Had a good time. Video blog about it!
2018/2019 New Years Double Race Report
Every year an amazing event is held in Allen, Texas, the New Years Double (http://www.newyearsdouble.com/). I’ve participated many years but never tried the double marathon before. New Years Eve and New Years Day the following are offered:
- Half Marathon
- Full Marathon
If you participate in Half or Full both days you can combine the medals to create a super medal and there is even a double double if you participate in the 5K each day and THEN do the half/full. I had previously participated in one of the marathons and also done the double halves. This year I decided to try the double marathon. I want to stress how well organized this is. There are multiple emails sent out walking through different aspects of the day well in advance so there is never any doubt what you need to do.
The 5K kicks off around 7:30 while the half/full marathon starts at 8:40 (this gives people time to run the 5K and then the half/full if they are insane 😉 ) with a few waves that are staged every 2 minutes. There were a few hundred doing the half marathon I think with around a hundred running the full (at least for New Years Eve). Packet pickup is offered a few days in advance in addition to being able to collect the morning off which consists of personalized bibs and awesome shirts. A short sleeve shirt for New Years Eve, long sleeve for New Years Day.
The half and full people start together and the course is a 6.55 mile loop around Celebration Park then out along some walking paths through Allen with some nice scenery. The course has police support at any roads and is well sign-posted so you know where you are supposed to be going along with mile markers.
This means for the full marathon you run 4 loops. It also means often you are running in opposite directions to people multiple times. This is actually awesome. You start to get a real comradary with people waving and cheering on as you see them multiple times. Obviously the 3rd and 4th loops there are less people on the course as most of the half marathon people finish.
The course is pretty much flat with very minor inclines and declines a few times. As you can see it’s basically 600 ft of elevation gain (no idea why I have different numbers the two different days, it was the same course 🙂 ). You should be able to run a good time on this course. Obviously those the time of year it’s pretty cold!
You don’t need to get there much before the start. I got there about 8:00 and sat in the car till 8:30 where I used the restroom quick and then lined up for the 8:40 start. It’s very well organized and everyone is super friendly. For New Years Eve the starting temperature was about 40 going up to nearly 60 so I had a throwaway t-shirt over my thermal long sleeve. I ditched the t-shirt at about 2 miles. I had my waffles and gu’s with me and on the course about every 2 miles are aid stations with Water and Gatorade (lime). There are also port-a-potties scattered around the course at the same locations.
Because I intended to repeat the marathon the next day I wanted to take it very easy to try and minimize aches and pains so ran at a comfortable pace however I actually was going pretty fast. With about 6 miles left to go my right hip was giving me some pain but was able to run through it. In the end I came in at 4:16:10 and was actually 1st in the Clydesdale category (and with my gear on I was 196lbs despite recent weight loss). I also would have been first in my age group!
I got a cool glass (because of the number of categories and the number of people that enter you gave a good change of getting glassware!). At the end there is water and snacks.
I got home and my hip was hurting so I did some stretches, used a roller and sat in a hot bath with Epsom salts. I pretty much would have done anything to try and minimize pains and soreness thinking of repeating the next day. Chicken sacrifice was not out of the question if I believed it would have helped. For dinner I had the meal I normally have Friday night, Grimalid’s pizza and 4 ounces of cake batter frozen yogurt with scoop of kit-kat, scoop of crunch bar and squirt of caramel 🙂 2000 total calories of goodness 😉 That pizza is all mine and I always eat it all AND some of my kids cheese pizza 🙂
I didn’t sleep well and woke up at 3am. Sore and in pain but figured what the hell. Let’s try 🙂 Worse case I’ll have to walk it all which would take about 6.5 hours. I worked for a few hours then got ready and everything was the same as the previous day except I was sore and hungry and tired.
I actually managed to run for the first 10 miles about 5.5 mph but just after mile 10 my right knee felt like something was ripping inside. Now I should take a step back. I wear these knee sleeves and as soon as the run started the one on my right knee slipped down to just under the knee so it was just tight just under the knee but I couldn’t pull it up because of the thermal leggings. As it turned out it was basically putting pressure on my knee which I think caused the problem. My hip also started to hurt. At this point I had to walk. The whole rest of the way….. 16 miles or 4 hours at 4mph. Ugh. Andddd, it was about 35 degrees the whole time with an icy wind. Misery. I suspected the day was going to go badly and so instead of music I was listening to The Martian audio book so that helped 🙂 I tried to run occasionally but after about 40 steps my knee felt like was tearing again and in the back of my mind was the thought that I had to start my IRONMAN training and couldn’t risk any serious injury.
In the end I limped over the finish line 5:42:45, ugh 🙂 It’s interesting it shows only 30 finished. I know more than that had signed up so either they didn’t finish or didn’t even start! It was really cold and I suspect there were people who did the previous day who felt like me and did the sane thing and stayed in bed 🙂
But I did it and got the outer medal and a special plate that attaches them together to create SUPER MEDAL!! It is AWESOME! I’m pretty sure I could use it as a weapon.
It was a very hard two days but it’s so well organized, the people are so friendly, you really get to interact with other runners because of the way the course is laid out and that helps keep you going. I love the shirts, the glassware and my mega medal. I highly recommend this event.
I think next year I’ll try the double-double with 5K and the Half followed by 5K and the Full. Two marathons in a row is a killer but who doesn’t like a challenge 😉
Losing Weight, Hard but Not Complicated
I’ve been guilty in the past of telling people that it’s not hard to lose weight but that’s actually incorrect. The reality is that it’s not COMPLICATED to lose weight but it absolutely is hard but lets take a step back.
Before I start I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a personal trainer. In fact I’m completely unqualified 🙂 I don’t have a coach or a trainer. I have no one setting me a training plan or what to eat. I’ve always done what I think is logical. What I’m sharing here are my thoughts and what has worked for me. Nothing more, nothing less.
Over the past 4 years there have been two occasions where I’ve lost weight. The first was 3 years ago after I completed my second IRONMAN and was starting to train for my third and decided I should shed some body fat so I had less weight to carry round with me. I was about 225 and the only picture I have was after the previous years IRONMAN where I had really bad sunburn 🙂 (I’ll show that in a minute 🙂 ) I got down to about 200 at around 12% body fat. This took about 4 months. I lost a little bit more over time at one point getting down to about 8.5% body fat and 193 lbs but recently was back up to about 11.5% fat and 200 lbs.
The next occasion I just finished. I decided to get to 8% by the end of the year to set myself up for in 2019 focusing on fitness and building more muscle. At the start of November (2 months ago) I was at 197.8lbs and 11.3% body fat so 22.35 lbs of body fat. Today I weighed in at 190.6lbs and 7.2% body fat so 13.72 lbs of body fat. Basically 8.5 lbs of body fat loss in 9 weeks.
My approach was slightly different each time. The first time my only focus was losing weight. I didn’t count calories I just basically removed all sweets, cakes, fast food, soda (which was a great thing and I’ve not drunk one now for 3 years) and most bread. I still ate my Friday pizza, still had pasta but really tried to focus on clean food. The weight fell off at about a pound and a half a week.
For this last 9 week weight loss attempt it was a little different. I wanted to lose body fat but not lose muscle and so wanted to control the weight loss and limit to about 1 lb a week. I used the Lose It app on the iPhone to log the food I ate and the exercise I did and aimed for 500 calorie deficit most days averaging about 3500 calorie deficit a week. This meant I still ate a lot of food and just altered things here and there to try and keep to 500 deficit.
I’m going to be up front about something now before we go on. I do a lot of training. Every day I do around 1.5 hours of cardio and 75 minutes of weight training. I train for Ironman events but also like to keep muscle mass so do quite a lot of weight training as well. On average this is about 1600 calories burnt which obviously means I get to eat them 🙂 On Saturdays I may do 5 hours of cardio for about 4500 calories 🙂 I also have quite a lot of muscle mass which helps burn calories so I still get to eat a lot of food. That is not normal for most people but hopefully as you’ll see the logic remains the same for everyone, the numbers will just be different.
