Gearing up for the Grizzly Peak Century!

East Bay Ride
View from Grizzly Peak Blvd.

This weekend I aimed to prep for next week's Grizzly Peak Century by riding most of the course. I did the Pinehurst - Grizzly Peak Loop and the North Loop. I am planning on doing the car-free start so I will miss the first part, but will have tucked away some miles and climbing in just getting to Tilden. At first I was worried about doing this ride unsupported, but there are plenty of restrooms and water stops: Sibley Visitor Center on Skyline, on Wildcat Canyon Rd. in Tilden at the Island Picnic Area, Pinole, and in Briones at the Archery Range. The Orinda BART has a nice big restroom that you can pull your bike into it and a water fountain. My last water stop was at East Bay Coffee in Pinole and that got me to the end of the ride.

 My Strava

Against my better judgement, I had a bulletproof coffee in the morning. I wasn't quite feeling it, so had another 2 cups while getting my bike packed. When I was sitting on BART, it really started to hit me and I had the most uncomfortable caffeine anxiety buzz while trying to sit still on the train. I think I'll stick to green tea!

East Bay Ride
Get ready to fly down San Pablo Dam Road

It had just rained so there was a lot of debris that had washed out into the roadway; wet leaves, branches, twigs, grit and gravel. I had to stop at one point and unclog my fork of wet leaves that had got packed in there. It was a bit chilly, and I had almost wished I brought the long pants. I think I will stick to the leg warmers that I can peel off because it did get pretty hot later in the afternoon on the Bears. All the climbs were manageable, with some really fun descents. Expect to work. I think the worst is Mc Ewen! It is a sudden change in grade and is pretty steep! The first part is 12% grade according to Strava.

Snacks at East Bay Coffee in Pinole

I finished the 75.8 mile ride in leisurely time of 7:43 (moving time 6:18) with a bagel lunch stop at East Bay Coffee and felt pretty strong, so I think I can survive adding the south loop. I used Osmo, Hammer Perpetuem, and then an S.O.S. as post-ride recovery. I ate Bullet Proof Coffee for breakfast (my bad), 2 packs of Clif shot blocks, half a peanut butter and banana sandwich, a bagel with cream cheese, OJ, and a Rip Van Wafel for lunch. I'm looking forward to all the good rest-stop food at the GPC!


Cinderella Challenge 2015

Cinderella Challenge 2015
It's been a while since I did the Cinderella ride, it is such a nice one! I just wanted to go out for a day on my bike, and this was the perfect bike therapy. I even got a good climb in on the Challenge Route, which I needed to do to get ready for Grizzly Peak Century. I did 3 loops of Hawk Hill - Marin Headlands loop to prepare, plus spinning. I have already done a couple long rides in the winter, so distance is not a problem.

86 miles,  7:27 moving time, 8:28 elapsed time.

I started the ride at 8am after taking BART to end of the line at Dublin/Pleasanton. The ride is a pretty packed parade of princesses, so we were riding at a mellow pace. Even with that, I barely made the cutoff time to do the challenge route.  Here's a clip of my favorite part: the descent on Patterson Pass Road.

It was a hot day, so I brought along some extra S.O.S. I loved the route, the vibe, and great support of the ride! I saw the SAG vehicles often and the course is well marked with pink arrows and lots of other cyclists to follow so not to worry about getting lost. Just have a great time!

The expo was well stocked with cute clothing, jewelry and accessories. I purchased a nifty bike stand from Stand4Cure.

Ride notes: 
  • I had my Speedfil tank (equivalent of 2 bike bottles) plus one extra insulated bottle for electrolytes and carb drinks. I made sure to start the electrolytes 2 hours into the ride before the climbs
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal and banana with tea
  • Check-in: Quarter bagel with peanut butter and a coffee
  • To first rest stop: 1 pack of shot blocks, 3 bottles of water
  • First rest stop: 1 small Luna Bar and Chocolate Bread! Layers come off
  • To second rest stop (lunch): 2 SOS (there is water refill after the first descent on the challenge route) 1 pack of shot blocks, Granola bar (carb up before the climb), 3 bottles of water
  • Lunch at 2nd rest stop: pasta with pickles, bread and cream cheese, with chocolate chip cookies and m&ms for dessert, refill 2 bottles of water
  • To 3rd rest stop: 1 Hammer Perpetuem drink (orange flavor), Lemon drop
  • 3rd rest stop: Ice cold lemonade and pretzels! Top off tank with 1 bottle of ice water
  • Finish: Hot minestrone soup, veggie wrap, Hammer Recoverite drink, cookies and tea
  • Diligent sunscreen application
  • Things I would bring next time: I had a Limefuel battery pack but forgot charger cable and backpack battery for GoPro, UV protecting arm covers, & eye drops!

