Friday, January 29, 2010


It's been one of those weeks where I take a nap every chance I get, even if it's 15 minutes. I started school again, and am going a million miles an hour. Plus, my hamstrings have been freakin sore post-Cbad. On Thursday's run I still felt it. I also stayed up past my bedtime Thurs night making dinner & saying goodbye to a longtime friend who's moving to New Jersey to be with his love. Dave and I have been neighbors since we were little punk kids, and though I'm sad to see him leave SoCal, I couldn't be happier for his decision (he has a great girlfriend, keeper for sure).

Meet my ticket to a free place to stay back east:
We cooked some fish with seasoning he brought back from South Africa, yummmm.

One more whiney thing: I kicked the $&%@ out of my two right toes on a lane line Thursday while practicing breast stroke. I swear, it felt like the toes ripped off while I kept swimming. There was blood. And today, they're throbbing in pain! Possibly a broken pinkie toe. Ouch! Man, I suck at different strokes.

So, the point of all my "excuses" is (sore, tired, in pain): I canceled this Friday's workout to save it for the weekend--fun stuff ahead. But the best excuse why I slept in a little and didn't leave time to work out...

I'm heading to San Diego for the Tri Expo. So, if any of you are down there Friday, be sure to say hi!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Carlsbad 13.1, Pizza, Beer & Fun!

I went into the Carlsbad Half-Marathon assuming I'd pull off a 7:30 pace given the training I've done thus far. I knew a 1:38 or 1:39 was doable. But secretly, I hoped I'd somehow miraculously pull off a 7:00 pace. That didn't happen. Finish time- 1:37, a 7:29 pace (7:24 on my Garmin though, hm).

Getting on my game face at 6 a.m.:

Keeping it in perspective, I know why I didn't pull off that faster time. I've NEVER run just a half-marathon (only in 70.3s) and I'm only just starting to build volume on my run training for this season. My longest runs have been ~10 miles, and there's only been several of those since I've been back at it. Plus, unlike veteran runners, I have no past years of 13.1 or 26.2 experiences to fall back on, so what could I expect? Running an all-out half-mary was completely new territory for me! The reason I thought the 7:00 pace was possible is because those 10-mile runs have all been hilly trail runs--I figured the hill training would transfer into faster times on a flat course; sort of did but not entirely. (Btw, I don't consider Carlsbad a flat course, either.)

One GOOD thing about C-bad: I felt fabulous for the first half. My splits on the Garmin show that I ran my first 6 miles in 43 min (7:10 pace). That's good for me. It was the second half where I started to fall apart. So, that just means I need to keep building more volume and do more long runs before I can expect a faster 13.1.

One BAD thing: I never found Tatiana. I parked a mile from the course (so ended with 15 miles of running) and obviously didn't have my cell. Finding one person in a sea of thousands wasn't going to happen. She ran a smokin' 1:30. Wow! Go teammate! I wonder: Had I run (or tried to run) with her, would my time be faster?

But overall: Stoked on the race and all that it taught me.

Even more so, I'm stoked on the whole weekend....

After I finished with my AM clients at SPI on Saturday, I headed to SD. Packet pickup, then La Jolla. I stayed with Brad, the ex. Yes, we're still friends... just friends!! But with how crazy busy we both are, we rarely ever talk (hadn't seen him since Kona), so this weekend was a good opportunity to catch up.

Saturday afternoon was spent lounging around enjoying blue skies. Felt good & refreshing after the week of storms SoCal endured. Brad is fresh off a surf trip he took on some remote island where he had a gnarly accident aka pounding on the reef, so he can't surf (or do much of anything right now) but we had to go down to check out the killer swell that was rolling though. And I got me a little beach time/La Jolla sunset action...

