April 30, 2012

Aerobic Capacity

Aerobic Capacity. Exercise physiologists generally agree that there are only three things you can improve to become physiologically more fit for endurance sports performance: aerobic capacity, lactate threshold and economy. Ultimately, these are the reasons you train. So what are they and how do you improve them? I'll discuss aerobic capacity now and come back to lactate threshold and economy in a few days.

Also referred to as VO2 max, aerobic capacity is your ability to use oxygen to produce energy. The more oxygen your body can process the more energy you can produce and the greater your output (power or pace). It’s common to find that the fastest athletes in a race have the highest aerobic capacities of the entrants. The farther down the race results you go typically the lower the athletes’ aerobic capacities. But don’t take this to mean that knowing your VO2 max tells you how fast you will go or how well you will do compared with others in your race category. The two other physiological factors – lactate threshold and economy – also play a major role in race outcomes. One of these by itself does not constitute all of what it takes to race fast.

Aerobic capacity is literally at the heart of success in endurance sport. Improvements in aerobic capacity have largely to do with how much blood (which contains oxygen) the heart pumps out to the working muscles with every beat. This is called “stroke volume” and has a lot to do with how much aerobic capacity you have. A purpose of training is to improve your stroke volume. There are basically two ways to do this. The first is to focus on the volume of your training. The heart responds to lots of time spent at higher-than-resting intensity (above about 50 percent of VO2 max) by becoming more efficient and effective which ultimately means pumping more blood per beat.

The other way to improve aerobic capacity is by doing high-intensity intervals, especially those done at about the power or pace associated with your VO2 max. At that intensity your heart rate is approaching maximum, so these are very hard efforts. This method will produce a higher stroke volume sooner than by relying only on volume. Most experienced athletes employ both strategies.

There are other physiological contributors to aerobic capacity such as aerobic enzymes found in the muscles, blood vessel diameter and ability to dilate, blood volume and related hematocrit (red blood cells). Many athletes seem to believe their lungs are the deciding factor when it comes to aerobic capacity. Training produces insignificant changes in lung volume.

Body weight also has a lot to do with aerobic capacity. The formula for determining VO2 max is expressed in terms of milliliters of oxygen consumed per kilogram of body weight per minute. What this means is that as you lose body weight, especially fat as opposed to sport-specific muscle, your VO2 max increases. And most of us have experienced this at both ends of the weight spectrum. When we have gained weight it’s harder to run or ride a bike uphill. Conversely, when body weight has been low the effort of exercise is decreased at any given power or pace. This is clearly the affect of body weight on aerobic capacity.

Aerobic capacity is largely dependent on who your parents were. Research (Bouchard, 1986) has shown that identical twins have nearly identical aerobic capacities. While genetics probably sets the boundaries for the upper limit of your VO2 max, proper training can take you to near the upper limit. But also bear in mind that there are two other physiological factors that contribute to endurance performance.

April 29, 2012

Atomic Man duathlon 2012

I competed in the 2012 Atomic Man duathlon today. This was my 80th multisport race, and my 19th duathlon since 2004.

I pulled my quad last week at the Spring Fling triathlon and hadn't been able to train all week. I decided to approach the Atomic Man as a light workout to test my leg. I decided to jog/walk the runs and bike very light.

On the 1st half of the 1st run I felt a little pinch where the injury was, but nothing bad enough to worry me.  I finished the 2.25 mile run in a safe and leg protecting time of 22:22.

I was worried about my quad on the bike because this course has some big climbs. I wasn't sure if my leg was ready to attempt climbing like that yet. Thankfully I completed the entire bike without any pain at all. I finished the 8.13 mile bike 33:28.

On the 2nd run my leg felt great. I picked up the pace to a high zone two and never felt any pulls or
pinches from my leg at all. The 2nd run was 2.42 miles  in 21:03.

I finished in a total time of 1:19, taking third place out of 3 in my age group and 27th overall 40out of.

I have completed 4 races in the 2012 South West Challenge series, one 1st place, two 2nd place finishes, and one third. I have a total of 36 points and am in 1st place overall in the 35-39 AG.

Looks like I'll start training again this week. I plan on cutting all my rides and runs in half this week. If my leg feels better after this weeks long days on Friday and Saturday then I'll try and train my full schedule the week after.

April 26, 2012

societies accepted prejudice

I'm well aware that some of my posts about my overeating aren't pretty, and that some people will be uncomfortable with my rampant and destructive overeating. I am trying to keep a promise I've made with myself- to accept responsibility while at the same time striving to shed guilt and leave shame behind I don't think I am shirking if I say I don't believe that I could have behaved any differently than I had. There is a paradox at work there. At each particular moment and with every bite of food I took in, I had a choice. By eating so rampantly, I made the wrong choice again and again. But in a broader, deeper way, I don't believe I had a choice at all. Something was controlling me.

If the exact nature of the fat disease is beyond my understanding, some of its implications have become painfully clear to me during the 7 years I was overweight to obese. During the time of 2000-2007 I had been shunned for dates, heard unkind nick-names, I came to know firsthand about our culture's deep biases against fat people.

