Week 66 – Dehydration and New PR’s


ICD 9 Code For Dehydration

Apparently, it turns out, that peeing when you are super-dehydrated can hurt. And it can hurt a lot. I mean we’re talking burning sensations where you should not have burning sensations.

And while you’re in that kind of pain, your brain ain’t doing too well either. It’s a bad scene that will refuse to get better…

Let me rewind the clock a little bit.

This week was a down week. And like all down weeks when you’re training for an absurd event like a half-ironman, you still have long runs and long bike rides.

On Thursday I decided to do my long run instead of my long bike ride. And it turns out that weather in the bay area had gotten really really hot all of a sudden. Global warming and all that sort of thing.

A weird side effect of all of my dieting and training is that I am perpetually slightly dehydrated. Mostly because I can’t be bothered to drink enough water during the day. At Zynga we had calorie free drinks available all over the place, at Juniper being old school we don’t.

So on Thursday I decide to go for a run. And it was hot. And I forgot my water bottle. I thought, what the hell, how bad could it possible be.

It was bad. Really really really bad. Painfully bad.

Of course like the obsessed triathlete I am, instead of worrying about my pains in wrong places, I was more frustrated with my heart rate and pace. Turns out that an elevated heart rate is another side effect of dehydration. So is stupidity.

The good news is that I didn’t hurt myself even more. You can actually hurt yourself pretty bad if you’re not careful. And I am very lucky.

So after consuming an ungodly amount of water, I felt a lot better. And over the next few days, I started drinking a lot more water.

My boss gave me this really cool water bottle on my first day, so I am making extensive use of that.

New PR

This week I had a 500 yard time trial. Time trials suck. It’s 10 minutes of your life where you are going all out and your reward is this brutally objective measurement of your progress or lack thereof.

My basic challenge in swimming, running and biking is my posture. Basically a life time of being hunched over and a big belly have given me a horrifically poor posture. My shoulders are hunched, my hips are in the wrong place and my head hangs over like a vultures.

The good news is that I have been working on posture. Loosely that translates into being in pain a lot as your body gets used to a new natural pose.

Meandering notes aside, I had this aspiration of going fast and using good technique.

Well 1/2 is not too shabby.

The technique was there for the first 25 yards, but I went so fast that my heart rate made it really hard for me to focus on technique until about the 400 yard mark. Good news is that my core technique has improved enough over the last year that I was able to go faster and maintain a better technique than I had in the past.

So like I said the other day, I crushed my PR 🙂 

And I do admit that when I saw the 8 in the minute section, I started splashing in my lane like I had just won a race 🙂

As a minor note to myself, I did some math … My fastest ever 25 yards is basically the average pace for a professional ironman triathlete. I feel slower already…

Weight update

Because the internet of things still sucks, I was only able to get a few data points …


The good news is that I dropped some weight, the really exciting news is that I am now 2.5 pounds from having lost a 10kg 🙂

On a more mundane note, ever since I discovered that eating is the key to losing weight, my weight loss has accelerated.

Week 65 – Ironman Training 1 : Peter Jackson 0

Last week was a brutal week of exercise.

There was 2.5 hours of biking and running on Monday, high intensity swim on Tuesday, high intensity biking on Wednesday, a 3 hour bike ride and half hour swim on Thursday and a two-hour run on Friday ending with a 1:10 swim on Sunday.

But that was actually ok. Not too bad really. What was brutal was trying to watch Peter Jackson’s the Hobbit: An unexpected journey.

When I did my three-hour bike ride, I had originally decided that it was an excellent opportunity to see the movie. I believe it’s the first time ever that a bike ride served as a distraction to a film.

The movie was slow, rambling and poorly paced. It felt like a bad Dungeons and Dragons module … where the characters have insane action sequences paused between silly asinine dialogue… Maybe a bad computer game. If this was metacritic the score would be 10%

The brutality of the experience was made bearable by my biking. Thank God for the pain and suffering of the bike ride otherwise I would have resented the time I had spent watching this movie…

This experience reminded me of the experience of watching JK Rawlings books explode in size over time.



In my mind I suspect her editor went from being able to edit her books to being able to advise her on possible spelling errors. As a result the books became these sprawling amazingly large tomes that were endless and a mess

Clearly Peter Jackson writes his own rules now … and like Rawlings could benefit from an editor.

Oh well…

On weight loss update

2014-04-18_2254At the end of the week I was crushed, scrunched, mauled.

And that turns out to be a good thing.

Because we decided to eat out a lot this week, and it was this endless barrage of “lose weight” while working out “put on weight after meal”.

Restaurants do two evil things:

  1. They use ridiculous portions
  2. They use a lot of sugar and fat

Let’s be clear, as a sugar and fat consuming machine the food is awesomely good, however, it truly and awesomely goes straight to my midsection…

We had this sushi roll that had greasy goodness wrapped in rice with some sugary sauce. Then we had this Chinese restaurant menu meal that was this amazing bowl of noodles ..

Suffice it to say the quantity was amazing as the tastiness. And I could not stop eating.

Somehow I still lost weight. But it took a lot of careful eating after eating tasty restaurant food!



Week 64 – The internet of things sucks

Last week was rough. Work stuff. Family stuff. Exercise stuff. And worst of all… my internet enabled scale had to be reconfigured with the internet.

