Bicycle Tour the Steeps of SF

I'm glad this appeared in my Google alerts, as it can be difficult to scan all the events pages to see what rides are happening. SFBC member-volunteer Sindy Cho put together a fun Steeps of SF Ride! Mike and I were looking for something fun and social, and this fit the bill.

I had done one of these a long time ago on different hills and on my mountain bike. My mountain bike was stolen, so I thought my road bike might work. I soon realized that my road bike was not well-suited to super steep hill climbing because of the inability to do sharp turns on the switchbacks. There is not much space between the wheel and pedal. I borrowed another rider bike for some of the climbs and found it to be perfect. Louis had a Trek that had the perfect geometry:

The route took us to the City College area. I kind of tagged along for the ride and did what I could and got some footage. We made a nice pit stop at the Alemany Farmers' Market for fresh organic fruit snacks

Well, at least I made it partway up the hill before putting a foot down!

Awesome views!

The Steep Riders! Photo by SFBC Events Planner Bonnie Walton
In the video you will see my friend Mike championing the hills. This year he has started biking to work on a regular basis and leaving his car at home. He realized it would save him money and stress, and now he bikes at least 50 miles a week and is in really great shape!


Santa Cruz Rough Water

After the marathon, I spent a whole week of recovery not running but swimming at Aquatic Park to get ready for the Santa Cruz Rough Water 1 mile swim. The water has been unusually warm this Summer, around 63°F at the flag and reported high of 67° F in Monterey Bay. No wetsuit needed. There I met up with our swim group, Water World Swim. Four of our youth swimmers won awards, and our coaches had really fast times. I was not in the best swim shape and I'm pretty sure I came in last, but it was a lot of fun and I did better than I was expecting! Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a fun destination. The sun came out in the afternoon and we enjoyed a warm beach for a change, eating pizza and bowling.

We have been having alot of fun events at Water World Swim. The Alcatraz Touch 'n' Go, Around the Rock, and this weekend is the Bridge to Bridge Swim. Coming up is Swim a Mile /Run a Mile, another Island to Island, and our main event: Alcatraz Swim with the Centurions!


SF Marathon 2014

SF Marathon 2014

Marathon #11: SF Marathon!
Finish Time: 4:20

I knew it was going to be hard to PR on this, but I really wanted to do the distance on this beautiful course. I decided to let go of worrying about pace and just run. I looked at it like running a half marathon and then a training run. I did the half in 2:03 then kept slowing down. After we left Golden Gate Park, we left the fog behind and said hello to the hot sun. This really affected my running as I am heat sensitive and could start to feel my blood pressure and heart rate going up, a little tightness in the chest, dizziness and sluggish breathing. This alarmed me so I slowed down. What helped me was the 2 packets of S.O.S I brought. I started alternating it in my water bottle at halfway point and near the end. I also had some homemade gel and clif shots. I upgraded my hydration kit to a Salomon Sensibelt, which is very comfortable and big enough to fit my phone. Also got a gel flask with velcro so the flask doesn't pop out and get lost. I couldn't fit the extra gels in there so I used a Flip Belt and packed it with gels, and also stashed the empty packets in there.

begin rant---

I was really shocked at how runners with good intentions littered the course with gel packets. I can understand throwing it at the aid station, where it will definitely get cleaned up, but in between aid stations does not necessarily get cleaned and can end up in the bay and harm wildlife. The residents are going to complain now about the trash the race generates and will detract from all goodness of all the fundraising efforts. How hard is it to deposit trash in the many trash cans provided along the course?
---end rant

On a positive note, the water tanks at the aid stations was a great idea. No more tons of plastic bottles to clean up! Extra green points for that! I bring my own bottle for refills to minimize paper cup waste. I'm not so sure about the boxed water at the end of the race. In the end, it's still paper from trees and I found it really hard to drink out of it without it spilling all over me. The cartons had been pre-opened, which didn't work at all because they were opened completely. I ended up pouring it into my water bottle. I hope the water that was pre-opened wasn't wasted. Anyway, this is San Francisco, and we try to be a green city, which is why we are trying to minimize plastic packaging and plastic bags. I appreciated promotion of that message.

This was my first "minimal marathon". I wore New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail after running for a year in them. I got a new pair and didn't have to break them in very much before the race. Though the bottom of my feet hurt a little, my legs felt really good afterward, no weird imbalances or tightness. The bottom of the feet pain goes away the next day. I think these shoes are great for short to medium distance and trails. I might want to try a little more cushioning for marathon and beyond, perhaps the Fresh Foam.

Though it was hard to let go of the idea of PR, once I did, I felt free to run and enjoy the race. I feel like I am learning to run all over again, with different legs and new muscles!


Marathon Training

The last long run before the marathon is in the bag. Though I've done several of these, each time is different. My last marathon was really hard, even though the one before that was really great. so I didn't follow a past plan that seemed to work before. Instead, I did my own training plan based on how I feel right now and what happened last time. Last time I felt over trained, had been doing 2 marathons a year, got really overconfident and tore my quad. This year, I had a really low mileage base, with weekly high intensity speedwork sessions and short distance races scheduled throughout the year. Gradually, I extended the distance of those races. I changed my footwear to minimal. I did weekly tempo sessions on the course with some hill training. I slowed down the intensity a bit and instead of doing several cycles of building up mileage for the marathon, I just did 3 weeks of building after the half-marathon, going up to 22.5. I don't really subscribe to the notion that you can run a marathon comfortably and confidently with a long run of only 16 miles...Or I should say, my legs don't subscribe to that. There are some physical adaptations that take place only through training for several hours. After doing 22 miler really slow, I have to say my expectations are kind of low. I'm not really sure if I can drop 20 minutes off my time on this course as I've done each time before. Perhaps the taper effect will work it's magic!

Long runs:

16 miles
19 miles
22.5 miles


At the Halfway Point

The year is running by so fast! Update on how I'm doing with my humble mileage goals:

Yearly Goal: 
Run: 1,000 mi
Bike: 4,000 mi
Swim: 100 mi

As of June 30th:
Run: 447
Bike: 1,300 commute + 435 recreation + 167 extra miles in May for bike month push = 1,902
Swim: 52 (My USMS flog says 48.74)

Looks like I'm on track. June was a big mileage month all around, and I think July is going to be through the roof! In the midst of marathon training, will update on that later.