Friday, April 29, 2011

Carrot Cake Smoothie

While I'm on the topic... another quick, easy and tasty recipe. This week I was unable to chew for a couple days, even soft stuff (ugh!), but I had a craving for carrot cake. What to do? Just throw "carrot cake stuff" in the Vitamix! I thought this idea would be rather unique, but after an internet search, turns out I'm not so original and there are recipes floating all over, healthy ones at that... I think it's even getting more attention lately. I took what I found online and whipped up something delicious! I was pleasantly surprised with its true carrot-cakey flavor, but, I'll tell ya, I still have a craving for the real thing, so thank goodness I can nearly chew normally again! Anyways, here it is:

1 banana (frozen or fresh is ok)
1 cup milk of choice (I used full-fat coconut milk, creamier!)
1 cup fresh carrots (I used baby carrots, all we had)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg (or more if you love it)
dash salt (brings out sweetness)
1/2 to 1 cup of ice
optional: handful of walnuts or nuts of choice
optional: packet of stevia (banana and vanilla give good sweetness, so this all depends on your sweet tooth level, I did add one packet hehe)

Throw all that into the blender and enjoy!
In my second carrot cake smoothie of the week, I tried adding the walnuts and it definitely enhanced the overall taste! A must in my opinion :)

Just that bit of ingredients makes quite a bit, savor it!

So refreshing.... So, yea, good smoothie, but sort of a tease. Like I said, I'm ready for the real thing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


That's always a popular blog title :) I've made a couple recipes lately that are yum yum so have to share. A good contrast of sweet and savory.

#1: Whole Foods' Flourless Brownies
The kicker with these: the main ingredient is black beans! But don't let that fool you. These brownies are sweet, moist and as delectable as can be! You'd never know there was a bean involved. I swear. I'll admit, I was sketchy about them, but I trust WFs (and Maggs) so I went for it. Have yet to find someone who didn't like 'em.

You can find the recipe here. The only modification I did was add some blueberries to the mix, per Maggs' recommendation. I also may have added slightly more chocolate chips ;)


#2: Gluten-Free Flatbread
I have amaranth flour from some muffins I made, and wanted to find a new (savory) recipe for that flour. Did a little online searing and found several recipes that led me to concoct this flatbread, which will seriously now be a new staple in mi casa. I love the savory cracker flavor and texture. Plus, the middle sections stay a bit more moist if you make it thick enough, and that's just as yummy as the crispy parts. Great as a snack, a side dish or for your favorite dip or spread (like hummus!) Recipe after pics...

Went sans motorized kitchen appliances here and stirred the old-fashioned way.

Peek of the goods on the cookie sheet (this recipe is enough to fill one large cookie sheet, but I'd recommend splitting it onto 2 sheets if you want it more crispy overall). Finished product, which lasted less than 24 hours in my house (hmm... made this pre-wisdom tooth surgery so I had to get all my crispy-food eating out of the way because now I'm on the mushy diet haha)

Flatbread Recipe:
1 1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
2 T. EVOO (I used Annie's garlic-infused olive oil)
1 T. Avocado Oil
1 egg (yolk and all)
1 1/2 tsp dill
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
sesame seeds (didn't measure, just added haha)
1/2 cup room-temp water (a bit more may be needed when forming bread)

Preheat oven to 350 and get out a big cookie sheet or two, and cover with olive oil or avocado oil. Throw all ingredients in a large bowl and combine well (by hand or food processor). Get your hands moist with water and start forming a flat layer of the dough on the cookie sheet(s). It will be sticky, so dip hands in water during this process to prevent half the dough from remaining on your hands. Bake for 30-40 min depending on thickness and size, and your desired "crispy" level. (It took me about 35 min for the whole batch laid out as one flatbread; next time I might separate the dough onto two cookie sheets).

I've now been on the mushy food plan for the past couple days, and I'll I want to do is bite into something crunchy and crispy lol. Oh well. Thanks to the Vitamix, I can still eat pretty much whatever I want! I've been averaging about 5x a day with that thing. Probably the best new drink/dessert I've made is a carrot cake smoothie. Heaven in your mouth. Details to come on that one :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gettin 'er done

Just a warning -- there's a gross pic at the end of this post ;)

These past two weeks marked weeks 19 and 18 until IMC, so ideally that should be somewhere in the middle of IM base training. It gets a little complicated being that I'm still trying to train for 70.3 intensity/speed (Rev3 Portland, woot woot!), but it's all good. The priority is now IMC so whatever comes of that will be what it will be. That said, it's been back-to-back big weeks of training, at least in my world. I know for many of you big volume is totally the norm, but for me it's new territory, and.... yea, I'm tired alright, but I'm having a blast with new experiences.

Honestly, I have no idea how I'll be with this Ironman stuff, let alone on race day. That doesn't scare me. The unknown is simply a motivator for me to see what's up in this body of mine. I've had highs and lows in this sport already, and I know if I want to survive this next round of IM training, I got to have the right state of mind and make sure I never lose sight that it's all for fun. Push hard and don't be a wimp and realize sacrifices will have to be made, but don't inflict unnecessary pressure and don't be a headcase d-bag about it. Enjoy the journey.

