Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

If you have been following along this year, you know that 2013 has been a big year of changes. For me, probably about 3-4 too many.

The last two months have been mostly suffering fools, mental anguish, and making changes to weed out things that take away more than they enhance life at the Joyner household. In retrospect probably a long time coming. There were a few disappointing surprises. Life goes on.

Training has been sporadic due to time constraints getting a tech company up and going. Training/racing definitely falls into the category of things that give so much to quality of life, managing stress and better health. Not something i would want to cut out. As much as having that brass ring of ironman in front to drive me is a good thing, I find myself way overtired, not sleeping well and worrying too much.

Ten weeks to go to Ironman Lake Placid, and I am at a place not feeling the love of sport, and I have to do a mental reset. My longish bike ride today came to a stop at 15 miles, dead tired, no drive to push through a 35-40 mile ride. It’s not me, and there’s no faking an ironman. When I toe the line for the big dance I want to be well trained, not hanging on for dear life, worrying about cutoff times. Last year this time I felt very driven to hit each milestone in route to Syracuse 70.3.

In the long view of things, it’s a game/pursuit we love to do, and ranks somewhere beyond 2nd to supporting the household, taking care of family, and being there for my wife, as she certainly is for me. Time for me to regroup, and refocus on the important things first.

What next? Its just one race, there will be others to aim for. I do have take care of my health and well being, just set different goals. It’s not feasible to dedicate 12-16 hours a week given my circumstances, 4-7 hours. I can fit in. I’ll talk to my coaches and lay out a new course, concentrating on base, keeping my head fresh, stress managed. I’ll be low key this summer and maybe eyeball something late summer. More to come later.


Middle of January, we’re in the thick of it, and on many fronts. Currently in Endurance Nation’s Out Season plan. The idea is to work on speed and needed skills. Of course in my case speed is oh so relevant and a large matter of perspective. Given that qualifier, I have faith and past experience that supports the belief that I will be ever so slightly faster on wheels, land and sea at the end of the Out Season (end of March). It is my hope that I will see substantial gains as compared to the here and now as I type this. After that, welcome to volume and endurance on top of some speed work, just not so much.

It has been overwhelming when combined with starting a new technology company. Long hours, up to my eyeballs trying understand more of the business side of things. As chief  everything officer, all things including the buck stops at my feet. Good news, office is up and running , and working on first contract. Getting it up and running and making money quickly sure helps.  I have yet to nail down a solid schedule with everything in flux. Having some flexible time does allow me to get  workouts in, but I need to get that down to a consistent schedule. Training for an ironman and starting a company, probably not the best idea, but it does help relieve the stress. No trouble sleeping this past week.

With multitasking in overdrive to the point of mental abuse, I did accomplish a few things for my ironman quest. Swimming lessons start in two weeks. That will take up Tuesday night time slot. Renewed YMCA membership  to get other swim days in, plus tread mill for those over the top nasty winter days (winter running is my favorite). Three blocks from my office,and very handy for a early or midday workout. Hopefully I will be bike training with a power meter in a few weeks. Looking forward to better more consistent and objectively measurable workouts on the bike. The watts don’t care about other factors or how you feel. More watts, harder, faster. I am signed up for race rehearsal camp in June in Lake Placid. It will be great to get a real feel for the venue. Should be a big confidence builder. Anything I learn there will give  me a few weeks to either enhance or correct before the big day. Looking forward to meeting my teammates that weekend. Even with all this going on, I am still working on getting the payload down. Getting faster by dropping weight is a plus. Still have to get a bike fit done before those long 3/4/5/6 hour rides.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I will forgo some of the usual races to stick to the training plan, not to mention keep a reign on discretionary spending. Broke my heart to not sign up for boilermaker (favorite race) That day will be a two hour bike and 20 min run, with a four hour bike the day before.  I am signed up for Lake effect 13.1, and the new Syracuse 13.1. Looking forward to doing those as I can fit them into my current out season plan. Of course it calls for doing 1/2 mile repeats  at tempo pace with 2 minute recovery pace between each one. Smile and run anyway  🙂


Solid focus in training for the big dance! Halfway through the 4th week of bike focus. I can tell things are progressing as I am notably becoming tired of sitting on the trainer, and bored to death after about 20 minutes spinning. To help with this, my wonderful wife Lee tolerates the bike being in our great room off center to the big screen TV. That does help the hours pass. At some point I hope to remember that these two hour Saturday rides will be short work outs come this spring when 4-6 hours in the saddle will become the new norm. Even though I have gained some weight, my head is back into it, and focusing on diet, using the calorie counter, and renewing my effort to a slimmer 160lb me come July or high water. Running is feeling good, no aches or pains, and it is nice to switch up from the long run focus of marathon training. Of course we’ll revisit that again long before July.

