Friday, December 20, 2013

A Little 'ME' Focus (And How You Can Too)

A cleanse elixir and little peak from the sun after a rainy
day... Read on to hear more about my latest cleanse.
It's no secret that I provide services for a living -- coaching, podcasting, writing, you name it. What I do is meant to help and benefit others, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I freakin love my career. But that said, I love it so much that I often neglect little things for myself -- ya, even during the offseason when I've stepped away from training in effort to make myself better off, I still get caught ignoring my needs during this downtime. That's ok to some degree and I'm fine with those days where I end up sitting at my desk for 10-12+ hours because, quite honestly, I'm motivated to do the work, and usually those hours just happen by chance -- I get in the zone and ya can't stop me. The only bad side to those days? I guarantee my posture sucks several hours into a 10+ hour desk day, my hip flexors and other muscles tighten up like crazy, I don't step a foot outside, and I may even be in pajamas the whole time without showering. Every now and then I need to do a better job at focusing on me, and making sure I'm all good.

There are little things to be done to still be on top of health, wellness, happiness and enthused toward work even when it's a grind... or going to be a grind.

Massage (even the free kind)
Either go out and get a real massage, or work on yourself by yourself. A real massage to me is not a luxurious visit to la la land. I get massages to work out my "bad" spots, and they, threfore, hurt like a bitch at times! I am working with my massage therapist currently on my issues with my frozen shoulders/posture/tight back and neck/thoracic mobility, etc, and holy crap sometimes I'm gritting my teeth and holding on for dear life -- like when she touches serratus anterior, subscap, traps, lats, etc... dear lord!!!

If I can't get massage then foam roller is my baby, and sometimes I just go do this and this. Or a little half moon pose, which is by far one of my worst in yoga due to shitty shoulder flexibility...

Massage also allows for a chance to meditate and clear the mind, as well, which I'm a fan of. Whether that's 2 minutes or 90 minutes, it makes a difference.

A Lunch Date
Sometimes doing things for yourself involves needing the company of others. While being alone is A-ok with me, I know I thrive off a good date with good company; it warms my soul. We as humans are meant to be connected with others. I've been lucky enough to have a couple of these dates recently, both with my guy -- hey, we're both busy right now so catching up during a lunch date is all the more necessary --  not to mention it was his birthday this week so I treated him to his first acai bowl.

His (the classic)...
...and Hers (the "velvet"). #ActiveCulture
Another day, this time @ Whole Foods.
Sashimi + "box o' everything" from salad bar
= perfection.

A lunch date can also be solo and not involved food (at first). My fav's are lunch swims. I often still have trouble getting to the pool, but once I'm in it's like hitting the reset button, I love it, and I get out of the water feeling like a new person. I don't care if I'm not training, swimming and lunch workouts are just the best. They don't have to be hardcore at all either; do what your body says to do!

Healthy Diet (& #LiveBeaming!)
Another easy way to take good care is just paying attention to what you consume during your work days/week. Lately, I've been working a lot in order to have some work-free time for the holidays (see below), and I was also sick recently. I decided to remedy these things with simple one-day reset cleanse where I didn't have to worry about gathering and preparing all the healthy nutrients my body needs during this time.

Of course, I did my cleanse through Beaming and was pleasantly surprised, as it was a different menu from my first cleanse with them; this round it definitely reflected the holidays and what's in season!

I picked up my cleanse Wednesday, and it included four drinks, a soup, raw salad and protein bite. Thursday was another busy work day but highlighted with this cleanse, and even some extra "me" focus with bikram yoga, a nap, and ending the evening reading a book.

Everything was delicious and so varied! Never a dull moment for my tastebuds. And luckily this time, compared with last, I got no headache/dead feeling from lack of coffee! I started the morn with hot lemon wtaer and a green juice for breakfast. After yoga I was ready for more and thoroughly enjoyed the smoothie containing almond milk, almond butter, Beaming's protein, maca, banana, blueberries, avocado, etc. That was followed by the protein bite after waiting to digest.

The highlight was the live soup. I would seriously serve this at a party, it was amazing and bursting with flavor. I won't give away all the ingredients, but just imagine a thick bowl of sweet and savory goodness. Mmmmm. It was the perfect concoction for a rainy winter day.
"Live Holiday Soup" highlighted with butternut squash, yellow curry, persimmons, and lemon for a tang,.
The only negative of this cleanse? Compared with last time -- where I was satisfied on the calories provided -- this time I did find myself extra hungry and in need of more calories than what was included for the day; kind of shocking because it seemed dense in calories with the smoothie and soup especially. I think, quite honestly, my heightened hunger was due to a couple things - 1) it's "that time of month" and, ya, I eat/need more when that is going on, and 2) I had worked out the couple days prior and probably still needed to make up for the expenditure. So, I simply added in more: raw nuts and seeds, dried coconut shreds (unsweetened; this my new favorite chip substitute), avocado, and chia seeds (put avo/chia in the salad that I had for dinner). Those extras did the trick... Funny how our bodies change day to day in terms of our needs, right??

Last thing on the cleanse: If you're in the OC/SD area and are interested in doing a Beaming cleanse with me, let me know! I am getting a group together to do a three- or four-day cleanse (your choice) on Jan. 13-16, and the more the merrier! More details by clicking here.

A Break
This is not just an hour or two lunch break sorta thing or a Sunday taken off. I mean an actual break, like you'd take when going on vacation, but in my case it will be a staycation because I don't feel like leaving lovely Laguna this holiday season and also would rather save my precious pennies for 2014 plans (!!!).

I've talked to fellow entrepreneurs/business owners about this, and have read about the benefits of truly stepping away from your work for at least a week to hit the reset button. All parties benefit. Business owner (me) comes back rejuvenated and ready to get at it, clients respect the need for time off and the fresh start that follows, etc, etc.

So we'll see how this works. My goal is to turn it off Dec. 24 in the afternoon (after a morning podcast) until first thing Jan. 2. I will still be on social media and am not totally turning off my computer/iPad/phone (I like to read, write for fun, research yummy recipes, etc, on those things), and I'm still making myself available to my athletes, duh, but phone only -- i.e. I told them to call/text me, not email me. Basically I'll be stepping away from the routine -- especially the email trap -- kinda like I did that one Sat/Sun, but now for even longer! What am I going to do? Paint, get outside, write, cook, spend time with John/family/friends, sleep, yoga, read, workout when I want, do nothing when I want, work on my offseason goals, who knows... no schedule.

Speaking of offseason... Sunday marks three months since Tahoe, and while things are going amazingly well with offseason at this point (HUGE GAINS BEING MADE), there is still offseasoning to be done so I'll be extending my downtime until mid/late January. Lucho and I have discussed this, and we both agree that this is the best approach. In the meantime, I am slowly working out a bit more -- because I want to, and I'm loving it -- and I no longer feel like a complete dud when I s/b/r.

Happy holidays everyone, and thanks for reading.... 
...please be sure to stop and smell the flowers. #peace

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


At the races. John chowing on a Bonk Breaker
at around sunrise. Thanks to my friends at
 Bonk Breaker for providing their team with
some quality fuel for the weekend! They
needed it and loved the bars! I also gave John
some Skratch for when he drove, he
loves it! Word on  the street is that race car
drivers all over are lovin the Skratch! ;)
This blog is too all over the place to think of a fun title. Everything from Turkey Trot and wine, to John's 25-hour car race, to experimenting with caffeine, and even being on another podcast.... just roll with it :)

So let's see, where was I last? It had been a good weekend with painting, baking and all that jazz. I'll pick up on the week of Thanksgiving. I decided to make a couple dishes to contribute to our get-together, and I also decided to drink wine liberally. The food I made was superb and easily demolished. First was a simple roasted Brussels Sprouts dish because rarely can you ever find something that's just green at a T-day spread.

