2 weight training workouts a day, and 1 conditioning workout.
Over those years I was going back and forth between gaining, and cutting training cycles. The gaining cycles were 3-6 months long, and were pretty healthy. Only one workout per day, and LOTS of food. The cutting cycles were usually 3 months long, and were designed to get me as lean as possible. They got harder as I got closer to the end of the training cycle. And at the peak (usually the last month) I would run for 5 miles in the morning, lift weights for an hour in the afternoon, and be on the treadmill for an hour at night. Not to mention I was cutting my carbs and fats. I’m not really sure how my body survived on that diet.
Moved to New York City
New York is a great place, but is the opposite of stress free. The place is go, go, go all the time. If you slow down you get trampled. It was a great environment for learning how to work hard, and push yourself mentally. But not great at all for living a well rounded life.
I fluttered for a few years still training like a bodybuilder, but coming to the realization that if I wanted to reach my goals I’d need to take steroids. And I wasn’t willing to do that.
2008 – The Real Fun Begins
The New York City Marathon
After a couple of years without a solid workout goal I decided to run a marathon. I did several races leading up to the marathon, and ran it in over 4 hours. Not fast, but I also decided to run home from the marathon which sparked a whole new set of adventures.
May – First Ultra Marathon
Washington DC 50k
I ran a 50k trail race in Washington DC. It felt hard, but not too bad. I thought I could go longer…
July – First Triathlon
This year I also did my first triathlon. It was a weird tri with a kayak, road bike, trail run. Changing sports in one event felt really strange.
May – Second 50k Ultra Marathon
Bear Mountain NY 50k
This was a far harder course than my first 50k. It was at Bear Mountain NY. It still felt good, and I was gearing up for more one race at a time.
June – First 50 Mile Ultra Marathon
Washington DC 50 Mile
I went back to the Washington DC course to run the 50 mile race. This one hurt pretty bad, but I never considered not finishing it. It was a fairly flat course which was good for my first 50 miler.
July – Pike Peak Marathon
Without any planning… a few friends and I ran the Pikes Peak marathon course for fun. It was the first time that I had been at elevation, and maybe the first time I started to feel any real fatigue. I remember not being able to hardly run at all near the top. My body just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to.
July – First Olympic Distance Triathlon
ChelanMan Olympic Triathlon
I trained for this triathlon while on a road trip from NYC to Seattle. My brother also taught me how to swim on the road trip. I literally didn’t know how to do a crawl stroke before starting the road trip, and complete an Olympic distance triathlon 3 weeks later. This tri was really fun, and I’d decided that I liked the three sport approach. It was a new challenge, and my weight training background seemed to help with swimming and biking.
November – Ran 54 Miles Around Lake Washington
This was just another fun run. I decided that I should just go out and do it. I really hadn’t trained for an Ultra run, and the longest run that I’d done leading up to this was about 13 miles. It was a little bit of “let’s see what I can do without training”. So I did it, and it took about 9.5 hours. This one made me hurt bad! I really didn’t want to run the last 3 miles. There was lots of pain, and my body wanting to shut down. 🙂
Started Increasing Intensity of CrossFit Workouts
May – Second 50 Mile Ultra Marathon
Bear Mountain NY 50 Mile
Leading up to this race I felt like I was in the best shape of my life, and was expecting to finish top 10 in the race. Unfortunately fate had other plans… at about mile 20 my hip flexor started cramping, and I had to hobble through the last 30 miles. I finished, but it wasn’t pretty, and my hip flexor hurt for weeks.
July – First Half Ironman Distance Triathlon
ChelanMan Half Ironman
I did this race as a training race for my upcoming full Ironman. I remember it feeling bad like I just couldn’t push my body. I was probably overtrained for the race. My body just wouldn’t go.
August – First Ironman
Somehow for this race I actually felt pretty good. I was above my projected time until about halfway through the run where I experienced really bad stomach cramping and had to walk for a few miles. After my stomach settled I was able to run the rest of the race, and finish feeling good. I did a few light workouts the week following this race, but took it pretty each before jumping back into training. I should have taken the rest of the year off!
