Monday, February 28, 2011

Training and a Mini Taper

This past week of training was a good one for me (see, going to Vegas really did help me come back more focused and ready to charge life). That said, my "week" didn't get started until last Tuesday because Monday I was a little under the weather/recovering/playing catchup lol. But from Tuesday until today (Monday), here are the numbers:

Swim: 6.08 miles (10,700 yd)
Bike: 155 miles
Run: 25 miles
Strength: x2

Total time: 16.4 hours

That 16.4 is just "the meat" of every workout. I also log a "total time" that includes warmups, cooldowns, "transitions" for brick workouts, stretching/foam-rolling, etc., because I like to know how much time I'm investing into training. Does anyone else do this?? Am I psycho?? This week my time came out to 18 hours.

That, given my heavy work+school load, is a pretty good week for me. In fact, one of my biggest so far this year. I'm glad to see I'm handling the added intensity well and recovering well too! Only several naps were needed.

My plan was to build on the week, and pile a lot on for a big "4-day" weekend combo. Keep in mind, I didn't actually have a four-day work-free weekend--whenever I wasn't training I was eating, sleeping, working or studying. Efficiency is the name of the game baby!

Friday night = swim about 2 miles. For me to stay in the pool for that long mostly solo is quite an accomplishment!

Saturday morning
= An intense 40-mile trainer session with lots of pain-inflicting intervals followed by an even harder & hilly 5.3-mile T-run. Our run splits were: 8:37, 7:48, 7:28, 6:56, 6:43 + 2:27. (Plus, the ol' Garmin said over 900 ft elevation gain on the run, but that seems extreme. Hm.)

Sunday morning
= Trainer session of 3 hr 10 min, increasing intensity/power each hour. Yes, I know SoCal peeps, it was nice outside Sunday, but I chose the trainer because I had to listen to a class lecture I had missed (in mp3 format--sweet!), and I really wanted to watch Avatar. I know I'd never do either otherwise, so some sort of multi-tasking activity had to be done!

= Run 10.2 miles on a moderately hilly route and swim 1,500 EZ. The run was pretty damn enjoyable and ranks up there as one of my favorites of the year so far... loved it.

Whew. Next up is some recovery and a mini taper in anticipation of a triathlon this weekend. Yup, it's time to start racing again! Excitinggggg :) Good timing on the recovery week, too, as I have several major writing deadlines this week and a trip down to San Diego on Thursday to help a friend with his new clothing company.

Hope everyone is happy with their February and ready to hit March HARD!!! :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Call for male subjects for study on green tea extract & running

My friend in grad school, Brian, is looking for male subjects who run for an interesting study he's doing, preferably guys in Southern Calif. Below are the details in his words. (And just fyi, Brian is an amazing ultra-runner and triathlete... to all you dudes: you would have a blast just hanging out with him in the lab!!)

Also, extra incentive: Any male who participates gets two FREE VO2max tests with all the data and analysis of your performance. These things cost hundreds in the real world, so this is totally worth your time in my opinion!


Hi, my name is Brian Martin. I'm a graduate student at California State University, Fullerton conducting a study to examine the effects of green tea extract on metabolism and running performance.

I am looking for male subjects with experience running two or more 10 km and/or half marathon distance races, between the age of 18-35, and currently able to run approximately two hours.

The study will require four visits. There will be one meeting to sign consent and discuss details pertaining to the study. There will also be three visits to the exercise physiology laboratory at CSUF over a six-week period. The first visit will take approximately 60 minutes and will consist of 12-25 minutes of running at increasing intensities until a maximal effort is reached. The 2nd and 3rd visits will occur approximately two and six weeks after the first, respectively, and take approximately 2 1/2 hours each.

During the 6 weeks you will be supplementing for two weeks at a time: once with a placebo and once with green tea extract, separated by two weeks of no supplementation.

You are asked not to be in a period of significant volume/intensity increase or decrease during the 6 weeks.