Like every form of prejudice, those biases interfere with our being seen as individuals. Once someone got to know me I became a person. I was Cody. But until that point was reached-if it ever was- I was a stereotype, a silhouette, a cut out with a rounded shape not deemed to be attractive.

If the bias against fat begins as a prejudice regarding how we look, it ends up running much deeper. People tend to make all sorts of assumptions about those of us who are fat. They tend to imagine that in some perverse way we have chosen to be fat and that we could be thin if only we'd get a grip and show some discipline, if only we'd rise up off our fat behinds and get some exercise. In allot of cases its not that easy. Unfat people tend to blame us for our burden even though its our burden, not theirs.

Not only do many people disapprove of us for being fat; they feel perfectly free to show it. Even now, in the 21st century, as we are finally becoming respectful of diversity in things like race and gender, we as a culture still seem to condone sneering and smirking at fat people. Unfat people seem to think it's fine to stare at what we order in restaurants and glare if it doesn't meet with their approval. Fat jokes are still a staple of so-called comedy on TV and in the movies. Fat stereotypes still abound. A fat man is likely to be presented as falsely jolly or a pathetic man. A greedy politician will nearly always have an ample belly. A hero's side kick may be portrayed as fat, for comic relief. The hero of course will be lean.

These insensitive representations of fat people are bad enough if we think of fatness simply as a human difference. They become simply inexcusable as we accept the idea that fatness isn't just a difference but a disease. Can you imagine civilized people making jokes about any other disease the way they make jokes about being fat?

Now, even if you refuse to admit that fatness is a disease let me ask you, why is it ok for our society to treat fat people like they are diseased. If your friends with one, or God forbid you date a fatty, -as if being with a fat man cast doubt on their own attractiveness. Some of the people I've debated this with say it’s because fatness is a choice. We are fat because we are too lazy not to be. It’s true, I can, just like any other fat person could, take steps to become thinner, or in societies eyes become better looking and more attractive. A person who gets cancer, isn't it their choice to get treatment. If they are unsuccessful at that treatment, could any person in their right mind make fun of them or treat them unkindly? People make that choice to treat fat people poorly all the time. I felt horrid about myself every moment I was fat. I didn't like myself. Others made me not like myself, because they acted like they didn't like me. Others treated me differently once I got fat who had never treated me poorly before. I'll never forget the day a family member whom I loved and trusted pulled me aside and told me to be a good Father and husband I needed to not be overweight. Why would he say that to me? I was still the same person I was before I had gained my weight. I feel so bad for people who are fat because of the way they are treated. Treating someone differently because they are fat, being uncomfortable having to talk to one, or being disgusted if you are on a blind date with one is a prejudice. Think prejudice is to harsh a word? Could someone imagine the uproar there would be if someone actually suggested a person of color get some kind of treatment to become less dark so that they will be more successful, trusted, or even accepted? How virulent is today's bias against fat? I recently came across a study in which a group of college students were asked whom they would least likely marry. When the results were tallied, it turned out these students would Rather be wed to a cocaine user, a former mental patient, a shoplifter, a sexually promiscuous partner, a communist, an atheist, or a blind person than someone who is fat. Welcome to a fat person’s life. That's what people hint, and even say to us every day.

Be nice, fat people are human too. We have emotions just like everyone else, if anything we are even more sensitive than most because we are so often the brunt of mistreatment. Don't treat us differently because we're the same person no matter what we weigh. It’s not healthy to be overweight, but we shouldn't be treated like we are doing something wrong.

April 25, 2012

inury update and a day off

My quad is healing relatively quickly. Not as quickly as the last time I pulled it, but fast enough for me to not be freaking out. I can climb stairs and stand up from a sitting position without much pain. I’m thinking I’ll take today and Thursday off completely. Friday I’ll do an hour long bike all zone 1 and zone 2, Saturday I’ll try a 45 minute zone 2 run. I have the Atomicman duathlon on Sunday. I’m relatively certain I won’t  be able to push myself at race pace but I’m still going to show up to run and bike nice and easy with my only goal being to finish. A finish still gives me points for the South West Challenge series, and I love competing in the SW series!

I didn’t work last night. This week was the 1st time since December that I took more than 1 day off in a week, and being home with my wife and babies is my favorite thing in the world. Unfortunately celebration is a huge trigger for me, so I ended up struggling with my eating last night. I was able to avoid binging, but barely. With the exception of my struggles with my eating disorder it was a perfect night. As we were going to bed I told my wife, “For just one night I wish I wasn’t an addict. I wish I could be home and enjoy myself rather than having to struggle with my desire to binge eat.”