Losing Weight, Not Complicated
Let’s get to the meat of losing weight and it’s not complicated. The laws of physics apply to us, specifically Einstein:
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.
As humans our energy comes from eating food and that energy is used by the activity we perform. If we have more energy coming in than we use then its stored as fat. If we use more energy than we have coming in then (mostly) that energy deficit is supplied by using our fat stores. I say mostly as our muscle can also be cannibalized for energy (and certain other materials) but all things being equal our body would rather burn fat than muscle for energy as it knows muscle is necessary and is required to help us hunt and run away from predators.
Therefore the not complicated part is basically to lose fat we just need to eat less energy than we are using through activities. The delta will mostly come from body fat.
A pound of body fat is 3500 calories so to lose a pound of fat we need to eat 3500 calories less than we are using. You see its not complicated, its just basic physics.
There are fancy diets and guidance that may help but for the most part its very simple, eat less than you use. Now there are some considerations.
- Go see a Dr before any big change!
- To avoid losing muscle as well as fat eat a good amount of protein (I aim for a gram of protein per pound of body weight minimum but obviously if you have a lot of weight to lose this ratio would not apply) and do some resistance training
- Don’t try and lose weight too quickly. I think a pound a week is a good amount, i.e. 500 calorie deficit a day. If you have more weight to lose then you’ll find it easier to lose weight initially so maybe 2 lbs a week
- Exercise will help since it burns calories but what they say is true, 80% of weight loss is in the kitchen, 20% at the gym. For years I did hours of training and put on weight because I ate so much
- While a calorie is a calorie, some are better than others. For example candy and cakes your body can’t do anything with other than initially store as fat where as real food can actually be used for energy. The body is constantly using fat and storing fat but if we can eat good food that will help
- Try not to eat a really large meal right before bed and instead aim for multiple smaller meals
- It’s OK to have things you enjoy. Think moderation. 80% good, 20% bad is OK, just make sure the bad does not completely offset the good 🙂 I’ll have five guys little cheeseburger and little fries. Awesome!
- Think overall health. Losing weight is great but we also want to improve fitness and think overall health. Watch saturated fats, think heart health. If you smoke stop 🙂 Watch alcohol.
- Don’t cut out fat. We need fat and I think the body needs to know fat is coming in so it stays trained to burn fat.
- Drink lots of water!
- Enjoy special days. Christmas, New Years, Birthday, Valentines Day. Log the food (as best you can but can be difficult when you eat out) but don’t worry about it. A few bad days won’t really matter.
- Watch eating out. Large food chains have to publish nutrition but smaller ones don’t which means you really don’t know what you are eating. Assume its always worse than what you think.
So how do you get started? Find something to log the calories of the food you eat. I’ve only ever used the Lose It app but I’m sure there are others. They have a lot of common foods in its catalog and you can add your own.
You need to know your base calorie requirements outside of any exercise. This is actually tricky as everyone’s body is different, peoples metabolisms are different. I have a lot of muscle mass which burns energy even when idle for example. A good place to start is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the energy you burn if you just existed, i.e. didn’t move. http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ is an easy to use resource. Put in your height, weight, age and gender and it will tell you your BMR. For example a 6 foot and 191 lbs my BMR is 1878. Go and work yours out.
Now despite what my wife may say I don’t just exist. I get up, I drive, I walk, I eat (which itself uses energy to digest food) etc. The Harris Benedict Equation gives a multiplier for the BMR to work out a base calorie requirement. You can look this up however since we will separately log the exercise we do for the exact calories I don’t want to include any exercise which means I’m just going to use 1.3 (sedentary/lightly active) since I know I do some walking as part of life which I’m not going to separately log. That gives me a base calorie requirement of 1878 * 1.3 which is 2,441.
Now the app you use may actually work this out for you and remember as you lose weight this number will change so you’ll have to update this base calorie amount as your weight drops! Lose It set my base calorie number as 2,610 which is what I’ve used. The app may also let you set a goal and automatically update your calorie goal based on your desired results. For example if you tell it you want to lose a pound a week it will remove 500 calories a day from your calorie allowance. I didn’t do that. I just say flat weight and aim for a 500 calorie deficit each day. Now I’ve lost the weight I want I’ll aim for a 0 deficit each day or maybe eat more than I burn to add muscle (that’s a whole different discussion).
This is not exact. Everyone is different as I said but its a starting point and you may tweak it. For example you have your base calorie amount and aim for 500 deficit a day. Give it a few weeks and be consistent when you weigh yourself and ideally use a body composition machine as if you start training you may actually gain muscle which will make just your weight not a good indicator. Give it a few weeks and it should average out to a pound a week (if 500 a day was your deficit). If you are losing more then it means your base use is higher, if you are losing less then it means your base is lower. Tweak as required.
What we want to do is log the food we eat (all of it!) and also if we do extra exercise we log those calories that we burnt (as we get to eat more) 🙂
For example below is a fairly typical day for me. Now I eat a massive amount of food because I do a lot of exercise. On days I don’t train I eat a lot less. Remember, not complicated. Just eat less than you burn.
I had nearly 600 calorie deficit. You’ll also see every lunchtime I have about 60 calories of some kind of candy as I still have a sweet tooth. On Fridays I have pizza and ice cream which is fine. You can have the odd treat. You get the idea. It’s eye opening when you start logging food. The first time I logged the frozen yogurt with candy toppings I had by weighing as I added each part I realized it was about 800 calories with the equivalent of about 3 candy bars. After that I adjusted to 4 ounces of frozen yogurt, two scoops of topping and one squirt of caramel. Still about 450 calories but I don’t care 🙂 It’s once a week.
You have a base amount of calories required for normal living, you log the extra calories through exercise, you log the calories you eat and aim for a deficit. If you do this you’ll lose weight. It’s physics. NOT COMPLICATED.
Losing Weight, It’s Hard
The equation is simple. Calories in < Calories out and we lose weight. Not complicated but it’s hard. It’s hard in a number of ways but primarily you need will power. This is why people will pay trainers (which is worthless if you don’t also get help with what you eat), pay for weight loss plans, pay for special meals. These things may help if the will power part is difficult and it definitely is but I think if you don’t have will power ultimately you are going to struggle. The key is finding ways to stay motivated and keep that will alive.
In this day and age we are basically powered by dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives us pleasure, a reward if you will. It drives addiction. We eat candy, dopamine, we get a like on Facebook, dopamine and we can never get enough. We are trained now to want these highs and we get them a lot through tasty food. We get sugar highs. When we feel down we eat something tasty. This is probably the hardest part. We need will power to resist and untrain our brains a little. This was super hard for me. The first few days will be realllly hard but fight through, it gets easier and after a few weeks for the most part you won’t miss it that much. Also you’ll be eating less so you’ll be hungry which we are not used to. You may think because of the amount I eat I’m not hungry but that’s not true, I’m always hungry 🙂 So hard part number 1 is will power and resisting instant gratification. As you lose weight you’ll see improvements in yourself, this will bring you gratification, others will notice and give you complements, this will bring you gratification. Just give it a little time. You will have bad days. It won’t ruin everything. You have a bad meal, it’s OK. You miss training, it’s OK. It’s happened, accept it, don’t beat yourself up and just move on.
Hard part 2 is discipline. You have to log EVERYTHING you eat and exercise you do. This takes time but you have to. Skipping things means your numbers will be off. This is not that bad for me as I tend to eat the same things for most meals with only lunch and dinner varying and even then it varies between maybe 20 different things so its up front work but then gets easier.
Hard part 3 is getting into a good routine. You should work out. Go to a gym, go to a class, go for a walk. It takes 21 days to make a habit so force yourself for 3 weeks and then it will get easier. This is where doing this with someone helps as you can help each other be accountable (hard part 1, will power). Having a goal like a 5K can help drive this.
