Saturday, February 27, 2010

Main Set: 5 x R

I feel like I've been writing only about my workouts/training lately. Maybe I haven't. I forget. Honestly, my mind is in so many places these days that it's hard to keep track. My next blog will be more of a life update.... got some exciting things going on.

But in the meantime, more workout talk. It's an easy topic when my brain is fried...


The 5 x R wasn't really planned, just sorta happened due to crappy weather. Yup. More rain. I was supposed to lead a group ride through Santiago Canyon but that got canceled. Instead? The trainer, all alone. I couldn't rearrange my weekend and ride tomorrow instead because I'm already riding tomorrow too. Plus, I had a key brick sess scheduled for today that I was looking forward to. Originally the plan was for a 3ish-hour bike with a 60min t-run. To keep me entertained, I was told about a free movie website, so I turned on Slumdog Millionaire (random).

A scene from the set up. Unlike Linsey Corbin, I don't have a "man cave" for workouts, just my room. It's not so bad. Two big windows + ceiling fan keep it cool & breezy, and decent computer for movie-watching and good tunes.

I was crusin' until 70 min later when the movie paused and a message popped up saying I had to wait 50 min before I could continue watching, wtf?

Change of plans: It was only sprinkling outside at that point so I decided to "spice up" the brick and make it 5 x R.

Run for 40 min. (Only a couple cloud bursts, but had fun getting soaked.)

Hop back on trainer for 50 min. (I was allowed to watch the movie again.)

Another run for 25 min. (Mostly rain free, score!)

Then trainer for 40 min. (No more movie; my Pandora classic rock station went on.)


I changed clothes in each transition (trainer sess = sopping wet, running in rain = sopping wet). I went through 5 sport bras, 5 shorts/stretchy pants, tons of towels, etc etc etc. It's all still sitting in a sweaty pile right outside my door (yuck), along with a bunch of those little pull-off parts of GU packs--I find those things everywhere!

All in all it was ~3:45 workout but more than 4 hrs with transitions. It left me thoroughly trashed. I swear, trainer sessions are not easy--there's never downhills and no coasting so never a "break." Plus, having a power meter keeps me in check... no slacking!

Post-workout I ate the biggest sweet potato I could find (mixed with Fage, stevia and salt), along with an "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" salad.


Sunday, February 21, 2010


My little oasis for R&R.... This week I put 100% effort into doing ~50% of my training volume (7.5 hrs). It's not easy to only train half as many hours as you're used to, especially when the body begins to feel normal again. Although, my body didn't even feel normal until Friday evening when I did a trainer sess. I threw in some intervals of 300+ watts, and that's when I realized I was on the mend--and then I almost passed out. jk.

Not only was volume cut in half, but I dramatically dropped the intensity too (minus the VO2max test, oops). However, my appetite skyrocketed--after all, what's a recovery week without some serious eating?! My body obviously needed it. I consumed tons and didn't gain an ounce. And I slept a ton, about 8-9 hours a night. Is it just me, or does anyone else sleep more the lazier they are?

So recovery week... what's the big deal?

Well.... My biggest problem last season was not resting enough. It's not that I was naive to the concept of rest. I knew why recovery is necessary, but my mind got the best of me: I couldn't handle the thought of sitting around while everyone else was training...Dumb!...I cheated on my recovery weeks...& Dumber! That ended up biting me in the ass. I learned.

This year will be different. I enjoy, welcome and respect the rest. Some friends threw in their two-cents too; that always helps me. Allen told me: "There is no such thing as over-training, just under-resting...let the body adapt!"

After my seven.point.fiver: 1) I got a crap load of real work done, and 2) I feel pretty fresh going into my next and *last* (gasp) big training block before Oceanside. Starting Monday, it will be three weeks of butt-kicking work, then I start a two-week taper.

Yea, two weeks! For some people that amount of taper may seem rather long for a 70.3, but I know my body's needs and I know that these next three weeks are going to leave me trashed. So the taper plan: gradual decrease in volume the first week, then major taper the week before the race.