Sunday was a complete 180 from Saturday. Action packed! Brad worked out while I raced, then we converged back in LJ for a coastal spin at noon-ish with a halfway stop back up in C-bad at Pizza Port for pizza & beer. Apparently I still had enough left in the tank post-Cbad for a solid ride sans nap--I was surprised! Maybe it was the PERFECT weather that got me pumped. Pizza Port was Brad's idea... and I was totally stoked on the pizza part, but I've never been one to drink beers halfway into a bike ride. But hell, you only live once, and I had gotten in my "quality" workouts by that point.

I think the adventure took us nearly 4 hours. We spent a good amount of time at Pizza Port because I didn't want to get a "BUI" on the way back. Still, let me tell you, climbing Torrey Pines 1) post half-marathon, 2) after a few beers and 3) burping pizza is something!

In the end, Sunday was a 65-mile day for me (15 run/50 bike) and it left me spent and with a huge smile on my face. I love when you're so tired/worked/sore/"buzzed" from the day's activities that you can barely lift yourself off the couch that night. And that's why Mondays are my recovery days, ahhhh :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My New Triathlon Team

I have no excuses now, I have to get my act together. I'm going to be on a brand-new triathlon team with some fast girls this year! Lucky me!!!

Meet the four girls of the RAHA Women's Triathlon Team: Me, Sara Davis, Lauren Chiodini and Tatiana Vertiz.

(More on RAHA to come.)

The story of how our women's tri team came together is really random, actually. It's a scenario all based on being in the right place at the right time. I'll try to tell it as briefly as possible.

I met Sara Davis back at Vineman, literally on the bike course. We've been super close friends ever since and have dabbled with the idea of teaming up. We sat through the USAT Coaching Clinic together and have bonded during some pretty mega workouts. We like Wahoos. Basically, I love Sara to death and we have a blast whenever we're together.

Then I went to Clearwater and ran into Lauren Chiodini, who I didn't actually know personally at the time, but I knew of her. I quickly befriended her because she's an awesome chick, my age, fast and fun. Good thing I did--she and her mom were like family to me out in Florida. Turns out Lauren and I have led parallel lives (volleyball girls from OC, etc, etc) and we've stayed in touch since 70.3 Worlds.

Then there's Kona star Tatiana Vertiz. I "met" Tatiana in Feb '09 at the Tritonman sprint in Mission Bay. I didn't actually meet her then, but was flabbergasted by the girl who kicked my ass in our AG (she was 1st, I was 2nd). Via the Internet, I found out more about her and that she was living in OC at the time. We met at Edge Cyclesports and soon became FB, blog and real-life friends. The best was having our "warm-up" swim/run before the Santa Barbara Long Course. (It was NOT warm... more like hello freeeeezing water/weather!)

Anyways, none of these girls had ever met each other. They knew of each other, but I was the only one who knew them individually & in person. So in late November-ish, the idea to form a young all-female tri team was seriously propositioned, and I immediately thought of putting these girls together. We're all roughly the same age (22-26) and have similar goals and aspirations in triathlon. Plus, we all like to have FUN, we want to do "good deeds" using sport as our platform and, most importantly, I knew there would be chemistry with our personalities. I contacted them all with the idea, and without even hesitating everyone was on board!

So where does RAHA fit in?

First off, RAHA Sports is based in OC and is a sports-marketing group, owns/operates a professional cycling team and much more. Check out their website and all they're involved with, like the Bahati Foundation. Really some fabulous stuff and I'm proud to be associated with them.

So... Sara's been good friends with RAHA's co-founder Brad Eastham, and she suggested that he take on our idea for a women's tri team. He was stoked out of his mind and immediately expressed interest, as did his partner, Eric Smart.

Fast forward to Monday... after weeks of countless e-mails, phone convos & mini meetings.... and we ALL finally met in person under one roof for lunch in San Clemente (meanwhile, it seemed like the rook was going to blow off with this crazy storm!).

I was definitely correct about there being good chemistry among the girls (and Brad of course). There was never a quiet moment, and I'm sure we all could have chatted for hours longer... that's what happens when you put mega tri freaks at the same table! Between the four of us, we have a lot of racing in store for 2010... some races we'll do together, some apart. But we'll definitely be everywhere this year!