Hunting season was very productive and expedient this season. Being tagged out until muzzleloader season has given me more free time to train at my preferred times as opposed to “fitting it in.” Along with that,  we have a freezer full of quality lean protein (wild turkey & venison) which is a preferred staple in our home.

In a few short weeks , training will switch to Out Season plan, and will focus more on speed, and high quality workouts. I will diverge a little from the plan to get swim lessons, and up my swimming game before I switch to the ironman plan in April. I like the approach as 30 some weeks of ironman focus only has got to be hard on the mental game.  I also hope to make the switch to training with power on the bike. It won’t change how hard I’ll need to train, but it will help with not overdoing it, and more precisely measure my progress. Power meters don’t care how much coffee or red bull you had, or if you are having an off day etc. In the end, watts are watts.

Really liking the Endurance Nation training methods, and the knowledge base that I can draw from. So far much of it is like my experience in training for Ironman Syracuse. That will be different soon enough once April arrives. Having the resources and confidence in coaches Rich & Patrick , and my EN teammates having my back, makes the unknowns of tackling 140.6 miles less intimidating.

Looking forward to the constant progress,and the upcoming phases in route to Lake Placid. Hope that your off season training has begun on a high note. I’ll report back in again  as the weeks roll by!



For all practical purposes, my first season back to the sport of triathlons and as an Endurance Nation Team member has come to a close. Still on the calendar is NYC Marathon, and maybe a club fun run here and there. After NYC Marathon, I’ll be training for the 2013 season, with the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid.

Before I dive into it, up front I’ll tell you that I am biased, spoiled in many ways, and of a skewed opinion. Reasons for my perspective:

  • First year back returning to triathlons.
  • Picked great races that were well ran, and quality events.
  • Effectively nipped in the bud- impending health issues.
  • Actually sought real training resources.

Technically, I have been with Team EN for 8 months, but have done a full North East Regional season under their coaching guidance. Granted my goals were not complicated, or too lofty. Train well enough to complete Ironman Syracuse 70.3 and look reasonably well doing it. Gotta look good for the pictures 🙂

I know that people go from zero – 70.3 every year, and finish in impressive times. For me, I felt it was daunting, and felt somewhat scared. I did one 18 years ago, at 155 lbs and 34 years of age. Last October I was 51 years old, and just under 200lbs. Of course I did it back in 1994 by the seat of my pants, and lucky to finish it unscathed. Anyway, my zero to 70.3 endeavor was a big deal for me. Truthfully, it qualifies as a life changing event.

Joining Endurance Nation was a key decision for my season. Very economical in an online group coaching environment, as opposed to one on one coaching. I was looking for general guidance, and once in awhile specific answers to things that cropped up. The online team forum was also very helpful and friendly. The closest way to describe it: cloud team coaching. It is overwhelming at first with the volume of information and resources they offer. Once you get past the first few weeks absorbing the training approach, it quickly starts to make sense. The results show quickly.

The team is very big on return of investment, and that all this stuff should be fun. Best viewed as a game we all enjoy to play. It is clear as you dig deeper, that these guys are in for the long haul, and wants it’s members to stay in the sport, not burn out and flame out in a season or two. Coach Rich & Patrick lead by example, and the training plans constantly evolve as things are learned and fed back by the team itself.

As to my results, I went from running some, to in a single year: 1-half Ironman, 4- half marathons, 2 sprint tris, 1-olympic tri, a bunch of club events, a pile of shorter road races, and soon to finish a marathon in two weeks. My weight bottomed out with a 54 lb loss (over two years), about 15 lbs of it with EN. My running VDOT went from 32 to 41.

Aside from the big jump back in, the biggest gain from all this is from the improved head space. Hence my previous comments on being biased, spoiled, etc. Seriously, much of the credit for this comes from being on Team EN. I became empowered by the resources and training methods that the team promotes. This is profound in the fact that here I am 18 years later, much slower, but enjoying it oh so much more, not loathing the slower paces, or dreading the longer times out on the race courses. Will get even better as I feel better, lose more weight, and get faster.

As I run , bike or swim, I have in the back of my head, a basket full of tools to deal with whatever comes up during the race. Things to try, or choices to make to better improved either my race execution or at least my race experience. “Conductor/engineer of your own train” is the best way I can describe it.