I hope I get in an ocean swim before March 27!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recovery Week with a VO2 Twist

Monday I could barely lift myself out of a chair; Tuesday wasn't much better. No working out. Wednesday I thought I was feeling refreshed, but than I swam and it hurt so I took it easy in preparation for Thursday am....

Being that I'm on a recovery week I thought I'd be "fresh" by Thursday and that a 18-min run wouldn't screw up my recovery agenda too badly so I scheduled a VO2max test in the CSUF Performance Lab. The plan was not only to test my own VO2, but also to learn how to conduct this test for the future research and work I plan on doing. My friend Albert, also a grad student, would be doing my test and teaching me along the way.

So Thursday morning, I arrived. I felt a sort of normal, but definitely not 100%. But, really, now that I'm in full-on training mode, the only time I'll be 100% is after a full taper leading into a 70.3. I chose a treadmill VO2max test because I know I can get myself to a higher intensity running than on a cycle ergometer. However, treadmill is probably the more painful of choices.

For those who don't know what VO2max is... briefly: it measures the maximal oxygen you're able to take in and utilize for working muscles. The more oxygen you can use, the better. This is measured by looking at venitlation (hence, the tube sticking out of your mouth) and the amount of O2/CO2 that goes in and comes out. Factors include time, weight, respiratory exchange ratio (using carbs vs. fat as fuel), etc. Relative VO2 is expressed as mL*kg*min, aka milliliters of O2 per kilogram of body weight per minute. Absolute VO2 is in liters, with ~3L or more considered good.

While VO2max is highly correlated to endurance performance, it's not the be all end all. Take lactate threshold for example: if two dudes have the same VO2max, whoever has the higher LT will win b/c he can wokrout at a higher % of VO2max aka intensity. Efficiency/economy also plays a role. The "quiet" economical runner will do better than the "choppy" runner even if the quiet runner has a lower VO2max. (Message: work on form/technique!)

Anyways, back to my test.


I did the "short" test of 18 minutes or less. If you don't like hill climbing, well, then, this might not be the best choice for you. I will likely do the longer test next time... flatter at higher speeds.

So, once HR monitor is on, mask/mouthpiece are secured and computer is calibrated, start walking on treadmill at 3.5 mph & a low incline. From there the speed and % grade incline are increased at certain time increments. The increments are ~2 min at first to get really warmed up and not to shock the system, then they shorten to ~30 seconds and it starts getting harder and harder at a rapid rate. Total time would be about 18 minutes or whenever the testee motions to stop. The max on the chart we were using was 7.5 mph @ 18% incline--while 7.5 mph isn't that hard at all, doing it at a 18% incline is!

Basically, you go until you can't go any more. If you're a rockstar and the speed/grade needs to go beyond 7.5/18%, then so be it.

Sounds simple right?


Me still walking, still ok...
As soon as I started jogging, my legs felt like bricks. Ugh. Guess I could throw out the idea of doing this test accurately aka fresh. I don't even remember when it really started hurting (maybe 6.0 @ ~10% grade). The worst part of the whole experience is having a dry throat & mouth and not being able to truly breathe deeply with that damn mask on. Plus your nose is plugged, and that just sucks. All I wanted was to be able to swallow and/or moisten my mouth. Neither were possible. One of the guys compared it to sticking a toilet paper roll in your mouth. Pretty accurate :)

Starting to pick it up...

So anyways, I was watching my HR the whole time, waiting for it to creep up toward the 180s. Knowing that just this past Sunday I had it at 185 while running uphill and that my max is roughly 194-195, I wanted to get it at least 190 for the VO2 test. But my legs said otherwise. I ended the damn test with a HR of merely 181, about 17 minutes into the test and at 7.0 mph / 12% or 14% grade, can't remember exactly. Lame! (And a true indicator that this recovery week is sooooooo necessary.)

You can see my form starting to suffer here... I was just staring at the fan and hurting, trying to be strong and tell my legs to shut up...