There's so much more, and I'm sooooo excited... but I'll leave it at that for now.

Go RAHA!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Immune System & Exercise

I saw it coming. After doing long workouts both Saturday and Sunday, I came home to two sick parents. That's just asking for it. Sure enough, Tuesday... I had a cold.

Hands down, took the day off. No reason to push it. Wednesday I was still a little groggy in the am but overall it was just sniffles and sneezing, no sore throat no flu-like symptoms. I go by the "neck up" theory in most cases... so I kept to my training schedule, just got a later start so I could sleep in a rest. Felt fine. Same thing Thursday. And now, Friday, I still have the sniffles, but I feel 99% better :)

It made perfect sense as to why I got the cold:

(Sorry in advance if you find this boring... however, I love this topic)

Depending on the duration and intensity of a workout, after prolonged exercise (at least 1.5 hours) certain key immune cells dramatically decrease for hours leaving you at higher susceptibility to infection. This is known as "the open window" when infection risk is high. The cells that decrease: Natural Killer Cells and T Cells, infection-fighting lymphocytes (aka a type of white blood cells). Glutamine levels, production of immunoglobins, etc can also decrease. Combined, these effects can really weaken your immune system for a while--couple hours at least with about 1.5 hours of exercise, which is nothing for any endurance athlete on the weekend. Start adding on the hours and pick up the intensity, and the weak immune system lasts even longer.

Take me for example: I worked out probably 6-7 hours on Sat & Sun, then would come home to a house with two sick parents. Recipe for disaster. Not only was my immune system suppressed, but I wasn't giving it time to fully rejuvenate before suppressing it further--and then I was interacting with the sickies, Mom & Dad.

There's another aspect to this too. When exercising you're at a higher risk of contracting an upper-respitory tract infection (URTI) due to the high volume of air you're moving. You're breathing hard... and lots of crap is going in and out. Again, take my case: On Sunday, turns out I was riding with other soon-to-be sickies, so I probably got a little of their infectious germs when we were riding close and blowing our snot rockets ;)

Now, on the flip side, besides the risk of URTI, your immune system actually strengthens during a workout (i.e. WBCs increase), and certain cells will remain increased after as well.

BUT, for endurance athletes working out 75-90 min or longer on a regular basis, be careful. Chronic endurance training does suppress the immune system, well, chronically. Why? Not enough recovery time between bouts, increased cortisol (stress hormone & immunosuppressor), low glutamine, etc. Also, if your plasma volume increases (often an effect with endurance training for O2 carrying, better sweating, etc) this causes a lower concentration of immune cells like leukocytes. Plus, if you have poor nutrition you might as well throw in the towel.

An article on the same topic was recently posted on, and I think it's important to highlight one section especially.

"Regular runs can bolster your immune system." Well that goes against what I just said about chronic training = depressed immune system, right? The key to that statement is: the runs have to be 45 minutes or less and only at moderate intensities. Most long-distance triathletes are training more than 45 min in most of their sessions and are going at pretty high intensities vs. just moderate.

The article then goes on to talk about the "open window" theory, in their example, after running a marathon. Really would make you think twice about flying home on a plane the day after your big race. Ewwww.

Lastly, it talks about "sweating out a cold" and how that's not possible. I was laughing when I saw that because on Wednesday I commented on a sick friend's FB post saying "I sweated out my cold." I don't actually believe I did that! In my case, I knew I wasn't too sick to work out (neck-up theory), so some exercise wasn't really going to do much harm. And I was right--it's Friday, I feel totally fine and I didn't miss out on much training. In fact, I was able to "clear everything out" pretty well, if ya know what I mean.