There are the performance tangibles to look at as well. I expect the upcoming season to see more weight loss, improved paces, power output, etc. Next July is the big brass ring. I have to say, that it is every bit as daunting and scary as it was last fall, jumping back into the sport and going big. I’ll have a full 40 weeks of guidance getting to Lake Placid, with a complete season plan that will drop into the final 20 weeks of the Ironman distance plan. I’ll blog soon about the new Master Season plan, which I will be partaking in. It is comforting that Team Endurance Nation, and Coaches Rich & Patrick will have my back on this one.

184 lbs, yeah! Current weight. Certainly much better than my 238 lb peak just two years ago. Reversed and corrected the beginnings of fatty liver disease, cholesterol is near normal range. All good stuff. My doctor is  keeping me honest in all this. No fooling her as she is a multi-ironman finisher. After all it is for my own good, and I have to deliver on my promises of goals to be met.

In keeping with signing up for the big dance next July (Ironman Lake Placid), I am not about to lug my big butt over the length of that course. At 5′-9.5″  My current BMI still has a ways to go.

I call this next issue to be address “low hanging fruit” as it has the potential to make a huge impact on my race paces, more importantly my eventual success at Ironman Lake Placid (thinking very positive here). Dropping the last 24 lbs. to reach my goal of 160 lbs. is huge. I can realize running 7 something minute paces for medium to long distances, even faster for short course. Most certainly will translate a few mph faster on the bike, not to mention working the hills. It is easy to imagine and appreciate not carrying around a 24 lb. bowling ball for 12-14 hrs on the ironman course. Bottom line, it is better health, and free speed.  Does it mean a 12 hour ironman finish verses 14-15 hours? I don’t know exactly, only that it has to equate to a faster finish time, less perceive effort, not totally falling apart maybe. Any of those three would be worth it.

Training and preparing for Ironman Syracuse 70.3, my weight eventually stagnated at a 184lbs. Not unusual with trying to fuel the training volume, yet my goal remains. Post Ironman Syracuse, back to training. NYC marathon is out there 15 weeks away. Would be a great idea to be lighter for a marathon as well. Not pushing  a time goal, but lighter is better.

Last week I signed up with Core Diet (, under the recommendations of Endurance Nation, and my doctor. I lost a lot of weight with Atkins diet, and my last round with south beach diet. Both plans for me, fell short when it came time to fueling big workouts. I know some make it work for them, It did not work for me at that juncture.  I opted for the mission plan, as I needed to learn and get all the help I can after the initial consultation.  After filling out a form to establish where I was at, things I liked or did not, body composition etc., I was emailed a comprehensive diet plan a few days later. The document was also complete with explanations, and very specific detail. A day later, I had a two hour consultation with registered dietitian Anne Rollins.  It was an intense two hours and a ton of information. All my questions were answered, and in the context of an endurance athlete. A lot of connect the dots as to how it all applies to my goals, and what I need for training. They have a service for race specific fueling,and I will explore that before next summer.

Changing a diet is a bit difficult as we like what we like. However this diet is not radical or forces you to abandon too many foods. Like many diets, it wants you to eliminate processed foods as much as possible. avoid high glycemic foods except around specific training /workout windows. Timing of food types, and workout windows are specifically addressed. This was what I was looking for.

Obviously the proof of how well it works will be self evident soon enough. So far I am liking it, no bonking, or sugar spikes. Recipes are very appealing!  With the goal of losing 0.5 to 1 pound a week, I’ll be at fighting weight this fall, and reach my goal before Christmas. One step closer to putting it all together for next July!

Five days post race! Doing rather well! Other than being a little ‘off’ (more than my normal ‘off’), a little tired, no gimping, no complaints. Good sign that I am itching to get back to doing some workouts. Per Endurance Nation protocol -training time off vacation.  Sleep has been strange,and I have been famished all week. I have indulged, but time to get back on the weight loss goal, and I’ll get it done.

I have a pile of photo’s from the big day, and you’ll find some them at the end of the post.

My big announcement at least for the day, and in my world: 140.6 Ironman sometime in August/September/October 2013! Race: TBD. Races in the running: Ironman Wisconsin, Rev 3 Cedar Point, Beach to Battleship are the current front runners.

No doubt there will be other 70.3 races. I may do Syracuse again, as a team, or maybe as an B or C race as it is early in the season. I love the race, the course, and especially the volunteers. The positives are a lengthy list.

