Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ride for Africa

Last Sunday, I did the Ride for Africa Century.  The money raised from the ride went to build wells in Africa.  For those of you who don't know, my Bachelor's degree is in public health and I studied malaria for my PhD.  As part of my PhD research, I did field work in Africa, where I collected mosquitoes to use in genetic studies.  Now, I'm a scientist who works on ways to prevent and treat infectious diseases.  Clean water is critical to preventing disease.  So, a century bike ride that provides clean water to those who need it: YES, PLEASE!  I kept this mission in mind for the entire ride because there were definitely times that I wanted to quit.

The ride started at a gorgeous private estate in Valley Center, CA.  Valley Center is over 45 minutes away from my house, so it was a bit of a trek.  The volunteers were very friendly.  Since I hadn't signed up prior to the event, I got there early...maybe a bit too early because I was the first one there.  Only $55 later (with my Tri Club discount) and I was ready to go.  Well, kind of, because I realized that while I brought my hydration system, I didn't actually bring any water.  In my haste to leave the house by 5:00 am, I left my jug of water on the kitchen counter. No biggie!  There were aid stations every 10-20 miles.

I've been experimenting with a new nutrition plan and this ride was the ultimate test.  Through my eating habits, I've been training my body to be metabolically efficient.  In other words, I've been training my body to use fat during training.  As a result, I eat fewer calories during workouts, which 1) prevents GI distress, 2) prevents me from getting sick of sweet drinks and products (this always happens to me and makes it easy to skip nutrition), and 3) gives me steady energy.  There's a product called Generation UCAN that's recommended by the metabolic efficiency folks.  My buddy and mentor, Slayer, uses it and swears by it.  Not eager to mess with a nutrition strategy that had been working, it took me a while to give it a shot.  Instead of sugars, it utilizes a modified corn starch for energy.  So, I ordered a sample pack, used it a couple of times and it really seemed to work.  For the century, I took 1 packet during and 2 packets during.  I drank water with nuun tablets and ate a few banana chunks and that was it!  Less than 600 calories for an entire century, instead of the 1200 + I normally have.  I felt fantastic energy-wise!  Definitely a firm supporter of the product.  I will use this from now on.

Back to the ride, it started out with a series of super fun descents.  I zoomed down them and enjoyed the free speed, because I knew there was a lot of climbing ahead. The first half was great, a bit of climbing but not much.  The second half, good lord!  So. Much. Climbing.  I thought my legs were going to fall off.  The toughest climb of the ride is a 4-4.5 mile climb out of Couser Canyon at mile 84! Yes, that's right, at mile 84!  At this point, it was supposed to be all flats and descents.  Not true!  It was pretty much uphill the rest of the way, though at an easier grade than Couser Canyon.  Pure sufferfest.  I thought about crying, I thought about giving up, but then I thought about kids in Africa needed clean water and I suffered on.  At one point, a man behind me gasped out, "whoever planned this route has never been on a bike before!"  Hahahahaha.  I felt the same way, though it turns out the guy who planned the route is some sort of super cyclist, like a former pro or something.

The rest stops could have used a bit more organization.  Some ran out of water (it was really hot) and some didn't have any bananas or oranges.  Every time I reached an aid station, the volunteers asked me if I was the last one.  Uh, no, I was about in the middle or even the front of the middle.  Kinda discouraging and pointed to a lack of organization.  This was the first year a century had been held (last year they had a few shorter courses), so I'm sure these things will get better in the future.  Also, at one point, the arrows on the course were pointing in the wrong direction and a bunch of us went the wrong way until I pulled out my iPhone and checked a map.  All in all, a good event.

Here's the course
We finished back at the private estate, where we were greeted with cold drinks, tacos and live music.  It was very relaxing and and the nicest finish area I've ever experienced.  During the ride, I vowed never to do it again.  A few days later, though, I've forgotten some of the horror and have begun thinking about the nice parts.   Of course, my legs were too beat to do a long run on Sunday and I've been kinda fatigued and lacking in motivation since...time to get back to it!  Only 7 weeks left until Vineman.  Glad the bike course isn't like this one!

Oh, and while a century normally takes me around 6 hours, this one took over 7!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May round up

You know training is going well when there's no time to blog.  My teammates have labeled this THE GRIND and they are definitely correct.  Time to put our heads down, train hard, and make this Ironman thing happen!

Here are some May highlights:
May 5: first century of the year
I rode up the coast with Lauren and Matt for my first 100 miler of the year.  It was flat until the halfway point, where I climbed up a MONSTER hill.  It was, by far, the steepest hill I've ever climbed.  Average of 18% grade, with sections of 22-24%.  When I first saw it, I turned back around and heading in the opposite direction. Then, thought F it!  I'm gonna climb that f-ing hill!  Did it, even though there were times when my bike felt as if it was vertical and I was going to fall off the back.  Gotta admit, I felt pretty badass afterward.

May 19: San Diego Century
The San Diego Century was actually 105 miles this year.  We started at MiraCosta College and rode out to Ramona (big hills!) and then back to the coast and then to the start site.  Team Badass was well-represented and we all had a blast.  Took it pretty easy and stopped at the aid stations to regroup, snack and chat.
Team Badass getting ready to ride


Inh has a flat!  Of course he does and of course I'm laughing at him!

Team Badass at an aid station.  Getting closer.

