2016 Recap

Time is almost up for 2016. I was looking back through my year, and though I didn't really plan it that way, it turned out great! I just focused on a few quality local events that I enjoy, at least one marathon, a century and a triathlon, and sprinkle on a few other fun things. I started off the year with a trophy in the run department, did a fun century ride in the spring, took up SUPping in the summer, and qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals in the fall. The SUP took over my swim time, but I found a new way to enjoy the bay and the outdoors and support swims! My mom, sisters and I completed the 2016 miles in 2016 as a team and are going to do it on our own again next year. I used my phone as a fit tracker. Google fit seems pretty accurate when I compared it to my Garmin totals. According to Google Fit, I ended up with about 2,206 miles of cycling, mostly commuting.  Very low mileage on the run, only 729, mostly because of strength training at the gym. I did 12 weeks with a personal trainer, Gabrielle, who is with World Gym on DeHaro now. Working with a trainer or a coach is a great investment in your fitness.

DSE Rainbow Falls 5k, 5th pl f
Oakland Running Festival, 1st pl masters f
Chico Wildflower Century
DSE 50th Anniversary 5k, 1st AG
SF Marathon
Dolphin Tri vs. SERC, 1 point for SERC!
Marin County Tri, 2nd AG, Qualified for USAT Nationals!
Krampus Cross Country 10k
Did 2016 miles in 2016 with my mom and sisters!
2016 Miles

When I look back on 2016, I remember all the fun times I had in the bay with my swim family, quality time outside on trails with pup and riding up and down hills with friends.

Wishing all a peaceful and Happy New Year!

My Strava Year

December Recap

December was a busy month, basically prepping for the new year. This time of year there are less events and training slows down, so I use this time to nestle in and do some home improvements. My main thing is minimalism and time management, so I try to organize my life and living space around all these different activities: work, cook, eat, sleep, dog, run, swim, bike, SUP, camp, art, journal, host. I did Twelve Days of Decluttering with Bella Organizing where we cleaned and organized a different section of our mess each day. This was very helpful because I cleared out some more stuff and did some deep cleaning and inventory. I found that by focusing on this project for a series of days, I started to get clever ideas and dreamt about closet hacks. I feel like I have a lot more space in my closet and now won't be scrambling around for everything when I need something, because it is all in one area and I know exactly where things are. Here are some photos.

My dog helping me recycle

It was a nice mellow Holiday Season and got a chance to rest. I baked some cookies and bread to share and spent some quality time with puppers running on the trails. We made our Christmas wreath from the Presidio.

Ecology Trail

First frost

Another thing I tried was getting up extra early and running with Back on My Feet. That was a great experience and I look forward to more runs with them. Group training helps keep everyone motivated.

Running with BOMSF

SF City Hall
The bike commute this time of year is great, not that many cars. I was gifted a Lumos helmet and bright front light, which not only makes me feel safer, but I actually look forward to commuting at night now! I have received compliments from drivers on my new helmet.

To cap the month off, went swimming in the Bay to celebrate Coach Jake's birthday! It was so cold, I could only last 10 minutes without a wetsuit!


Krampus Cross Country 10k

Checked off my holiday fun run with this weekend's Krampus Cross Country 10k!  The trails were a little muddy after the rains but that just added to the adventure. Ran into George Rehmet, Laurel and other members of SERC who were delving into on-shore activities. Squeaked in under an hour (59:40) and found a woodallion on the trail, which I traded in for a prize! I was a little out of shape but I love running in the Presidio so this was great motivation to stay active during the cool and wet month of December.

Post run treats and prizes!

Krampus Medal

Krampus Brooks Tech-tee


November Recap

Swimming in the Bay
November was a time of transition. I'll admit, it was a bit stressful! I have always felt the environment and social justice never gets the respect it deserves, and this election cycle was no different. This is why we can't ignore politics, because it directly affects us. People and the environment are literally under attack. Time to ramp up our efforts to preserve and protect the planet! Clean water doesn't happen by accident. It comes from the efforts of people that have fought to protect it. Luckily we have tools to build community around these issues, just as we do with our running and triathlon communities. Let's use them!

Some things I did this month:
  • Started thinking about next year's training and events
  • Switched to a credit union (divest from fossil fuels and banks that support them)
  • Donate to Oceti Sakowin camp
  • Enrolled in Clean Power SF - Super Green program
  • Cutting out red meat and dairy
  • Did more sketching, motivated by art activism

Here is a recap of the month in photos:

Swimming in the Bay

Stand Up Paddling at Alcatraz

Dog runs
Indoor Training with Trainer Road

Making art postcards in support of the Standing Rock Sioux, who are on the frontline for our fight for climate / social justice and water protection

Think globally, act locally!