Still, at that intensity, my VO2max was at a "superior"/above average level according to charts and books, and in the right zone for a female endurance athlete. Definitely not super elite, but not disappointing. Feel free to ask me what it is, if you care, but I'd rather not post it because I don't want to intimidate my competitors ;-)

If you haven't done this test, I recommend trying it. If you can't afford one, there are ways around predicting your VO2max via other tests. Truthfully, it's really not that necessary to know, as HR, RPE, LT, etc. etc work just fine. Plus, you don't want to obsess over certain numbers that are out of your control to a certain extent.

In the end: hard work is hard work... and if you work hard, your body will go where it's capable of going.

In the meantime, I'll continue NOT working out hard until next week. Bring on the rest!

Monday, February 15, 2010

That's a Wrap + Why I'm so Sore!

Sunday marked the end of my second 3-week training block/build of 2010. The second was way better than the first. I pushed harder, got that much closer to puking during a few high-intensity workouts and survived a little longer on a couple key rides, runs and brick sessions. As a result, I saw some numbers that made me happy. Except for swimming. It seems that as volume increases with bike/run, and in general, my progress in swimming is plateauing a bit. But, thankfully, I have some new knowledge and ideas to help get results I want in the pool (more on that later).
Valentine's Day was the icing on the cake for the big training block, and if it hadn't been for the HOT sunny weather and my love of the outdoors, I don't know if I would have stuck to the plan of a.m. long, hilly trail run & p.m. ez/mod 2-hr spin. Part of me just wanted to lounge around and rest.... But there was no way I could miss out on the gorgeous day. So (with El Moro/Crystal Cove still closed) I ran at Whiting Ranch, which just reopened Saturday since the SoCal storm mayhem we had recently. All the mud and trail destruction became a good excuse to make the first 1.5 miles "easy" as not to eat sh*t. At about mile 2, you hit the big hills, Mustard & Dreaded, which are killer hard even at a walking pace. Here's a picture from the base; the actual "top" isn't even in sight:I swear I almost broke down in tears because it hurt so bad "running" up. But once at the top, I rested, chatted with hikers and got inspired to run back down to the base and do a repeat. Crazy, but glad I did. I ended up passing two dude runners who looked very fit and about my age on my 2nd jaunt up; we struck up convo at the top. One is a marathoner-in-training, the other a former competitive cyclist. At that point I was hurting, but I knew more hills were coming. So I asked if they wanted to run with me knowing it would keep me motivated, plus it was their first time on the trail so I could play their torture tour guide. They were all about it. So I ran. They followed. We tackled the next big hill, and I made it up with a HR max of 185. Now that's work, but it felt awesome to crest the top.... I credit the guys for helping me to push; they were like my V-day surprise! In a weird, painful way.
Then the downhills finally came, with lots of fun and technical single track where good footing is key to not rolling an ankle (learned the hard way last year). The marathoner almost held onto my pace the whole time, but I got an edge in the last couple miles where it flattens out... somehow the speed in my legs turned on--I think it was thoughts of a yummy lunch that awaited.

All in all... that 9 miles of running--with 2,100 ft of climbing--put me at nearly 30 miles for the week and just about 90 miles within the last 3 weeks. (I'm currently training 14-16 hrs per week.)

After some refueling and moaning/laying on the floor, I got my butt in gear for the ride. I told myself to just take it ez and not overdo it. After last-minute planning, I got in my intense long-ish and very hilly ride (w 5-mile t-run) on Friday with my boss, who's a freakin stellar athlete.... translate: OUCH for me! That was my "big one" for the week, so Sunday it was just about spinning and enjoying the outdoors some more. Surprisingly, 2 hours in the saddle went by really fast and I felt better after that then when I started.
But today I feel like I got hit by a truck. That's largely in part due to a full day of Jessi Stensland's MovementU clinic on Saturday. She had us doing tons of AWESOME functional movement exercises that are perfect for dynamic warmups and overall body maintenance aka developing a body that's balanced, resilient to injury, healthy, strong, well-aligned and, most importantly, a performance machine.

If you haven't heard or seen Jessi's MovementU, I highly recommend attending one/checking it out. It's a full day, but don't think about it as if you're "losing" training hours; rather, you walk away with more knowledge to boost your performance that, in my opinion, beats missing a Saturday's 4-5 hours of sbr-ing. Plus, you're moving and being active the whole day with Jessi, and if you're like me and haven't been doing these functional exercises, then I guarantee you'll be more sore than 4 hours in the saddle leaves you! I swear!!