Part of that journey includes sucking it up and dealing with whatever harsh realities Mother Nature throws at ya on a bike ride or whatever. This is where some of the real tests surface. Do you really have to give up and go home or can you tough it out? I got a good taste of that this past Sunday, especially seeing how my riding partner was one tough cookie despite the situation. I'm talking about ER, who joined me on my second 5-hour ride to date.

Our ride--throughout Orange County from the mountains by my house (Santiago) down to Laguna Beach, up to Newport, through Irvine and back to the mountains--was pretty cool, for a couple reasons. First, it was nearly non-stop talk the whole time. Funny because up until now ER's just been a blog friend, and this was our first time hanging out in person.* Needless to say, we had A LOT to catch up on in the life department :) Second, the weather decided to be less than desirable, mostly during the second half.... drizzle, then real rain, more rain, some wind and a little on the chilly side. I was overdressed anyways so I wasn't suffering too badly, but ER was only in a short-sleeve jersey and shorts. She wasn't acting miserable, but I still made the offer to cut the ride short if she was too cold or miserable. She refused to stop early. Badass. At one point toward the end, I couldn't help but laugh because the rain was really coming down and I couldn't even see out of my sunglasses plus it was slippery as hell. By the end, we were like two drown rats--covered in dirt, grit and soaked to the bone. It was the best feeling ever. Looking back, I think the weather took more out of me than I realized... I was wiped from that ride! I failed at pic-taking for the day, except for this glimpse at the dirty damage:

*It's crazy how the triathlon blog world can connect people and form true friendships, and for the most part, if you're smart about it, it's not sketchy at all. At least in my opinion. With the Internet being a sketchy thing, I don't think a lot of people outside our world understand this concept of how meeting people off the Internet can possibly be safe. But in our defense, it'd be pretty hard to "fake" being a triathlete with a "fake" blog going on, ya know?

Anyways, as anticipated I'm now in my rest and recovery week. I have a couple new friends who came out and decided to join me. (Yes, I know this picture is absolutely repulsive, so sorry if I just made you throw up in your mouth heehehee. Those things are seriously just wrong. Freakishy deformed and scary.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

An edge-of-your-seat riveting tale of an SBR weekend

OK, I'm being totally sarcastic with that post title ;) But, oh snap! Two blogs in one day!? Some kinda record over here. This one's a follow up on a couple posts back where I mentioned my first real Ironman-specific training weekend. Well, it happened, and it rocked, all 8+ hours of it!!! Maybe you will find it to be a riveting tell, who knows...

Saturday totals:
Swim 3400, about 70 min in the pool total
Run 14 miles, 1:56, 8:17 average pace

Got started in the morning for the swim/run brick. I did the swim first and had one heck of a 1800 main set with barely any rest. The swim went well and I surprised myself after having felt pretty crappy the day before (it ended up being an off day minus a beach cruiser session with my dog).

Right after swimming, I quickly changed and headed out for a 2-hour run; only my second 2-hr run of the year. Oh, side note: by "starting in the morning" I mean I got my ass in the pool at 9:30 a.m., which means the run started just after 10:30 a.m., which means I was running in a major heat wave! ouch! It was about 90 degrees, and I was running on unshaded black asphalt, so it was H.O.T. I drank about 3 bottles during and even succumbed to wearing a fuel belt sorta thing (I'm not a big fan of those in most cases) to ensure decent hydration. The run route I planned was bo-ring, but it allowed me to make a pitstop for a water refill at my pool. I also had no music, so it was a lot of random thoughts... like, "there is that same dog poop again" or "how come there are no hot guys running on this trail?"

My goal for the run was to keep it LSD/Z2 (low HR) and a consistent pace of ~8:15 miles give or take 20 seconds... No need to burn myself with higher intensities on my first-ever 8-hr weekend. I ended up negative-splitting, which is always a good thing. I think it was because I was ready to get out of the heat and go home to make a mega Vitamix smoothie. Wish granted: 1:56 later, 14 miles in the bank... 30 miles for the week. Post-run treat: Some sort of sweet potato/vanilla whey ice cream-ish smoothie I threw together. It was like heaven in my mouth.

Speaking of good eats, I was really happy with how great I felt Saturday, and I attribute it to dining at my favorite restaurant the night before, True Foods Kitchen. I documented a taste of some of the fare (starting with my favorite dish there, the flourless chocolate cake. If you've seen a similar picture from me that's because I get that dessert every time, lol): Salmon with quinoa, beet and salad Pasta dish Beef tacos And of course some red

On to Sunday... I went to bed excited for the bike, and I woke up excited. I even got started on time!

Sunday totals:
86.2 miles, 4:57ish, ~17.4 mph avg (Time spent on road: 5:25, i.e. minimal stops, the way I like to ride!)

