2014 Recap

Distance / Miles:
Run: 800
Swim: 100 (2014 goal accomplished!)
Bike: 773 + Bike Commute: 2600 = 3,380
Total: 4,280 (a few more miles than last year!)
Races and Events:

Running: My year is pretty much planned around running, biking and swimming. It's what I enjoy doing - that's when I feel really alive! It's also a social outlet with all the different training groups out there. I love being outside. Though I didn't hit any PRs (except nailing the 10k run after the tri) I placed pretty well and am happy about this. I feel as if I'm making progress, and that's a good feeling.  

We had another fun year at Water World Swim. The bay has been warmer this year perhaps because of the drought. This meant more people swimming! It's very rewarding to see swimmers of all ages become comfortable in the open water, do their first Alcatraz or longer swim, train for triathlons, grow and achieve their goals! Here's a slideshow of our year in pictures:

This year I did what I've been wanting to do for a long time, which is to go bike camping. I did 3 trips to Samuel P. Taylor, Half Moon Bay and China Camp. I had fun doing a couple of long rides with my bf, and he did his first metric century! One of the fun things we are getting into is checking out the different bike routes and trails that are accessible from the BART train. We did 3 Bears from Orinda, Coyote Hills which is accessible from Fremont, and the Iron Horse Trail - Contra Costa Canal Trail which is accessible from several BART stations. SF Rails to Trails >>

I helped out with SFBC Bike to Work Day as always, and distributed posters for bike events. I did a few hours of Ocean Beach Cleanup and got grossed out by all the plastic trash and cigarette butts. I'm glad I have my health and that I could donate plasma and platelets 9x this year for those that need it. For my last two events, I raised some funds for Sustainable Sports Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

Athletic Goals for 2014:
Sometimes transitioning from one year to the next is difficult. It reminds me of time passing by too quickly. It helps to set some goals for next year so I can focus on positive forward motion and stay active. I gave my self some time to think about this so that it is realistic. I try not to adhere strictly to mileage goals but rather use it as a motivator.
  • Run 1000 miles
  • 5k PR
  • Swim 100 miles
  • A 50k or 50 miler or BOTH!
  • Help someone else achieve their goals 

Other things I would like to do in 2015 :
Bike the Cheese Trail, Big Rock Ridge Trail, Angel Island Bike Camping

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. 
- Henry David Thoreau

Thankful to be alive, healthy and making it to another year!


Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Whole Foodie!

When I'm not running biking or swimming, I like to spend several hours a day in my kitchen preparing healthy meals and fun new recipes. Here are my simple recommendations for foodie gifts that complement a whole foods lifestyle.

Juicer - Juicing is an easy way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. You can save the pulp for the next item...


Phat Beets Pickler - For fermenting and pickling naturally. Preserves food you may not have time to eat right away and adds healthy bacteria to your diet. What I love about this item is that it fits on a Mason Jar, so once you're done with a batch you can just put a lid on it and goes right into the fridge. For larger batches, try a fermenting crock.


Dehydrator - Make healthy snacks and preserve foods for camping and emergencies. My favorite is dried plantains. They make a yummy pre-workout snack.


Mandoline Slicer - Great sidekick for the pickler and dehydrator!


Crockpot - Very affordable and convenient!

Happy Cooking!


Mushroom Season

In October I attended a Mushroom Cultivation workshop with Mushroom Maestros via the Biofuel Oasis Urban Farming events. A month later I was eating delicious homegrown oyster mushrooms! I try to eat them almost every day, shiitake in particular. They are very nutritious, help support the immune system, and are a great addition to my seasonal farm box diet. Lately I have been trying the Reishi and Cordyceps powders with herbal tea as a natural athletic supplement.

Last weekend we went to the annual MSSF Fungus Fair and got to see all kinds of mushrooms, kits and cooking demos. Now I feel like broadening my mushroom palette!

More pics >>


Brave the Bay

Last weekend, I did Santa's Triathlon at Brave the Bay...