I’m sure there are other hard things but I think it boils down to these and I think they all boil down to the will power mostly and I’m not downplaying this. It’s really hard. I love candy, I love cookie dough, I love donuts. I have kids so the house has candy everywhere, I can’t eat it. We go somewhere with cakes, I can’t eat them (mostly 🙂 ). But, I promise you. When you start to see results it will be worth it. There is a saying, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I’m not sure I 100% agree but once you start getting results you’ll want more results and it will get easier. The first 4 weeks are the hardest but you get past those and it will get easier.
Once you’ve lost the weight you can’t just go back to normal. You still have to watch what you eat to keep a flat balance of calories in and calories out or you’ll gain weight again but you’ll have built good habits and it will be easier but you will always need a little bit of that will power 😉
Also, don’t try to change everything at once. Don’t try to lose weight, learn a new language, give up cigarettes all at the same time. You have a finite amount of will power. Focus it on one thing at a time. When you think you have some spare maybe look at something else.
There you go. Losing weight is not complicated but it’s hard. It’s all will power and reach out to friends or professionals like a coach if that will help.
Good luck, you can absolutely do it.
Dallas 50K (not 30 mile) Ultra Marathon Race Report 2018
For the past couple of years I have participated in the Dallas Marathon. It’s a great event and well organized with a pretty steady course. This year I decided to sign up for the 30 mile Ultra Marathon version. Only an extra 3.8 miles and it would mean I should finish closer in time to someone I train with who is a bit slower than me. I’m 99% it said 30 miles. Sadly my training partner damaged his knee and was unable to participate but I still decided to run the extra 3.8 miles (or so I thought).
I picked up my packet on Friday from the convention center where you also got a nice T-shirt and had a quick look around the Expo. The weather was forecast to be dry for Sunday (after a lot of rain Saturday) with a low of 35 and up to about 45. I ordered a thermal undershirt that I planned to wear under a throw-away t-shirt.
It had an amazing felt type inside that was really comfy and warm. It’s made by a company called Tesla (not the car company 🙂 ). I headed out the house at 4:30 and parked in the underground car park under the convention center which was by the start line. I was one of the first people there and it really didn’t start to get busy until about 6:30 (for an 8:30 start). I sat in the car and watched movies on my phone and you had full access to the convention center for restrooms which was great.
I brought 5 waffles and 5 energy gels with just a small water bottle with Gatorade that I planned to just fill up at the aid stations which were about every 2 miles.
At 7:30 I decided to start heading out (very slowly) and was in the coral (I got B since I didn’t lie about my estimated time like so many others obviously did) about 7:45. The corals are well sign posted and lots of organizers to help direct etc.
I had my phone with me since you were allowed to wear headphones (something you can’t do during an Ironman)! I started off with a t-shirt over my thermal shirt, hat and gloves. I had running pants with running shorts over them and really didn’t feel that cold.
Coral A started at 8:30 with Coral B starting 10 minutes later. My goal was to try and maintain 6 mph pace so start slow and maintain. I was very focused on taking it easy but was running around 9 minute miles but it felt really good so I didn’t worry about it and just focused on running a pace that felt comfortable and didn’t really look at my watch. I should point out that prior to this run I had not run more than 15 miles since the Chattanooga Ironman and that 15 miles was the week before on a treadmill but I’m always up for a challenge. I’d been focusing more on weights and trimming down a bit.
At about 3 miles I threw away the t-shirt to try and cool down a little was feeling good. I was having a gel every 6 miles and half a waffle at the 2 and 4 mile points after the gel cycle reset. At the water stops I actually slowed down and got a good 2 cups of Gatorade and filled up my bottle as required. In the past I would try and waterboard myself by not running but finally realized slowing down and spending an extra 10 seconds a few times is not significantly going to impact my 5 hour time 🙂
The marathoners, half-marathoners and ultra-marathoners all started together and ran the same course with the half-marathoners splitting off at about mile 10 I think while for the ultra-marathon just after mile 11 we broke off to run an out and back segment to add the additional mileage. The 3.8 miles to make it 30 miles since I firmly believed this was a 30 mile ultra. Not at this point I do recall hearing someone say 50K but I figured people just rounding up as 50K is NOT 30 miles. No, its closer to 31.1 miles and I distinctly remember the marketing saying 30 miles. You know where this is going 🙂
So just after 11 miles I follow the sign for the ultra-marathoners and start along a very pleasant out and back course but it seemed really long. It didn’t seem like 3.8 miles, it seemed like 5 miles but that’s impossible I thought since then the course wouldn’t work.
We rejoined the main marathon course where we broke off and came to mile 12 marathon marker and then shortly after the mile 17 marker (they had mini extra markers showing the ultra distance points on the course) for the ultra (which makes sense since ran an additional 5 miles) which meant 13 miles left. While the marathon still had 14 miles left. That seemed odd unless they planned to split us again at a certain point. Then mile 13 and my ultra mile 18. That’s when it dawned on me. It was a 50K. I quickly ran the math working out was closer to 31.1 miles at which point “lying sons of bitches” repeatedly spewed from my brain (in the same way Ralphs Dad swore at the dogs who stole the dinner in A Christmas Story) and continued to spew from my brain at each subsequent mile marker. 31.1 miles was wayyyyy further than 30 miles 🙂
Also at this point my legs were hurting, specifically my quads. I do nearly all my running on a treadmill and running on the concrete felt very different and I think my quads hurt because of the shock absorption which they are just not conditioned for. This pain continued to get worse. At mile 25 is the big hill which I walked up. Pretty much everything else I ran/old man shuffled. There was a sobering moment when I was cursing my hurting legs until I ran past a group of athletes on artificial limbs which really put my minor pain into perspective and remembered a saying I’d heard before “I cursed my bunions until I met a man with no feet”. I’m always amazed by people who overcome adversity and puts my own, self-inflicted issues into perspective! The picture below still summed up how I felt for most of the last 8 miles.
I was down to one waffle left for the remaining 7 miles which fell out of my pockets. Not the end of the world but I knew I’d be hungry. Fortunately at mile 26ish there were heroes giving out Krispy Kreme donuts. A chocolate glazed ring donut was just the ticket (well half of one anyway). I continued my ever slowing pace until I hit mile 30 where I started to curse even more about how I should now be finished and had to convince myself that sitting at mile 30 protesting the unfairness of another 1.1 miles really wouldn’t change much. Ever onward until i hit the 26 mile marker for the marathon and then there was the finish line and over I went! YAY!!!!
5:18:45 for 50K. I was happy with that. Basically 5.9 mph average speed which was very close to my plan and think would have been 6 mph if it had been 30 miles 🙂
The medal and finisher shirt were AWESOME!
Below you can see my split times (realize the split miles after 11 are the marathon markers but I’d run an extra 5 miles). I came in 61 out of 162 doing the ultra which I was really happy with and I was just happy with my overall performance.
Then the detailed stats from Garmin:
Another great experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Nice, fast course. Well organized, great on-course support and great goodies!
I want to try and get some outdoor running in before New Years Eve marathon as I’m supposed to be doing a double (marathon New Year’s Eve and New Years Day) and right now I think my legs would be killing me limiting ability to run the second day.
Still my first ultra done! Ever onwards!