My first hour included a lot of local hills near Saddleback Mountain. I stuck close to my area, as I was meeting a friend nearby at 9 a.m. (an hour into my adventure). The first hour went by in a flash, although it was a little daunting to say, "I still have 4 more." Still, I was mentally ready for it.

Hours 2 & 3 were probably the easiest of all because I had a partner to yap with (girl talk, tri talk -- the usual), and the route was pretty much all flat. We rode to Laguna Beach then up PCH to Newport than back into Irvine. We separated there, and at that point I had no plan as to where to go. I kinda had to pee and could use a bottle refill, so I decided to go "the long way" and head back to my gym in Laguna Beach. The winds had picked up by then and were blowing onshore, thus I was riding into them heading west. I just kept saying, "tailwind on the way back and nice scenery in the meantime!"

At the gym I was, as usual, greeted with a warm welcome despite being crusty in sweat, salt and street grit and looking like hell (they expect that from me). I did my thing and was off a few minutes later to enjoy the tailwind on the 133 (Laguna Canyon Road), one of my favorite stretches of road to ride on in OC. At that point I think I was 4 hours in. I felt really good and still pumped EXCEPT for any time I hit a headwind. No doubt the winds were getting worse, and that was harder to endure than any hill in my opinion. I hate going 13-14 mph on a flat section and pushing well over 200 watts.

The last hour was similar to my first, meaning back on the local hills. Surprisingly (and a good thing) my highest average power was in the last hour of riding. Sweet! My goal was to not hammer the ride from the get-go being that it was my first-ever 5-hour ride, and I wanted to hold a consistent pace and/or go harder as the ride went on. I achieved that.

All in all: call it 86 miles in 5 hours, which I'm pleased with given the LSD effort I put forth. Plus, I know I'd be faster if I took away all the pointless slow downs/stops for traffic lights, etc. But alas that's inevitable in OC if I choose to leave from my doorstep.

Speaking of that, I find it funny that I know the streets and area so well in OC that I can perfectly plan a 5-hour ride that starts and ends at my doorstep without even mapping it out. I had estimated I'd cover 80-85 miles, so I was pretty spot-on with that too. My dad particularly impressed with how well I know the distances of streets and things around home haha.

Next up? I've been pretty busy and a little more fatigued this week, so hopefully I haven't dug myself too deep with the training I've done (it's been conservative, trust me) because I'm VERY excited for another big weekend similar to this past one with a special guest on Sunday's ride (yay)!

Then major recovery, actually forced recovery. I get my wisdom teeth out on Tuesday so I'll be down for a few days. In fact, this is my second set of wisdom teeth being removed! Yes folks, I'm a freak of nature and had more wisdom teeth grow back after getting all four removed 10 years ago. Stupid body ;) At least they're baby ones:

Ask Tawnee: Best Time to Workout?

I had a question from Benson a while back that caught my interest. I haven't done much actual research on the topic and what I knew was just from anecdotal evidence. So I looked into the issue a little deeper.

The question deals with workout timing. Specifically, when is the best time to train (for endurance sport/triathlon)? In Benson's case, as with many full-time employees or people with jobs, school, etc, it's either train early morning right out of bed before breakfast OR late afternoon/evening after work. It's a very interesting topic that could affect performance on race day, or could even affect your susceptibility to injury.... let's look at the deets...

Here are the pros and cons to each (AM = hop out of bed and go, usually without food; PM = after work, late afternoon/evening):

1. This is close to the time you'll be racing (if we're talking triathlon and most endurance events), so your body will be familiar with exercise at the right time of day for the race and your circadian rhythm will adapt to this as well.

2. You become a better fat burner/more efficient with fuel utilization. You're exercising in a fasted state assuming your last meal was dinner or a snack the night prior, so this teaches your body to become more efficient with burning fat as fuel. Great if your goal includes weight loss too.

3. Gets your body revved up for the day. You increase your metabolic rate and will continue burning more calories as compared to no morning workout. You might even be more productive during the day's work!

4. You get it done and taken care of, so you don't have to worry about work or life issues interfering later on, i.e. those things that could end up canceling the training session altogether.
1. Your BBT (basal body temp) is lower when you first wake up, meaning your body is cold, stiff and lacking ideal mobility/flexibility. That makes it essential to get in a long, quality warmup to get the body temp up and muscles warm and lose. Failure to do so can make your more susteptible to tweaking, pulling or injuring something, or just have crappy form/technique. No bueno.

2. If you train pre-breakfast you're exercising in a fasted state and therefore might not be able to reach higher intensities or last as long, i.e. quality of workout suffers. If you incorporating nutrition during (gels, etc) that may help, but even then you don't have that "base meal" of 500+ breakfast calories to keep you going.

3. Nutrient timing post-exercise is extra vital. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you do have to be more careful to ensure that you get in adequate calories RIGHT AFTER you finish the workout to start the recovery process and prevent your body from going into a catabolic state.

