Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 16 Update: September 29th, 2013

Week 16 Update: Sep 29, 2013

Had a good week - not great but good enough to keep the ball rolling. Between work and fatigue, I found it difficult to fit in some workouts as planned so I had to do a bit of shifting around. Here are some of the highs and lows from the week:

  • Life was a bit more hectic this week and probably affected my recovery (see notes about Monday and Tuesday below).
  • I started and finished a great book that provided many details about climbing Everest via the North Col. The book really got me excited about the climb and gave me a better perspective on what lies ahead for me. EDIT: Thanks to Dan Busher, I now have a link and title for the book. Here is the link.. and the title is The Chomolungma Diaries: What a commercial Everest expedition is really like (Footsteps on the Mountain travel diaries) by Mark Horrell. If you have any interest in climbing or want to know more about what I plan to do in April, I highly recommend you read his book.

Workout Progress

I progressed from 20 minute runs last week to 24 minute runs this week and felt great. My running finally feels comfortable - the few weeks I took off due to injury set me back a bit. I keep telling myself that I am training to run. My training should help me walk or rather climb with crampons and mountaineering boots. Running and cycling just help me with leg strength. As long as I keep that goal in mind, I will remain injury free. Nevertheless, I sure love running and it felt great to be back on the proverbial horse.

plot of chunk WeekEx

I am not convinced that loading up Friday through Monday is the best plan. The schedule fits with my work schedule but Wendesdays seem too far away on Sunday evening. Perhaps I will start folding in some hypoxic training to reduce the workload and save me from overtraining.

plot of chunk DailyWL

Yo! 257 hours and counting; 3 more weeks I will be at 309.5 hours. I am slowly climbing the hill below.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

Once again, the early part of the week was rough but the latter half more than made up for that first half. Here are my daily notes that provide more details about how miserable I felt.

  • Monday was packed with meetings. I met some colleagues downtown (DC) to discuss some mutual research interests in extreme environments. We had a great meeting but traveling downtown almost doubles the meeting time. Each one of these meetings makes me really appreciate google hangouts. In spite of the great meeting, I was exhausted during my workouts and missed my scheduled swim. Rats!
  • If Monday was poor, Tuesday added a new dimension to bad days. I was beat. Instead of scrapping the entire day, I lifted, ran, and then went through the motions during swim practice. The past few weeks of Tuesday evening swim practice have not been kind. I think the 6 consecutive days of training just thrash me physically and mentally. By Tuesday evening, I am ready for a break. On the positive side, I decided to make the most of the workout by focusing on my stroke technique. Kathy keeps me motivated and reminds me of these training options. It is great to have a wonderful wife.
  • On Wednesday, I was still tired. Thankfully it was a rest day.
  • Thursday, I was ready to train. It was a great day and I made the most of my workouts.
  • Friday felt like a bad dream. My son had morning swim practice. When I say morning, I mean morning for England. I awoke on Friday morning at 3:30am without an alarm and could not get back to sleep. He had to be at practice at 4:30am so I got up and worked until I had to wake him. I was a walking zombie the rest of the day. It was a poor training day and I could barely concentrate throughout my afternoon of meetings.
  • Saturday, I rejoined the living after sleeping almost 10 hours the night before. What a relief to feel normal again. I trained all day and enjoyed every minute of it. Oh, I also watched my beloved Notre Dame get beaten down by Oklahoma. The best part of it all - if there is even a good part to mention - is that I worked out the entire game. Without the workouts, I would have felt like the afternoon was a waste.


The figure below does not accurately capture how crappy I felt for most of this week. Fatigue increased slightly in the figure but as I said previously, I was whooped for most of the week. For the first time in a long time, I felt almost totally unmotivated to train. Sleep deprivation on Thursday evening did not help matters much.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

Kathy and I decided to ramp up our sleeping altitude. We began the week at 9000 feet and slowly increased the altitude by 500 feet each night. The amazing thing is that we both felt tired in the morning but our spO2 and resting HR were no different throughout the week. Later in the day, I think we still felt the effects but the biometric data did not reflect anything unusual. Strange. I also started IHT every evening. These training sessions along with the increased sleep altitude probably taxed me a bit more than usual.

The figure below shows a rather sharp decline in sleep quality along with an increase in my resting HR. The two are probably due to the lousy night sleep AND my increased hypoxic training/sleeping this week. I intend to monitor these closely to ensure I am not overdoing the sleep training. The optimal altitude appears to be between 8,000 and 10,000 feet but I figured a little change in our sleep altitude might help us fully adjust to the lower altitude. Perhaps a quick consultation with Brian Oestrike might straighten me out.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

  1. Yep, still using restwise. Friday morning really threw me off. I woke up with a spO2 of 87 and a resting heart rate almost 10 beats higher than usual (57). Sleep deprivation really affects the restwise algorithm.
  2. I started IHT. Started at 30 minutes the first night and slowly increased it to an hour. I no longer feel the tingling sensation in my fingers and toes. Perhaps I am finally acclimating to 20,000 feet.