Also, on a whim, I concocted a GF Squash Stuffing with Sausage. Sorry, no pics or real recipe, but heck it was a hit and I got compliments all night, which is funny because this was one of those "Tawnee creations" that I only decided to do a couple hours before we left and basically just used what I had on hand: butternut squash, carnival squash, chopped organic chicken Italian sausage, onion, pepper, and lots of fresh herbs, including basil picked from my dear neighbor's plant tower thing. Just mash all that together! I'm trying to remember what else was in it because I've been asked to re-create for Christmas.

Having fun in the Turkey Trot. I actually took this for my
athlete who had just texted me that he got a PR in the 5k!
Wanted to send him a big smile :)
Besides cooking, I ran the Turkey Trot for the millionth time (or so it felt like), but for the first time ever I did it totally out of shape and ran at strict MAF as a loose test to see where my MAF pace is at. Held it at HR 150-155ish (not training consistently so keeping it strictly 180-age); it got a bit higher a few times near the end, but I never let it sit above 157ish. For the 10k I ran a 8:13 average on a pancake flat course, and it felt like the longest run ever, haha! Amazing how quickly you lose that endurance not only physically, but mentally! We then did the 5k and I forget my average but I was def slower and I was hobbling -- sore already. By the time we did the kids' run after that I was 100 percent content with a 10:00+ mile pace! Haha.

I drank a lot of wine later that day with family and friends, not to mention a good amount the evening prior (yea, that Turkey Trot was done slightly hungover, oops), and paid for it dearly. I haven't been drinking much at all, and to have that much alcohol for couple days straight? Ouch. It sucked and turned me off to alcohol even more -- just can't hang like I used to! Honestly? I don't even care. I much prefer a little "half glass" of wine while cooking and that's about it. And although I've retired from beer, occasionally I've tried sips of John's fancy beers -- like Stone's Crime and Punishment (spicy beers, which I used to love), but they re-did the recipe and they were so gross I almost spit each out. In fact, John didn't really like one of them either (they were weird and uncomfortably spicy!), so it wasn't just me hatin' on them. Regardless, I have truly lost my "beer palate" though, it's funny.
No food pics from T-day, but how 'bout this? Me on a one-of-a-kind
motorcycle designed and made by my grandpa, The Alligator!
Anyway, the next week something happened that never happens. I got sick. But it only lasted for about a day and a half. I never ever get sick so I forget how to truly recognize the signs, and in this case by Wednesday morning I felt like death! John was sick right before I was, so there's the culprit. Interestingly, my HRV was total shit too even before I diagnosed myself as being sick, which at first had me perplexed being that there was seemingly no reason for it to be bad. I tried bikram one evening during the spell, and I literally almost passed out and wanted to leave -- the whole idea of "sweat it out" was not wise, at all. Haha. I had to get well soon because I was leaving for NorCal to watch/help/support John and his race team in their 25-hour endurance car race in BFE hill country (aka the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in Willows, Calif.). Thankfully, I was fine by the time I flew up Friday -- I am good at overcoming a sickness asap.

Willows is over an hour north of Sacramento, and it has a personal soft spot in my heart. In 2011, it was there and that weekend when I officially started getting coached by Lucho, and I remember running three days in a row, each day going longer, and absolutely loving the workouts and the setting. Last year, same thing. But this year I had to approach it differently. No runs, and actually a commitment to NO physical activity of any kind for 3 days outside of washing dishes and walking up a hill to view the race. Up there being sedentary is hard because there's not much else to do, and Internet is spotty (not even worth bothering). Plus for the whole weekend I only really see/talk with John for like 15 minutes total (busy boy!), so you gotta just find ways to keep occupied. I always help with team food prep, but that is a small portion of the day. A lot of time hanging out with peeps, and reading. It was also freaking cold as shit -- like low 20s even in the day -- so another goal of the weekend was staying warm! Haha.

Speaking of food at the race track, I brought all my own food for the time I was up there because I, quite frankly, won't eat what is being served to the team. It's the complete opposite of how I eat and there's no way I'm about to dig in to all that -- aka things like traditional french toast, sandwiches on Hawaiian roles, store-bought potato salad, spaghetti, WalMart meat... you get the idea. The hospitality director, herself, is conscious of clean eating, buying organic, and healthier choices (she and John have even made an effort to introduce a couple healthier meals like veggie/chicken/rice bowls), but this race team is on a budget and for the most part, buying the good shit just doesn't happen. And the guys aren't whining over that -- they like the traditional kind of meals, and for what they're doing out there with the race, being in that cold and awake for so long, it's not the best time to introduce new fueling concepts, I get it. It was at least great to have some Bonk Breakers on hand, though, thanks to my friends at BB who sent the team a few boxes!

As for me, then? Well, most the team knows by now about my healthy habits (ain't my first time at the track!), but it's still frustrating when I get the questions of "what are you eating" and "why aren't you eating this" blah blah... as I sit there with my avocado and sardine mash, or broccoli and chicken dish. I never ever want to give off the vibe that "I'm better than that food being served," but I think that inevitably happens, which makes me sad. I eat a certain way that makes me feel good and keeps me healthy. If others choose to eat the other way? Well, I'd love to introduce them to healthier concepts and get on board with me, but quite frankly it's like pulling teeth so I don't even bother. Anyway, this is the sorta thing where I'd love to change the world and love to change peoples' taste buds, but... well...

Morning walk in Willows trying to get warm,
 since I wasn't drinking coffee. As you can see,
 it was clearly dang cold hehe. #layers
One more thing on "consumption" over the weekend. I decided to do a little test and not drink coffee to see what I'd feel like. I had some Friday AM before my flight, but then nada Sat/Sun. Turns out it only takes me a day to get over the "addiction." On Saturday, I definitely had a headache from about noon on, despite being extremely well-hydrated, and I definitely felt the lack of that energizing caffeine buzz. But by Sunday? Totally fine. No headache, and good energy without the caffeine. That's good to know.... By Monday, however, I was happy to brew some good quality coffee back a home especially during chilly winter!

Ok, so the weekend wasn't all about me or the food! Haha! The racing went well! A brief history since I've been going to this race: In 2011 the guys won their class by a large margin, and ranked highly overall. It was awesome. Last year their engine blew at like midnight and we were out...Not awesome. Beers ensured that night, oh boy. So, this year it was time for redemption! They freaking killed it and got just that with a big fat WIN -- not only winning their class, but beating other classes as well (classes are based on power, aka how much money you have, and our team doesn't have the most power, because, well, that requires more money). Regardless of power, running a car for 25 hours straight is no joke and an incredible feat requiring teamwork and lots of skillzzzz. In a 25-hour span, our guys did 628 laps (just over 2:00 per lap), which is solid. Keep in mind during that there are plenty of yellow flags or having to stop for various accidents, and they probably could do even more laps sans cautions. I know that 628 means nothing to most of you, but it is really legit.
John getting ready to drive at like 2:30 am,
eating an orange for fuel.

