A. B. Clarke

Category: Transparency

Running Naked 41

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 1 of the new plan leading to my Triathlon in Philly on June 22th. The plan switches focus from weight lifting and swimming to endurance in swimming, biking and running. Also, in a sop to my wife who generally gets out of work at a reasonable hour on Wednesday, my new plan will be tracking Wednesday to Tuesday, with Wednesday being my day off training.

Subjective Data

It was strange to do a week almost totally devoted to cardio training, but I did a lot of swimming, biking and running this week. I’m still following Dan’s advice on swimming slowly, and also finagled the use of a 25-yard pool this week. I discovered that a longer pool really helps me develop a sense of rhythm, so I’m going to try to keep going there.

By end of week, my legs (in particular) and my arms are quite tired, but in a good way.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Note: Where are all the graphs? I’ve run into an Excel 2007 ‘bug’ or feature where you can’t have multiple pivot tables of the same Excel ‘table’ so I need to rebuild my spreadsheet for the new plan. Grumble. I’ll try for next week, but I’m still tracking actual correctly. If someone knows some good software that tracks both future plans and actual, let me know.

Assessment

Overall I’m happy with the work this week. My foot, in particular my right foot (the injury that knocked me out of the marathon) is feeling a little squirrelly, but not sore. I’ll keep monitoring that closely.

My increase in cardio time meant I had little time for yoga and weights this week. I’m going to think a little about that and see how to best readjust.

Plan

Two key goals for this upcoming week: Maintain cardio workout; Find a way to work in Yoga and 45-90 minutes of weight lifting as well.

Reminders

I’m planning to try (again) for the NYC Marathon in November. If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June) with me, or the Marin Century (August) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Running Naked 40

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 18, and the last week, of the winter plan. The results: I hit my strength goals, I kept my waistline where I wanted it, I gained about 6 lbs, and I missed my swimming goal. I have created my spring plan, but it’s not ready to be posted yet as I work on some formatting issues, so that’ll be in next week’s update.

Subjective Data

I worked hard for the last week. The weather bordered on Spring on Sunday, so I got my first bike ride of the season in. I kept my weight workouts short, but with little rest between sets so it was more intense than the graphs show. And my weight crept down a little, and I was OK with that.

By Saturday I was really tired, and ended up sleeping-in on my last spin/swim/run combo, but I felt that was OK.

My swim workouts continue to be drill focused.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

I felt good on the week, and felt OK about my winter plan. Overall, I’d say a B-. I’m sad that I missed the swimming target, but gaining 6lbs while keeping the waist at 32 inches is pretty good.

Dan’s suggestion on the swimming drills really does seem like the way to go, so I’m going to do some self-teaching on that. I’m planning to head to a triathlon store in New York (yes, we have a store just for triathlons) and get some fins to help on some of the drills.

Plan

I have created the spring plan, which focuses on one and only one goal: Finish the Philly Triathlon. I don’t have it in an easy to parse form yet, but I’ll try to have that for next week’s output.

My weight room goal is going to be maintain muscle, keep body fat between 8.5% and 11.5%, and not worry about overall weight gain or loss beyond that. And I plan to keep up at least one yoga session a week.

Reminders

I’m planning to try (again) for the NYC Marathon in November. If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June) with me, or the Marin Century (August) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Nude Numbers 39

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 17 of the winter plan. One week to go, and the results are: missed the swim goal, hit the strength goal, and within spitting distance of the weight-gain goals.

Subjective Data

This was a light lifting week, and coupled with some schedule pressures, I missed my weight room time on Friday and my Saturday morning workout (long night…). Still, felt pretty okay for the week.

I did cut back on running as I promised — substituting a tough hill workout on Thursday for my long run — and my foot feels a little better now. I also re-laced my right shoe to take pressure off the top of the foot and we’ll see if that works.

On the advice of a friend, my (limited) swim workouts this week were all at a slow pace and focused on drilling. I’m going to try the same next week to see if I can get any gains that way.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

This was a very light week, but I didn’t have time to make my Spring plan. That needs to happen next week 🙂 I found that the swimming drills were peaceful at least, and while I didn’t do as much ‘yardage’, I was much less frustrated and felt more balanced in the water. Of course, it could just be wishful thinking.

Plan

I need to create my spring plan, so I’ll try (again) to get that out for next week. I have officially switched to my maintenance diet, so hopefully body fat figures should start falling week over week to cut out the fat gained while I “bulked” for winter.

As for the upcoming week, it’s another light week: 35%, 15-rep, 5-set, 45″ rest in the weight room, and hopefully an increase in swimming, running and biking time over prior weeks.

Reminders

I’m planning to try (again) for the NYC Marathon in November. If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June) with me, or the Marin Century (August) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Nude Numbers 38

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 16 of the winter plan. Two weeks to go, but at this point I think we can start seeing how my goals will likely shape up….

