Sunday, June 30, 2013

Training Payne 3.0...My Next Quest...

1987 Ironman Canada - 21 yrs old

2010 Ironman World Championships Kona - 44 yrs old
Training Payne 3.0 - The preamble

This is my third blog, Training Payne 3.0. The first one was about my journey from Fat to Fit. I blogged everyday for 4 years and it ended with me qualifying for Kona after starting 50 lbs overweight. By the last month I had 8000 monthly hits before shutting it down.

The next was Training Payne 2.0 and was private. Focusing on my transition from business owner and talked more about personal, non triathlon subject mater.

I guess you can say this is the next blog in the trilogy. Training Payne 3.0. This blog is about the next phase of my triathlon journey...From Ironman fit to sliding a little back to my past....and reversing it...then working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Since Training Payne 1.0 here's what's happened....

It's been crazy since the end of 2011. I became President of Picaboo Yearbooks and am laser focused on revolutionizing the yearbook.

In the process I've let my fitness, health and weight go. It was almost a mirror of what happened when I was 24 years old and was part of starting a new business venture in 1990. I was in great Ironman shape back then and within 2 years I was out of shape and overweight, eventually ballooning up to 227 lbs.

In 2007, I had enough. For 16 years between 1990 and 2007 I primarily gave up triathlons. I did some here and there, but no Ironmans. I remember having a dream on night that I was in an Ironman event and couldn't finish. It was the first time I realized that my Ironman card from my 20's had run out.

In May 2007 I decided to get back into shape and get back into triathlons, a passion of mine that just feels natural. It's definitely a sport that suits my personality, which is all or nothing. There's no middle switch. I can either be a committed triathlete or a committed couch potato or workaholic or partier or anything I put my mind too.

It was an incredible journey, from fat to fit. I lost 50 lbs and even qualified for the half ironman world championships in Clearwater and the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I did 7 more Ironmans, bringing my life total to 10 and in the process became faster in my 40's than I was in my 20's.

After qualifying and doing Kona in 2010 I was burnt out. I did 3 3/4 Ironman Races in 2010 alone. China I had to DNF because of foot poisoning and kidneys were shutting down 1/2 way through the run in 43C weather. I trained a huge amount of hours for near 4 years without a break (over 50,000 km's of swim, bike and run) and threw my entire body chemistry out of whack due to over training. I can't even begin to cover all the issues, salt depletion was the worst, and most dangerous, even though it doesn't sound like a big deal. It is.

Fast forward to 2010, I sell my business after 20 years. Did some consulting and the workload was much less than I was used to, it was a semi-retirement. I thought I'd train more, I was wrong. Between burnout from doing 4 Ironmans in one year and lack of the work routine and riding on my past accomplishment coat tails, I slowly started the downward spiral of losing fitness and gaining weight.

I started to take it easy, rest on my laurels like an old NFL football player and enjoy life a little to much. With no responsibilities of owning a business and more time on my hands, with a world class bar in my basement, let's say every day seemed like a weekend. It was fun.

I started to deteriorate fitness, weight and health wise.

One thing I did learn in the process was I can't retire. I thought I could, I can't. I need work stress and stimulation. That was a good learning experience, learning what you don't want. In late 2011 I got involved with a new venture with Picaboo and I became President of Picaboo Yearbooks with the mission to revolutionize the yearbook. I previously owned a Canadian yearbook company and I really enjoyed it, becoming passionate about how to revolutionize the yearbook industry with a new business model.

Launching Picaboo Yearbooks definitely got me back stimulated, between 12 - 16 hours a day, including weekends. When I started I said to myself, "remember the past and don't repeat it, you did an all out assault of launching a business in 1990 and lost your triathlon and personal self". Not to mention the sacrifices made of spending much of my time at work or on the road for about 15 years building a business and missing many family situations, vacations, triathlons, and time to enjoy the little things. I didn't want to repeat this this go around. I figured I learnt my lesson, but it was definitely a test I wasn't sure I'd pass or not. It was another challenge and test to see if I learnt from my past experiences.

Fast forward to my new position. Up until the end of this April I've been working like a madman, inhuman hours, losing work-life-training balance in the process. I'm working as hard and with more wisdom and experience that when I was in my 20's and it's been cool knowing how not to make mistakes and move things forward without question. It's been fun, and still is. Only issue was in the process I started to repeat my past and although not as bad as in my early 20's, I started to train less and my physical and mental health suffered.

