Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weeks 41-44 Update: A whole month goes by without much sweating

Weeks 41-44 Update: Apr 05, 2014 for the week beginning on March 16th, 2014

I sit here at my desk for the last update from home. Perusing the data from all the previous weeks, I feel confident that I am prepared. The past month presented more challenges than I ever imagined. Here are some of the highlights…

  • Sick and tired of being sick and tired: The past month seemed like it was more a matter of me shaking off one cold to only feel the onset of another. I think the stress of work and training finally caught up to me. Additionally, the hypoxic training and sleeping probably suppressed my immune response.
  • Training took a back seat to weight gain and getting healthy: I think I licked this one. My training base was sufficient for me to stop. There were only diminishing returns avaialble and I wanted to make sure I left injury free and well-rested for what lies ahead. The weight gain was slow and I am not sure I could qualify it as steady. I lost some upper-body muscle mass and gained a little fat - a swap that will do we well on the hill. The upper body is next to useless and the fat will be burned off in a matter of days.
  • The support I received throughout the last month has been overwhelming. Thank you all for your kind words and continued questions about the climb. Keep 'em coming!

Workout Progress

No training to speak of so I will move on. The figure below represents a month of training. Sheesh!

plot of chunk WeekEx

Finally getting fatter but not really fat. Oh well. The time off was good for my overall productivity. Can't wait to climb!

plot of chunk DailyWL

Not much working out…but a ton of eating.

plot of chunk DailyWL2

Whew! Falling off that trajectory now.

plot of chunk CumWL

Monthly (not Weekly this time) Summary

Last month presented some challenges. I recognized that I am not able to handle much stress and boy did the stress pile on. There were days that I had every minute scheduled and I ran from one thing to the next. A life like that ain't worth much. But, that stress seems like a thing of the past. I can now focus on my climb. So here goes with the final update…


The lack of training and refocus on gaining weight made me pretty lethargic. I lacked the energy during the day and the fatigue at night to sleep well. Additionally, the hypoxic tent - especially sleeping alone - made for a pretty miserable situation. I pushed on but I could not wait for that period to end. Despite all these negatives, I remained upbeat, motivated, and productive.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

I really ramped up the hypoxic sleeping - peaking (no pun intended) at the equivalent of 20,250 feet. To call sleeping at that altitude sleep is a bit of a stretch. I did manage one training session for an hour at 20,000 feet and one swim session at sea-level. Both were good sessions and I realized how much I missed working out. My focus, however, was on getting well and gaining some mass.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Recovery (Restwise Data)

plot of chunk RestwiseData

Updates for the week

Wow, almost too much to report here. You saw my previous posts about packing. I'm almost packed. I have so many people to thank and I fear I have little time to do so adequately. Let me focus on those closest to me for this post. I will thank each and every one of you in future posts. Today, it seems fitting that I thank those who really made all of this happen - my family.

Thanks to my lovely wife who supported me throughout all of this crazy preparation. She not only supported me but she defended me and accompanied me throughout the journey. I know of few of people who would devote themselves to their spouse like Kathy did for me. She slept in a hot tent for crying out loud; what more could you ask? Kathy also remained supportive and inquisitive all throughout. I received countless packages of stuff relevant to my climb. She never said a word. I littered the house with my climbing gear (and sailing gear) and she patiently side-stepped it all. She picked up the slack when I slacked. She offered her help when she knew I needed it. I cannot begin to even scratch the surface of how grateful I am to her and her support. Thinking of her almost brings tears to my eyes. Yeah, those are not tears…I think I got something in one. Hold on. OK, I'm back. All is well. I love my wife. She is the best. That is all there is to say nor needs to be said.

Thanks to my son; the other person who quietly supported me throughout this long process. He might be embarrassed if I write too much here so let me just say that I love him and respect him for his individualistic approach to life. Without his support over the past few months, I think this whole process would have been much more difficult. Patrick responded to every request - even some unusal requests. He often went out for runs with me even though he didn't feel like running or didn't feel like braving the elements. I love my boy and can't wait to regale him with tales of adventure. Sorry Patrick if I embarrased you.

Thanks to my brother Sean for all his help - both professionally, personally, and financially. Sean has always supported me in whatever I chose to do. He was the first to offer me support in triathlons. He bought me countless toys to help me achieve my goals. He patiently waited for me to update him on anything; often waiting well past the point where I would been patient. Sean, you are the best brother anyone could ever wish to have and there are times when I doubt I deserve you. Thanks for your continued support.

Finally, thanks to my dad who has always supported me in his own way. Most of his support comes from modeling the behaviors I have today. He was and is an adventurer - true and true to the end. I know of few fathers who would take their kids out on sailing adventures (hurricanes, squalls, extreme races - you name it, we did it), let those kids sail by themselves at a relatively young age (12 and 13) off-shore (!) and never lose a wink of sleep. My dad just trusted us. Not sure why he trusted us but I think his trust enabled both of us (Sean and me) to develop into the self-reliant and rugged individuals we are today. My dad raised us to be the way we are and I admire that in him. He continues to support me to this day. One story might add the appropriate color to this tribute so bear with me….

In 1991, I decided to do the Ironman in Canada. The Hawaiian Ironman is the race that garners all the attention but the Canadian Ironman was more suitable for me and my strengths. I hate the heat so Hawaii is not a good place for a cold-loving dude like me to race. At any rate, I told my dad about my race and he said the usual things like…“great” and “good luck.” Little did I know that he made plans to come out and support me during my race. I recall him keeping at a comfortable distance while I grumpily assembled all my racing gear. He jogged with me during the marathon. After the race, all I wanted was a large order of french fries. Each of these points, he was there to support me. Never did he question me or correct me (a McKnight specialty) regardless of how silly I behaved.

My dad supported me throughout this preparation even though he was the one who needed support. I don't want to go into those details now but suffice it to say that a young 77 year old man (my dad) offered me support through the most trying times of his life. OK, I need a break. More stuff in my eyes.

For those of you out there who do not know me or my family, I have just one request - please support the charities I list on my blog. My entire family benefitted and continues to benefit from the Johns Hopkins pancreatic cancer research and treatment group and the Olivia Constants Foundation. These charities are about hope and they give me the resolve and purpose to climb.

Thanks for following me to this point. My next updates will be more picturesque. It is now 6am. I slept for 3 hours last night and I am just about packed. Flight departure: T minus 16 hours and counting…..

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