Like many athletes I tend to let the two (health and fitness) blur together in my mind. The latest event to rattle this ignorance-is-bliss mindset for me was the death of a legend, Steve Larsen at just 39 years of age. This one really threw me for a loop because Steve was the picture of fitness ... a world champion poised to see how far he could take it, one more time. Even more so however was the fact that he left behind five small children which hits very close to home for me, having 3 little ones myself.
If you follow my blog you may remember that late last year I set a plan in place to have my body composition measured every quarter this season leading to the ironman in the late fall. My goal was to reach a high level of fitness in June for two races and then again in November. Well June is here and today was the day to check the numbers and let the chips fall where the may. The items that are in bold are the ones I'm concerned about most (from a fitness perspective).
|Body Fat %||6.2||8.1||7.8|
|Fat Weight (lb)||9.92||12.88||12.56|
|Lean Weight (lb)||150.08||146.12||148.44|
Things have made a very big shift since March in the right direction. My weight is up by 1 pound, but for very good reason as my fat weight is down nearly 3 pounds and my lean weight is up 4 pounds. This simply means that I've put on muscle and lost fat. I was very pleased to have reached my goal of 6% body fat for June.
I should say that I did not diet AT ALL to reach 6%. As a matter of fact most days include 2 breakfasts, mid morning snack, lunch, copious amounts of chocolate, more afternoon snacks (lots of fruit), and large dinners with multiple helpings and several pieces of bread, and of course desert. This leads me to believe that I can become even more lean for November by incorporating a smidgen of willpower when it comes to food.
So that is my fitness and I am pretty fit at the moment. But what about my health?
I afraid it is not such a positive note here ... I had an evaluation last week (blood pressure and blood analysis) and the results have come back. The areas for concern are my systolic blood pressure number (121) - which is at the bottom of the "High Normal" range, and my cholesterol numbers. My total cholesterol number was 218 mg/dl which puts me in the "Borderline high" range. The HDL ("good cholesterol") number was fine (50), but the LDL ("bad cholesterol") was in the "Borderline high" range with a 141.
Jennifer has made an appointment with my doctor so we can figure out the right approach for getting my blood pressure and cholesterol back into normal ranges. Hopefully this won't involve drugs!!!
Last week capped off a solid block of training leading into some races this month. I've been very consistent and hope it pays off in my performances. Here's a picture of training over the last few weeks. The first week shown there is the week following the Lake Murray triathlon and then the remaining weeks until now. This week will be much lighter as I'm hoping to realize the fitness gains from this block going into the upcoming races.
The basic structure has been 10-12km of swimming (4 sessions per week), around 8.5 hours on the bike, with the run building to just over 30 miles last two weeks, and as much core strength work as I can squeeze in. Had I not crashed at Mt. Mitchell the cycling time for 5/18 week would have been quite a bit higher. Unfortunately I won't get the boost I was hoping for from Mitchell, but other than that, it's gone off without a hitch.
I have some ambitious goals for Festival of Flowers. Last year I finished 19th overall with a poor swim (27:48) and terrible run (43:54). This year I'm hoping to shave at least 6 minutes off my time from last year (2:13:47) and place in the top 10. Last year a 2:07 would have put you in 10th place. Maybe I'm being optimistic but I'm seeing 6 minutes on the swim and run alone with just a steady effort. I think 24 minutes on the swim is very realistic and I will be very disappointed if I run over 40 minutes!! Last year I rode just over an hour (1:00:23) for a near 24 mph average ... so obviously I'm aiming to redeem myself by going under an hour! The one thing to watch out for here is the heat. This is the first race on the circuit where the heat starts to play a role and, in the past, it has caught me off guard (hence the dismal run last year).
I'll leave you with this picture from last Monday. Me a my girls, relaxing on the boat and lovin' it.