New Year's Flexsolutions

Next year's going to be better. I can feel it. As long as we make it better!
I have another private journal that I have been doing everyday for almost a year and that one little "lifehack" was the foundation to many others:
  • Downsized and streamlined my space
  • Streamlined finances, done with student loans! 
  • Got rid of Comcast and switched to local, affordable ISP that supports Net Neutrality
  • Learned to bake sourdough bread
  • Added a few more paintings & drawings to my sketchbook and attended several art exhibits
  • Took a printmaking class
  • Gained clarity and acceptance around personal issues
  • Got a New Garmin & new to me Tri Bike
  • Signed up for Bikeshares
  • Took a selfie of health with Inside Tracker
  • Emergency kit refreshed
There were many things I accomplished without setting out to, just from jotting down ideas and notes in my dear diary and staying open. So for the New Year's Resolutions, this year I invented a new word for them called Flexsolutions. I have been practicing more intuitive goal setting, and letting things evolve organically. Filter out the noise and distractions and move closer to what the heart wants, which is more creativity, consciousness and purpose ...and time outdoors! Less packaging and fluff, continue to support companies aligned with my values and ditch the others!

I have in my mind next year to do a 70.3, but ulitmately the flexsolution is to follow what the heart wants and keep moving. Think globally, act locally!

I have a love/hate relationship with social media right now, but I still find little nuggets of inspiration out there. Last Year's inspiration was Design the Life You Love by Ayse Birsel. This year's inspiration is this book Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind by Dr. Srini Pallay, which I heard about from the Bulletproof Podcast. If you like endurance podcasts there a lot here. Feel free to share others and your inspiration in the comments.

End of Year Recap

 2017 was the year of the sciatica injury! I still managed to stay active and get some miles in, do some fun runs and go to USAT AGNC! Holiday weight less than last year at this time.

Swim: 63 miles
Bike: 3,300 miles (including unlogged bike commutes)
Run: 550 miles
Stand Up Paddle: 70 miles

Mileage goals were out the window. I remember having to take some time off running to heal my pain. Turns out swimming is great for sciatica! I joined masters swim group and did get my swim goal in there. Volunteering also helps when you get injured, which I did every week. It is inspiring to see new runners achieve their goals. Also, new open water swimmers in my swim group achieving their goals! We sometimes forget what it's like and take it for granted. Getting injured reminds you! This year I upgraded my Garmin which makes it easier to log workouts and steps. You'd be surprised at how many miles you get in steps every week! I remember ten years ago when I started this blog, and my inspiration was the famous quote by Lao Tzu "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Here I am at the 10,000 + mile mark and feel like I'm at the beginning again. The start of the new year, learning new things each year.

Upgraded to Vivoactive HR in August.

2017 in 2017: Family Team PRPL surpassed 2017 miles goal and is at 2500!
Here is how the year panned out, in a fun video by Strava.

Started and ended the year with DSE Runs:
  • DSE Marina Green 5k
  • The Great Cupid Run
  • KPSF Half-Marathon
  • The Super Run 5k (March)
  • Oakland Half-Marathon
  • BTWD
  • DSE Rainbow Falls 5k
  • Lots of fun events with Water World Swim 
Here is how the year panned out, in a fun video by Strava


December in Pictures and a Video

This is it! Last month of the year! Taking time to relax, reflect and occasionally cave in to cravings of holiday treats! Time to say goodbye to those we lost, time for giving, quality time, and time to daydream about the possibilities of next year and years to come.

Supermarket Street Sweep, benefit ride for the food bank
Running in  Golden Gate Park
Neighborhood outdoor movie night with popcorn, hot chili bowls and toy drive
Morning run with Back on My Feet Team SoMA
Weekend in Bolinas
Park walks - pick up a copy of Stairway Walks in San Francisco
by Adah Bakalinsky
DSE Rainbow Falls 5k
New Year, new socks! Blood donation perks


On the Right Track with Inside Tracker

Stuff you do when reaching middle age: freak out about your health and aging! I have a close friend who turned 50. They didn't believe me about the keto diet until they tried it and lost 10 lbs, just in time for their birthday! Out of curiousity and a mid-life present to ourselves, we tried the Inside Tracker test. We did the Inner Age test, which gives you a snapshot of how you're aging. This test didn't include a cholesterol test, so they are taking a separate cholesterol test and waiting for the results, which we will update later. The website allows you to submit test results to your profile.

The Inner Age test will give you a good idea of what's going on using key biomarkers, such as inflammation, glucose levels, liver function, vitamin D, and testosterone. We both had similar results, with most of the biomarkers optimized, and needing to work on our glucose. It was very simple, just had to go to Quest Diagnostics and get a blood draw, and the results came up pretty quickly.

My Inside Tracker Results 2017 - Inner Age 51 / Optimal 33
My Inner Age is 51, though on Garmin it says my Metabolic age is 29. I wonder how these compare. One could be for longevity and one could be how you feel fitnesswise. Even on a low carb diet, we still had to work on Glucose. Oddly their glucose was much higher than mine, even though I do carb cycling and more cardio exercise, and they do none. What I learned is that red meat can cause high fasting glucose levels. They give you lots of information and recommendations for how to optimize your biomarkers with nutrition. I look forward to implementing them and taking the test again next year.

