Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One year to go

Sunday i had my best athletic achievement of my life, 46th place in a race of well over 2200 people. The funny thing is, a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable. I was badly overweight, weak, and my cardiovascular fitness was such that running a block was something i could do only very slowly, if at all.

It's been a steady but very slow progression.. 6 months where i lose a few pounds, a few months were i work on strength a lot and put on 4 pounds, half of it muscle, a couple of months where i hold my weight steady but improve my cardio, etc.

There have been missteps and false starts, such as eight months of a raw diet ( i gained weight, and lost speed and strength ) and periods where i thought yoga along would keep me in shape ( it can't ).

But with my last race, it seems to me that elite ranking is actually attainable. This was a tower race, and i averaged exactly 11 seconds per floor. 10 seconds per floor would have qualified me as an elite athlete, and 9 seconds a floor would have placed me in the top ten.

I'm looking at this from multiple angles:

Weight: 1 weigh 185 and my bodyfat is about 18-19%. That means i have 35 pounds of fat on me. If i lost 20 pounds of fat, i'd weigh 165 and have 9% bodfat, which is a perfectly healthy number. That alone would get me elite ranking. 14.5 ( minutes ) * ( 165 / 185 ) = 12.9 ( minutes ) easily qualifying as elite.

Speed improvement: 9%

Leg strength: My stair climbing muscle chain began to hurt at floor 40 or so. I plan to approach this from multiple angles: Climbing real stairs with a 40 pound weight vest, doing double steps at the gym with the same 40 pound vest, and seeking out exercises that stimulate the same muscles.

speed improvement: 5%

Cardio: i was definitely out of breath at the end of the race, and developed a hacking cough. The gym stair climber didn't seem to work my cardio hard enough; i need to find other ways to get a good cardio burn in. Running is obvious, but i observe many of the best stair climbers are also rowers, cros country skiiers, or cyclists. So, i'm going to add rowing and spinning to my workouts, as well as something resembling CC skiing.

Speed improvement 8%

Pulling strength: pulling oneself up the handrails is a big help for tower racing speed. My arms got tired quickly, and i just used the handrails for guidance. I need to develop more pulling strength. Rowing will help, as various gym pulling machines.

speed improvement: 3%

Technique: i need to work on my turnaround technique and passing techniques. Work on specific exercises for this.

speed improvement: 5% ( there are a lot of turnarounds )

Mental toughness: my brain tends to get fuzzy in these races. To combat this, i need to stop listening to music and defocusing during my hard cardio sessions. Additionally, i need to gut out some tough cardio sessions staying focused, such as spin.

speed improvement: 5%

If all those speed improvements are real, and i think they are, i would have placed 4th in this race, which would be titanic for me.

I almost regret that i have races coming up... I'd like to do the diet i know works for me, and do a low-ish carb warrior diet, which i lose weight quickly on. After the empire state race, i will design a weekly cycle allowing two super HIT cardio sessions.

After race season is over ( mid-march ) my main focus will be on building strength and cutting fat. Hopefully, i can accomplish some of this during race season so i will have a good head start.

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