Today I start working with a 12 step sponsor, so I’m hoping I’ll begin to struggle less. He sent me a list of his expectations and I’m in agreement with all of them. I posted what he sent me in the email, but I changed some things to keep him anonymous.
He wrote:
So... I've been thinking about our sponsoring relationship. I am attaching the first set of reading/writing I'd like to have you work on. In my experience, it works really well to read my answers aloud to my sponsor. Have you ever done this?
Let's think about the tools:

1. Food Plan... Check. Could you please type up your plan and send it to me via email so I have it in print?

2. Sponsorship... Hey, that's me!

3. Meetings... What is your plan here? I'll admit that my own meeting attendance is spotty. Do you have a stated goal for meetings?

4. Telephone... Tell me about your phone usage for recovery/outreach calls. When I started OA-HOW, it was mandated to me that I would make or receive THREE live phone calls every day. I did it for 14 months, and it was awesome... and very stressful. It was definitely one of the things that drove me away from the program eventually. What's your willingness? What's your desire? What do you think your NEED is for phone calls?

5. Writing... I think this is key. Stepwork is WHY we get abstinent in the first place. I think, if at all possible, you should be writing every day, even if it's just to answer only one question. Or less... I like to just look at a clock. If I don't get the question answered in 15 minutes, I start on it again the next day, unless I'm really into it and I want to continue.

6. Literature. Ditto. Every day... But this goes hand in hand with the writing. Read, then write. Every day is a great plan.

7. Anonymity... Well, I don't know that I have any special thoughts on how to use this in our relationship, but of course I think it's important.

8. Service... We'll talk about this as we go.

9. Action plan... Again, I think this will be addressed as we go forward.

So, I guess the things we need to determine are:

How often should we talk on the phone? Are you able/willing to do reading and writing every day? How many people can you commit to calling every day, if any? What food plan will you follow? What's your plan for meetings?

Cody, it all boils down to this: How can I help support YOU in your recovery? If it fits into what I believe is helpful, from my experience, then I'm happy to do it. It helps me too.

April 23, 2012

racing injury

I pulled my left quad during the bike portion of yesterday’s triathlon. I hate missing training time. This is only the 2nd time I've been injured because of triathlon training or racing. The last time was about 3 years ago, the injury was my left quad then also. My body is usually bullet proof, when I over train I've become sick, but not injured. The last time I pulled my quad I only had to take off 3 days. I'm hoping and praying for another quick recovery. My triathlon training is something that I have learned to rely on to keep my eating disorder under control; not being able to train is new and very disturbing to me. Falling off the diet wagon, losing control and gaining weight are my greatest fears. I'd be very grateful to any followers of Christ to pray for me to be able to stay abstinent from destructive overeating while I'm recovering.

Thanks for tuning in.

Wellington to take break from triathlon

I found this article on Hawaii24/7. I think she could win more Kona races than any triathlete ever. I was disappointed to see her step away, even if it is only temporary.

Four-time world champion and World Ironman Distance Record Holder, Chrissie Wellington has announced she will be taking a break from competing in Ironman during 2012 to explore other opportunities, including publication of her autobiography, “A Life Without Limits.”

Wellington, who won her fourth World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, last October and maintained her unbeaten record at Ironman distance – making it 13 victories from 13 races – made the announcement Monday, Jan. 16 in London.

“I’ve given absolutely everything to Ironman over the past five years. However, this year I’ve decided to take a break as I would like to spend more time focusing on other pursuits including dedicating more time to my chosen charities, the publication of my book and more active promotion of the sport in the UK, as well as giving myself the chance to explore and seize new opportunities within triathlon and outside,” she said.

Wellington said she believes she would not be able to pursue different goals while dedicating the energy and time needed to compete in Ironman events.

“The past five years have been absolutely incredible and I am extremely happy, proud and content with everything that I have achieved in the sport – topping it all off with the race of my life in Kona last year,” she said. “I have always seen triathlon as a part of my life, rather than the be all and end all, and am looking forward to a little more variety and balance by pursuing other interests, as well as spending more time with my family and friends.”

Wellington said she looks forward to being able to spend more time around the sport without the commitment of full time Ironman training and racing.

Ironman: Women’s season gets interesting


Chrissie Wellington’s announcement that she is “taking a break from competing in Ironman during 2012 to explore other opportunities” has opened the door for some dramatic women’s racing through the 2012 season.

2010 Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae (the Australian runner up to Wellington in 2009 and 2011) and Kona Points Ranking leader Leanda Cave (Great Britain) now head into the 2012 season as the women to beat. Both, however, will be challenged by an unprecedented level of women’s competition.

Wellington has enjoyed an unparalleled career in the sport. She is unbeaten in all of her Ironman and full-distance events, holds the course record in Kona and also the world-best time for the full distance.

Her withdrawal from the 2010 Ironman World Championship dramatically changed the event, but also opened the door for athletes like Carfrae, Cave and Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen to gain higher profile.

Last year’s race in Kona was the closest women’s race in over a decade – due, in part, to injuries Wellington had sustained heading into the race, but also a sign of how competitive the women’s Ironman field has become.