May 25: Pop up picnic
Okay, so not training related, but super, super fun.  We participated in a flashmob style picnic.  The location was secret until 2 hours before the event started, everyone had to dress in white and bring everything except for the tables, which were provided.  We had a group of 14 and made a feast!
Luke and Ash
May 27: Honey Springs Round 2
We decided on a shorter ride last weekend, since we had just done the century the weekend before.  Remember Honey Springs?  We did it at the end of 2011 and back then, I thought the big Honey Springs climb (7 miles long) was terrible, horrible, super hard and almost undoable.  This, time, though, it was cake.  Well, still long, but not too bad.  We missed our buddy and teammate, Inh, though.
We made it!

May 28: Swim breakthrough
It's no secret that swimming is my least favorite in the holy trinity of swim/bike/run.  I've gotten back on the swimming horse after slacking a lot, though, and I'm feeling better about it.  Nothing was working for a while, so I purchased an audiobook to listen to while I swim.  Definitely helping!  Doesn't hurt that the main character is a cop named Lucas (yeah, those of you who know me understand).  I'm a sucker for a hot guy in uniform!  Hahaha

Yesterday, one of my friends organized a Memorial Day mini-tri (by min, she meant less than a full Ironman.  Team Badass is CRAZY and I love it!).  The plan was to swim about 1.2 miles in Ventura Cove, bike 56 and then run 13.  Yep, a half-Ironman for fun.  Well, I woke up tired and not wanting to swim.  Still, got my stuff together, the car loaded and then somehow wasted a bunch of time so I was running late.  Got to the start site about 20 minutes late and the others were already swimming.  Aren, a Team Badasser, was watching everyone's stuff from the shore.  He's a great swimmer and has coached in the past, so instead of swimming, I picked his brain about swimming stuff.  It turned out to be very helpful.  When everyone finished, the girls got ready to ride.  I rode with Michelle, who just started riding and we had a leisurely ride on bike paths around Mission Bay.  Nice and relaxing.

During the ride, I had resolved to swim.  Once back at the car, I began the wetsuit struggle and got in the water.  It was a bit murky and the kelp was kinda creepy, but I put my head down and went for it.  There was no freaking out or swimming way off course or stopping or any of the normal crap I do in open water swims.  Normally it takes me about 32 minutes to swim 1 mile but yesterday it only took me 26 minutes!  Not sure how, but maybe I finally experienced the wetsuit advantage.  Definitely motivating.  I need to OWS once a week until Vineman.

Multiple long runs with my Hank
Love running with my boy!  The pig ninjas have started eating homemade dog food and love it!  And, they still have more than enough energy for long runs.  Hank is pretty proud, because people stop to pet him/scratch his butt/comment on how fit he is whenever he's running.  Okay, mama is pretty proud, too.

Still Paleo, still loving it, still have lots of energy for Ironman training!  Anyone who tells you endurance athletes have to eat bread and pasta doesn't know what they're talking about.

What's up next:
More centuries, lots of swimming and some huge runs.  I have also started planning my post-Vineman races, so I don't get fat/lazy/sad with the post-IM blues.  Signed up for my first ultra in October and another century in September.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Foxy Trails Half-Marathon

It was fun, I was tired from the hardest bike ride of my life the day before, I finished, it was slow, I want to do more.  That's about it.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to move Sunday morning after the Saturday ride from hell, but I made it.  Good time for mantras: Toughen up, cream puff! Suck it up, Buttercup!
Look!  I'm beating all those people behind me.  I wonder what their excuse is?

Fun, fun, fun!  I love trail running!

I'm flying...and about to heel strike.  Maybe I should work on my form?!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The hardest bike ride of my life

So, this post is about a week late.  Last weekend I hosted a bachelorette party for my best friend from high school, but you'll have to wait until next time for those details.

Just over a week ago I did the hardest and most hellacious bike ride of my life.  Now, I've done a ton of 100+ mile bike rides and this one was only 85 miles but it was wicked!  I met up with Team Badass people Lauren, Missi, Ian and Aren to attempt the Champagne-Lilac ride.  We have been wanting to do this ride forever, mostly because of the name.  I grew up in Spokane, which is the lilac city, so I thought it would be fun.  Only supposed to be about 5000 feet of climbing.  Not bad!  We thought there were 2 major climbs and a bunch of rollers.  No problem!
This is what champagne means to me!  (Bach party preview)

We started in Solana Beach and began the climb up the Del Dios Highway.  I used to think this was hard, now it's cake.  Lauren had a mechanical issue and had to be rescued by another Team Badasser, Tammy, who was not riding with us that day because she was volunteering at Ragnar SoCal.

Side note: Ragnar is pretty special to Team Badass.  Ragnar Vegas is how I made all of my Team You Got Chicked friends, Missi and Ian met at Ragnar Napa (and are now getting married!) and was the foundation of Team Badass.

We continued up the Highway and out to the East.  It was getting hotter and hotter as the day progressed. We rode out toward the casinos and hit our first climb just over 20 miles in on Lake Wohlford Road.  This climb reminded me of the purple monster.  Long and kinda steep but not too bad.  At this point, we though we were 1/2 way done with the climbing.  It was getting really hot.  At mile 37 we turned down a road between orchards and saw the behemoth bitch before us.  Cole Grade.  We knew it was 3 miles long and steep and evil.  We underestimated the bitch.  Almost immediately, the climb became really steep.  There was no shade and I was sweating so much that I could barely hold onto the handlebars.  Thought about passing out, thought about dying, thought about barfing, held it together and made it to the top.  It was terrible, but we thought we were done with climbing.