October Recap

October started off great with a camping trip to Lake Berryessa. I kayaked for WWS Alcatraz Touch and Go, scored a point in the run for SERC at the Dolphin vs. SERC Triathlon, and the grand finale: 2nd AG at the Marin County Tri. Followed that up with SUPping for Alcatraz Swim for Sight and WWS Monthly Alcatraz. I tried to take advantage of the little bit of light left in the evening to get some bike miles in and explore new routes. My mom, sisters and I finished the Run the Year Challenge together, running 2016 miles in 2016!

Water World Swim Monthly Alcatraz Sunrise
Catching the Sunset at the Port of Oakland
Did a few laps of the Port
Checking out the Bay Trail in the East Bay
Dolphin vs. SERC Tri
Dog Runs

At the end of it all, I found out I qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals! Now I need to stop messing around, rise to the occasion and get focused!


Marin County Triathlon 2016

Had fun at the Marin County Triathlon Sprint this weekend! This was the first time I did the sprint. I usually do the Olympic distance. It went by so fast! Got 2nd AG and 21st Female.
Finish time: 1:11:05
Swim: 11:54
T1: 2:03
Bike: 30:47
T2: 2:01
Run: 24:20

What a beautiful morning! The sunrise over the calm water was so beautiful, reflecting the colors of the sky like a giant mirror. It was warm, so I wore the shortie suit that I made by cutting the legs off an old sleeveless wetsuit. I could have gone without it, but I needed the speed boost. I found a manageable pace and held on. I hadn't swum much this year, mostly SUPping, so my pace was slower than last year.

The bike was great! I love this rolling, scenic course. I did much better than last year and PR'd all my segments. For fuel, I had a gel flask with a half scoop of Generation UCAN chocolate protein. I had a few more carbs the day before after getting fat adapted again. I had gained weight after trying the Zone so I went back to HFLC and lost 8 lbs to get closer to race weight. This type of diet with Carb Cycling works best for me.

The run was strong. I think the strength training and the little bit of speed work I put in this year paid off in the bike and run. Combined with attention to eating right with lots of greens, I felt much lighter. Lately, my attitude toward health and fitness is all about lifestyle. I know I can't skip it. For racing, I'm mainly focused on shorter distances with power and speed goals.

I saved a little time in my transition possibly because the shortie suit was much easier to take off. I could have saved more time if I hadn't taken the time to put on a funny T-shirt, but I had to use the power of the "Training for the Zombie Apocalypse" mantra to race faster. Good to see my Water World Swim peeps out there, some of them doing their first tri! Such a fun event!


September Recap

This was a busy month with several swim events that I helped with: Alcatraz Swim with the Centurions, Island to Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. I also volunteered with the SF Randonneurs post-ride picnic. We made about 200 tacos for two different rides on one of the hottest days of the year! The weather has been fan-tas-tic! I've been doing a little training here and there to get ready for my tri. I added some HIIT in the mornings and incorporated some bike sprints into my commute. My goal is just to stay fit and have fun!

After all this, I decided it was time for a little weekend getaway to the lake to rest and rejuvenate. We went to Spanish Flat at Lake Berryessa. I thought there would be a ton of speed boats but it was actually quiet and peaceful with just a few fishing boats. There are places to rent boats for water sports if you desire. Lake Berryessa is a manmade lake formed by the Monticello Dam. The water level is around 399 ft, 53% capacity right now. It has a nice area for swimming and the water temp is like bathwater! You can feel the surface water is a little warmer than in the cooler depths. There is a triathlon that happens here called Napa HITS. I had the best time with friends and our dogs, swimming and paddling and eating lots of good food. The water was calm and perfect for paddling! My dog hopped on the paddleboard with me for a bit. I saw deer, lots of birds, hawks, and big fish jumping out of the water. At night, you can hear coyotes howling. I could spend a whole week here!


Fogust Recap

I took the entire month of August off from running and just relaxed and focused on downtime activities such as quality time with pets, writing in my journal, drawing and painting in my sketchbook, seeing art and reading books.  I'm writing for half and hour to an hour every morning now and it's something I really look forward to. I'm sharing a dog with a friend so we went for walks in the park every day. I developed a new routine of doing my yoga stretches in the morning and in the evening. The result is a feeling of calmness, clarity, and more productivity. I downsized more things and set up my little art space. I call it my popup zen corner, a place to relax and unwind. I organized all my art supplies into a little rolling cart that I can move to any room I need them in. I even found some time to take an online class. The back pain disappeared. I signed up for a sprint tri and have started getting back into the physical fitness again with renewed motivation and a new sense of joy and balance. I'm glad I took the time to rest and reflect. If you enjoy the journaling process you will love this book Design the Life you Love by Ayse Birsel.