There were five drivers trading spots throughout the race, and John drove several times, including odd hours (see pic at right) and at the most crucial time -- the end. My babe was the one who secured us the win -- it was getting close! We pulled into first place only a couple hours before the race was to end because the first-place team at that time had a mechanical that left them in the pits for a while allowing us to gain the lead. But that team recovered from their issue and was definitely on the prowl to catch us. But enter John (who later said he was driving better than he ever has an attributes much of that to triathlon training, strength work and whatnot) as the final driver and he held on to the lead, by seconds. We literally won by less than a minute when they crossed the finish line!!! So close!! The other team was making up time really fast, like oddly fast, and closing in on first but just didn't get it. Great for us. The real kicker, though? After the race was over, the officials were checking the cars (kind of like post-race drug tests) and that other team, who was first then dropped back and was on our heels in second, apparently cheated! They were underweight and over-powered and got DQ'd!!!! Big no no. No wonder they were going so much faster and making up time on us.. Not cool, man. not cool.

John "in the zone" before his last stint, the race-winning stint!

The team. It was not fun having to shed my million layers to take this photo - in the 20s - but worth it!

Poppin bottles to celebrate! Yea, that's a beer (La Fin Du Monde to be exact) and not champagne; all we had haha.

Anyway, I took a flight home Sunday night. It was worth the $150 vs. driving home all day Monday in a truck jam-packed with smelly boys. By the time my flight left that night (delayed, of course) I was so fried from lack of sleep and whatnot, that I didn't even have the brain cells to read or listen to a podcast or be productive, so I watched mindless TV for the first time in ages. Show of choice? Friends. It was awesome, and also scary how easily I remembered the episodes haha.

Oh yea, one more thing. With the three days of no activity I also closely monitored my HRV the entire time and it was the best it's ever been, consistently! High 80s and 90s the whole weekend, with stress in the blue zone every time (lowest possible). I guess my body likes just sitting around and not working ;) But alas, that is not the life I want. Well, I want the stellar HRV but not at the cost of being a bum. So the trick is now to find a way to get the best of both worlds.... I'm working on it.

Yesterday I came home and was so jonesing to do a run after being sedentary for so long... OMG, it felt amazing. Ran 7.5 miles at MAF and it was pure bliss. Listened to Zen and the Art of Triathlon while running, and I have to say, I'm becoming more of a fan of listening to podcasts on MAF runs, it's soothing and enjoyable! Plus, Brett is a really cool dude and I like his style, annnnd he started the first-ever triathlon podcast way back when, which is rad. I was actually the featured guest on a recent show of his, where he did a big ol' interview with me, basically on my story from being a kid to my career to racing and the season I had this year. If you care to listen, you can chime in here.

Anyway, that's all I got for now! Stay warm out there!

Running back at home. Love the sun and being by the sea :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

GF & Vegan Banana-Date-Chocolate-Chip Mini Loaves

Tis the season to bake! It's getting dark way too early, colder than I prefer and, thus, the best time of year to throw on the sweats, good music, pour a glass of wine and get busy in the kitchen. As mentioned in my last post, here is the recipe I promised to share. Try it, tweak it, let me know what YOU think!

Gotta say, I'm proud of this one because it was a total tawnee-special. Custom creation based on recipes I've seen and tried before. Definitely has the healthy flare, but with some "traditional" aspects thrown in. Baking is, of course, a little more sciencey and chemistry-based, but I was in the mood to wing it, and I won. I also unintentionally made this vegan. We were low on eggs and we love our eggs in the morning, so I decided to try one of those vegan egg substitutes: flax and chia mixed with water. It was a success! As you can see, I also made two mini loaves instead of one biggie (both in regular 9x5 loaf pans) since I've had issues baking gluten-free goods before (aka issues with them rising), but this one turned out really well in small loaf form, and I think it would work as one regular-sized loaf if you wanted.

2 ripe bananas, mashed
10 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
1 1/4 c. gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flaxmeal
3 tbsp filtered water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
~1/3 c. chocolate chips
1-2 loaf pans
Optional: 1/8-1/4 c. brown sugar (I did add ~1/8 cup because I knew John would like a tad more sweetness, but with the dates and banana you could easily omit!)

-Mix chia seeds, flaxmeal and filtered water in small bowl and let it sit and thicken.
-Preheat oven to 350.
-Grease 1-2 loaf pans; I used a light layer of coconut oil. You decide if you want 1 or 2 ;)
-Mash bananas in a large bowl then add all ingredients except chocolate, and mix well. Note: make sure flax/chia mix is thick before adding. Also, I just mixed with a regular spoon, nothing fancy.
-Pour mixture into pan(s) evenly and bake for 40-50'. Check it after ~30' with a toothpick or something. I've noticed ovens and cooking times seem to be so random, and I honestly didn't pay attention to the exact time I cooked mine (definitely less than an hour), and I don't want you to burn this!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Cheers to Monday

This weekend did the trick. No Monday blues for me! I woke up at 6 AM on the dot this morning (monday), no alarm, feeling SO excited to work. I never ever dislike or dread my job(s), but like any normal human being I do get a case of the Mondays when I know I'll be at my desk from sunrise till after dark. Not to mention, I do enjoy that feeling when I can shut things down once business is handled, step away from the computer and not check my phone/email every 5 minutes.

That said, this weekend I basically shut it down at a new level for two full days (minus Sunday evening training plan updates for my athletes), and I mean really shut it down to the point where I wasn't even thinking about triathlon outside of a few minutes tracking IMAZ. Normally I will still work on the weekends (although less), and I still have a standard routine of playing around on the computer/internet, researching/reading stuff relevant to my work, oh yea, and following social media. Sometimes, I'll admit, it's just unproductive crap going on, but that's usually that's when I'm exhausted from a workout and have no brain cells left to spare. Not always a bad thing because that usually means the training went well ;)

However, this past Sat/Sun was very different. I switched it up like I haven't done in ages, if not ever. I engulfed myself in other projects, tasks and fun therapeutic things that were totally outside my norm. If you read my last post, it's all related here folks. Two days of stepping outside the box was truly enlightening and a really positive experience.

In fact, I am considering taking a full week off before this year is over and doing a staycation; I don't need to go anywhere fancy to achieve the results I want; I have enough to do right here (as you'll see below). A former client of mine (I lost her cuz she moved, grr) said she did this annually and it led to her nearly doubling her income! (She is also a self-employed coach/entrepreneur in a non-fitness business.)

I also bought some clams and got creative
with a new dinner. That was fun!
So what did I actually do this weekend? Among the highlights of my weekend: Baking; I made up a recipe for a GF/vegan banana-date-chocolate-chip bread, which got the boyfriend seal of approval. (*Recipe to come tomorrow*). A little shopping at the nursery and planting some veggies on our patio. Saturday evening bikram yoga (the regular routine this past month), which put me at 4.5 hours of bikram this past week (3 classes @ 90'). Oh yea, I did do a 90' trainer session, but it was insanely fun, for real, and, heck, it was my only bike ride of the week. It had good vibes and I created the workout as I went including spur-of-the-moment intervals: 5 X 6' @ 4' tempo + 2' ME efforts out of the saddle. No power, no HR, no data at all. Just went my feel and rocked out to Girl Talk.