There is no monetary compensation for participating; however, you will learn a great deal about your fitness and training intensities that would cost a few hundred dollars to have done privately (i.e. VO2max tests, etc). The CSUF Institutional Review Board has approved this study.

Thank you for your time. Please let me know if you are interested or would like more information and feel free to forward this message to any runners you know that may be interested.


Leave a comment on this blog if you're interested with your contact info, and I'll give it to Brian.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegas... It hurt, but was worth it

Thanks for all the comments on my compression post. I will keep you guys updated with that!!!

In the meantime, I probably owe ya a little recap of our recent Vegas trip. So here's how three tri chicks roll Sin City...

Had I known I'd screw myself over and lose several days of quality training due to this trip...well... hell yea I'd do it again! Balance, right?! But, that said, I won't be doing that again for a long loooooooong time. Vegas is a harsh place. A once-a-year trip is all I need, if that. The smell of cigarettes alone is enough to keep me away--yuck!

Thankfully I was traveling with like-minded girls, Tatiana and Sara, so we all experienced a major 180-degree lifestyle change in a matter of 48 hours.

So, after an awesomely painful & good two-hour trainer session on Friday morning, we all met up and headed out. It was a fun drive... oh you wish you were a fly on the wall in our car ;) Got there just in time to hit the town...This picture is causing a stir in Tatiana's world apparently lol

Friday night we were at The Wynn and Encore the whole night. Had a way-too-expensive gourmet dinner, but well worth the splurge. Then thanks to Sara's hookups, we got into a Vegas show, La Reve, which is like Cirque but all in and over a pool of water. It's pretty epic what those people are physically capable of doing. I'd probably never pay to see a Vegas show, so I'm glad I got this opportunity. We even got a backstage tour with some of the stars (Sara's friends).

Before La ReveAfter, backstage with the crazy gymnast girls, wow!

After La Reve, we hit up a club, Surrender. Apparently Lance Armstrong had been there a couple nights prior. Too bad we missed him; instead we got the lame crowd, so we bounced pretty early--in Vegas terms--and headed to bed.

Saturday day was awesome. Tati, like a crazy freakin psycho, tried to go swimming pre-dawn while we were still sleeping! Wtf? Well, good think Vegas doesn't wake up that early so she had to wait. After Sara and I were up, I rallied the troops for a morning "urban run" along The Strip. It was nothing major mileage-wise but a total blast and included some stair sprints, people-dodging and, of course, sight-seeing and picture-taking!we discussed the potential of swimming in there lol....

After a mellow refueling break back in the hotel, we then headed to a pretty legit lap pool nearby. I was not expecting much from myself, but the swim went better than expected. Still, I cannot hang with Tati and Sara, those girls are speeeeedy! All in all about two hrs of training for the day; why we did that? I have no idea lol.

After the swim... hungry and over working out for the day.

Finally it was time to get ready for Saturday night..."the big night" for us that included The Black Keys live at The Cosmopolitan. We started with some quality recovery nutrition: red wine, Pop Chips, cheese, turkey, Pirate's Booty and Bacardi+Diet Cokes. Mmm Mmmmm.

The classic "getting ready in the hotel room pics." (I brought way too many clothes, yet I ended up wearing Tatiana's dress. Go figure)
After another nice dinner at Olives, which was amazing and very gluten-filled, we hung at The Cosmo--the place is super fancy shmancy. Somehow some Jameson made its way to us. Oh god, what was I thinking?! I'm a sucker for whiskey. But oh well, I was pumped for the concert and taking advantage of this rare occurrence of late-night social fun.

We met some interesting folks

Then the concert. I'm a huuuuge Black Keys fan so all I can say is: EPIC. I loved every second of it. During their set I was pretty much in my own world dancing and head-banging away (yes, I head bang at concerts!!!).... but oh man I was so dang sore the next day from that (or maybe that's because the dancing started at 10 p.m. and didn't end until an ungodly hour. Ouch).
Timex watches... don't leave home without them....
After the show, The Cosmo was a blur of people having fun. It was fun. At some point we made it into a club, but it was a little too much for me and not my scene (actually no club will EVER be my scene, but this one in particular was just over the top and annoying). Tatiana agreed and we were ready to go, but somehow we got separated, and then I ran into some friends and we went to a more mellow place and danced and danced.... a late night, considering the concert had ended around midnight.

