Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week 25 Update: A post-Thanksgiving post of a full stomach. a full recovery, and a full family get-together.

Week 25 Update: Dec 04, 2013

The past week brought much-needed rest and plenty of socializing with my family. At the end of this week's post, I would like to give special thanks to my family. The following are a few highlights from last week:

  • I was excited to see my first full-recovery day on Saturday. What does that mean? Well, I woke up after 8 hours of sleeping at 9,000 feet and my spO2 was 98% and my resting heart rate was 45. Both are new records and I finally feel as if I am fully acclimatized to 9,000 feet.
  • Speaking of altitude, I started feeling a bit worn down so I decided to cut down the intensity by doing some hypoxic training. Brian Oestrike suggested that I start weaving in some hypoxic training when my recovery seems compromised for any reason. Well, Brian was spot on. I rode my stationary bike at 15,000 feet for an hour and did an hour on the elliptical at the same altitude and felt great afterwards.
  • Thanksgiving was a great day - so great we decided to go back to my cousins' houses the following day to continue the festivities. I hope you all enjoyed some time away from work and time with your family.

Workout Progress

I am back to swimming but only as a recovery mechanism for my increased running and cycling. There are no opportunities to swim on a mountain but the hypoxic training and upper body stregth I gain from swimming are too great to pass up. Regardless of those benefits, I intend to cut back a bit because swimming also tires me out - perhaps more than cycling, running, and lifting combined.

plot of chunk WeekEx

Last week was capped off by a monster Saturday. I watched college football all day while I worked out. Boy what a day! Great swim session followed by 2 hours of cycling and elliptical. I love days when I can just grind out the hours. Climbing is the same way but far more scenic.

plot of chunk DailyWL

One more week….one more week. Actually, I am writing this on Tuesday evening (late - almost midnight) with my rest day ahead and only three more days of training before a full week off. I think I will sleep the entire week. Oh wait, I need to work. Well, I intend to sleep far more than I have been over the past few months.

The build phase of my training program is almost complete. I feel as fit now as I was when I was 20. Well, maybe not that fit and perhaps a bit more frail but fit for sure. My current total is almost 430 hours and at the end of next week (3 days from now), I will have 450 hours. The next milestones after those are in week 30 (500 hours), week 36 (600 hours), week 40 (700 hours), and then 42 (departure nears). I am enjoying the process but can't wait to go climbing in a few weeks.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

I feel great and do not really have much to add. For the first time in ages, I feel fully recovered. I now have my full appetite back after slowly acclimatizing to the sleep tent. Life is great. The semester is almost over so I can really get to training and planning more climbs in the near future.


Hey, it worked! No clocks, calendars, or completion times and I still got things done. Amazing how stress-free living can be when you eliminate those stressors that impinge upon our lives with such negative consequences. Without the three C's, I was able to concentrate on working out, working, and enjoying my family time. Thanks Jean for the great life-changing tips.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

As I indicated in my preamble, I started some hypoxic training along with the IHT. For now, I intend to just use the former to give me a bit of a break from training. During the 3rd phase, I will workout almost exclusively in a hypoxic state - except for where that might not be possible (e.g., the pool and on the road during runs). IHT is now very easy and I can easily tolerate 22,000 feet for up to 2 hours with my spO2 always staying above 80%. Also, I worked out several times last week at 10, 12, and 15 thousand feet without any problems. What was really amazing to me was that I could maintain the same workload (in Watts) at 10,000 feet as I maintain at sea-level. I guess I am really acclimatized now.

Just look at the increase in sleep quality, resting HR, and spO2 below. Every since November - after I successfully battled that lousy bug I got - my recovery indicators continually improve. What is even more amazing is that the tent continues to stay hot and even get hotter over the past week. Kathy and I were amazed one morning when we awoke to almost 90 degree temperature with equal percent humidity. I feel as if we are living in a rain forest. Tents on the glacier can feel that way too but I prefer to be cold at night. Maybe the acclimatization in the tent is also a heat tolerance acclimatization as well. Who knows but I seem to be getting used to the miserable conditions.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

This week, I want to thank my family for the great support they show me and Kathy continually. Many of them are worried about me and my exploits but they remain good-natured and always supportive. Note - I am thanking the women first because…well, just because. The guys get enough credit; it is high time that the women get first billing.

  • Thank you Aunt Bette and Uncle Frank. You two remain the bedrock of our family. Your positive support and nurturing ways produced one great family.
  • Thank you Tara and Elton Sayani for hosting Thanksgiving and giving us a break this year. We loved seeing you two and actually getting a chance to chat during our two-day celebration. You two opened up your house to our ever-growing family so we all owe you a huge thanks.
  • Thank you Kristin and Pablo Gomez for hosting us during the “day after” for more food and fun. Your house seemed to absorb the entire clan and allow us all to find small spaces to have great conversations.
  • Thank you Maureen and Frank Russo for just being you…and for making the 2-hour journey from Richmond with a car full-o-kids to hang out with us. I realize you guys wouldn't miss Thanksgiving with the family but we know first-hand the hassles that travel brings during that holiday week.
  • Thank you Chrisy and John Russo for all the smiles and great laughs amid the pandemonium that was Thanksgiving. We need to get out for a few meals before I take off in April.
  • Thank you Sarah and Chris Russo for great treats, great laughs, thoughtful conversation, and warm welcomes whenever we see each other. I can't wait for the next get together to sample some of Sarah's awesome cooking.
  • Thank you Terrance Russo for making the effort to come down with your kids last week. We loved seeing you and every time I see you, I am reminded of the kid who laughed…and laughed…and laughed. It is so great to see you laughing. Now, we need to do something about your ping-pong addiction.
  • Finally, thanks to the rest of my family that celebrated Thanksgiving elsewhere. I wished we could all be together but the family is just too darn big now to fit us in a regular house. Maybe next year, we celebrate Thanksgiving in July on a beach. How does that sound?

Have a great week. Next week I plan to finish off all my unfinished blog posts. The end of the semester and a week off from training provide me with a much needed time release. See you soon….

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