Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Race, Ride, Run... A Weekend Back At It!

Last weekend was my kinda weekend. Lots of time outdoors, and even when we came home at night we watched some great ultra documentaries that kept us in that outdoor mode -- Unbreakable: The Western States 100, and Race Across The Sky (Leadville 100 MTB). Side note: One of the Leadville events is definitely on my bucket list (not sure which one!), but knowing that I don't do so hot in altitude it may require moving up high for a year...  ;) Anyway, that's a far ways away.

Trail race = happy place. Rocking my Endurance Planet trucker hat,
my Rousey shirt complete with HOT DOGS, 110 Play Harder Compression, Team Betty Sweat band, and Hokas!
(Hoka should love me by now with all the love/support I give, right?!)

Pre-race IPA. I don't drink beer often, but when I do I
keep it quality. 
As you can see above in the photo, this past weekend I jumped into a little 10-mile trail race, The OC Chili Run in O'Neill Park, close to where I live (scroll down for course details). It was very last-minute and unplanned in the "big picture." I found out about it while doing some work, mentioned it to my family, and both my mom AND sister wanted to do it too. Sold. An opportunity to race with family like that and I'm in. Originally, Lucho and I threw out the idea of just having me do it at MAF effort, but then I got that competitive bug up my ass and there was no way I felt like just cruising. It wasn't a crazy competitive field or anything nor that long, I just personally felt like digging deep and putting myself into race-mode effort. It has been a while ;) Meanwhile, I wanted to self-experiment and run it with no nutrition, just to see how my body would hang knowing my current metabolic efficiency situation, and since it was just for fun I didn't care how that worked out for me, whether good (feel fine) or bad (bonk). FYI: For breakfast I had 2 TBSP chia soaked in almond milk, mixed with 1 TSBP hemp seeds, a slice of mashed kabocha squash, cinnamon, dash of stevia, Himalayan sea salt -- all mixed together, and coffee with unsweetened coconut creamer. Then a handful of MAP before the race with water.)

Pre-race with Karlee, my sister, and my mom, Lyndee.

My Race
I actually ended up winning overall female and led from the beginning. Surprise! Well, that said, there was a 7-mile option and we all started together; there was one fast lady who blew past me in the beginning and she won the 7-mile race, but I held on to win the 10-miler. I mean, ya, it was a small field of runners, plus I'm sure all the local fasties were saving themselves for Sunday's Xterra Crystal Cove (an epic race). But it still felt damn good to run hard, feel that drive to push myself again, and take a W. (Maybe it was that beer the night before! And it was just one then done, in case you're wondering.) 

Despite a small field, at one point I thought I was actually in a bit of a race with another gal, which got me pumped. There was a turnaround in the last 5 miles, at which point you could see everyone else behind you. I knew before turning around I was in first, but not sure how far back any other girls were. At the turnaround I saw another chick coming up, less than a quarter mile back with still 2.5 miles to go. I kinda said "oh shit" because at that point my plan to go without nutrition combined with hard running was starting to come back to haunt me. I was definitely feeling the ol' bonk-a-roo, and it was an ever-so-slight uphill grade those last 2.5 miles to the finish, just enough to add to the pain. I was seriously digging deep to run those last couple miles hard. But I needed/wanted a self-imposed struggle like that.

Ya know what though? Even when I was going hard, from the beginning of the race till the very end I always made an effort to congratulate nearly everyone I passed by, including my mom and sister of course! It was an all-smiles, all-good-vibes kinda day. Plus, self-experimentation worked: Found out that I'm not yet in that great of shape to handle 81 minutes of hard running (i.e. at LT and higher) on just breakfast and two sips of water from mini dixie cups at an aid station. Haha! I held an average pace of 8:08, which is great for me on trails especially not being in great shape yet. Elevation change wasn't insane, something in the range of 800-950 ft vertical total? Next time, I'll bring nutrition to see how that changes results.

Finished, and went straight for the Coconut Cashew Bonk Breaker. It worked its magic. I'm forever grateful for the support from Bonk Breaker. They are the shiznit and I'm honored to be on their Team again this year. Those are carbs I will partake in ;)
Form good not great (head a little too tilted back, too much anterior pelvic tilt, etc etc), but
still decent considering I hadn't dug deep like this in a long time and I wasn't
totally falling apart and a mess.

