Monday, May 5, 2014

Training Camp, OC Half, and Duck Fat Fries

It's probably pretty obvious that the busier I get the less I blog. I don't even know when I last blogged so I'll just pick up with what's going on as of late. It's been a rollercoaster of all sorts! Typical haha.

Cheers to Sunday Runday fun! Dream come true to see my sister getting into the races and loving it these days.

A week or so ago I held a small training camp with some of my athletes and we basically hit it hard. Three of us are training for Eagleman 70.3 (flat) yet somehow our days were packed with hills. I don't mind that, I love the hills. My mom, who's training for IMC (Whistler) especially loved it ;) The original plan was to have Day 2 of training camp start with the Huntington Beach Sprint Triathlon (which I won last year!), but this crazy ass storm rolled through at just the wrong time, which led the RD and lifeguards to cancel the race that morning. I firmly believe it was the right decision on their part. I took one look at the ocean and wind that morning and was like, "no way." I could have bet money that they'd cancel it. It just wasn't safe out there.

My athlete Damon and I in SD. He came out from the East Coast for the camp. It's funny to know someone so well for so many years but not know them in person.

So what else to do Saturday? A smashing swim and leading my peeps on my "best of Laguna Beach" run (they may have not agreed on "the best" part, it was a toughie, lol). Naps followed. That evening we drove to my parents place in Carlsbad, where we spent the next couple days going for it. We rode the Elfin Forest/Del Dios/Coast loop two days in a row, different directions each day. It's hard to say which was was harder. Each day was 50 miles +/- a few (100+ total) and more than 3,000 ft elevation gain each day. Plus, I made us do T runs off the bike both days as well. The first T-run was hilly as heck out in the hills near the C-bad pad, and the second T-run was coastal from Encinitas to Solana and back. Since my mom is Ms. Nytro these days (that's her bike shop and where she got her P3), the guys there kindly let us store our bikes in the shop while we ran an ~hour, then we got a ride home. Both tough days and solid efforts to say the least, with perfect weather. Whew.

Bike route in SD. Love it.

Crusin the coast on my IA, so in love with this bike. Still working on some things but it is better than I even anticipated.

Training camp casualty.
After all that I think we were pretty cooked to the point where we were saying weird shit (while sober fyi haha) because our brains were mush. Somehow the topic of duck fat fries came up earlier in the week -- cause ya know that happens sometimes in life haha -- so I had us hit up the crowbar and kitchen back in OC, for our last night (Monday), which is famous for duck fat fries and great beers on tap or bottled (they almost always have fresh Pliny for example). We enjoyed two huge servings of sweet potato duck fat fries. It was just three people at that point, and those fries were basically inhaled along with all the other good things that were ordered. Ya gotten loosen the reigns after all that hard work even if it's not "the best" for proper recovery.

The infamous duck fat sweet potato fries. oh my, I ate many.

Monday night when we were loaded up on fries and a couple drinks, John and I made the genius decision to get in on the OC Half Marathon the following Sunday. I knew it'd be a race on tired legs, but why not. I had a few more hard key workouts that week still to get through by Friday, and then an easy day Saturday before the run.

In fact, tangent: Saturday the weather was absolutely gorgeous and the ocean was beautiful beyond words -- it's not always that inviting but in this case the water was calling my name. No one was around to hang with me on a spur-of-the-moment swim so I did something I've never done before: a solo ocean swim! It was pure bliss and I'm so glad I did it. It wasn't a hard session or anything, just a mile of enjoyment, ignoring "time" and feeling the water. For much of the outing, I felt like I was swimming/snorkeling in hawaii; the clarity, the sights and colors were incredible. I purposely swam over reefs and kelp beds to take in the underwater views.

John and I did a hard run wednesday to preview the OC course in 90+ degree heat and extreme wind.
To give an idea of the heat wave, this candle on our patio melted (and not in the traditional sense).