I guess you can say I got a pretty darn good workout with all the dancing. Can I log that? lol

I was able to get some sleep but still woke up too dang early on Sunday. Thankfully the girls did too. We hit the road early. There were lots of good laughs recapping the night, but also lots of moans--our bodies were in shock from all this "foreign" activity. I was home in time for a couple quality recovery meals, then a lovely bedtime of 8:30 p.m.

All in all: Vegas was fun, but not for me. I like my triathlon lifestyle, grandma-ish tendencies and uber-healthy habits. Even so, it was good to get away because I came home focused and extra excited to work, train and do what I do!

Question for you guys: Do you ever majorly stray from your training and regular busy lifestyle for a night or weekend of craziness? If so, tell me about it!! Most of all, don't feel bad about those little "let-loose" sessions--own 'em! It's balance.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let's Talk Compression -- Holla at me!

Wow, well I have a fun little story to tell about last weekend (good times!), but that's going to have to wait, as there's real business to take care of first!

I need help from you guys....

I'm looking to talk with two age-group triathletes (of any skill level up to elite) about compression garments; two people with very different opinions....

Person #1: You wear compression religiously and believe it helps with recovery, endurance performance, etc. You love it, you wear it out in public even because you just don't care how silly you may look, and you think it's key to success on many levels.

Person #2: You hate compression and think it's a total gimmick, a waste of money, and you would never wear it; you think your regular socks are just as tight and you make fun of compression-wearing folks.

Are you Person #1 or Person #2? Tell me! I only need two people, so you have to be "extreme" for whatever side you're on. Please email me or leave a comment and we'll talk. I promise you this will be fun and worth your time :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Loco Logic

Question: If I wear compression while drinking a glass of wine, will I break even in terms of recovery from training?

In other words... Compression/enhance recovery + alcohol/delay recovery = 0, neutral, null, no effect.

That's some genius logic right there! New plan, starting now :)

After the half-mary, my legs and body recovered surprisingly fast and well. I allowed my Sunday long ride to be more mellow, but as of Monday it was back to business. This week and next are two pretty big weeks, then *gasp* a little recovery/taper for the Desert Triathlon. Holy moly, that's coming fast! Exciting!

Today's workout was a doozy. Again on the topic of (crazy) logic, today I threw out any exercise science logic in terms of combining strength training and endurance exercise and which should you do first, why, what's better, separate them, blah blah. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.

I set up my trainer at my gym so that I'd have entertainment. The guys at the gym make me laugh nonstop, so this was a wise idea; time never flew by so fast! I knew what I wanted to do on the trainer, but my overall workout became super random.... from bike to battleropes... (read on for full description)....

-45 min trainer with high cadence/speed intervals

-1 mile run

-20 min strength: few dynamic moves, then 4 rounds: 1 min battlerope, 10 overhead squats with full-body band, 20 renegade rows (10 ea side), 10 wall balls, 15 sprawl balls.

-45 min trainer with 3 x 8 min big gear/power intervals with rpms in 60s on 2 min recovery

-1 mile run

Done & stretch....

Ugh. Compression is ON because it's just going to get harder from. As for the wine.... :)

A Mini Vacation? Is it True?

I'm sneakin away! Going to Vegassss with the girls, Tatiana and Sara! Yes, we know how to have fun together... here's us last December-ish:
It will be an interesting trip because as you probably know the three of us are all into some heavy training right now and aren't known to be late-night party animals (that's only for the Kona After Party, right? lol). So we're just going to see what happens. A little training, R&R, partying, gourmet food, and the highlight: seeing The Black Keys live in concert :)

Fun times ahead... I will try to document with pics as best I can!