As you can see, thousands of fans were in attendance.
Of course, my mom and sister did great too! It was a super fun and special morning. Love that my sister is getting into all this racing stuff. They rock.
This girl! So proud of my sister. I think she's finally been bitten by the endurance sports
bug. She's killing it.

My mom sprinting to the finish line. She was side by side with that lady in blue so I started yelling for her to "pick it up and pass her," dang it!!! And she did :) Tough love it is.

Mom's form lookin' good.


The OC Chili Run Course
The OC Chili Run organizers designed a great route, and the trails we hit were super cool. I've lived near O'Neill Park -- which is just beyond Cook's Corner off Live Oak Canyon Road in the Saddleback Mountain area for those of you who know OC -- my whole life and have never run these trails. They actually combined several different trails to make up the race so a couple times you'd hit asphalt transitioning from one trail to the next.

The first 2 miles are all a big climb up, and the last portion of that was definitely the steepest and the only point where I walked a bit, maybe a minute or less. (I didn't pay attention to any data during this race.) Some dudes passed me then, but then as soon as we got to the top and the downhill started I felt pretty recovered and just started bombing down the trail, passing those same dudes back. I'm decent at descending and I know how to strategize in a race like this to maximize on my strengths. However, that all said, the intensity and speed at which I ran downhill (sub-7:00/low 6's for more than a mile) would later KILL me with the sorest quads I've experienced in a very very long time, like even more sore than after a 70.3! It was actually comical how much DOMS hit the quads, and just the quads, the rest of me was fine. Up until yesterday I was hobbling around like a little old lady.

Anyway, after the initial hill climbs and decent, it's mostly flat-ish trails with little baby hills and downhills, and slight grades up/down, but nothing major. For a couple miles there is a sick single track that is totally like a luge course, it's so narrow and carved in that it's pretty much like an undesignated no-passing zone. In fact, hopped out of the trail and pulled over once to let a guy behind go by me.

You pass the start/finish at mile 5, and from there you go down a trail that's somewhere between fire road and single track in width, turnaround at mile 7.5 and head home.

Throughout much of this entire race (except for beginning climb) I was totally by myself and just completely enthralled to be outdoors on such a fun trail. It was really peaceful feeling that solitude and oneness with the running. I also loved the old-school vibe of the race -- no timing chips, they just took your bib tag at the end, which was dead on accurate to my garmin time. They served complimentary post-race chili, for those who wanted some (hence the race's name).

Food porn!

Saturday night dinner. Shrimp salad with kale and romaine massaged in extra virgin olive oil, mixed with raw chopped walnuts, and sautéed mix of onion, celery root, celery, garlic. Oh ya fresh cilantro too, and juice from half a lemon.
Shrimp was cooked in coconut oil, veggies in grassfed butter.

Sunday Funday
I can't go without mentioning the rad day we had Sunday! After a shitty night's sleep (ya, bummer but it happens), we met with a long-time Endurance Planet fan and all-around great guy/athlete, Joshua, for a long ride and t-run. I recruited some of my peeps -- John, my client Ray and my Ironman-in-training mom -- and we rode Camp Pendleton and some more. It was good to push Joshua and Ray on the bike ride, as they're both doing Oceanside 70.3 in March.
Cruisin the Camp Pendleton ride with my crew, and sportin my rad Team Betty kit! #bettydesigns

Joshua #ftw with his GoPro contraption and mad skills to get these photos, not to mention he's just a great
guy, dedicated athlete, and a loyal Endurance Planet fan. 
We followed that up with a t-run of around 45ish minutes (?). I wasn't too sure about how my run legs would feel, but I managed to hang, and we just cruised and had fun chatting and whatnot.
T-run on sore @#$%ing quads, thankfully these guys  were great company
and they didn't kill me with the pace. #bonkbreakersocks #cooltanlines
During the end of the workout I was thinking about how I'd get back to my phone and search for a nearby place where I could order a nice, big, healthy juice to replenish. Meanwhile, John had other plans.... Beer plans. Unfortunately for me, there was no juice place close by; however, beer was close by, so I caved and went that route to Pizza Port, with Joshua joining us as well. I only had a half-pint, but it was enough to feel it after a semi-long workout. I'm not getting back into beer, I swear, just living life. I'll take the opportunity here and there if it means enjoying good company and a refreshing brew.