4. Rising and working out so early may cause that major afternoon slump and/or state of hunger in which you need a nap or start binging on snacks, especially if you're post-workout meal wasn't adequate. Be careful of this! And don't grab for that 5-Hour Energy bottle ;)

1. Body temp (BBT) is up by 1-2 degrees (it peaks in the afternoon 2-5 p.m.ish) so you're warmer and muscles, connective tissues are in a good state for working out. Thus, you may perform better and be at lower risk of injury (as opposed to working out "cold" in the AM). Plus, you've likely eaten a couple meals so you'll have good energy and glycogen availability for increased endurance and less bonking potential/running on empty.

1a. Muscle strength and endurance may be at its peak so you kick ass.
1b. Warming up is still important but not as crucial as it is first thing out of bed.

2. Afternoon workouts can improve sleep -- fall asleep faster + better quality sleep -- as long as it's not too close to bedtime, which can leave you feeling too pumped up and unable to get to sleep.

3. If you're free from work and the day's obligations, you might have more time than in the AM so you can get in a well-rounded workout. Thus, there's a good chance you'll get a better quality workout than doing a rushed AM session. Quality rules all!

1. This is not the time of day when you'll be racing (generally), and if you only train in the later hours, doing an AM race may shock your system and negatively affect race performance. (Specificity is key!)

2. GI issues? Some people don't do as well training after eating meals and snacks throughout the day. Most commonly this is seen in running. (I've suffered from this on occasion.)

3. More likely to ditch it? Motivation levels may be lower because you're tired from a long day at work or whatever, and all you want to do is rest/eat/watch the game/have a beer or you're still busy with other stuff so a) you speed through the workout and it's not as quality or b) you hurt yourself for being careless/rushing or c) you might end up skipping the workout all together.

I know this is shocking, but the real answer: It comes down to personal preference. There's no overwhelming scientific data to prove one time is better than the other, except to say the science tells us it's highly individual: Certain people do better at certain times of day based on their circadian rhythms/biorhythms. The best time of day for you also depends on your goals: weight loss, just fitting it a workout at all, consistency, time/duration/intensity of the session, race specificity, etc.

I recommend four things:

1) Experiment with timing. Try the AM thing at varying intensities, and then do the same with PM. See what happens both physically and mentally, compare performances, etc.

2) Based off #1, generally do your KEY workouts at the time during which your body feels most "on" and peppy, and when motivation is the highest! If you have to train 2x a day, do your secondary workout during your "off/blah" time.

3) No matter your best time, schedule some morning workouts around the time your race will be starting so you're not totally shocked on race day. This can include the whole production of a super-early pre-workout breakfast at least 1-2 hrs prior to exercise to ensure that all goes well GI-wise, etc.

4) Another alternative: Do lunchtime workouts!!! I am a huge fan of lunchtime training (before you eat lunch that is). You're likely to have good energy from brekkie/mid-morning snack, you haven't hit the mid-afternoon slump, and you're probably on a time limit so you'll go hard to get in the most bang for your buck. The reward: a big lunch right after and extra energy for the rest of the day!

As for me...
Personally, I truly enjoy the occasional first-thing-in-the-morning workout where I hop out of bed and go. It's really a great way to start the day. But I can usually only last for an hour in that unfed state, and though I can attempt high-intensity stuff, it's not as good as when I'm fueled from a meal.

My ideal/typical workout situation: Mid-morning training. I get up at 6 a.m. and start working, eat a big breakfast at 6:30-7 a.m. and let that settle while working more, then I get going around 9-10 a.m. before lunchtime. Usually have some gel/nutrition during depending on workout length/intensity. Thankfully, with my job(s), I have the luxury of starting training mid-morning on most days so I don't have to eat brekkie at ungodly hours:)

I do evening workouts, too, especially since two-a-days are common. I can get evening sessions done in decent fashion and feel good, but generally as the hours in the day go on, my motivation levels tend to drop, especially if I've already done a morning workout. Overall, I don't really prefer PM workouts and truthfully getting started at 4-7 p.m. is hard for me, so I usually make those workouts my "secondary" workouts.

All that said, I do my best to get in the training that needs to get in, no matter what time of day.

*Last note: I'm going to continue looking for scientific studies on this subject and see if I discover anything more worth sharing.

So what works best for you as far as training and time of day? Any thoughts and insights on your ideal time of day to workout? Is it dictated by your other life duties or do you call the shots?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Turn up the Heat... and the Coconut?

I have three blog posts in the works, but alas real life has taken over since Oceanside and I haven't had much time to put into blogs that require thinking and effort, nor will I in the near future probably. Devastating, I know ;) But good news for the contest winners... I was able to track down Nick this week and I got the Ignis goods, so shipments go out tomorrow!

Anyways, how about a quick & easy blog.