More pics

This is a fun event at Aquatic Park to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The triathlon is a 5k fun run/walk to Marina Green and back, a plunge in the Bay, and a team cable car pulling contest. They had music, lots of food, a raffle, and a costume contest. It was organized by Bob Guinan, our administrator at Water World Swim as an SFPD Challenge. He is a retired officer and we are very appreciative of the support our first responders give us on our local races and events. The teams consisted of different police stations, firefighters, local athletic clubs and companies.

After the run, I pulled together a small team from our swim group and we took the plunge and then tried to make the cable car move. Pulling a cable car is harder than it looks. It took some muscle to get it to move at first, but then once you get it rolling it's easier to pull. We managed to get it down the street in 37 seconds! We also raised some money for  children suffering from life-threatening illnesses to have some wishes of hope. We didn't quite meet our goal this year. I hope we can do more next time.

SFFD and SFPD Water support at the Escape from Alcatraz


Fermented Salsa Verde

I've been taking some time off from intense training and enjoying easy workouts, quality time, relaxation and cooking! After taking the Fermentation Workshop at the Hoes Down Harvest Festival in October, I was excited to try fermenting the abundance of gypsy peppers from my Farm Fresh to You farm box. We learned to do the natural pickling method without vinegar using salt brine. I used a 5% salt to vegetable ratio (weighed in grams) which is double for other vegetables since they are a bit sweeter and ferment faster. A good ratio of salt for kraut is 2.5%. They came out pretty tasty! It makes a great condiment. After that, I decided to experiment with fermented salsa.

I brined a bunch of gypsy peppers and a separate bunch of spicy jalapenos, no spices added. Usually when making a salsa verde, you would use tomatillos. The gypsy peppers served as a nice base. After a month, the jalapenos lost their kick and became pleasantly mild. I drained them, saving 1 cup of brine for the blender. To this I blended in a teaspoon of freshly ground cumin and some fresh garlic. This is a nice mild salsa base right here that will last a long time in your fridge, as it is naturally preserved without the "vinegary" taste. No salt was needed because of the brine. To add a little more heat and flavor, I added fresh cilantro and chopped serrano peppers. Add finely diced onions if you like. Served with chips this makes a great way to sneak some probiotics into your diet! For more information on fermenting, check out Wild Fermentation.

Sign up for a farm box!


Tri-Training Wrap Up

I'm glad to be done and satisfied with how the tri-training went. The only thing that's really sore are the calves. I was finally able to roll them out last night without crying too much. Here are the totals:

WEEK78 (race week)
Running 13.7511.81
Fitness 0:22:000
Spinning 0:02:000
Swimming 1.682.05

Bike commute miles not included

No strength training or high-intensity the week of the race! I didn't experience the burnout that usually happens when doing a longer 12 week training plan with 3 week build then easy week. I was drinking a lot of quinoa fruit and kale smoothies for breakfast! I put in almost 64 hours of training, not including the month of pre-hab strength training. For the strength training, I did TRX Force for several weeks. These are longer more frequent sessions to produce progressive muscle gains. I did work on all three disciplines throughout the year for other events before this. This is how I achieved my PR.


*Kayaking and TRX

Now to rest and maybe a fun run or two. My plan is to hit the track this winter and continue adding mileage to the swim and bike. I have a 100 mile swim goal that I am behind on and time to enjoy some fall cycling!

Here are the events I like to target in the winter/early spring:
USMS Postal Swim and SFR Point Reyes Lighthouse in January, Kaiser 5k in February, Oakland Running Festival 5k in March.

Marin County Triathlon

Marin County Tri
This Year's Results:
Total: 2:54:38
1.5 k Swim: 29:43
T1: 5:12
22 mi Bike: 1:27:00 (15.10 mph pace)
T2: 2:21
10k Run: 50:22 (8:07 per mile pace)

Last Year's Results:
Total: 3:06:39
1.5 k Swim: 33:04
T1: 4:34
22 mi Bike: 1:31:29 (14.40 mph pace)
T2: 2:13
10k Run: 55:19 (8:55 per mile pace)

2014 Marin Triathlon
I did the Marin County Triathlon for the second year in a row and improved my time by 12 minutes, a PR! This put me 4th in my age group, and somewhere in the middle for females overall. We had a very small age group for some reason. The winners finished in close to 2 hours! I spent a bit more time in transition this year but I made up for it with better pacing. I felt like I had a lot more endurance to finish strong. This year I also did some fundraising for the Sustainable Sports Foundation and that was a bonus. I realized I have a great support network and it's good to give back to the local community. We raised money for their swim scholarship program. What a great life skill to share learning how to swim!

