Category Archives: Health and wellness

Triathlon redemption

Matt Kellar and I took our families to my mother’s house in Federal Way in preparation for the triathlon yesterday evening.  We had a big roast dinner (protein loading?), sang some karaoke, and put the kids to bed.  I thought I was fairly well prepared, but I had some trouble sleeping.  From 3am on, I kept waking up about every 45 minutes, until 6am at which point I fell sound asleep and had a weird dream that I was at church and missed the triathlon.  I was actually quite convinced and bummed that I had missed the event, and was considering just going out to the lake and running it by myself, when suddenly the alarm went off, and I was so relieved that it was only 7am. 
There were a couple hundred participants just like a few years, and Matt and I were both inspired by the leading athletes in the Olympic heat.  Actually, what was more amazing was the age range of the participants.  They write your number and name on your calves (I’m not sure why).  But, when we looked around, there were many runners in their 50’s and 60’s.  Very impressive.
A few days ago, I had set my goal at 1 hour 30 minutes for this race, which would have been quite an improvement from the 1 hour and 49 minutes from 2005.  My goals were 15 minutes for swim, 45 minutes for bike ride, and 30 minutes for run.  The final times are not yet in, but from my stop watch, I think I ended up at 1 hour 27 minutes.  Admittedly, it was nice to beat my goal, but even more sweet is the fact that the rescue people in the lake didn’t paddle over to me this time.  I’m thinking I’d better be done with these events for my knees’ sake.  But, I may have one more half marathon in me, before i’m put out to pasture.
If anyone’s interested, Disney World Half-Marathon in January 2009  (it’s a Saturday).  I was hoping to get out there with my family at the end of this year, but with the baby coming, Tenille can’t fly during that time.  After this last half-marathon, I think I will transition to low-impact exercise…. like curling… or biathlon…. bow hunting…  
 Thanks to Matt Kellar, Dan Roth, and Chris Bennett for training with me.  Running and swimming isn’t always fun, but it’s a lot more bearable when you’ve got some friends to commiserate with…

Triathlon Part II

Some of you may remember my first "attempt" at a triathlon.  It was successful in that I achieved my goal of not drowning, but it was quite close.  I came in dead last in my group, and second to last overall.  Two years later, I’ve officially signed up to try it again… to redeem myself… No more excuses… No more blaming Tenille for a super-tight custom wetsuit.  This go around, the goal is to get a decent time.  I’m not sure what a decent time is yet, but hopefully it means not coming in dead last. 
This year has been one where I’ve put in some effort into my health.  When I reached 200lbs last year, Tenille and I decided that something needed to be done.  Microsoft offers a $2000 program (that’s after the MS discount) called 20/20.  Most people that have taken the program lose a LOT of weight (30-50 lbs).  This is from talking with friends that have successfully completed the program.  Unfortunately, our household is not one that can afford $2000 for me to get in shape, so we decided to go down the home brew route.  A good friend once told me that there’s no secret to losing weight, even though there are thousands of books published claiming they’ve figured out the secret.  At the end of the day, it’s 1.  Eat less, 2. Exercise more.  Everything else is trying to instill discipline in how we do these things.  At the recommendation of a few friends, I skimmed through "Body for Life" and created my own program that I felt I could stick to.  The goal was to eat frequently in small quantities.  Typically, I’d eat about 4-5 times a day, and it could be anything as long as the volume equalled that of two of my fists.  I also started a weight lifting program as well as a running program.  I’m up to running 5 miles fairly comfortably between a 9-10 minute pace.  I can swim 8 laps fairly aggressively (which is the triathlon distance).  I need to take a few practice swims in a lake, because as described in my last triathlon blog, lake swimming and pool swimming our two entirely different things.  I’m still biking at about a 12-14 mph pace which is a bit slow.  I like to blame the equipment on this one, but I also have a hard time believing that better equipment is going to make me THAT much faster.  I should stop whining and try training a bit harder. The bigger problem with biking is that it’s a pain in the bum.  Literally.
After about 6 months, I’m down to about 178 lbs now, which is great.  The last time I weighed under 180 was in college. My end of year goal is 169 which would be my high school weight.
This got me thinking about how we can measure if we’re in the best shape of our lives.  There seems to be a strength, endurance, and body composition portion of this.  I’m pretty sure that I’m not the strongest I’ve ever been, especially if you measure using the bench press test.  I think I could bench about 250 in high school.  I start whimpering when I approach 200 now. 
On the body composition side, my weight is lower than it has been, but it’s still higher than in high school.   Weight is probably not a good measure however, as it’s difficult to pin point when your body is done developing.  For instance, I shouldn’t compare myself to my junior high weight as I was still growing at that time.   The last fat content check I did (when I was 200lbs) put me at 25% fat. I’m a quarter fat.  Apparently, for a woman this is normal.  Sadly, I’m not a woman.  I’m fairly confident that my next measurement should be lower.   But, since I never had this measured in my high school years, it’s difficult to benchmark on this measure.
Finally, there’s endurance.  This is where I might have a chance to claim that I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in, although there’s some conflicting measures here also.  About 6 years ago, I ran the Las Vegas Half Marathon in 2 hours 10 minutes, which is a 10 minute/mile pace.  I’m fairly certain, I would not be able to do this today.  But, on Friday I ran the fastest mile I’ve ever run in my life.  I’ve never beat the 7 minute mark, and on Friday I got 6 minutes and 56 seconds.  It almost cost me my breakfast, but it would have been worth it. 
Perhaps this "best shape of your life" concept is elusive as our body changes, and only something a middle aged man thinks about.  I’ll just document my best times, and perhaps when the time comes where my children are faster, smarter, and stronger than I am, I can challenge them with a few journal entries.