Quest for Kona; Video Blog 001

The Video Blog of My Journey to Become an Ironman World Champion

Have you ever dreamed of winning the big race? Gaining the big break in your job or business? As a child did you dream of being on the big stage?

Feeling like I did as a boy I dreamt of winning the NBA title as a Boston Celtic. I feel just like that now only I’m a 61-year-old grandfather. My zest to win has never diminished.

My first Ironman was on April 15, 2007. My fifteenth Ironman was on October 10, 2015, the Ironman World Championship. My only goal in all 15 of these Ironman triathlons was to finish. Thankfully, with the grace of God, I was able to finish.

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!

Indoor Cycling and How It Fits for a Working Mom (or Dad)

On my bike indoors doing High intensity Interval Training

Looking for an exercise you can do while being home with your children? You want the most effective for your limited time? Easy on your joints? Fat loss and health gain? Indoor cycling fits the bill!

Why Cycling Indoors?

When I started cycling I fell in love with it from the very first day. My first ride was about 60 miles outside in the April spring time of 2006. The sun was shining and it wasn’t cold. I rode with a group of cyclists from Team in Training of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Over the next 8 years I rode exclusively outdoors.

In southern Nevada where I live the temperatures are extreme and the wind tenacious. I never liked riding in the winter months especially if the temperature was below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  I had to layer up and wear gloves. In the extreem cold would wear a hooded top that covered my mouth and nose. I’d have to shove hand warmers in my shoes by my toes to keep them warm. I remember coming in from long  and cold rides and it would take an hour to get warm. Then in the summer time with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees by 10 am I would have to start my long 6-7 hour rides preparing for an Ironman triathlon at 3 and 4 am, starting in the dark and hoping cars would see my flashing red butt light.

During this time I had several bike crashes. I was hit by a car, crashed twice when my front tire went flat as I was turning and the worse in May 2015 I crashed in a freak accident that broke my clavicle at the AC joint.

That’s when I decided to ride mostly indoors.

The advantages to riding indoors are no chance of accidents and getting hit by a car. No weather to worry about. You can ride with children around. You can multitask; watch the children, listen to music or watch TV, talk on the phone or surf the internet. Stop and go to the bathroom and refuel much easier. It’s faster too because you don’t have to drive with your bike out of town to start a ride.

The disadvantages are no sunshine and you ride alone most of the time. I’ve actually invited some of my good Ironman and cycling friends to come over and ride indoors although those times are rare.  In the summer time I have to blow three fans on me to keep cool; two on the ground, one in front and one in back and the third a ceiling fan. I don’t need the fans in the winter. I ride in my basement turned into an Ironman training gym (see me in photo above). You’ll have to overcome the initial affects of boredom. One last consideration is the space needed to keep your bike set up. In smaller homes it may be a challenge to have to set up and take down the bike and trainer each time you’ll want to use it. If you can keep it up all the time like I do, will save a lot of time and aggravation.

Improved Method of Producing a Training Affect

Most people are not anul like many of my friends and me that are hardcore triathletes who train with power meters and heart rate monitors. Most people are just trying to stay in good shape and feel good. Some use exercise to keep the pounds off. Cycling, either indoors or outdoors, can help you do all of that. It’s not hard on your joints like running or crossfit. Cycling can be used to create stronger legs but your arms and shoulders get a good workout when you peddle standing up!

Less expensive trainer running about $250
Less expensive trainer running about $250
My personal choice because it's close to the feel of riding up and down hills. It runs about $700
My personal choice because it’s close to the feel of riding up and down hills. It runs about $700
Many come with pilots to plot the metrics of a ride
Many come with pilots to plot the metrics of a ride

To ride indoors you’ll need an added piece of equipment to hold your bike and to produce resistance as if you were riding outdoors. Those are referred to as “trainers.” They vary in price. Decent trainers run about $200. The most expensive and advanced trainers used by the pros can run $2,000+.

The beauty of training indoors is the ease of adjusting the intensity level simply by adjusting the trainer or just shifting either up or down the gears on your bike.

You can train aerobically to burn fat and lose weight or train anaerobically to build muscle. Wearing a simple heart rate monitor will keep you at the right intensity for your goals. See the blog on heart rate zones. 

You can train to create better stability by cycling with only one leg at a time. You’ll see how much harder it is and it will reveal the stronger and weaker leg.

Family Time

 A group of moms with their newborns!
A group of moms with their newborns!

Like most parents these days raising a family takes some concentrated effort. Many moms choose to forsake exercise because its an added stress of being away from the home. Indoor cycling may be just the answer. Some moms I know cycle early in the morning before their children awake. This works for them better than heading to the gym because you don’t have the commute time and that time savings is just the added push to motivate them to cycle indoors. Many moms I know ride indoors later in the day right before they get their children to bed. Their children can be in the room with them playing or watching a TV program.

You Can Do This

I hope that you take the time for yourself. Your health is important. You can stay healthy and keep the pounds off by just riding indoors 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Your family will appreciate your example and the extra energy you have will bless them too.

Get it done! You’re worth it!