We were wrong.  That Champagne road we were so excited about?  Long, boring climb with no scenery and really tired legs.  Why is it so hot?!  Then one more climb out of San Marcos.  Very steep.  Thought about crying.  Nobody was having fun by this point.  It became a death ride.  Finally we hit the coast and it was freezing cold.  We were drenching with rapidly freezing sweat.  But, we made it!  Turns out it was nearly 7000 feet of climbing with multiple huge climbs.

It was so hot that we kept running out of water.  I drank around 200 ounces of fluid that day.  Happy to have survived.  I managed to add to my bike shorts tan lines, which are pretty awesome.  They were a big hit at the bachelorette party.
This pic just doesn't do them justice

The next day, I ran my first trail half-marathon.  I'll tell you about that tomorrow.  It hurt.  I'm also badass.

Monday, April 16, 2012

120 mile weekend

Last week was kind of crappy, with lots of rain.  Here are the highlights:

Saturday: I decided some time ago to ride from San Diego to Huntington Beach (80 miles) to visit friends, stay the night and then ride back.  Unfortunately, we had a giant storm Friday night and the wind was still howling Saturday morning.  20-30 mph winds with gusts over 45 mph.  The tri club cancelled the bike and swim portions of the tri and there were wind warnings on the news.  Well, I decided to go for it anyway.  Yup, crazy!  It was bad.  About 2 miles from my house, I was descending down a steep hill and a cross wind caught me and blew all over the road.  Not fun.  At that point, I decided to get to Solana Beach and then I could take the train part of the way.  Only 12 miles away.  Terrifying.  I was going 9 mph on the flats into the head wind and it was not fun at all.  Made it to Solana Beach, where it rained on me.  :(   Rode the train to San Juan Capistrano and then rode from there to Huntington Beach.  Lots and lots of hills.  The scenery was great, but it was still crazy windy and I had to white knuckle it up the coast.  Finally made it.  Forty miles took me 3:13 and felt like 140.  Recovered with margaritas, tacos and gelato.

Sunday: Time to ride back home.  Much nicer day.  Beautiful, not too windy, sunny.  I rode from HB to San Juan Capistrano solo.  Luke rode the train to SJC and I met him there so we could ride back home together.  Unfortunately, Luke missed the train he was supposed to take so we had to wait 1.5 hours til the next one. I spent the wait here:

Finally he showed up and we started on our journey.  By the time we hit Oceanside I was hungry in a pretty serious way.  We stopped and I ate a twix, hot dog, french fries, bites of Luke's fried fish, a Starbucks large coffee drink, and a scoop of rocky road in a waffle cone in rapid succession.  Bad idea!  I thought I was going to barf for the rest of the ride, which was thankfully short.  In Carlsbad, we ran into Tammy, Todd and Don (Team Badass people), who were also out riding.  Fun little surprise.  Finally we made it home and collapsed on the couch.  120 miles in 2 days and I was beat!

Still feeling pretty fatigued today but trying to rehydrate for my swim tonight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My big birthday boy

Last Thursday, my best running partner and favorite guy (3 way tie for first place with Luke and Rudy.  Okay, maybe Luke is in first, but Hank and Rudy aren't far behind) turned 5.  That's right, my baby is 5 years old!  Can't believe it.  This entire post will be pics of Hank.

When I decided to give Rudy a brother, I decided to get a puppy.  From now on, I'll do rescue exclusively, but RuDog had some issues that weren't immediately apparent and I was worried about adding a dog with an unknown background to the mix.  Anyway, I went to look at a female JRT puppy.  When the pups were released, Hank ran over to me right away and sat down in my lap.  It was love at first sight, for both of us.

Such a cute little guy!

Tiny baby Hank on his first night at home

Look at that naughty little boy

Hank's puppy years were filled with fun and destruction (good bye couch, chairs, pillows, books, remotes, a huge jug of olive oil), a heroin OD (not my fault.  Stupid druggies throwing their drugs on the streets in SF!), a broken leg and lots of adventures.
Little Man loves his ice cream

I know there's a snack in here somewhere!

Sitting in his toy box

Elvis.  I make him wear this every Halloween.

He is way too funny and acts like a little person.
Naps with Mom

Snuggling in his towel after a bath
He loves the beach
Dog Beach, Coronado
and hiking
Lake Berryessa


Mission Trails
and, he even rides a bike.
Every time I get on the trainer, he tries to ride on my lap
He's even a super famous supermodel (check out Oh! My dog photography)

I'm totally a crazy dog person, and I'm completely okay with that!  Best training partner in the world.  He's always excited to run, doesn't care about the weather or waking up early or where we go.  He just wants to run.  We could all learn something from the joie de vivre!

Look out for Rudy's special post this October when he turns 8!

Pig ninja power!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More summer time

Okay, here are some more highlights:

Black Mountain more than 15K:
Remember that super crazy hard almost 10 mile run I did about a month ago with Ian from Team Badass and thereisnotri.org?  Well, Team Badass has decided to make that a weekly event.  Hanky Panky and I met up with several of the speedsters and set out on the awesome/horrible/hard/fun run last Friday morning.  Everyone was way faster than me so I was hoofing it just to keep them within sight.  I definitely pushed myself and finished quite a bit faster than last time.  And, I wasn't too sore afterward, unlike last time.  Just some tired quads.  Just a few more days until this week's Black Mountain fun time.