To top things off I was able to take a short nap Sunday. Napping has been totally foreign in my world lately because on one hand I haven't felt the need for the most part, and on the other hand I am super busy and don't really have time. So to shut things down and take the time to nap felt ah-mazing.


It feels good to be back in this groove...

#getoutside #sunshine #smiles

Friday, February 21, 2014

Video: Chef Biju Thomas Builds The Perfect Plate of Food

While I was in Colorado, I mentioned our dinner with Biju was a big priority. While we were there, I captured him in his element demonstrating how to build a killer plate of food, the Biju way. The food you see was fresh, prepared by him, guessed it...made from scratch! (On another note, I just gotta say that I can never spell scratch the right way anymore, my brain and fingers always wants to spell it skratch... thanks a lot guys, lol).

Biju #ftw:

If you were to ask for the recipes and specific dishes, I sadly cannot tell you all the details at this point. I was there to eat, socialize and have a good time that night; not document it all, sorry :/

But, that said, in a nutshell here's a list of what the dinner was:

Main Dishes:
-Salad of red and green cabbage with cilantro and a simple lemon/salt dressing
-Basmati rice
-Sauteed green beans with coconut
-Egg omlette/frittata, Indian style with the garlic/ginger "chutney" mentioned below
-Beef in a thick "gravy curry" (?) with coconut, onions, thyme, ginger, and a spicy kick
-Vegan curry yellow/orange in color with carrots, lentils, potatoes

Baked coconut shreds.
Quite possibly the perfect snack.
-Freshly made wheat tortillas - for soaking up the curry juice and rich sauces so nothing goes un-eaten (and, yes, folks, I had one; and, no, they were not gluten free. It's in these situations where I will eat nearly anything being served for the authentic experience)
-Baked coconut shreds - nothing added, and even better than my beloved dehydrated shreds! I think he said he just baked it for ~3hr at 350. Easy.
-Chutney dip/spread of ginger, garlic, onion, herbs, spices (I could eat this all day on everything!)
-Greek yogurt
-Wine... duh! I went to a wine shop prior and made sure to ask for a wine that pairs well with curry; the dude recommended this wine made by trappist nuns. It was an excellent pairing!
-Prior to dinner, he also mixed together some of the chutney and greek yogurt for a dipping sauce, and had potato chips out for dipping mmmm.


...I can only dream of preparing all that and still being such a laid-back cool host like Biju. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Video of My Metabolic Efficiency Test & Analyzing Results

I mentioned that while I was in Colorado, I did a metabolic efficiency test on the treadmill. We just posted the video today that goes over everything including my test results!

A huge thanks to Dina Griffin of Fuel4mance for making this happen, it was a "blast" -- if you're into that kind of thing lol ;) But for real, regardless of the altitude, I enjoyed this process thoroughly and love geeking out on the data with experts like Dina (she's smart, folks)! If you're not familiar with this kind of testing, watch and learn because we go over it all -- what metabolic efficiency means, fat vs. carb burning, the test protocol, watching the test in action, analyzing the results, looking at the graphs and charts, and more! We even use examples from other athletes, in addition to my own results.... ya, you get to know how my metabolism is currently operating and find out what kind of fat burner vs. carb burner I am!

Also a huge thanks to John for the video work, and Lucho for moral support (they both sat around in Kompetitive Edge all morning on Saturday while I did this ordeal, troopers).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bacon and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Burgers // Flourless Chocolate Cake

Mmm... (This is john's plate fyi! Me eat white-bread buns?! Ha!)
Last night was Valentine's, and we don't do Valentine's -- we both agree that it's a rather silly holiday, and thankfully it's usually on a week night in which we each have a class to teach or something going on so we can ignore it. But it was Friday night this year so... well... nothing special... haha. We decided to do what we usually do: Cook at home, and go to bed before 10. In fact it was so crowded and trafficy around our area (Laguna Beach, CDM, etc) that we vowed to never go out to dinner on V-Day, and instead stay tucked inside avoiding over-priced pre-fixed meals and cheesy love decor.

The only difference for this Friday eve was that John did most of the cooking AND he baked, so that was fun for me, and, ya, I'll admit it was pretty romantic (in my eyes) since I'm the chef 99% of the time, so maybe it was a special V-Day. Plus, I'm sick (more on that later) so it was nice not to have to do a bunch of work.