“I didn’t grow up with childhood dreams of becoming a professional athlete, and even when I did so in 2007 I never had any aspirations of racing at, or even winning, the World Ironman Championship,” she said. “Consequently, the biggest highlight of the past five years has been the huge element of surprise. The fact that, at every step, I have somehow defied what I ever thought possible for my body and mind, to achieve. I feel so incredibly fortunate and grateful to have found a sport that I love; to have had the opportunity to make that passion my career, to have forged countless new and lasting friendships; to have experienced some of the world’s most beautiful places, and of course to have developed a platform on which I can now build. This is by no means the end, merely another chapter and i cant wait to see what the future holds!”

A look at the top-12 finishers from last year’s race in Kona shows how fast the top women are.

Another Great Britain athlete, Rachel Joyce, finished in the top-five for the second year in a row in Kona. (Karin Thuerig, the sixth place finisher from last year’s race, has announced her retirement from the sport.)

Germany’s Sonja Tajsich, seventh last year, has a number of Ironman titles to her credit and could contend for the world title this year.

Heather Wurtele (Canada) won two Ironman races in 2011 (St. George and Lake Placid) before rounding out her season with an eighth-place finish in Kona.

Fast-running Caitlin Snow (USA) is just a bike ride away from being a contender at the world championship.

Spain’s Virginia Berasategui has multiple top-five finishes in Kona, while Scotland’s Catriona Morrison has yet to show her potential in Kona after dominating Ironman wins in Lanzarote and Texas over the last few years.

Rounding out the top-12 from Kona last year was Ironman France champion Tine Deckers (Belgium).

There are two other athletes who seem destined to compete at the highest levels of the sport over the next few years. Like Wellington before her, American Mary Beth Ellis burst onto the Ironman scene with three dramatic wins in 2011, including the fastest Ironman debut with her impressive win in Austria.

Ironman 70.3 world champion Melissa Rollison also exploded into the Ironman picture (should she move to the full distance in 2012) with her dominating performance in Las Vegas.

Suffice it to say that the Ironman world will certainly miss Wellington through the 2012 season, but also has a lot to look forward to.


Exercise physiologists generally agree that there are only three things you can improve to become physiologically more fit for endurance sports performance: aerobic capacity, lactate threshold and economy.

Economy, it has to do with how efficiently you use oxygen while exercising. Measuring oxygen used is just another way of measuring energy during exercise since in the human body how much oxygen you use also tells you how much energy you’re expending. Your economy is much like the economy rating for a car. – how many miles per gallon of gas. Only in the case of exercise it’s how many milliliters of oxygen per mile.

The longer the race is the less important aerobic capacity becomes and the more important economy is. This is because at the longer distances you exercise at a lower percentage of your aerobic capacity. So having a big VO2max won’t be of great benefit. But wasting even a little energy per stroke or stride due to poor economy will add up to a lot of wasted energy – and a slow performance – in a long race.

We know what can be done to boost your aerobic capacity. You can do lots of miles and mix in high-intensity intervals. Economy is a bit different. There are some things you have control over, but many you can do nothing about. For example, we know that for swimming being tall with long arms and legs and big feet improves economy. Unfortunately, you can’t change those. In the same way, for cycling having a long femur bone relative to your total leg length improves economy. For running being short and small are good for your economy. As an endurance athlete economy is improved by having a greater percentage of slow twitch muscle fibers. And there are other improvements to our physiology we would also make if we had control over them such as increasing the number of mitochondria we have (these are the little powerhouses in the muscle cell that produce energy). These are all things we have little or no control over.

So what things can you control to improve your racing efficiency and use fewer milliliters of oxygen per mile? The most common technique. You must realize that if you decide to go this route and make changes to your current technique that there will be a period of time during which you become less efficient. This will show up as a higher than normal heart rate at any given speed or power. And it may take weeks if not months to make the new technique your normal. At that point you should be faster at the same heart rates as before.

Others that are beneficial for the bike and run are reducing excess body weight and using lighter equipment. Then there are sport-specific efficiency improvers. The most notable is aerobars on the TT or tri bike along with other aerodynamic equipment such as wheels, helmet and bike frame. As a swimmer you can improve economy by improving the flexibility of your shoulders and feet, especially the ability to point your toes. Interestingly, the research shows that having less flexibility in the ankle joint makes for more economical running as this appears to improve the release of energy stored in your calf muscle with each footstrike.

Training components that improve economy are intensity and frequency. Training at a high speed or power has been shown to make athletes more economical at all speed and power outputs including the lower range. But it doesn’t work both ways. Going very slowly doesn’t pay off with greater economy at the high end of speed and power.

One of the best ways to improve your technique and therefore your efficiency is to do your sport frequently even if each session is very brief. For example, for a triathlete to become a more efficient swimmer with only two hours a week to devote to it, swim four times a week for 30 minutes each time. That will improve your efficiency sooner than doing two, one-hour swims each week.

Plyometric exercises have also been shown to improve economy in both runners and cyclists. This involves doing explosive jumping, bounding and hopping drills. For the run brief, powerful hill repeats are much like plyometrics.

