Ironman Lake Tahoe Training · Training

Week 35: Peak Week #2

After ~17 hours of training while suffering from a 2-day migraine, squeezing in a 2-day business trip to Kansas City in a tiny plane, and managing sudden knee pain, I can honestly say this was one of the hardest weeks to date. But I survived to blog about it…

Training log output

Long Bike Ride — Cut a Little Short

Well, Saturday was supposed to be a peak bike ride of 125 miles but it ended up being ~95 in total. Which is completely fine and I’m not stressed about it whatsoever since I’ve done several 100-milers this summer and even rode 129 miles at Death Ride. I’m confident in my cycling training to date and it was the right call to stop short (more below on what happened).

I set out with Michael to do a loop from SF down the coast to Pescadero and loop back via Canada Rd. I had never done this route before but it was unbelievably gorgeous along the coast. We had a perfect day with warm weather and sunny skies. I loved every second! And it was so nice to get a change of scenery from the same ol’ Marin loop.

There’s a really awesome new section along the coast called the Devil’s Slide Trail and it’s 1.3 miles of pure joy. It’s a downhill multi-use path along the Pacific Coast. No cars. Not many people. Just adrenaline and happiness!

At the "Devil's Slide"
At the “Devil’s Slide”

After the Devil’s Slide we continued down the coast, chatted with some bike tour people, went by a sweet pumpkin patch, and eventually made it to Pescadero for a quick pit stop to check the Michigan football score and refuel. I dare you to find a cuter town than Pescadero.

Beautiful bike ride along the coast, rocking my Smashfest Queen kit.
Beautiful bike ride along the coast, rocking my Smashfest Queen kit.

After ocean views we turned inland into the woods and started climbing. And kept climbing. And climbed some more. It wasn’t particularly steep, but pretty darn long. I kept a steady pace but kept thinking that “the top must be around the next corner!”

Towards the top of the hill I told Michael that my left knee was starting to hurt, but that it was fine and I’m sure it’ll go away soon. He insisted we stop to stretch it out (thank you!!) which really felt nice and helped (for a short while). I stretched my IT band, quads, hamstrings, everything.

I got back on the bike and after a few minutes the pain was back with a vengeance. Uh oh. I knew my day was over. Michael was awesome and we took a long break, stopped for sandwiches, then made our way to the Palo Alto Caltrain station to take the train back to the city. I’m so glad he knew exactly where to go and came up with a great back-up plan to our planned 125 miler. There was no way I would’ve been able to make it back to SF on my bike.

After Caltrain all I had to do was ride my bike ~8 more miles back home, for a total of 93 miles for the day. Not bad considering the circumstances, and still an epic ride along the coast.

A couple days later I went to see bike fit extraordinaire, Pedro Dungo, and he helped get the knot out of my knee (SO PAINFUL) and adjust my bike seat to a better height that will put less strain on my knee. Thanks Pedro!! So with a little more icing, stretching, and massage, I think my knee will be fine. It doesn’t hurt when I walk or run, only when I’m on the bike. So we’ll see! Again, not terribly stressed out about it anymore.

Strava Output
Strava Output

20 Mile “Adventure” Run to Tiburon

On Sunday I had a 20 mile run on my training calendar so thought it would be “fun” to try and run from SF to Tiburon and take the ferry home.

I got up early and was out the door by 7:00am. It was so nice to be on the Golden Gate bridge and in Sausalito without crowds or traffic! Loved it.

I call this an “adventure” run because it wasn’t exactly a continuous 20 miles without stopping. There were a lot of hills, stop lights, and odd terrain to navigate that I felt like I always had to be “on” and thinking about what’s next. It was more of an adventure and just tried to get to that 20 mile mark!

I’m not sure I would do this route again, mostly because the downhill to Sausalito is on a slanted road and it was really tough on my legs (I ended up walking most of it) and also Blithedale Ave is a tough road to run on (tons of cyclists and no sidewalk, and busy 101 entrances). Maybe I just need to find a better route, but it got a little frustrating around that area.

My legs were pretty dead starting at around mile 4. I’m actually happy that it was a tough run because I won’t exactly feel fresh during Ironman! I kept telling myself “10 miles until taper time” and “earn your rest day!”

I made it to the Tiburon ferry but had only run 17.7 miles. Ugh. The worst feeling is thinking you’re done but then scrambling to come up with random out-and-backs to get the mileage in. Those last couple miles were really really really tough. I definitely had to dig deep.

Overall my average pace was 9:51 min/mile which is slower than usual but to be expected based on the hills and muscle fatigue.

