Is this seriously winter? I can’t believe we had another week of 65-degree sunshine and absolutely no rain and the Midwest is dealing with another unbearable cold front. There’s a 40% chance it’s going to snow in Alabama and it’s warmer in northern Alaska than in Chicago today. These extremes are really freaking me out. And we need rain! Check out this picture from Lake San Antonio (near the Bay Area). We’re supposed to do a half ironman here in 3 months and it looks pretty darn dry…
Well, given the beautiful weather and my current enthusiasm for all things training it was a great week for biking, running, and Crossfit. But once again a horrible one for swimming! I ended up going earlier this week but the pool was closed for mechanical reasons. I figured I’d get back there at a different time during the week but it just didn’t happen. Again, it’s still early in the season and I have plenty of time to hone my swimming skills, but it’s time to start making time for swimming!! No excuses! I was really happy that I got 2 outdoor bike rides in, 2 runs before work, 2 Crossfit sessions and a long trail run but I now know that I also need to squeeze in more time for swimming.
Hawk Hill: Best Hill Climbing and Views
I was lucky to have Martin Luther King Jr. day off from work so I met up with a couple friends, Mark and Oscar (we missed you, Rory!), to do Hawk Hill repeats on the bike as well as Rodeo beach and back over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was yet another perfect, sunny, dry day in the Bay. I’m still doing my rain dance for the environment’s sake, but I really can’t complain about this summer weather we’ve had. Hawk Hill is really close to SF and it gives you some of the best hill training (work those legs!!) and views of the city. It takes about 9-12 minutes (~1.7 miles and 500ft of gain) to get from the bottom to the top, so not terribly long but certain stretches are pretty steep. If you’ve never done this route before put it on your to-do list right now! All you do is bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, then keep straight up the hill and take a left at the stop sign. Don’t stop until you get to the top. Do it!
After a few hill climbs and photo ops, Oscar and I had a delicious lunch outside at Blue Barn in the Marina (I had the Detox Salad with tofu, yum!) and then I went to chat it up with Pedro at Sports Basement (FYI – everything is 20% off until it snows over there!). Pedro gave me some great advice about Ironman coaching which I’ll get into later in this post. A very healthy and social holiday, indeed!
I also did Hawk Hill again on Saturday as part of my ~60 mile bike ride in Marin. I just can’t get enough of it! And given that Ironman Lake Tahoe is so hilly I will need all of the hill climbing training that I can get. “Climb, climb, then climb some more” is the advice I’ve been hearing from people who did Tahoe last year. The bike course alone has about 8,000+ feet of elevation gain, and that’s while you’re at 6,000 ft above sea level! So if you’re looking for me on the bike, I’ll probably be in Marin crushing hills.
Official Ironman Coaches + Our First Trail Run!
For the next 8 months of Ironman training I know I have to have an experienced coach to provide a training plan, group motivation, and advice along the way. I want to make sure I’m best prepared on race day to conquer Ironman Lake Tahoe and hopefully finish under the 17-hour cut off. I had signed up with Team in Training (TNT) because I love the people, I knew I wanted to do the Wildflower Long Course, I enjoy giving back to charity, and the coaching is free and high quality. So I’ll be working with TNT starting next week and through the end of April. Then starting in May I’ll be transitioning over to my new coaches and group… Golden Gate Tri Club (GGTC)!
I talked with almost every single Ironman coach in the Bay Area and wrote out pros/cons for each one. Each coach has a different approach to training philosophy, availability, group workouts, cost, etc. It wasn’t until I heard about and finally met Duane and Dorette Franks that I knew I had found the perfect group!
Duane and Dorette are a husband and wife team with decades of experience training athletes and are both highly regarded in the Bay Area. Pedro had nothing but great things to say about GGTC which just re-confirmed my interest in the group. Duane has done 22 Ironmans and has coached over 300 athletes to successful Ironman finishes. Dorette is a plant-powered Vega ambassador with 14 years of triathlon experience under her belt, including Ultraman Canada! And they both have masters education in the nutrition/exercise field. So I’m definitely in good hands and will be learning from the best of the best, and bonus that Dorette understands plant-based nutrition! Perfect for me! I will be training with the Ironman group, but also will be plugged into the broader GGTC training groups for track and other social rides. If you’d like to learn more there’s an info session tonight (Monday) at Sports Basement!
Sunday morning they organized an informal 8.5 mile trail run at Mt Tam so I finally got to meet both of them in person and also meet some of my future teammates including Tami who is also training for Tahoe as her first IM! She and I have a ton in common so I think we’ll be training together a lot this summer! We also had a chance to briefly meet Kathy Winkler, a teacher, mom, Marin resident and unbelievable triathlete. She has won the Ironman World Championships in Kona, broken records at Escape from Alcatraz and won several other races including Vineman and Wildflower. She is also one of the most fit people I’ve ever seen; talk about inspiration!