But by far the highlight of my weekend and the thing that took up the most time, effort and thought was painting. Holy crap! No wonder I put away the pain brushes years back. I am obsessed with painting and find it hard to do or think about anything else when I have a project going. I set up my easel Friday night, and started playing around with some colors and just getting the feel for the brush on canvas again. Then Saturday I started something official. I got so wrapped up in it that I literally FORGOT that the Ironman World Champs were airing on NBC. Seriously, wtf?! That never happens to this triathlon/Kona-obsessed chica!!! Saturday I probably spent 5+ hours painting -- mid-morning, then all Saturday night. I even went to bed after John, which never happens. Sunday I was planning to do a short run before having to go to a baby shower, but what did I do instead? Painted. For like 3 hours. Oops.

This is what I've created so far (bottom), based on the photo (top). Far from done, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far.

I just started the background leaves yesterday, working from L to R as you can see. Still so much to do! This is acrylic.

As much as I was dying to continue it today, I had to let go of it and work. But like I said at the beginning, this Monday has not sucked. And I'm super pumped for the whole week.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just Call Me the Lazy Biohacker

Time for an update! I bit ago, I posted about my offseason in which I'll be pursuing personal goals, and in that I mentioned biohacking. I'm doing plenty to achieve my personal goals, but in the process I got to thinking about what biohacking actually means vs. just doing things to be better off, i.e. people workout to lose weight and get fit, and it makes them better, but that's not really biohacking.

So what's the difference with biohacking that sets it apart? Basically you're looking at using the scientific method for DIY experiments; in other words, taking control of your biology (mind, body, health, wellness, specific ailments, etc) through self-experimentation to achieve optimal health, kick ass every day and become the best version of yourself. Each biohack has specific variables to manipulate to achieve a desired outcome. Keeping it controlled as possible is ideal. Certain technologies, tools and practices can be carefully used in the process, and sometimes this involves a lot of $$$. Personally, I'm willing to invest a little here and there (like an HRV app for $5 or quality coffee that's mold-free), but by no means can I drop cash like your Dave Aspreys of the world (who's spent hundreds of thousands).

As a result, I realized I'm not necessarily doing pure biohacking. Dang it! Failed already haha... But here's what I am doing: I am listening to a lot of biohacker podcasts, reading their blogs, doing further research, etc, and then applying what the biohackers have had success with to my life when it makes sense to my specific goals. In other words, I let them do the hard sciencey DIY experiments to see what works and reap the benefits. Smart, right!? I'm hacking the biohackers!!  As such, I have quite a few variables at work here and am not really controlling for many of them as you do in legit research. I am still kinda/sorta tracking and measuring my results, but it's hard to pinpoint success to one or even a few variables.

Conclusion? We'll call what I'm doing "lazy biohacking" - I highly recommend it :) The bottom line for the lazy biohacker:
1) Research what other biohackers have done that apply to your needs/desires.
2) Have the patience to practice these biohacks and let them sink in (nothing happens overnight).
2) Be consistent.
3) Be committed.

My "Lazy" Biohacks
These are a few I've been focusing on. You'll see how involved they are. A scientist's worst nightmare with like 30 variables haha.

1) Gut Health
Our gut is literally our second brain. Hence the term "gut feeling" - that's not just made up. A healthy gut can do wonders for us everything from good digestion to better brain function. It affects immune health, hormonal balance, mood, susceptibility to autoimmune disorders, and so on. I personally don't have glaring problems with my gut health (i.e. no leaky gut that I'm aware of), but have had symptoms of what could be considered gut problems, and am quite frankly far from perfect from achieving true "clean gut" status. So, I'm testing things out and making some changes in regards to gut health to see if that improves my quality of life and such.

Where to start on the quest for a clean gut? Namely adopting "clean eating." Yea yea, we've heard that term. but what does that actually mean? It doesn't mean trusting what's on the shelves of Trader Joe's or the like because they carry it and it looks healthy. Even be careful at Whole Paycheck. You can use the concepts of Paleo and Bulletproof for basics on a clean diet. Or look into books like Clean Gut, which is a great resource; here's a good guide for a clean gut diet from the author of that book. Personally, I use those "diets" and lists as guides but not end-all-be-all's. I'm still debating if I want to do Clean Gut's full 21-day detox. Hm. In the meantime, some simple things I'm testing:

-Hot water with lemon every morning on an empty stomach. Here are 10 reasons why.
-Less frequent intake of those things that can be addictive/harmful i.e. coffee/caffeine, alcohol and sugar
-On that note: No more beer. Did a little experimenting, and it turns out the yeast and gluten in beer really was not settling well with me, and its effects were something I once shrugged my shoulders at, but I was noticing even just a little beer would throw me off big time. Trying craft beers is fun, but I'm better off without it and don't miss it one bit.
-Less fruit - only organic berries, and the occasional apple.
-More probiotics
-Digestive enzymes, especially if a meal is going to be a little "harsh" on the gut.
-Eating slowly and not gorging myself to being uncomfortably full (simple idea, but very important). Clean Gut guy recommends eating until you're about 80% full. Hm.
-Clean protein all the time. At this point, I'd rather be vegetarian for a night than eat a sketchy piece of meat or farmed fish. Or things like eggs, which we love: I'm adamant about buying them from the farmers market from folks with whom I've spoken to on how the chickens are treated, what they eat, etc. If buying from the store, I only get organic/free-range/soy-free/omega-3. (I'll admit, just over a year ago I was still eating that liquid egg substitute or only doing egg whites - whaaaaat?!?!)
-Awareness of mycotoxins - toxins from molds found in foods, drinks like coffee, etc. I'm mot perfect here, but I conscious of the issue and trying to lessen my exposure.
-Drinking juice more often; not fruit juice, but things like this.
-Gastrointestinal profile test. To come....
-Abiding by key words on my shopping list: organic, grass-fed, free range, pasture-raised, wild, soy-free, gluten-free, full fat, local, fermented, etc.


2) Hormonal Balance
I'll admit, I've suffered from some hormonal imbalances this year, and while nothing is extremely serious, it definitely has affected my quality of life. I refuse to take the band-aid route by getting prescriptions and pills. Heck no. I'll cure this one on my own without the drugs, thanks. I won't go into details of my specific issues just yet, but this quest to regain balance is about more than just me. Why? because I know I'm not alone! This year especially, I've heard from so so so many women (and men!) about their own hormonal problems (athletes and otherwise), and if I can figure out some solutions or increase awareness on achieving healthy hormonal status, I'm in!

Before my list, a little rant: It's not surprising to see all these hormonal problems in folks this day in age, as there is so much crap out there that can ruin your endocrine system and throw you off balance. Things we may not even have on our radars as threats, like absorbing unfiltered water from our showers, or the gut health stuff that I mention above. We can also disrupt our hormones by our own personal issues, namely stress. Of course, in my case, it's likely the "stress" of triathlon training played a role in making things off too, but I've done that extreme stuff in past years and have been fine. I know that, for me, endurance training is not the sole culprit. Still, I'm obviously scaling back for an extended period to see what that will do (and resisting the urge to start training again already!). I've already noticed improvements in my morning HRV readings -- lower stress, higher HRV -- with less training (and worrying about fitting in training), not surprising. And ya know what? I don't even care that I'm out of shape endurance-wise. Honest. 