Adding a bit of fun to your goals
After the IRONMAN events of 2017 (Texas, Santa Rosa, Chattanooga and Florida) I wanted to recover for a couple of months (although I still did two marathons in December and the Dopey challenge in January) and I put on about 6 pounds. Here we are needing to train for this years IRONMANs and wanted to lose the 6lbs and my wife also wanted to lose some weight so we made a bet of it. Who could lose the most body fat percentage in 5 weeks (we started last week) with the final weigh in being my birthday (4 weeks from today). Now this is slanted in my wives favor because we are talking percentage and I weigh a lot more so while 1% is 2lbs of fat loss for me its substantially less for her but I made up the terms so can’t complain 🙂
Last week I was at 11.2% body fat and I’ve trained my butt off and I felt I ate a lot better the past week. I weigh in on Saturday before my training so between weigh-ins:
- Saturday – 3 hour bike ride (63 miles, 2200 calories) and 1 hr 10 min run (7 miles, 1150 calories) so 3,350 calories and consumed about 1600 during the training so 1750 deficit
- Sunday – Rest day
- Monday – 30 minutes bike (400 calories) and 1 hour hill running (1200 calories) and 1hr 15 of chest, triceps and abs (400 calories) and consumed about 430 during training so 1570 deficit
- Tuesday – 30 minutes bike (400 calories) and 1 hour cross trainer (840 calories) and 1hr 15 of back, biceps and abs (400 calories) and consumed about 200 during training so 1440 deficit
- Wednesday – 18.3 mile run in 3 hours (3000 calories) and consumed 1300 during training so 1700 deficit
- Thursday – 30 minutes bike (400 calories) and 1 hour cross trainer (840 calories) and 1hr 15 of chest, triceps and abs (400 calories) and consumed about 200 during training so 1440 deficit
- Friday – 30 minutes bike (400 calories) and 1 hour cross trainer (840 calories) and 1hr 15 of back, biceps and abs (400 calories) and consumed about 200 during training so 1440 deficit
So in total a deficit of 9,340 calories during the training. One pound of fat is 3,500 so I was feeling pretty good. Based on my body size and muscle mass my Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) is about 2000 calories which is the calories the body burns just to exist and not moving so normally you would actually burn about 50% more than that through walking around, driving and doing various things but my job is basically sedentary sitting at a computer all day so I’ll say mine is 2,200 for the hours I’m not at the gym.
Now what do I eat each day on average?
- Pre-workout whole-wheat English muffin with jam (200 calories)
- 60 grams of protein after training (300 calories)
- Breakfast microwave muffin (300 calories)
- Lunch (totally varies but lets say normally about 1000)
- After lunch riesen chocolate (45 calories)
- Mid afternoon protein shake (20 grams of protein and 100 calories)
- Dinner (varies but lets say normally 1000 calories)
- Post dinner tea-spoon of cookie dough (120 calories)
- Pre-bed casein protein shake (20 grams of protein and 100 calories)
About 3,100 calories a day. Now I had some slip-ups this week as had to travel for a couple of days which meant what-a-burger one night, butter croissants one morning as I couldn’t find anything, extra snacks as couldn’t have my normal afternoon protein shake, half a donut Friday and extra pizza Friday lunch (beyond the normal Friday night pizza at Grimaldis). But still felt I was going to do great as even with those things on average food was about 600 calories less than what I should have burned a day so I was thinking 1 lb of fat loss, maybe a little more and was hoping for .7% fat loss. This morning I weighed in.
11.1% body fat and actually was also about 1/4 of a pound heavier than last week. A grand total offffff .1% or.2lbs of body fat. WTH!!! So not the .7% I had wanted. Clearly I had eaten far worse than I realized. I have 4 weeks left and still would love to lose the 3% which means 6lbs of body fat or 1.5lbs a week. That’s a 5000 calorie deficit a week or about 700 a day. This is high and I’m really at the tail end of what I can lose but I’ll give it my best shot! What can I do different? Well I’ll cut out my riesen and cookie dough treat, be strict about my meals and try to cut out cheese and bread as much as possible. I guess we’ll see how next weeks weigh in goes.
It’s always darkest before dawn
I missed my week 1 goal completely however the path to success is failure. I look for what I can learn and also there are other considerations.
Firstly the machines are not 100% accurate and I’ve seen swings before so I’m not going to super obsess over this one reading.
Second I always try and judge by how my clothes feel and how I look. I’ve felt that I’ve lost some body fat based on my upper body look. Below is some biceps from Friday last week.
Third, my training has been awesome the past week. As I listed earlier I have done a stack of training this week, most days in addition to the cardio I did about an hour and a quarter of heavy weights. I’ve not felt tired during the day and my training today went great and even now after 5 hours this morning of hard training I feel fine!
So while I want to lose some weight I don’t want to risk my training which is ultimately the most important thing. That’s why my plan for next week is not really focusing on taking out food but rather the junk aspects but I want to keep in the good calories.
The other good news is my wife didn’t lose any weight last week either so I’m not at any disadvantage so its all about the next 4 weeks 🙂
Wish me luck 🙂
Walt Disney World 2018 Dopey Challenge Race Report
I just got back from our vacation to Disney World in Florida where I took part in the Dopey challenge which is a series of four runs over four days all within Disney World Florida.
- 5K on Thursday
- 10K on Friday
- Half Marathon on Saturday
- Marathon on Sunday
That’s 48.6 miles over the four days and 2018 was the 5th Dopey and the 25th anniversary of the Disney Marathon. We arrived in Florida on Tuesday and decided to stay in the Polynesian and had a great room in the Hawaii building which overlooked the Magic Kingdom and lagoon which meant at night we could watch the water parade and fireworks from the room.
There are various combinations of runs you can partake in. You could do any one of the runs individually, if you did the half and full you also got the Goofy challenge and if you did all four you get the Goofy and Dopey challenge. Additionally for the half and full marathon there is an optional race retreat which is a tent for before and after the runs serving food which has heating and AC and extra character picture opportunities. Additionally the race retreat offered early entry to the expo. I opted for the Runners World VIP Dopey offering this year which is all four runs, race retreat access in addition to training plans from Runners World, separate walk out to the half marathon and marathon and separate packet pick-up. I’d use the Runners world twice previously for the inaugural Dopey and its second year.
Wednesday I headed to the Expo with my family (my wife was also doing the Marathon and my youngest kids doing the fun runs). I got there before 10 as I had early entry before the general 12 opening. This was pretty disorganized but eventually I managed to pick up my bibs and shirts (after first getting my race retreat band which was a 30 minute queue). I picked up 6 shirts, a t-shirt for the 5k and then 5 long sleeve sports shirts for the 10k, half, marathon, Goofy and Dopey. There was no line at the expo store which was good so bought a few bits and pieces. Past 12 the expo was really busy I heard.
It was coollllddddd. In the 30’s so going round the parks which were very packed was not much fun with 2 6 year olds but we wondered around a little and ate at the hotel.
The Disney runs all start at 5:30 am and for the 5K and 10K the bus transportation starts at 3:30 and so for Thursday I was there at 3:30 ready for the first bus from the hotel which takes you to Epcot where all the runs start (actually the Epcot parking lot or car park for my English brethren). I set an alarm for 2:30 but was already awake as didn’t sleep well. It must have been about 34 degrees but at least they had some heaters in the waiting area (along with lots of porta-pottys) which about 100 people tried to gather around each. I had an under armor shirt, a sweat shit, hat, gloves, leggings, shorts and was still freezing.
About an hour before the run start you could head to the corals where you waited in the cold. I was in coral B for the 5K and 10K (one bib) and C for the half and marathon (a second bib). Basically waiting for 90 minutes to run a 5K. By the time it started my feet were numb and the route was just round the car park area. There was about a 4 minute gap between corals starting and they broke the start down into mini waves even within a coral but was pretty smooth and because I was in B started pretty soon after 5:30. They had water on the course and what can I say. It was a 5K run really around a car park in pitch black. Then you grabbed your 5K medal, a snack box then back on the bus. I went straight to the fitness center and did some weights, grabbed breakfast for the family then off to the parks for the day).
Friday was basically exactly the same except this time it was 10K and you got to run through Epcot as part of the course and you got a 10K medal 🙂 Still freezing cold and still water on the course. I was in a rush as we had an 8am character breakfast so that motivated me to move it 🙂
Friday night we went to Macaroni Grill (which is by Disney Village, now called Disney Springs) via Uber where I had pasta and grilled chicken breast, trying to eat something clean to prepare for longer runs.