The trail run was a lot of fun, full of sweeping views of the Bay Area and plenty of sunshine. I loved every huffing and puffing second! But I was wearing my Nike Vomero’s which are road shoes and not exactly the best on trails (no grip). Every time I go trail running I tell myself “I need trail shoes!” so I finally pulled the trigger. After my run and a pit stop to my brother’s house, I went to see Brett (er, I went to see Jenny but she wasn’t there!) at SF Running Company and he helped me try on a bunch of trail shoes. I liked the Pearl Izumi’s and the Hoka Kailua Trail‘s. But I ultimately went with the Hoka’s because it literally feels like you’re running on clouds and the traction for trails seemed pretty strong. Plus, both Duane, Dorette and a few others at our trail run on Sunday were wearing them and had positive feedback.
The cushion and light-weight feel of the shoe is unbelievable. They look a little goofy but Hoka’s are becoming really popular (pro athlete’s are signing up with them left and right) and I think they’re going to become more mainstream, despite the moon boot look. I promise, if you try them on you’ll understand. The Hoka’s have a small drop, are insanely lightweight, allow you to train farther, with less risk of injury and with a speedier recovery time than traditional running shoes (or so I’m told). I’ll try them out and will give the full review later on, but I’m excited to moon walk my way all over the Bay Area trails!
After SFRC I went to Equator coffee and Cafe Del Soul for an amazing platter of quinoa/avocado/black beans/tofu/tomato/spinach/vinaigrette with a giant glass of water. All three of these stores are within the same 100 yard radius in Mill Valley right off of Highway 1. Definitely an awesome way to spend a post-Mt Tam trail run, and big thanks to Jenny for introducing me to all three! Cafe Del Soul is vegan heaven with tons of options and mostly organic, but they also have meat for the omnivores in your group. Nom nom nom!
Sriracha Hummus and Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo!
I’m one of those people that puts sriracha (hot sauce) on pretty much everything, even my salads. I just love the extra kick and heat on an otherwise boring meal. I like that it just takes a tiny bit of sauce and your whole meal is tasty, and you don’t need oily and fatty dressings. So I made another batch of no-oil, no-salt, no-tahini low fat homemade hummus that would’ve been a little bland, but a few dabs of sriracha instantly made it taste so delicious! Here is the recipe.
One of my favorite food blogs is Oh She Glows. The blogger takes mouth-watering food photos and describes each recipe in great detail, and everything is vegan! So I tried her vegan fettuccine alfredo and it was unreal, like lick-the-spoon unreal, and there’s absolutely no butter, oil, cream or fatty ingredients. Just simple foods like cauliflower(!), garlic, almond milk, and nutritional yeast. Check out her recipe and incredible photos here. My photo is below. I also added broccoli for added nutrition:
Lift (with an “i”)
As I wrote about earlier, I am very interested in the quantified self movement and tracking behavior (with Fitbit, heart rate monitors, scales, and other devices) to discover patterns and to change your habits in a positive way. I discovered Lift recently and I’m going to see if it will help me drink 2+ liters of water everyday, something I’ve been trying to make a habit for years but it has never stuck. Full review and feedback coming later this month. Check out the website to see if anything jumps out at you!
Books, Podcasts, etc.
I also started reading Tim Ferris’ book the 4 Hour Body this week. So far I’m not sure if my plant-based lifestyle is really going to jive with his recommendations but I’m going to see what he has to say and make a call. Stay tuned for an update! Other podcasts that I really enjoyed this week were Sid Garza-Hillman’s podcast on Independence and Endurance Planet’s podcast with Dr. Phil Maffetone regarding fat burning.
This Week’s Training Log
Sunday the 26th. Run. 8.3 mile trail run around Mount Tamalpais in Marin. With Duane and Dorette Franks and other Trifiniti and GGTC people. 1 hour 41 minutes.
Saturday the 25th. Bike. 58.9 miles. Hawk Hill & Paradise Loop in Marin. 4 hours 29 minutes.
Friday the 24th. Crossfit. 30 burpees, 5x25M sled sprints, 4x100M sprint, 4×9 deadlifts, 4×6 hang power cleans, 4×3 push press, 4×18 kettlebell swings, 25 dumbell presses
Thursday the 23rd. Run. 7.0 miles, morning run around Redwood Shores. 1 hour 2 minutes. 8:57/mi
Wednesday the 22nd. Crossfit. 90 shoulder to overhead presses. 30 double unders. 60 step lunges. Sprints.
Tuesday the 21st. Run. 5.0 miles. Morning run around Redwood Shores. 44 minutes 59 seconds. 8:59/mi
Monday the 20th (MLK Day). Bike. 40.4 miles. 3 hours 34 minutes. Potrero to Hawk Hill & Rodeo, hill repeats with Oscar and Mark.
Thanks everyone! Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.