November – Second Ironman
This is the first time that I really should have thrown up the red flag. During my taper for this event something really didn’t feel right. My body really felt burned out before the race even started. Then it gets worse! During the bike ride my body kept trying to fall asleep on me. I would be on my bike peddling hard, and my eyes would literally fall shut, and I’d have to ride standing up to snap back awake. This continued for at least 2 hours of the bike portion of the race. I was so happy to get to the run, but it was just a total slog. And although I finished faster than I did for the previous Ironman, I felt WAY worse at the end.
March – CrossFit Open
This was the first year that I was exposed to the CrossFit Open. I did one of my Open workouts at CrossFit Invictus just by chance, and started doing the Invictus Competition programing shortly afterward.
For the remainder of 2012 I did 2+ hour long CrossFit Invictus Competition programing. I was getting strong, but I remember my quads hurting so bad that I couldn’t sit down for my than 30 minutes without them cramping so bad that I was in excruciating pain. There were even several times that I was riding in the car, and had to stop the car to get out and stretch my legs.
July – 2nd Olympic Distance Triathlon
ChelanMan Olympic Triathlon
This race I just did for fun. I had a few friends that were doing it, so without any training swim, bike, run at all I did the race. As you can imagine it didn’t feel great.
March – CrossFit Open
I had trained very hard all year hoping that I’d do well in the CrossFit Open. I had gained a ton of strength, and improved my technique a ton. What I was missing was cardio. This might have been a good thing for my body, as I wasn’t feeling super overtrained. Although I did feel overtrained about a month out from the Open, and took a week off via my coaches advice. Looking back now… I probably needed a month off.
The 2+ hour CrossFit workouts continued with very little time off. Most weeks I felt totally trashed, but kept pushing through. Pain couldn’t stop me. At least that’s what I thought…
August – 93 Mile Wonderland Train in 3 Days
This was a bright idea that a few CrossFitters and I had. We wanted to hike the Wonderland trail. This is the trail the circumferences Mount Rainier in WA. But we decided that it wouldn’t be fun unless we did it in 3 days. That meant over a marathon a day for 3 days with a cumulative elevation gain over over 22,000 feet. Crazy, right?! Well… we did it. It took the full 3 days, and we were all hurting bad through most of it. My lower legs were swollen for about a week. And it took about a month before I could squat the same amount of weight as before the hike.
March – CrossFit Open
This was the first year that I felt prepared for the Open. I learned from the previous year, and included more cardio in my preparation. I gave my all on every workout, and our team qualified for the CrossFit Regionals.
May – CrossFit Regionals
This was an amazing experience! But what I felt during the competition wasn’t right. I just had no energy. It was like I was constantly forcing my body to move, and all it wanted to do was lay down. I mean the workouts were hard, but not that hard, and there was something wrong. We finished 8th in the NorthWest, and I can only guess that we could have done better had I been 100%.
Over the remainder of the year my workouts continued to be hard and long. But I did everything that I possibly could think of to recover faster. It just didn’t work. And during the fall I started to have the sleepy feeling come back during workouts. That same feeling I had while riding my bike during Ironman Cozumel. Usually about once per week my body would just want to shut down during a workout. I could have fallen asleep right there on the gym floor. I’m not joking.
That was when I started looking into getting my body tested, and I found the Ben Greenfield podcast where I learned how to test if I had adrenal fatigue. There’s an easy test that you can do in a dark room of your house that will tell you if you have adrenal fatigue.
If I look back over the years it clear to me how I got into adrenal fatigue. I just didn’t listen to my body. But it’s really bigger than that because it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re not recovering without having some way of measuring it.
The first way that I suggest that everyone starts to measure their recovery is with the Sweet Beat Life app. It was the first piece of data that I saw that showed me something was not right. Then from there you can go further down the road with lab testing.
CrossFit and endurance sports are taxing on your body, and I’m a perfect example of what can happen when you don’t listen to the cues that your body is telling you.
EVERYONE WHO’S TRAINING HARD SHOULD BE TESTING THEIR HRV EVERYDAY!!!