On the dinner menu:

Bacon- & Goat Cheese-Stuffed Burgers 
with local grassfed organic beef
Never again will I make homemade burgers without bacon.
They were incredible. Easy too...

Ingredients and directions (makes 4 hearty patties):
-Chop up about 5 slices raw bacon into ~1/4" squares and fry on stovetop until they're about 75% done. Remove and drain on paper towel.
-In big bowl, mix together 1 pound grassfed beef, the pre-cooked bacon bacon, goat cheese crumbles*, salt & pepper to taste, and any extra seasonings you like; we do garlic and red pepper flakes for extra flavor and a kick.
-Form into 4 big fat patties and grill on barbecue to your desired done-ness. We like medium rare.
-Build your burger how you like; suggestions below with our faves...

*Goat cheese crumbles are like the consistency/shape of feta or blue cheese, but a tad softer and spreads more easily. I don't do well with most dairy, but I am ok with goat products due to the lower lactose content, which is why we go with that, plus it's more delicious in my opinion.

On the side and/or toppings for the burgers:

-Tomato sliced and soaked in balsamic vinegar
-Sweet white onion and pear slices, pan sautéed in coconut oil - Cook onion slices until nearly done, and add in thinly sliced pear the last few minutes
-Baby arugula
-Horseradish mustard
-BBQ-grilled asparagus (instead of fries!) - Usually we marinate in olive oil and lemon before grilling, but because I was being lazy, we didn't put anything on this time, and just threw it on the BBQ straight up, which ended up being amazing. It got crispier without the oil, like french fries, and the flavor bursted -- oddly sweet and no need to add salt or anything. Honestly some of the best asparagus I've had.
-Buns (optional) - John also does buns, but *gasp* I do not. I know, shocking. 

His &Her Plates (I ended up spreading on more goat cheese after this picture lol):
My plate! Bun-free, duh! 
John's man plate.


For Dessert?
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Organic Blueberries
I had a glass of wine with dinner, and that masked the shitty feeling of sickness for a minute, but then it was back, and I realized drinking was a dumb idea. We had a bottle of brandy around for the Flourless Chocolate Cake(s) that John was making... he suggested some of "grandpa's cough medicine" before bed? Tempting, but I passed.

Biju's Flourless Chocolate Cakes. No gluten, low sugar, high fat, high protein. Delicious.
But back to those cakes. Ya, that picture right above looks pretty darn good huh. It was. I promise :) The idea and recipe for these came from Biju The Chef and his recipe in the FeedZone Cookbook. If you don't have the book, and want to recipe, click here (some people have had problems with the link; let me know if you have an issue and I'll send it to you personally). I was texting with Biju earlier in the week about them, and that's when we decided John wanted to be Mr. Chef with this recipe.

Only the best-quality ingredients... ya, that's a big bag o' sugar, but only 1/4 cup for the whole recipe.

Love a man working hard in the kitchen in a "I'm a Betty" shirt ;)

Batch #1. You flip them over when serving. Not sure if the "caving in" is normal,
but doesn't take away from the cake, and maybe you could stuff something in there?
Like bacon? lol

John's chef skills and the cakes did not disappoint. They were amazing, and even healthier than I expected -- go Biju! There's only a quarter cup of sugar in the whole recipe (plus what's in chocolate chips), then a lot of butter and eggs, both of which I love, and that yielded 24 little cakes. They are made in a standard-sized muffin pan, so you can imagine the size; I didn't feel guilty about eating a couple.... ok, so actually it was closer to 3 in one sitting :)

I thoroughly enjoyed watching John get busy in the kitchen, especially wearing his "I'm a Betty" shirt hahahaha!!! In fact he said he liked it too and misses cooking/baking. I think he's inspired to do more of it -- woo hoo! I love my time in the kitchen, but am happy to welcome helpers.

And now it's time to go find some natural remedies to get over this cold asap. Starting with a trip to the farmer's market.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Colorado Trip - The Full Story

I wrote this post on the plane on the way home from Colorado. While writing it, and then again while reading it over just now, I realized how much I enjoy sharing stories of my silly little travels/adventures even if it's not totally triathlon-ish. I may not be doing anything grand like traveling to other continents, and I may share too many minor details that some people probably skim over or don't care about, but whatever. Actually, if you only look at the pictures and don't even read all this, that doesn't even bother me a bit. I enjoy the writing and reminiscing. (If you want the clif notes version, use the subtitles I added for ya to breeze through quickly.) Alright...