So here's a little advice on the best things you can do to save yourself from an annoying cold:
-High *good* CHO diet, including CHO during the workout (*good* CHOs, so not chips and crappy stuff haha)
-Plenty of antioxidants, food is better than supplements
-Possible benefits with Glutamine supplementation. "The Glut" is used by leukocytes for energy aka fuel for immune system (I'll be starting this up again)
-Avoid contact with SICK people (oops!)
-All the regular hygiene stuff, OCD style if you must

Take home message: You're most vulnerable for picking up a sickness after a long, hard workout of at least 75-90 min. So quarantine yourself and hoard all the healthy foods!

(Wonder how many people made it to reading this far, hmmmm)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting in the Mood to Write

I have a big deadline on Wednesday. I'm writing a bunch of copy for a South Orange County Bridal Magazine. If you're saying WTF... yea, I know. I'm single, into sports and frankly don't give an F about weddings right now. But it's my publisher from the newspaper that's putting out the publication, and I was asked to come on board as writer & editor. Nice way to earn a little extra cash while still on break from school.

To be honest though, it's been a tough project. It's just not a topic that is making me excited. At all. Thankfully, I've gotten all the interviews done, now it's just a matter of writing. Then the editing, which will actually be the easiest part of all!

*Addition to original post: So I got to thinking... I feel like I hate on relationships, weddings, love, etc., a lot. I'm really not against all of it! Being in love and connected with someone is a great thing, and I know down the road I'll be ready to fall in love again and get married... But I'm just nowhere near that phase of life. So... for the record: I'm all for love and marriage, and I'm so happy for all my friends and acquaintances who are currently enjoying that phase of their lives--like the newlyweds, beth & james!

I'm hoping a little blogging will get my creative writing juices flowing.

This one is going to be full of randomness............

1) I'm starting to ENJOY swimming. Last week I swam 12,000 yards and it felt like nothing. God bless noon masters at a place that's only 2.5 miles from my house. Swimming at noon also is great way to start getting my tan back, and because I'm actually awake at noon (vs 6 a.m.) I've been motivated to do some t-runs after swim.

2) Snot rockets on group rides. I've been riding with groups a lot lately, and I have a very flowy nose no matter the weather conditions. Thus, snot rockets are frequent. When I'm by myself I just launch whenever needed, but when riding with others I have to be a lot more conscious of when I blow. Don't want to piss people off and lose friends.

3) My thesis. Still am clueless about what to do it on, and the clock's ticking. All the topics I've thought of are way too complicated to pull off with the resources, time and money I have available to me. Figures that I would choose the hard stuff. I'm considering doing a study that tests the effects of compression wear on recovery (that's a very general way of putting it). Any thoughts?

4) Power meter. I have a new iBike Pro on the Felt and I love it. The iBike is about half the price at the basic Power Tap, and studies show it's just as accurate. Granted, it's a complicated little dude in terms of setup. There would have been no way in hell I could have set it up and figured it out on my own (you need an engineering brain to do so). Just so happens, however, that iBike's West Coast headquarters is literally a mile from my house. Thus, Eben (iBike dude and competitive cyclist), set it all up for me and even took me on a ride to get it calibrated and stuff. I'll write a full review on it soon... but so far, it's AMAZING. And eye-opening.

5) Snacking. D had a post earlier on snacks and it made me think about my snacking weakness: chips, crackers, popcorn--i.e. anything crunchy and salty (or, God forbid... sweet & salty!). I tend to overdo it with said munchies and have decided to majorly cut back. Key words: cut back. I'm not a fan of giving up foods because that's just dumb--everyone needs a little indulgence in the stuff they love. But I have a tendency to lose control with chips, so I'm better off without them 99% of the time. I don't care how hard I work out... those calories add up and are basically "empty" calories (no nutritional value).

6) That said, sweet potatoes. Love them, never get sick of them. Set portion control = perfect! Good carbs, good chip replacement! A little seasoning and mmmm.