Why do 140.6? It is on my bucket list. At 52, I would rather do it sooner than later. It may be my only one, it could be one in a string of them. Won’t know until I cross that point in time. Having a big goal suites me, and keeps me on track with fitness/weight goals.

My next journey will include along the way the usual list of local races (Boilermaker, Tromptown, Turning stone 13.1, Little York Tri), but will also include the NYC marathon as another bucket item this fall. No doubt 2013 will have a few local events on the calendar. This far out, just laying down the foundation for a big event. Endurance Nation Coach’s Rich and Patrick are currently reviewing the races I have lined up, and will set me up with training plans that will adjust across the next 13-14 months to get me across the finish line, and finish well.

A full ironman will entail some of the training I just completed, and will certainly build upon it. It will also have it’s own metrics specific to ironman training. It is not trivial, and will require focus and commitment on my part.

Post Ironman Syracuse, reveals that I have problems to correct and or improve upon. If I wish to succeed in my next goal, and cross the finish line, I need to address these very issues.

So far the list of items to fix, and improved:

  • Weight- no ifs, ands, or buts, It has to come off. I am not slugging around my big butt some 140.6 miles. I plan to slug around a smaller one  🙂   Looking to sign up with Core Diet, to not only reduce weight, but correct diet issues, and fuel properly for training. I know Dr. Lynn Cunninghamn will read this, and she’ll be on me to get this done. She is my general practitioner, and  very thorough. Very much needed reality check, and a good one.
  • Swimming- Need to be smoother, more efficient, and significantly faster. Solution requires coaching/lessons, and more pool time. I would likely finish the 2.4 miles in over 2 hours, and that would be close to 2:20. Come the big day, I do not want to be worried about being up against the cut off time. This is not a daunting issue, but it must be addressed
  • Bike- Add power (watts) measuring. I need to up my game and training with power will help with proper feedback. Before the 16-20 week plan to Ironman, I need to work on intensity, and speed on the bike. 112 miles is no joke on race day. Lot of hours in the saddle, and being able to back off the effort and still have a decent bike split is crucial to setting up a good marathon.  Later this year or early next. I will get a bike fit to affirm that what I have is ok or improve it. Current bike fit is decent, and comfortable. With weight loss, and a disappearing gut, I should be able to lower frontal profile.
  • Run- Continue to build endurance and fitness. Running is my strongest discipline of the three currently. Weight loss and Out Season (OS) training will add more speed. Will continue to have a more efficient stride. Keeping injury free will be key here.
  • Race day nutrition- Big issue. It appears that I am way under on electrolytes, salt, etc. Solving the muscle cramping in the later portions of long events is critical. I will have to experiment some to solve it. The obvious thing to do, is to adjust the amount/levels of fluids, nutrition ,and electrolyte,/sodium products to to alleviate the problem, and allow my body to perform at it’s best potential.

Looking forward to the next 13-14 months, there will be a significant effort to accomplish what I have set out. So begins my next journey!

BTW, a big thank you & photo credits to Dave Knabel, Sam Sampere, and Lee Joyner

Old, slow guy race plan, and I forgot to mention still overweight. Not like I was, but I still have my goal of 160 that will still hang in front of me as my carrot after Sunday. Trust me, I’ll get there. I am stubborn enough to make it happen. It is a big deal that I lost 54 lbs, but that is old news, and I have to keep at it. I was hoping to be 170 something on Sunday, but it looks like I will come in at 184-186. No real loss of weight, in the final weeks of training. One mistake I made was over fueling the big workouts. The whole issue of what will work for me to lose weight, and train for long course and or full ironman events, is a high priority come next week. Have to focus on the next 46 hrs.

What I have planned for Sunday comes from the focused training of the pass twenty weeks and what I have learned as an Endurance Nation Team member. I have whatever fitness I have, and Sunday is the day to execute a well thought out plan. I was not able to follow the training schedule 100%, but I got most of it, especially the key workouts. Coach Rich and Patrick guided me through the minor setbacks and how to move workouts around or amend to get the best return on investment (ROI), something they are very big on. Since joining the team, I have seen big gains. My VDOT went from 32 to just shy of 41. Cycling cadence jumped from low seventies to low nineties. Bike speed on the flats back near 19-20 mph, up from 16-17mph. I spend more time in the aero bars, and climb much better seated. Swimming is still my weak spot, and that is showing glimpses of improvement. No excuses, I need a swim coach. If I step up to full ironman distance, my swimming form will not cut it.