April 7 long ride and Team Badass BBQ:
Last weekend we hosted a Bike and BBQ for some friends.  Everyone met at the Pig Ninja house and we rode up the coast.  Everyone rode between 50 and 70 miles.  I only rode 50 so I could get home and help Luke set up for the BBQ.  Fortunately, I had already prepped a ton of burgers and I made what may be some of the cutest cupcakes of all time.  Did you already know that I'm a total domestic goddess?!

Chick cupcakes

A special chick with bling cupcake I made for my friends Missi and Ian to celebrate their engagement
We ate, drank, engaged in conversations about "chicken bombs" and maggots, watched some rather inappropriate videos once the kids left and had a blast.  In fact, we had so much fun that we made karaoke plans for that evening.  However, about 5 minutes after making the plans and the last guests left, we realized that we were too zombie like to go out and cancelled.  Everyone was relieved :)

Easter Beach Time:
Yay Easter!  We're not religious, so we spent the day at the beach.  We rode cruisers all around Oceanside, ate yummy food and played a ton of frisbee.  Who knew frisbee was so much fun?!  I can't wait to play more!  Sunday was one of those days, and I've been having them frequently, where I'm so excited that I live in San Diego and can't believe (in a good way) that it's my home.  I can run by the ocean, bike by the ocean, swim in the ocean, play frisbee in the sand at the ocean and it's all within a few (okay, 6) miles of my house.  LOVE IT!  Never going to leave.

La Jolla Shores Evening Swim
Last night was my Tri Club's La Jolla Shores Evening swim season opener.  As we all know, I need more swim practice, especially open water!  I met up with the love birds Missi and Ian after work to join the tri club for the swim.  The group split into 2 groups: a beginner group that would parallel the beach and swim not so far and an advanced group that would cover a lot more distance.  Since I haven't been OWS since possibly CdA, I decided to join the beginners' group.  Thank goodness!  It was cold (but not THAT bad) and choppy (to me) and ugh, it was not so easy.  My swimming sucked.  I kept swimming and swimming and it seemed like I wasn't going anywhere.  Of course, the fact that I stopped every 3 strokes or so to doggie paddle and look around probably didn't help.  Hahaha.  Looks like I need to go every week!  I know it will get easier and if I master ocean swimming, fresh water will be that much easier.

The only thing that got me through this was knowing that I got Ethiopian food afterward.  Soooo good.  Fun dinner with Team Badass  friends.  Of course, the dinner conversation was not for polite society.  I learned things I'd never known before (and maybe wish I still didn't know).

On tap for this week:
running, biking, swimming :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Summer time in San Diego

We have been having the most amazing, sunny, gorgeous weather recently!  Sure, we had some rain a few weeks ago, but other than that, it has been absolutely wonderful...so I've been taking full advantage!  I'll just give you the highlights, divided into 2 posts to make it easier for your ADD problem (Okay, to make it easier for my ADHD to process):

Oceanside 70.3 spectating:
March 31 was the Oceanside 70.3 just north of San Diego.  I wasn't racing, but my friends and teammates Lauren, Ian and Matt were.  Tammy, Patrick, Aren, Hanky Panky and I rode up to Oceanside pretty early Saturday morning.  Actually, we all slept in until after 6, so it was pretty late for a Saturday!  Ironman training makes you crazy!  We parked and then all went running while the athletes were biking.  Tammy, Patrick and I ran just over 8 miles and Aren did something crazy, like 15 or 16.  As we finished up, the pros were out on their first loop of the run.  We walked the rest of the way and cheered.  So, so much fun!  I "accidentally" said a few creepster things, like "Heather Jackson, I love you!  You are my girl crush!"  I also told saw this guy whose blog I read, "Hey!  I read your blog!" when I ran into him at a coffee stand.  It was kind of weird, so I made it worse by saying, "Sorry, that was creepy."  Hahahahahaha

Team Badass represented at the race.  Ian threw down a 5:06 in his first Half-Iron (and maybe first tri?) even with an impressive, flesh removing crash on the bike.  Lauren and Matt were right around 6 hours.  My friends are so fast!  Really awesome and a very fun day.  Hank was really mad until I let picked him up so he could watch the finish shoot.  Then he had fun.

Long ride 4/1 (aka the Universe's April Fools joke):
I went out for a long ride with Missi and Inh on April Fools Day.  We planned a 60 or so miler (because I insisted I wanted more mileage).  It rained pretty hard that night and the road was still wet the next morning.  After thinking pretty seriously about staying in bed, I got up and met up with the other two. We started riding and it immediately started raining on us. At first it was pretty light, but then there was some legitimate rain dumpage.  I kept thinking about how I could get away with turning around.  We had planned a route with a big hill and some massive descents, but bailed on those for safety reasons. That's right!  No crazy descending on wet roads!

Finally, the weather started to clear and we were on a neat little path out by Lake Hodges.  The road is pretty rough, so I asked my buddy, Inh, if he'd ever had any issues out there.  Literally one minute after declaring, "Nah!  Never had any flats out here!" Pssssssssssst....his rear tire was flat.  Ahahahahahaha!  He changed it quickly and then almost immediately flatted again.  WTF?
"Did you check the tire?"
"Uh, no.  Look!  There's a piece of metal in the tire," Inh says and then tries to remove it with his teeth, as in his mouth was on the outside of the tire, as in he was pretty much licking the road surface.  "That tastes like shit!"  Missi and I were dying of laughter by this point.

