Week eight and feeling great! Well, except for a nagging cold but who’s counting. In general this was a pretty awesome week of “brick” or “combo” workouts (2 sports in a row), speed work, and healthy plant-based eats. It was also a great week for vegan Olympians and the “dairy alternatives” market. More below!
Swim & Run
Given my irrational (yet crippling) fear of the Bay Bridge I was definitely happy to hear that our Saturday workout was being split into East Bay and SF/Marin. Us SF/Marin people met in San Rafael for an awesome outdoor swim and run workout in a quiet residential area. I was in the middle of getting over a cough/cold so I was a little more sluggish than normal on the run, but not too bad. We did about 1,800 yards (72 laps) of swim drills and also worked on a little speedwork (so hard!). I’m getting better with my swimming but I still have a long way to go, especially with keeping my hips up and core tight.
After the swim we quickly changed into our run gear, did a quick run form clinic, then went out for a 6 mile run in the streets of San Rafael. We did 3 loops of a 2-mile course which was a little mentally challenging but good practice as a lot of triathlon courses are structured this way. The local firefighters were cheering us on, Travis was out there with water and food, and “Big Sexy” and Meredith were armed with high-fives and cameras. This is the definition of teamwork and support!
After the run Damien wouldn’t let us escape without doing a core workout. My muscles are thanking you for this, Damien, but man that was challenging!
After the workout a bunch of us went to Panera Bread in the new Northgate mall. I was happy that they were able to accommodate my plant-based request with a hearty black bean soup, a veggie sandwich, an apple, and hot tea. It’s good to know that even at the most mainstream restaurants you can find healthy, plant-based options, it just may take a little extra effort.
Track Workout & Kezar Pub
I just love our track workouts! It’s hard for me to break my morning workout routine (I don’t usually have the most energy after work for high intensity intervals) and it’s hard for me to get to Golden Gate Park from work in time (1+ hour drive from work) but I just LOVE it and need to try my best to get there every week. Speed work really helps improve your overall speed and endurance and is a great addition to the normal moderate-paced workouts that are typically on the calendar. I got a little feedback on my running form which was great (relaxing my arms) and something I need to work on.
This week we also heard from a team honoree who told his inspiring story. He was a part of Team in Training without a real connection to the cause, and then a couple years later he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He went through treatment and was given a drug that was funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society called rituxan, and how he’s cancer-free! Talk about coming full circle!
After an hour and a half of warm-up, strength training, core workouts, intervals, and a cool-down, a group of us went across the street to the oh-so-popular sports bar Kezar Pub. I was hungry so got a veggie burger and salad (and a few sips from Jason’s beer) and chatted with some teammates. Good times and GO TEAM! See you all at the track!
Time Trial Brick
Sunday morning we were back in San Rafael for a short (but intense) bike ride up to Big Rock Ridge and back. This was meant to be a time trial as fast as we could, so when we repeat this route in a couple months we can see if we’re making progress. Even though it was only 14 miles it included a pretty long and challenging climb and I was pretty spent by the end.
Afterwards a few of us did a short “transition run” which is always a good idea to get used to the feeling of running after the bike. These “brick” workouts (where you do more than one sport in a row) are extremely important for triathlon training. We only did 1.5 miles but it felt like 5. My legs were toast!
Changes to Ironman Lake Tahoe
This week we found out that there will be some changes to the Ironman Lake Tahoe race course and logistics this year. All are positive changes, except one that’s… controversial. Last year was their inaugural year and there were a few hiccups along the way (as expected) so the changes are:
- Transition #1 area (between the swim and bike): Larger changing tents, more heaters, more heat lamps (it was 35-40 degrees on race day last year)
- Improved traffic management getting to the race start (I heard it was challenging for some people to get to the start in time due to traffic)
- Revised bike course: The note says: “We are also revising the bike course so athletes can access and train on the entire course leading up to the event. Even though this will not dramatically change the elevation profile of the course, the adjustment better prepares athletes for the challenging nature of the bike course. The exact route will be announced in the coming months.”
- The revised bike course is the most interesting and controversial change. Last year the bike course went through a private community known as Martis Camp. Athletes weren’t able to preview this part of the race course because it wasn’t open to the public, and this also happened to be one of the big hill climbs. It caught a lot of people off guard on race day. So now it sounds like the bike course is going to eliminate this section and replace it with a similarly-sized hill. But TBD!
- Increased lighting on the run course
Snowboarding = Crosstraining
Monday was Presidents Day and I didn’t have to work, so I last-minute decided to head up to Tahoe to go snowboarding (~3 hour drive from SF). I figured this might be my one and only chance to get on my board this season given how terrible the snow has been, and how quickly my triathlon training is going to ramp up. I met up with my friend, Jessica, and a couple of her friends at Sugar Bowl. I had never been there before, but it was fun exploring the slopes, getting back on the snowboard and seeing the beautiful mountains. I’ve been snowboarding since I was 10 years old, was in the Snowboard Club at Michigan, and was generally a huge part of my winter life. But with triathlon training the last couple years I’ve shifted my priorities a little bit towards winter swim/bike/run. But snowboarding is incredible cross-training as it works so many different leg and core muscles. I was so sore the next day, especially in my calfs and quads. As for veg options, I had Cheerios with soy milk for breakfast and hearty vegan chili on the mountain.