This race has a beautiful course, and I found it valuable to do the course again and see my improvement. My goal was to finish in under 3 hours, and it happened! Not only that, but I was able to commute to the race by bike, making it totally carbon neutral ;-). Before the race, I made sure to put on sunscreen. I didn't feel like eating, so I just had some coffee, a banana, and a whole bottle of Hammer Perpetuem Caffe Latte (has caffeine) which totals about 375 calories.

Marin Tri 2014The Swim
We started off with 10 pink caps in my wave at 8:15am. I observed the first wave drifting a little to the left, so used that knowledge to navigate to the buoy. I wore the same wetsuit as I wore last year which was a big mistake! I normally don't swim in a wetsuit, and didn't train in it. Oops! I assumed it would fit well, but I had gained 5 lbs during training and found it really hard to breathe! I was gasping for air and instinctively tried to undo the zipper and rip the wetsuit off. This actually helped me because water got into my wetsuit and helped it expand a little. I really felt like my race was going to be over in the first minute. I just stopped, took a breather, and realized that I'm here to have fun. I resumed slowly, focused on breathing, and let myself gradually get into my pace and enjoy the view. Luckily we got a nice push from the current which helped alot. I was able to pass a couple of people in my age group and not be last. I'm glad I didn't eat a lot before the race! It is important to train in a wetsuit if you are going to wear one, and one that fits correctly. The swim seemed to go by quickly. In retrospect the water was warm enough this year that I didn't really need the wetsuit, but I thought it would help. I took a little extra time in T1 to don my Team Sparkle skirt, which added a little cheer to my kit and I received a lot of compliments!

2014 Marin TriathlonThe Bike
I love this course and am always impressed by the volunteer support they have. We had plenty of cheer at the turnarounds, and really fun ride. The hill at the bottom is a challenge, and that's where your hill attacking skills pay off. I'm glad I did all those high intensity spin classes and that 70 mile ride in training. On each loop I ate half a pack of clif shot blocks. I had brought some gel in a gel flask that wouldn't come out it was so thick. I forgot to dilute it. In T1 I just tried to open it up and gobble down before the run. A sticky mess. I know I put in a good effort because this time I did bring my Garmin and HRM. My bike computer read 16 mph and 29 mph on the downhills, but going uphill 5-10mph averaged it out to 15. Felt really great on the first 2 1/2 loops, but by the end my quads were on fire and I was wondering if I could run at my desired pace. The course had mostly cleared out by now, and I felt like I was in the back. Thankfully, no flats!

Marin Tri 2014
Photos by Captivating Photos
The Run
My T2 was comparable to last year. I forgot my sunglasses but had my cap so it all worked out. My strategy was to warm up slowly for the first mile, then find my pace and do a progression. The hill at the beginning slowed me down more than I wanted, but I just rolled with it. At the top of the hill, my running legs felt good. Since running is my strength, here is where I was able to play the passing game and catch up. All those speedwork brick runs after high intensity spin class really paid off! This is the challenge, to run fast after the bike. I tried to stay at 8:00 pace, but naturally felt more comfortable as the race went on and was able to clock a 7:45 split! This might have been too much though as I slowed down slightly after that. I made sure to stop at an aid station once on each loop and drink water. I was able to finish strong with a nice sprint through the finish line at sub 6:00 pace?! Thanks to all that speedwork I did last winter!

Overall I felt a lot more endurance and stamina for this race and I'm glad I didn't quit on the swim as I ended up doing much better than last year. The post-race food was very tasty eggs and potatoes, coconut water and bananas. That's all I can remember eating. I had to force myself as my appetite wasn't quite working yet, and I had to bike home. I enjoyed talking to other finishers under a shady tree by the water, and it was fun running into other peeps from Water World Swim. I like this race because it is later in the season, and I can have a little more time after the hectic summer to do my training and focus on my health and fitness before the holidays. Also, instead of doing another marathon, by doing a triathlon I feel a little more balanced and strong to support the next running phase. I had been training since August.