There is still a great deal of debate about whether or not traditional strength training with weights improves economy. I believe it does as I have seen so many of the athletes I’ve coached over the years improve their performances remarkably after a winter of lifting weights – provided they did exercises which closely mimic the movements of the sport. Doing curls is unlikely to make you a better runner. But doing step ups may help.

In summarizing the three physiological fitness determiners remember that aerobic capacity is largely the result of your genetics as optimized by steady training over many years. And the longer your race is the less significant this is to performance, even though it wouldn’t hurt to have a high VO2max. Lactate threshold is highly trainable and you should see a steady improvement in your speed or power when you reach this threshold. Economy may be the best determiner of performance of the three. But, as mentioned, we don’t know a whole lot about it and much of what is known to be important is out of your control. The things you do have some measure of control over often take a long time to accomplish (e.g., changing your technique), are difficult to achieve (e.g., lower body weight) or are expensive (e.g., lighter bike).

April 22, 2012

The 2012 Spring Fling Triathlon race report

The 2012 Spring Fling triathlon race report
Sunday 22nd 2012 I competed in the Spring Fling triathlon held in Rio Rancho New Mexico. The race director was Mark Mico of Tri Sport coaching. He’s an AMAZING race director! His races are always organized, have plenty of volunteers, is well marked, the award ceremony is always held promptly, the times are always accurate, and his races have the best plaques I’ve ever seen for a sprint distance race.

I wasn’t expecting to be very competitive today. I’ve gained 10 pounds in the last two weeks, I’d trained hard all week including a 35 mile bike on Friday and an hour long run 16 hours before the race started, but I ended up having a pretty good day.

I finished the 400 meter swim in a surprising time of 6 minutes 35 seconds. I was happy with my swim time because I haven’t been swimming at all since summer 2011.  

My 1st transition was horrible. I raced with a new helmet and I forgot to practice putting it on and off quickly so I lost a good 10 seconds.

I knew I was going to struggle on the bike. I’ve only been able to get in one ride a week outdoors since my wife and kids started school last Aug. The bike was a gut check. I was suffering. I hadn’t hurt on a bikethat bad in a long time. Matt Hall, a fellow competitor who has been racing with me regularly for a couple years and is in my age group passed me on bike. That was the 1st time he’d had a faster bike split than me. Today he wasn’t just a little faster than me, he passed me like he was Lance Armstrong! I finished the 15.5 mile bike in 49 minutes 13 seconds, keeping aprox a 19.9 mph average.

I had a screaming fast 2nd transition, I made up almost half the time on Matt that I’d lost on the bike.

I had a much faster run than I was expecting. I was able to catch Matt about 3/4 of a mile from the transition area, but he picked up the pace when he saw me. We ran side by side for a half mile. I pushed myself hard during the run finishing the 3.2 mile run in 25 minutes even which is a 8 min 2 second per mile average.

I ended up finishing 2nd place in my age group of thirteen 35-39 age group men, and 20th place out of 159 athletes total. I finished high enough in my AG to earn a qualifying spot to the 2012 National triathlon championships. This is the 2nd time in the last 3 races I've qualified. Not bad considering I'm only training for long course triathlons rather than short course right now.

I pulled my left quad during the race. I'm hoping my quad will heal up by the Atomicman duathlon next week. I love the Atomicman duathlon. It's my favorite race of all time. I always try to have a great showing there, but if my quad is still bothering me I may have to just ride and run it nice and easy. A slow finish is always better than a DNF or a DBS! I cant be having no DNS's! That would be unacceptable.

April 16, 2012

Lactate Threshold

I found this article on Joel Friel's old blog. This article is one of three, each article explains 1 of the 3 ways you can improve your fitness in endurance athletics. I'll republish all three articles here on my blog. He hasn't posted on his blog in years, but it's still a great read.

Exercise physiologists generally agree that there are only three things you can improve to become physiologically more fit for endurance sports performance: aerobic capacity, lactate threshold and economy

While aerobic capacity gets a lot of ink in endurance-sport magazines, for the competitive athlete the lactate threshold is what the bulk of the hard training should focus on. Your aerobic capacity isn’t going change a lot if you’ve been training and racing seriously for three or more years. But you may be able to bump your lactate threshold up a lot.

So what is lactate threshold? We need to start with a little biochemistry to understand this measure of intensity.

As your body uses carbohydrate to create energy it creates a by-product inside the working muscle cells called lactic acid. As the intensity of a workout increases this liquid begins to seep out of the muscle cell into the surrounding space and blood stream. In so doing it changes its composition by giving off hydrogen ions. It’s now called lactate. Despite its “bad boy” reputation, lactate is actually a beneficial substance for the body during exercise as it is used to create more energy so that exercise may continue. It’s the hydrogen that is the real bogey man. This is what causes the burning sensation in your muscles and the heavy breathing at high effort levels. Measuring lactate levels in the blood is a convenient way of estimating how much hydrogen is in the body. The more intense the workout, the greater the amount of lactate released into the blood — and the more hydrogen ions interfering with muscle contractions. (By the way, neither lactate or hydrogen ions cause the muscle soreness you may experience the day after a hard workout. That's another of the myths that refuses to die in sport. Some day I will do a post just on such old saws.)

