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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8th, 2014: I'm going climbing...soon.


The past week went by without much to note other than one major change - I get to climb soon.  Yeah!  We made plans to go to Portland, OR for Thanksgiving.  While there, I intend to take a day or so and climb Rainier.  The climb should give me some immediate feedback about my training preparation for Argentina.  I want to do a one-day push to the summit and see if I can sustain the effort.  The climb will be light and fast - alpine style.  If I can swing it, I want to bring my son but not if he prefers to spend more time with his cousins.  Kathy said she plans to spend her limited time with her family; thus, I might be on my own.  Here are a few other updates...

1.  Sleeping with my new mask.  Kathy continues to battle some bug while she prepares for her last triathlon of the 2014 season.  Her continued battle means that my acclimatization routine shifts from the tent to the mask.  My new mask is actually quite comfortable.  I wouldn't call it true comfort but it is not as bad as sleeping with the exercise mask.  Here is the mask in action:

Yep, I look a little weird but hey, I'm sleeping.  Who is gonna notice my strange looks other than my wife (who knows all my quirks already).

2.  Working on acclimatization index.  Many of you know that my work focuses on measurement.  I'm sure you all got the hints from my previous blog posts with countless figures showing my progress.  I wanted to figure out how well I was progressing with my training - particularly my acclimatization to different oxygen levels.  The progression needed to be expressed in terms of oxygen level (the predictor) with spO2, HR, and power (in Watts) as the outcome.  Some combination of the three outcome measures ought to communicate the extent to which I can accommodate the hypoxic stress.  Here is what I have come up with so far.  Feel free to comment on the blog if you have any other ideas.

As oxygen levels decrease from 20.9% (normoxia at sea-level), I should see a decrease in spO2 and power along with an increase in HR.  Thus, oxygen level is directly proportional to the two former and inversely proportional to HR:

O2% : spO2 + power + 1/HR

The additivity of these three components, however, is not clear to me and certainly not clear in the literature.  If I simply add them then the more variable components will be far more influential than the others.  Consider the simple problem of figuring out BMI (wt in kg / height in (squared)).  If your height does not change then all changes in BMI are attributable to only your changes in weight.   Thus, I need to weigh these three components in a logical way that does not favor one over the others - unless, of course, I wish to weight them unevenly.

Expect a full post on this topic shortly.

3. more training.  I keep on training with the hope of being stronger this year than last year.  Last year's preparation was not terrible but I think I could gain a bit in fitness and, in particular, fitness at altitude.  Why not? Push harder and stay healthy seems like a good plan.  Preparation for a climb is one thing I can control.  Each day of the week offers me a different amount of freedom to train.  Here is what my cumulative weeks look like since I began training again in June 2014:

Each week during this second phase, I started increasing my training altitude (staring at 10,000 ft or 3050 m and slowly moving up to 20,250 feet or 6170 m)  So far, I logged 341 hours and expect to have almost 1000 hours before I push off for Nepal in early May.  Here is where I am in the process:

4.  Fat is where its at.  Despite all the training, I successfully maintained my weight at 175 lbs (79.4 kg) and intend to stay at that weight for the duration of my training.  Last year I struggled to get my weight back up after I lost a ton during my intense training.  I learned from my mistakes and decided to back off the intensity a bit and focus more on hypoxic training earlier to reduce the intensity of my workouts.  The net result of this change is that I am equally fit but now I maintain a little expendable weight that I am sure to shed during the first week at high altitude.  Beer and chips are now a staple in my daily diet.

That is about it.  More news to come shortly as I prepare for my climb on Rainier and then onto Aconcagua.  See you soon and thanks for following.