I was so happy to be done! TAPER TIME!!! I enjoyed a coffee and some oatmeal outside in the Marin sunshine and just stretched out on the grass waiting for the ferry. It was glorious.

Run map and elevation chart
Run map and elevation chart
Relaxing in Tiburon. See the skyline in the distance? That's where I started.
Relaxing in Tiburon. See the skyline in the distance? That’s where I started.

Rest Day and No Work!!

If you say so!
Complete Rest Day! If you say so!

Monday was Labor Day and also a total rest day from training. I haven’t had a day off like that in MONTHS! Obviously my body still wanted to wake up at 5:30am but I tried really hard to stay in bed until at least 7:30am. I made some coffee, strolled down for a long breakfast on Fillmore, and took it easy. It was amazing.

Later in the afternoon I met up with Michelle and Katie to watch the Giro di San Francisco, a local cycling race (or “crit” as they call it). They did laps of a 0.75 mile course near Levi’s Plaza. It was one of the coolest and fast-paced events I’ve seen. It was like a Grand Prix on bikes. The cyclists were packed into a peloton and took the corners so fast and so close to each other that any sudden move would risk a domino effect. These elite cyclists were incredibly inspiring to watch!

I took the photo below, posted it to Instagram, and one of my followers actually recognized the athlete and now I’m in touch with her. Gotta love social media.

Giro di SF
Giro di SF Elite Women

Testing 1..2..3…  

I constantly hear “nothing new on race day” from experts, so I’ve been trying to test out the food and drinks that will be offered on the race course (in case the nutrition I carry runs out, falls out, or becomes unpalatable) as well as gadgets and clothing that I’ll use during the race. Here are some examples:

  • Friday night on my run I tested out my new ear warmers (it was so cold in SF!) and also my head lamp. I’ll probably use both of those during the frigid Ironman run.
  • Tried out the lemon GU Chomps on my bike ride. I didn’t like the taste very much but they’re similar enough to Shot Bloks where I think it’ll be OK if I have to take any of these from the aid stations.
  • Tried a new flavor of Skratch Labs (mango) and it was not pleasant what-so-ever. I’ll stick to lemon and lime!
  • Took some pretzels during a long run which I loved! I’m so happy they have these on the run course. I have also tried bananas which aren’t as pleasant and satisfying but may help with cramping?
  • I’m also continuing to break in my new Pearl Izumi running shoes. So far so good, and a great upgrade.

IMLT Random Updates

  • Out of the ~1650 registrants for the full Ironman, less than 300 are women. There are only 37 people in my age group (Female 25-29).
  • Most Ironman races sell out within days. Ironman Lake Tahoe is still open. Just goes to show how challenging and intimidating this course is!
  • My bib number is #363 (palindrome!) and you can track me on race day, Sunday, September 21st at
  • I asked if they would add veggie broth to the run aid stations because they have chicken broth. No luck 😦 They said maybe for next year. Come on, Ironman!!
  • The swim will include a rolling start based on estimated finishing time, much like corrals in marathons. That way the course gets spread out a bit and your time starts when YOU start, not when the gun goes off. Love it!

Articles and Fun Stuff

  • BBC The Creation of Ironman Love hearing about the early days of Ironman and how it all got started!
  • The Vegan Roadie. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT NAME!? So clever. Between my biking and traveling (and obvious last name tie-in) I’m the ultimate vegan roadie. Damn. Anyway, please consider backing this guy’s project; I don’t know him but it sounds awesome.
  • Triathlete Magazine More Ways Than One Refreshing to hear as I freak out about race day!
  • Brendan Brazier on the Rich Roll Podcast. One of the best and most mainstream-worthy interviews so far. Very inspiring and informative.
  • The Protein Myth by Rich Roll. An incredibly inspiring video compilation of plant-based athletes. This is a must-watch if you’re wondering about that protein question.

This Week’s Training Log

  • 31st. Run. Long run 20 miles SF to Tiburon, took the ferry home. 9:51/mi
  • 30th. Bike. 95 total miles from SF to the peninsula. 6200+ ft of elevation gain.
  • 29th. Run. Sunset/night hilly run to test the headlamp. 6.3 miles 10:03/mi
  • 28th. Run. Post-bike run outside. 3.1 miles 8:49/mi.
  • 28th. Bike. 1 hour indoor spin intervals. 21 miles.
  • 27th. Run. Evening run with a migraine 7.2 miles 9:24/mi
  • 26th. Bike. 90 minutes of indoor spin intervals. 33 miles.
  • 25th. Swim. 2,100 yards of drills and kicking.

Thanks Everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.

4 thoughts on “Week 35: Peak Week #2

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