Thursday, February 13, 2014
I wanted to write a quick recap of my 2014 Detoxification experience. As I stated in a earlier post, this was my fourth year participating in a healthy detox. Each year I have learned new things. This year I was able to manage my caloric needs much better. My energy levels stayed very high throughout the entire 21 days and I did not experience any caffeine withdrawal headaches at all. I did have the usual heart rate spike while the organs were detoxed, but my exercise heart rate levels quickly stabilized and even surpassed previous efficiency levels. I lost 10.2lbs and my body fat dropped 4.4% from start to finish. I'm now down at my race weight and my energy levels continue to stay very high. I was able to really dial in on my blood sugar levels this year. I now have better knowledge how to keep these levels more constant throughout the day. This was a very useful experience to kick off my year.
Friday, February 7, 2014
I love numbers and I love to break things down and analyze them. Each triathlon season I try to tackle a new variable and learn as much as I can as an athlete and coach. Over the past 14 triathlon seasons I've completed several VO2 max tests, sweat loss tests, threshold tests, wind tunnel testing, running stride analysis, and lactate tests. This season I decided I wanted to dial in on my metabolic efficiency. I have been very fortunate to have worked with the Korey Stringer Institute in the past. I've completed several of the above tests out at the IM World Championships and at the Timex Camp in the NY Giant's Performance Center under their supervision. Each time I have worked with the professionals from KSI, I have been very impressed with their attention to detail and their thirst for knowledge. It's a very friendly staff to work with. That can be important when you are being poked, prodded and hooked up to machines. Chris Thomas_1I have been very interested in learning about my metabolic efficiency ever since I returned to the Ironman distance in 2010. I have participated in over thirty five 70.3 distance races and I really have the nutrition aspect down for that distance and for shorter races. However, I have competed in the Ironman World Championship race seven times and I am still trying to figure out the best nutrition game plan for that combination of heat, wind, and humidity. Every athlete is unique. I see this all the time as a coach. Some younger athletes have lower heart rate thresholds than athletes ten plus years older even though in theory the younger athlete should have a higher threshold. There are athletes that can consume whatever they want during a race and their GI systems are totally fine throughout. While there are other athletes that have very sensitive guts. I, personally, fall into the later category. When I race, I triangulate three factors: heart rate, power, and perceived effort. I know my zones and I test frequently to make sure things are realistic and accurate. However, I have never identified my carb to fat burn ratios. My goal was to learn about several factors during the testing process. The first factor I wanted to determine was the intensity level that was the most efficient for training. The second factor I wanted to learn was how many carbs do I burn while at ironman effort and does my fat burn rate change as the intensity rises. We built my effort throughout the test until my carb to fat burn rates crossed over. At this crossover point, I was in between my 70.3 and olympic distance effort levels and my combined burn rate was up at twenty calories per minute. I was definitely ready to get off the bike at that point in the test as I had not been allowed to eat anything in over 6.5 hours. While I did have a few hunger pains by the end, I had another great experience testing with the KSI team and I have learned many things that I look forward to using in 2014.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
This is my fourth year participating in a January detoxification. I choose to do a yearly cleanse due to the massive stress I put my body through during the race year. In addition, we all get exposed to an overload of toxins every day. I did a thorough metabolic test back in 2010 and found that my levels of tar and plastics were off the charts. The tar came from breathing the fumes from freshly paved roads and the plastics came from drinking water during my bike training from plastic bottles. So with my knowledge that I am a prime candidate for toxin overload, I start each year off with a full blood panel to see what my base levels are. Then I begin my detox. I have varied the number of days that I've participated in the detox over the years, but this year I decided to commit for the full twenty one days. There is a lot of misconceptions about detox's. Many people hear the word and they immediate think a juice cleanse that will catabolize muscle and change their metabolism. I, personally, favor participating in the Standard Process detox: This is a healthy cleanse that allows for plenty of good healthy calories throughout the 21 day process. While I'm on the cleanse I track a variety of factors: sleep amount and quality, weight, body fat, resting heart rate, energy level, and oxygen saturation. Well I'm currently twelve days into my cleanse and every factor has shown significant improvement so far. My sleep is very restful. I am sleeping straight through the night instead of waking frequently. I am down 6lbs after a bit to much holiday cheer. My body fat is down 2% and my resting heart rate has been averaging 36bpm. I feel great throughout the day. My thoughts are very clear and my energy levels are high. However when it comes time to go to sleep, I have no problems falling asleep. Also, my blood oxygen saturation readings are consistently 97-98. The idea of a cleanse can be a bit overwhelming but I am very happy that its part of my yearly routine.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
This was my 7th year racing in Kona. Sometimes that experience can be good and sometimes it can…well let’s just say you know what lies ahead. The Kona race is so unique for many reasons. The course is not the most challenging, but when you add in the heat, humidity, and level of talent it all combines into one challenging race. My preparation this year was quite good coming into the race. My coach, Paul Regensberg, and I had worked on a bike focus block early in the year. Then we set my season up to slowly build into fitness so I would be peaking later in the year. I started the race season off a bit behind on my threshold levels but I used the month of June to build into form. By the time of 70.3 Worlds in September, the early season bike focus was starting to pay dividends. We then used the five weeks following the 70.3 race to fine tune some aerobic fitness. My bike and run fitness were the strongest to date as a result of the season’s plan. My swim was a little behind my 2011 fitness, but not by much. I was healthy and excited going into this year’s race, no excuses. My average training volume was 13.5 hours/week, which is right in line with my previous years. Swim: 1:01:31