Definitely not feeling very humorous or engaging or fun.

But the week was over on Monday.

Except it wasn’t.

My favorite gadget of all time is my Withings scale that uploads my weight data to the cloud. The data driven approach to weight loss has made it possible to confront my own magical thinking about weight loss. Magical thinking I didn’t even realize I have.

This scale is an example of the internet of things. And when it works life is magical and when it to doesn’t I am reminded of the mess that is technology.

Well it turns out that the wifi connection in my house isn’t perfect. And it turns out that blue-tooth enabled android phone and my Withings scale don’t like working together. And it turns out that the UX of the Withings scale and iPhone suck. To configure the Withings scale I have to get out of the Withings application and go to the iPhone configuration set up and then return to the Withings app — why oh why can’t I just do it directly from the Withings app.


Because Jony Ive doesn’t think I should.

Oh well.

So it took me several days of futzing and tweaking and screaming and being very grouchy to get my internet enabled scale to work. And that made me think that doing the same for hundreds of devices would be insane. I would… quite literally… go insane. For the internet of things to work devices and registration of devices on networks has to be at least 4 orders of magnitude simpler.

I have less hair as a result of this. And I am more convinced that the internet of things is a long term trend not a short term trend.

As for what this has to do with my half-ironman?

Lots. You can’t really blog without your weight and you can’t blog about your weight if your stupid scale doesn’t connect to the internet. So there.

But it works all better now, so that’s good.

And here’s the weight data 



Less progress than usual (.8 pounds vs 1 pound) and that is disappointing given my weight loss.

But the stress of the broken scale was just too too much to overcome this week.

Week 63 – The quantum theory of exercise

This week was a down week. Down weeks are your body’s opportunity to recover from the abuse you inflicted on it. It’s an important process in training for an event like a triathlon. Really important.


Because once it’s over you’re going to start climbing the mountain of pain. Next week I am hitting 10:20 minutes of exercise.

A brief humble brag

On Friday I set a new personal best during my time trial. This is significant for two reasons:

  1. I set a new personal best and that’s always fun.
  2. I did it way earlier in my training cycle.

As for the improvement, it was 11 seconds over 5km…

The quantum theory of exercise

Fig. 1: Probability densities corresponding to the wavefunctions of an electron in a hydrogen atom possessing definite energy levels (increasing from the top of the image to the bottom: n = 1, 2, 3, ...) and angular momenta (increasing across from left to right: s, p, d, ...). Brighter areas correspond to higher probability density in a position measurement. Such wavefunctions are directly comparable to Chladni's figures of acoustic modes of vibration in classical physics, and are modes of oscillation as well, possessing a sharp energy and, thus, a definite frequency. The angular momentum and energy are quantized, and take only discrete values like those shown (as is the case for resonant frequencies in acoustics)

Taken from wikipedia: Probability densities corresponding to the wave functions of an electron in a hydrogen atom possessing definite energy levels (increasing from the top of the image to the bottom: n = 1, 2, 3, …) and angular momenta (increasing across from left to right: s, p, d, …). Brighter areas correspond to higher probability density in a position measurement. Such wavefunctions are directly comparable to Chladni’s figures of acoustic modes of vibration in classical physics, and are modes of oscillation as well, possessing a sharp energy and, thus, a definite frequency. The angular momentum and energy are quantized, and take only discrete values like those shown (as is the case for resonant frequencies in acoustics)

One thing I have learned in all of this training is that the amount of training feels very different at different discrete quanta.

Between 0-3 hours it feels like you’re basically just moving your sorry fat ass around or keeping fit. Not training for anything, but staying generally healthy.

At 3-6 hours it feels like you’re actually improving your physical body, you feel good doing the work, and it doesn’t feel like this massive amount of effort. Your body is getting in better shape, you’re feeling tired, but it still feels okay.

From about 7-10 hours, it just sucks. Throw in travel time, setup time, and tear down time, and it feels like a frigging part time job. And the exercise hurts. I mean, hurts. You spend 3 hours on a bicycle in a garage and it just sucks. I mean sucks. Then the next day you go on a 2 hour run, and you’re body is feeling like someone out there better be driving a truck to cripple you… This is just hard frigging work. It’s brutal.

I am not quite sure what 16 hours feels like when training for an Ironman. I will be sure to update you on that.

But it is interesting to note how the way your body and brain react to the discrete levels of training is different. 0-3 hours feels like something I can do whenever, however, without much effort and it feels pointless. 3-6 feels about right and fun. 10 hours feels like I am just a sadist.

I think what it really says is that once I do my first Ironman, it probably will be my last Ironman.

Getting Faster

Did my speed training workout and I improved my 5k time by about 11 seconds. Not bad, not bad at all. My coach believes it’s the training, I am saying it’s the weight 🙂

Speaking of speed training, 30 minutes going all out just sucks. It’s really really hard. And it’s hard mentally because you’re natural instinct is to slow down and stop and you have to keep pushing really hard. And what makes it worse, is that after you’re done with the speed training it feels like you just finished a marathon. A lot of times you end up hurting yourself in new ways because you’re just going faster than you normally do.


Weight update


Progress was made. This week I went through a clothes purge.

Clothes that no longer fit. To be donated ...

Having lost 20 pounds since the last time I bought clothes, I went shopping, and threw out everything that was too big. Something about burning the boats I learned a while ago…