~ ~ ~

As I write this, I am chasing the sunset on a plane back to SoCal. What a weekend it was -- an extended weekend, the best kind. It was sort of a random trip. A little business, a little pleasure and a little workin out "torture"/fun.  All totally awesome in my book.

The drive to Lucho's house. Off the main road is an understatement.
I had several people ask why I was even in Colorado in the first place, especially while Colorado's been experiencing abnormally cold and snowy weather. I personally welcomed the snow/cold as a chance to get some real winter weather since it's been rather hot in SoCal lately. But that's not why we went. It actually comes down to two, actually, three guys. It started during a podcast with Biju (of Skratch), and during our a post-interview chat I was hounding him to get some of his home-cookin’ (basically me asking if he'd cook for me if I found me way to his house lol). I was honestly serious about making a trip out, and he was sounding serious about making me authentic Indian curries (my request) if I got my ass out there. Soon after, I mentioned this to Lucho during one of our chats, and without hesitation he said I could stay with his family at their house. At this point I was getting very sold on the idea of making the trip. Then, the third guy who made it all come together was John, who was totally into taking the trip as well. I love traveling with John, so this made me super excited that he could, and wanted to, join. His motivation? Well besides the obvious of spending time with his loving girlfriend (hehehe), the answer is easy: There are like 5 million great breweries in the Boulder/Denver area that he wanted to hit up “for research” -- so, it wasn’t a hard decision for him to justify the trip all. 
Spoiler: Some of John's findings while in Colorado.

Sweet view from The Waggoners' casa!
With that, I knew I had to justify the trip being more than just dinner at Biju's lol. I started brainstorming on other cool things to do, namely, of course, how to involve the podcast. A no-brainer being that I would be with lucho and in a land of many Endurance Planet fans. Before I knew it, our schedule was full. I wasn’t even able to make all the ideas I had into a reality (which means another trip is in store).

We got in Friday and kept it pretty mellow just hanging at Lucho's place, and getting to know his wife, Jo, and kids. What a great family. It felt so cozy and fun being with them from the get go. Played with lots of toys that night. Chatted. Had a great time.


Bright and early Saturday, John, Lucho and I headed to Kompetitive Edge in the Denver area so that I could get a metabolic efficiency test. Now, you ask, why the hell would this sea level girl go a mile high to get this test done?! Makey no sensie. From what I mentioned above, this test was not the reason for going out. That said, one of our awesome EP fans, Dina Griffin, reached out to me after hearing of my trip offering her services to do this test on me. She’s part of Fuel4mance with Bob Seebohar, also coached by Lucho, and a great/smart all-around lady, so I was happy to take up the opportunity. Plus it's only a sub-max test so how hard could it be, right? hehehe.....

I decided to document the whole testing procedure for a video podcast that I'll post on EP, as well. No shame here -- I don't mind if you see my results up close, me running in my out-of-shape condition, and looking like a drown rat on camera after doing the test.... Yup. Super sexy, just wait. We’re releasing the video soon (it's on the shoulders of John the producer currently), but in a nutshell the video covers:
-Dina and I talking all about the concepts of metabolic efficiency for endurance athletes - i.e fat burning vs. carb burning, why it's better to burn fat for as long as possible, this test vs. VO2max test (which I've also done), and what does it all mean
-The test protocol
-Me actually doing the test (done on treadmill; bike option is available)
-Viewing and analyzing graphs that come from doing the test, using my results specifically
-Then going over the results and implications in great detail. Dina also pulled in other great examples of folks who have tested in the lab to show how and why this test and your fat-burning capabilities really make a big difference in your performance. I’ll link to the video once it’s up. Great info.

So, my test results? 
Post test with Lucho and Dina!
Results were good (I burn fat, yay! lol), but quite frankly this test hurt way more than I expected. I really think I suffer in those first hours at altitude (my test was just under 24 hours after arriving). Some people adhere to the idea that it's beneficial to do your workout/training/race immediately once you get to altitude before the effects set in, rather than waiting a few days. It makes sense, physiologically, and that’s what I was hoping for here, but I think I’m finally convinced that doesn't seem to work for me. I've tried that strategy several times, such as the Tahoe training/Big Bear camps last year, and now am convinced it takes me a couple days to feel good, which interestingly is usually not the case for most folks (usually you want to do your workout/race right away or wait for ~2 weeks acclimatization for best results). Travel probably played a role in my feeling cruddy too.

