Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 7 Update: July 30th, 2013

Week 7 Update: Jul 30, 2013

All hail the thermostat! I reduced the house temperature to a chilly 65 degrees and the temperature in the tent finally got to a reasonably level. Yes, the fans helped but not as much as cooling the entire house down. In the near future, Kathy and I will be sleeping in our newly renovated basement where the temperature always remains about 65 degrees - cold for most but probably just right for our tent. Here are a few other things I learned this week…

  • Fatigue might be my friend but sharp pains in my foot are not! I skipped running during the latter part of the week and intend to eliminate running for the next few weeks until my foot and ankle fully heal.
  • Breathing seems to be more of a problem these days - not just for me but for Kathy too. We both struggle to catch our breath early in our workouts but after sufficient warm-up, we regain our breath and perform really well.
  • Battling some virus takes its toll.

Workout Progress

As I said last week, I planned three tough days and were they tough! Six days ago I posted my mid-week update where I detailed some of my trials for those days. Well, I heeded some wise advice and decreased both my workload and intensity to try to recover. I still felt a bit tired but no longer had an aching foot.

plot of chunk WeekEx

I did taper off my workouts but the figure below does not really show the reduction in intensity. Most of my workouts were just aerobic conditioning with nothing more intense than about 65% of my VOmax. It was amazing how rejuvinated I felt after those low-intensity workouts. Strange, huh?

plot of chunk DailyWL

My total hours are slowly creeping up. I am not at 115 hours since I started my blog and I figure, at the rate I am going and including several rest weeks, I should eclipse 200 hours in about 6 weeks. That 200 hour milestone will be ¼ of the way!

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

I logged 21 hours last week. Whew! Yep, now I have a half-time job. I carried over some of Monday's workload to Thursday and I found that it was not bad. In the future weeks, I might try distributing the workload evenly throughout the week to see if the front-loaded week is truly a good thing. Consider this…

21 hours of working out spread over 6 days comes out to 3.5 hours per day. Last week, I put in three days over that total (4.25 hours on Monday and Thursday and 4.75 hours on Tuesday); the other three days were lighter (3, 2.75, and 2 on Monday, Friday and Saturday, respectively). I sure look forward to the lighter days after I load up on three consecutive days of 4+ hours of training. Unfortunately, climbing often requires 10-12 hour days but there is no need to train for the same number of hours. I always manage to muster the strength for those extra hours when climbing. While at home, I need to work and see my family.


I'm starting to hit my stride now. My productivity lagged a bit after I started sleeping in the tent. I am not sure why but I found it hard to concentrate for very long - perhaps due to the hypoxia but I think it was equally attributable to the steadily increasing workloads. Now I feel like every day is getting more productive than the previous. My foot injury along with the dip in my spO2 last week got me down a bit but I rebounded and am ready for more (just not more running for now).

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

Last week was my first real setback. As I posted in my mid-week update, I had my lowest reading since I began sleeping in the tent. The 88% spO2 was a shocker to say the least. I immediately consulted my support team and they advised me to skip the tent or drop down to a lower level for at least a day or two. I skipped the tent on Tuesday night and all my vitals returned to normal the next day and the following day when I returned to 9000 feet (95% spO2 and a resting HR of 56 - still relatively high). The rest of my readings that week were much better with all spO2 levels at 93% or higher and my resting HR returned to normal at 43-45. A slight bump in the road was met with common sense and wise counsel.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

Here are my updates for this week and a slight outlook for the upcoming weeks:

  1. Our electricity bill will likely go through the roof now that I discovered that only arctic temperatures in our house sufficiently cool our tent. I plan to test some other options rather than chill the house to 65 degrees every night. Any suggestions?
  2. Dan and I setup plans to climb in August. We will meet in Olympia and climb on Ranier. Stay tuned for more updates on our climb. Oh, my son Patrick is likely coming along - should be fun. He is really excited.
  3. Later next week (Week 8), I am taking off training for three days to sail a race with my friend Bob. We are racing in the Governor's Cup on the Potomac side. The race should be a nice break and ought to give me more time to appreciate the great outdoors.
  4. Swim practice ends for our GMU Patriot masters team today (Tuesday, July 30th), so I need to find another place to swim after today. I need to swim because I also plan to swim in a meet on the weekend of August 24th. Should be a good test of my fitness since I am competing in the 1500 meter free and the 200 meter IM.
  5. I begin hypoxic training this upcoming week just to see how things work. My first workout will be on Tuesday (today) and I hope to get in about 10 workouts before I head to Portland on August 18th. Expect a mid-week update on that aspect of my training.
  6. All work and no play makes Patrick a tired and uninspired academic. I plan to finish all the building projects on my house during the first two weeks of August. Working out and building are great companions. I also drink more beer because beer and building go together. About mid-week next week, I intend to post some pictures of my projects because they are part of my training. Remember, climbing requires fine motor control, frustration tolerance (forgot to add that to my list), and physically demanding labor. Combining my workouts with my building projects produces a reasonable simulation of daily mountaineering…without the beer.

Thanks for following….


  1. Why not put an inexpensive window air conditioning unit in your bed room.

    1. Dad, Good suggestion. That seems to be the majority vote. Brian - from Hypoxico.com - told me this morning that they have an AC unit in development that goes on the inside of the tend. An internal cooling mechanism or a really cold external cooler might be the best bet. I am concerned that a window unit or external room cooling solution will just cool the air outside the tent and leave the inside roasting hot and humid. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. If you want to make a project out of it, a cheap dorm fridge, some metal pipe and a small pump could make a chilled waterbed.