Learning has been a big part of my life. It started by reading the entire encyclopedia set my mom bought when I was a youngster. Then when I was old enough at age eight to obtain my own library card I would walk about a mile and half to the public library and spend all day there. I’d walk up and down the isles of books until a book title caught my eye and I’d pull it off the shelf and sit down in the isle and read it.

The Ironman triathlon has so many parts to it. There is the 2.4 mile swim that deals with efficiency of the stroke in removing drag and increasing the propulsive force. Not to mention having a calm mind swimming next to people the entire way without any way keep them from getting in your way or punching or kicking you.

The bike ride has many elements to contend with. The sheer length of 112 miles deals with the science body fuel; fat, glucose and glycogen. Then the hydration aspect of making sure your my body can stay healthy. Aerodynamics are an important aspect of going fast. The goal is to reduce wind drag at the expense of losing pedal power because my hips are closed by crouching in the aerodynamic position.

Finally the run of 26.2 miles after swimming and biking is the most challenging. My body takes the most pounding because in every stride I contact the ground and that shock has to be absorbed by my muscles, tendons and bones. Again fuel becomes important as well as hydration. The running stride can either promote less ground force and using gravity to move me forward or it can be a shear test of brut force and strength in moving forward.

Because my goal is to finish fast it has caused me to learn as much as I can about every aspect of the race. Racing in my 16th Ironman on November 19, 2017 in Tempe Arizona I’ve learned the most than any other Ironman. This is the first Ironman I believe I could win my age group (60-64). In all my prior races was just to finish.

I’ve improved in so many aspects as I’ve had a vision to win. Below are the milestones I’ve had in this Ironman:

  • Ketogenic lifestyle and how low-carb has helped me lose weight and teach my body use fat as my primary fuel. Losing weight will make me faster in all areas too.
  • Three weeks ago I spent a lot of time analyzing my swim stroke and discovered some major flaws. All I do when swimming since is to groove a more efficient stroke into muscle memory.
  • In May I spent a great deal of time in changing my position on the bike to let me be more aerodynamic. Because of a process of super compensation and adaptation, I’m teaching the muscles that I’m now using because of the change to be more aerodynamic to become strong. In the beginning of this change I was constantly sore in my lower back and hamstrings because they were now being used. Before in the more upright and less aerodynamic position I was mainly using my quads and not my gluts and hamstrings.
  • In February I discovered I was insulin resistant and that explained why I could not lose weight I had gained over the last three years and the reason I had bonked in at least 6 of my previous Ironman. This led me to ketones first and then a complete ketogenic diet.
  • I discovered several products to help me gain health and burn more fat and less glucose as I raced. I’ve used exogenous ketones to keep me in a higher state of ketosis and fat burning. I’ve used Vespa, a extract from hornets, to burn more fat as I raced. Then a week ago rediscovered redox molecules (Asea) to improve cellular function and ultimately my VO2Max (the rate of oxygen transfer to my working muscles).
  • A week ago I discovered a run method to allow me to use gravity to propel me instead of my muscles. It claims to have a 12 week adaptation phase to perfect it. I’ve shortened that time by accelerating the amount of time I’ve spent in learning it. It’s called the Pose Running Method. It has already produced efficiency and I’m running faster at the same heart rate (energy expenditure).
  • I learned that as an aging athlete I have to go harder and more often. I’ve been able to do that without injury.  I now perform targeted strength training routines in order to prevent injury.
  • I’ve learned compassion. I no longer beat myself up if I miss a routine or make a mistake in training. I accept God’s grace. I’ve spent a lot of time this year understanding grace and that it’s appropriate for me to ask God to help me and expect grace to provide the results. I’ll accept any outcome of the race. If I win I’ll be very happy. If I fail to finish or finish slower than the winner, I’ll be happy. In either case I’ll praise God for my results.

What I’ve Really Learned

It’s important to have a vision of where it is I want to go in my life. Then allow the vision to keep my mind opened to all possibilities. I’ve actively sought new knowledge. If my mind is pricked with an idea, like all those discoveries I’ve mentioned, I follow up and see where it will lead me.

It’s the answer to my prayers.

I asked for a way to lose weight. Ketogenic came into my life. The health I gained open my eyes to a new vision of winning this race. That changed vision of  winning, and again asking for help, led me to all these other discoveries. Each one started with my vision which led to those still small voices to look further.

For me this is a way of life.

This Special Day For Me

Everyday is special to me. Today is my 61th birthday. I’m taking the day off and going to the library and sit in the isles and read!

About the Author Michael Lantz (Big Papa)

Wellness Warrior & Leadership Coach, Speaker, Blogger, Author, Ironman Triathlete Helping others live with more health and joy, pay for their dreams and make a difference in the world! Learn more: http://HealthIsAHabit.live