Cinderella Challenge 2015


Spring Training

Spring is here, and with that comes a lot of changes and personal challenges. I've been finding peace running on trails in the Presidio. I decided to mix it up a bit and put some rides on the calendar. I look forward to spending alot of time on my bike.

RunningSpinningRunningSpinningRestLong RideSwim



Raw Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites

Raw Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites
2 cups toasted okara from organic soybeans
2 cups Farm Fresh To You trail mix
1 cup peanut butter (slightly melted)
1 cup ground flax seeds
Honey and maple syrup to taste
3/4 - 1 cup liquid (water or juice)

Mix and let absorb
Then add 1/2 c coconut oil

I also couldn't resist adding some sesame seeds and shredded coconut!
Spread into a pan like brownies and let cool in the fridge for half an hour.
Cut into squares or bars. Enjoy!


Oakland Running Festival Run the Town Challenge

This weekend, I did the We Run the Town Challenge at the Oakland Running Festival. It allows you to do both the 5k and Half-Marathon race the same morning, if you are so inclined. I had never done anything like this before, but I always felt like I had a little energy after the 5k. I had done the half-marathon in the past so why not? I had been training for the 5k, so my plan was to go ahead and go all out on that, and then do the half-marathon as an LSD training run. Well, it turned out to be the hardest half-marathon ever! It felt almost as hard as trying to do the whole marathon. I guess that is why they call it a Challenge, and we like challenges.

The 5k was fast, I did in 21:08, which is a PR, and 9 seconds faster than last year. Last PR was on the DSE St. Patrick's Day 5k in 2012. My max HR on this was 182, compared to Kaiser 5k 6 weeks ago which was 197. I made sure to do a 15 minute warmup with a few strides 30 minutes before. I was running comfortably hard and it felt a lot more on the comfortable side. I was holding myself back in the beginning, but maybe a little too much. I was flying downhill on the first half mile and thought I was going too fast. Technically, it is wise not to go out to fast, but it is also possible to use some downhill to your advantage. I should not have looked at my Garmin. Next time I would go ahead and use these little downhills to gain a few seconds because that is only time you are going to find these free seconds. It took me several attempts at this course to finally learn this. There were lots of kids Running for a Better Oakland out there, which was inspiring. I was running through the finish line with them.

I had an hour between races so I got my bag out of bag check and put my jacket back on so I wouldn't get too cold. Then I drank some electrolytes (S.O.S.) and liquid carbs (Hammer Perpetuem) and mingled at the finish line. I did not see my 5k results, which freaked me out, but now I realize it's probably because I was entered in a different race and they didn't want to confuse them. Pretty soon it was time to start Part II. The half-marathon was pretty packed. I lined up with the 10 minute milers and got mentally prepared to keep running and finish. Felt pretty good in the beginning. Those 9:30 minute miles feel alot better than 7 minute miles. I stopped at every aid station and took everything that was offered. Kept downing electrolytes and energy gels, whatever I could to feed my legs. My favorite aid station was the Brown Sugar Kitchen. They had the most delicious energy bars! Had to really focus on the second half to keep going, since I felt like I was running on fumes, but I'm glad I got to enjoy the longer course. My favorite part is the home stretch as you enter Lake Merritt. There was a blind runner that was nearing the finish, and that was another inspiring moment. I had definitely slowed down at the end, but took time to enjoy the scenery and soak up the vibe. The feeling of crossing the finish line for the second time, that was awesome! Did the half in about 2:13:38, Total WRTTC Finish time: 2:34:46! They have a great cheering squad turnout and lots of music to keep you going, and groovin' live music at the end. I had no interest in the alcohol tent or the non-alcohol tent so I skipped all that and went straight for my Recoverite. In the end I came in third in the 5k portion of the Town Challenge race, and that is overall. Turns out there were only 1 male and female in the Masters 5k, a pretty small field.

Training-wise I put in a little more mileage in the weeks leading up to the race with a few more longer runs and I think that helped. Also, a weekly run up and down my favorite hill, Divisadero. I bus/biked to the race as always. The BART on the way back was so packed though, I'm considering a bike ride to Jack London Square ferry next time, grabbing lunch there on the way out. Would I do the We Run the Town Challenge again? I would, it is hard to do though. I could have been satisfied with the hard and fast 5k that I had been training for, but I embraced a larger challenge with the satisfaction of running more miles and enjoying the longer course, and a little more strength in my legs to carry me to the next run.

My ORF History:
2012: 21:47 5k
2013: (Did the Half-Marathon in 2:04)
2014: 21:17 5k
2015: 21:08 5k, We Run The Town 2:34:46