Then Sunday. OC Half Marathon. My race report in one word: Meh. 

Haha! Who's genius idea was it to race a half on totally wrecked legs?! Clearly Saturday was not enough to "recover" for a PR run -- ya in my mind I had this plan that I'd PR, which meant averaging sub-7:10 pace overall. But heck I got over that as you'll read. It wasn't a stressful morning at all even with those thoughts of trying to PR. Running races never stress me out. In fact, John and I were in great spirits despite the alarm going off at 4 something. It was a morning full of laughs and silly comments... man I love that. I was especially excited because my sister and other athletes of mine were also running. The run started at 6:15 (the full marathon starts at 5:15!). Early start because you're talking about closing some major roads in a very busy coastal area on a weekend; I can't even imagine how much the permits for that cost even at those early hours. But when you have well over 20k runners entered to run at $100+ a pop, I guess that helps with those fees. The early start was also good weather-wise. The heat wave was still lingering, and it was hot even by the time I finished at 7-something.

Views on the OC Marathon/Half course. No, of course this photo isn't enhanced!

So like I said, my "race" went out the window pretty quickly and I had to reevaluate the goal. After about ~6 miles of pain, I knew I was digging myself into a rut for a race that wasn't worth it and not part of the "big plan" so I scaled back the intensity and just enjoyed it as to not totally wreck myself and delay training for what that matters right now (70.3 prep). Don't get me wrong, my whole run still hurt like a biatch and that's not the easiest course, but from mile ~6-7 on, I was not racing, I was just running. And that was ok with me. I wasn't a total dud and nor having a shitty time, no way! John said I was chatty. Guilty!!!! Haha. At one point I was chatting with some dudes about hokas (I had on my new Conquests), then we got this huge wiff of pot (the ganja, mary jane, ya know what I'm saying) in the baller neighborhoods of Corona Del Mar, and we were joking that it was me and I was "stashing that stuff" in my giant hokas... hahaha... Then also for a while I was running with John (before he broke away) and even kindly offered him my honey/flask fuel knowing my race was going downhill quickly and his wasn't, but he didn't take it.

Speaking of fuel. I ran hard enough to feel the need to fuel for the 1:42-1:43 (and 13.26 miles) I was out there, and I opted to further test my honey+water in a gel flask. Worked like a charm... except for that first sip when I grabbed the nozzle with my teeth and it ripped off again just like it did in my last race -- F! Forgot to get a new flask to avoid that. Of course it happened on mile 2 during a downhill and I forced myself to slow up to fix the flask just so I had the option for calories; with the early start I hadn't eaten much breakfast.

Anyway, my run ended up just being a fun morning and time to reflect on all the races I've done in the past 7 years. I can't believe I've been racing triathlons and related events for MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS at this point. I counted: I've toed the line in more than 60 races to date from triathlons to running races to mountain bike races. Oddly my first-ever race was a 10k trail race at Lake Hodges early 2007, which we had just ridden by, twice, the weekend prior -- but I hadn't been there since. It was fun to think back to those early days. Wow! I am thinking I'll have to mix it up soon with some other stuff too. Or at least start surfing more again. Ha.

The best part of the morning was how my peeps did. Screw my race; it was more fun for me to see John run away from me and beat me (his first time doing so!), and for my sister Karlee to PR and complete her Beach Cities Half-Marathon trifecta and get a special medal (you have to do Long Beach, Surf City and OC halves back to back, so cool!). Karlee is the champion of the family lately -- that girl is on FIRE with fitness and she has the world's best attitude. So inspiring...and so much love and happiness being able to guide her. NExt weekend she'll finally get to do her first triathlon (she was going to do HB but we know how that ended now).
Post race hanging with the fam and super sherpa, Dad! Love him!

And I love this guy more than words can describe.


  1. LOVE the attitude and you guys are so darn cute!! :) xoxo

  2. I love duck fat fries. I can't remember where I had them, but they were tasty.