That said, I'm not going to lie, I feel super super guilty sneaking away on vacation with the pile of work--school, regular work and training "work"--I have! Deadlines galore, studying, etc, etc, etc. Oh well. The Vegas trip is short, Friday to Sunday, and we all need it. But after, I can pretty much expect my life to be straight up ridiculous until May when/if I graduate.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Half-Mary Race Report!

Just writing "race report" in a blog title makes me smile. The last time I raced was June 2010; but it's been since last May since I actually raced from start to finish. (I made June's Boise 70.3 an aquabike due to the injury.)

So Saturday was a big day for me in many ways. I got back to the race thaaang and did a local half-marathon with my athletes Marta and Evan. The course is in Lake Forest where part of the OC Tri bike and run go, as well as the Santiago Cycling TT--on the bike path heading out to Santiago Canyon, for those of you familiar.

If you look real hard in this pic, you can see a black dot, aka me, coming from the distance :)It's a gradual uphill that has some teeth, so to speak, but on the flip side it's an out-and-back multiple-loop course so there were lovely downhill sections--major relief after the 3-mile ups! The course elevation profile made for some psychotic splits--my miles varied a 6:35 to 8:07.

The best news to report is that all three of us PR'd! Not only that, but Marta got 1st overall, I was 2nd overall (of male and females). You're probably thinking, "whaaat?!" That said, in terms of placing, it's really not thaaat big of a deal... this was a very small low-key race, I'm talking 25 people only. So 1st/2nd is cool, but, well... you get the idea....

Here's us post-race with the RD, Charlie (red hat) and Ed, who plans to run 111 marathons this year (he did two marathons at this race!).

Time-wise, I ran a 1:36:38, average pace of 7:22. That was a pleasant surprise for me, as I was expecting to be slower on this course and with my current fitness. It was good to see I've made progress since recovering from the injury, and also good to see a faster time than my last and only other open half-mary January 2010 in Carlsbad, where I ran 1:37:5x. So PR! I'll take it. Not to mention, I've had a nasty little cold all week, which took a toll whether I like to admit it or not, but it was all about HTFU on race day. No complaints. Being sick just means I also won for: "most snot rockets of the day" and "the best snotty attire" lol. It got messy... oops...

So race itself...

The half and full marathons started super early at 6:30 a.m. Brrrr (for socal anyways). One guy was doing his 777th marathon, plus Ed and his 111 goal. What a crowd! I love love loved it. The race itself had that ultra-marathon sort of vibe; everyone was friendly and just out there to enjoy and be social, not smash world records lol. There was only one aid station with lots of regular food, water and juice (i.e. not the "latest" scientifically-proven sports nutrition fare haha). Charlie, the RD, puts on an average of 1-2 running races per weekend every weekend of the year, everything from 5ks to 100-milers. Wow! Here's the link to the race series. Try one out, they're fun!

Anyways, we got started to Charlie simply saying, "readyyyy and go." Marta and I immediately took the lead and were running together pretty far ahead of everyone else. That felt weird to be in front. But it's not like this race had motos following the leaders lol... in fact, no one was even at the turnarounds--it was on your own good will to be honest! But who cheats? Honestly?!

Marta and I ran side by side for the first 6+ miles. It was a three loop course; two big loops, one smaller loop. I later saw a Tweet from a fellow runner who said: "@KnightsEdgeENGR 10th 2:29:23..... (but I was more impressed by the two women flying by under 1:40:XX...) U could feel their sonic booms"

Ha! how nice!

During the second loop on the 3-mile trek uphill, M started pulling away and I wasn't about to respond. I was already running that uphill faster than I ever had in my life; even faster than the first loop. I was fine with my pace. And that's pretty much how it went for the rest of the race.... just watching Marta right ahead of me. No doubt, that made me smile, cheer loudly and made me work!

