Fried Plantain Bread with Dates and Chia Seeds

Here is a carb-friendly bread for you runners and endurance junkies out there:

Dry ingredients:
4 c organic whole-wheat flour or gluten-free flour of choice . Plantain flour is available but hard to find in stores.
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 T pumpkin pie spice or ground cardamom
2T chia seeds

Wet ingredients:
2 cups fried plantains (sauteed in some of the coconut oil, yum!)
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
1/2 c maple syrup
1 c pitted dates, processed
1-2 c water (can also use apple cider or fruit juice) may need more or less depending on the type of flour used.

Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix all ingredients together. Batter should be thick. Spoon into loaf pans and bake at 375 for 30 - 45 minutes (or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean). I split my recipe into two small 9" loaf pans filled halfway for smaller serving sizes. Can also be baked in muffin tins for a shorter time. Keep in fridge in a ziploc bag for extended enjoyment. Happy running!

Each 3oz slice equals:
calories: 179
protein: 4g
carbohydrate: 34g
fat: 4g
sugar: 15g


Spring Training

Spring is here! Enjoying the open water swims and running on trails!
I have ditched my Garmin and heart rate monitor and am running by feeling and cadence. My gear is a Timex Ironman stopwatch and the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro.
For strength sessions I use the Gymboss, but the Timex also does intervals.

Swim: 21 miles
Bike: 319 miles + Bike to work miles
Run: 183 miles (less mileage, higher intensity, minimal footwear)

Jan: 3rd place women DSE Fort Mason 5k, completed SFR Point Reyes Lighthouse 200k
Feb: 3rd place masters Kaiser SF 5k, completed SFR Valley Ford-Two Rock 200k
March: 2nd AG Oakland Running Festival 5k

Mon: EZ Run 40min - 1 hr. + TRX
Tues: Swim, speed workout 30 min + dryland exercises
Wed: Run, speed workout - 1-1/2 hr + Spri Xerball
Thurs: Swim, aerobic - 30 min - 1 hr + dryland exercises
Fri: Run, hills and tempo - 1-1/2 hr + TRX stretch or yoga
Sat: Open water swim, bike, hike or rest
Sun: Open water group swim, bike, hike or rest

RW: Run Your Fastest Race with the "Timeless Challenge"


Oakland Running Festival 5k

This weekend I did better at the Oakland Running Festival 5k than I did a couple years ago, by 18 seconds! Chip time 21:17, in top ten females OA, 2nd AG. Breaking 20 minutes is tough and takes a lot of time and patience, but it will happen one day. The last mile on this course is fast, but then there is a hill right before the finish that will zap your desire to make up time on the final sprint (note to self: practice hill sprint). I've been doing weekly speedwork since last November and though the improvements are minor it makes holding the pace at slightly faster speed feel easier. There seemed to be more people signed up this time. Official tally was 2,314 5k runners! Now just imagine doing 5k pace throughout an entire marathon. That's the pace people were winning sub 3:00 marathon times! The relay looks like fun, would like to try that next year. I could probably do the 5k and then the last leg of the relay. It would be easy to hop on 19th Street Station to West Oakland for the exchange. Just putting that out there!

Next up: 10k race and try to 5k PR on a flat course similar to the one I PR'd on before. Laying the speedwork foundation to carry into the summer marathon.


Iron and Blood Donation

It's been over a year that I've been a regular donor at Blood Centers of the Pacific. The first time was on my birthday last year. I'm grateful for my health and glad I can help others in some way. This also motivates me to stay healthy and eat right so I can continue to do so.

My Hemoglobin Levels
Since I became a monthly blood donor, I've been able to monitor my iron levels through the bloodheroes.org website. Iron is important to me as a female endurance athlete because I noticed when it's low I feel more tired. I didn't realize how much running can zap my iron stores, and how effective iron supplementation was until recently when I started taking the supplement. Normally I donate platelets so I'm not losing that many red blood cells through my donation.