It's gearing up to be a HOT & SUNNY weekend here in Southern California. Temps near the 90s! Yowza! I've chosen to put in some quality Ironman training starting bright and early vs. doing two little races mostly because I shouldn't be dropping $200+ on C-level races that will take a combined total time of under two hours. I'm on a budget, and some of these race-entry fees are ridiculous if you ask me! Thus, IM training it is, and there are several essentials to make sure I execute things well:

GU + GU Electrolyte Tabs
Eating GU gels and chomps is a given, but the GU Electrolyte Tabs are now necessary during exercise, especially because I sweat A LOT! To be honest, I don't care for most sports drinks out there not because they taste bad but because, for me, water is the most "satisfying" drink during training an racing. Thus, the GU Electrolyte Tab is subtle enough in flavor so I get my refreshing water taste, but with the added benefit of tons of electrolytes. (Granted, depending on the situation, I will have sports drinks to prevent something like hyponatremia, but generally I find I do just fine with water plus the GU Tabs.) Just keep in mind: The Gu Tabs are low in calories,10 cals per tab, so they aren't even a factor in my calorie needs--that's where GU gels & Chomps and other stuff, like my homemade bars and other treats, come into play.

ZOOT Compression
Not the funnest things to put on when it's hot out or when you're exhausted from training, especially the pants, but well worth it -- I think!

This one's a given. The pic below is from an old shipment... think I've blown through all that by now and am on my last bottle of 50 SPF. (To my buds at SCAPE, help!!! haha)

A.R.T., Massage and Chiro
This is where I go. Vince and Marci are a husband and wife duo who know their ish! They're athletes too, and I love them. They keep my body working well (I found Vince when I was injured last year, and he's been huge with my recovery!). Just got back from ART this afternoon to work out the kinks/prep for the fun weekend ahead, and I'll follow up with a massage next week!

Now a couple silly ones...

Anything with COCONUT
I think 2011 is the year of the coconut for me. I use it in so many things now on the daily: Coconut creamer for coffee, coconut oil for cooking/baking, coconut milk, coconut shreds in lots of stuff, coconut water... and the list goes on and on. Back in Kona, I discovered Coconut M&Ms, and although yummy, nutritionally they're not the best. But eureka! Yesterday I found coconut-infused dark chocolate at Henry's. Quality dark chocolate with added coconut and no junky preservatives and crap? Heavenly! Oh and one more coconut love: Last week I made HEAB's coconut cornbread, which lasted about 2.5 days lol. Time to bake another batch for the weekend!

Race Tracking & Mindless TV

When I'm tired from training, I can only do so much work/school crap and then I just need to gel out with something on TV, a movie or simply watch Twitter/social media feeds (uh, j/k on that last one... sorta lol). Thankfully, last weekend was epic with good race coverage, which also served to spice up my Saturday night spent solo at home ;) We had the ITU WCS opener in Syndey (live on Universal Sports), coverage of Ironman South Africa (although, I only made it until the beginning of the bike before sleep) and, as icing on the cake, one of my favorite movies, American Flyers, was on TV, a classic! Then Sunday it was Galveston 70.3. Looking forward to more of that this weekend with NOLA 70.3.

Also, in terms of the mindless TV, I will admit, living at home with a mom in charge of the remote control has caused me to get sucked into American Idol this season. I've never watched or paid attention to a whole season EVER, but this go-around I'm very impressed by the singers on the show so I'm willing to give the show a few minutes of my time ;) That one country guy with the mega voice is incredible; but even better, he looks exactly like this old-school cartoon dude:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

10 Randoms on Oceanside 70.3

It's no surprise that my race report was rather long (D refused to read it apparently lol), but being that is was my first major race back, I think I'm allowed to go over word count ;) There are still a few things I don't want to leave unmentioned... so here goes:

1. Gear. Bummed I didn't get to wear my Charlie Sheen-inspired Tiger Blood "arm warmers" I bought at Target (aka long socks with cutoff toes). But, in other news, my new Rudy helmet worked awesomely, Zoot makes the most comfortable racing attire ever--I even wore something old because I have no kit yet, and it was like butta--and, lastly, I love my GU. Couldn't race without those amazing little gels!

2. Athlete in da house. My dog Sydney loved our house guest, Bryan. They got in a lot of play time (evidenced below haha). In fact, Bryan was extremely polite and an ideal house guest, thanks for being so cool bud! His only must-have request? Chocolate milk. Nice :)

3. My athletes. I had two of my athletes out there doing their first half-Ironmans. Both did a GREAT job, and I'm super super proud of them. Now that they've gotten over the "first half-Ironman hump" they know what it's all about and are excited to do more 70.3s, of course with faster goal times in mind :) Fun times for the coach! I had another athlete who didn't race but he came out to watch and I put him to work with the SCAPE... vital!

4. Race emotions and effort. I know I said this race was awesome, and it was, but I'd be lying if I said I was always perfectly happy, calm and content before/during. Of course I had pre-race jitters, and during the race I had some rough patches and crappy feelings/thoughts. But I managed that $%*@ better than I have in the past. Never once did I let a negative thought or feeling take over, and never once was giving less effort or quitting an option. I felt mentally strong and I genuinely enjoyed the race from start to finish, even the tough parts. However, I didn't cross the finish line puking like Beth and I wasn't forced into the med tent or laying there "dead," which makes me wonder if I could have pushed it harder, and if so, how much harder? Hmmm...