I am guided by how I feel, and I felt good with what I am doing with diet and exercise so will continue!

November in Pictures

November was a long haul, but just taking it one step at a time gets you to the finish line!
Signed up for next year's races: A half marathon and a half-iron triathlon!
Got my Inside Tracker blood test results, will be in a future post.
Ate well, but moved a lot, so nothing to worry!
Will be adding in more strength training next month.

Running 59mi / Goal: 12 mi per week

Homemade sugar-free pumpkin ice cream

Masters Swimming - Got 7 miles in at least

Alcatraz Swim and Paddle with WWS

Back on My Feet SF - One Year Birthday!

Visited Dallas and Ran with BoMF DFW

Thanksgiving with the FAM - Lots of baking (and moving)!

Bikeshare in Big D

23rd Blood Donation


The Love in the Air is Thicker Than The Smoke

The month was tinged with smoke and sadness, as disaster hit close to home in the North Bay Fires, but was great to see the community pull together to help out. I knew people affected by the fires and also Hurricane Maria. It is going to take a long time to rebuild but we can do it. Community building and resiliency is an ongoing project. That is why I became involved in Back on My Feet, using the power of running to aid in this project on the local level. Running is the great equalizer as one of our volunteers put it. She wrote an article about this subject for the Chronicle. It seems like we are getting triggered on a daily basis to succumb to disaster and get distracted from the task at hand,  but to be able to have the strength to stay positive, focus on the next thing we can do to problem solve and overcome our challenges collectively is the task of the day.


September in pictures

September was an end of summer blowout! We had heat, smoke, wind, and lots of events. I traded some running miles for swim miles to try to balance out my body and work on weaknesses. I'm getting used to the longer swim workouts so now I can add the running back in.

Alcatraz to Angel Island SUP / Swim with Water World Swim

Bike ride up to Twin Peaks using new Garmin Vivoactive

Exploring Creativity at Mission Cultural Center - Friday night life drawing
Exploring Creativity at Mission Cultural Center - Tuesday Night Printmaking
Edvard Munch show at the SFMOMA

Lots of swimmers getting ready - Alcatraz training with Water World Swim

Sunday Streets in my hood - Western Addition

Dog breaks

Joined Ford Go Bike

Back on My Feet Bingo! Running/Walking with them 2 - 3 x per week!

Master Swimming at local pool -15.5 miles of swimming this month!

WWS Alcatraz Swim with the Centurions!  Took care of volunteer coordination and shore duties.

Natural Disaster relief efforts are underway for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the earthquakes in Mexico. They need our support right now.


USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

I'm back from Nationals in Omaha and it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience! I finished in 3:06 and did the best that I could that day. It's a great opportunity to meet other triathletes from all across the country and find out about other races, other places to swim and different challenges in their state for training. Some people have to deal with altitude, some deal with cold wet winters, some no open water to train in, some hot summers. Some athletes deal with physical health and life challenges. By and by everyone dealt with those challenges and it brought them here. I had to deal with a little sciatica injury, but recovered just in time and raised a few bucks for Back on My Feet, which is a plus! Thanks to everyone who supports our cause!

Overall, I feel motivated and energized to continue to do triathlons. I was feeling meh about training for a long course such as Ironman but the Nationals can keep you psyched to do the short course racing if you are looking to improve your speed. I actually have time goals I would like to achieve before I go 140.6 so this works. I went in with realistic expectations and was glad to be able to finish given my circumstances of getting injured earlier in the year. My base training had been interrupted and I had to take a month off and do nothing. Also, no prep races. Some people had done half ironmans right before. But I got a chance to go and do this and absorb alot of info, experience what it's like to be there, get graded on my test and get some homework for the next test! Here's the recap:

The race was delayed by 30 minutes because of traffic, so we had plenty of time for getting ready, having breakfast, using the bathroom, stretching, socializing, etc. This was great because I had a knot in my calf and I had time to work on it and roll it out with my water bottle. We got to watch the swim start at least a dozen times. I also peeked into the transition area to watch people do the run in and bike out. It was a HUGE transition area so that accounted for more time.

The Swim: 0:41:34
The water was warm and we had a chance to warm up on the other side of the dock. When the horn went off we booked it, except I feel like I was going out too fast to try to keep up with the rest of the pack and then got the oxygen deficit after 100 yards. This is a really uncomfortable feeling and makes you feel like quitting. I realized I just needed to slow down and find my 1 mile pace. Once I found my groove it was fine. I just kept thinking of enjoying the moment and looked forward to hopping on my bike. They actually gave us a nice long gap between this wave and the next so that I didn't get run over until the last half of the course. At the very end, right as I was about to set foot on the ramp, I got a calf cramp of course. There goes my run to my transition! >> Strava

T1: 0:03:14  
I had visualized where my bike was and even put a bright orange microtowel on my aerobars. Luckily my bike is bright yellow which makes it easy to spot. Because of my back, I sat down on the grass and put my bike shoes on. I was never a bike-on-the-pedals person before. I got to Nationals without having to do that so why would I start now? Just the thought of stepping on something barefoot and hurting my feet for the run makes me cringe. The helmet and straps were securely on even before touching my bike. The number one rule to remember!