Inh changes the tube again.  This tube won't hold any air.  Turns out to be a defective tube.  Totally blown out.  By this point, Inh is out of tubes and starts in on mine.

Inh with his tube carnage
By this point, we're all worrying about running out of CO2, so Inh tries to fill the tube using Missi's hand pump.  Of course, we start egging him on and encouraging him to pump faster. He pumped so vigorously that he snapped the stem right off.  Goodbye tube #4!  We thought this was hilarious!  Maybe we were delusional...or we're just evil.

The 5th tube held and we continued on the ride.  Decided to cut the day short and not tempt fate any more.  Still got almost 40 miles in.  Pretty awesome that we consider 40 miles to be an easy preschool ride!

To be continued...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tremendous Triple

Hellllooooo!  I've been training and I've been crazy busy (hahaha...I accidentally wrote "busty" and then corrected it.  Yes, that also works) so I haven't been blogging.   Let's see, I went to Sun Valley for the wedding of my good friend Danielle.  This was extra fun because all of the crazy people I went to elementary, middle and high school with were there.  We had a super tight class and there are about 10 of us who are still close.
The rehearsal dinner at Whiskey Jacques.  Western theme encouraged.

We dressed up pretty for the wedding.

And, some things never change.

It was a complete blast.  The highlights were the wedding (of course), spending time with some of my favorite people, and sitting in an outdoor pool heated to 102 degrees, drinking margaritas, while it snowed on top of us.  There was no training that weekend.

Last weekend, my grandma came to visit.  I managed to squeeze in an 8.5 mile run, but was otherwise just content to hang out with her.  We spent lots of time sitting on the beach visiting.  She is a marvelous woman.  74, but doesn't look a day over 60.  In the past couple of years, she's started working out at the gym and watching what she eats and she's lost a minimum of 60 pounds.  Take that everyone who says you can't lose weight when you're older!  Anyway, she's a very influential person in my life and always has been.
with my foxy Grandma at La Jolla Cove
Thanks for the awesome genes, Grandma!!!

Yesterday, I had the workout I've been waiting for: a triple.  Started with a morning drainer ride (and, yes, I pinterest-ed while I rode), a noon masters' session and then a track workout after work with my friend Li and some tri club people.  I think going to the noon swim is going to be key to getting all of my swims in.  It's just too much to bike or run and swim and take care of the dogs and eat breakfast and pack my lunch and shower and become presentable all before work.  Something usually slips and that something is usually swimming.

The track workout was a real ass kicker.  I haven't been on the track since last year.  We did lots of sprints; my quads are feeling it today.  This is going to be a regular Wednesday thing and I hope I get faster.  One bad moment from yesterday: I got out of track practice and went to my car.  The f-ing garage was locked up.  I couldn't even get to my car.  Oh f-bomb!  I wandered around the university looking for security.  Remember, I don't have my phone, I'm cold and sweaty and it's dark out.  Not fun.  Finally, a nice kid at a cafeteria let me in and called security.  They sent a cop, who was super cool and helped me out.  He managed to get me into the garage through the building (which was locked, so I couldn't get in) and then a sensor let my car out.  I'll make sure I don't park there again!

Good weekend on tap: Saturday is the Oceanside 70.3, which I will be spectating.  Can't wait to cheer on my teammates who are racing.  Will also do a 12 mile run with Hanky Panky and hopefully a few others.  Sunday: 60 mile bike ride.  Nice!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fish Time

People always ask me what I eat.  The answer is seafood and produce.  I also eat eggs, nuts, poultry occasionally and I love wine.  Sometimes I eat treats--last night I had fro yo and I topped it with a bunch of candy. Major sugar hangover today!  No grains unless I'm at a dinner party, no sugar except on long rides, and no processed crap.  Ever.

San Diego is a great place to live for someone who eats like me.  There is an abundance of fresh produce and seafood.  I love seafood!  My favorite fish guy, Poppa Mark (www.poppasfreshfish.com) offers a FishScription.  Kinda like a CSA, but for fish!  Every week, I pick up a box of mixed fish and shellfish for only $25!  It's always fresh, sustainable, wild and amazing.  Fish is a great source of protein and nutrients.  Good for the brain (important for nerds), good for the body (important for triathletes).   Nerdjock food.  It's my favorite source of protein and I eat it about 5 times per week. Here are some of the awesome seafood meals I've made with fresh seafood from Poppa's:
Yes, I ate both of those lobsters and they were scrumptious!

Seared mahi with roasted asparagus and sauteed mushrooms

This was a good one!  Steamed rock crab, fresh mackerel (caught that morning) roasted with lemons and a squeeze of blood orange juice and roasted mushrooms.  I had a salad on the side.
I hate it when people post food pictures where they didn't present the food well and now I find myself doing the same thing. These are just pics of my dinner plate, not nicely presented food.  Don't judge!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Biking Badassness

Happy Monday!  Oh, yeah, ugh, Monday!

We had the most gorgeous weekend here!  Sorry, cold weather people!