Subjective Data

J and I had a weekend getaway in the Poconos this weekend (Friday-Sunday) and as a result, I wasn’t able to make it to the gym those days. I subbed in running on Saturday for swimming and spinning.

My running mileage was way up this week as a result of that, and now the top of my right foot is a little sore. Saturday’s 3-mile run was on a ridge overlooking the Delaware River, which was my first time doing hill running since my injury.

This was a hard lifting week (85%/4-rep/5-set/45″ rest), and my lifting ability at that level was pretty low. By my 5th sets on Monday and Wednesday I was dying. I didn’t get a chance to lift on Friday due to the trip to the Poconos, but truth be told I was in no condition to lift anyway.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

The trip to the Poconos screwed up my Friday and Saturday workouts, and hence my numbers; on the bright side, I got a run, a fun hike, and some yoga in during the trip.

This weekend I took a moment to step back and look at the winter plan. I blew my strength goal out of the water. My weight gain is at the low end of acceptable (and had I not gotten the flu, I’d be on track there). But my swimming is way off. As I said last week, I know I’m going to miss that goal (1,000 yards w/o stopping) for 3/31.

But my ability to hit goals week on week was pretty mixed. I think I bit off more than I could chew, and when pushed came to shove, I spent more time on the weight-training (which I was doing well at) than the swimming (which I’m struggling with).

<vent>That’s a little disappointing and frustrating. I can run 7 miles easily; I can spin all day; I can lift better than any time in my life. But after 100-yards in a pool I’m spluttering and need 3-4 minutes to get my breath back. </vent>

Now, what do I do about that…

Plan

I had originally planned to adjust my numbers for a spring plan this week, but I realize I need to do more research on what’s reasonable. I know that I overshot in my goals for the winter plan, and would like to do a better job of concentrating effort for the spring plan.

The big goal is complete the Olympic distance tri in June, so swimming needs to take priority. I’m extremely worried about my ability to do an open-water 1-mile (1,760 yard) swim, even if wearing a wetsuit. Plus, there is a significant chance that I may have to withdraw because of logistics; J and I are moving cross-country the week after the triathlon and may need that weekend for movers, etc.

But, even if I end up having to withdraw because of logistics, I want to train as though I’m still going through with it. So I expect my goals will have a swimming, a running and a biking component with some weight-training, and a goal to main weight at current levels through June/30.

I’m going to try to find some good tri-training materials this weekend. If anyone reading this has some recommendations let me know at aclarke (at) abclarke.com. I’ll try to have the spring plan posted and be working against it by 4/1.

For the upcoming week: it’s a 30% (woo-hoo!)/15-rep/5-set/45″ rest week. I’m going to cut out running completely this week if there is any pain on my left foot by Thursday. If I’m pain free, I’m going to shorten my long-run anyway (drop from 7 to 5) and try to add in a short run on Saturday as well.

Lastly, I plan to make spring finally arrive in NYC this week; I’ll let you know how that goes.

Reminders

I’m planning to try (again) for the NYC Marathon in November. If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June) with me, or the Marin Century (August) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Nude Numbers 37

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 15 of the winter plan. This week I discovered the flu took a lot more out of me than I thought, and have admitted that I’ll miss my swimming goal by at least a month. Read on for more.

Subjective Data

This was the first week back after the flu, and wow things were really hard. I had intense time pressures from work and some volunteer commitments that made me miss some swimming sessions, but the real reason the numbers were low this week was I felt weak and unmotivated every time I was at the gym. I’m chalking it up the post-flu fatigue for now.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

The flu wiped more out of me than I thought. Take a look at the weight loss numbers for one (a -3 lb loss). That coupled with my higher-rep/more-set/lower-rest weight routine this week knocked me out. I cut swimming and spinning on Tuesday and Saturday partly due to time pressures, but mostly due to feeling sore and worn out.

I did however start to feel better towards the end of the week, so I’m thinking I just need to be patient and keep at this.

As for the goals, I may now miss my weight goal of 168 by 3/31, and I’m definitely missing my swim 1,000 yards by 3/31 goal.

Plan

I’m also going to move my swimming goal from 3/31 to 4/30.

I’m going to drop the weight-gain goal because I need to transition to tri-training over weight-gain, and my weight will become whatever it becomes as I go there. That said I’m going to stay at a calorie-maintenance level or slightly above while training for the tri, so I may gain weight anyway.

And I’m going to continue lifting because that’s the right thing to do for tri-training anyway, although I may drop the hours I shoot for each week. This week is 85%, 4-Rep, 5 Set, 45″ rest.

I’ll adjust plan numbers next week.