The Bike: 1:25:18
This was a really fun course. I got to enjoy the speed upgrade of my bike. Unfortunately I dropped my chain twice on the hill, once on the out and once on the way back, and I got a huge cramp in my quad when I got off the bike. That got my attention! I was able to pass  a few people and most importantly no penalties! There was a huge presence of officials and police all over the course. It was well monitored. There was a railroad track bit that was covered in carpet, thankfully. Other than that mostly smooth sailing and no crashes or flats. On the way back I felt a little headwind and I missed the opportunity to advance on the descent because I was stuck behind someone slower than me and there was a long line of people passing and I couldn't get in. I should have attacked on the uphill and passed then. I was wondering if I had it in me on the way up, and asking myself if I should save my legs or whatnot. Next time, I don't think it would have impacted my run to push it and I could have shaved off a few minutes. And now it will bother me forever that I didn't leave it all on the course! >> Strava

T2: 0:03:12  
Racked bike and undid helmet then sat on the grass again for the shoe switch. No socks this time. I had my Brooks T7 racers. I grabbed my BoMF singlet with bib pinned on and a gel flask and hit the road.

The Run: 0:53:08
It was a hot day, and since my wave started later, it was approaching high noon on the run. Cue the spaghetti western music. This is where the race really heats up for me, and last chance to catch up! The great thing is they had several aid stations on the lapped course where I could grab some  ice water and pour it on my head. I didn't have a problem running off the bike at all. I tried to start slower than I felt like going and warm up for the first mile. I focused on my high cadence technique and my posture and breathing. After that, I settled into a 8:30ish pace and see if this is going to work for negative split. I let someone in my age group surge past me and sure enough passed them later after hanging on steady for the duration. After the halfway mark I kicked up a little notch, opening the stride a little more and using my arms, passing a few more, and then torched it on the last mile. I was able to blast through the finish chute with a strong pace. The finish chute is not a time to be hanging back! In the big picture of things I'm sure none of it mattered, but later down the line it could. >> Strava

Though I didn't get sub 3 hours I learned quite a bit, and enjoyed the race and post race recovery. No overall PRs, but it was a definite PR on the bike! I really enjoyed the ride and look forward to more fast rides. Though I had visualized the race, I didn't really visualize the end of the race. I was just glad to be done! I should have went to bag check first before trying to clean up my transition area. I tried to scoop everything up in my towel and carry it that way. It was nice to not have a lot of clutter in the transition area to stumble over. I loved all the honesty and comments by the other athletes. Sometimes they say things you are also thinking and feeling and are very supportive. I felt a lot of unity and camaraderie here. A great reprieve from all the other BS happening in the world. It's nice to be able to take a step back and be relieved and grateful. I had been thinking and planning for it for such a long time. I couldn't believe some people were doing the double. I was pretty exhausted the next day and barely managed a short run. I wanted to go out and see a little bit of Omaha before heading back home. They had shuttle service to and from hotel which I took advantage of.

For fueling, I trained low carb and raced high carb. This works for me on short fast courses, and I managed to control my weight before my race and lost 10 lbs, even through injury and non-activity. HFLC is anti-inflammatory and one of the main reasons why I do it, to ease the aches and pains. For a longer course, I might stay low carb after the refeed. I had some homemade energy bars for breakfast, some endurolytes and a gel right before the swim, Hammer Perpetuem mixed with SOS on the bike, and 3 gels in a flask mixed with water on the run. I think this is why I didn't fade at the end. I didn't totally "carb-load" but just ate normally. Start the carbs 2 days out from race day and hydrating.  The day before, a breakfast burrito, a sandwich for lunch, and some rice with dinner. Lots of sweet potato and plantain chips. I love my starchy carbs! What most people think of eating normally is actually carb-loading, LOL. I eat way more vegetables on HFLC than I do if eating vegetarian. After the race I did Recoverite and the post race food which was a tuna sandwich. My appetite was a bit off after that but I managed to find some simple pre-cooked food at the local organic grocery store and deli. I'm starting to feel a little puffy so going back to low-carbing it. These are all personal logistical details that I can refer to on the next race. It's good to keep a log.

Thanks so much again to Rick Byrd for my new custom bike and for Kyle of Trek Marin / Every Man Jack for getting the bike up there. I highly recommend their services!
Finisher Medal
Checking out the swim course

Bike check-in

Transition area

Race Packet

Collecting memorabilia at the USAT shop

Getting the fuel together

Transition ready!

The calm before the storm

Waiting for race to start

Watching the USAT program on the big screen

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...