5/18/15

Run Week and Bay to Breakers

Bay to Breakers Recap: I don't do this race every year, but I really like this course and wanted to top off run week by doing a fun run. This race is very festive with costumes, music and party atmosphere and there's a lot of walking and stopping in the middle of the course to take photos and selfies. There is no designation of walkers on one side and runners on another side, it's basically running wild in the streets. There are a lot of new runners and one-time runners, which is great. This event is how I became interested in participating in races also.

At the expo I really enjoyed the Sambazon Acai, the Go Raw snacks and the new Clifbar Organic Trail mix bars, especially the dark chocolate one! 

On race day I parted with my friend that had never run before who was going to meet some friends in Corral D.  I was in Corral C, but I noticed that I passed a bunch of people that started much earlier than me. I didn't take that many photos as everyone is taking pictures with their cel phones and I just wanted to keep running. My favorite part is reaching the top of Hayes Hill and looking behind me and seeing all the colored dots of people all the way down, and flying downhill through Golden Gate Park. It was foggy and cold at the finish line, and it was hard to get to the food. I had an apple, clif bar, some almonds and some chips. There was no band playing on the huge stage when I finished, so I went to the coffee line and grabbed a coffee, walked a bit then ran home. I had thought about running up to the Cliff House and accessing the trail from there, but they had it all gated off and we had to go back through the park. Also the beach was gated off.  I have really noticed a difference in the atmosphere of the race over the years. I think the starting line was more fun. They should provide some entertainment there as people are stuck waiting. We seemed to provide our own entertainment with throwing tortillas and gawking at costumes. Official Time 1:11:10 Pace 9:33, Strava Splits

My non-running friend finished the race in almost 2 hours.

Since I was doing alot of bike training and swim week, I went from 0 mile running weeks to 29 miles last week, which is odd since I hadn't run in a while. I am temporarily switched to a HFLC diet to experiment with it in training. I noticed that it gives me more energy and a little easier recovery. I tried it on the bike, cold open water swimming and running. It's a little hard to get going but once I warm up I feel like I'm revving on a steady supply of energy. I feel a little heated running on fats, which is great for the cold open water swims, and not so great for running if overdressed. It all started with a cup of bonk proof coffee (1 1/2 c. coffee, 1 T Kerrygold butter, 1 T  coconut oil). Now to focus on increasing the mileage even more!

5/11/15

Swim Week and Alcatraz

After last week's Century, I swam in the bay almost everyday to build up the mileage and get ready for Alcatraz #9 with Water World Swim. Swimming in the bay is great for sore muscles and active recovery. I swam without a wetsuit, so by the time I used the wetsuit it felt really warm and easy to get in. As a coach I went in as swim support with my orange SaferSwimmer buoy. This just makes you more visible and also acts as a floatie in case someone panics and just wants to hold on to it until a boat arrives. It has a dry bag also, so I carried a radio and my phone with GPS app inside. It was about 57 degrees most days but today felt a little colder. The beginning of the swim the water is a little wilder way out there by the Island, but by Alcatraz standards it was calm. I've been on the boat support many times and have seen all kinds of conditions out there. We had some nice swells and a few waves. I stopped to help a couple of swimmers, we got behind and were repositioned with the rest of the group. When you get repositioned it can be frustrating because depending on your pace you may not have time to get yourself in position to make the landing, whereas if you were swimming continuously you might have been able to make some navigational adjustments. You have to do what the swim directors tell you. As we were headed toward the St. Francis Yacht Club from the middle of the bay I had the Golden Gate Bridge on my right breath and Alcatraz on my left breath, with the city skyline in front of me. It was awesome! A bit later we were repositioned a second time because our jump was a little late and a boat race had started, so we were moved closer to shore. This was frustrating because I was practicing navigation on a new building and now I have no idea if it would have worked or not. Usually, if you can swim a mile in 40 minutes, then you can make it. The ebb was pretty strong though so it was a challenge even for the 2 mile per hour swimmers. Even though it was a fun swim I have to bring up all these potential factors because you have to be prepared for other things to happen and be flexible. Safety is a priority. You get a good idea of what this swim entails. It's a great feeling to swim up to shore and feel the sand underneath your feet.

