Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 13 Update: September 7th, 2013

Week 13 Update: Sep 07, 2013

Second week into my second, 15-week progression cycle. Things are settling down in my life and I am finally feeling comfortable with my new schedule. Teaching is always stressful; you need to be on and I don't always feel “on” while training. Here are a few highlights from the week:

  • My friend Dave Henkel suggested I check out the program restwise ( to monitor my training load and potential overtraining. I signed up and have the results from four days this week. According to today's report, I am at 80% and the summary states “You are showing minor signs of reduced recovery, but you seem to be absorbing the work load well and should feel confident in continuing to train.” Thanks for that boost of confidence restwise and thanks to Dave for watching out for me and giving me these great suggestions.
  • I skipped any hypoxic training this week except for sleeping in the tent. My rationale is that I want to ensure I build up my base (Zone 2 effort at 125-135 HR) before I embark on more intense workouts. I plan to stick with this low effort for at least four weeks. As I progress, I intend to slowly introduce IHT and then some hypoxic workouts; until then, it is sea-level air for me.
  • Finally, after eating as much as I could during my week off in Portland, I feel as if I am back to a normal weight (170) instead of the concentration camp weight of 162 lbs. Those 8 lbs make a huge difference in terms of thermoregulation and energy. I get cold and have far more ups and downs energy-wise when I am really thin. Now I feel solid and well-suited for harsher environments.
  • My asthma is finally under control. I am taking a load of meds - long and short acting bronchial dilators along with an antihistamine - and my breathing improved greatly. More on that later in a subsequent post.

Workout Progress

Two weeks of running and I feel great. Also, we are finally back to a normal swim practice schedule. So this past week was a light week of running, elliptical, and weights with the standard 7 hours of swimming.

plot of chunk WeekEx

Now that I dropped my total workload, the figure below obscures the previous week's workout total. I said in my previous update that I intend to shift my workouts to Friday through Monday to accommodate my teaching/work schedule. The right side of the figure may slowly show a rise in training hours - especially when I near the end of this 15-week training cycle.

plot of chunk DailyWL

Melissa Smith (an awesome graduate student in our Human Factors program at GMU) suggested I celebrate the 200 hour point with a happy hour. I love the idea. Anyone want to join me at the Auld Shebeen two Fridays from yesterday (9/20)? I have a talk at UVa next Friday and the other evenings are booked with my son's and my swim practices. By that time, I will be nearing 250 hours.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

My son began school (8th grade) so our wake-up call moved to 6am. Usually, that hour is rather late for me but swimming during the week from 7:30-9pm makes it really hard for me to fall asleep before midnight. I now wake up when I need to be up - at least that was my routine before this week. Now, I must wake up by 6am and I am beat. I fit in a few 22 minute naps this week (8 in total) to offset the sleep deprivation. Despite the naps, I still felt sleep-deprived. Training was easy so I never felt really strained.


Finally got my productivity back to a reasonable level! The increase was due to my reduction in meetings and a greater focus during the day. I think putting off major tasks until the evening is a bad idea when I am training. My most productive period is between 7am and noon; most efforts after noon fall around the 50% efficient level. I also felt a bit sore due to the increased swim intensity. Even though I tried to keep my effort at the low HR range, I find it difficult to moderate my effort when I am swimming with others.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

As I indicated before, I eliminated any hypoxic training except for sleeping in the tent. The figure below represents only my hypoxic recovery from the passive night hypoxic training last week.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

My updates…

  1. Back to masters swimming. I need to scale back my intensity - starting today - so I can build up more base before ramping up the intensity.

  2. Have yet to implement my cognitive testing. I did download a few apps for my phone and tablet but I think I will consult some colleagues about which tasks/tests might be most sensitive to cognitive deficits. Raja, any suggestions?

  3. I have two more posts for the blog that address…

    • The results of my pulmonary function test and why I even care about these things. I delayed posting this last week because I am still trying to figure out what all the numbers mean for climbing. If ND beats Michigan tonight, I might have enough energy to finish off the blog post by midnight; otherwise, expect it later on Sunday.
    • An answer to a simple question….why climb Everest? I was asked this question several times and I have a fairly long-winded answer to that simple question. My long-winded response is getting longer.
  4. Finally, I wanted to alert everyone to a talk I am giving in two weeks. Dan Gartenberg was kind enough to invite me to talk about my Everest preparation to the local Quantified Self meetup in Washington, DC. If you are in the area, feel free to come see the presentation on Wednesday, 9/18. Later this week, I intend to post my slides to the blog so you can see what I intend to discuss. If I have time, I might post the slides as a video so everyone following my posts can see the presentation in its full detail. For more details, see this URL:

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