SF Marathon 5k

The Starting Line
Had a great run at the SF Marathon 5k! Finished in 21:39, in the top 10 females, 2nd AG and top 50 OA. I thought this course was going to be flat, but there's actually a little bump on Harrison. This did get my heart rate up, averaging at 94% of max! I just found my hardly comfortable pace and hung on. There were some fast kids running out there and it was fun to watch them sprint past me to the finish line. This is the essence of running to me. It was nice to revisit the race after my first "real" race experience there in 2007. After that I had to do my first full and halfs!

I didn't have that much time after my 50k to do many track runs, so I just did a few short and sharpen tempo runs here and there and TRX and saved something for race day. I was relying on my springtime speedwork and was curious to see how the hilly 50k trail training with no emphasis on speed affected that. I also wanted to see what a cyclical carb cycle on a high fat low carb diet might have done to my 5k. My legs felt good, not much soreness or pain and I had alot of endurance. I'm even able to run in my New Balance Minimus again. More time to improve anaerobic system would have helped, because in my last 5k/PR with a lot of preparation I averaged 74% of maximum heart rate on the race. On this one, even though I could do my 5k pace, I was working harder at 94% of MHR and felt my legs started to buckle a bit. Compare this to the Kaiser 5k when I was running at 97% MHR having just started the speed sessions. I'm curious to see how my 5k will improve as my body comp gets leaner.

The elite group of Wave 1
I had a carb nite the day before the race. That seemed to work. It did feel hotter torching all the carbs so it took a while to cool down and had to pour water on my head and neck. Race morning I had a bonk proof coffee and 1 scoop of Generation UCAN chocolate protein drink 1 hour before the run. I rode my bike to the race and did a 15 minute warmup with some strides thrown in. I had a lot of energy so after the run I rode my bike and went for a swim.



Climbing Mt. Tamalpais

Mt. Tam Rde

Great ride this weekend up to Mt. Tam! We had to make several stops in the beginning to make adjustments to Mike's new bike fit. I didn't really feel ready for all the climbing but by the time I got to Fairfax I was warmed up and just took a leisurely pace. Mike sprinted then took breaks to wait for me. It took a couple of hours but we got to the top eventually! It is a beautiful climb from Fairfax around Alpine Dam with quiet shady roads and manageable grades. It is a long one and I had to stop and take breaks near the end. Once we were at the top on Ridgecrest, we had more rolling climbs over the Seven Sisters. It's like riding in the sky! The beach town of Bolinas is way down below. A fun addition to the ride might be a lunch stop there.

Mt. Tam Ride

The downhill was fun and fast. We had to be careful in the afternoon with a bit of traffic.
It went by quickly and pretty soon we were back on Shoreline near the Bridgeway bike path. We stopped at the gas station to get water and salted cashews.  I had taken 2 Endurolytes before the ride and 3 scoops of Generation UCAN chocolate protein drink made into a gel and had every 90 minutes. It was really hot this weekend! After burning almost 3,000 calories we had a carby feast of watermelon and deep dish pizza at Patxi's for my once a week carb load. The night before I had a sweet potato with coconut oil and cinammon.

My Strava >>


Golden Gate Trail Run 50k

Did it! After eight weeks of training and ramping up the mileage, I spent all day out in the Marin Headlands yesterday at the Coastal Trail Runs Golden Gate Trail Run 50k. Soaking my feet in some ice water as I write this. The important part of being ready for this one is the hills: 6,320 elevation! It really does zap you but the views are absolutely amazing! I didn't take any photos because I just wanted to enjoy the run without stopping. My phone died and I didn't care. I was only focused on finishing the run, which is a great feeling to be so focused and in the moment for a long period of time, which is why I dubbed this, my Run-cation!

There were about 40 of us doing the 50k, and we started with the 30k group. We all got to go and enjoy the killer loop out to Pirate's cove, except the 50kers got to repeat the pink loop again after that. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do that, but I just took it easy realizing that I could probably make the cutoff time. I did the 30k loop in around 4:30, and then headed back out for the second long loop. I finished in 8:04. It was really nice to see the finish line! Got 3rd AG but there were only 3 of us so that means I was last. There were no spectators of course but the hikers on the trails were very encouraging.

Fuel: All the aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers were super. All I needed was water, didn't touch any of the sugar-laden buffet of cookies and all that. If you are sugar burner, then this is probably the best time to eat those things: while running an ultra. I decided to stay low carb for the run so the night before I just had cup and a half of sweet potatoes with coconut oil and lots of cinnamon. In the morning I had a bonk-proof coffee, some electrolytes and a small serving of Generation UCAN chocolate protein flavor. For the run, I brought 2 packs of the UCAN and started with a 4 hour flask with that. Every hour, I took a sip of it with some electrolytes (1 each Hammer endurolytes, anti-fatigue and endurance aminos). That's 50 calories, 16.5 carb & 6.5 protein per hour. The electrolyte balance with the Hammer caps was 75mg magnesium, 222mg sodium & 180mg potassium. At hour 5, I had a shot of coconut oil. By then I had reached the peak on Wolf Ridge and had about 3 hours to go. I brought a smaller flask with 1 Perpetuem for the end. This combo seemed to work fine, especially at the low intensity I was going, but I could have also just stuck with the UCAN, maybe find a way to sneak some caffeine in somewhere at the end. No cramping whatsoever. The finish line food was light, but they did have a delicious lentil vegetable soup which was perfect. I had some salty chips with it and had my trail mix (plantain chips, coconut shavings, and almonds) that I brought for snacking on the beach. I always bring a packet of Recoverite also.