Action shots:

The only hiccup for me was during miles 8-10. I started getting a nasty pain on my R medial knee. It bad enough where I stopped during mile 9 and allowed myself to walk for a minute to "shake it off," do some dynamic moves. That helped a little, but I swear I debated whether it was worth it to run the next 4+ miles... I guess I'm just hypersensitive about every "odd" feeling and anything injury-ish. But I started running again and the pain subsided. Two days later, the pain is gone, but I will keep and eye out and "respect it."

Oh yea, the only other hiccup, surprisingly, were my Yurbuds. I got them in my media bag at Kona, and so far they've been just fine, but in the half-mary they kept falling out of my ear. Hm, interesting considering their tagline is "they won't fall out." Whatever, I just ran with them flailing about around my neck haha. Missed my Girl Talk and The Black Keys mix :(

Marta then me finishing 1st and 2nd:
All hugs and love...perfect start to 2011!
Of course, the typical, "let's talk splits and time!" Number nerd coach!

The highlights.....

The biggest best part of the race: My DAD, mom and Sydney were all waiting at the finish. Yup, my dad got released from the hospital Friday night and made it out to watch me run. Having him there was more special than I can describe. He's doing great and will even be able to start light exercise soon!

On top of my my dad, I was thrilled....

1) witnessing Marta kick butt and PR her half-mary time by more than 4 minutes! Guess I'm doing my job well with her :)

2) watching Evan do great; 9th place! He had a little pre-race incident, so I was even happier that he handled the run fine. On Friday, the day before, he was doing an short EZ run in Huntington Beach at 11:30 a.m. on the boardwalk and some drunk D-bag was riding a beach cruiser and totally took him out--literally ran into him and knocked him off his feet. Cuts, bruises and pain ensued, but Evan handled the situation well. I mean, c'mon now, who's drunk at 11:30 am.?!?! Geez. So Evan raced with battle wounds:

3) finishing myself and PR'ing. Heck, finishing a race always feels so dang good. Especially after such a long hiatus.

The very formal awards ceremony, love it lol

Thanks GU for fueling me just perfectly!!
I ended the day with a ride over to the pool for a swim (I took the long way lol)... I couldn't help it; the weather was perfect--sunny and in the 80s! But don't be too jealous, they say rain is on its way blah. At the pool, some swimmers called me out for being a triathlete, lol....

Other than that the rest of the weekend was low-key and all about kicking this cold. Unfortunately my grandma-ass missed out on two invites to be social on Friday night and Saturday night, but I redeemed myself Sunday night and made it out to celebrate my friend Nick's birthday at one of my favorite restaurants, Eva's Caribbean Kitchen in Laguna Beach. I've known Eva for years and she goes to my gym. I love her to death--she's the nicest woman on the planet and cooks up some amazing food. You'll be blown away by her hospitality as a restaurant-owner. Here's a little taste of the dessert...

Monday, February 7, 2011

My favorite gig

It's no secret I have a million jobs/things going on. Well, I came to a realization this weekend. I truly think my favorite gig is coaching. Maybe it's because I've been blessed with some really cool athletes whom I enjoy immensely; maybe it's because I like pushing people to get better at sport and then seeing happy faces/emails when good things happen; maybe it's the challenges of working through rough patches and handling the curveballs with them.

Whatever the reason, coaching is just plain awesome and more satisfying to me than I ever expected. I think part of that is because I only take on a handful of athletes in order to give them each the attention they deserve. Unlimited communication and developing a real relationship are key in my opinion. I won't--I can't--be the coach that runs a mass-consumer biz; you'll never see a one-size-fits-all plan from me.

Being a triathlete myself helps a ton; at least a couple times a week I train with my local athletes. It doesn't matter if we're at different fitness levels, we can still be out there together for moral support! Plus, it gives me the time to analyze them a bit and make mental notes of how they're doing. (Of course, I do offer the option of doing SBR analysis with video, in which I don't workout alongside but rather direct/watch/critique.)

