspired people to go out and change their lives for the positive.  You always here that the body follows the mind but in my case with the weight loss my mind has followed the body.

So with the new year about to begin I can’t wait for what changes this year will bring in.  When I write this next year I should be an Ironman.

San Diego Triathlon Challenge–The Best Day in Triathlon

Donate here to help me raise money for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge!  The Best Day in Triathlon!

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It was the day of the Mission Bay Triathlon and my relay mate Jeff had told me about this race.   At the time I had no clue what this was about I thought it was but it sounded challenging.  So as he spoke more about it and mentioned the Challenged Athlete Foundation is the one that puts it on and that it goes to support challenged athletes to assist them in accomplishing their dreams.  As this race moved closer to race day I hear more and more people talking about it and I wanted to get involved.   I checked on their website and it was on the same day as my Oceanside Life Time Tri race that I had committed to.  I told myself that in 2014 I will be doing this race.  I wanted to race for a cause and I always found challenged athletes inspirational.

About the San Diego Triathlon Challenge
What began 20 years ago as a fundraiser to help one athlete, Jim MacLaren, to regain his independence after a tragic second accident has grown to become one of the most highly-regarded and motivational events in the triathlon world. Since that first event 20 years ago, the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge has been instrumental in raising the funds that have allowed more than 8,200 challenged athletes around the world to make it to the starting line and inspired a new generation to realize they have no limits.

“The San Diego Triathlon Challenge is the greatest day in our sport. To be a part of what this amazing Foundation does and how they change lives for people was so motivating, it gave me a purpose. I was inspired, and wanted to do more.” — Chris “Macca” McCormack

So as 2014 progresses and I become more and more active in my racing and triathlon I’ve found it important to race to support a cause and the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation falls right in line with what I believe.  So help me support CAF and making other athlete’s dreams possible.   You can click on the picture to donate for a good cause or the line under the title.  I’m starting small with just a $600.00 goal but the more the merrier!

What a Week! Lot’s of Changes.–Long Blog

2013 Races Below.  Next year will have an Ironman Medal.

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As I put my first week of Half Ironman training in the books (15 more to go) I have finally begun to notice a lot of changes with the way my body actually looks.  I can see my quads attaching up to my hips and I can even see where my oblique’s lay.  The downside is the extra skin.  I knew at some point it would rear its evil head, but thankfully I don’t let that slow me down.  People around me have noticed I’ve slimmed down more, and I was able to fit into a pair of 36” pants.  I have not been able to fit into a 36” waist since high school.  Oddly enough though my numbers on the scale and my body fat % has stayed roughly the same.  The biggest hurdle though is coming up and that’s holidays with the family and saying no to the food that won’t mix with my diet!   Sigh… no toffee chocolates, no cookies, and no eggnog (okay maybe a little bit of all those).

I was also selected to be a brand ambassador for a sports apparel company that is trying to broaden it’s US base.  So I get free workout clothes to wear and promote the brand, I can’t wait.  I’ve finalized my out of state races for 2014 and booked my hotels and my bike transport to most events.  I plan to do as many local races as possible so I’ll be close to racing every weekend.   But my Tour De Holley starts with Oceanside 70.3 (not really travel but it’s not San Diego)  March 29th, then ITU Chicago June 29th, Life Time Tri Minneapolis July 12th, New York City Triathlon August 3rd, Life Time Tri Oceanside October 26th, then Ironman Arizona November 16th.  Let’s just say after all the travel is done 2014 travel will have been over $4000 including race entry fee’s..  I do have the Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon January 19th and I’m hoping to have a 2 hour time.  I must say that the number one question I get is… Why?  Well I’ve thought about why on several occasions and each time I come up with a different answer but it’s along the same lines as this.  I’ve been an athlete since I can remember.  I wasn’t the best at any sport and some sports I was good, but 1 thing was for sure I was always there either supporting my teammates or giving it what I got.  Now as I’m older and that I’ve lost the weight that I set out to lose I needed more goals and I have found the triathlete community to be nothing short than amazing.  People travel to see the sights of the town, experience local food and local culture.   Why not travel and race at the same time?   That is why.