I was also 12 hours fasted for the test (required; not voluntarily). While I wasn't a total grouch, it wasn't "fun" to not have a hot cup of coffee and brekkie in the morning. Dina said some people, namely the big carb eaters and caffeine junkies, can be real duds going into this test, lol. 

For example of how I felt like junk: My current MAF pace at home/sea level, with a HR of ~150-152, is ~8:15-8:30 per mile, even with hills, but on this test on treadmill at 1% incline, my HR was well into the 160s at an 8:30 or sub-8:30 effort. It was abnormally hard on me. But I wasn't overthinking it or upset, and was willing to tough it out. This test was a bonus treat thanks to Dina, and I wanted to use it to help educate everyone about this kind of testing on the podcast. 

Anyway, the altitude didn't totally screw up the test, and the results were legit enough, for sure. I stayed in a primarily fat-burning state (60% or greater fat utilization) until ~7:50 something pace and HR at 177 (holy shit - my HR is never that high at 7:53 pace, ouch!!!). So regardless of the altitude effects, the test showed I am a decent at utilizing fat more than CHO (carbs), and it takes a while before I switch to mainly CHO burning. Even more promising is that I’m also not in great shape at all right now after the long offseason, so I’m sure my metabolic efficiency will just improve as I go deeper into training. What do improvements entail? A faster pace while still mainly utilizing fat as fuel not carbs, and being able to sustain that over long durations. How to improve? Diet... training... diet can be up to 75% responsible for positive results, with training only 25% of the equation.

So that said, despite the hurdles of altitude and lack of fitness, why were my results still decent? You guessed it: DIET. Dina and I both agreed that the way I eat is responsible for keeping me metabolically efficient. Most my meals are rich in healthy fats, quality proteins and not a lot of sugar/bad carbs. Most my carbs come from veggies, including everything from greens to starchier root veggies, some fruit (but not too much), minimal/no grains, and almost never any white/processed carbs or things with gluten. I do eat Bonk Breakers and Skratch on bigger training days, and I do indulge on chips occasionally, or have heartier-carb breakfast when I'm training hard... but those things are not the norm.

As far as the metabolic efficiency test goes, I’ll post more details on this test, what it all really means, etc, on my blog soon, but 3 more points:
1) What questions do YOU have on this test and what it all means? Would love to give answers in a future blog.
2) Everyone should get a test like this done no matter if you're elite or beginner
3) I plan on repeating the same test at sea level back at home soon, just to see the difference that altitude makes on me. I’ll try to keep other variables as consistent as possible too -- like training before the test, fatigue levels, etc. I like being a lab rat ;)


With Jenna-Caer Seefried, who's a
loyal Endurance Planet fan and kickass
After that it was time to hang with the crew and not talk about exercise. If you recall, I quit drinking beer after Kona and have loved it. I notice a huge difference, in a positive sense. My gut likes me when I’m beer-free. But in this case, I was with John and Lucho in beer country, and they were thirsty boys. When in Rome, as they say, right? It’s not like we drank tons, well on Saturday anyway, and in fact we were all sober that day having just some tasters mostly. Still, we certainly made our way through a few breweries in Denver. It was a blast. Jenna-Caer, an EP fan and fast triathlete, met up with us. She’s 26, super cool, and we got along great. Stoked to have a new tri girl friend!

Based on John’s research/list, the breweries we hit up were:

Crooked Stave - A trendy yet “hardcore” place situated in a cool mall-like area called The Source. Rage Against the Machine was playing -- a good sign -- and they had very interesting beers, including some barrel-aged stuff and even *gasp* house-brewed kombuchas on tap -- two flavors in fact! I was ALL over that. They also had the kombuchas mixed with beer. Both were tasty. Even Mr IPA Lucho agreed.

Great Divide - This is a popular beer that you’ll find even outside Denver commonly; I know John gets it from our local WFs. It’s a small place but they do smart things in their brewing which has led to their popularity. Great IPAs. Fresh, crisp, hoppy and tasty. We took the brewery tour. And I even got hit on standing at a table while the guys were grabbing beers. Hil-a-rious.