The SF Marathon

San Francisco Marathon race recap: Another 26.2 in the books! I almost didn't do this. 4 days before the race I woke up with excruciating back pain. I couldn't even get out of bed! I figured it may have been from moving a heavy box the day before. It was a struggle to put on my socks and shoes and carry my bike up the stairs. I was ready to cancel my race. I did yoga twice a day and tried to stretch to help ease the pain. I noticed it was helping. Each day it got a little better. I went to the expo anyway, with the mindset that I wasn't going to do the race. That was a mistake because I got "marathon fever". I picked up my bib and brought it home and had a last minute brainstorm to go to PSOAS Bodywork & Massage and use the pre-race tune-up coupon to help fix my body. It worked! The therapist smoothed out all the tightness and pain spasms I was having and I had a lot more mobility than when I went in. I did a test run around the block and realized I could run without pain so I decided to go for it, do the race as a training run and at least see how far I could go.

I set my clock super early and did an hour of yoga before the race. My plan was to run easy and avoid hunching over. Whenever I did that, I would feel a twinge of pain. I focused on running tall, looking at the horizon. I was lacking power and could not accelerate without risking pain, so I avoided doing that. I just stayed in cruise control the whole time and actually enjoyed the running. No high fives! Going uphill was fine, but I was worried about the downhills. I had to slow it down and keep my stride in check. A couple of times I fell out of form. Ouch, not doing that again! I never ran injured before so it was a new experience for me. I became aware that there were lots of other folks doing this that have physical challenges to overcome. They inspire me.  We are all just pushing our bodies to see how far we can go for various reasons. My reasons are: I enjoy running, the physical and mental health benefits of running, the marathon ritual, reaching goals, being a participant, being a part of the running community. This time, I really stepped outside of myself to check my motive. I was surprised at what I could do if I gave myself the chance. I got to practice being flexible and let go of the results. I'm glad I did it but also wondering about my mental health. Marathon runners are admittedly a crazy bunch.

I ended up finishing with a time of 5:06. It was nice not to worry about the time and just finish, though it was hard to let go of that.  I will continue to incorporate the yoga stretches as medicine into my daily routine. The yoga is helping be more aware of what is going on in my body. I should listen to it more, and be careful about lifting heavy things before my race!


Long Laps on a Dirt Track

I haven't exercised the blog writing muscle in a while. I need my blog to help me process thoughts, perspectives and ideas. Just like running, it allows me time to think, especially running for 2 plus hours.  Lately I keep returning to the same thought which is: "Why am I doing this?" So I can have time to think, of course! I've been running long laps on a dirt track (aka speedwork in slow motion) at the Polo Field to get ready for SF Marathon (5th time) and it's become my favorite workout. The soft track feels nice on the feet. By removing all distractions I'm able to zen out and focus only on my running. It has been a busy spring & summer with not a lot of time and energy for these long runs. I started to question the sanity of signing up for a summer marathon when my weekends have been busy with swim events, but this is just what I need to decompress from that and move on to the next phase of training. My strategy is to try and laser focus in the weeks before the race and peak instead of taper for it which is something I never did before but it sounds reasonable if the goal is to finish.

Training: Each lap is 3/4 mile. I use the Garmin Foot Pod to focus on cadence. I go from about 160 spm to 180 spm. It ends up being about 2 minutes faster than the normal LSD run. The first one I did 5x with recovery laps and it was really tough. I should have started out with 3x. The second time I did 7x (14 laps) and it was so much better. The third time I did 9x (18 laps) and it felt a little slower. After the 6th one it pretty much is a struggle to maintain the cadence. Good practice with the mental side of things to keep going. For each workout I decided to focus on my running economy rather than pace. My base is low, about 20-30 miles a week with strength training and other activities. The strength training is about 1 hour or 2 -30 min. sessions of Bench Press, Squats, Deadlifts, Pullups, Dips, Core with barbells & dumbbells, TRX straps and medicine ball.