For the half and full things are a little different. You have to get the monorail to the race if you are staying at Polynesian, Contemporary or Grand Floridian (but can get a bus back) and this starts at 3am. Also you can go to the race retreat before the race starts. It’s still really cold but will warm up as the run goes on but I decide to way the same clothes. I get up at 2am, walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) (which is next to the Polynesian) to catch the monorail to Epcot (the resort monorail loop is separate and you have to change at TTC anyway). They weren’t ready till 3:15, a little behind schedule, but all good. Once I got off the monorail I walked to the start area and straight to the race retreat which had water, Gatorade, coffee, bagels (and post race hot breakfast but I never went there post race). It was nice and warm inside and I stayed there till 4:45 when we got a separate walk to the start as part of Runners World VIP via a back way which was great. Once you got to the coral people were hoping over the fence to pee in the woods. This time on the course there was water and Gatorade and in addition they had some nutrition in the form of sports beans during the second half with lots of porta-potties along the course if needed. The race started at 5:30, again with waves and this time you run to the Magic Kingdom, through it, then back via Polynesian where you enter Epcot briefly before finishing back in the Epcot car park. I stopped to get my picture taken in front of the castle and the Epcot golf ball during the run 🙂 but there were lots of opportunities to get other pictures with characters and landmarks throughout the course. I had a 9am character breakfast in Cinderella’s castle so once again was rushing. I grabbed my half marathon medal, got my picture and jumped on the bus back to Polynesian. Like all the runs they are basically flat with the only inclines during an overpass (a Florida hill as a bus driver explained to me 🙂 ).
Saturday tried to take it easy around the parks and once again Macaroni Grill for the same dinner as Friday.
Sunday was the same routine as Saturday, same transportation, same start time, just twice the distance and with this course you run through all four parks and there is more nutrition on the course with more energy gels, bananas throughout the course and even packets of M&Ms at the last 2 miles! While it started off cold the forecast showed it would warm up so I didn’t have hat or gloves, just a throw-away hoodie (that I ditched after the first hour). There are some spots where you are just running along roads but overall its a great course, the crowds are awesome and there is plenty to look at. At mile 20 you are at ESPN where you also run round the ball park and I got a picture with Minnie Mouse. At mile 25 they had a special mile marker to celebrate the 25th anniversary and I got my picture taken there but I guess it got lost (along with my wife’s medal finisher picture 😦 ). When you hit the Epcot world showcase you are at the one mile left point and it goes by quickly. A quick run under the golf ball, round a corner and you get your medal! Then you go to a series medal tent where they check your picture and you get your Goofy and Dopey medals along with a special 25th anniversary Mickey Mouse hat.
Overall I was happy with my times and it was a great Dopey!
Wanted to finish with a huge congratulations to my wife. She complete the marathon without any training the last 6 weeks because of a rib injury and not much training up until that point. It was pure spirit and willpower that got here through. Very proud!
Allen New Years Eve Marathon
I added this run in pretty late but its a great event and I’ve done it on a number of previous years. It’s actually a double event, there are 5K, half and full marathons New Years Eve and New Years Day but this year I just did the Eve as I’m about to go Disney for the Dopey Challenge and didn’t want to overdo it.
You can read about the event at http://www.newyearsdouble.com/ but boy, this was an act of will power as it was below 30 and with wind chill felt below 20 the entire time!
The organizers are very friendly and its one of the few events that has a Clysdales division (men over 195 lbs) so I actually have a chance of placing. So I wrapped up in multiple layers and went for it.
The course is very flat and for the marathon its 4 loops of a 6.5 mile loop. The only incline/decline is when you go under a road via a little tunnel. There are 4 aid stations on the loop with Gatorade and water.
The event kicked off at 8:40 and pretty much as soon as it started it started to sleet for about the first 2 hours so that really added to the overall pain but all you could really do was laugh 🙂 Even with multiple layers it was cold and the tips of my fingers kept freezing so I was constantly rearranging how I positioned my fingers to alternate between thumb and fingers freezing.
The first three loops were fine but that forth loop was tough. By that point I was really cold to the core, was slowing down and also was pretty much not drinking. At each water stop I’d have a swig of the Gatorade but after 3 loops that was probably only about 3 cups of actual total drink which is really not very much so I made an effort to try and drink more on the forth loop. Each loop I had to run past my car and on that forth loop, I’m not gonna lie, the thought of just hopping in, driving to the next chip timing mat, running over then back in the car was pretty tempting 🙂 They say you only cheat yourself and I think I was almost OK with it but I quickly put that out my head and just buckled down for 6.5 miles of freezing misery. I kept measuring distance as “only 6 one mile runs” and “3.5 loops done so basically finished”. Once you get to two miles left you find that energy and just go for it.
I was slower than Dallas but honestly with the cold, all the layers of clothes I was still pretty happy with my result:
Note that only 89 people actually finished. I think the cold stopped a lot of people. I came in third in my age group and first in the Clysdale (out of 5 🙂 ). But still it got me a great Winner champagne flute.
I got home and my awesome wife ran me a hot bubble bath and brought me hot chocolate! Heaven! Legs were very stiff but as I write this the following day I’m a little sore but not as bad as after Dallas so think I’ll be good for the Disney runs that start with the 5K in 3 days 🙂
Definitely recommend this event if you are anywhere close to Allen, Texas. It’s never crowded, and is really well organized.
Motivating Yourself for Training
For most people actually working out is not the problem. The problem is getting to the gym, the problem is finding time, the problem is there is always something else that needs doing. The reality is if you really want to do something you’ll find a way, if you don’t you’ll find an excuse (the Rock said that!). It’s very true. When I don’t want to do something I’ll find a million reasons why I can’t. If I want to do something I’ll always find a way. You need to motivate yourself to want to train and that motivation will be different for everyone.
What does not work is someone else’s motivation. Someone else wants you to lose weight, someone else wants to run a marathon so you need to run with them. Sure you may get bullied into training for a while but someone else’s motivation is destined to fail. They may lose their own motivation which means you both quit or you get fed up with them so quit to “show them you don’t have to”. You need to find a motivation for you.
Now, that motivation could very well be something that will impact someone else. You want to get fitter so you can play more with your kids. Great! You want to lose weight to look better for your partner (without them pestering you to). Great! You want to get healthier to improve your overall quality of life and set a good example for your kids. Perfect. You want your wife to look at you the way she looks at Stephen Amell on TV. Make it happen! It’s still your choice and something you want to do. If others benefit as well that’s just extra goodness.
Motivation has to kick in at different times during training. There need to be long term and short term motivations.
- There is the motivation to decide and maintain training. This is a long term motivation. I like to train to be healthy, so I can protect my family, to set an example for my family and to allow me to eat complete crap occasionally! Work out what yours is. A mission statement for you.
- While training there is the motivation to push yourself. To run that extra 5 minutes. To go for the extra set. To do some abdominals. Here you may ask yourself “why are you here?” and you’ll answer with your long term motivation. You have a goal. You are here to achieve it so work and achieve it! There may also be short term motivations. “Hey, if I run 10 more minutes that’s 150 extra calories I’ll burn. I can totally have a red velvet buntini after dinner” (I love those things). OR “hey 150 more calories burnt, that’s nearly a 1/20th of a pound of fat burnt, woo hoo!”. Beating your personal best! I ran at 6.7mph last week, I’m going to run at 6.8mph this week.
I have Arnold Schwarzenegger in my head a lot when I train (or Arnie as he likes me to call him… in my mind). “Come on John, you can do it <with an accent>, push it harder, my grandmother in Austria lifted more than that, don’t be a girly man”. Arnie is my life long idle 🙂 Pick someone you look up to and let them motivate you during training! Train with someone where possible and motivate each other during training. It’s also great so you can spot each other!
