Sunday, March 28, 2010

Action Packed weekend

This weekend was simply awesome! The triathlon season kicked off here in Oceanside with the Cali70.3 (I think this is the first year I haven't referred to it as Ralphs...those were the days!). Not only did I have friends coming to town for that, but others are in SD for work trips. I have been a busy, but very happy girl. Nothing makes me happier than quality time with good friends!!!

Friday featured a kick ass workout with Sierra, who was down from Pasadena. Our workouts aligned perfectly, and we killed it! We got in a long ride, then I hammered out an awesome 60min t-run (I kept telling myself it would be over quicker if I just ran faster. Sadly, a 60min run is a 60min run...but the mental game worked). Then I headed to the pool on my way up to Oceanside to visit those in town for the triathlon expo.  Solid day of training indeed.
I wondered if I'd wish I was racing once I got up to the expo. Answer= NO! I've done this race enough, and was happy to take a break from it this year. But I did love seeing those familiar "Ironman faces." Seriously I have friends that live in San Diego that I never see unless we're at a triathlon (Jayme....what?!?!?!).
 I had a chance to meet with the TYR crew, and it is official- I'm a TYR chic. I couldn't be more excited about this sponsorship. Seriously, it's like a childhood friend is back in my life. I grew up on TYR swimwear and am ecstatic to be part of their effort to increase their presence in the sport of triathlon. My roots are in swimming, and now my heart is in triathlon. The match is perfect!
Ya, that trucker hat is only the beginning of their HOT HOT HOT triathlon line. Seriously, this stuff has to be awesome because it's even motivated me to schedule an ocean swim tomorrow (thankfully the water temp is about 8 degrees warmer than it typically is around this time of yr). There will be NO excuses for not performing up to my potential in open water swims this season!

From there it was off to happy hour. After a long day of training & socializing I realized I hadn't eaten nearly enough to get me through the day. This lead to me consuming a hamburger for the first time in over 6 years. Seriously good...but I'm probably good for another 6yrs now.
Since I wasn't racing Sat I jumped on the opportunity to volunteer with the Ironman live crew.
                                                 Andrew and I in the media trailer pre-race.
                                              It's 5am and we're ready  to get this party started!

I was out on the bike and run course following and spotting for the women's pro race. It was a blast...and quite inspiring! Those girls worked hard! Unlike the age group race, the pro's aren't surrounded by...well, anything! Every once in a while they would clump up but for the most part they rode and worked solo, and didn't have many other competitors in sight. Their strength must come from within! I wish I could of snapped some pics, but there was plenty to do every time they flew by me!
Once the pro's were done it was time to cheer my friends into the finish line. Awesome racing to all who threw down yesterday!! Once again I learned it is more exhausting to spectate or work the race than to race it. Seriously, it takes a village to put on these races for us! So always make sure to thank a volunteer (or 10)!

That was my weekend in a nutshell. Thankfully it isn't over yet- more people to see, places to go and things to do!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Swim, Bike, Run, EAT!