Not to mention, she serves some excellent food, too. All homemade by her. How does she do it all?! I have no idea... but I can guess that it's her dedication to an athlete's well-being.

The MU crew (including some of my CSUF Tri Team friends!!)....

Last but not least... I said on FB/Twitter how I got to spend Valentine's with my one true love, the sunny outdoors. Ha! It's true, though... beautiful days spent outdoors in nature are all I need at this point to keep me happy and sane.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Workouts: Pandora and The Devil

First of: If anyone is in or around Lake Forest this Saturday, Feb. 13, come to Jessi Stensland's MovementU Clinic held at Core Performance. I'll be there ALL day and am super excited. More info at

On to my post... working out...

I really enjoy training with other people, but given my ridiculous schedule I'm often forced to train solo. (Yes, the ongoing joke is fairly accurate: I have a gagillion jobs, and just added on another. More on that soon... very excited.) Good thing is, I'm pretty self-motivated and self-disciplined, so I work hard even if no one's watching.

I thought I'd share a couple "fun" workouts I like to do that help the time fly by:


Everyone loves Pandora, duh! You get a whole radio station based on the genre you want to hear, how cool is that?! Well it's perfect for a bike trainer session alone in your room. Get your favorite upbeat station going, then whenever the song changes, you change what you're doing on the bike... sort of like a fartlek bike workout where you can switch up lots of variables: intensity, big gear/small gear, cadence, power, single-leg drill, etc. Songs are roughly ~3 minutes long, which is good for a lot of stuff, but sometimes I'll do a double or triple whammy: big gear "climb" for 2+ songs.

I have a Lady Gaga station I'm currently hooked on for this workout. However, my neighbors are probably questioning my sanity.... crazy music blasting from open windows when it's freezing and dark outside. Hm. Also, watch out for classic rock stations... lots of looooong psychedelic instrumental solos. That's when they were all on drugs back then haha.


Mmm mmm good. I dubbed this track workout the "Devil Run" yesterday because there are lots of 6's involved. Oh, the crazy things that go through my head during workouts.

Here it is.... can be done on a track or on a one-mile stretch of land.

- 10 min warmup
- 6 x 1-mile (1600), on 2-3 min rest
- Negative splitting each mile
- Goal: keep each mile in the 6-min-per-mile-pace range (6:00-6:59)... unless you're fast and can do it in the 5-min or faster range, but then it's no longer the Devil Run haha.
- 10-15 min cooldown
- Total time: 60-something minutes (more if longer rest intervals or longer WU/CD)

See the theme of 6's? I swear I'm not promoting the devil :)

I did this workout yesterday for the first time since way back pre-Clearwater '09, and I was happy with the outcome. Faster than I did it last year. Splits: 6:36, 6:25, 6:20, 6:13, 6:13, 6:11.

The funny thing... it felt easier with each mile, like I was giving the same (hard) effort but a slightly faster pace resulted. However, after mile 6, I was done; a mile 7 would not have been easier haha.

So those are a couple of my fav workouts!

Have fun!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Having Faith.....Realistically

I got a completely random, unexpected and amazing message in my inbox the other day:

"Inspiration comes in many forms..."
"...and at the least of expected times. After randomly seeing you on FB while posting on my friends’ profile, I am inspired. Inspired to pick up my training and to rededicate myself! I know nothing of you personally, only what I see. I see your hard work & dedication. I see sacrifice, love of the sport, work ethics. I see an uncanny competitive drive. I see you reaching out with your writing/blogs. I see you sharing knowledge. That is inspiration. That speaks volumes of a person’s ability, I am sure the pay off at the finish line is the best...No doubt!! Like I said, inspiration comes in many forms and at the least of expected times…so thank you!


Wow. That brought tears to my eyes. One of my goals is to inspire people, and it looks like I'm starting to do just that.

After getting this message, I decided I want to write a post that's not easy for me to talk about, but something I find important to address.