The Triathlete Community
Whether you’re in the pool, on a bike going up a 5.9% grade, or on the last 3 miles of a 13 mile training run there is 1 thing that every triathlete has in common.  We don’t care what your career is, we don’t care that you’re older or younger than we are, and we don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican.  We are all the same out there on race day.  We are out doing what we enjoy doing.  We are out there accomplishing what other people have said is not possible.  We are achieving our goals, and making our dreams happen.  Everyone that I have met through the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) has been absolutely amazing.  Old, young, fat, skinny, big, small, new to triathlon, or the veteran Ironmen of the club, we all look at each other as equals. 

Training
With my first weeks in the book and looking back it was a good challenge and it’s nice to be training again.  I had to send my Garmin 910XT back because it showed I was training at 30K feet (San Diego won’t ever be 30K feet).  But I’ve been hitting the mileage on the run and I’ve been swimming extra because of USAT’s National Club Challenge and we’re on our swim session right now.  Currently I’m 18th out of 2731 athletes in overall mileage for Swim/Bike/Run, and I’m 8th out of 2731 athletes in swim mileage.  I’ve joined our club swim masters program to improve my swim which I probably won’t see much improvement for Oceanside but come IMAZ my swim should be pretty darn solid.  I am hoping that by November I can have my full marathon to around 4 hours.

Mission Bay Tri – 1st Place Overall–Relays!

What started as a reply to an e-mail to a fellow Tri Clubber turned into some swaps for members from injuries but we got a team together and met in person for the first time the Saturday before the event.  Come race day we all had great a great leg and killed it as the first relay team across the finish line.  Jeff who was the runner really brought home the gold sort to speak passing the only other relay team out of the blocks since I came in 2nd with the swim by about 30 seconds and Chris held down the bike portion with about the same 30 seconds behind the other team.  I think we’re going to stick together for the Koz Events next season so watch out San Diego “The Good, The Bad, and the …” are sticking around.  Our total time was 3 seconds over 1 hour at 1:00:03.   Congrats guys on an awesome race and great podium finish!

Lately the blog has been about training and about race results because well, that’s been what’s happening on the front lines.  Mentally it’s been an exhausting past few weeks!  With losing 100lbs adjusting mentally is much more difficult than adjusting physically.  It’s still hard to kick the fat guy mentality in how you view yourself.  You still have the access skin and you don’t take the easy way out through surgery so that just makes it a little bit harder.   I don’t let that keep me down though, there is no going back there is only pushing forward.  My body will adjust the way it needs to and I need to have faith in that.

I also made the choice this week to do 1 out of 3 Full Ironman’s before the end of 2015!  Nov 2014 is Ironman AZ which is my goal if I can be quick enough with my registration when it opens.  If not then it will be Ironman Coeur d’Alene or Ironman Wisconsin.  This was a big commitment for me.  I realize that the distance is one of the most demanding distances in the world and a true test of endurance.  I will need at least a year of prepping for the distance alone, but the hardest part will be preparing mentally.  Thankfully I have a year to prepare myself and I have a 70.3 coming up in March so 1 step at a time.

I had an interesting encounter with someone at the local 24 Hour Fitness who noticed my picture on their Facebook page (Yes I put it there) saying don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.  So he said “Clydesdale doesn’t count as a division and just cause I took first doesn’t mean anything.”  I was a little taken back by his boldness and then I asked if he was a triathlete, he replied “I did a sprint distance a few years ago and didn’t like it.”  So I said then what makes you think that Clydesdale doesn’t count as a division?  He replied, “because that’s a fat person division.”   I said well are you a professional at anything?  He said, “No!”  So I said I guess you don’t mean anything either.   All I could do really is laugh at the ignorance of someone completely random person.  Yeah there are those who think that the Clydesdale/Athena Divisions don’t mean anything and there is a stigma that it’s for fat people because it’s governed by weight and not age.  But lets get 1 thing clear.  Those same people went out and raced the same course that the others did and they did their best.  I’ve been committed to showing people that just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish what you want to do.  That includes losing the weight to achieve it.

Been getting asked about the love life with everything going on as well.  My response has been what love life?  It’s hard to meet someone when your life lately has been training and being committed to something that was once a dream to have enough confidence to finally say “I can do that”.  So my mentality is back to, if it happens it happens.   Right now it ain’t happening so on with life.