Category Archives: Life

How Many Watts Do You Generate Shoveling Snow?

Ok, I have been slacking big time on the posts here. I actually had aspirations of catching up during our recent winter vacation, but was so busy skiing and snowshoeing that I never even got one out. Since I have been home we have been getting bombarded with snow, so I have been busy shoveling away.

So all this shoveling got me thinking. How much effort does all this shoveling require? You know like calories, watts, and heart rate. Can I include this as training in my Ironman training plan? So armed with my Cycleops PowerCal power/heart rate monitor and Garmin 910xt, I decided to try to quantify it.

Here is a video from Day 1 of Winter Storm Pax…

imageDay one was pretty easy. The temperatures was below freezing, so the snow was nice and fluffy making for a pretty easy job. I then uploaded the data from my Garmin after the first round of shoveling on day 1. Here you can see that in 46 minutes of shoveling averaged 129 beats per minute and normalized average power output of 164 watts. That is a fairly decent workout. If comparing that to a run or bike it is probably a Zone 2 or low Zone 3 aerobic or endurance type workout. The TSS and IF indicate about the same. I think that would be good enough to make up for the swim workout I missed that day. It also said that I burned 411calories too(not pictured), so I can have a little extra snack on top that too! image My heart rate may have also been a bit high since I was pretty jacked up on coffee while I did this too.


Day 2 of Snow Storm Pax…

The second day of shoveling was a bit more difficult. We had gotten a sufficient amount of rain, sleet and ice during the afternoon and then the snow in the evening was very wet. I was up early so I could clear the driveway for my wife to get to work. I attacked the end of the driveway first since I knew that stuff would weigh a ton. It did! I was also running out of places to put the snow, so I had to toss it higher and farther than before. Not cool. Anyway I eventually completed it in about the same time as yesterday, except I didn’t include the back porch in this one.


My heart rate was surprisingly lower this time. Must be due to having a little less caffeine coursing through my veins today. Since the PowerCal calculates power based on a heart rate algorithm, my power was also a bit less. Intensity Factor(IF) was fairly close though. I also burned about 400 calories here too.

Now I at least have a idea of what type of workout shoveling snow is. At the end of the day, it is still a stress on your system and you need to take that into account when training. It could get you an extra nap too!

The Ironman Hangover

2013-07-27-16.31.42_thumb.jpgWow…seems like ages since I actually posted anything on here. The first few weeks after completing Ironman Lake Placid were a bit of a roller-coaster of thoughts and emotions. I had made several attempts to write about, but I was still in the midst of the ups-and-downs and could not really absorb what was going on. Now after almost 2 months, which included a half a month vacation in Europe(more on this soon), I think I finally got a handle on things.

The first thing I had to deal with after July 31st, 2013 was the realization that I had finally completed this Ironman event. I had pretty much dedicated my life to this goal for the past 4-5 years. Not a moment went by where it did not have it cross my mind. Now, in a mere 12:38 hours, it was done. My head could not handle having all this extra bandwidth available to think about other things. Now what? I signed up for next year, but that was a whole year away. I thought having an upcoming vacation would help, but that was not really sinking in either.

After finally coming to the realization that Ironman was completed, lead me to thinking  about my performance. Leading up to the event, my “secret” goal time was always 13 hours if all went well. After beating that by 22 minutes, I then started thinking how I could go even faster. I was also still at the peak of my fitness and why waste that? What else can I do now? Maybe I could do another Ironman or 70.3? Easy big fella! The “little man” on my shoulder kept reminding me about taking a few weeks off. You gotta listen to your “little man”, right? I was now all revved up with no place to go!

Fortunately, we had a 17 day vacation planned to hike the Haute Route in the Swiss Alps exactly a month after Ironman. This eventually turned my focus towards something else. We started doing some hiking training with full backpacks and hill repeats. Pennsylvania just doesn’t have Alp-worthy hills. While this provided some outlet it also gave me a bunch of time to think about next year. I had nothing planned other than IMLP 2014, so now my head was figuring out what other events I could do. I even found myself surfing to extreme event sites such as Norseman, Celtman, and even Ultraman (look out Rich Roll!).

Eventually, I went and signed up for the Runner’s World Half & Festival weekends’ “Hat Trick.” The hat trick consists of a 5k & 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday in mid-October. This seemed to fill the void of an upcoming event that I needed. Now I could focus on vacation and then have something to get me back to training upon my return.