- When you want to give up there is the motivation not to. You are tired and still have 20 minutes left of cardio and an easy exit is right there. How not to take it. Once again there is the long term goal but this is where you need a mind shift a little. As long as its not some sharp pain indicating injury but rather just muscle aching from working out then we need to push through. You need to say to yourself “this is uncomfortable and it kinda sucks but you know what, its OK to feel this way. I’m getting stronger”. It’s a mind shift but its vital. I struggled with running long distances until I had this mind shift. You’re going to be uncomfortable but you’ll get through it and next time you’ll be able to push a bit harder. That much closer to a goal.
I’ll say movie quotes to myself when I’m tired to get myself fired up. I’ll play the scene from Rocky Balboa in my mind when he talks to his son about its how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward (go buy the movie but if you are cheap search for Rocky Balboa Inspirational Speech). I’ll remind myself what a fantastic, easy life I have that this is the hardest thing in it and others have it far worse to survive and am I really going to give up. There was a news video of a little 8-year old boy with Cerebral Palsy completing a triathlon. At the finish line he pushed aside his walking aid and just ran. He fell, got up, ran, fell down, got up, ran and he finished. Seriously the tiredness I fell, do I truly believe I have it worse than that brave little 8-year old boy. Hell no. He motivates me more than anything else and I think of him often when I want to give up. Go watch it at https://youtu.be/bEWO9JljMCY . When you want to quit remind yourself of that brave little boy and ask do you have some excuse better than him?
- When there is some tasty food I really want but know I shouldn’t. I’ll remind myself of my long term motivations. I’ll remind myself really its just a short term fix and I’ll just want more and to instead eat something healthier however at the same time I believe occasionally have a treat. Just watch the portion and frequency but it’s OK to treat yourself now and then.
In my bedroom closet I have a set of pictures I look at the start of every day. You can see it below. Maybe you have a mirror you can place some pictures on, or notes, or anything you want. Some people get a little tattoo but I wouldn’t get “lose 10lbs” written on your body anywhere important and there are less permanent options. You just want something to keep you going.
Everyone is different. There is no one motivation for everyone but I strongly urge you before embarking on a training regime to work out your motivation (and see a doctor to make sure there are no problems) as it will help you keep training rather than aggressively embarking on a super training goal and then fading out within a month. Look inside yourself for why you want to train and think of ways to remind yourself of it. And I’m focusing on training but really this applies to anything in life. Education, stopping a bad habit, starting a good habit. Motivate!
The History of The Iron Brit
Where it all began and today’s training.
A new year and I’ve decided to create a new blog (and twitter and for the first time an Instagram whatever that is for but I’ll work it out). I’ve had another blog and twitter handle for a long time over at http://www.savilltech.com and @NTFAQGuy that focuses on my computer related activities such as technical how-to videos and books I write but for this new blog I wanted to focus on my training related activities.
I’m currently training for three Ironman events this year:
- Texas (end of April)
- Santa Rosa (end of July)
- Chattanooga (end of September)
These are not my first, I’ve done three previously (I’ll get to that) but for those that are not sure an Ironman is a triathlon event and the distances are:
- 2.4-mile swim
- 112-mile bike ride
- 26.2-mile run (a full marathon)
At the end of this you get a shiny bit of metal, bragging rights and then you go get a tattoo of the M-Dot, you can see mine below.
Most Ironman athletes are lean, designed for speed and grace. I’m not. At all. Now over 3 months recently I dropped about 20 lbs of fat but I’m still at around 200 lbs. which is very big for an Ironman and definitely does not help but I have lots of conflicting goals, but that’s OK!
My goal for this blog is not 100% clear to me right now, I have a few thoughts but it may evolve over time:
- Something to track my progress
- A place to share guidance for people that ask for training/diet advice however I want to be very clear. I’M NOT TRAINED TO GIVE TRAINING OR NUTRITIONAL ADVICE. I’ve found some things that work for me and happy to share but everyone is different
- My wife wants me to set her some programs for her training so I’ll share those here as “Wifey Workouts” but many beyond women could use them to get started
- Random thoughts
For this first post I want to set some background to who I am, my goals, what I’ve done so far to establish some trust and then what training I did today.
I’m British. Born and raised in London and have been in Texas for about 13 years. I love it in Texas. People are friendly, it’s a great standard of living, loads to do although it can get a bit warm 🙂.
When I was very young my father and I did various martial arts. I started out with Karate (various forms) which I enjoyed.
But then I stopped and I have a very sweet tooth. I don’t eat salad. Or vegetables (except potatoes when served with a steak or cut up into little fingers with a burger or hot dog). I like pizza, pasta, burgers, hot dogs, cakes, sweets. You get the idea. People think because I train a lot I like nothing more than to eat salad. I don’t and won’t. Part of the reason I train is so I can eat tasty things but we’ll get to that as well. I put on weight and this picture sums it up pretty well. I guess I was about 10 (this was a joke picture taken at Disney World).
I remember at a school event one of the teachers said to me in front of my Dad (who was very fit, rode the bike to work every day) “John, looks like you’re eating too many packets of crisps” (crisps = chips). Well that next day an exercise bike appeared in my bedroom and each night I would go on it. There was no malice here by my Dad. There was no meanness. It was to help me and it did. I would watch TV or listen to radio programs (the original BBC Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy was a favorite of mine) as I peddled my little butt off. Now today I think people would frown on this type of “body shaming”, I don’t know. It came from concern for my health and love and it gave me the awareness of my body that at least kept me training. I lost weight and we started doing martial arts again. I remember one Saturday going to piano lesson and this little Asian lady who I saw every week said “You’ve lost weight, you used to have face like apple”. Thanks!
My Dad and I did Tae Kwon Do, Kempo Jujitsu, Aikido, Thai Boxing. There were nights I did 4 hours of martial arts. Two hours of Tae Kwon Do then straight after 2 hours of Kempo Jujitsu. It was awesome. I did this 6 days a week. We never cared about belts. We learnt what we could from different systems and found things that worked for us. To this day, I practice combinations from all the different martial arts. I was never good at many things but I was good at that.
Well at 18 I had to get a job and at night I would study for a degree in computer science which I got. I rode my bike to work each day as at first I could not afford the train fare. Rain or shine I would ride 15 miles from Welling to London then 15 miles back in the evening. In the morning after riding my bike to work I would go to the gym and do weights, punch bag etc. As my career progressed I could afford the train and you get soft and riding my bike in the freezing rain became less attractive so I became a “fair weather rider” then eventually I stopped riding altogether but I would still get up at the crack of dawn and go to the gym before work. I was fit and strong but I loved my bad food so no matter how much you train if you consume more calories than you eat you will put on weight and I did. Some people I trained with bet I couldn’t lose 2 stone (about 30 pounds) in 3 months but if I did they would buy me a big steak dinner so I went on a diet for 3 months and lost 2 stone. This is important as it’s the same diet I used again recently to trim down. The diet? Actually simple:
- No wheat based products (so no bread or pasta which killed me)
- Nothing fried
- No fast food
- No dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
- No candy, cakes
- No soda
I basically lived on chicken, beef (lean), potatoes, rice, tomato and onion. Oh, and delicious water. Now if you like salad great. If you like fish, great. If you like vegetables, great. You can eat that but I didn’t. I would have the odd bit of fruit but honestly didn’t and don’t like that much either. Just watch the quantities! Portion control is key. I don’t know if this is any “fad” diet today but it worked. It probably worked because I hated every bite so you would not overeat but it worked and I kept the weight off and then added tasty food back but with a bit more control. It’s interesting when you do this type of diet as when you come off it you can’t eat burgers. It tastes terrible as its so greasy but I got them back 🙂
Time carries on and I moved to America. I carried on training before work every day at 24 hour fitness initially and now Lifetime Fitness. I also got back into martial arts taking up Krav Maga and quickly they asked me to become an instructor so I would go out to LA every few months to go through instructor training and certified at Brown Belt Krav Maga Worldwide instructor level and completed the Black belt training but at this point I had got bored with teaching. It was supposed to be my hobby but I was the senior instructor at the school and just was not enjoying it so I stopped. Krav is not like a Karate where everyone is a black belt. It took me about 7 years to get to Brown Belt instructor level it took more to complete the black belt training. You go out to LA for each phase of instructor training (which is a full week) so you can teach that level. During this time I also completed things like the Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) which is a one week course given to police and army self-defense instructors and I was allowed to attend as I taught several police officers and that was great. I wanted a new challenge.