Today is my admin day. I’ll head up to Syracuse, get my stuff, cruise the expo. This morning I tried the new wet suit in the pool, and I am liking it. All good there. I will drop off the old sleeveless to get fixed while I am in Syracuse. Always good to have a backup. I do have the full wet suit, but the water is getting warm for that.

Saturday is all about relaxing and eating right. My wife is planning perogies for an early afternoon dinner, yummy. Also have to drop the bike off to the transition area. After that, stay calm, and get what sleep I can. Getting nervous already, so we’ll see.

Sunday- Race day! Early, early morning. Plan to be there by 5am. My wife and my sister Kim, signed up to volunteer as wet suit strippers. Should be a story from that all by itself.  Have to be sure when I come out of the water that I find a burley dude to pull my wet suit off, and not a bay watch babe, could be trouble  J

Swim- My wave goes at 7:10. I will be in lots of company for the entire swim. Goal: happy thoughts, swim my own race, my own pace. Keep steady, keep smooth. I found recently that I am picking my head out of the water too far while breathing, need to do better at turning to the side to breath. Also need to focus on my pull, and not being sloppy. Breakfast will be light, thinking maybe some peanut butter rollups. Before the race, a couple of GU gels, and diluted Gatorade or Roctane. If I have a great swim 45-50 minutes. I am hoping to at least to break under 55 minutes.  Either way, as long as I stay relaxed, no panic, and especially no calf cramps, I’ll be ecstatic.

Transition (T1)- I will have my tri kit on under my wet suit, along with chest strap (heart rate monitor). Towel off, swig down some water, turn on the garmin, socks, shoes, helmet, sunglasses, go. There is a fairly long sprint from the beach to transition area that will add a few minutes. My guess, I should make it out on the bike 3-5 minutes

Bike- strong and steady, not full out. Need to set up for a good run, and not empty the gas tank. Ease into first hill by Jamesville Prison, relaxed and smooth at the crest, get a nice spin/rhythm going. Smooth and steady up Sweet road. I know where the breaks are up the long climb, stay focus, and in the aero bars as much as I can. Stay in the seat. No out of seat climbing.  Having done the bike course several times, I know where I can gain lots of time, and were I should just conserve effort.  The back end of the course is fast with only a few rises. No big efforts after turning on to Route 13, other than the wear and tear of the miles themselves. The last ten miles, just spin and enjoy the down hills. Nutrition: my speedfil holds 40 oz, plus I have two bottle holders behind seat (they’ll be empty, but I can grab bottles on the course if needed) I will have the speedfil loaded with GU Roctane, and I can add  water as needed. I’ll down a powerbar after Sweet hill road, then one or two GU gels (or Roctane Gels) per hour. I will also have Lava Tabs (salt) that I will take (two max per hour). Still debating what wheels to use. Narrowed it down to a disk in the back, and either a trispoke, or radially laced semi aero front wheel. Time goal: 3:20-3:25

Transition (T2)- Dismount, rack the bike(unless the volunteers take it for you), helmet off, shoes off, swig of water if needed, slam a gel, running hat, running shoes on, go. Time: 1-2 minutes.

Run: First three miles 9:15 pace (may drop to 9:30-9:45 if hot). First mile may be iffy, and if I need more time to get my legs under me, then I biked harder than I should have. In training, 1st mile has not been terrible. Having nursed my right calf all week has me a little nervous. Yesterday’s training run went very well, so feeling better about it. First trip up the big hill to the turn around, I will likely slow to 10:00-10:30. Save it for the return trip down. Not a bad hill, but it hits you hard after coming off the bike. Pick up the pace to mile 10 to 8:45, depends on the heat. Second trip up  to the turnaround (2 loop course), push it to 9:30 if I can. Last three miles, if I have it in my legs, race it. With my goal of just finishing it, and looking good in the process, this will be where I will push it if no trouble with cramping, and I executed my plan properly. Walk 30 steps each water stop, gel every 3-4 miles, water and or coke as needed. Water over my head most likely, I’ll take ice as well.

If all goes well I’ll finish and seize the day. Time wise, I am looking at 6:20-6:45, slower if I have problems or calf forces me to walk.  All the training, time, and money spent, I plan to enjoy the day to the fullest.

Big thank you to Endurance Nation for the guidance, and helping me to have a solid game plan. What I have learned has paid back with big gains, and I can see it working.  Come Sunday morning, I’ll have my game face on. It’ll be “go time” and I have to trust and execute the plan!  That’s my story and I am sticking to it!