I'm a big fan of all things protein: chicken, steak, pork, sushi,...and tofu. When it comes to tofu the best can be found on the salad bars at your local Whole Foods or other health food stores. This texture, taste, and firmness is something I've struggled to replicate.
Enter, Trader Joe's! They now sell an organic tofu that actually cooks up to taste just just as good (if not better) than the Jimbo's/Whole Foods version. (It's in the cheese section)
Cut the large block in half (the long way to make it thinner). Wrap each half in a few layers of paper towel, and put back in the fridge for a few hours. The paper towel absorbs the excess water, causing it to dry out and become more crispy when baked.
Cut into small cubes, add your favorite marinade, and bake. I use my toaster oven-faster and works better. Bake at 400 for about 15mins, turn over and bake another 15mins or until baked to your liking. Add to a huge plate of veggies and enjoy!
This weekend I enjoyed a lot of swimbikerun! Saturday's workout didn't look that long on paper, but it wiped me out.First it was off to master, then I jumped on the bike for some hard efforts. (Sad news for those of u racing Cali- it was cold when I started biking with wet hair at 7:30). Why swim/bike unless you're going to run after? Right?!?!? So I jumped on the treadmill for a hard t-run. It took a lot of mental games to get me through that one!
Today I was thankful for to enjoy amazingly awesome company for my long run. Thank you Lauren! It was actually harder than most of my long runs to this point. My legs were simply fried (perhaps from my tour 'de San Diego earlier this week? See previous post). But together we ticked off the minutes and miles- just over 15 to be exact. When I finished the run I was famished. With 30mins to go I began dreaming of breakfast - which takes me back to topic #1: FOOD! One of my favorite treats if "the muffin." Not just any muffin, but a hearty, jam packed, heavy, yummy muffin. I haven't made these in a while, so it was such a treat.
3/4C Whole wheat flour
1/2C white flour
1/2 C oats
3/4 ground flax seeds
3/4 oat bran
1/2 C brown sugar
 2tsp baking soda
 1tsp baking powder
 1t salt
 2T cinnamon (I double this)
1T nutmeg
1/3 C unsweetened coconut
Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl combine:
2 eggs, or 4 egg whites (beaten)
1/4 C agave sweetener
1/4 C agave maple syrup (they have it at Trader Joes)
3/4 C milk (I used almond milk this time, but either works)
1t vanilla
1T coconut oil
2T apple sauce

Slowly mix wet ingredients into dry. Mix fruit into a separate bowl. This time I used blueberries (1C), strawberries (cut into small pieces) (1C), shredded carrots (1C), and 1C spiced chunky apple sauce from Trader Joes (or a diced apple works too. but the chunky apple sauce adds great spice/flavor and moistness to the muffins). Slowly fold fruit into the muffin mix. Grease muffin tins. Sprinkle with raw shredded almonds. Bake at 350 for 25mins (for large muffin tins), or until fully cooked.

I savored every bite (and then quickly shared with friends so I wouldn't eat them all in one day).
Have fun making your next workout count, and enjoying the benefits of healthy eating thereafter!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brighten up

Life isn't always full of roses and sun shine. But when things get tough it sure does help to have the sun and flowers there to brighten my day!
We've been graced with some amazing summer-like weather this week!  When life became rough and tough I knew there was only one way to deal. I grabbed that awesome new ride of mine, and together we rolled around town for hours on end. I abandoned any idea of a workout, and simply sought therapy. We cried together, yelled together, got mad together...but after many hours and many miles, together we smiled! Which has me considering naming the new Cervelo Laule'a.  It means happiness in Hawaiian. Man, I'm lucky to have fitness and health in my life!
Here are a few other things that made me happy this week:

Growing up, palm trees were a symbol of vacation for my family. We took countless vacations to Florida, and always said vacation started with the first palm tree sighting. Now I live amongst them, and that makes me very happy!
With 80 degree temps this week I took advantage of a few free ice baths (ocean vs. buying $15 worth of ice). How can you be unhappy with your feet are on the beach!
Although the air was warm, the water is still quite cold. Perfect for an ice bath!
 Buying local, yummy produce makes me very very happy!
Wishing you a weekend full of adventure and happiness!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

and they said it was flat and fast!

If 1,500+ft of elevation gain in 10 miles is flat I'd love to see hilly.  By Tuesday my calfs felt like I ran two back to back marathons over the weekend. Looks like I'm pretty focused on my footing, climbing, and feeling the pain:

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

XTerra virgin no more

I've heard so many positive things about the XTERRA trail run series that I wanted to get a few of their races on the calendar this year. Sadly, the last two attempts failed due to the races being postponed due to intense rain. The morning temperatures were quite frigid until the sun rose over the mountain (and the 4:30 wake up alarm wasn't fun either. Darn day light savings). 
The course wound its way around the mountain. I live 10 minutes from here, but have never run these trails. They are gnarly, steep, winding, and due to the rain very rocky, rutted, and grown over with nice thorn bushes. We even enjoyed a few water crossings, thanks to the rain. The race was a blast!
I thought this ankle injury was behind me. However it came back with a vengeance yesterday. Every steep downhill (and there were many) resulted in an intense burning pain. I didn't care about my time or place, but do care about putting this "injury" behind me. It was frustrating, but I tried not to let the discomfort get to me. The run was about adding a little fun into the training regimen. And we did just that!
Kristin, Tawnee, Me, and Tati pre-prace.
Everyone raced really well. In true triathlete form we gathered at the finish to run back into the trails to add on a few more miles. People looked at us like we were nuts. The morning was a success- 16 miles, just over 2 hours, with 9.82 solid tempo miles squeezed in the middle (the race was suppose to be a 15k, but before the gun went off we were warned it was closer to 10mi. It's XTerra, you have to know 15k is just an estimate. love it!).
After refueling I was ready to get back outside and enjoy more of the beautiful day.  I arrived at the pool for an easy 2k. Clearly I didn't get the memo. Kate and posse were there hammering out 12x400. Patrick was there after racing solid this morning- 2nd overall- and just missed the win. This daddy to be inspires me! I joined in for a good portion of their set, and after 4k called it quits. I love living in San Diego. There is always someone willing to train with you, and when you can't find someone just get out there and start rolling and you're sure to come across some great company. 
Sun shinning, mid 70 degree temps, beautiful trails & water, great friends... It was an enjoyable day to say the least.
If you get a chance to race one of the XTerra trail races I highly recommend it! Low key, fun, beautiful scenery, challenging courses, great people, and starbucks coffee waiting for you at the finish! Thanks to GU for providing the race hydration!
Goodnight from SUNNY San Diego

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Numbers Don't Lie

Last week my body was ready for a solid recovery. The hours of training have increased, and my body was feeling the effects. Like so many type A triathletes, the easy weeks are really tough for me. I don't sit still very well! It's either go go go, or sleep sleep sleep. But with a few weeks of 20+ hours of solid training the numbers don't lie. Time to sit, soak in the effects, and hopefully reap the benefits.

Monday's swim workout was solid. But I'm not sure I'd know it because I was asleep for the first 50minutes. After 6 x 300 I finally woke up, and made sure to yell out a solid "Good Morning!!" to my lane mates to let them know I had just joined the party.
By Tuesday I had a good one on tap. First up: jump on the trainer. After a solid warm up I started into 50mins worth of intervals. I prescribed certain cadence and heart rates to each effort. My vision was locked on the numbers! I blasted some techno tues from and just told myself to hold on. My teeth were grinding, and by the end I was yelling out loud to myself. Any drop of the HR and I wouldn't be satisfied. It hurt! I held on! I wanted to close my eyes, as if it would take some of the pain away from my quads. But instead I focused on my goal for the workout and didn't let the numbers slip below my target.

From there is was straight into the running shoes for 3mile tempo off the bike. Awww, yes. That was fun. NOW... REPEAT! seriously, OUCH! Solid work indeed. During the second run I tried to make it further than I did in the first. Oh the games we play. I think getting in these kind of workouts solo gives me the right to not one, but two pats on the back (pat on the back: overrated. Instead I deemed it appropriate to visit Reward Land that evening - aka, Golden Spoon).

The numbers didn't lie on Wednesday either. I jumped in with about 30 swami's characters and tried to hold on once again. My HR sky rocketed (good sign that the recovery week worked), and my legs burned. I was determined to hold on longer than previous weeks, and I did. Sadly, no Golden Spoon trips, or pats on the back for this effort. It was still quite pathetic, and reminded me that my bike fitness is still a work in progress. Man the those guys inspire me! I'll be back!