Running seemed like a good thing as in the past I had done the London marathon but never really liked running but Disneyworld were doing marathons and I LOVE Disneyworld so I decided to do that. They have something called the Dopey challenge (I’ve just signed up for the 2018). This is:
- 5k run on Thursday
- 10k run on Friday
- Half marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday
- Full marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday
I did the inaugural one and many other Disney runs and you get LOTS of bling! You get medals for each individual run, one for doing the half and full (the Goofy) and then another for doing all 4 (the Dopey).
Now I’m still doing lots of weights. I never wanted to be small. I was about 210 at this time. There is plenty of fat in there but also muscle 🙂 I did a lot of cardio but balanced to keep/gain muscle. Motivations are our own but being strong was always important to me. You may say “but you did martial arts and size does not matter”. That is a load of crap. Yes, with enough skill you can overcome a larger, stronger opponent but over 30 years of martial arts has taught me size and strength is huge, especially on the ground. I trained with Renner Gracie at the GST and he said the best thing related to size “for every 6 months of training it enables you to match someone 10 lbs heavier”. So if someone is 100 pounds heavier than you then about 5 years of training will help even things up assuming they have no training.
I did every Disney run and wanted something new. At Disney I saw someone wearing an Ironman finisher jacket. Now I had heard of the Ironman but never seriously considered doing one. I had never swam freestyle, I did breaststroke. I was pretty confident on the bike part and obviously could do a marathon but all those things together. Now this guy was pretty old so I decided that was next. I went home and signed up for the Texas 2015 Ironman in May. About 4 months of training time. I did an Olympic triathlon (about ¼ of the distances) once in England after I ran the London marathon but nothing since. I didn’t do a half Ironman first. I just went for it. I had friends who said I would fail that I was too big and would never do it. One even bet me to cook me BBQ dinner if I succeeded (that was a tasty meal).
So I learnt to swim front crawl (freestyle) started doing miles on the bike and running. Now ALL of my training was on a stationary bike at the gym and on a treadmill (which is how I did most marathon training). The weekend before the Ironman I went out on my old (14 years old) racing bike I bought in England for the triathlon I did there for 20 miles to get the feel of it but that was it. I didn’t use a coach. During this extra cardio I did extra weights to ensure I didn’t lose muscle and actually went up in weight to about 220 (some muscle and some fat as clearly since I was doing so much training I should eat everything I’ve ever wanted to right? 🙂 ).
I’ll do a separate, detailed blog post about my first Ironman experience for those considering but it was amazing. The support, the people are out of this world. My actual performance. Ugh! It was BRUTAL. In many ways. Now, before I go further I did not train enough, at all. A friend of mine says you have to pay the price. You pay in training or you pay on the day. Well, I paid on the day! The swim was hard and I wore a wetsuit but the bike! It was 100% humidity and about 95 degrees. I used a special sun tan lotion I bought at the triathlon store. Well, it was crap. On the bike ride I could feel my skin actually cooking. Now Ironman have their own lotion stations that smother you up and I used that for the run portion and always use now but the damage was done. I got off the bike totally dead. I found out the next day I had second degree burns on my legs and arms when I went to the Carenow where I got some silver cream stuff and bandages. Take a look. Also notice the chubbiness 🙂 This was taken the day after by my wife when I got home.
I still have tan lines on my arms from 2 years ago! Well I remember sitting in the transition tent thinking “there is no way I can run a marathon now” but then I realized I just had to. So I got up and basically walked 26.2 miles. You are not allowed headphones or music during an Ironman so it was just me and the crowds (who are awesome) but I was exhausted. I also get up very early so go to bed early so by 9pm I was mentally tired as well and the last few miles took forever but I finished. My final times were:
- Swim – 1:37:31
- Bike – 6:33:27
- Run (walk) – 6:28:51
Overall time 15:09:50 with transitions (which were loonnnggggggg). BUT I FINISHED!
As I crossed the finish line I kinda was falling and someone caught me. They stood me up long enough to take the picture then I collapsed, was put in a wheelchair where I spent an hour in the medical tent where I experienced the worse pain of my life. Now there was an IV shortage so if you were consious they made you hydrate by mouth so I had to drink chicken broth however they saw the sunburn and tried to help me by putting a cold wet cloth on my legs. Well to this day I don’t know what happened but that cold cloth hit my leg and a cramp surged up my body into my stomach and I just doubled over in intense pain. My stomach would not stop cramping and I was just clenched over growling trying hard not to cry 🙂 I was an Ironman after all and Ironman don’t cry. An hour later I was allowed out the tent (they were amazing in there) and drove myself to hotel where I phoned my wife (who stayed in Allen as we have young twins). Turns out the runner tracking didn’t update for a while during the run so my wife who was monitoring suddenly got no updates for about 90 minutes where it caught up. She told me she seriously wondered if I was dead when it stopped tracking as she knew I would never give up so that was the conclusion. I swore I was done. Bucket list checked. Went to sleep.
I woke up, went and collected my bike and bags (I used the tribiketransport valet service which for $40 they pick up your bags and bike even if you don’t ship with them so you can pickup next day which is AWESOME) and bought the finisher jacket, polo and anything else to show I had done an Ironman J A week later I went and got the tattoo. On the drive home (which sucked as I was hurting from muscle pain and burnt skin) I considered what I had achieved and really felt that had not been my best attempt. I was sure I could do better. By the time I got home 4 hours later I was going to sign up for next years as it had been freak weather, I had not trained enough and it was not my best.
So I did some more training but really was not much better than the year before in terms of preparation (but a little better, I bought a new fancy bike which I was sure would shave hours off my bike time, I was disappointed) but fate was not on my side. Now the good news is I never visited the medical tent this time however there was very bad flooding for the 2016 Texas Ironman. So much that chunks of the bike course were gone so it was reduced to only 96 miles (if I remember correctly) so not really a full Ironman any more. It was still hot but during the marathon there was a massive hail storm. I was between stations when it hit so basically I was out running (walking) during a painful hail storm. I remember that my face was hurting but honestly I was too beaten to care much. I finished. Times and finishing below. Now they are better but remember the bike was 16 miles shorter!
So once again. Can’t really count this. I decided to do another Ironman that would be cooler weather so next day I signed up for Chattanooga (the only places left were Foundation which cost double but that extra goes to charity so I was OK with that). Chattanooga in September will be cool I said. That will give me a better shot I said as I don’t do well in the heat. We don’t have heat in England. I sweat. A lot (as we’ll discuss when I get to todays training).
I also decided I needed to shed some fat without losing muscle. I was confident I had about 20 lbs of fat I could lose that would help not having to carry it around on the course so I did my 3 month diet again I did in England about 15 years previous. Remember?
