It's been a couple of months since I finished KB3 but I haven't been slouching. I've been running, and just finished my second marathon for 2018 (and second ever). First was Tokyo in February, and this one was Yokohama. I ran the first half of the race strong but conservatively, and determined I'd pick up the pace in the second half if I had anything left in the tank. Unfortunately the heat and the hills got the better of me, and I struggled with nutrition and hydration, cramping first on the side and then in my legs towards the end, so I had to slow the pace. I finished three minutes before my debut Tokyo time, but still with a respectable 3:42.
This marks the end of my race season for 2018. I also had a bike race and a triathlon thrown in there. Now to figure out what to do next year!
Thanks to Kenzai colleagues Shawn and Matt for the training encouragement on Strava, and good luck to them and all other Kenzai folks in your upcoming races!
This one is in the books GRADUATION POST
Having come to the end of another KB training cycle, it’s time to reflect on what I’ve learned over the last 90 days and what I have ahead.
I started KB3 in pretty good shape as I have been training for triathlon and completed my first ever full marathon earlier this year. However a shoulder injury last year had set me back and I was still recovering from surgery. Life style wise, regular exercise was already a part of my routine, and the diet was ok but I probably had let too much alcohol creep back in. The goal was to get into really top shape, rebuild some of the muscle definition that I’d lost due to the shoulder injury, get leaner and shed a few pounds.
After 90 days of KB3, I can look back and say with certainty that I’m proud to have been able to achieve those goals. I’ve taken my fitness to a higher level, the shoulder held up well and regained strength and muscle definition, I avoided injuries during the training cycle, kept up my triathlon training and competed in a grueling bicycle race that involved some long climbs. My body weight hit a new low, just below what I had registered on KB2 and before I had rebounded a bit.
Despite some travel and other challenges, I hit all of the workouts and was mostly on point for the diet, especially for breakfast, dinner and snacks. I was a little lax at lunch as I eat out everyday for work, but I made sensible choices and did the best with the options available. Except for a couple of indulgences I pretty much avoided alcohol and found that I didn’t really miss it too much, and felt much fresher and more alert throughout the training.
Compared to other KB cycles frankly I found the training a bit dull. It was never really hard but it seemed quite repetitive. The challenge, as usual, was not physically completing the sets but finding the time every day to fit it into the routine.
Calypso was a supportive group and it was fun to get to know you all on the blogs. Thanks to Patrick, Ward, and Jenny for the encouragement and tips along the way. I also could not have done it without the support of my wife Miyuki, who bore the brunt of the burden on the food prep, and my daughters who suffered by association through my eating choices and my many vetos of their favorite restaurant options like pizza or ramen.
As for me, what’s next? I will pick up where I left off continuing my training for triathlon. I have an Olympic distance race in late September, followed by another full marathon in end October. In order to get ready for the triathlon, I’ll focus most on the swim, and also increase my run training frequency and pace.
I learned that with a solid training program, it’s easy to get the discipline to shed a few pounds and focus on a goal. Mentally and emotionally, I am convinced that a big part of the equation for me is getting the exercise and eating right. The challenge that I’m still struggling to get right is finding the right balance between knowing when to be stoic about the training and diet and when to relax and have a good time without feeling guilty about it. This is a work in progress but something I expect to master over time.
This was fun! I sweat a lot but the feeling at the end of those Yahoo jumps was amazing.
Graduation post to follow later.
It was a tough week for me last week between a brutal week at work, house guests, watching my daughter and prepping for a bike race in Hokkaido. I missed a couple of workouts and went off diet a bit.
Long story short - it all worked out. I made it to the bike race and did well on the climbs. But I was lacking energy - perhaps I didn’t refuel well enough - and got dropped after 100km of the 140km race. Next year for revenge on the race!
And this week for KB3 revenge - I will finish strong!
As I stared at the menu with my 14 year old daughter, who I am in charge of looking after for the week while the wife and older daughter are away, I kept asking myself “What does PST stand for?”
It must be something clever, I thought. I had eaten here once before when friends were in from India. Since they are vegetarians I knew I would be ok with the vegetable portions of my Kenzai dinner.
I had just finished an hour and a half of swimming and was exhausted. I needed energy, and badly. So when my daughter said, “let’s go here,” what was I to say?
Well PST stands for Pizza Studio Tamaki and the pizza is Napoli style but with a Japanese twist. Like goya champur pizza, aka Okinawa style, with bitter gourd and spiced pork and a Bismarck egg. Or fish carpaccio salad. Etc.
I held my ground with no alcohol and stuck to fake beer. Well if my daughter was only having root beer, I figured I had to “root” for her too and not temp either of us. When I asked her if she wanted a sip of my zero-alcohol beer, she told me “no thanks, I hate the taste of fake beer.” I asked her what about the real thing and she just smiled . . .
Ah to be 14 again!
