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.

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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.

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...