Anyway, here's the evolving list of things I'm doing to take control of my hormone health and see how I can get back to a good baseline:

-Reading and education is of utmost importance (and also a relaxing activity). This may or may not improve my hormonal status, but it gives me the tools I need to effect change. I'm a firm believer in taking charge of your health and not always trusting your doctor. For example: Know what your blood test numbers mean. Read books, (ladies: check out this book by a natural doctor who's been there and gets it). Listen to podcasts on relevant issues. Research peer-reviewed journals/articles.
- Getting blood work and saliva tests. This was step #1 in understanding and awareness (did this back in June; will repeat in ~Dec). Do this, and please don't self-diagnose based on a google search. Please.
-Taking an extended offseson, as mentioned above, and still exercising for good health and for fun but not training or looking at performance.
-(Near) daily HRV. This keeps me in tune with my stress and nervous system. The goal is to be chiiiillllll. Almost every morning these days I'm 10-20 points higher in HRV than I was in Aug/Sept.
-Stress management. So many things to do here, and I'm just scratching the surface: Scheduling breaks in the work day to chill, deep breathing exercises, using positive language, HRV measuring, taking walks, recognizing that feeling of being overwhelmed and managing it/preventing it rather than letting it spiral out of control, healthy social interactions, not rushing, not letting the little things get to me...heck, I'm even taking up painting again as a stress-free fun activity.
-Bikram yoga. See above on stress management; although, I think Bikram deserves its own bullet point. I'm obsessed with this 90min practice! It has known benefits for hormonal health, among other advantages (see #3 on posture and shoulder issues). I've been doing it ~2x a week. Bliss.
-Eliminating as many endocrine disruptors as possible. Huge.
-On the topic of eliminating and/or buying new things: Incorporating more organic and natural products beyond food i.e. toiletries, makeup (although, I don't even wear much), house cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc. Yes, a tad more costly, but really not that bad!
-Also, an improved water filtration system (later Brita, hello reverse osmosis). Additives and chemicals in our water can screw with your health, and yes, fluoride is NOT good, so avoid it. Next up will be getting a filtration fixture for the shower (sadly we rent so I can't get a whole-house system).
-Appointments with the right specialists. For example, I had an eval of my root canals to see if there are any underlying infections and/or toxicity that could be contributing. (Dental health is a big culprit in not just hormonal health, but in overall health. I heard a stat that 90+% of terminal cancer patients had some sort of dental problem. Not all cases are that extreme; google "dental meridians" to see how each tooth is tied to something else in your body.)
-Allergy testing (foods, etc). Haven't had a complete exam yet, but it's on my list.
-NO fasting. The reason I bring this up is not because I was doing it, but because fasting, and intermittent fasting, is actually recommended for gut health (see #2) and in Paleo/bulletproof, but won't do it because it definitely can have adverse effects in women. Read more here.


3) Better Posture/Shoulders
Last but not least. This one's definitely a little more random unique to me, and a problem I've had for life,. I'm kyphotic with a terrible forward shoulder roll. Postural kyphosis is an abnormal curvature of the thoracic spine and differs in severity. Mine is not uber severe but imagine slouching gone bad to the point where shoulders are set in the wrong place and your thoracic spine hunches out slightly and has terrible mobility. I also have some degree of anterior pelvic tilt, which is related, but I've improved that from what it was at one point. The kyphosis causes several symptoms from back pain and soreness to muscle imbalance, scapular winging and the inability to fire the right muscles at the right time (swim!). My upper traps and neck are always tight and in some level of discomfort or pain. This makes cycling painful, and more so it hinders my ability to swim well -- that imbalance combined with less than stellar technique, and I'm swimming poorly. I've done some corrective exercises for a long time fairly regularly, but apparently not enough to solve the issue. But that's it. I will no longer live life, swim, sit, whatever, in a way that reinforces bad habits/form. What needs to be done is CHANGE. I'm determined now.

This is possibly my most sciency biohack, as there are fewer variables, and I'm paying close attention to what each is doing for me:
-Bikram yoga 2x a week, this is SO helpful for body awareness, posture and alignment. Already noticing subtle differences. (Do you see a recurring theme with this yoga stuff - I'm a convert!)
-Using a stability ball as a chair or standing on my knees more often when working/podcasting
-Breaks from the desk. We fatigue, revert to old habits and screw with muscles/form when sitting or in one position for a long time; I'm getting up to move around more frequently to get my attention back to posture, even if for a minute!
-Changing sleep habits and not rounding out shoulders when laying on my side. This is tough since I'm sleeping, but I'im trying, and have noticed myself making it happen.
-A professional functional movement screening (with a normalized scoring system and all) and followup "homework" with corrective exercises. I will have a followup blog dedicated to this FMS soon! Very cool stuff!

Maybe all that isn't so lazy!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Beaming's 'One-Day Reset' Cleanse

Where's the rest of my Kona series? I know, I know, sorry! I love Kona and the World Champs with all my heart, but I was getting a little burnt out talking about it 24/7. Even after I got back from Hawaii, I've been doing podcasts on Kona and sharing the stories with folks. Needed a break on the blog front. That said, I have put up some cool podcasts since Kona, in particular this one, which has sound bites of the winners at the finish line, and also of the post-race pro press conference (good laughs!). It took me foreva to compile that one, so take a listen for me, k?

Anyway, on to today's post... Beaming. What is it? A San Diego-based superfood shop that offers 1- to 4-day cleanses. Their ingredients are organic, whole-food, plant-based, and raw; and, they've clearly done the research to offer the best quality available. I've heard of them before, but most recently was lucky enough to try their Pure Boost One-Day Cleanse aka their "Monday Reset;" although, mine was on Wednesday.
All set with my cooler bag of the day's drinks and food, with a sampler drink too!
It's funny how things happen. As part of my offseason quest of achieving better health and wellness, I've been reading more about detoxing, cleansing, cleaning up the gut and what not. I've never been into juice cleanses at all -- just didn't appeal to me. It always just sounded like calorie deprivation, a yo-yo diet tactic and not a lot of fun. But I now see, if done in the right way, how beneficial a cleanse can be. It's not about weight loss; it's about wellness and, for those who need it, a good kick in the butt for a better lifestyle.

What I immediately liked about Beaming is that they provide a menu of juices that aren't overly high in sugar and fruits, a nut milk, and raw food meals and snacks, including items that have FAT and PROTEIN! That's huge in not feeling deprived, whether for 1 or 4 days. (The only other person I know who's doing cleanses this way this is my friend who runs Marcai's Organic Kitchen -- a smaller operation for those local to OC; check her out.) Through my research I've done, it's pretty clear that you don't need to go 100% just juice to get the benefits of a detox and/or cleanse. (Side note: just bought and am reading a book called "Clean Gut" that is a superb science- and art-based approach to better health that, to me, looks like an excellent way to cleanse the body/gut while still eating real food daily.) Tangent... moving on...

So, I am fresh of doing the Beaming one-day'er and want to share my experience for inquiring minds.

First off, the 1-Day Cleanse menu:

I did this yesterday, which meant it was a busy work day from sunrise till after dark for me. It started with a long podcast with Lucho, lots of work in between and even a little easy 5k run break, and wrapped up with an evening speaking event at the OC Tri Club -- something for which I needed to be sharp and alert and not in a state of hypoglycemia nor bonking from no fuel to the brain.