The other night we were at a RAHA meeting with the cycling team. Brad, our manager, introduced us, the new RAHA Women's Triathlon Team, to the crowd. He said some really nice things about our potential, and it got me thinking about something that's been on the back of my mind.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be on a team with three amazing female athletes. Tatiana and Lauren truly have what it takes to go pro within the next year. Their results, their talent, their dedication... it's all there. I believe Sara has what it takes, too, hands down, but being that her race resume only has one 70.3 on it so far, I think this year will be her year to shine and show her elite status in long course. (Her sprint/Olympic race results are stellar.)

Then there's me. Yes, I do believe I have talent, and hell ya I have the dedication, but when it comes to being "pro status" I'm just not there. I want to be there, and I hope to be there one day, but realistically I don't yet have the experience nor do I have a freakish genetic gift to make up for lack of experience. Last season in 20-24 AG I was extremely lucky to have 10+ podium finishes and qualify for Clearwater, but on the overall outcomes, I'm waaaay down on the list.

That's ok with me.

A couple good friends recently told me to be patient and wait for "Year 3." They said that's when things really start to fall into place with this sport....2010 will be my "year 2." Ohhh, I'm being patient. I wouldn't survive in triathlon without patience.

If you look at my RAHA teammates, they're all into their "Year 3" and beyond:

Tatiana qualified and competed in the Ironman World Championships in 2007 and was practically a pro tennis player before that. Lauren played volleyball all through college and transitioned into triathlon in '07 as a powerhouse. Sara was a pro soccer player in Europe and is on her "year 3" (maybe even 4th year?) in triathlon.

Keep a close eye on these girls this year, they're NO joke.

Meanwhile, expect me to race my hardest in 2010, but within realistic parameters of my current ability level. It makes more sense if you look at my background compared with the "lifelong athletes"....

I partied a ton during high school and San Diego State, while maintaining an active lifestyle full of exercise... but on a total recreational, non-committed, non-structured basis. Didn't care about "pace" or performance, only that I burned calories and stayed in shape. Yea, I tried a handful of races in 2007, but that "season" of triathlon consisted of about four attempts to survive s-b-r without proper training. I didn't even get a bike until summer '07. (Sure, In my head I was trying to be competitive, but oh man I had no idea what I was doing! Soma Olympic took me more than 3 hours I think.)

Then injury struck in 2008. I wanted to do more training and triathlons, but instead ALL of that year was spent pinpointing an nagging knee injury, getting surgery for that injury and recovering. Thankfully, my knee injury--plica syndrome--was super minor on the grand scheme, and I don't have to worry about it coming back to haunt me like other knee injuries.

Even with a virtually raceless 2008, it was an important year of development. Plica syndrome changed me. It gave me a new focus and the desire to step it up in sport 110%. It gave me the drive to be like the Tatianas, Laurens and Saras of the world.

So I stepped it up. Take my swimming as an example: In late 2008 I jumped into the pool for the first time. Sure, in 2007 I "swam" about 700-yard sessions here and there before toe cramps would hit. But my 6 a.m. outdoor class in winter 2008 was where my swimming really began. At first, I could barely hang on for a set of 50s @ 1:15... or 100s @ 2:30 (I'd come in at ~2:00). Plus, according to my coach, I couldn't even breathe properly. Oh yea, and I wore fins. Ha!

But now, early 2010, things are coming along in the pool...slowly. I swim for ~3,000 yards each session, I can do a set of 100s @ 1:45, while 20x50 @ 1:00 is no big deal. And fins? Only use 'em on kicking sets. Plus, I'm starting to learn backstroke and breast stroke... It's very ugly, but I have to start somewhere if I want to be in a legit Masters group!

The same story can be applied to my biking and running.

So, again, what's the point of this?!

For one: I'm NOT trying to be a sandbagger. Nor am I whining about not being good enough. I'm truly being honest, and honestly, it's a little embarrassing/hard for me to admit this stuff--admit that I'm not "the best." I'm a perfectionist (a personal flaw to some level) and I always want to be at the top--whether in school, work or sport--but triathlon is especially humbling. It's taught me a lot about dreaming big while not being too harsh on myself.