- No wheat based products (so no bread or pasta which killed me)
- Nothing fried
- No fast food
- No dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
- No candy, cakes
- No soda
Now. I made a few changes. Firstly I allowed myself a whole-wheat muffin in the mornings before training. Also on Tuesday night I would have cheesecake factory where I had large bowl of rigatoni pasta with marinara sauce with grilled chicken breast on the side and on Friday night I could have pizza. These were the nights before my big cardio days. I also think its good to give the body lots of carbs a couple of times a week to “trick” it. Also I have the occasional treat. When we go out for pizza we get ice cream after. If we go to movies I take some chocolate raisins with me (branchs are my favorite) and on Fridays I’ll have a couple of donuts for breakfast instead of a banana (one maple glaze and one vanilla sprinkle). I try to be good most of the time but like the 80:20 rule. 80% of the time be good but 20% of the time cheat a little. I enjoy Christmas day and eat what I want etc. On date night with my wife I’ll have tasty things. My typical training is:
- Monday – 60 minutes hill running then hour chest and triceps
- Tuesday – 60 minutes bike/swim/elliptical then hour back and biceps
- Wednesday – 2 or more hours cardio then little shoulders
- Thursday – 45 minutes elliptical and 1:15 chest and triceps
- Friday – 60 minutes stair machine then hour back and biceps
- Saturday – Hours and hours of cardio misery (bike then running but mostly bike)
Notice I don’t really do legs or abs but I’ve just started to add in 10 minutes of abs after every day as my wife fantasies about Jason Statham so that’s the goal 😀
I lost 20 lbs going from 220 to 200 and actually gained some muscle. I was eating a lot of protein powder (and still do). Also I’ve made this more of a lifestyle change. I still don’t drink any soda (in fact I don’t like it now even though Dr Pepper Ten used to be my favorite) and trying to just generally be better. After training I have 60 grams of protein and a banana. About 9:30 am have a 20 g protein shake, have lunch, at around 2 pm have 20 g protein shake, have dinner (at 5) then about 7:30 have 25g casein protein before bed (which is about 9pm, I get up at 4am most days). I’ve never drunk alcohol (except at Christmas, Baileys, yum), never smoked or tried any drugs so those things are not factors. My parents never drunk or did those things so were never exposed to them and with all the martial arts never liked the idea of them. Apart from eating complete crap my body was a temple 😀 I am a very happy, silly person (my wife will tell you). I’m pretty immature. I read comics still. I wear superhero under armor shirts when I train (in part to motivate me). I’ve never needed alcohol to have a good time.
So I was in better shape and done some better training so was ready.
Well guess what. Chattanooga had freak weather in 2016 and it was about 95 degrees. Unbelievable. Now the swim is AWESOME. It is downstream. There were pictures of plastic bags who made the cut off time :-). The bike course is 116 miles instead of 112 (I guess to make up for the easier swim) and it was hilly as was the run but I did it however my times really were not that great. Once again the heat sucked everything out of me but at least I didn’t burn or visit the medical tent.
My goal is to go to Kona, the ultimate Ironman and I’ll never qualify with my size/training so they have a legacy program. Do 12 Ironmans you can apply via a lottery so that’s my goal. That is why in 2017 I want to do three. That would get me half way there. I’ve also maintained training and focused more on running. I just did a couple of marathons and have up’d my Saturday training which brings me to today!!!
I don’t normally take pictures of weight or setup but wanted to share my setup a little and where I am now. Also because every villain in a movie is British I’m therefore untrustworthy so felt the need to backup what I say with a little evidence to build trust. My goal for today was more than last week which was:
- 3:20 on the bike (about 70 miles)
- 2:10ish running (13.1 miles)
Today I wanted to add 10 minutes of swimming first (1/4 mile) and 20 minutes to the bike ride. This is the first time I’ve swam since Chattanooga. This would be about 6 hours of cardio. So below was my planned nutrition.
I have one extra waffle and gu as my routine is for drink I add Nuun to my water and for food :
- On the hour a Gu
- 20 minutes past hour half a waffle
- 40 minutes past hour other half of waffle
This gets me about 250 calories an hour and I drink about a liter of water each hour (starts of less then increases). I thought I would take some baseline pictures based on the scale at the gym which are below.
Now that bodyfat % is not right. I’m higher than that and I don’t care about BMI. Also you may think at even around 9% I have rippling abs. I don’t 🙂 There are numerous reasons for this
- Everyone carries weight differently. I carry it around my gut and hips. I have very little fat on my chest, arms, back, legs etc
- That is a percentage and I’m heavy. 9% of 197 is still nearly 18 pounds of fat. My twins were about 6 lbs each when they were born so I have 3 small newborns of fat on me 🙂
- I’ve never done much abdominal training so don’t have much under the fat except from working rest of body
But I’m getting there. That’s where I am right now.
So to the bike. 3:40 is the goal for today. Below is my bike setup. I take 3 bikes. One to ride on. One next to me to hang nutrition bag between and one in front to put ipad on. I’m here at 4am so will be in room till about 8am way before any classes start. I also put down towels everywhere as I’m disgusting and sweat huge amounts and even with these towels I have to get lots of wipes after to clean up for next people.
Well did the 3:40. Had to take a potty break at 1:30 and the clock reset but below is the final 2:10 which taking those averages over 3:40 makes it just under 78 miles and 2800 calories. I watched the last 2 hours of Hateful Eight and the new Jake Reacher movie during the bike ride. I preferred the first Reacher film but was still pretty good. Last week I watched Iron Man and Hard Rain, the week before was the 80’s Flash movie (still awesome). I like watching films as it helps the time pass and makes me look up which is important when actually riding a bike! My first Ironman my neck was killing me from looking up as I wasn’t used to it.
I had used up one of the 1.5 liter smart waters so in total had drunk 2.5 liters of water. I filled up my normal bottle from the tap (1 liter), put on my knee sleeves and did the run and did the 2:10, 13.1 miles. I don’t watch movies during the run and instead just listen to music as looking down is not ideal.
I got through the 1 liter in my bottle and most of the final 1.5 liter smart water so nearly another 2.5 liters drunk putting me at 5 liters total drank over the 6 hours of cardio:
- 10 minutes swim
- 3:40 bike
- 2:10 run
I also had eaten 6 waffles and 6 gus so had consumed about 1500 calories and burnt about 5000 (would have burnt some during the swim, maybe 100 ish) so 3500 difference (lb of fat, but of course you don’t just burn fat). I stretched a little and weighed myself again before having a shower (I had flip flops and towel on so maybe 1 lb added)
So 191 from 197. 6 lbs less. Now that is not all water as we burn other stuff but maybe 5 lbs of water loss. 2.2lbs of water is 1 liter so I’m down just over 2 liters of water and I drank 5 during so my body has exhaled/sweated 7 lbs of water over the last 6 hours. Gross!
So now I’m home. Drank my 60 g of protein on drive home and just had egg white tacos with a few steak fries and low fat mac ‘n cheese in it which is awesome along with a little treat of punch to get my sugar up a bit. Dinner will be spaghetti bolognaise at Maggiano’s :-).
A good days training. My goal is to increase the swim, bike and run next week a little. I want to be in a much better place for the Texas Ironman this year and with 3 months of training still to go and being where I am right now I feel pretty good. I need to really focus on swimming during the week and mid-week runs.
I feel like the ending of Shawshank Redemption. You’ve come this far maybe you’re willing to come a little further. This was a very long post. About 3 hours sitting here writing straight after the training but it was great writing it. Made me think about a lot of things. Going forward they will be much shorter. I’ll post progress, post workouts for the wife (and others) and just other thoughts.
I am no expert, this is just what I do and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but I’m always learning. This may motivate you. It may give you ideas. It may just be interesting or none of them.
I am lucky that I get to try many things and none of this would be possible without my amazing wife Julie who supports all the crazy things I want to do, always encourages me and takes the full burden of looking after everyone including me!
If you take one thing from this let it be that anyone can do anything. You don’t have to be super lean, you don’t have to make things a singular goal. I truly believe that anyone can do anything. You just have to have will power and a true desire. You may not always do what you wanted. You may not always finish but that’s OK. The only true failure in life is to not try. I believe that absolutely. Watch the final minutes of an Ironman. It brings tears to my eyes, the heart and soul of these people that do not give up. They may not finish but they will do their best. Amazing to me. I mentioned I read comics. There is one part that sums up my beliefs from Fantastic Four 604 about trying and what true failure is and I’ll end with that for today.
Thank you and never let someone tell you what you can’t do.