TRVE - If Rob Zombie opened a brewery, this would be it. Interestingly, they were the only ones who carded, which I wouldn't have guessed, but the funny thing about getting carded is that we all found out Lucho’s ID expired last November (Lucho included on this news), and the bartender chick denied him any booze. Hahaha!!! Beers were ok, not really my style.


Not what I'm used to seeing when I start a run. Bring it!
Thankfully none of us drank too much because Sunday we had big plans. John, Lucho and I bundled up bright and early, again, packed a change of clothes, then met up with a few EP fans -- GZ, Neeraj and Jenna -- for a trail run in Boulder area. The Flatirons Vista trail to be specific. Minus the vista part on this day. It was maybe 18 degrees and TOTALLY socked in with this thick, freezing fog. Couldn't see more than ~25 yards in front. It was surreal, but honestly one of the most memorable and fun runs of my life to date. We ran about 9.2 miles in ~95 minutes (out there for closer to 2hr with some brief stops), and it was simply epic. Yes, I used the cliche word. I’ve never run in snow, let alone on a crazy single-trackish trail covered in snow! Sometimes the snow was shin deep and it was super sketchy with footing, other times it was harder packed and easy to cruise along upon. As Lucho said, it wasn't about pace on this day, it was about effort. For sure. Although, I know GZ/Neeraj/Lucho were going easy lol. We all had a blast, and thanks to John we captured a fun video of the outing; click here for that.

Also a BIG thanks to GZ for bringing along his camera to capture the scene:

My love

All smiles... and
frozen fingers!
If you watch the video you see that “treat” I mention? Well, in case you couldn’t tell, that was part of a spinal cord/sacrum, totally bloody, from likely a dog we think, that was simply spit out of a mountain lion's mouth after his delicious dinner. Ya, it’s the wilderness out there, folks, haha. I felt safe in our group, but at one point this woman and her dog went blazing by in the opposite direction. I recognized her, I thought. Sure enough it was Mary Beth Ellis -- total badass pro triathlete, and that proved it even more!

During that run one thing that kept running through my head was how grateful I am to host the Endurance Planet podcast. It’s allowed me to meet some pretty darn cool people, like on this run... we were all very chatty during the run (it wasn't some hardcore badass tempo deal; way more of a MAF/fun run), and it was so special putting faces to the names I've seen, hearing their stories, learning about their lives. Solid, solid people.

The route we ran, in case you were wondering!


Anyway, it was a great start to the day -- Lucho’s comeback to running! And we ended up staying in Boulder the whole afternoon visiting a few more breweries:
Yup. #avery

Southern Sun - Perfect for post-race brews and lunch! This place feels like a ski lodge that you hitup in between shredding the slopes. Food was decent too -- not just crappy bar food. I got roasted red pepper/feta cheese soup and a salad with avocado, others got burgers which were made with quality local meat, etc. I liked their FYIPA but not the other IPA. It was stout month there, so they had some interesting spins on them, like a coconut stout and even a girl scout cookie stout. A little too artificial for me, but still interesting.
From Twisted Pine.
Excellent spicy beer.

Avery - Love this place, and it's a popular brewery so you'll see their stuff around outside of Colorado. If in Boulder it's a must try for some very unique beers you’ll never get anywhere else, plus they know how to do damn tasty IPAs like The Maharaja (cool names and labels on their brews). The highlight for me was their Gourd beer, a pumpkin pie beer, which was killer amazing. Nothing sucks at Avery, but many beers are very high ABV like 11% up to 18% (wtf!?) so you have to be careful -- they are beers that you sip like a cocktail or wine, and not chug like a corona light.

Twisted Pine - This was the only brewery that Lucho requested specifically, and super cool because they had the best spicy beer I’ve ever tried -- Billy's Chillies. And I would know, as I’ve tried many spicy ones looking for “the perfect one” with legit spice but still tasty. The place was like a cabin, which was cool because at this point it was DUMPING snow outside. Great variety of brews.

As you can see we enjoyed our tasters.

J. Wells - a tiny little brewery off the beaten path that’s very “word of mouth”, with a very homey feel... like being in a giant closet and/or a living room (not really sure haha)... complete with darts! Thanks to Rob and Laurie Timko for taking us there. If you want a feel for what it's like when a home-brewer turns his craft into a real deal business on a budget, this is your place. Beer was great.
J.Wells - this is it when it's crowded. :)
This game quickly got serious when Lucho realized I was capable of beating him.