Lactate threshold is sometimes referred to as anaerobic threshold. While sports scientists may argue about the differences between these two terms, for athletes there is little reason for concern. Both are essentially the high intensity at which you begin to “red line.” On a perceived exertion scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) you redline at about 7 or 8. Whatever your heart rate, power or pace is at this moment is your lactate threshold intensity. The higher this is as a percentage of your aerobic capacity the faster you will race, especially in steady-state events such as triathlons or endurance running races. It’s common with fit athletes for their lactate thresholds to fall in the range of 80 to 85 percent of their aerobic capacities.

Most well-conditioned athletes can sustain this level of intensity for about an hour. Because of this there is a new term created by Hunter Allen and Dr. Andrew Coggan, the authors of Training and Racing With a Power Meter, to describe this intensity – functional threshold. This is the average bike power (functional threshold power – FTPw) or running pace (functional threshold pace – FTPa) you can maintain for one hour. Simple.

If you are using heart rate to determine your training zones, your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) is your average heart rate for a one-hour race effort. This is unique to the sport, so your rowing, cross-country skiing, swimming, cycling and running LTHRs are likely to be different. And therefore your heart rate zones will also be unique to each sport.

The body has two ways of improving your lactate threshold as a result of training. It can come to better tolerate the acid and it can also become more effective at removing the acid. As with all aspects of fitness, the way to train your body to tolerate and remove hydrogen ions is by training at your lactate threshold. This, then, is the best marker of training intensity. That’s why I base heart rate zones on it rather than on maximum heart rate.

April 15, 2012

Albuquerque Isotopes public safety day 2012

Today after church the Hanson clan went to our 1st baseball game. We went to watch the Alb Isotopes in Albuquerque. It ended up being one of the best family days we've ever had.
After the game we went home and played catch. Cody can throw like a rocket! Here he is after a great throw with a baseball that Isotopes pitcher Ramon Landestoy Troncoso #18 gave to him. Cody loves that ball. He asked if he could sleep with it tonight. Ramon Troncoso was a very approachable and friendly player, a great ambassador of the sport.After the 6th inning in front of the score board. My daughter is holding "My Girl", her baby doll since she was 9 months old.

On our way to our seats we saw Marge Simpson. Thankfully my babies had no clue who that was.

Here we are buying our tickets (Mommy's taking the pictures).

April 13, 2012

Redman Iron distance triathlon 2012!!!!

My wife is an amazing triathlon spouse, she's a blessing from God. She saw my blog post that I wasn't going to race the Redman triathlon because I was unable to fit all my Ironman training into my schedule, so she adjusted her life and her schedule for me so that I can fit in my long days. Long days being the bread and butter of Ironman triathlon training. So as of now it looks like I'll be training and racing in the 2012 Redman Iron distance triathlon after all. Thank God for my wife. I'm a lucky lucky man.

Great news, I'm back to eating healthy, eating moderately, and eating within my definition of abstinence from destructive over eating. Bad news is I now weigh 190 pounds, I gained 15 pounds in the 6 days that I was off the wagon. Sounds impossible right? Not for me. I ate over 11,000 calories a day during my 6 day binge. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. The math adds up. It's not normal, it ain't pretty, but my eating disorder is a part of who I am. Hiding from it wont change it.

I now have 2 days abstinence. I'm trying not to morn my loss of 460 days of abstaining from destructive eating, I'm trying to be gentle with myself. Beating myself up over my weight gain and loss of control wont do anything but trigger another relapse. Recovery isn't about perfection, it's about progress.

April 10, 2012

Ironman triathlon training

Training for Iron distance triathlons takes A LOT of time. It takes me 30 weeks to build up the speed and endurance needed to compete in an Iron. The training averages about 12 hours per week. It starts low, 6 hours in week one and peaks in week 27 with 20 hours. On Friday of the 27th week I'd do a 6 hour bike ride followed with a 1 hour run with no rest in between, then a 1 hour 30 minute bike followed by a 3 hour run on Saturday.

Because of all the hours I'm working at night and then watching my babies while my wife is at college in the day I've been struggling to fit in the training. I'm only 7 weeks into the Iron training plan and I'm already having to cut rides and runs short consistently. I realized today I've bit off more than I can chew. Trying to train for the Redman while my wife is in school and I'm working 80+ hours a week at the prison is more than I can handle. Starting next week I'll be going back to sprint distance triathlon training.

Even with my busy schedule I should be able to fit in all the training for a sprint triathlon. The training for sprint distance triathlons is much more intense. It has a lot of lactate threshold training, intervals, and hills, but the longest workout I'll have to do during the entire 16 week program is 2 hours, verses a 7.5 hour workout training for an Iron.