2014 Marin Triathlon
I carried this home on my bike
At the end of the race I received a special gift from the good people at Sustainable Sports Foundation: A shovel autographed by pro athletes! It represents digging a deep foundation for a tree to send a nice taproot down and expand and grow into a strong, tall tree. It is a great honor to contribute to that effort in a small way with my crowd-funding support. Thank you, Mark! I'm already looking forward to next year.


Bike Camping at China Camp

20141101_144029This was my first solo bike camping trip to China Camp. I like to camp here on triathlon weekend and really enjoy this location. It's a beautiful area with lots of trails and vistas, only a few hours ride from SF. I packed one pannier with triathlon gear and the other one with camping gear and clothes. I left around noon and got there at 3pm. By 4pm my camp was all set up and I could enjoy a little nature walk before the sunset.


I had to make sure to hydrate and eat well for the race so I had a foot-long bagette sandwich from Mollie Stone's market on my short nature hike. When I returned to camp I had a nice hot tea and got some reading in before a nap. It's so quiet and peaceful and I was alone with my thoughts. There is no cel-phone reception, and absolutely no distractions. This puts me in a good frame of mind to focus and rest before the race. They also have coin-operated showers here, which is nice after a long ride.

Bike camping food I woke up around 9:30pm and realized I should probably eat more carbs for the race, so I made some "healthy ramen" soup from Lotus Foods with my camping stove. I found this at Mollie Stone's market also. It wasn't that cold outside so I enjoyed dining in the moonlight. It is chilly at night though, so warm clothes layers at this time of year are highly recommended, and a windbreaker. Instead of using the hike and bike campsite, I reserved my own camp spot because I knew I would have to get up really early and break camp and didn't want to disturb other campers. The bike camping area is more communal, though I noticed there wasn't anyone on the upper level hike and bike. The gates close at 9pm.

I slept really well, thanks to that air mattress! I never go camping without the Big Agnes insulated air core mattress. I wished that I had a few more days to enjoy the area and hike around. There are great trails for mountain biking here but by hiking I get to slow down and see things a little more closely. Along with the ride and just spending a few moments here I felt instantly de-stressed, as I can also get really wound up and emotionally bent out of shape before a race. This totally took care of that.


Tri Training Update

Second training block complete for the Marin Tri! I am at 76% of my goal for fundraising for the Sustainable Sports Foundation swim program thanks to my generous donors!

I increased my total distance quite a bit on this build, with a few more cycling and swimming miles. I do a 21 day cycle of two weeks of building with a few high-intensity sessions, then the 3rd week is the easy recovery week, but I tacked on a long bike ride at the end, even after donating plasma a few days before. This is in addition to 50 miles a week bike commute which I don't count.

Running 12.412.25.329.9
Spinning 2:00:002:00:000:35:004:35:00
Swimming 0.672.272.175.11
*TRX and Kayaking 

What last couple of weeks looks like:

I have less than 2 weeks before race day! My goal is to finish the race in under 3 hours. I will be building up again then a quick taper. Thanks to Fresh Air Bicycles for tuning up my bike! It feels brand new! I raised the seat about a half inch and is perfect for riding all day long. For the race I will downsize all the accessories. I am not going to do aero bars because I felt more comfortable last year without them. Instead, I will just use the drop bars. My bike fit is so perfect that I don't want to mess with it. I rode the Marin Tri course on Saturday on the Lucas Valley Populaire and am getting really psyched for race day.

Swimming with Water World Swim

Paradise Loop Ride

Post-workout kale protein shake
Previous training update

SFR Lucas Valley Populaire

 SFR Lucas Valley Populaire
Near the top of the climb on Lucas Valley Road
Lucas Valley Populaire

I had never done this route before and I was really looking forward to it. The weather turned out perfect and it was definitely one of the best rides ever! I haven't done a long ride since Two Rock-Valley Ford so I'm glad I did a 40 mile ride the weekend before. It was fun to see Mike complete his first metric century distance. After riding by it, now I want to check out the Big Rock Ridge Trail.