The hardest part for me overall was the morning, and not having my coffee. I'm normally ok with skipping coffee every now and then (especially on trips when only crap coffee is available), but I guess I'm a little more dependent right now than I realized because I was really craving it. Instead, I started the morning with two full mugs of hot water with lemon. This concoction is known to aid in digestion, boost immune system, balance pH levels, energize, and so on... It actually did a good job at "filling that void" for my standard hot morning drink. Soon after that I had Beaming Drink No. 1, a blend of a bunch of green veggies, E3Live energy blends, a little ginger and apple, Himalayan sea salt, etc. A good tartness that I loved. (Again, not too sugary nor too much fruit; only a quarter apple I believe. Keeps GI index down and prevent blood sugar spikes.) Sipped it slowly and didn't rush, which was a goal of mine for the day while doing this.

After waiting a half hour (to allow full absorption of nutrients), I had Beaming's Superfood Protein Bite which was delicious and included ample satiating fats (including coconut butter!).
That delicious little ball of coconut, nuts, protein, etc,
sitting on top of the salad.
Work work work followed. Possibly TMI, but worth noting: I still was "regular" in the morning despite no coffee and not having one of my normal breakfasts. Mid-morning I was feeling a bit low on calories and probably should have started Drink No. 2 earlier. That said, I'm fairly well fat-adapted and wasn't crashing too badly. I actually had some unsweetened coconut shreds and raw cashews to tide me over :$ (On their "instructions" they do say it's ok to eat a few approved foods if you're feeling the need i.e. avocado and nuts; coconut wasn't on the list, but close enough, right?) That helped, and I headed out for an easy 5k run (practically walking pace haha). Exercise is not really recommended, but it had been days since I did anything exercise-wise, plus I needed a break in my work day and also those endorphins ;) Felt fine running.

Portion of the kale salad. There was even more!
After that I enjoyed some of Drink No.2, a beet, carrot, etc, blend, that was labeled as a liver cleanse, digestion aid and cellular regenerator. (Needed!) After waiting a bit, had the kale salad around noon, which was so stinkin delicious. I started with just half the salad (they said often folks will split it for half lunch/half dinner), but ended up having it all. (I was looking at what I still had left for the day, and I knew I'd have enough calories to last me. A little bit later, I had the rest of Drink No. 2.

I hit a bit of a wall mid-afternoon, but nothing too crazy and it wasn't due to hunger. Around 2:30-3ish I cracked Drink No. 3. At that point, I did not feel hungry but realized I needed to keep the drinks going or I'd run out of time! That drink was perfect because it wasn't very sweet and hit the spot. It was primarily an immunity boost with tons of greens, including personal faves: parsley and mint.

At this point, my energy was doing well and holding steady -- I wasn't bouncing off the walls, nor was I crashing. It got time to prep for my speaking engagement at the OC Tri Club. I was just hoping that the cleanse thing would leave me perky and not depleted by the evening (my talk started at 7:15 p.m.).

While getting ready, I noticed specifically that my complexion looked significantly better -- from my skin tone to the brightness in my eyes. I looked fresh, vibrant and not worn out from a long day, which can happen when I'm busy busy.

Party in my mouth with this drink.
I opened up Drink No. 4, second to last, around 5:45, while driving to the meeting. It was my favorite of the day! All the previous drinks were excellent too, but the flavors were semi-familiar to me. However, No. 4 was a unique flavor with a good kick from jalapeno that I loved. In fact, I thought it was perfect timing because the taste of it was like something you'd want for a happy hour cocktail, and since I wasn't having any alcohol, might as well still enjoy the essence of a cocktail at that hour, right?!

At the Tri Club, I spoke for close to 45 minutes that night (chatter box!), and it went great. I was mentally sharp, and never crashing or thinking about food (even when they served dinner to the audience). In fact, I was originally thinking I'd have to have a half an avocado before or after the meeting as a "dinner" but never felt the need.

The meeting ran late with post-chat conversations, so I didn't have Drink No. 5 until after 8:30. I kept it in my car on ice knowing I'd want it on the drive home. It was HEAVEN in my mouth -- a soaked almond milk concoction with alkaline water, cinnamon, vanilla, dates, and sea salt, that was creamy and kind of like egg nog. Cinnamon is a great call in that drink not only for the flavor but also because it stabilizes blood sugar and prevents a spike from the sugar content.
Doing my thang, and speaking to the OC Tri Club!
When I got home around 9, I wasn't hungry and could have been done, but I was quite honestly wound up from the meeting and just in the mood for something else; I knew sleep wasn't happening anytime soon. Mentally I was feeling the need for more protein -- I love my protein! Thankfully, I had one more Beaming treat left: their custom protein blend with greens. The pack I had was probably just over 100 calories, and I mixed it with a little RO water. It was just enough to satisfy what I wanted. Normally I would never be eating that late and truthfully I'm normally getting in bed around 9:30 or earlier, but with the meeting it threw things off a bit... no biggie.

I slept great last night and woke up feeling very refreshed and awake; woke up even a bit earlier and was fired up to start my work day by 6am! I drank coffee, but honestly I could have probably gone without it, haha. So far today (3pm ish now) my energy has been off the charts great!

So what do I think? 
Overall, I think the 1-Day Cleanse was a great spot to start for someone new to this game; a doable challenge, let's say. Whether one day is enough to cleanse everything and change significantly? Probably not, but it's not a waste, doesn't hurt, and is surely a step in the right direction. I felt and saw changes in myself just with one day of this, and that's coming from a person who eats healthy regularly. That said, I would easily do the 4-Day Cleanse to see how that works.

The negatives? Caffeine withdrawal was the biggest issue for me, but that I can handle and it didn't kill my mojo too much. I was told it only takes ~3 days to truly get rid of that lack-of-caffeine feeling. Also, I got a quite tired around 1 p.m., and was losing my focus to work. It wasn't a hunger thing. Just maybe a little fatigued from the different approach to the day? To remedy, I just took a quick break and was able to get back to it just fine. Looking back, I probably should have had more earlier in the day when I felt the need vs. feeling like I needed to "save" it -- just a logistical timing thing, no biggie.

The positives? Overall, the Cleanse menu definitely provided the calories I'd need in a day (even with a little bit of exercise included!), and overall I definitely felt recharged from all the nutrient-dense drinks and foods. It was a good practice in changing the routine and getting even more fresh with my diet. I never missed or craved "real meals" (even when my BF was cooking up a yummy-smelling breakfast), and I don't have a high-sugar or high-carb diet at all so that wasn't a problem in terms of withdrawals. To top it off, I honestly didn't even crave that evening glass of wine, hehe. Also, physically, I noticed a significant positive change in my complexion, skin, eyes, etc, as mentioned.

Final word: This is my first-ever cleanse, and I really don't know much about this world of cleanses or much of what else is offered out there. The only other legit company I know of is Marcai's Organic Kitchen; for anyone who's in the local OC area, you can get your hands on her stuff. If you've had a good experience with another company or something, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Week of Kona: The Pre-Race Extravaganza From a 'Media' Perspective

Kona. Another trip in the books. Warning: Tons of pictures in this post! Every time I've gone to the Big Island it's been for the same purpose -- the Ironman World Championships -- but every time my experience has been so incredibly different. It's hard to even compare each year. Even on race day I've done very different things, which is cool because I've been able to see the race from many perspectives. I've also learned that when you're in Kona on race week a large amount of things just randomly happen. You can't plan it. Whether it's who you run into walking along Ali'i or an invite for a new adventure that comes up last-minute -- those usually make for the best memories.
Sunset at Huggo's. Spent a lot of time here this year, and made some great memories with good people.