Saturday: 80.88 mile ride. Fast!
Saturday morning I met up with some Team Badass people to ride up the coast.  We started in Solana Beach and rode north through Carlsbad and Oceanside, across Camp Pendleton, through the San Onofre Beach park to San Clemente and back.  This route is super fun and flat but windy.  For the first half of the ride, I was donk chasing my girls Lauren and Rene.  Those two are smokin' fast!  Kinda nuts since Rene just had a baby 8 months ago and already has abs that are far superior to any I've ever had.  Even though I was going as fast as possible, over 20 mph in some sections (!), they were still way, far ahead.  I like chasing.  It keeps me working hard.  The headwind killed me on the way back and my pace slowed quite a bit, but I still averaged over 17 mph for the entire ride, which I will definitely take!  My Infinit worked really well and I never bonked, cramped or felt hungry.  I did, however, manage to get a bit of a sunburn. Must wear sunscreen!

One of the highlights was chicking a dude that hated to be chicked over and over again.  He was kinda strange.  Riding a Cervelo P3, so nice bike, but he had frat boy shamrock Lucky boxers on under his shorts.  Ouch!  Sore balls and chafed taint were his just rewards.

Sunday: 34.5 mile ride.  Slow and hilly.
I'm going out of town next weekend and won't have a chance to ride, so I swapped my normal Sunday long run for yet another bike ride.  I was tired when I woke up super early Sunday morning (thanks daylight savings time!) but excited to ride.  My friend and team mate mapped out a super evil route that had 2600 feet of climbing in 34 miles, with almost all of it in the first half, including a monster climb out to Ramona.  I was extra excited for this ride because Luke joined us for his first ride in quite a while.  Poor guy!  This was a rough ride back.

I was kind of stupid Sunday morning and left my water bottles sitting by the front door.  You know, leave important stuff in an obvious place so you don't forget it!  Didn't work.  I also assumed it wouldn't be too cold and wore just a sleeveless jersey with arm warmers.  Once we go to the meet-up point, Inh informed me that it was going to be 45 in Ramona.  Well, crap.  I found a sweatshirt in the back of my car and put that on.  I looked like a total newb, but Inh was wearing one, too, so he was my dork partner.  Luke is always cold, so we was dressed appropriately and got to give me a bit of shit about not listening to him.  hahaha.

My butt was very sore and my legs were tired, but I took it easy and powered through.  Gorgeous ride and the complete opposite of Saturday's.  Saturday was all about the ocean and Sunday was all about the back country.  Lots of farms and monster hills.  There were some pretty awesome descents.  We all finished and celebrated with giant breakfast burritos from a local Mexican place.  Sooooo good!

Sunday night, I had ladies' dinner club and I was the host.  The theme was Spanish tapas.  Everyone brought really excellent dishes and we sat around the pub table and drank lots and lots of Sangria and nibbled on great tapas.  Here's my contribution to the dinner:

Close-up of the drunken fruit heaven

Let's just say there was no way I was making it to the pool this morning.  116 miles of bike riding in the sun + lots of sangria = no training and lots of sleep and hydration!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Black Mountain and the Mustachioed Girl

It was definitely a Black Mountain kind of weekend.

You already know that Friday I did a crazy, super hard Black Mountain trail run.  I woke up sore on Saturday, which was awesome.  I'm never sore after runs.  I met some friends for another Black Mountain trail run.  I only had about 4 miles in me this time and it was still tough.  Since it was a shorter run, I brought both pig ninjas.  Rudy had a lot of fun, but I think Hank was tired from Friday still.  Very fun but my legs were super sore.  Of course, I had to wear my special undies and compression socks outfit and watch the hummingbirds in the back yard.  One of my cycling buddies, Paul (aka Liver) was teasing me about how my neighbors must think I'm crazy because I sit in the back yard in my undies and those crazy neon compression socks all the time.  Hahahahhaha.  That's what they get for being peeping neighbors!

Sunday morning I was supposed to ride the Great Western Loop with Team Badass, but I slept through my alarm.  So sad!  Of course, this led to a couple of hours of trying to convince myself to ride solo vs. riding the trainer vs. sitting on the couch.  Why is it always so hard to convince myself to ride solo?  I like it!  Finally I made it outside and rode from my house up to Black Mountain, out to Rancho Bernardo and then back through Del Mar Heights and back home.  Forty-ish mile loop with a good amount of climbing.  My legs felt pretty solid, though I could tell they were tired when I was climbing.  I had to hustle, hustle, hustle on the way back because my friends Li and Paul were waiting for me at the Indian buffet.  Of course, I missed a turn, which made me late and set me up for some additional climbing.  I made it home finally, jumped in Willie (my car) and, literally, ran into the restaurant...still in my biking gear and covered in sweat.  You're welcome, fellow restaurant goers.  Of course, it was a super awesome Indian restaurant and I was the only white person there, so I stood out anyway.  Always a  good sign to go to an ethnic restaurant where there are no white people! The food was excellent and I was super full.

One highlight of my Sunday ride was the chase with the mustachioed girl.  As I was riding along, I approached another rider and, as I'm a courteous cyclist, called out "On your left!"  I looked over as I passed and was surprised to see that I was passing a very lean woman with a full blonde mustache.  Not a man; definitely a woman with a stache!  It was very fair blonde color and rather think and full.  Unfortunately, the mustachioed lady was not as nice as her mustache and refused to make eye contact.  Apparently, she was quite unhappy about being passed and started to do that ever annoying bastard move of running through stop signs and red lights (I do this, too, sometimes but not when there are cars around) when there were cars just to get ahead.  Of course, I would then pass her back once I got going again.  Very dumb.  Maybe it was roid rage?