Training less will allow me more than the four and a half hours of sleep I've been getting. I think getting more sleep will help me with my eating. I've fallen off the wagon again. I know I could be abstinent from binge eating if I turned it over to God. I'm currently fighting my own self will. I'm hating myself for not being able to stop and not wanting to stop because of the feeling of comfort and soothing I feel when I binge eat. On that note, I've found a possible OA sponsor. If he is able to maintain his abstinence another week and a half he'll start helping me work the 12 steps. I'm excited. He's a believer in Jesus. Tonight he told me something that made me feel much better about my current situation. He said, "Jesus died on the cross so that you don't have to eat yourself to death." Thank God for my salvation and the comfort and solace I can find in Jesus.

April 09, 2012

core strength

We read a lot about core strength training any more, but I’ve found most people really don’t know what it means. Most seem to think it means strong stomach muscles. It goes well beyond that. Core strength could be called “torso” strength. It has to do with small and big muscles from your armpits to your groin. These core muscles stabilize the spine, support the shoulders and hips, drive the arms and legs and transfer force between the arms and legs. It’s very much akin to the foundation of a house.

When a triathlete has poor core strength it may show up in several ways. It’s most obvious in running. Poor core strength is evident in a dropping hip on the side of the recovery leg with the support-leg knee collapsing inward regardless of what the foot may be doing. Especially in running, injury is common when core strength is inadequate.

Excessive pronation is supposed to cause unstable knees and hips. Stable feet should not result in hip drop and medial knee wobble. The difference is core strength. For swimming and cycling it is less obvious. Poor core strength in swimming may result in “fishtailing” – the legs and hips wiggle from to side as the hand and arm “catch” is made. Sometimes this is due to faulty stroke mechanics, so it’s hard to differentiate. But poor stroke mechanics may even result from poor core strength in this case.

In cycling poor core strength can show up as a side-to-side rocking of the shoulders and spine when the pedal is pushed down, even when the saddle is the right height and the rider is not excessively mashing the pedals. This is generally most evident when climbing seated.

There is little doubt, even if it’s not always obvious, that poor core strength results in a loss of power in all three sports.

How do you know if your core strength is adequate? One way is to have a physical therapist do a physical assessment. Find one who works with endurance athletes and tell him or her that you would like a head-to-toe exam to pinpoint weaknesses and imbalances that could reduce performance or lead to injury. And also find out what is recommended to correct any problems found. These fixes may be strengthening exercises, flexibility exercises or postural improvement. This is perhaps the best way of finding out, but there is a cost. The exam generally takes about an hour. I have each of the athletes I coach do this every winter. It’s provides a great start on core strength training.

While quite a bit less effective, another way is to have someone video tape you while running looking for the dropping recovery-side hip shown above. You’re likely to miss the details as for the untrained eye there appears to be little difference in techniques even when the movement faults are gross. Use a treadmill and shoot the video from the back. Tuck your shirt in so you can watch the waistband of your running shorts on the video to see if it dips when the recovery leg swings through. And check the knee of the support leg to see if it is buckling in slightly. You will probably have to view this in slow motion several times to see the unwanted movements if there are any.

If you go the self-help route and determine that you need to improve core strength I’d recommend picking up Core Performance Endurance by Mark Verstegen. This is one of the best books I’ve found on core strength training for endurance athletes.

April 07, 2012

Over a dozen weapons found in NM prison

I found this article on KRQE about my work place. I wonder, are the inmates hoarding shanks because of how much overtime I've been working? If the inmates dont like me there they could just say something, jeesh, talking about over kill! watch the video on KRQE if you get a chance. Just click on the link: Over a dozen weapons found in NM prison

SANTA FE (KRQE) - Guards at a state prison in Santa Fe did a full sweep Wednesday and found more than a dozen shanks after getting a tip that something dangerous was brewing.

Officers normally find three or four shanks a month, but a prison spokeswoman says on March 29th and 30th they did a shakedown after sensing a gang fight was simmering. That's when they found the weapons.

Officers say some of the inmates not only figured out how to make and hide weapons, but how those weapons can do the most damage.
"what they'll do is they'll put feces on them and whenever it punctures the skin, you know the feces carries diseases so you're not only getting stabbed, you're also getting diseases and infection," said Corrections Captain Joe Lytle.

The pen is home to one of the worst prison riots in U.S. History.

In 1980, inmates took it over, held a dozen officers hostage and brutalized some of them. When it was over 33 inmates were dead.

April 05, 2012

lessons on money and life

In September 2011 my wife and I realized God wanted us to get our finances in order. He told us He wanted us to live the way it says in the bible: without debt. Since December we've paid off $24,000 in debt. Yesterday we started step 3 of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. We are very glad to have gotten this far. We now need $10,300 to complete 3.

Since December I've worked no less than 84 hour work weeks. There were times I was so tired from all the overtime and lack of sleep that I felt like a zombie. The only thing that kept me going was the amazing love and support of my God, my wife, and constant prayer. When I'd get into a slump, when I felt I couldn't stay awake another moment I'd take a few minutes to ask for strength and endurance, and to thank God for all He'd done to help me get that far. My wife and my God have carried me through the rough times. And now we're closer than I've ever dreamed we'd be to financial peace!