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I always feel like the timing around the 70.3 Worlds is very chaotic. I came into this year's event fresh off of my biggest training week of the year at 21 hours. This, relatively, high training volume is necessary as I prepare for Kona five weeks after 70.3's. In spite of the high training volume, I was feeling really good after my 5 day taper. I had a condensed schedule on Friday leading into the race. I have to give huge thanks to two of my teammates: Bruce Gennari and Bo Parish for picking me up at the airport @ 3:30pm and getting me to registration by 4pm. I had a great weekend hanging out with both Bruce and Bo. 70.3VegasBruce_Bo It's always a privilege to spend time with my teammates at big events. We had a very nice team breakfast Saturday morning after our 70.3Vegasteambfastwarm-up swim in Lake Las Vegas. As usual Tristan Brown and Chris Davidson were fantastic in helping all of us prepare for the big race on Sunday. Tristan pointed out how my front tire was not properly glued to my wheel and would have rolled right off if I had tried to race with it. Chris managed to find and fix my bent rear derailleur. Ugh, so I guess I'm not the most mechanically inclined person out there. Rule # 1 is know your limitations. Once those minor obstacles were resolved we headed over to Whole Foods to pick up our race morning nutrition and a few snacks. I grabbed my usual breakfast foods and headed for the counter. As I was checking out, I thought that I might need a snack before dinner. I looked around and saw some fresh salsa and home made tortilla chips. I thought this would be the perfect pre-race snack. We then headed over to rack our bikes.70.3Vegasbikerack Then it was time to relax a little bit before dinner. This is where I had a bit of a scare. As we were walking over to dinner, I started to feel really dizzy and lightheaded. I ordered dinner but quickly realized that it was not going to happen. I was getting very nauseous. Maybe those chips and salsa were not such a good idea after all. I decided to head back to the room and rest. By the time I got back to the room I had the chills and I knew that I needed to try to get some sleep and hope for the best. It was 6:30pm, but I was feeling terrible and really worried about my chances of racing. I took my Standard Process supplements before I jumped into bed. Fortunately, I was able to get those down without any issues. I quickly fell asleep and did not wake up until 3:30am. Fortunately, I felt fine when I woke up. Bruce and I went down and had breakfast. I was able to get all of my normal nutrition in and I was excited again to race. I was really happy with how my race went. The conditions were quite different than anticipated, but they were the same for everyone. Here's a relatively short video recap of my race: Race Recap Swim: 30:05 / Bike: 2:24:23 / Run: 1:22:48 / 47th Overall / 1st M40-44 Vegasawards Thank you to Timex, Quintana Roo, Shimano, Blue Seventy, Champion System and all of our fantastic sponsors. A special thank you to Mac McEneaney for the Craps lesson post race. It would not have been a proper trip to Vegas without experiencing Vegas.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Wow, what a learning experience I had at the Timberman triathlon festival. This was my 10th year participating in the 70.3 Timberman race. So I decided to switch things up a little bit this year and race both days. I started the racing on Saturday morning with the sprint triathlon: .3 mile swim/15 mile bike/3 mile run. The swim and bike where a lot of fun. Sprints are all about high end efforts, but I was able to stay in control for both the swim and bike. Once I got onto the run, I had to switch things up a bit. I came out of transition with an athlete from the 1st wave (I was in Wave 2). He asked me if I wanted to run 5:30/mile pace. It was a little faster than I wanted to run, but I had to commit then. I went with him. We hit the first mile at 5:26 pace on a flat section. The second mile we went uphill a bit and hit that mile at 5:39 pace. The last mile was slightly back downhill at 5:18 pace. That last mile hurt a bit more than I had planned. Results: Swim: 7:04 / Bike: 37:31 / Run: 15:19 / 1st Overall I had my whole family up in NH with me. So we spent the rest of Saturday at the waterslides, bumper boats, go-karts, batting cages, and adventure course. The weather was perfect and we really enjoyed the Weirs beach activities. I made sure that I used my Standard Process Complete and Whey Protein shakes for recovery. I knew I would need as much muscle recovery as possible. What a difference a day can make. I was up early and ready to roll on Saturday morning before the sprint. However, I slept right to my alarm on Sunday morning before the 70.3. I was definitely tired, but excited to see how I could hold up on the 2nd day. My coach, Paul Regensburg, told me to keep the swim consistent but no kicking. Then he told me to hold back on the bike. He did not want me to push any hills and ride conservatively. He was concerned about the second half of the run. I followed the coach's orders and felt really good heading out to the run. In fact, once I got onto the run course, I was surprised how good my legs felt. I hit the first loop of the run at 6:06 pace. As I was finishing the first loop, I started to feel some fatigue coming on. Then I experienced something that I had never experienced in a 70.3 race. My legs just went. I couldn't believe it. I've raced some really hot and challenging races before and I've run slower due to those conditions. However, I've never had my legs just completely blow up on me with ideal weather conditions. The experience was so quick that I didn't know what to do. I wanted to just stop. My legs felt like lead. I plowed ahead as my running form fell apart. I decided to try grabbing cola at the aid stations. I had to walk the aid stations to make sure I got as much in as possible. I've never had to walk aid stations during a 70.3 race before, but I have used that strategy in my ironman races on a regular basis. I had to walk 4 aid stations in total, but managed to finish a very challenging final 10 kilometers. It's kind of ironic that the previous year I tried to take the swim/bike as hard as I could to simulate tired legs when I started the run. My coach had asked me to try that approach to simulate the tired legs that one feels when starting the run in Kona. Well, I achieved that feeling and more by racing the Sprint race the day before. What a learning experience. Results: Swim: 28:23 / Bike: 2:17:58 / Run: 1:24:49 / 14th Overall/ 3rd Amateur/ 2nd M40-44