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Deliciously Ironic
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You can't change your Max - your Max is your Max, and is determined by genetics. You CAN, however, increase the time spent within a percentage of your max thru exercise. You have already shown this - your first test you could only hold your exertion for x amount of time, but over time, after conditioning, you could developed longer duration at higher intensities.

There are other measurements to consider in fitness, namely power output. You have trained your system to exert at high levels and become more efficient (ie lower heart rate with same duration) but have you looked at power to rate ratio or wattage?
 
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