When God wants me to learn a lesson, He puts me into a situation where I am forced to learn. I don't always like the lesson and I don't always like being taught. I realize God is trying to get through to me. I've been trying to figure out the lesson He's trying to teach me because I'd prefer the lesson to not get any more severe. I've been struggling with my eating disorder a lot recently. A couple weeks ago I fell off the wagon and lost 460 days of abstaining from destructive binge eating. In four and a half days of binge eating my weight shot up from 175 to 202 pounds. This is a common and dangerous problem of mine when I binge eat. A persons kidneys controls their salt and hydration as well as function as a filter. I was eating so much I was overwhelming my kidneys. It wasn't until yesterday that I realized what I've been doing wrong. I became so focused on working and paying off our debt that I gave myself permission to stop going to over eater anonymous meetings, I stopped working the 12 steps, and I stopped calling my sponsor. I'm a addict. I'll always be an addict. On page 33 of the big book it says:

"Most of us have believed if we remained abstinent for a long stretch, we could there after eat normally....once a compulsive over eater always a compulsive over eater. If we are planning to stop destructive eating, there must be no lurking notion that someday we will be immune to food."

I've learned on multiple occasions that when I don't think my compulsive binge eating is a problem, it comes back with a vengeance. I have to realize I'll never be a normal eater. I have to continue working the program & keeping in mind that I am & always will be an addict. I need to take steps daily to keep my addiction in check. I have to follow a food plan, avoid sugar, NEVER eat at buffets, and most importantly I need to walk with God or I will relapse!

Today I've realized I need to continue to work hard on finishing the plan we have addopted from The Total Money Makeover, but I also need to continue staying healthy and working on my problems with food. Today I'm calling my sponsor. I'm going to ask if he's willing to sponsor me again. I'm going to start working the 12 steps again.

This week is the 1st time I've written openly about my eating disorder on my blog. I'm still a little apprehensive and embarrassed to write about my struggles with food and binge eating, but I'm tired of hiding who I am. I'm tired of fighting this addiction alone. "It doesn't take a real man to fight. It takes a real man to reach out his hand."

I'm hoping that others who are struggling with addictions can find some strength and knowledge from my blog by reading about my progress and recovery. Who knows, I might even find some encouragement and support of my own along the way.

April 03, 2012

the Tri Raider sprint triathlon 2012

I just registered for the Tri Raider sprint distance triathlon. I cant wait! I've been wanting to compete in that race for awhile. The Tri Raider is held on the same day and the same course as the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 so it'll have all the excitement and swag of the 70.3 without the 110 degree 13.1 mile run! I'll be sticking around to watch one of my favorite athletes Amanda Lovato finish the 70.3. She usually finishes that race in the top 3 females over all at the BSLT.

On top of racing that weekend at a great venue I'll have a full 10 days off from work! Happy days!

April 01, 2012

Mesa Valley triathlon 2012 race report

Sunday April 1st 2012 the Mesa Valley triathlon was held in Las Cruces NM. It's a fast and fun course. The race director is Mark Mico of Tri Sport Coaching. He puts on the best races in the South West. The courses are always well marked, the results are posted very quickly, and the age group awards are top notch wooden plaques.
The Mesa Valley triathlon was my 79th multi sport race, and my 62nd triathlon.

I've never struggled with my eating the morning of a race before. Race mornings I've always ate perfectly, being totally focused on the race at hand. The morning of the Mesa Valley triathlon 2012 was the first time I'd ever binge ate before a triathlon. While warming up for the race my belly was uncomfortably full. I was afraid having ate as much as I did I'd struggle with stomach cramps during the race, but thankfully once the race started my body seemed to have no problems at all. I've been struggling with my eating disorder horribly in the past month, I haven't struggled this much in a couple years. I'm not sure what the reason has been. Somethings going on and if I don't figure it out I'm going to be back into the 290 pound range in no time.

I finished the triathlon in 1 hour 10 minutes 45 seconds taking 25th place out of 152 triathletes overall, and 2nd place in my age group of 14. I broke my previous Mesa Valley triathlon PR of 1 hour 23 minutes 10 seconds by 13 minutes! Considering I didn't train much in the off season, had gained 11 pounds in late March, separated my shoulder in a bike wreck last week, was unable to raise my right arm above shoulder height without a lot of pain, and was racing with about 10 pounds of extra food in my stomach I was very happy with my results.

I think God was watching out for me race morning. I was struggling with my addiction. My addiction has proven time and time again to be more powerful than my strongest will power and more cunning than my best laid out plan, and when it made it's unwelcome appearance in the worst possible time God stepped in on my behalf. My eating disorder may be to much for me to bear, but it's nothing for God to handle. That morning it was as if He was saying to me, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

"I'm listening God, I really am."

My next race will be the Spring Fling triathlon in Rio Rancho NM on April 22nd 2012. It will be my 3rd race of the South West Challenge Series. I currently have 19 points and am in 1st place in the 35-39 age group division.