What I learned from the Ironman that changed my life

The Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride ending with a 26.2-mile marathon run. What went on from the very instant I decided to attempt it to finally finishing the race taught me more than I could have ever learned from a college degree of study.

“It was like anything that has ever been worthwhile in my life; it was hard, painful and memorable.” Michael Lantz

It was like anything that has ever been worthwhile in my life; it was hard, painful and memorable. I learned a great deal about the conflict of my body hurting and wanting to stop and my mind playing tricks on me, tempting me to quit.

If I had to sum up the top three things I learned about myself it would include these.

Commitment

I learned that my level of commitment is equal to the importance I place on my goals and dreams. When I decided to do my first Ironman on April 15, 2007, I was all in. I was not going to let anything get in the way of crossing that finish line. 

Your Brain on Exercise!

THE POWERFUL EFFECTS OF EXERCISE ON THE BRAIN

From ADDICTIONS to MENTAL ILLNESS, EXERCISE is increasingly recommended as part of a TREATMENT PLAN

By Pete Williams

(from USA Triathlon Fall 2017 Magazine)

The multisport lifestyle is full of success stories of people who overcame addictions and depression by adopting a busy training schedule of swimming, biking and running.

After all, it’s difficult to train for a triathlon with addictions getting in the way. Throw in the endorphin rush of training and the joy of competition that never grows old, and it’s not surprising that a number of athletes have beaten addiction, depression and even ADHD by replacing a bad habit with a healthy one such as triathlon training.

John Ratey, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, remembers when such positive body-mind connections were not widely recognized. During his residency in Boston at the height of the first running boom in the 1970s, Ratey worked with a marathon runner who had grown depressed when he stopped running and

HIIT; All the Pain, but is there more to gain?

HIGH- INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING

By Christian C. Evans

From Fall 2017 of USA Triathlon Magazine

ALL THE PAIN, BUT IS THERE MORE GAIN?

HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) is a technique that has been used extensively to train athletes as well as for improving fitness and outcomes for people with medical conditions ranging from diabetes to heart disease. HIIT typically involves six to 10 short duration (10-60 seconds), super-high-intensity efforts (all-out or near 100 percent heart rate or VO2 Max) with a longer rest bout in between. Overall, HIIT is considered safe and effective, but is it better compared to moderate-intensity training for improving fitness and triathlon race performance?

As triathletes and consumers of triathlon products and media, we rely mainly on the word of manufacturers, athletes, and coaches to make decisions about the intensity and frequency of training. If there were no scientific literature available, then those sources would be appropriate. But over the past 30-40 years, there has been a lot of research on moderate intensity aerobic training and HIIT. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the scientific literature evaluating HIIT and advice about its use.

Fortunately, several systematic reviews (studies that objectively evaluate many individual studies and draw a conclusion on the overall effectiveness of a technique) have already been performed that have examined HIIT. Five recent reviews

Save time. Less stress. Wearing this item.

Okay it’s just a sock.

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If you work out and have to do your own laundry you might feel the same way as me when you have to sort all your socks. Over the years I had accumulated umpteen pairs of socks. Most of them had a left and right sock and when I had multiple pairs of the same kind sorting the style and left and right component would make sorting a pain in the rear end.

I finally had enough.

I threw all my socks away and bought 10 pairs of the same kind of socks that didn’t have a left and right. They were all the same. Now it takes me a minute to put them all together after laundry.

Save time. Less stress.

Always seek to do this; what the Ironman triathlon has taught me about life

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!