5. New things that worked out OK. 1) New swim goggles. I couldn't even see out of my Aquaspheres anymore. Bought some at the race expo Friday, didn't try them until Saturday. Talk about trust. 2) Used a Speedfil. Long story short, I had no hydration system on my bike. Thoughts on the product: I felt like at times it was hard to suck my drink out when I was already working really hard (I'd get extra winded), but it's not that bad. It does the job and it's easy to refill with bottles handed out at the aid stations, which I did. I think I'll keep it on.

6. I love the tri community, etc. I'm incredibly thankful for all the friends and support I have in this sport, it makes triathlon 10 million times more fun when you know you're not alone. Thanks to everyone who sent a message, called, checked my updates online or gave me a shoutout at the race! Also, I'm extremely honored by the nice comments some fellow racers said about me on their blogs, including Beth, Whitney and Michelle Bozarth (who won my AG and is a total sweet heart!), you know I think you girls are top notch ;)

7. More on my swim. Honestly, I'm not as upset about my O'side time as I am nervous about future races, like the 2.4-mile swim I got in August... I need to have my shit figured out by then. By shit I mean the cramping issue!!! Of course I want/need to go faster, but priority numero uno is ending the cramping on long swims. I have a few ideas, and I will be breaking this down in an upcoming post.

8. I love post-race recovery specials. I had a trip to SLO planned the day after O'side to visit my sister who goes to Cal Poly and to see a concert with her, Crosby & Nash (of CSNY fame) on Monday. Yup, we love our old dudes from the '60s and '70s. SLO was perfect for R&R with good food, drinks, strolling around town, a little shopping--crazy I know--and of course a refreshing workout in the form of a hike/jog up and around Bishop's Peak, which is about an 1100 ft elevation gain in less than 2 miles.... just took it easy and enjoyed :) Sunset after a pitcher of beer and Mexi with the sis

9. I'm itching to race again. Can't wait until my next 70.3, but in the short-term outlook, next weekend I might do a Cycling TT on Saturday and a sprint tri on Sunday... we'll see!

10. I'll be back. Last but not least, I will be doing Oceanside 70.3 again in 2012, how could I not?! The goal: sub 5 hours. Yup, going for it! You heard it here first ;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Contest Winners!!!

Sorry I didn't do this sooner! I had a quick sneak-away planned after the race; I went and visited my sister up in San Luis Obispo on Sunday. More on that later :)

So...drum roll.... contest winners!

Well there are two people who won; one guy and one girl (I hope), but there was a little confusion about the winners in general, which is my fault for not thinking about the potential outcomes and some logistical stuff. That said, there are actually THREE winners. Hopefully you'll understand why when I explain....

Male Winner:
Zach, who predicted that Mirinda Carfrae would win in 4:23:33. Rinny's real win time was 4:26.

Female Winner:
Daph (who I'm hoping is a girl, couldn't find more detail on her name), said that Andy Potts would win in 3:56:32. She was only 43 seconds off his actual finishing time!

Third winner:
Tri-James predicted that both Mirinda and Andy would win and was really close to Andy's time (1:56 off), thus the creation of a third prize category for predicting both the male and female winner correctly. Um, crap... I didn't really anticipate this issue when creating the contest, lol. Thankfully Nick of Ignis is very giving, as is Ron from PunkRockRacing. (Side note: In fact, another entrant also predicted Andy and Mirinda--you guys are smart!--but unfortunately we are sticking to "top three" for this contest and we chose this third winner based on who made the most accurate time prediction for either the male or female).

So now for the prizes.....

Our winners will get this RAD brand-new PunkRockRacing tote:

Along with an Ignis shirt (male and female, respectively):

Sorry for the ghetto pictures lol.

Now, all I need is contact info from Zach, Daph (please say you're a girl lol!) and Tri-James. Please send to

Thank you everyone who entered and I hope to have more fun contests in the future!

Monday, April 4, 2011

California 70.3 Race Report

Quick note: I will officially announce winners of the contest on Wednesday!
I love this sport. It makes me so happy, and I'm stoked to be back in the game after way too much time off rehabbing in 2010. Yes, I did the Desert Tri already this year, but that was just a warmup; CA 70.3 was the real test, and it turned out to be one heck of a comeback race for me on many levels. Loved it!!! Oceanside is particularly special because there are so many friends and acquaintances in the race and on the sidelines--this year more than ever. I had tons of fun out there, maybe even too much at times, i.e. I was hooting and hollering up "the hill" at mile 30ish, which probably wasted precious energy. Oops.

So my race: I went 5:15:13 (8th in 25-29F), which is ~2 minutes slower than last year's 5:13:xx and slower than my goal time (I tend to set the bar high lol), but that's OK. I'm content with my race and happy with how much fitness I've gained back. If you read this blog, you know that I'm coming off a long 2010 offseason from injury during which I lost pretty much all my endurance. In Oct/Nov it was still a big struggle to run 5-6 miles alone. But I've been determined to get some SBR mojo back, while training "smarter." I have a long season ahead with two A races, Rev3 70.3 Portland in July and Ironman Canada in August. So by smarter: Not overdoing it, lots of rest/recovery in the plan, more body work but still getting work done and training specific to the races I'll do. Last year I was just "go go go" and probably overtraining, which got me a decent time at Oside, but I broke down shortly after in May. That will not happen this year.

