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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 22 Update: November 12th, 2013 - finally getting off the couch and charging back into action

Week 22 Update: Nov 12, 2013


Life got in the way of everything last week. I worked out after I finally started feeling better only to find myself slowly slipping back into misery. This darn chest cold will not go away. I even took 3 days off from tent sleeping and still managed to cough myself to sleep every night.


Workout Progress


I was all over the place last week. My swimming is starting to wane now that I am focusing more on my legs and the final touches on my base conditioning. Once I finish with this 15-week cycle, I intend to ramp up to a bigger day each week and maybe even cut back to a 5-day training week. At this point, I am experimenting with distances and hypoxic training. More on that later. The up and down week was largely due to fatigue and sickness but all my recovery indicators said I was OK.


plot of chunk WeekEx


Another off week for some training, however, I hit my goal of 19.5 total hours. I continue to train in my zone 2 to establish as much cardio base as possible before I begin my hypoxic training in earnest.


plot of chunk DailyWL


Nearing the end of Phase 2 and fast-approaching a full week off. I believe I will take the entire week off - no training at all and just pure relaxation. Yeah right. I have so much work to do before I start increasing my workout time that I better get these things off my plate during my off week. Since starting, I cannot recall a week I had no workouts. Might be a nice break. At any rate, I eclipsed 350 hours (now at 366.5) and plan to be over the 450 hour mark by the time I rest in 4 weeks. Come meet me at the Auld Shebeen for a pint during my week off. If you show up, I will buy the beer.


plot of chunk CumWL


Weekly Summary


No more 4am wakeups! We talked Patrick out of morning swim practice sessions save for last Friday. Kathy stepped up and drove him. I wonder if anyone would object to an unlicensed driver (age 14) driving himself to practice at 4am. Heck, nobody is on the road at that hour. What harm could possibly come from that adventure? Just kidding folks although the thought occurred to me the other morning.


Mood


I am finally started to turn the corner. Last week was tough but I knew I was getting better. Skipping out early on Thursday's swim practice and swimming easy on Saturday helped me recover a bit. I did attend two practices but I just swam for fun, coughed my lungs clean (sorry Stu, Elaina, and Bob), and recovered from a few longer days of running and indoor leg work. All in all, I was pretty happy with the week - particularly after the miserable week I experienced the previous week. Life on the mend feels great!


plot of chunk Mood


Hypoxic Training


Kathy and I skipped sleeping the tent for a few nights. She was starting to feel crappy and I was just coming out of my rough patch. The few nights of sea-level oxygen felt great and I think those nights helped me shake off this bug. I recall - albeit a somewhat fuzzy memory - that Brian Oestrike recommended I take a few days off if I am trying to recover. Kathy might be the best person to keep me from pressing too hard forward. She was the sane one last week and I give her all the credit.


plot of chunk Hypoxia


Updates for the week


Back on track and feeling great today. I skipped swim practice tonight because I am concerned about getting another ear infection or rather not recovering from this one. Had a great visit with my brother in Baltimore on Sunday. He was here for a conference and invited me to the conference to meet some colleagues and chat about climbing. I enjoyed hanging out with him and meeting his fellow docs. Thanks to Sean (my brother), I got a new peak flow meter with some pretty awesome software. The term “pretty awesome” is a technical term, of course, and should be used in accord with any newfangled device. I intend to post more stats on my breathing or, perhaps more accurately, the lack of my breathing over the next few weeks. Here are a few other noteworthy events from last week and things I look forward to in the upcoming weeks.
1. I am almost done with my multi-post response to “what does a typical Everest expedition look like?” question. The research and reading I did to cobble together the long-winded response really helped me visualize every step of the prorcess; hope you found it helpful. One thing that dawned on me while writing the posts was how that research mimics my own work in data analysis. You see, data analysts and statisticians work on two sources of data - expected and observed. The posts I cobbled together gave me an opportunity to fully flesh out what might be expected. While on my trip, I intend to post about what I observed and, upon my return, I can describe what differs (i.e., the residual for those of you who know/like/tolerate/understand statistics). Maybe those differences or residuals might help add more color than just a raw recount of the adventure. Who knows but it sure sounds like a novel approach.
2. Every so often, I feel so exhausted that I do not want to workout, work, sleep, eat, or do much of anything at all. That experience is rare but when I was feeling my lowest a week or so ago, I remembered how hard mountaineering is and what sacrifices a person must make to reach the summit. I read through several mountaineering books to boost my spirits and found that those accounts by Ed Viesturs, Steve House, Fred Beckey, Nick Heil, and Mark Horrell really picked me up. Thanks to those authors, I found my drive and kept pressing forward. Training to climb can be more challenging than climbing. I prefer being outdoors and living in Fairfax just eliminates most outdoor training without long drives in traffic.

3. I plan to add more thanks to those who continue to support me. The most obvious one this week is to my brother Sean who took off an entire day from a busy meeting to hang out with me, enjoy a beer, and support me on my quest to get better. Sean, you rock and your support really helps. Thanks dude. Thanks also to my students who are enjoying great success - with and without my help. Those students include


  • Julius Najab who is on the cusp of finishing his Ph.D.
  • Simone Erchov who is managing a load of tasks and still getting things done
  • Dan Blalock who always seems refreshed and ready for more
  • Jessica Yarbro who amazes us all with her writing and clear thinking
  • Sam Montfort who is one of these sneaky productive guys that just gets things done
  • Fallon Goodman who constantly strives to get better even though she is already pretty awesome
  • Kevin Young who remains the most positive guy through thick and thin
  • Lisa Alexander who rebounded after childbirth to get back into the fray after only 2 weeks off…after her first two months in a new doctoral program
  • Jake Quartuccio who dreams big and rises to those dreams every day
  • John Graybeal who presses forward with more irons in the fire than I could handle at his age…

None of my current efforts would be possible without their dedicated efforts and fantastic self-reliance. I appreciate you all every day. Oh, thanks is well overdue to my colleague and friend Todd Kashdan. Without Todd, I am only half a scientist. Todd is my other brother and I look forward to many years of productive work. Of course, Todd needs to come out climbing with me but his injuries and young family keep him at home more than either of us prefer. Thank you all for the great support….and sorry for being grumpy the last two weeks.