Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 19 Update: October 21st, 2013 - Snow days, fatigue, and gratitude

Week 19 Update: Oct 21, 2013

Snow days last week. I felt my first bug and true fatigue since starting 19 weeks ago. I woke up on Friday morning with a headache, sore throat, and biometric measures that all indicated a day off was necessary. The funny thing was that my friend Dave Henkel just mentioned to me earlier in the week that he thought I might be training too hard. Yes, the thought occurred to me that I might be overdoing it but all signs indicated that I was fully recovering. I kept my training intensity at a modest level and only did high intensity workouts when indicated by my program. Again, last week set me back a bit because I tried to make up for lost workouts earlier in the week. I didn't do that this week but I did lose precious sleep from a packed schedule. Here are some of the points I cover below:

  • As I indicated last week, sleep seems to be more important than any other factor for my recovery. Friday morning swim practice (for my son) requires that I get up at 4am AFTER I get to sleep the night before at about midnight. Four hours of sleep just isn't right.
  • I now trust my overtraining indicators. On Friday morning, my indicators all yelled to take a day off. My spO2 was 85, resting heart rate was well into the 70's, and weight was 162 (4 lbs lower than usual). More on other indicators later…
  • Just purchased a new heart rate monitor and plan to implement Joe Friel's lactate threshold-based training zones. If I feel up to it, next Friday (10/25/13) begins my test session.

Workout Progress

plot of chunk WeekEx

I was proud of myself for calling it quits on Friday and Saturday. Truth of the matter is I was just too tired to do much of anything - even if I felt compelled to workout. Also, Friday was just too busy to even fit in a workout. On Friday, I got up at 4am and had a busy day of meetings so never got a chance to nap. We also had friends come in from out of town so we had a late dinner downtown (DC) until 11pm. Saturday morning was another early morning (4:30am) because my son had a swim meet. Now I was really tired - 9-10 hours of sleep in two days was difficult to overcome. Sunday seemed like a dream. My son's meet shifted to a pool that as 30 minutes further away so we woke up at 4:00am after I got home from a late evening downtown meeting with a colleague (thanks for the great dinner Lee). No complaints….just a statement of fact. I had fewer than 14 hours of sleep in 3 days and I didn't fare well. Friday and Saturday were snow days. I'm sure it was snowing someplace in the world and I celebrated with those locals.

plot of chunk DailyWL

I celebrated my 300 hour goal at the Auld Shebeen - as promised. Manny, Mikey, Mick and Amir helped me celebrate. Afterwards, I went to the quantified self meeting in Alexandria and had a great chat with other QS enthusiasts. It was a great evening. I highly recommend you join us if you are so inclined. Thanks to John Carney for continuing to host the meetings at Carney Labs. Next milestone….400 hours…midway through week 22 - just 3 weeks away if all goes well.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

Another lousy sleep week. Hopefully my son will learn to drive soon so I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn. Anyone willing to drive him? I pay well. As you will see, sleep deprivation affects all indicators below. Read on…


I was tired, sore, unmotivated, unproductive, and pessimistic about life in general. A friend asked me to write a blog post about what keeps me motivated. I have a draft in the works but I figured I would hold off for a time when I am more motivated or at least more motivated than at the end of last week. Sheesh! What a bummer. Sorry if you had to see me in that state. I can laugh about it now but you'll notice that it is Monday evening when I am posting this update. If I wrote it on Friday or Saturday, the post would not be rated G.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

I skipped all hypoxic training this week due to time and work constraints. The only thing that would qualify as hypoxic training is our tent and we continued to sleep at 9-10,000 feet. I even slept in the tent when I felt like crap because I am now accustomed to the hypoxia levels. The figure below might be strong evidence against that conclusion but I assure you that I feel great. Friday and Saturday mornings really threw off the numbers. Sleep quality, on the other hand, improved over previous weeks because the temperature dropped outside and inside. One note about temperature - Kathy loves the heat and she now turns on the heat at night. If she is reading this post, she will learn that I sneak out of the tent and turn on the AC at night so the room does not stay at 75 degrees (or warmer). When the AC stays on at night, the inside tent temperature drops to about 70 degrees. On the other hand, when she gets her way and turns up the heat, the tent temperature goes up above 80 degrees. Yes, 80! Hot, humid, cramped quarters is no way to sleep well. Hear that Kat? We need the AC not the heat at night.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

As I mentioned throughout this post, I took off my first two days since I started training. Consider these numbers. I started 19 weeks ago training 6 days each week for 114 days of working out. In that time, I missed 2 workouts before week 19 and two days during last week. Those missed workouts helped me recover from either a slight injury or a cold (last week). So far, I am 99% on track with my training and I don't feel any worse for the wear after missing those two days last week. In fact, I feel fortunate that my cold went away. Here are a few things in the upcoming weeks to look forward to reading:
1. My long-promised blog post about pulmonary functioning is now ready to be posted. There were too many factual errors in the post and I keep finding more as I read and edit the post. I found that we really don't know much about pulmonary functioning and hypoxia and the little bit we do know often offers contradictory evidence and implications. These complexities made me more cautious about posting something I was not really comfortable explaining until I knew more about the topic. Well, now I know enough to say…we don't know much. Expect the post in the next day or so to allow you time to digest this long post.
2. I had several blog followers suggest several topics. Here are two that ought to be done in the next few weeks: a) How do I stay motivated? and b) What is involved in a major climb like Everest? I will tackle each in separate posts. Stay tuned for these and more…
3. Hypoxic training starts in earnest this week. I already have one IHT day down and plan for at least 4 more before the end of the week (Saturday). Next week, as the training volume increases, I intend to incorporate more hypoxic sessions into my workouts to lower the intensity and keep me from overtraining.

4. I want to conclude this week's post by thanking all the friends and followers who ask me questions and keep up with my blog. Thanks to Dave Henkel and Ken O'Day for asking critical questions concerning my recovery. Dave and Ken, I am recovering. I promise. Also, thanks to all the others who continue to read my posts and find them interesting, useful, motivating, or informative. Feel free to send me a note and suggest the blog to others. Gratitude…it makes us all feel better. I love great stories and I love these types of things. So, want to feel better? Thank someone. Don't believe me? Watch this video:

OK, I teared up.  How about you?  Time to go to bed.  I need to get up at 4am.  Yep, Kathy is out of town.

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