Chiro update: I found a nice chiropractor who did not own and alien gun and he did the snap crackle pop on my back.  I now feel much better.  He told me that I need some deep tissue work so make my neck 100%.  Not fun.  Must make appointment.

Took yesterday off.  Did a short 4.6 miler with the pig ninjas this morning.  Fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday update

Yay!  It's FRIDAY!!!

I woke up crazy early this morning (4:30 am.  What is it about 5:00 am that's fine but the 4 in front makes it terrible?) to run a 15K (~10 mile) loop at Black Mountain. I met up with my friend and teammate Ian (he and another Team Badass guy write a blog.  It's fun.  You should check it out: thereisnotri.org) so he could show me the run.  Now, Ian is really fast, like 1:26 half marathon fast.  I'm slow.  He was nice enough to slow down so that I could chase him on the trail.  It was an awesome morning.  Started in the dark, saw the sun rise and finished early.  The trail was up and down, up and down, with a few almost-mountains thrown in.  I had to walk a few of the steeper hills and by mile 9, I was shelled.  I had to walk the last 3/4 mile, which was uphill.  At the end, I felt like I had run a marathon.  No joke.  It was that tough.  Trail running is much more fun, though.  Pig ninja Hank had fun, too, and had no issues finishing the run.  Maybe 4 legs help on hills.

Hank and I hit up Starbucks on the way home.  We split a wrap and I drank a bottle of water (started it in line), a Naked Fruit drink and a Venti latte.  I was thirsty and hot and cold and hungry and MUDDY!  I had about a pound of mud caked to each shoe and a trail of mud up the back of my tights.

Now I'm sitting in the lab in my extra lovely yoga pants + compression socks get-up and I feel great.

On Wednesday, I went to a ladies' night at the office of our new tri club sponsor, who is a chiropractor.  Now, in general, I think chiropractors are full of crap.  However, this guy bribed us with wine, snacks, paraffin hand treatments and massages.  Okay!  I'm in.  I met my friend and Team You Got Chicked mate there.  Turns out we were the only new people who showed up.  Everyone else either works there or is a current client.  WTF?!  This chiro was definitely one of the bad chiros.  He was greasy and d-baggy and ridiculous.  He kept trying to convince us of his powers and scientific abilities (don't try this with 2 PhD scientists who are also athletes unless you know your stuff).  Then, at the end, he pulled out his weird alien gun to "interrupt nerve impulses to reset our nerves."  I think that's what he said.

Leslie and the alien gun

WTF are you doing to me, crazy man?!!!!

There were also a couple of vendors.  One woman was selling things that smelled very nice.  She was fine.  The other woman was selling some sort of nutrition system.  It consisted of a "cleanse" that could take tons of weight off.  Don't even get me started with that!  Such a load of shit.  Her other product was a "sports" drink.  It hardly had any sodium or potassium in in.  I'm pretty sure it was Tang with a vitamin dissolved in it.

So, all that said, I'm going to a chiropractor tonight.  Sometimes my spine gets misaligned and it gives me sciatica.  I've been to an osteopathic physician for it and all he's done is adjust it, so I think a good chiro can do the same thing.  My neck is really tight and sore, too, so I help the adjustment takes care of that.

Super fun weekend on tap. More trail running tomorrow and the Great Western Loop on Sunday.  Yippeee!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Warriors

I had a great weekend of training.  I'm quite tired this morning and will take today as a rest day.

Saturday, I met with team badass members at 6:30 in Rancho San Diego so we could roll by 7:00 am.  This part of San Diego is called East County and is very hilly.  The route we followed is the Great Southern Loop.  We rode east up some big hills (mountains) and then headed south to Mexico.  Seriously, I saw Mexico.  Closest I've ever been to the border.  This part of the ride was very interesting, as it was a bit sketchy and most of us were a bit worried about getting jacked.  Nice bikes were not common in this area.  We made it though!  We then rode along the water as we went north through Imperial Beach and then cut through Chula Vista and had to do some climbing before we finished.  There were so many turns on the route sheet that it took up 2 pages.  I made two wrong turns but, fortunately, figured it out without adding too much mileage.  Afterward, I ate a big fish burrito.  Awesome!  73 miles total.

I was completely toast after the ride and spent the rest of the night lounging on the couch.  I need to start making plans after rides so I don't turn into a blob.

Sunday morning, I was up early again to meet my friend and Team Badass teammate, Li for a run through the trails of Rancho Penasquitos Canyon.  Yes, this is my favorite place to run and it's close to my house.   We took the run pretty easy and I felt great.  Li runs up the big hills, though, so I had to run up them, too. Normally, I act like a baby and walk.  No more!  I definitely felt better than last week and am ready to add some distance.  8.05 miles total.

Here's the plan for the week:
today (Monday): rest, glorious rest
Tuesday: 1:30 bike, 4 mile run
Wednesday: 5 mile run, masters' swim
Thursday: 1:00 bike, 4 mile run
Friday: 5 mile run, masters' swim
Saturday: long run, shooting for a 10 miler
Sunday: long bike, I think we're gonna do the Great Western Loop (about 50 miles with 5000 feet of climbing)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Really Weird IM dream

So, dreams and nightmares about the Ironman are common as the triathlon season progresses.  I've had many nightmares about missing cutoffs or not being able to find the transition areas or forgetting my bike or all kinds of other crazy stuff.  Also important to note, since I stopped eating gluten and sugar (for the most part), my dreams have become really, really vivid.  Not sure if there's a connection or not.  Last night, I had the weirdest Ironman dream ever.