This was a large part of my week: WORKING! Behind the scenes from our bedroom... hehe, don't get any ideas here
folks, clearly this is all business! ;)

We also worked out and about around town, including this gem of a place: Daylight Mind Coffee, which had
amazing food (healthy and delicious), amazing views (full panoramic oceanfront view; see below), great coffee, and
The view from one end of Daylight Mind Coffee, which served as a pseudo office all week.
This year the random things certainly did happen, but I also went to Hawaii with more of a schedule than I've ever had before, which definitely made for one busy, but fun, week. I had a chat with Mike Rouse one afternoon and we agreed that we could easily extend that week into a full month; although, it would be tough and not for the faint of heart haha. You are burning the candle at both ends and always on the go. Not that I see that as a bad thing, heck no, it's just a grind! It also makes for a lot to talk about on here! I'm going with the three-part series again: pre-race, race day, post race. The pre-race part alone could be 20 blogs with all the fun stories, but I'll try to keep it to the daily highlights as best I can (with lots of pictures).

First though...

John's first Kona. I threw him into the mix with no mercy.
He wasn't shy ;)
There were a few new things this year that I've never experienced in Kona. First and foremost having my boyfriend with me. I don't think John enjoyed me being away on a Hawaiian "vacation" for so long last year, so this year I had no doubt he'd find a way to pull off the trip with me. It was a blessing that he could take the time off. I loved having him there and it really enhanced the experience. But don't get the idea for one second that this was a "two lovers in Hawaii" kinda trip. No way. It was business, and I put him to work for me baby! For three years I've been 100% on my own (mostly), and this time I had him to help, and it was amazing. He did all the video stuff we posted on EP, which you can see here, he was also super helpful in keeping our schedule organized, and, most importantly, he made sure to live it up and have fun at every event or meeting or whatever.... we loved it.

Doing the deed. Heeeeyyyy!
Having John as my partner in crime meant I was willing to take more risks. Namely this meant hitch-hiking. I would never do this alone, and in past years I always was able to borrow a bike (whether it had brakes or not) or a car, but not this year (we waited until post-race to rent a car). Our condo, the same one I stayed at last year, was just over 2 miles from the pier which doesn't sound that far, but it is when you need to multiple places fast. Solution? Hitch hike. It was, in theory, scary to me at first, but turned out to be a highlight of the trip! We couldn't help but laugh about how fun and interesting it was, not to mention how reliable it turned out to be. In nearly all cases we were picked up within 3 minutes, and every single time it was someone awesome who picked us up, local or otherwise -- including even Jay Prashun of LAVA Magazine, Crowie's wife Neri (and his adorable new baby girl, Lani, along with Crowie's mom), as well as many locals who were a blast to chat with. We even had one local dude pick us up twice. The stories from those experiences alone merit their own blog at some point.
Some locals picked us up one time, and this guy sang
to us and played ukulele. Only in hawaii.
Speaking of that, this year I took more time to chat with the locals and ask them some questions. Mainly: "What do you think of Ironman week and all the people here?" The normal response was something like, "It's cool and brings good business BUT the athletes take over the roads and do scary things on their bikes or when running -- as in, they are totally oblivious to cars and act like they're exempt from the rules of the road." That made me sad to hear. I want us triathletes to leave a good impression on the towns we visit, especially Kona of all places, and not like we are an elitist group that's above the law. Respect... (and helmets, which I sadly do NOT see enough of....)

Poke bowl, no rice, extra sides.
Alright, enough mini ranting. By this point, I'm sure you're wondering by now, what did I actually do all week? And why did I need to be "so many places" so fast? The priority was Endurance Planet work (creating content -- podcastsvideos and this year even fun Instagram stuff -- then editing and uploading content); after that it was part personal business/sponsor stuff and part having fun and networking. I truly am blessed to be part of, what I consider, the coolest industry in the world. So, yea, all that will keep a girl busy 24/7 in a place like Kona on race week. Literally the only down time we had until Sunday was bedtime, which was usually only about 5-6hrs of sleep a night. Ouch. But that's what you do. Which leads me to this post. I debated even talking about each day in detail (i.e. do you guys really even care?) but I want to give some insight on what it's like to work media and "be everywhere" on race week. Keep in mind, below are just the highlights and not even everything, not to mention I didn't even get close to do everything I wanted to do! That said, I did make sure to hit up the farmer's market and Da Poke Shack a lot. I'm obsessed with that place....
How could you not want this 24/7 while on the island?!
Perfect on-the-go snacks from the Farmer's Market, which is open all week!


The scene from Humpy's at night. Pouring.
Sunday: Arrived just before noon, settled in, caught up with roomie Dr. John Post, introduced John to Kona town, then had dinner and drinks at Kona Brewing with the Rouses, Corbins, etc. Sunday was the only semi-mellow day (i.e. no work plans), but it was an extra long day with the time change and by dinner my eyes were heavy as bricks. It poured that night, and I got cold. Really? After Kona Brewing, a big crew headed over to Humpy's because word was that there was going to be another sausage-eating contest featuring the one and only Wattie going at it, which last year was quite the spectacle apparently (I missed it). This year, no sausages (probably a good thing) but plenty of good times with good people. Finally met more of my Skratch peeps, like Jon R., talked beer with Wattie and Heather. Standard. Oh yea, and more rain!

Only in Kona do you run into your
friends mid-swim on the way to
the Coffees of Hawaii boat!
Monday: Early-morning swim at Dig Me Beach; first one since last year, ahhh. Steve from Triathlete found me in the water and slapped my image on their website's main page -- glad I was wearing Betty that day ;) After that a leisurely podcast and chatting with Ian Mikelson at Huggo's, followed by supporting Rousey on his birthday run. Afternoon: prepped for a Mark Allen interview, which got canceled due to double-booking, bummer, but you could tell he genuinely felt bad. That night we watched Rousey finish his birthday run (see his Blazeman roll in photos below) then we all celebrated at Huggo's; a good crowd came out that night. We snuck away a little early that night because my friend Pedro Gomez told me about a party hosted by Endurance Conspiracy at the Hulihe'e Palace. I love Pedro (my roomie from last year) and wanted to catch up with him, but sadly he left before we got there. Thanks to him, though, we scored on a great party that was mellow, fun, had nice live Hawaiian music and, the best part, FREE catered dinner from the Da Poke Shack! Really?! If Tim DeBoom planned that menu, then I love him even more. It was legit.
Podcasting with Ian Mikelson, giving a more in-depth preview of the men's race.
Good view; no wonder Bob Babbitt uses this for Breakfast with Bob!