So as this season unfolds, I've set reasonable goals: I want to beat my 70.3 times from last year in respective races and improve as an triathlete on all fronts. It's not just about finishing times, it's the experience and growth as an athlete that matters. Proper training, diet, balance, etc, included.

Of course, hauling ass to get podium finishes and World Championship qualifications is ideal, but that will come with time. Just like doing a full Ironman--no rush.


In the meantime, my goal is also to continue to inspire and help others.... the J.Moose's of the world. I'm in the midst of a high-level education in order to be a master at understanding the human body & sports performance.... even if my own body isn't capable of such mastery in sport.

My other goal is to support, cheer on and brag about my RAHA teammates. I am just so thankful to be included in the same sentence as them. How did I get so damn lucky? I guess stalking the tri world has paid off ;-)

I can't wait for this year to get going!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Elevation gain, power output.... ?????

Wow, as I clicked "New Post," I noticed this is blog #100. What a milestone. Haha ;)

So, I'm getting annoyed with all these devices that measure elevation gain. Before I get into it, let me preface this by saying: I don't really care how many feet I climb per se, hard work is hard work; however, I'd like to gauge my routes (running or riding) relative to the races I'm doing. Also, it's nice when someone says "I climbed 6,000 ft today" to be able and put that in perspective of what I do. So if I'm invited on a ride like that, I kind of know what to expect.

That said: Garmin, the iBike and online tools all give me VERY different numbers. I wouldn't care if the difference was only 100-300 ft, but 2,000-3,000 ft of difference is significant. Meanwhile, all the other stats match up: total miles, avg/max mph, etc. On Saturday's ride, we rode ~55 miles on what I consider a hilly route. The Garmin said 5,200 feet of elevation gain, the iBike said 3,200 feet. Entering the route online gives even bigger numbers... like 6,000 ft+ (

One thing I know about the iBike is this: Apparently, it only adds up what is considers "climbing," not just gradual elevation gains. Don't ask me how it does that, but in that little device it decides what a hill is and will add those feet up, but it doesn't care if you're on a 2% incline for 10 miles--those feet are ignored. Read more on that here if you wish.

But, really, a 2,000 ft difference between Garmin and iBike? I wonder what a PowerTap or SRM or whatever else there is would say??

A lot of people say the Garmins are full of it. Ian said he gained 1,000 feet of elevation on a trainer session in his living room. Classic! Others say the elevation changes as it sits on a desk. I have a Garmin Forerunner 405, and if it's been overestimating, then at least it makes me feel like a champ for climbing that much! :)

What are you guys using? And how much do you trust your device?? Do you compare stats with your training partners? I want a comment from James on this topic, because he seems to be the most dialed-in blogger out there! :)

AND: What device are race directors using to tell us the elevation gain in Ironmans, 70.3s, running races, etc? How accurate are their devices? Like I said in the beginning... really, all I want to know is if the training routes I ride/run are the best for my races this year. If they're "weak" then I'm ready and willing to step it up!!!

Switching gears a little... what about POWER?

Ah, power = work/time, also, = force x velocity. Basically, how fast can you get your @$$ (and its mass) to cover X miles? Spin faster, apply more torque!

I'm using the iBike, and I'm sure it's not a "perfect" device (is there such a thing?), but it was a lot cheaper and at least gives me something to work with power-wise as I set out to become a better cyclist. One thing I was told: even if the watts aren't exactly right on, the iBike is consistent--and that's important in measuring progress (or the bad days, ugh).

I know guys are animals and can drop some big watts. But I want to know more about women aka my competition! (All in good fun, of course.)

SOOOO MY QUESTION TO THE LADIES: I'm curious what sort of watts women around my age and/or ability level get on their rides. If you're a girl and wouldn't mind telling me some of the watts you're putting out, I'd appreciate it. (Send me private emails or FB messages if you wish.) Maggs, I saw on your blog that you have a PowerTap... talk to me pleeeease!

I read that for women, holding 3 watts per kg body weight is considered good. For me that's 180 watts (I weigh 60 kg).