The winter Olympics in Sochi have officially come to an end. What an exciting and inspiring couple of weeks, huh? The stories, the drama, and triumphs (congrats to Michigan students Meryl and Charlie!), the failures, the malfunctions, etc. It was pretty epic. There were also a few plantpowered Olympians in the mix that made it to the podium! Congrats!! And way to show how strong and healthy a plant-based athlete can be!
- Meagan Duhamel won silver in the team figure skating event
- Russian bobsledder Alexey Voevoda won gold
Potala Organic Cafe Broke my Chipotle Craving
OK, if you don’t know by now, Chipotle is my absolute favorite fast casual restaurant. They have loads of vegan options and they list every single ingredient on their website. So there’s no guessing, no question-asking, and it’s just basic, delicious food. So when I have a Chipotle craving there’s not much that can get in my way. When I was on my way back from Tahoe, I was set on going to the Chipotle in Berkeley for dinner. But as I was driving there, I noticed a restaurant with a sign that said “Potala Organic Cafe“. Hmm, that sounded interesting. I pulled into a parking space and did a quick Yelp search. Turns out the place is 100% vegan and had a ton of positive reviews. So I called an audible and went to Potala! And WOW I was so impressed by this place!! You walk in and they don’t shove a menu in your face, instead they ask if you would simply like a small, medium, or large size, and then they show you what will be on your plate. It’s a hodge-podge of items and everything was delicious! You can choose if you want more or less of something so you do have options, but I like this “trust us” approach! I’ll definitely be back!
Plants are going Mainstream
Egg-alternative startup Hampton Creek Foods, raised $23M this week!! That’s HUGE! I’ve been around the finance world for several years and never have I seen so much money being poured into meat and dairy alternatives. It is so inspiring to see. So who are these investors? Probably some hippies, right? Nope. Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, and Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s co-founder. And this is on top of the existing investment from Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, and others. Yes, Bill Gates and Asia’s richest man are putting time, resources, and energy into improving our food system and reducing animal cruelty. Unreal. The tide is shifting and plants are in.
So who is Hampton Creek? They produce egg-free food alternatives for products like mayo and cookie dough and aim to introduce cheaper, higher-quality and more humane alternatives to eggs. I’ve had their “Just Mayo” product and it tastes better than mayo, seriously. Congrats to the team and the whole company. Really excited for everyone involved and for the impact this will have on the meat/dairy alternatives market.
Just today it was also announced that the Milk industry is ending their 20-year “Got Milk?” campaign. I don’t blame them for wanting to try a new ad strategy. Have you seen the milk aisle at the grocery store lately? It’s full of almond, soy, brown rice, and even hemp milk. And that’s not just at Whole Foods, that’s at the local Safeway. Consumers are realizing that they can get nutritional benefits and the same creamy taste from plant-based milk as they can dairy milk. If you haven’t tried a plant-based milk yet, I suggest going for it. And if you don’t like it, I’ll reimburse you for the cost.
There are hundreds of other examples of plants going mainstream, but another that comes to mind is the introduction of sofritas at Chipotle. Sofritas are a meat alternative made from tofu and spices. And they are sooo delicious! Also, Chipotle recently changed the recipe in their pinto beans to eliminate bacon. Pinto beans for all! Thanks Chipotle!!
But meat-eaters shouldn’t worry about their favorite steak, chicken, and cheese going away. Meat and dairy options will always be there, but I’m so encouraged and excited about the availability of plant-based alternatives in addition to meat options. It’s no longer unusual to assume that a coffee shop will have soy milk, or the ice cream store have coconut-based desserts, or the diner to have a veggie burger patty. Heck, even Burger King has a veggie burger option. It’s getting easier.
Other Plant-powered Eats
Yum, I made the most delicious snack over the weekend. It was hummus, avocado, gluten free toast, pepper, and sriracha. So simple and easy. No cooking skills required.
A huge thank you and shout-out to my roommate, Jamie. I was on the couch dead-to-the-world with a bad cold/cough. So she made me some hot Throat Coat tea, fresh carrot & kale juice from her juicer, vegan pasta with a mushroom/garlic (for immunity)/spinach sauce, and sparkling water with lemon (good for the throat). I was blown away by how generous and thoughtful that was. Thanks Jamie!!!
This Week’s Training Log
Sunday the 23rd. Run (Brick). Easy 1.6 miles. 9:54/mi
Sunday the 23rd. Bike (Brick). 14.4 miles. 55 minutes. Big Rock and back. Marker set.
Saturday the 22nd. Run. 5.9 miles. 54 minutes. 9:20/mi
Saturday the 22nd. Swim. 1,800 yards. Mostly drills, some speed work.
Friday the 21st. Run. 6.3 miles + strength exercises. 55 minutes 8:45/mi
Thursday the 20th. Crossfit. 13 back squats, 100 wall balls, 100 double unders, 10 pull ups
Wednesday the 19th. Run. Track workout. 5.1 miles. 2×600 Level 3, 4×400 Level 5, 6×200 Level 9 with core/strength/warm-up/cool-down.
Wednesday the 19th. Stretch, foam roll, core, strength exercises.
Tuesday the 18th. Swim. 1750 yards. 49 minutes.
Monday the 17th. Snowboard. Cross-training for 5 hours in Lake Tahoe.
Thanks everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.