This was my favorite section through China Camp:
SFR Lucas Valley Populaire
This is also on the Marin County Tri bike course, which I'm doing in a couple weeks! Lots of fun and scenic rollers. Not a lot of traffic here. We saw some deer foraging by the roadside.

I had never done Lucas Valley Road before. It was very pleasant riding through the shade. It just takes a little nerve to ride on the narrow shoulder with traffic buzzing by you. There are a lot of pullouts though. There was an instance where a car was going around us and speeding past us in the next lane and almost hit a car head on because it was on the crest of a blind hill. Perfectly bad timing. Watch out for blind hills and blind curves.

At Rancho Nicasio we finally saw some of the other riders and got some ice cold juice. The ride back down I was pretty familiar with and we were able to make it back by 2:41pm (6hrs 41 min) before the cutoff time and enjoy a nice picnic.

Fuel-wise, I think I did good. I had two bottles of water, 2 oatcakes, and some Clif Shot Blocks to first control at China Camp (refilled H2O there). To the second control at Nicasio I had a Hammer Perpetuem bottle and an onigiri rice cake. I made it with smoked salmon instead of bacon, and wrapped in edible nori instead of parchment. I have a press that shapes the rice into triangles. On the way back I had a juice, another Perpetuem bottle and 2 more rice cakes. In Fairfax we refilled our water and made the push back to Crissy Field. I had made and brought too much food, so I dropped some with the volunteers. I wanted to give it away to other randonneurs but everyone is so prepared! I'm glad I brought the carb drink because it was hot and didn't feel like eating, but I knew if I didn't consume calories I would be in trouble. Thanks to the volunteers, the picnic spread was awesome! They had chili, cornbread, lentil salad, fruit, loads of assorted beverages and desserts (brownies!). Most of the brevets are unsupported, but the Populaire is sort of a fun introductory distance and is a bit more social. They had two different rides going on today. The other was the El Paseito Mixto.

I look forward to more fall riding. I'm busy with swim events in the spring and summer so fall and winter is my ride time.



Tri Training Update

I'm 3 weeks into tri training (7 if you count the strength month). I've been doing training blocks of 2 weeks high-intensity, with the third week scaled back. Here are my totals:

WEEK                 1              2               3             TOTAL
Running        14.3        14.35       5.25        33.9
Fitness*        2:30:00    3:30:00   1:00:00   7:00:00
Spinning       2:00:00    2:00:00   2:20:00   6:20:00
Swimming    0.75         1.74         0.75        3.24
Workouts      11            12            6             29
Distance       15.05       16.09       6             37.14
Calories        3436        3415       1515        8366
Duration       8:30:00    9:17:00   4:59:00   22:46:00

*TRX and Kayaking 

This on top of my 50 miles a week of bike commuting. I was disappointed the pool pump at my gym went out and I didn't get my pool workouts in last couple of weeks. Bad timing! I have my bike at the shop getting tuned up and my tri suit is in the bag. I just need to get some more pool time and get some endurance rides in. I have gained 3-4 lbs from strength training, even if I'm looking a little more toned up with a bit more energy. Ready to start another block.
The Transformation from Caterpillar to Tri-Butterfly!


Tri-Training Mode

After a month of doing the TRX Force Strength Training Program, It's time to start my 8 weeks of structured tri-training for Marin Tri! I am over the cookie-cutter training programs so what I do is take a little bit of everything I think I need and combine it into a custom program in my own spreadsheet, which looks like this:


These weekday sessions are 1 - 1 1/2 hrs then the weekend has an open water swim, bike and run also, little bit longer, and some RESTING. I dropped back down to 2 strength sessions and I am integrating Sara McLarty's triathlon swim workouts and Hal Higdon's 10k training into my custom program. Combining the running with strength training is a challenge, but I found that doing a short run before is easier. Running off the bike is even more of a challenge but something I have to prepare for. I got the New Balance Fresh Foam to add variety to my run:

For cycling strength I'm adding some spinning, and there are some great spin classes at my gym Fitness SF. I found a nice water bottle from Addverb that  I can write my swim workout on:

Got a dose of inspiration recently at a triathlon seminar at Sports Basement with Matt Dixon and amazing athletes. Check out the book The Well-Built Triathlete:

I have this on my bookshelf with the Time-Crunched Triathlete, both by Velo Press. I realized to do all this I need to make sure I'm at least horizontal somewhere by 9pm, and eat my broccoli!

