Friday, February 22, 2008

IHE Initialization phase is done

I've finished the 3 week initialization phase and live to talk about it. I've been to base camp 3 on Mt. Everest and have determined my climbing days are over. There was a time back in the early '80's when Everest was on my radar screen, but no more. It's unbelievable how hard it is to breathe at that altitude.

This is the io Program screen for week 3 that says "by the end of week 3 you reach base camp 3, 850 m below the summit of Mt. Everest..." I believe it!

One of the neat features of this system is the ability to surf the web and read your favorite blogs during your "training."

How do I feel so far, you ask? Fine. I think it's too early to say since I haven't pushed myself very hard, but that will change next weekend. My first XC race of 2008 is March 1st in St. George and maybe that will tell me something. I know for sure Leadville will answer the question.

I can say though that I did an interval workout yesterday and my power numbers were up by 20% over the last time I did the same workout and, my heart rate was down. Granted, my fitness has improved through my regular training schedule, but I am improving and my time on the bike is less than what it was this time last year.

Looks like a so-so weekend weatherwise so I hope to get back on the road. That trainer riding is getting my butt sore...

Monday, February 18, 2008

IHE Update

I'm 3 days into the 3rd week of the initialization phase and have climbed past the 20,320 foot summit of Mt. McKinley. By Wednesday I'll be at Camp 3 on Mt. Everest! The last 4 days have been exhausting, to say the least. When I left session 13 today I felt like I was drunk for about 15 minutes afterwards. I must be a light weight cuz you're supposed to be back to normal after a few breaths of ambinet air. Not me...

Also, it appears my mask was only working intermittently during the first 9 days and I may not have been getting the full intended boost, i.e. I was mixing ambient air with depleted air and not going as high as I was supposed to. My body was not being stressed properly and I was not really climbing as high as I was programed to climb. After making a correction to the way I inhale, I can definatley say I am getting the full effect now! As a matter of fact, during the last 3 sessions I almost passed out several times, and I've had to cheat and grab some ambient air to stay upright. It was way intense, and a little scarry. Even 5 minutes with significantly reduced oxygen made my head very light and my arms tingle. I can't help but think a lot of that is because I did not get aclimatized correctly during the first 9 days and suddenly jumped out of the plane at 20,000 feet. I don't recommend it.

I have 2 more days left in the 3 week initialization phase and will then do 5 day boosts as the year moves along.

I'll post a few pictures tomorrow so you can see what the gizmo looks like and the changes to my body. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Utah Weather

Blizzard in the morning,

Nice and sunny a few hours later. This was yesterday.

Ya gotta love Utah weather. Forecast for the weekend - sunny, in the mid to upper 40's. A bloody heat way, it is!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Affordable Weight Loss

Since Moab 2 weeks ago, I've been all excited to Stans my SS wheels and get rid of the 210 gram tubes. I finally got 'er done this weekend. At first blush I thought wow, no tubes, no rim strips, tubelss ready rims and tires and a big 468 gram savings. Sign me up. The reality is the savings was 71 grams per tire, 142 grams total. The next big weight saving will be in the tires.

I was not able to get the Stans rim strips to work with the Bontrager rims, so I had to buy Bont's pre-formed rim strips and separate stems. Together they work like a charm and inflated without a problem, and they've held air without leaking. I added 100 grams, 2 squirt bottles, of Stans to each tire and I'm good to go. Total cost was $28 - not bad.

What a weekend this was. Finally sun and ridable weather. I put in a hard 3.5 hours with a big group of Roadie Saturday and got my doors blown off after 1.5 hours. Man, those guys are fast! Great workout overall and great for the attitude and spirits. I rode again today and enjoyed the sun and even warmer temps. Life is good...

I'm 2 days into the second week of sucking oxygen depleted air from a compressor. All is well and I can't say I notice anything dramatic at this point in time. Breathing the air is getting a little more labored, so I know something is going on. I don't see any apprarent deformaties so I'll keep on sucking.

I also need to clarify what it is I'm doing. The process is actually intermittent hypoxic exposure, IHE and not intermittent hypoxic training, IHT. IHE is passive and involves 5-minutes exposures to altitude followed by 5 minute exposures to amibent air. IHT is done on the bike using a mask and requires significantly more airflow. IHT is more flexible and will allow you to train low and sleep high, if you so choose, giving you the best of both worlds. That sounds cool, but unfortunately that's not what I'm doing. Although I won't be sleeping at altitude, IHE should provide a noticable benefit.

As a side note, Marnie Knoop won the Utah State 5A 500-meter freestyle Championship held in Provo this weekend. Way to kick ass Marnie. She's also picked up a full ride swimming scholarship to BYU (I'll forgive you Marnie) and will be headed that way in the fall. I'm proud of you Marn's.

Enjoy the warm weather.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Altitude Training, Week 1

I started the io-USA altitude training program at the Momentum Gym in Sandy and have finished the first week. The first phase is three weeks long with 5 days on and 2 off. This is a passive protocol in that I do not exercise during the 60-minute sessions. The way it works is you put a mask on your face and breathe high-altitude oxygen for five minutes, followed by ambient oxygen for five minutes and alternate that sequence 12 times. You get 30 minutes of high-altitude breathing in each one-hour session. During the first 3 sessions the oxygen concentration is set at 11%, then lowered to 10% for sessions 4 and 5.

Here are a few observations after the first week. I noticed a dryness in my mouth with the mask on, and the air smells a little funny. The funny smell may be because both the face mask and tubing are new and may have some residual smell left over from the manufacturing process. It’s no big deal. I haven't felt any tingling or dizziness during the sessions, but I did notice on the 4th and 5th sessions that I had to breathe a little harder. I also noticed during the 4th session I was getting a tad bit sleepy. Just a bit, not a lot. After the 2nd session I had a minor headache during the evening, but that most likely was because I was dehydrated from working out earlier that day and did not drink enough water during the day. I drank a lot the following morning and have had no headaches since. Now I’m drinking water during the 5-minute ambient phases of the session. I slept very well after the third, fourth and fifth sessions, but not after the first and second. I'm generally a good sleeper anyway so I'm not sure whether altitude training had anything to do with that. I'll monitor my sleep patterns for future reference. Overall I feel fine. I’ve ridding the trainer a few times, but nothing of significance that I can use to measure progress. As the weather improves and I get outside, I hope to report a noticeable difference.

On another positive note, I got into the LEADVILLE 100 again. Yahoo!!! If ever there was a place to test the benefits of AT training, it’s Leadville. I’m stoked.