Reminders

I’m still undecided between running a marathon in New York (November) or in Dublin Ireland. If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. I’m not going to decide until around April. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Nude Numbers 36

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 14 of the winter plan. The story of last week: Flu. I got hit hard on Sunday and didn’t even venture outside again until Wednesday. Based on that, I took the entire week off to make sure I could recover. Note to those who haven’t gotten the flu this season; don’t get it. The flu sucks much more than a cold.

Subjective Data

Not much to say here beyond I got the flu, but was good and took the entire week off to recover.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

Well, not much I can say on the training, but have to face facts; it looks like I’ll miss my swimming goal by at least 3-4 weeks. I’m still not calling it, but it’s hard to imagine I can somehow gain enough swimming endurance to go 1,000 yards without stopping (given that 125 yards without stopping is my current record).

My weight gain period is now over, and the plan is to go to a maintenance (but not cutting) diet. This means no more ice cream and cookies. Boo hoo.

Plan

I’m going to try getting back to the gym and see how things go. The weight training plan is 50% of max, 15 reps, 5 sets and 45 seconds rest. I imagine that’ll suck.

Reminders

I’m still undecided between running a marathon in New York (November) or in Dublin Ireland. If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. I’m not going to decide until around April. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Perspective

by abclarke

The Worst Month of my Life?

Folks who’ve worked with me know that I love data.  Regular readers of my blog have probably gathered that too.  But I’ve also maintained that numbers don’t tell the entire story.

And this week, I have a great example of that in action.  Take a look at my most recent training numbers and you’ll see that things have been spotty.  I’ve vacillated between strong weeks and weak weeks.   Looked strictly numerically and it would look like things are not going well.

And if you think things look spotty this week, wait until you see next week.  I already know I’m going to miss almost all my goals this week.  Why?  Because starting Sunday morning I came down with the worst flu I’ve had in 9 years!  I wasn’t able to stay standing for more than 5 minutes until about 2 hours ago (Tuesday around 1pm).

Yup, looking at all that data, and you’d think that things are sucking pretty hard right now.

And yet, I’ve just had one of the best months of my entire life.  What gives?

Another Perspective

What happens is that numbers cannot and do not catch an entire story.  They are useful to be sure; you can bet the numbers saying I’m struggling with my swimming goals are helpful.  You can bet I weigh more now than a month ago.  But they don’t capture everything.  In the best of cases, they only capture what you intended to measure – and often they don’t even do that.   So you have to be careful to always look at numbers in context.

And here’s the context: In my case, the numbers I’m publishing are tracking my fitness goals, but they are not tracking my other life goals.  And despite a few weeks of missing gym goals and despite being so sick I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time for 48-hours, some pretty amazing things have gone down lately in the other goals in my life.

What the Numbers Don’t Show

First, for those who don’t know, my wife J has been applying for teaching positions in Neuro-Oncology.  Her New York fellowship ends in June, and she’s now about to begin the first non-training phase of her medical career.  About three weeks ago, after a long process, she accepted a teaching and clinical research position at UCSF in San Francisco.  That means that come July we’ll be returning to the Bay Area.  We’re both extremely excited.  J is really excited about the job, and even though we love New York, being here has also taught us something valuable: we’re Californians at heart.

Secondly, I’ve been working on my company Vlideshow for about 5 months now.  Up until now it’s been a one-man-show, but over the past 6 weeks I’ve been working part time with a potential business partner in the Bay Area to see how well we might work together.  It went really well, and last week I travelled out for a quick trip (sorry for those I didn’t stop by and visit, but it really was a working session) to see how thing went in person.  The answer: things went pretty well, and just this week (and I still hope it’s actually true and not flu-induced wishful thinking on my part) he has accepted my offer to join me full time as a co-founder in Vlideshow.

To borrow a phrase from my friends Mike and Rick, I’m as happy as a pig in shit right now.

That’s a lot of really exciting change in four weeks, and one that doesn’t show up via metrics.  So despite the flu, despite a couple of aches and pains, and despite the fact that I’m probably 4-6 weeks behind on my swimming goals, looked at in context, the numbers look great.

The Point

The point is (despite letting folks know I’m returning to California) is that you must treat data as just one part of a story.

Think of it like the sound-track in a movie: it tells you something about what’s happening on the screen, but you’d be a fool if you didn’t open your eyes and watch the movie to see the actual story being told.

– Art

Nude Numbers 35

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 13 of the winter plan. It was a week of mostly misses; some planned (due to a business trip) and some unplanned (due to work getting the better of me). Strangely though, even though a very light week, I felt pretty weak and unmotivated during my Saturday workouts. Hmm… I wonder what that was about… (see next post).

Subjective Data

This was a week of big misses, but not entirely unexpected. From Sunday through Wednesday I was out of town on business, and didn’t have access to good work out facilities. Plus, the one day I had time to go running, the skies opened and I couldn’t find the motivation to start running in the rain.