Even though I was working crazy hours last summer I still did manage to scramble a 6 week training plan together and compete in Ironman Roth in July 2012, and even setting my second best time, a shocking 10:40, I was drawing on my previous 5 years of insane training to pull me through. The down side was I was in Europe for 2 weeks with the family and pretty much working most of the North America hours using skype and email. I think my record day is about 800 - 900 emails at one point. Up until recently I've been averaging about 500 emails each day. Typical when starting and trying to grow a business rapidly.

After Roth I cooled the jets big time and did minimal training, at least for me. Between 11 - 30 hours per month. Between working too much and enjoying it, and not training and a little too much partying with Alice as part of my balanced approach I got out of shape and put on the pounds. I got soft. I hit my peak less than 2 months ago, hitting 203 lbs. YIKES!!!! For me 181 - 185 lbs is my normal racing weight and that was a 181 - 185 of muscle.

Over Christmas alone I figured I gained 10 lbs over a 7 - 10 day period. Having a Kegerator in the house with draft beer available on tap doesn't help. I could no longer hide the fact that my Ironman physique was over. My clothes were getting tight and I was SOFT. I was kidding myself when I was at 187 lbs thinking I hadn't gained weight. I hadn't, but my body composition had changed, bye, bye muscle.

Now to add to my downwards spiral, I was hospitalized with blood clots in November 2012. That blew me away, how could that be? Then the doctor told me I need to take 6 months off training and no beer. He also told me I couldn't compete at Ironman New Zealand in March. I had signed up for it and it was to be my kick in the pants to get back into shape race. Now I had to bail.

Then I stopped listening to the doctor about the training and started doing 11 - 30 hrs a month and started having some beers again. I didn't take it too seriously and felt I couldn't live my life without doing what I want to do.

In lieu of cancelling out of IMNZ I decided to register for Ironman Mont Tremblant, I needed a goal. The race happens August 18th, 2013. By doing so it forced me to "have a day of reckoning". You just can't do an Ironman by just showing up,you have to train for it.

As all this insane, fun, challenging work was going on, I told myself that by the end of April I need to make a change. I could no longer maintain the pace. I got some support from my team and help was on the way. In May we added some depth and structure to our management infrastructure and it freed me up to still work hard but not put in those insane hours.

As a sidebar to help myself, er should I say, force myself to stop working in the evening, I bought a lock box style safe and the only person with the combination is Alice. I'd try to shut it down by 8 pm and put my laptop and cell phones in the safe to force me to stop working. It works. Tough part is if I get up earlier than Alice I'm anxious for her to wake up so I can get to work.

So second week of May I got my butt into gear and started training for Ironman. Putting in serious mileage. I started from near zero and went to 100 mph. In three weeks in May I did 53 hours / 1100 kms of training and June I did 78 hrs / 1560 kms of training. I also started at 203 lbs and am now down to 192 lbs as of today with more muscle, a 11 lb loss,  I didn't lose a pound for the first 3 weeks because I muscle weight was substituting fat weight. I'm happy with the progress, although it's been super hard to do.

I still want to get down to 183 lbs or less. 9 more pounds to go. That's a lot. It's just shows how much I let myself go. I used to take 183 lbs for granted. Actually I used to be 181 lbs and when I hit 183 I'd start freaking that I was gaining too much weight.

So here we are, the beginning of Training Payne 3.0 - "My quest for balance"...

In my world "the quest for balance" is like a "quest for happiness". I'm not sure if it's possible with my personality. I'm hoping that finding balance will also add to more happiness. It's a theory.

Right now I'm not yet back to my starting point from a weight perspective, I have 9 lbs to go to get to my minimum acceptable level of 183 lbs. Truth be told I'd love to get to 175 lbs, but I'd be happy being in the low 180's.

The challenges I face are balancing work, family, training, racing Ironmans, physical and mental health and having fun while doing it all. No easy task especially as you get older. I'm finally starting to realize I may not be that young anymore, at least physically. Mentally I've been a mature 17 year old for sometime, however I think I may be closer to 22 years old mentally now. I'm getting a little more serious and less reckless in the last 3 months.

Anyway, that's the preamble, that's what this blog is all about. Let the new Training Payne journey begin!!!