Anyways, onto the whole O'side 2011 experience....

Thursday my NorCal buddy Bryan got into town; he was staying at my house for the race, which I was stoked about. Having another athlete in the house was rad and helps me stay calm. I even had him tag along to Laguna Beach with me Thursday evening while I taught my fitness class at my gym, SPI. Friday AM we did a quick SBR and made sure everything was running smoothly. I was trying a new Speedfil system on the bike, and glad I worked out the kinks. Friday night (uh, like 5 p.m. haha) we had a big ol' dinner at my place. The weather was so nice and summerlike that we even ate outside. My athlete, Marta, who'd be racing her first half and her hubs, Justin, joined us. Good times. I had forgotten my beet smoothie that day, so it was my dessert lol.My plate.... grilled chicken, quinoa, sweet potatoes and veggies. Pretty much the standard fare and oh so yummy.

Saturday morning the alarm was off at 3:30 a.m. Last time I was awake then was in Vegas. This was better (as I said on twitter). The drive from my house to O'side is 35ish minutes so we left before 5 a.m. I had my oatmeal with chia seeds, whey protein and blueberries plus coffee. We got chauffeured in the van. Big timers.Unfortunately I was having bathroom issues. Nothing quality was happening, if you get my jist. Three times, and never completely satisfied. Oh well. But there is a funny story: I got into a porta potty by transition area, did my thing (1 & 2) and went to grab TP. Nothing there. There was not a thing I could do unless I opened the door to the 400 people in line to ask for a few sheets! Uh no thanks. So I just got up and left. Ew! I had my mom grab me some napkins from a deli and finished the wiping process behind the porta potty stand about 5 min later, no joke.

Chillin with BFF Sara! True story: Last year at O'side I went 5:13 and she went 5:15, this year she went 5:13 and I went 5:15! Wow, think we're meant to be best buds? When I'm nervous I act like a psycho, evidenced here:

Before I knew it 7:24 and the start of Wave 16 was approaching.....

SWIM 37:xxMy goal was 34 and change, but I set my time ranges at 34-37:xx minutes. Ugh, got the slower one. The good news: I sighted really well except at the turnaround, and I felt like I was efficient (for me) and didn't waste too much energy. But besides that, holy shit, c'mon. I need to get my swim together. What's more, I need to figure out my cramping issue once and for all. Again, for the third year at the turnaround it was like clockwork: the toes, calves, etc, seized up in cramps. Not debilitating "at-risk-of-drowning" cramps like I've had before, but bad enough where I swam kickless and in pain/fear of it getting worse. So lame because the water wasn't even that cold. Clearly, my perception of the water temp and my feet/legs are in disagreement. Bottom line: I need to do more long, race-pace swims without rest in open water.

Other than that, the water was pretty choppy out there, which made it interesting, but it was overcast so sighting was easy even with the bigger swells (for once, no blinding sun, yay!). Also, I didn't get beat up on much except for start/exit and I was by myself the whole time so never got to draft. Bummer. I got out of the water pissed but motivated to ride and run.

Opted to go sans arm warmers, good call #1. It was overcast but warm enough where I was never cold on the bike. However, knowing that my feet were cold and angry, I took the time to put on socks; good call #2.

BIKE 2:46
I love riding my bike!!!!!!!!! I got on with a smile ready to hammer, not letting the swim get me down. My goal was go 2:44 or faster (last year was 2:44) but that didn't happen. Even so, I felt stronger than ever, which is good because that probably helped me battle against the insane winds and still get close to my goal. After the race some fellow racers said this year was way more windy than last year, I agree. My SRM speed/distance wasn't working, only power and cadence (long story) so I was without those precious numbers and had to race largely on RPE. Not what I'm used to, but I could deal.

The first 25 miles going up old El Camino Real to south San Clemente is one of my favorite places ever to ride, so I was having a blast. I hit the 25-mile marker at 1:05 on my SRM, a 23 mph average. I noticed that I was riding around a lot of the top 30-34 women, who must have passed me on the swim then I got right with them on the bike. I traded spots with some women and we were having fun hollering for each other. At the first no-pass zone at Trestles right before turning into Camp Pendleton, I got stuck behind a very slow dude. I decided to shower him with encouragement in hopes to get him to go faster. Another woman joined my cause. He was still slow. Oh well, it was a short stretch... usually it's surfers I'm avoiding there.

On Cristianitos, photos courtesy of Ben Corona... too bad I was sucking away at my Speedfil haha
Once into CP, the wind began. The direction of the wind made me think that it'd be in our favor (tailwind) for the last 10 miles of the ride, so that kept me optimistic. I saw Sara on a little out and back, and she was ~4 minutes ahead of me. Makes sense because she swam 4 minutes faster, but my bike split was faster so I was on her feet.