I also read an old Triathlete Mag article where Linsey Corbin is said to hold 265 watts in a 40k TT and 210 watts over 112 miles. And she weighs like 120 lbs (~54 kg). Daaaamn, that's good! Same article: Tyler Stewart held 228 during ironman Florida 2007. Wow. I won't even get into the watts that the best guys are putting out.

As far as my watts so far--I don't really want to tell you guys my numbers just yet because it seems like I need to work on increasing my power :) But that's going off what the iBike says; I wonder how accurate it is? Would a PowerTap or SRM tell me something different? Too bad I don't have the money to do that experiment!

Last but not least: I know it's not "all about the numbers." But I believe this sort of data will help someone become a better athlete, and I'm trying to become better educated on these things so I can help myself and OTHERS. In the end, it's all about implementing the right training if you want to become a better athlete. Intensities, the routes on which you train, volume, rest, frequency, etc, etc, etc.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I can't even express in words how much fun I had at the Tri Expo. From the second I arrived, I was surrounded by friends and familiar faces. I also had the chance to meet some Internet/email friends in person. I swear, my mouth was yapping the whole day. I'm surprised I was able to stay coherent for it all. Didn't get home till midnight... so late for me!

One of the coolest new friends I finally met in person is Dr. Allen Lim. He works directly with Lance Armstrong and Team RadioShack and is an world-renown exercise physiologist. He's probably the best resource I could ever imagine having as I go through my master's program and do my thesis. My friend/pro triathlete Jessi Stensland put us in touch a while back, and I'm so thankful she did... Allen is not one of those weird nerdy science dudes; he's way laid back and funny but still smart as hell, and I feel comfortable asking questions and picking his brain 24/7 even if I bug him or sound like a total exercise phys novice, ha. I'm trying to get him to take me along on Tour of California and Tour de France with Team RadioShack :)

Jessi Stensland leading a MovementU seminar; Allen Lim marching at the far right:

To top off a perfect day at the expo, we had quite a random/entertaining group of people together for dinner at Costa Bravo in PB. Tatiana, Kevin Koresky & Joe of, Jessi, Allen and some of his friends. I don't think I've ever sat at a restaurant for that many hours while having fun and eating good food (like the paella below) the whole time.

The group (ps - Allen is the guy with the giant smile haha):
I was bad again, peer pressure!:

I'm surprised I survived my Saturday long run after Friday's craziness. But 12 miles later... it didn't go as bad as I expected. I have to thank my mom for inspiring to get out there and go (she was running close behind me on our whole loop). I almost took the day off because I was so tired and was suffering in the sleep department.

I made up for all my "sinful" activity on Saturday night by cooking a healthy meal and going to bed very early.

Sunday Sara and my CSUF friend David joined me for a 3-hour ride. I had lots of hills planned, with some good ones right around mile 30... perfect training for Oceanside! I have another post planned on elevation gain stats. Some of you noticed on FB: My Garmin said we climbed 5200 feet, my iBike said 3200 feet. I do have comments/thoughts on this, but also want your opinions!

Somehow I squeaked out a 30 min/4ish-mile run after the bike. Then Sunday night, Tatiana and I met with the RAHA Cycling Team. I am so thankful to be involved with an amazing group of people who (like I said on Twitter) care about helping others/giving back on top of racing hard and having fun as a team! These "individual" sports aren't so solo after all. Check out more about the "giving back" side of RAHA here: Bahati Foundation.

Lastly: FOOD. I am a total believer that good food aids in good performance (duh, right?). I also don't mind "splurging" on certain occasions; I think it's healthy and sometimes there's no other option... except not eating. However, 95% of my life is spent eating HEALTHY. One of the biggest things I strive for is getting in a lot of fresh foods and a lot of color... like my dinner last night:
Quinoa with mixed veggies, barbecue chicken breast (with Trader Joe's BBQ sauce), steamed sugar snap peas and sauteed eggplant/bell peppers/onions. Salt on all of it (I'm a salt fiend, but I can be!). If it's not this, it's usually broccoli stir fry, fish and a sweet potato, which I had Saturday actually--all things I NEVER get sick of for dinner!