I was doing IM CdA and Lionel Richie was there, wearing a lavender jumpsuit with turquoise accents and a large and strange collar.  Weird enough, right?  Sure, but in my dream, Lionel Richie was a serial killer who killed spectators.  He would greet them at the top of every small hill with a "Hello is it me you're waiting for?" and then kill them.  NO JOKE!  This really happened in my dream and it seemed real as I was dreaming it.  Then he approached me as I was deep into the dark place on the run (all you IMers know what I'm talking about) and I said, "Don't even think about killing me.  I'm too busy for that shit!"  Ahahahahahhahaha!!!!!!!

Oh, Lionel!

The second crazy thing to happen in this dream was the race director informed us that we must all catch fish during the swim portion and that the fish we caught were the only things we were allowed to eat during the race!  Really weird dream!

I was trying to figure out what inspired the dream.  Here's what I came up with:
  • I watched Dexter before bed: that explains the serial killer part
  • I ate fish for dinner: that explains the fish part
  • I'm very busy: that explains the no time for your killing bullshit part
  • I'm kinda obsessed with Ironman training: okay, I get the IM part
BUT WTF EXPLAINS THE LIONEL RICHIE PART?!!!  A very creepy dream.  My friend, Alyssa, stated that this dream may be creepier than the movie the Ice Cream Man.  That movie was about a demented ice cream man who kills people and turns them into ice cream.  There's a very disturbing scene involving rocky road ice cream and a delicious eyeball marshmallow.  I think we were in about 7th grade when we watched this movie at my house with our other friend, Abbey. Not so sure it was a good movie, but definitely the creepiest thing ever... until I had a Lionel Richie singing before killing Ironman dream.  I'm the new sicko.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


When you're a triathlete, there are many people who are important in your journey: friends, family, significant others, dogs, mentors, etc.  Right after I signed up for IM CdA, I was lucky enough to find a mentor.  He's a great source of wisdom, smack talk and calls me out on bullshit and excuses.

Yep, I'm talking about this guy:

Last year when I was just starting out on the Ironman journey, I joined a mentor thread on BeginnerTriathlete.  It turned out to be very helpful.  We all exchanged ideas and training strategies and funny stories.  The mentor, Slayer, is crazy badass.  He's into insane volume and it works for him.  He's a reformed porkchop who's earned serious tri points, including a propensity for trying to scare the race director when he podiums (finishes in the top 3 or 4 of his division).  The thread has started up again and I'm on it, along with a few other people from last year and some new folks, too.  It's so nice to have a group of other crazies who love to talk about tri stuff.

One of the things Slayer asked of me was to post some lessons I learned from my last IM.  This is what I wrote:

Yes, IM #1 was a great eye opener.  This will be a brutally honest assessment.  Here is a list of things I learned/changes I need to make:
The Swim:
  • must swim much, much more!  I really don't care much for swimming, but I need to make myself do this.
  • my IM swim was pathetic (2 hours) and miserable.
  • Starting in January, I'm going to start swimming with the UCSD masters' team.  Swimming with a masters' team helps me so much.  Unfortunately, once things start going well, I tend to convince myself that I can swim on my own.  Then I start slacking again.
  • Lessons!  I have a swim coach picked out for a few lessons to help my stroke.
The bike:
  • Last time I trained on my own. Entirely.  That allowed me to ride slowly, skip rides, start rides too late so I couldn't fit in all the mileage, wuss out on tough rides, etc.  This time, I formed a team, called Team Badazz, with whom to ride.  Several of the team members are much faster than I, so I've been improving already.  My average speed is up around 17mph now, and that's with a lot of climbing.  My goal is to do 18 mph + for Vineman.  It's also much more fun to ride with my team.
  • No shying away from hard rides!  We've been doing some tough rides.  Just conquered a 7 mile climb a couple of weekends ago.
  • I need a new bike.  Yes, I know it's the engine and not the equipment, but I rode the ish out of my bike and it's old.  I have my eye on a couple of bikes (and the cash set aside) and will purchase next month.  My old bike had a couple of mechanical issues that killed my ride last year (including the shifter falling apart and then I couldn't shift for about 45 miles).  Kinda proud that I wore that bike out 
The Run:
  • Not so worried about this.  I was a runner before I got into tris.  My plan is to follow my Be Ironfit plan for this.  Also will be running with Team Badazz.
  • Need a new plan for tri shorts--I had a wicked case of baboon butt after CdA.
  • This year I will do some peak runs in the heat.  The avg temps in Napa are around 90-95+ in July, so I need to be prepared.
In general, I just need to be much more hardcore and train a lot more.  No more slacking!  I know you all will help keep me accountable 

The common thread to all of this is that I need more volume (of course, I've already altered some of the above plans so I'm more hardcore).  Slayer has been saying this from day one.  I didn't listen last season, but I'm listening now.  I'm ready to prove what I can do.  I'm well on my way to having a great season and look forward to seeing the volume pile up.  See?  No excuses!

So, thanks mentor thread and big thanks to the big Slayer man!  Hope to race with you again soon.