(I think this blog roughly satisfies my needs for a post on what age is like to be, as well as my overdue indulgence...)
I’m back in Tokyo and the rainy season officially ended this week. We are now into the heat of the summer.
I enjoyed the weekend on the bicycle with two rides and a short swim in addition to the Kenzai workouts. It was too hot to be outside! Next weekend I’ll be up in Hokkaido for the Niseko Classic Grand Fondo, a 140km bikerace in and around the ski resort. It’s going to take a lot of energy to climb those hills!
On today’s training ride, I did three or four big climbs in the heat and felt considerably lighter and more nimble than usual. When I checked my Strava app when I got home, I was right. I had personal record times on all the hills and by fairly considerable margins. The last time I did that course was just two weeks ago!
So while it was hot, I’m feeling the benefits of Kenzai in my training, hit some new milestones, and am looking forward to the race in Hokkaido next weekend.
Sorry to be absent on the blogs this week guys. I had a business trip to Madrid and have been struggling to manage everything with meals, workouts and meetings from early until late.
Especially given the abundant temptation with good Spanish food and wines, I was proud of my willpower. I did ok on the diet with only one dinner where I went off diet fairly liberally. It did happen to be a Michellin 2 star Andalucian themed gem of a restaurant and it was well worth it :-). I did manage to avoid the alcohol however. And I got in all workouts and ran twice in Retiro Park in the evenings despite 34C temperatures!
I’m now stuck in Helsinki with 11C temperatures and no idea when I’ll get back to Tokyo. The plane’s cockpit window cracked in mid flight and the captain turned around over Russia and diverted to Helsinki. On the bright side, we landed safely and no one was injured, and I suppose I’ll get an unexpected stay in Helsinki out of it. And fortunately I have my jumprope, bands and running shoes with me so I’ll try to get in a workout while waiting for the airline to reroute me home. I suppose sticking my workouts is an unintended benefit of the emergency landing!
I had an early morning swim practice and then a full day at work so I was spent when I got home and couldn’t get in yesterday’s workout. Bent but not broken, I resolved to double up today. On my second set of exercises my bands decided they’d had enough!
Fortunately I have a couple of extra sets with different tensions, including one with even more strength than this one. #OneMonthLeft #EyeOnTheGoal
I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about this one and the short answer is I haven’t been able to come up with anything! That’s not to say I’m invincible. Far from it. There are little lapses in the diet from time to time. A little cheese here and there. A little soy sauce to flavor the food (I live in Japan after all). An occasional glass of champagne, wine or beer.
But the ones that would be closest to kryptonite for me would probably be foods like potato chips, or maybe pistachio gelato, or a freshly baked berry muffin. I know I have the willpower to avoid them when I’m on a program but when presented the temptation I might just give in to good sense and have one crisp, one scoop or one bite...
Who said it all has to be about the ride? I love how my app keeps track of Ride Time and Cafe Time just to keep you honest . . .
It’s been a busy week with lots of early morning meetings and evening obligations. I’m thankful that it’s a “consolidation” week on KB3 and I’ve fortunately been able to bust through the workouts in the minimal amount of time. Doing my best to stay on diet under the circumstances, mostly avoided alcohol at the office bowling party but had a small sip of champagne during the farewell toast for a colleague.
A well timed indulgence on Friday night for my 23rd wedding anniversary celebration with my wife. We booked a staycation at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo and left our two teenage girls at home. It was a relaxing and fun event complete with two swim sessions in the sky pool overlooking the Tokyo skyline, a nice dinner at a local bistro (herb salad, vegetable cocotte, and grilled wild boar), nightcapped with live jazz and a Manhattan at the New York Bar.
The food was fairly close to on point on the diet but there may have been a bit more alcohol than recommended for the standard indulgence.
This has got to be the absolutely worst Kenzai exercise. I have always hated it. Imagine what was going through my mind after I finished my alternative cardio today of 65km on the bike followed by a 10 km “bricks” run to check today’s work out and find that Superman appears!
Well I’m not Superman and I don’t feel like moving any more today. And even if I did I would not be rolling around on the floor with my hands and legs outstretched like some idiotic superhero!
Ok. Rant over. I feel much better. And I did do the silly Rolling Superman’s. But I do think it’s unfair of the Kenzai gods to give us this one on an alternative cardio day.
When I read the lesson on Negatives, I thought "no problem." The example of the curls was easy enough and I've done this before. But the negative static lunges tripped me up . . . struggled with balance and going up slowly from the lunge while counting to ten! And was it just me or did those reclining arm swings feel like negatives too?
I’m on an overnight business trip but didn’t forget the essentials. Underwear, socks and of course bands and workout gear! Also got in a swim. Last night’s dinner was with my host brother from an exchange program more than 30 years ago. He’s a research physician who studies obesity and diabetes. He was very impressed with my diet! We stuck to yakitori and grilled veggies for dinner - delicious and a great catch up!