We even race together... here's Marta and I at a Bonelli race last year... we both podiumed I believe :)

Lately we're doing the cold-ass lake swims about 1-2x a week, and it's pretty funny to watch us wimper as we get in the freezing water, get going and then start loving it. I'm seeing my athletes toughen up and improve (actually, I'm seeing the same in myself too lol). Pretty cool to share that together, as I know none of us would probably be doing the lake swims alone.

This swim wins for the craziest... extra cold and raining the whole time....A little delusional after too much brain freeze...

This past weekend was pretty cool too on the coaching, racing and training fronts. Saturday I did a run with one of my athletes on the half-mary course where we're racing next weekend. I've seen this guy go from essentially a non-runner to 13.1-ready in record time--so proud! Anyways, we did two out-and-back loops, and besides warmup/cooldown we never ran side by side, but you can bet there were plenty of high-fives every time we passed. Meanwhile, while I was running, one of my other athletes went flying by on her bike. I was so stoked! (Btw, this half-mary is going to be HARD! Super hilly, like mountain-y hills. With that, I'll be happy with an average pace around the 7:40s overall--slower uphills then speedy downhills.)

Anyways, Sunday I made my way up to HB to watch the Surf City Marathon/Half, tying it in with my Sunday long ride. I knew a bunch of people doing it, including one of my athletes, Ray, whom I've never witnessed doing a running race. When I finally caught sight of him (maybe at mile 9ish?) he looked so dang good--great form, solid pace, etc. I couldn't have been happier. He had a great run, negative splitting it all, and it was so satisfying for me to catch it live instead of the usual post-race phone call.

Foggy morning on the coast, perfect weather for a long run...Ray and I celebrating a great start to his season (Ray's making his half-Ironman debut this year, as is another)....
Evan (the other soon-to-be half-Ironman racer) and I gearing up for a ride... Notice, I gotta have my gum and my ZOOT Active Compression!!
After Surf City, Evan joined me for a portion of my last long bike before the kick off of a much-earned recovery week (perfect timing with Super Bowl Sunday). From the get-go on the ride, my legs were fried, and even all the GU in the world couldn't save me. (That reminds me--tried the new GU Peach Tea Chomps, the bomb! I don't always like a lot of intense flavor, so these are perfect!!! ) Many hours later--temps had gone from low 50s to high 70s in the time I was out riding--I had managed to get in the miles. There's no doubt that being a coach and being involved with my athletes motivates me with my own training.

Anyways, all that said, I'm thinking about taking on more coaching clients... asap.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Smoothie Part II

had a busy Thursday morning on tap complete with lots of training so of course I had to make my Oatmeal Smoothie again--with pics! See James, It did happen...twice now ;) The only difference this time--I used pureed pumpkin instead of kobacha squash because I devoured the rest of my kobacha :)


Throw it all in the Vitamix:

I also input the ingredients on a "recipe nutrition" website and crunched some numbers myself, and a rough estimate of this smoothie breaks down as:

575 calories...

80 g carbs

35 g protein

20 g fat

It's got quite a bit of fiber (the chia especially, as well as oats, fruit, squash), maybe around 20 g? Beware if your tummy is sensitive to that, especially when working out. I can handle this fine apparently, even when doing high-intensity work like Tabata running intervals! (Still, I probably wouldn't have this pre-race). The fat content is pretty spectacular, too, thanks to the chia seeds, which are packed with ~5g Omega-3 fatty acids, better than flax seed! Protein-wise, with the whey and chia you're getting a complete protein with all essential amino acids, including BCAAs, glutamine, etc. The carb profile pretty much has it all covered too. The chia also helps to slow digestion and makes sure carbs don't become instant sugar.

The smoothie is mega: All those ingredients fit into the glass pictured above, a large coffee mug (portable and stays cold!) and this big ol' cup:

Btw, when I have time for a leisurely brekkie at home, here's what my normal bowl of "pumpkin oatmeal" looks like:
Serve that up with a hearty side of scrambled eggs with green onions or some veggie, a cup of coffee with coconut creamer/stevia.... and usually a couple spoonfuls of almond butter too :) Heaven!