Saturday, November 2, 2013

Week 21 Update: November 2nd, 2013 - Feeling crappy and resting up for future gains....

Week 21 Update: Nov 02, 2013

Crash and burn! I'm just recovering from two days laid up with a nasty sinus infection. Had no desire to workout, eat, or work but opted to work due to deadlines. My head was pounding and I hope I was reasonably cordial to my colleagues. If not, I apologize via my blog and will do so in person next week. At any rate, here are some low…er…highlights from the past week:

  • Took Thursday and Friday off from working out. What did I miss? Not much. I skipped to lifting days, a swim practice, and two relatively short runs. The rest of what I missed consisted of very brief warm-up, warm-down sessions on the elliptical and bike - nothing to sweat about missing. Actually, none of these workouts were terribly consequential. I am in good enough shape now and just need to round out this 15-week cycle in good health. Two days off means I can rejoin the living feeling human again.
  • Running feels great. Yep, the increased variability in my runs means I am running harder, faster, and more confidently on my hard days and taking it easy on my easy days. My lactate threshold session last week helped me set my heart rate thresholds so that they are more appropriate for my current fitness level. I relied on old data for my previous runs and that old data resulted in much lower intensity runs for my hard days. Since I wasn't feeling terribly worked on those hard days, I did not take my easy days easy enough. Thus, I started my week with greater variability in my runs and I now recover faster from the running workouts - far faster than in previous weeks. Perhaps I am finally getting into running shape.
  • Started mapping my runs and outdoor activities with Strava. I'm not sure I like it all that much but it does provide a bit more detail than simply relying on google maps for distance. One main advantage of Strava compared to google maps is the elevation gain information. I could get that information from google earth but that might be more of a pain than it is worth. At any rate, Strava is my new toy.
  • Speaking of toys, I was very happy to see that restwise - the program that helps me determine if I am recovering - gave me a huge red flag on Thursday. Actually, I was not happy that I felt so horrible but it was nice to have confirmation that a day off was necessary to recover. Friday, however, was a different story. Restwise indicated that I was good to go (80% recovered) but I felt so lousy that even after 13 hours of sleep, I still had no desire to train. I ignored Restwise on Friday and skipped another day just to be sure I shook off this bug.

Workout Progress

The figure below sums up my week perfectly. All was going well - actually not that well - until Wednesday when I felt an elephant sitting on my head. That elephant is still there but he lost a bit of weight. I had a crappy day swimming on Sunday at a sprint meet. For those of you who do not know me well, I am no sprinter. I have no fast twitch muscle fibers in my entire body - including my eyelids. Just ask my wife. She knows what a slow blink I have and can attest to my lack of speed. Well, Sunday's meet just further confirmed that I am no sprinter. After Sunday, the week started getting progressively worse for workouts. I swam on Tuesday night but hardly felt like being there. Wednesday couldn't come soon enough. Well, Wednesday came and along with it came my sinus infection. So there I was laid up on Wednesday, my day off, with nothing to do but drink tea, moan about my aching head, and work. I cannot say I was terribly productive. Actually, I could say it but it would be a lie. I was marginally productive but productive enough to get the major things off my desk.

plot of chunk WeekEx

I backed off last week. This week, I dropped off. Good thing I took a few days to recover. I am afraid of what might have been had I not taken the time off. The figure below shows clearly that this week was a flat line at 0 from Wednesday through Friday. Oh well. Now, on the positive side, I have no plans for making up lost workouts. I know better than to try that trick again. Today, I have 5 hours on my plate but the training is relatively easy and I plan to do at least 1.5 hours of sedentary IHT.

plot of chunk DailyWL

The more I look at the following figure, the more I like it. I can now see a little daylight between the planned workouts and my completed workouts. All told, I am about 10 hours and 40 minutes shy of my planned total. That deficit is equivalent to about 3% I missed due to injury or illness. Those hours are lost and I have no illusions or delusions of making them up.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

I won the sleep battle this week but lost the war. Yes, I avoided having to get up at the crack of dawn to get Patrick to swim practice but I still managed to get sick. There is no justice! How did I avoid the early wake-up? Well, it was not easy. I had to move my schedule around to get him to afternoon practice and then I had to convince him to take a day off on Friday before his weekend, two-day swim meet. He reluctantly agreed to take the day off so I was free to sleep in until 6am…..and avoid that dreadful 4am wakeup.


More rest did not equal better mood. I was an irritable, grouchy, tired, sick, and frustrated dude. Sunday's swim meet started my downward spiral into negativity and fatigue. I just couldn't shake it. To say I was tired was an understatement. I slept 13 hours or more 3 times this week and yet I still felt fatigued. It wasn't until Wednesday that I discovered the source of my fatigue - sinus infection. I get them from time to time but held them off for a while by changing my diet and eating better. The last few months, my diet started to shift to whatever I could stomach and whatever I could grab on second's notice. Yep, my diet deteriorated and so, it seems, did my health.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

I started back on IHT throughout the week - except on Thursday and Friday. Those two days were just washes. I did nothing to prepare for Everest other than recover - perhaps that might be the best preparation I have done to date. I even slept for two nights without the tent. Those nights were not necessarily better but I figured that a few nights at sea level might help me recover from my sinus infection quicker than I would recover at 9,000 feet. I will never know if that were true because I skipped those days and still feel pretty lousy. On the bright side, I am on the mend and feel like I am regaining my energy.

One thing worth noting is the bedroom temperature. I checked the temperature every morning - just like I do when I am in the tent - and the temperature is roughly the same in our bedroom when we do not sleep in the tent. Perhaps Kathy and I are just full of hot gas. I will stop there; no need to elaborate any further.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

I decided not to write this week's post while doing IHT. Last week's experiment ended with me typing some gibberish at the end and not even knowing that I had so many typos. Sheesh! We just returned from my son's Saturday morning swim meet session and I am about to embark on my 4 hours of training. I knocked off the hour-long run between my son's swims so I feel ready to workout again. A nap is definitely in my plans today. Here are a few noteworthy points in closing…
1. I have many thanks to offer but cannot seem to recall much in my current fog. My next post will contain only thanks.
2. Due to the daily mood fluctuations throughout the week and events that color one day but soon disappear from my memory, I decided to keep a thought log. I created a google script that texts, emails, and calls me at random times throughout the day to complete a simple google form. The data entry takes only a few seconds and offers me a glimpse at my week without having to struggle to recall what happened during the prior 6 days. Expect more details in the upcoming weekly posts because I will have them stored for easier retrieval. (Oh, yes, I am a geek.)
3. I am almost done with my hypoxic grant proposal. More on that later. The important part of this grant proposal is that I learned a ton trying to explain why pulmonary functioning matters. Remember that long-promised and never delivered blog post? Well, it lives! The life of that blog post continues and it continued to bear fruit as it served as the basis for a grant proposal. With a little luck and some support from a few outstanding researchers, I might get some funding for all this work. Again, stay tuned for more on this topic in upcoming posts.
4. Hope you are enjoying the “what does a typical Everest expedition look like?” series. I have almost all of the posts done and could not have completed them without the assistance of Mark Horrell and Alan Arnette. Mark wrote a fantastic book on climbing Everest from the Tibet side. I emailed him to say thanks and hope he takes the time to read my blog and my continued support of his great book and blog. Thanks Mark. Also, a huge thanks goes to Alan Arnette. Alan is a superb chronicler of Everest expeditions. He adds flavor and color to the routine statistics provided by most other sites. Do yourself a favor and go visit Alan's blog. Hey, while you are at it, visit Mark's site as well.

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