7) Triathlon team. I'm going to be on one this year. And I'm thrilled! It's one of those things where the formation of this team is the result of being in the right place at the right time. It's been in the talks for months now... like since last fall. And now it's real! More details to come. Although, one of my teammates already spilled the beans :)

8) Tapering?! This week is another big build week, then next week I taper. Can't believe it!!! Race season is here. I'm looking forward to running in the Carlsbad half-marathon, as I think I mentioned: I've never done just a half-marathon... so this will be a new & exciting experience!

OK... I'm ready to get writing, but, oops.... I have an appt for a bike fitting & cleat analysis. Guess the wedding writing will just have to wait a little longer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Patriotic Dog

I forgot to take pics during this weekend's training. I especially wish I had a pic of Sunday's ride through Camp Pendleton--it was absolutely gorgeous out! Oh well.

My dad, however, took a picture of Sydney during their run at Santiago Truck Trail Sunday afternoon.

I have a very patriotic dog apparently:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ideal SoCal Winter Weekend

When it's 80º F on January 3, I know I'm living in the right place (except, I am jealous of Maggs and them trunking it over in Hawaii). Still, this weekend was as perfect as I could imagine. After Friday's big swim (about 4k total I think) I ran an easy 5 miles... saving it for Sat/Sun, as I got a last-minute call to ride with the newly formed CSU Fullerton Tri Team. It was my first time riding on that part of the Santa Ana River Trail, and I was stoked for a change of scenery from the usual routes.

Most the group at Weir Canyon...
There were riders of all levels, and about two packs formed. I hung in the front group, even spent some time pulling the guys. Raaar!

The craziest part of the ride was the wind. Riding out (toward the mountains) we faced THE WORST headwind I've ever been in. Scary almost. The one stud rider of the group (to my left in the pic) led through most of that, and my HR got pretty high as I tried to hang on his wheel. He's training to do the 12 Hours of Temecula MTB Race solo this month, so I eventually had to accept him breaking away from us.

We regrouped at the turnaround (picture) and the the real fun began--riding back with the tailwind. Almost effortlessly going mid-30 mph range, a blast.

The ride ended up being 25 miles, and being that I'm back in training mode, that wasn't enough for me. So later in the evening I hopped on the trainer. Probably the most fun I've had on that stupid thing. Normally, I hate the trainer--so mundane, so... boring. But I DVR'd Universal Sports' Ironman World Championships marathon and watched Kona 2005 during the ride. Every time a commercial came on, I'd run upstairs to do pullups (on the Iron Gym) and situps. After that, I had my fill for the day.

Sunday the weather was summer-like. Love SoCal! I took full advantage by heading to the trails, and I even got some tan lines! However, my run did me in. Anytime I run El Moro (10 miles with ~2,100 ft elevation gain) it's tiring, but Sunday, I fell into a coma on the couch for like 2 hours after my post-run meal.

I'm no longer doing the Xterra Crystal Cove Race (@ El Moro) due to its cancellation then a re-scheduling conflict (they made it the same day as C-Bad half), but I will be doing the Xterra Mission Gorge 15k Race instead on Feb. 7, so El Moro is still a good (& close) place to train. I read that Mission Gorge is ~1,600 ft elevation gain.

Anyways, while running El Moro, I ran into 623Tries. I randomly met Amelia in 2008 and am so thankful I've been in touch with her ever since. She's just a good person all around. She had knee surgery last year and is just getting back into all her sports, so it was awesome to see her in action. Even though... I was lost in my music and would have missed them had they not stopped me.
PS - I only wear a running belt on long trail runs where I have no means of getting water. I really can't stand wearing that thing. In fact, the one I'm wearing is my dad's. I don't even own one.

So Sunday marked the end of my biggest training week in a while for swimbikerun. Biggest thing I noticed: Now that I'm constantly on the go again and adding volume, I need to start treating my "during workout" nutrition accordingly (doing just fine on the pre- and post-eating). I felt a little bonky toward the end of the El Moro run. 'Tis the season of glycogen depletion.