Later in the week once back in NYC, schedule pressures conspired against me and I had to restrict my workouts to an hour on Thursday and Friday. Saturday I didn’t feel quite right, but still got yoga in. Oddly I felt really sore and tired for my entire yoga workout.

As it turns out, my feelings on Saturday turned out to be a portent of things to come… but more on that in the next blog post.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Weight Log Book

Assessment

It was a week of misses, but a few positive things came out of it. My swimming workout on Thursday, while short, was actually quite good. My form was much better, and I didn’t have to rest much between drills.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ll meet two of my three winter goals: the strength and weight gain goals. The swimming goal (1,000 yards without stopping) is unlikely to be hit, but I’m still trying for it.

Plan

As planned, I’m going to switch to a weight maintenance diet on 3/1 (well, technically 3/3: my brother and sister-in-law are visiting on 3/1 and I plan to pig out a little with them).

Also, I know that this upcoming week is going to be a big miss in terms of workouts because, well, read the next blog post for why.

Reminders

I’m still undecided between running a marathon in New York (November 2) or in Dublin Ireland (October 27). If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. I’m not going to decide until around April. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June 21) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Nude Numbers 34

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 12 of the winter plan. I hit most numbers, but was too tired for Yoga again this week. I’m out of town for a lot of this upcoming week with a last-minute business trip, so my numbers next week will be below original plan.

Subjective Data

The plan was to lift lower-weight/higher-reps this week, so I did that while concentrating more on cardio/swimming. By the end of the week, I was again really tired, and had to cut out Yoga again (just too sore to go). Still, swimming progress did get better, and I’m now able to go 150-200 yards at a stretch between rests. Hitting a goal of 1,000 yards without resting by 3/31 seems at risk though.

I continued eating more, and my weight gain increased. This is to plan though, even if I don’t like the look of creeping over the gray.

I also did one long run on Thursday that (due to my not remembering how long the central-park drive is) was longer than plan by a lot. The good news is no lingering soreness from that.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

I’m getting concerned about the ability to hit my swimming target, but I’m also doing all I can to meet it at the moment. Not sure what else to do but keep practicing.

Also, I know the weight gain is to plan, but I still worry about it; it took a lot of hard work to cut out the excess weight I had before.

Plan

Despite my assessment, I’m not making any major changes to the plan. I’ll continue with the gain-weight diet through at least 3/1.

I’m going to miss most numbers this week due to a business trip I’m on. I’ll try to get a run in on Tuesday, but I have no access to a pool or a weight room during the trip.

And for the record, the upcoming lift plan is 50% of max weight, 12-rep sets, 5 sets, and 45 seconds between sets.

Reminders

I’m still undecided between running a marathon in New York (November 2) or in Dublin Ireland (October 27). If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. I’m not going to decide until around April. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June 21) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art

Nude Numbers 33

by abclarke

Nude Numbers are my weekly progress reports on my fitness goals. See About Running Naked for the philosophies involved.

Summary

Week 11 of the winter plan. The plan was to do a week of heavy lifting, and it was harder than expected; I had to cut out almost everything else to finish the week. Still, it looks like I’ll easily hit at least one of my three winter goals (my strength gain goal).

Subjective Data

I was better about eating this week, and I’m back to gaining weight again. Of course, some of it is going to the abdomen area, but I have some room to spare still for my target.

The plan was for a very heavy lifting week – 90% of max. This turned out to be more exhausting than I expected and I found myself cutting back on all other activities as a result. I ended the week very tired, with an especially exhausted back, but I had a lot of fun max-ing out in the weight room.

Objective Data

Blue lines == actuals; Gray areas == my target range for that week.

Assessment

I concentrated on lifting this week as I planned, but it was even harder than expected. As a result, I didn’t get the swimming, spinning, running or yoga done to plan. But that said, I listened to my body and it was clear I shouldn’t push harder.

It became apparent by the end of the week that, even though I’m in week 10 of a 30 week lifting plan, I’ve made a lot of strength gains already. Hitting my 5% increase goal for March looks too easy.

Lastly, I did get one longish (500 yards) swim in on Thursday, and that goal (1,000 yards without stopping by 3/31) looks hard.

Plan

This week is a 40% of max lifting week, so I plan to concentrate much more on the cardio and swimming. I’m going to try doing a short swim on lifting days to increase my comfort in the water. Other than that, I’m going to keep with the heavy diet (so I’ll go even more out of target weight range) for a few more weeks and will try to be “all in the gray” next week..

Reminders

I’m still undecided between running a marathon in New York (November 2) or in Dublin Ireland (October 27). If you’re interested in running either with me, let me know. I’m not going to decide until around April. Also, if anyone is interested in doing the Philly Triathlon (June 21) with me, you’re welcome to join the team!

Presentation Notes

These notes are always presented in SOAP Note format. Click here for all the Nude Numbers posts.

Thanks for reading.

– Art