Then in what seemed liked no time, I hit The Hill at mile 30ish. I swear it got steeper! But going up it, I just thought of all those hills I've climbed in training, and I felt content with hammering up as hard as I could knowing that I wasn't digging myself into a rut doing so. On The Hill is where I first saw Beth. I wanted to catch her. She told me pre-race via FB to not let her pass me on the bike this year (she started after me), but I forgot that I can't swim, so she actually passed me in the water. Again, I need to learn to swim! I was happy to see her, and we exchanged a few words of encouragement. We traded spots for a long time, and at one point I was ahead and thought I lost her, but she came whizzing by toward the last 10 miles and I never saw her again. I said to myself, "That is a woman on a mission to get to Kona."

Anyways, after the big hill, the conditions were rough until the last 10-12 miles. There were LOTS of headwinds, a few more significant climbs, false flats, crosswinds, speed limits, rolling hills--you name it. But that part of CP is just gorgeous and I love being out there. It makes the time go by fast even if the riding is hard. At one point I saw Whitney so that made me happy too! I just kept trucking, making sure to drink and eat my GUs on schedule. I even ate a bar; and I think that solid food did me well.

There was a second no-passing zone, which I personally think is bull because it's not that sketchy and it's wide road. But I guess I understand why it's there. Thankfully that time I was behind Brandy Bounds and fast peeps, so no complaints.

Finally, as I predicted, we had a nice tailwind once we left the gnarliness inside CP. I could tell my overall speed had slowed from the first 25 miles, it was inevitable, but I had no idea where exactly I was at, I only knew how I felt. It wasn't my ideal situation, but I trusted that I was on the right track. On that last section I had two goals: 1) Being that it was flat, make up for lost speed, but also 2) take some time to spin out the legs a bit in anticipation of the half-mary ahead--my average power had been pretty high (for me) and I didn't want to blow up on the run.

Awkward position and face in this pic... what am I doing?!?!

Stupid me! So I always run with a Garmin for pacing, but not this time.... I was done gathering my things in T2 and running away from my transition about to get going when I realized I didn't have the Garmin. I went back for it. It wasn't there. I spent precious seconds looking for it! Dumb! I finally gave up and ran without it. I later found out I forgot to take it out of my jacket pocket before the race.

So, between the bike & run, this race was all about going by RPE/feeling, which I never do in training so it was a different experience, to say the least. Personally, I do well having the numbers in my face telling me what's going on, I like that and missed having it.

RUN 1:46:11
My goal times for the run were 1:40-1:45. No such luck. However, I went slightly faster than last year, thus PR'ing my half-mary in a 70.3, so yay! The run was a blast (until the end lol), and I heard lots of cheering for me and saw lots of familiar faces on the course, which made life easier and helped the time pass by quickly (thanks to all of you who gave some cheers my way). I was running with one guy, and in a matter of 10 minutes I think I gave a shoutout to about 10 runners; he was like, "How the heck do you know so many people?" I just laughed and said something like, "I work in the industry." I even "met" ER for the first time in person, fitting I suppose :) I tried to run with people who had Garmins and who were my speed, but that never worked out.

The first six miles were good. I had a GU right away and it settled well. I felt strong and like I was hopefully hovering around an 7:30-8:00 pace. But was I? Hm. Maybe at first, but looking at pics of me running, especially from later in the race, I can tell my hip flexors were tight and my form was not what it looks like when I'm running sub-8s. Around miles 7 and 8 I started feeling a little slower. Then the last 5 miles were pure pain. I had been smiling early on, but in the last 40ish minutes there were no more real smiles, waving arms or fist pumps from me. I tried the fake smile thing, but looking at pics, you can tell it was fake and I was hurting haha! I had another GU, which gave me some much-needed energy, along with some of the drinks and goodies at the aid stations aka buffet line.

All in all, although my run time wasn't incredibly faster than past years, I still felt prepared for that long run off the bike more than ever. Plus, I like the run course at O'side minus all the concrete. Having two big loops, so four sections that are 3.2ish miles each, makes it seem not so long if you break it down. I said to myself, "OK, only a few miles until you get to turnaround"... and repeat that over and over.

FINISH 5:15:13
I got a final burst of adrenaline in the last stretch to home. Then some girl in my AG passed me in the last mile and I couldn't respond. Crap. I still picked it up on the last stretch and finished feeling dizzy and in burning pain but content and smiling. Pretty standard for a 70.3. After a little delirium I was back to normal in a few minutes, and then I got that race high where all I wanted to do was chat chat chat with everyone. I saw Beth, James, Sara, Christine Gould, Whitney, friends from CSUF and lots and lots of others... I was pretty much talking to anyone who would give me attention haha. See, triathlon is way better than drugs!!!

With the superstar Kona-bound hubby-wife duo and Hunter... Love Whitney Bryan killed the race!

That night I had planned on going out to celebrate, but Bryan and I ended up drinking beers & wine on my couch instead along with my mom and dad having some as well. No complaints :)