Yesterday the numbers surprised me. I was off to the track to meet my favorite mile repeat partner! This was my second go-round with this workout this year, so I had a bit more of an idea what I could hold. I started out too fast, or so I thought. Turns out, I held sub 6:15 for the duration of 8 wonderful mile repeats (with a bonus mile at a solid, but slightly less peppy pace). Seriously!?!?! I've been working hard to change a few things about my running form. Over the past few weeks it's left me more sore than usual, uncomfortable in my own shoes, and questing whether making these changes was worth it. But the numbers don't lie! Personal best for this workout- I'll take it!

There are so many training tools available to us. When in a recovery phase heart rate is a great tool! Watch to see if your HR recovers between sets or workouts. Watch your resting HR. And the best tool during a recovery phase: listening to how your body feels. That way when it's time to hit it hard again you can use the your speed, power and heart rate numbers to make you push harder and dig deeper!

Happy Training from San Diego!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh The Places You'll Go

It is really hard to move on from the topic of my last post. It's hard to change gears and follow that up with an entry about my journeys as a triathlete. I struggled to hit the trails again, but in Chelsea's honor I did so yesterday.
Chelsea's story hit me more than any other child abduction has. I think being a part of the search, and volunteer efforts to bring Chelsea home, hit me in a way I can't explain. It was such an honor to help the beautiful King family. You certainly didn't have to know this beautiful girl to have been moved by what has happened to her!
So I wanted to share one more thought on this topic. I leave you with a poem Chelsea's mom read in an interview. Chelsea was getting ready to leave for college next year. She wrote this poem (based on the Dr. Suez, Oh The Places You'll Go) for a scholarship application. My parents gave me this book when I graduated from high school, so it was so beautiful to listen to her mother read. Reading it in print doesn't do it justice, but...

My Great Balancing Act - by Chelsea King

Oh the places I’ll go, I know certainly not.
I know though, I know that wherever I go I’ll learn a great many things.
Not just about history or math, but in fact about the great balancing act.
I’ll travel great distance, I might just find myself far from home.
But nevertheless, find myself I will.
And thus I will go and continue to grow

…(portion omitted)
For I am myself and this will not change.
Today is my day.
My mountain is waiting,
And I’m on my way.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Praying and Searching

Words can't describe the immense illness people here in San Diego are feeling. If you haven't heard, a young 17 year old teenager went missing while out for a short run last Thursday. Chelsea King is a senior at Poway High School, and a member of the school's cross country team. She went running on a trail I've been on countless times, and didn't return that evening. (DNA has been obtained linking her disappearance to a registered sex offender who has since been arrested).

Today I had to do something! I use to work out in the Poway area, and run on those trails quite often. In fact, after an awesome ride up Mt. Palomar this past Friday I hit the trails to get in a t-run. I had no idea of the horrifying incident that took place the day before. Instead I listened to my ipod, and ran anomalously around the countless trails in the area. I thought about how pretty it was out there. I thought about how many times I've run out there, but every time I find a new trail to explore. Had I known Chelsea's story, at that time, I would have kept running and running, and searching and searching!
The news stories continue, so today I had to try to help. I went to the help center that has been set up in Rancho Bernado. Cars were backed up for miles. People wanted to help in any way they could. When I worked out that way I always thought the community there was tight-knit in a way the coastal communities aren't. I guess I saw how they reacted to the devastating fires a few years back. And today they pulled together for one beautiful girl. For one family dealing with a pain I can't imagine! They sent many of us away and asked us to call back and return in the afternoon. When I called they said they had plenty of people for the search teams going out at 3pm. The search is well organized, so I just hope and pray that it's successful. We all too often see these heart wrenching stories on the evening news. But this is in our news! This is in our community! This was one of our young athletes! I pray she is found alive, but if not I will return again tomorrow morning either to join an official search team or to run and run with my eyes wide open!
Here are a few images of the amazing community support, and a beautiful girl we all want to bring home to her parents!!!

Safe running to all. And please say a prayer for Chelsea's safe return!