Diet: I went back to eating LCHF again recently and used the Generation UCAN chocolate protein superstarch. I mixed 3 scoops into a 1 cup flask and added 3 Hammer Endurolytes Extreme. I think I only need 2. Take a shot before and every hour. I plan to go through 3-4 bottles of water, more if hot. To start, I use the BPI Best BCAA in water with an Endurolyte added. The blood sugar was very stable and no hunger pangs. Great recovery! Nothing needed on the training runs less than an hour. I feel much better on this type of diet and less fluff.

I feel more ready for the marathon now! A month ago I thought I should switch to the half. I realized I had to put in some more miles and earn my spot at the start line and I still had some time to do that. Looking forward to checking out the expo!


Summer SUPping

 Just bought a cool inflatable SUP from Xterra and have been using it to support our swims. It looks easy but is actually a full body workout! After SUPping for several hours this weekend, my whole body is sore. It really complements swimming. The advantage is you get to see alot more and enjoy the bay! This weekend we did Island to Island from Alcatraz to Angel Island and a Bridge to Bridge. The weather has been amazing! Best way to enjoy summer outdoors by far.

I did fall in once, but it was refreshing! Though the board rolls up and fits in a backpack and is not that heavy if you are fit, it's not really ideal for biking with. I will need to get a small bike trailer to tow it. Another advantage is it doesn't take up that much space and I can assemble it in less than 10 minutes. I can put in from shore or from a boat. I look forward to exploring more parts of the bay with it!



Last weekend I kayaked for the ESCAPE. Coach Pedro of Water World Swim organized the water support team. We did several Alcatraz swim/tri clinics and a test swim to help athletes prepare for their race and acclimate to the water and learn how to navigate the currents. The bay was nice and calm on the test swim but Sunday the wind decided to kick in! This raised the challenge level quite a bit, as people had to swim against the wind waves. We were there to guide them along and call for repositioning if they needed it. It took about an hour and a half, with some time at Crissy Field helping swimmers. It is easier to swim straight to Crissy Field beach and run back rather than try to swim against the current to St. Francis Beach. You can get stuck swimming in place and not make any progress. Also, if you do not aim for the shore from the very beginning, you can get sucked out to Golden Gate Bridge. Important details that a swimmer should know. A very exciting day on the bay! More photos here.


DSE 50th Anniversary 5k

What a special day! I just had to be there for this one: The DSE 50th Anniversary 5k run! I've been running their races since 2011 and became a member. They have been running strong for 50 years. If you are serious about running or want to socialize with other runners, they have races every weekend and a training run on Saturday at Golden Gate Park. Meet at the Transverse Drive/JFK water fountain at 8:15am.

I finished the 5k run in 22 minutes and some change. My Garmin froze on me so I had to turn on my Strava while I was running. I had to run off after the awards to go swim with my swim group, but I had time to talk to a few people and sample some delicious coffee cake. I have met some inspiring people here. Always a great community vibe, fun for the whole family!!
22:27 1st AG


Chico Wildflower Century

Great way to celebrate spring at the Chico Wildflower Century! Fun pre-ride party and expo on the day before at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico with camping options. Chico is a fun college town with lots of places to drink and dine, but after setting camp we sampled the many food trucks at the expo. We had burritos with iced coffee and cupcakes while enjoying the live music, then later on hot pastrami sandwiches! The ride offers 3 scenic climbs with long descents that will get your heart racing! The route is well-marked and well-supported with lots of food and catered delicious post-ride dinner. It was perfect weather for the ride with a little cloud cover. The county roads were mostly well paved and wide open, not too much traffic except on the highway and around the lake with trucks towing boats at high speed. We set out around 6:30am and got back around 4:30pm in time for dinner. Moving time was 8:08 with elapsed time 9:41. There were 4 rest stops and a couple of unofficial well-placed ones! It was fun exploring the area and geographical features of the Northern Sierra Foothills and with a bicycle it really gives you a sense of the topography!
Covered bridge off of Honey Run
The top of Table Mountain, max elevation 1,848 ft.

The last part of the ride is flat and windy. By then if you are a bit worn it can feel like the hardest part of the ride, which is why some people skipped it. I noticed some cyclists/triathletes had brought aero bars, which I thought might have been a good idea. I felt most comfortable in the drops at that point. If you have a ride partner you may want to draft if you can. Even though the 100 is just shy of 100, It is rewarding to do the whole damn thing! Plus, had to get my Strava Gran Fondo badge! Props to Chico Velo for putting on a wonderful event. I had been looking forward to it since last year.

June in Pictures

June is all about: The Escape, Back on My Feet Runs, Trail runs, bike rides, the beach, Water World Swim and SUP, the wind and fog! I star...