Whew. That was a day...

We definitely enjoyed ourselves Sunday. And Monday I had quite a bit of work to catch up on -- thank goodness for wifi and my laptop; no cell reception at Lucho's. But shockingly I still got in a legit workout Monday... it just took me until nearly 11 to get going lol. My stomach absolutely was HATING me from the brews, and it made me remember why it wasn’t hard to give up beer. I didn’t care at that point, coming out of beer retirement for the weekend was well worth it. And actually the workout I did went really well. I felt better than during the metabolic test even!

Lucho set me up on his sick road bike, on the trainer, indoors, facing him as he worked. At first, I was like, "OK, fine." But quickly realized that was no bueno, and I moved the workout station to his outdoor deck. Ya it was kinda cold and snowy, but it honestly felt better than overheating inside. It was probably low 30s, so I was fine for 80min doing Z2/Z3 and a handful of max intervals. Toes froze by the end, that was it.
My setup at ~8300ft. How could you NOT want to be riding on the trainer with a view like this?! My workout, in case you care, was a WU, then 4 X 10’ as 3:00 high Z2/2:00 Z3 (going by HR/PE no watts) on ~3:00 recovery, finished with 5 X 30” all out sprints on 1:00 recovery. Easily hit the goals, and in fact that 4th interval was my call; Lucho only prescribed three :)
Better view than inside for sure.

Then Lucho had me brick to a T-run, he joined, and it was basically straight up a 2.62 mile hill from 8300ft starting to 9200ft at the finish. Ouch! But I seriously felt great and loved it. Ya, I was slow (total time 33:50ish), but really pace was the least of my concerns. Again, it was about effort and not eating shit on snow and ice. Plus, Lucho thought I was going to take more than 40min to run up, so I proved that dude wrong lol.
Top of the T run! Unfortunately we couldn't run back down for a reward, as it was too icy, slippery and steep.
And although Lucho is acting like I was superior to him here, he is still in great running shape, don't let him fool you.


Monday night was THE night that had inspired the trip initially. Dinner at Biju’s! Not only is Biju a great chef, he’s a great guy and great host, as is his girlfriend. The whole evening was such a pleasant experience and the food was to-die-for amazing. All of it. Totally worth the trip and effort lol. The Indian food and curries that Biju served were not the kind of dishes that come back to haunt you later. I felt great after his food -- so fresh, clean and superb ingredients/prep. It was a late night for John and I; it took close to an hour to drive back to Lucho’s (from Denver to secluded mountain country). Not that we cared, our bellies were satisfied.

I plan on posting a little video in a separate blog to come soon, but in the meantime, here are a few snap shots of the night’s fare:

New addiction: baked coconut. Nothing added. Better than any chip in the world.
Biju building the perfect plate. To begin:
Cabbage salad, basmati rice, and green beens/coconut as the base layer.

Then adding on a couple curry dishes, omelet thing, and some toppings...

This needs to be a new staple in my home.
Ginger, garlic, onion... and ? Need to find out
the rest, but it's a great dip/topping/anything!
One darn good pot of spicy meat.


Ok, now I'm getting sick of writing this blog, so I'm sure you're sick of reading it -- if you;re even still here. So let's wrap up.

Tuesday was just a short recovery run around Lucho’s hood (aka more hills, more snow, more icy streets and on this day painfully cold freezing wind), then a quick shower and cleanup for a video podcast with Lucho. We had lagged on doing a real podcast since we arrived, but it worked out great as the show ended up being a video recap of the weekend (so a lot of the same stuff you’re reading here but with more life to the stories). And not just that -- we cracked a beer, and even did a freakin' pushup and plank contest per the request of our podcast fans. Hahaha, Who won?!


Warning: It's nearly an hour long with randomness and rambling so maybe leave it on in the background as you work hehe.
Sneak peak of the random sh*t you'll find in the video podcast. That would be Lucho's kiddo, Liv.
This picture makes me laugh so dang hard!!!!
Then to the airport...

I love Colorado, so does John, and who knows maybe one day we'll move there for a while. It's not a crazy thought to me. In the meantime, we're already planning to take another trip back this summer hopefully!

And that puts a close to that trip... time to move on, baby. Back to no beer and sea level workouts, whew.
Lucky to have one cool ass coach.
Even luckier to have this guy. Love him so much.