Above you see a man doing what he loves more than anything -- running a ton in support of a great cause. Rousey is a special guy :)

The scene at The Palace for the Endurance Conspiracy party. Fun, mellow and amazing food!
John was a fan of Kona from the start.
Had a great time interviewing Chris Legh tucked away in
Bike Works - you do what you can, right?! I love this
pic because it looks like I just asked Chris a horrendous
question and he's disgusted by me haha!
Tuesday: Great day starting with another swim, this time we filmed it and John put together this video, then media check in and mingling, followed by hanging out at the (epic) Zoot booth and filming a short video podcast being that it was a special year for them -- their 30th anniversary from the time they were founded in Kona. That day i also I recorded two great podcasts. First was with Chris Legh on his last Kona, then immediately after with Mark Allen, who graciously rescheduled. With Mark, we had a great chat about his new book, The Art of Competition, and much more -- that talk and experience was so special to me. Last year, I interviewed Dave Scott, and now Mark. The two are like night and day. With Mark, and in the setting we were in, I felt so calm and at peace. Pretty neat. That night was the Bonk Breaker Team dinner, and of course lots of fun :) I finally met Biju the chef (of Skratch) which was so cool for me -- cooler than meeting Gordon Ramsey, duh!

Chatting with Mark Allen. We definitely had a good time. I am going to get his new book!
I felt like my interview with Mark was party relaxation therapy - he's like that. I'd
really recommend checking out his new book and helping with the fundraising!
A sneak peak at a page in Mark's book...
Later Tuesday we had some fun with the guys in ORANGE. If you were in Kona, you saw the orange. They were
everywhere and did a killer job! Glad to be on the Bonk Breaker team. 
Finally met Angela Naeth in person, as well as her new husband. Just had Angela
on the podcast, and I predict she (and Heather Jackson) are the next big things in Ironman.
Wednesday: Started with an early morning run of about 6 miles on Ali'i (this would be my last real
Had some of my favorite Kona treats that I
really only ever get in Kona, including
Thai Papaya Salads. The best!

workout I'd have until getting back home to Calif). It was a star-studded run, I think I saw at least 5 pros and a bunch of other AG'ers I know -- it looked like the 5 freeway at rush hour. Then we worked at the Bonk Breaker booth in the expo from 9-1; gotta help my peeps! Plus, it's really fun working at a booth like theirs. The only problem is controlling your intake of BB samples ;) During our shift, I started recording clips for a podcast on sports nutrition. After that, had a podcast with Hillary Biscay previewing the women's pro race; she was super insightful and fun. We both sucked down coffee -- I survived on caffeine through the week! Then hitched a ride to the Clif House for their Happy Hour, then hitched another ride from Scott and Macca to the Slowtwitch Party, and I even snuck in a little interview with Macca. After that, Scott (Macca's manager) invited us on a night swim with the manta rays. That was pretty epic to say the least. Video here. I think I had avocado and eggs for dinner back at the condo -- one of those long days where eating real meals was of low priority haha.

Turns out one of Hillary's friends, Michelle, live near some of my clients on the East Coast
and teaches their pilates class! Small world!
Hitch-hiking, working, having fun... it all goes together. This is when I did a
short video with Macca during a drive with him and his crew.

It's not just LInsey Corbin who has fans; Chris (her husband on the left) has fans too, aka John!
And that's Linsey's dad in the middle who was an amazingly good guy!
The Linsey Corbin ale up close... a Chris Corbin special. Thanks, Clif, for throwing
yet another great get-together for your pros.

The annual Slowtwitch party at sunset.

Those would be the manta rays, in the dark water. Not scary at all, I am serious! I even got the courage to touch them!

The expo.
Thursday: It just kept getting better... UPR aka the Underpants Run (see our video here)!! This was extra fun for me -- normally I am filming it/taking pics and not really running it, but this year not only did I get to run the whole thing, I was on the Betty team which was a total blast! Kristin made us look good in her new suits (more pics on FB). It's funny, people always talk about "training" for the UPR (it is quite the scene of low body fat and lots of lean muscle!), but I did the opposite this year for my prep -- I am in full offseason mode, enjoying beer, and not training. If I was a few lbs "heavier" that morning (and all week), I did not care one iota. Thankfully, looking at the pics, it seems a glimpse of leftover abs still showed up for me that morning. After the UPR, I podcasted with Sam Mazer, athlete extraordinaire, followed by work at the condo before quickly heading back for the pro press conference -- all before noon. While standing in that conference room, I literally got tears in my eyes feeling so thankful to be engulfed in the world and the sport that I love so much. Listening and observing was, and always is, just truly special. You learn a lot in those things too -- not just from what's said, but from the demeanor of everyone. Afternoon was "my time" exploring the expo and talking to some important folks, as well as work work work. Have you seen the world's best triathlon expo? If not, click here. That evening was the Wattie party. Enough said.

Not the greatest picture, but I at least had a good spot in the house ;) You could tell on Mary Beth Ellis' face that she
knew she was taking a big risk given her injury. On the other hand Rinny seemed confident as could be!

Pro press conference, the men. (L-R) Llanos, Raelert, Jacobs, Kienle and Alexander. Only one of these
guys ended up even having a "good day."
The Betty Designs ladies looking good. I am surrounded by fast ones! Hailey, far right, went sub-10!!!! Love it!!!
Photo credit: The one and only SHIGGYYYYYY! Like him here.

The men who make it happen! We got a picture with Paul and Roch after, which I heard got on the front page of a local newspaper, but in taking said photo I got Paul Huddle armpit sweat on my shoulder... ewww hehe.
Our own Abbey Road moment. Amazing idea, and worked out so well! I love The Beatles, so I was all about this shot!
I am super grateful that Shiggy was around this week, not only for these photos but just to hang with. Cool dude!
No UPR is complete without a Rousey sandwich!

Friday: The day before the race, always special. We had a meetup with Ben Greenfield and Co. in the King Kam at 9, where we recorded a podcast, which is just on BGF not EP. Then I hit the wall! I had to take an hour or so to shut down and rest a bit. I was feeling fried. Got it together and then spent time at bike check in, followed by a podcast with the Melanoma Research Foundation director, which went way better than I ever expected. Take a listen. Had another podcast that night with an AG'er. That night was the TGINR party at Huggo's (translation: the "Thank God I'm Not Racing" party). Always a good, classy, fun event. I ate a lot of ribs and drank very good but very weak mai tais (only because they had crappy beer on tap). Their "souvenir" this year was quite epic -- a medal that was a wine cork and beer tap all in one. It is hearty! Word is that it was even a red flag in security at the airport!
Meeting with podcast fans and recording a show on the spot in the King Kam! Fun (minus my hangover)!
This is where I took some time to re-charge when I was feeling like crud. It worked!

Bike check in. I was hoping to see big things from this Luke,
and Andreas to the right. Sadly not this year.

I swear, I've never seen so much Macca in my life, even after having done the double sprints with him. I've become an even bigger fan, not gonna lie. He's a rad dude.

Can't wait until we see Terenzo racing Kona again! Next year?
Not the best photo, but you get the idea: Huggo's has great views! Party time! But don't party too hard here
otherwise you will hate yourself Saturday hehe.
A couple of my favorite dudes, especially when we're all in Kona together! Rousey and Tyler (now with Blue Seventy).

Saturday (Race Day): We had two athletes in our condo and one volunteer so our house was up by 3:45 AM, baby! No big deal, right?! I was pumped from the get go and possibly a little too wound up that morning with excitement -- I had a mid-morning desire to crash, which I had to ignore. I managed to post a podcast before we even left the house at 5ish. Ha!
This was also a Kona first for me... as I posted a podcast at 4-something-AM, John made us breakfast! Normally I am downing bars and coffee when I can (no real meals), so a real breakfast?! Heaven!
So that's it for now... next up will be race day and all the cool things I observed. In the next post, I'll take a more serious look at the race and give you my commentary.