So, what does all this mean? I don’t know! This is just the kind of stuff you have to deal with after dedicating so much of your time to a goal and then completing it. I never realized that it would be such a stressful post-race experience! You think the hard part is over but you still have to endure different types of related obstacles even after it is over. The one thing that has really sunk in after all this is that you have to enjoy that journey. While doing the Ironman was such a great event, I now think back on all the training swims, bikes, and runs that happened along the way. The people you meet and train with, the beautiful days and the not so beautiful ones. It is all part of the ride and each one of those experiences are part of that event. Now it is time to enjoy some new journeys.



Ironman Lake Placid Race Week Update-Monday-Wednesday

Monday(6 more days until race day)

Well, no training today and I really don’t feel all that great. I really feel so much better when I am training. I did get my dog out for a few walks, so I guess that is something. My biometrics are indicating that my body is starting to peak, but I am not really feeling it yet. I did do some initial packing just because I keep seeing stuff I need to take with me and it is stressing me out a bit. So I starting staging things when I see them.

I tried to chillax a bit on the sofa while watching Duck Dynasty and ended up horizontal before 9PM. I eventually rolled into bed and then I could not get back to sleep right away. I can feel the anxiety starting to build in my belly. It is more excitement than nervous anxiety I think. Just so many unknowns here.

Ironman Lake Placid‘s Facebook page reported Mirror Lake water temp of 75 deg F today. 2 deg drop from previous day. Forecast for the week would indicate it is going lower than that by race day. Dust off that wetsuit!



Mowing the Lawn
Mowing Lawn

Still feeling a little groggy most of the day. My HRV reading in the morning was 75, which is pretty good for me so things must be coming together. Work went by pretty fast and on the way home the reality of what is upcoming has started to sink in a little bit. By the time I got home(I only have a 4 mile drive to/from work 🙂 ), I started feeling a bit energetic. Almost like I drank about 5 cups of coffee of something.

My training this week has been reduced to walking the dog, mowing the grass, and packing gear. I mowed the lawn and managed to eat dinner in between doing that. The weather was so much more pleasant and less humid, so it was a much more enjoyable experience. I put Pandora on my iPhone and jammed some tunes while making laps around the yard. With the extra energy, I whipped around the yard with reckless abandon. The speed lever for the self-propelled mower was at full rabbit throttle. It felt like I cut it in record time. Wished I would have timed it with my Garmin? They should add that leg to the Ironman.

A season worth of swim workouts
A season worth of swim workouts

After cutting the lawn, I started to get some more packing done. While getting my swim stuff out of the bag I saw my little Ziploc baggie with all my swim workouts stacked together on Sticky Notes. The bottom workout was marked “1/28” which was the very first workout of my official training program. It was pretty cool to fan through them all looking at all those different swim workouts I did this season. Getting a bit nostalgic I guess. I also am pretty stoked about not having any shoulder issues this season too. Last season I aggravated my shoulder and had to stop swimming for a couple weeks right in the prime time of the training season.

Only one more day of work to go!!


Race day nutrition
Race day nutrition

I was up at 6am after a killer night sleep. My Jawbone Up showed that the majority of my sleep was deep for the night. Other than the one bathroom stop around 3am, it was solid. Work went fairly smoothly and after lunch my mind started to focus on the weekends task. Eventually the workday ended and I headed over to Cali Burrito to pick up some dinner. Then it was back home to continue the packing. My parents were coming later to pick up my dog, so I took him out in the yard to throw/retrieve the chipmunk. His “chippy” is just a stuffed toy that very closely resembles a chipmunk. I wore him out to the point that he could no longer bring it back to me and his tongue was dragging on the ground.

Eventually my wife arrived home and we had some dinner. More packing. Parents came to pick up the Yuki. My Mom decided that she wanted to come up to see the race. Not a great time to decide this with only 3 days away. Trying to find a reasonably placed hotel that allows pets will be quite the challenge.

With most of the packing completed, it was time to chill for a half hour on the sofa to watch part of one of the Tour de France stages I had saved on the DVR. Then it was off to bed. Long drive day tomorrow. Hoping to leave at 8am, but I know that won’t happen.