I'm raising funds for the Sustainable Sports Foundation to help local youth learn to swim!
Click  here to donate!


Half Moon Bay Bike Glamping

Took advantage of the Labor Day Weekend to go on another bike camping adventure. This time we headed south to Half Moon Bay. There is a nice hike and bike camp there on the beach for $7 per person per night with hot showers for 50 cents. The campsite has several picnic tables and one fire pit, which makes for a nice evening campfire social. The campground was riddled with gopher holes but they kept to themselves. It's just a few steps away from Francis Beach, where you can rest and regroup. Not recommended to swim here, but there is a lifeguard tower farther south.

Getting there: We pretty much took Hwy 1 and followed the Google Map bike route, but with some modifications. Rode over a huge nail after Mori Point and had to stop and do some repairs. There are some annoying areas where there is fast moving traffic and a narrow shoulder. The answer to this is to leave early! My favorite part was the new Devil's Slide dedicated pedestrian and bike path with awesome views of the Pacific Ocean!

The last 6 miles or so is mostly bike friendly. The Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail is nice. There was a bridge out on the last bit so we had to take the detour on Pilarcitos Ave to Kehoe, then Frontage Road, Naomi Partridge Trail, then right on Kelly Ave. to the camp entrance. Total moving time was 3:18 and 34.6 miles with 1,751 ft. elevation gain. We got there in time to set up camp and see a beautiful sunset. For dinner, we headed to Tres Amigos and had delicious burritos to go and socialized with other cyclists around the fire at the camp. The next day we had coffee, homemade oatcakes and fresh fruit from Andreotti Family Farm at camp and went on a morning ride to explore the rest of the Coastal Trail. Some of it was paved but the rest of it is rough single track better suited for mountain bikes or cross bikes. I managed to do it on my road bike without falling. We took the road back into downtown for lunch. Another cyclist had recommended San Benito Deli so we enjoyed delicious sandwiches there on the outdoor patio with live music. Afterward, we lounged on the beach like beach bums all afternoon, enjoyed nice hot showers, then rolled back downtown to have Sushi. Now that's what I call Glamping!

Getting back: Feeling "lazy" and wanting to have more time to do other things on our 3-day weekend, we decided on the beeline to Belmont CalTrain via San Mateo Rd./Hwy 92. This is one long climb to upper Skyline, with some anxiety attack areas of little shoulder but mostly ample shoulder. There are a few shady pullouts to rest. This route is best done early morning, but we did it at high noon in the scorching sun and busy traffic hauling our gear and survived. You have to be comfortable at bike handling on hills, balancing your load, and moving in and out of your drops. Remain calm and cycle on! The descent down Ralston is pretty sweet with smooth pave. We made it to CalTrain in 1:20, 14.3 miles and 1,484 ft. elevation gain. There are better routes to take if you want to extend your ride and explore the hills more through the Parks and Preserves. It would be so nice to have more time to do a proper tour of the Pacific Coast by bike.


Swim a Mile, Run a Mile

Last weekend we had a fun new Water World Swim event called Swim a Mile, Run a Mile Duathlon at Crissy Field. It is a great intro to multisport events and can even be done as a relay. A portion of the proceeds went to Golden Gate Parks Conservancy. We hope to have another one soon. I was in charge of the bags and food, so I borrowed a big bike trailer from SFBC (Members have access to the fleet of bike trailers) to help with moving things around. The event takes place right near the bike path so I was able to shuttle the transition items to the spot in a few minutes by bike and get my workout in, too!

Photo by Ajay Raj


Our participants did really well. We have a strong bunch of young New Waves (front row) that have accomplished great things this year. Mitali is a multiple Alcatraz swimmer and has also done the Golden Gate Bridge, Anaya is youngest girl in the world to swim Alcatraz and Angel has done several Alcatraz swims and the Bridge to Bridge swim. She recently won her age group at Sharkfest Lake Tahoe. We have some fast people in our group. Golda Marcus, a 2 time olympic swimmer, was first one out of the water in 17 minutes! Everyone was done with the swim in 30 minutes. The unique aspect of the course is the currents that run East to West, then West to East, so the swimmers could take advantage of the push. Rebecca and Greg had relay runners and they decided to get back in and swim against the current to the start of the course, because they could! I am also proud of Shannon who who did this as her first open water swim. That is a major accomplishment! Pretty cool!