The best part was the the finish line was close to the beach, so I dipped my legs in the ocean and it felt really great to walk on the sand and take a nap listening to the waves. Rode my bike to and from the event. There are no bike racks at Rodeo Beach so I had to scrounge. I found a picnic table that fit my ulock somewhere down the road. Traffic was really bad that evening because the tunnel was closed and I was really glad to be biking it! It actually felt good to bike afterward and I think it helped with my recovery. Today felt a little sore in the quads and feet, but the ice is helping and ready for some walking. Instead of doing a high carb day, I'm sticking with the moderate carbs mostly from fruit and vegetables. The high carb day was fun, but I noticed I was really hungry when I switched back to low-carb, and right now I just want to keep the inflammation down. My plan is just to listen to my body and let my appetite dictate the eating naturally.

I went to the doc and had a checkup before the race. Blood pressure was 105/55. I noticed that over the years as a runner these numbers keep getting lower. Instead of gaining weight for a race, I'm down about 5.5 lbs since my last 5k.

The long runs on the trails are the key to improvement. I kind of pushed up the mileage quickly. I just wanted to run my legs off. Looking forward to the next challenge!

Ultra-running magazine: Fat-burning, a how to guide - Good article, I would add in more good fats! I only do a small amount of the complex carbs at night if needed and after the workout.


Flipping the Macros - HFLC

Farm Fresh to You
I changed my diet recently and wanted to share a few insights. As a person who likes endurance sports, I know I can burn sugar & carbs well. I'm  healthy and exercise alot, but to be honest I would like to lose a few pounds in order to get to a better race weight. When training for marathons, I feel like I can eat whatever I want but I always seem to gain a few pounds during training. My legs feel heavy and I could never get past a certain mileage in my weekly running. This doesn't work if I want to get faster and train for an ultra. I did experiments with cutting sugar out with positive results and noticed I immediately lost weight when I did that. was looking back at my food log from last year and noticed I was eating 2000 - 2500 calories per day with 50-60% of it being carbs. That's about 150-300 grams of carbs. I started thinking, maybe I don't need to eat that much carbohydrate everyday.

Recently for ultra training I decided to do something different. I would focus more on nutrition. I dropped the sugar again and also started playing around with cutting back the carbs. I didn't change my calories, just flipped the macros around so that the carbs switch places with fat. Fats are at least 60% of the diet now and carbs are 15% or between 50-75 grams. This may not be ultra low carb but for a runner it is. It is basically 1/2 to 1/4 of the carbs runners are recommended to eat. I dropped the honey, bread and whole grains for a few weeks and immediately lost 5lbs. The carb source is mostly vegetables, with a little bit of fruit and dairy. For carb loading I may have a little bit of sweet potato or half a banana. I keep the fruit low and timed to activity. The fats are from avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, nuts, seeds and full fat yogurt. The protein is pretty much the same as it was before, but I go for the fattier versions and more eggs.  The focus is on whole natural foods. This is very filling and surprisingly doesn't lead to weight gain. Sometimes a calorie deficit is achieved by accident because I'm not feeling that hungry, but that is not the goal. This has a great anti-inflammatory effect on the body and I'm able to run an hour per day on hilly trails and bike commute using this ratio. Recovery time is great! The sweetness in natural foods is much more pronounced and I can enjoy homemade sugar-free desserts.

Weekly Mileage buildup on low-carb diet. 

For training, I try to avoid energy gels. I had built up to running long with very little need for carbs or "runners candy". I tried the Generation UCAN superstarch and that worked well. I ran a marathon distance with 2 packs of that, some electrolytes and just some bonk proof coffee for breakfast. I did not get shaky or cold sweat from sugar crashes. I broke my weekly mileage record to 62 miles. My skin feels better too. After 6 weeks of training low carb, now I feel more confident about being less dependent on carbs for training. I am using carbs a bit more strategically, targeted around the level of activity I'm doing. My carb cycle follows my training cycle, so I will put a high carb day on a heavy training day on the weekend, so I don't feel deprived. I can enjoy the carby foods that I miss on that day and indulge in a 300 grams of carbs binge! This is followed by a rest day, which has less calories, less carbs, less fat and more lean protein. I noticed a big improvement in recovery in doing this cycle. On medium training days I might go up to 30% carb or about 150 grams. It just makes much more sense to change it up a bit instead of doing the same thing every day. Everyone is different and every day is different. I think flexible dieting can yield positive results. I'm focusing more on nutrient density instead of carbing out all the time, which makes me feel better in general. I can customize my farm box delivery to get exactly what I need. I eat vegetables with every meal and I make that the center point of menu planning, which is pretty simple:

The don't count calories or macros method:
Two big fist full of vegetables* + 1 palm of protein + 1 or 2 thumbs of fats
For carbs: Add 1 cupped hand of healthy complex carbs or fruit*
Another rule for me is to eat at least 1/2 - 1 avocado per day. They have a lot of potassium, more than bananas! Fuel on fat.


And now for the food pics! Click on info for details:

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