I try to eat a varied healthy diet of lots of leafy greens, lentils, an apple a day, whole grains (50% carb diet) and 3 servings of red meat a week, in addition to liver and shellfish and organic tofu. I have six eggs a week (cholesterol is under 150). You know I'm a big fan of green juice! I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs or medications (except caffeine!), and never take NSAIDs. But, last fall I was not able to donate blood because my iron levels were on the border, so I waited almost 4 months. I started taking a slow-release 45mg iron supplement at bedtime for 60 days before my next donation and hemoglobin went up almost two points in January (3rd bar from right). Then I stopped taking the supplement because I thought the levels were sufficient, and my hemoglobin went down again to the lowest ever in February. I resumed supplementation and one month later I'm back up almost one point! It's a quick way to build iron.
Dailymile Running Log
Dailymile All Activities (running, cycling, swimming, fitness)
Lately I have not been running that much, less than 20 miles per week. I've been training for short distance races at high intensity in minimal shoes. I was wondering if switching to barefoot shoes increased my iron loss due to "foot-strike hemolysis", but then I learned it's not just runners who experience exercise-related iron loss, it's all endurance athletes. The correct term is "exertional hemolysis". The second dailymile chart shows all activities and totally corresponds to the drop in iron levels, as activities increased in January and February, and last July when all activities peaked to 153. I also noticed it corresponds to fatigue I had been feeling years ago and reported to my doctor after another high mileage month. I have had blood work done last July to rule out anemia and then recently learned there is another condition called athletic psuedoanemia, which can account for the fatigued feeling. Runners and endurance athletes may need more iron than the average person to maintain a balance to perform. Very informative links below. Over the years, I have become so much more aware about the direct correlation between nutrition, health and performance, and now I realize the importance of recovery. Stay healthy!

Ironing Out the Details

Hemoglobin and Function of Iron

Donors Deferred for Low Hemoglobin 

Take a Closer Look at Your Lab Results

 Ryan's Story


SFR Two Rock - Valley Ford 200k

This was a great ride organized by the SF Randonneurs that takes you up to Sonoma County through rolling pastures and along Tomales Bay. I was waiting to see if the weather was going to be nice to sign up, and it turned out to be an awesome day for riding! 162 cyclists on this one (159 finished). I felt alot stronger on this ride.

The temps ranged from high 40s to high 60s, so for clothing layers I had an under-armor t-shirt, jersey, arm warmers, bike shorts with leg warmers and hi-vis windbreaker. The morning is cool so I didn't start peeling layers off until Fairfax. I like to stop at Coffee Roastery there and get water and use their facilities. I didn't bring any honey stingers this time and instead just had a shot of honey in an espresso americano. Ready for miles of fresh air and countryside!

On the way to Petaluma, I stopped to help someone fix their flat. It was a pretty gnarly puncture, I wish I had taken a picture of it. It looked like a giant staple went through her tire, and we patched the tire up too. There seemed to be a lot of roadkill out there, rabbit and skunks and identifiable creatures. At one point I rolled over a spinal cord of something and gladly didn't puncture my tire.

I rode in the back and played tag with the tandems, but did run into lots of riders at the stops. Since I'm slow I usually don't expect to see anyone else. I tried not to spend too much time at the pit stops, just get water and go, and eat on the bike. This time I had brought some oatcakes, black bean and avocado burritos and roasted potatoes that I had made. At the control points I purchased water and wrote the time of arrival on the receipts as proof. Many of the timestamps on the receipts were off.

There was a nice headwind as we were coming from Petaluma into Valley Ford, so I tried to stay down in the drops. I didn't really get bored on the ride because the rolling terrain keeps you changing your position and workout.  Getting off the bike every 2 hrs also helps. The downhills were fun, I was clocking up to 30mph! I tried to hang out in harder gears this time and remember to keep doing little stretches and change it up. I felt like I had energy but once I got back to Fairfax, I was ready to take it easy for the rest of the ride. I noticed that once I hit 100 miles, I start feeling done. The time on the road seemed to pass pretty quickly, and it was very enjoyable. It's like dreamtime, with beautiful scenery scrolling past. It was so nice! I'm looking forward to more rides in the Spring. It would be fun to do a casual ride here and do a Cheese Tour.

125.7 miles
12 1/2 hours
SF to Petaluma = approx 4 hrs (to Fairfax 2 hrs)
Petaluma to Valley Ford = approx 2 hrs
Valley Ford to Point Reyes = approx 2 1/2 hrs
Point Reyes to Fairfax = approx 2 hrs
Fairfax to SF = approx 2 hrs

Food: 3 oatcakes, 2 baby burritos, 1 cup roasted potatoes (with salt), 1 cup of dates and trail mix, 9 bottles of water (including 2 caffe latte perpetuems, 1 heed, 1 bottle emergen-c)

Post ride soreness in the knees, arms, hands, and a bit of dehydration. The next day I tried to swim in the bay, but wasn't up for any cardio or strength workout. Had a hard time catching my breath. The cool water felt really great!
Did some biking around town doing errands.