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 Aquatic Park buoy 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! Finished in 34 minutes at endurance pace (I was expecting 45 minutes). 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.


See Jane Run 13.1

This weekend I ran the See Jane Run 13.1 as part of my buildup for the SF Marathon. I've been trying to extend my pace runs and this gave me the perfect motivation to pick up the pace. No PR, but I was not pushing it that hard this time. My goal was comfortably hard, with emphasis on the comfortable. The course is fast and flat, though there is the possibility of heat and wind. The course was scenic, with lots of views of the bay. Start at Washington Park and finish at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda.
I rode my bike to Transbay Terminal and caught the 6am AC Transit "O" bus to get there. Got off on Webster and biked to the end of the street and made a left to Washington Park. There is bike parking by the athletic field. They had a fun 80's theme pre-race warmup and DJ. The race took off in waves with pacers, which makes a lot of sense for traffic and safety. I wonder why more races don't do this. I seeded myself in the second wave, estimating my time to be 1:50. I ran ahead of the pace group and just tried to keep a consistent pace which I felt was 8:00 but after looking at the data noticed was a little faster. After the halfway point I felt myself slowing down and did some recovery miles. I made sure to stop at all the aid stations and drink water and electrolyte. It was hot and they had SOS on the course, which helped. I didn't consume any carbs at the halfway point but in retrospect think I should have. On the last mile, I finally saw my pacer Barbara from Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders. This gave me some relief that I could still finish under 2 hours after my slowdown. I finished in 1:49:31! Photos


Going Minimal: New Balance Minimus Review

 Here is a quick review of the New Balance minimal running shoes I have tried so far.

Trail 10v2 

439 miles - This is a good intro shoe if you're new to running without alot of cushion. I did a bunch of  short 1 mile runs in these to transition from regular trainers. I really like this shoe and it works as an everyday walking shoe also. They are sturdy and still holding up after 400 miles, I think I might be able to squeeze a few more miles out of it before the heel and toe wear completely off. They offer good traction on trails and wet sidewalk. I would definitely buy these again.


258 miles
This is the lightest shoe I have ever tried, and definitely need a transition period for these. It feels like  you are just wearing socks! I did the same long transition of running a bunch of 1 milers in these to get used to them until I was doing all my runs in them. I like what these shoes did for my balance and lower leg conditioning. My feet feel stronger. Also, it is so nice to stretch your feet in these. You can't stretch your feet in regular trainers. I did some fast races in these! They are a bit light on the trails, and you will feel rocks. It feels so nice on a soft forest trail. You can't feel that sensation in big trainers. However, when it is damp, you're feet will get wet, but that is the point of barefoot running, right? Because they are lightweight, they have less material, therefore wear out faster.  After 250 miles, little tears are starting to appear in the fabric that is holding the hexagons together, but the eva midsole is still intact. Perhaps there is a way to reinforce the area between them.  I had hoped these would last me throughout the year for my marathon training. Not recommended for biking in, lol. Though I enjoyed them, I'm not sure I'd want to pay the same price for shoes that don't last as long when I get huaraches for much cheaper. I'm not trying to be a shoe hoarder.

Zero v2

6 miles
First impression is: the shoe is very comfortable. My foot has been well-prepped on the previous two shoes. They offer a bit more protection than the Hi-Rez if that is what you're looking for, and they look spiffy for wearing everyday. I have already received compliments. It feels like a happy medium between the two and I can't wait to see how long they last as I get ready for my marathon. I will keep you posted.

I like New Balance because they are made in the USA. Going minimal has helped me with my form. My legs feel so much better and very good recovery after running. I have been doing a lot of speedwork this year in these and I look forward to doing my first minimal marathon next month and going the distance!

May in Pictures

May is a long haul with all the events: Bike to Work Day , the BoMF Gala , the Alcatraz Classic, the art auction I was in for HH , and fina...