The beginning of the swim is where a lot of people get in trouble. They are not expecting the cold, the swells and waves all at once. If you are jumping off a big boat, then there is that drop underwater and adrenaline rush. It can be a little overwhelming. It can take a few minutes to gather your breath, warm up and get your swim groove on. When you jump off the boat, you can't stop because the ebb will take you off course. The best thing to do is to put your head down and get swimming right away. Try not to think too much because your mind is going through a lot of self-doubt at this moment and it will pass. Here are a few things I do to get going:

  • Deep breaths
  • Blow bubbles underwater
  • Hum underwater
  • Believe in yourself and take control of the situation
  • Get some water inside your wetsuit to stretch it out a little and give you room to breathe
  • Count your strokes
  • Focus on your landmarks
  • Don't go out too fast
  • Find your happy place
  • Get a song you like in your head and play it
  • Relax your effort and enjoy. This is not something you get to do everyday!
Know that you are well-supported and you can get back on the boat, but that's not what you came here for. The best thing to do is to train in open water conditions similar to the event. Taking a clinic helps so you know what to expect, and coaches are there to help you. After you do it several times most of these roadblocks disappear and the fear turns into excitement, but it's different every time. Enjoy the ride!


5/6/15

Grizzly Peak Century 2015

GPC 2015
Click for more pics
Grizzly Peak Century 2015
I had been wanting to do this ride for a long time but never could because of the timing of the Escape from Alcatraz Tri that my swim group, Water World Swim does water support for. But this year, the timing was just right so I used April to get a bunch of miles in to get ready.

I opted for the car-free start, because there is no BART service that early in the morning on Sunday. I took the first AC Transit O Bus to Oakland from the temp Transbay Terminal, then biked up to Tilden via Market and Spruce. I had done the Pinehurst-Grizzly Peak and North Loop last week and that helped me to prepare. It seemed a lot easier than last week, but McEwen climb was still a challenge. I wore my SFR jersey and so got some hellos by fellow randonneurs.

GPC 2015
 This ride features scenic views and challenging climbs, and also some great rest stop food. You won't have to bring much, seriously. I even had a bike blended smoothie made by my friends at Briones Rest Stop. I made a point to grab a quickbread at each stop except lunch. They had sandwiches and chips, which hit the spot without weighing me down. My legs were good but on the final push from Proctor to Campolindo I could start feeling it in my quads. I'm glad I brought a caffeinated gel with me. I had my doubts but I managed to finish on time to get some finish line food. I feel I'm a much stronger rider than I was when I first did this ride 5 years ago. My total moving time was 7:56, and 9:33 total for 93.3 miles. With the additional commute comes out to 107.8. On a funny note I ended up finishing behind the same person I was standing behind in line at check-in, a VeloRaptor.

MY STRAVA

I was testing out the GoPro with the extra battery attachment and it seemed to work great. I almost got the whole ride in a bunch of short clips and remembering to turn the camera off when not filming. Without it I can get an hour of continuous footage

5/1/15

Savory Pea Protein. Sweet Rice Flour and Carrot Pancakes


I'm experimenting with pea protein and added it to this Koda farms recipe for sweet rice flour pancakes. I omitted the sugar and substituted fresh carrot juice for the milk to make a delicate savory pancake.

Savory Pea Protein. Sweet Rice Flour and Carrot Pancakes

1/2 cup Mochiko Blue Star Sweet Rice Flour
1/2 cup Pea Protein (2 scoops)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh carrot juice
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp turmeric
Ground cardamom

Mix first 4 dry ingredients and spices together.  Add in the carrot juice, egg and coconut oil until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Lightly oil a hot griddle with coconut oil.  Drop spoonfuls of batter for small pancakes. Turn the cakes once the bottoms have browned and bubbles appear on the tops. Makes about 18 small pancakes.

If you add an extra egg and a little more liquid and make them larger, it could make a tasty and pliable crêpe. I'm particularly interested in the pea protein because it is naturally high in iron.

per pancake:
CAL: 42
PRO: 3
CARB: 2
FAT: 2

4/26/15

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-style coffee in the morning for breakfast. I usually run on carb fuel, but decided to try it. 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. Maybe next time only one cup! It did seem to provide me with ample energy.

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!