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Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Rice and Beans


Recovery from Wildflower is going really well.  I ended up taking 3 complete rest days, and then somehow found myself committing to a marathon that’s 5 weeks away.


My sister’s last race marathon was in San Francisco two years ago, and she wants to get revenge on the course (it was a rough day).  “Hmmm maybe” turned into “registration confirmed” within 24 hours, and the best part is that my dad is doing it too!

I’m planning on running 16 or 17 miles this Saturday, I have a trail half marathon next weekend, and I’ll do a 20-miler the week after that.  It will definitely not be my best marathon, but I think it will be fun (which is kinda weird, since just a few weeks ago I was fairly certain it would be years before I signed up for another one).

We started getting a CSA box last week, and our first two deliveries have been awesome.  There was some zucchini this week, and although I usually hate it raw, it’s fine if it’s shaved into ribbons.  I usually keep some kind of cooked grain in the fridge, and this week it was brown rice, so I just tossed that with some black beans, green onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds for a quick, healthy dinner.




Wildflower Long Course 2013

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” – John Wooden


Good news: I did something this weekend.  I made a pretty stupid mistake with regards to nutrition, but I am still completely in love with Wildflower and am determined to go back next year and do it right!

Let’s back up a little bit.  I signed up for this race last summer, knowing it would be a tough one because a)the course is insane and it’s always hot, b)it would be my first triathlon in about 5 years, and c)I had no idea how I would juggle full-time teaching, being Ellie’s mom, and putting in enough training.  I added swimming and cycling to my workout routine in December, and kicked into full-on training mode 12 weeks ago, stepping it up to 12 hours a week. (I wrote about my schedule here).  My goal was to beat my Vineman time from 2005 (the only other 70.3 I’d ever done, and which I didn’t train enough for ), 6:28:43.  I knew this course was a lot harder, but I’d trained a lot too.

I had no idea how much I’d come to love training.  I found a group to do my long weekend rides with, started swimming with a Master’s group, and ran a bunch of early morning miles with Aron.  I also had a few great workout with Page and Jana.  It was a lot of time in the pool, on the trainer, and on the roads, but I loved it.

As the race got closer, I didn’t have the sort of nervousness (and almost dread) that I usually get with full marathons.  I was just really excited to get out there and do my best.  Even on our drive down to Lake San Antonio on Friday, I was super pumped but not really nervous.  When we got to the lake, we set up our campsite (one of the best things about Wildflower is that so many people camp on site) and headed down to the lake for a quick shake-out swim.  It felt awesome.  Then we went up to the expo to hang out…and I met Jesse Thomas! He ended up winning his third Wildflower in a row.  Awesome!


I saw his adorably pregnant wife (pro runner Lauren Fleshman) hanging out at the booth too, but didn’t realize she was taking this picture.


Pretty cool.

After checking out the expo, I rode my bike up Lynch Hill for a little confidence boost.  I felt relaxed and strong, and ready to race the next morning.  After an early pasta dinner, I went to bed pretty early and slept really well until about 6 AM.

I distinctly remember the feeling of dread when I woke up the in the morning the last time I did this race.  It was in 2008, and I was doing the Olympic distance.  It was cold and I just didn’t feel like getting out there and getting in the water.  I didn’t have anything like that this time! I was still just really excited to go have fun on the course.

My wave started an hour and 10 minutes after the first one, so we hung out and watched pretty much everyone start the race.  The water was wetsuit legal for everyone but the elites (it was 70 degrees) and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear mine or not.  I ended up wearing it and was so glad I did.

Swim: 37:59

I know I’m not a strong swimmer, so the added buoyancy of the wetsuit REALLY helped me out.  I started right in the middle of my wave and the crowd didn’t really thin out for about 600 meters.  At one point my goggles were kicked off, but I managed to make it through without too many collisions.  I felt really good the entire time and was shocked to see my time on the clock.

T1: 4:25

The ramp up to transition is LONG so I walked it, trying to keep my heart rate down.  When I got to my bike, it felt like it took forever to take my wetsuit off and get my shoes on, and I kept feeling like I was forgetting something.


Bike: 3:33:06

The first 30 miles of the bike were amazing.  The countryside is totally beautiful and I was passing a lot of guys (a benefit of being in the first wave of women after every single man has already started).  I had two full bottles of Perpeteum, plus an aero bottle on the front that was full of water.  I also had a bento box with some Shot Bloks and two Gus.

I ate a couple of Shot Bloks and was really consistent about drinking, but around mile 30 I started to really fade.  I knew that things got a lot harder around mile 40 so I just kept drinking, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I wasn’t taking in enough calories.  I later realized that over the whole bike course I probably only had about 45o when I should have had 700. Oops.

Nasty grade really hurt, as expected, but was honestly not as bad as I was anticipating.  I was so happy I’d ridden up Diablo during training – that makes ANY hill feel short!  My heart rate was through the roof and I felt really weak but I made it to the top, and even though I was fairly under-fueled, I kept pushing until the final descent into transition.

T2: 2:19

I was shocked to see that my time for T2.  I was a little disoriented and almost ran out with my helmet… I felt like I was moving in slow motion as I switched shoes, sprayed on some more sunscreen, and put a Gu in each pocket of my shorts.


Run: 2:25:16

And here is where it all went downhill (not literally, unfortunately).  I saw Mike right after leaving transition and he asked how it was going.  I said something like “hanging in there” but I did not feel good at all. My legs were completely fine, but it felt like someone had compressed my lungs, and my heart was racing.  I started walking and hardly ran at all the first 6 miles.  I never doubted that I would finish for some reason, but I just figured I’d have to walk the entire run course.

Before the race, whenever I talked to anyone about the long course, they warned about Nasty Grade, but nobody ever said ANYTHING about the run!  The first five miles are full of steep, hot, dusty hills and if you haven’t eaten enough, it is completely miserable.  I stupidly thought I was getting a decent number of calories from the Gatorade I was taking at each aid station, but that obviously wasn’t the case.

Somewhere around mile 4, I started talking with a guy who was also having a rough time, and we stayed together for awhile.  I told him I felt like someone had secretly moved the course up to 15,000 feet because I just couldn’t take in enough oxygen. He asked if I had eaten enough, and it wasn’t until then that I realized I really hadn’t.  I took a Gu at the next aid station, and it tasted AMAZING.  Within half a mile, I was breathing normally and running again.

I ran every step of the last 6.5 miles, taking a second Gu at mile 9 and water at each aid station.  I was passing tons of people and felt like I could run forever.  Amazing what a difference a boost in blood sugar can make.

When I reached mile 11, I knew I only had one more mile left before I got to float down Lynch hill and finish.  There was loud music right at the top of the hill and the lake came into view.  I started running as fast as I could down the hill, and when the finish chute finally came into view, I almost started crying.  This race I’d set out to do so many months ago was almost done, and I was going to finish strong.


I saw Mike just as I hit the last straightaway and gave him a thumbs up.  I knew I’d missed my goal by a considerable amount, but at that point I didn’t care at all.  I didn’t give up when it seemed like I would have to walk the whole thing, and I managed to turn it around and end the race on a super positive note.

This race will forever be my favorite.  There just isn’t any other event out there like it.  This was my fourth year at Lake San Antonio (one year as a volunteer, two years racing the Olympic distance) and I can’t imagine not going back again.  The challenge of the course, the energy of all the competitors, the fun community of the campground… I don’t think I’ll ever love another event this much.

I can’t wait to go back next year having learned from my fueling mistake!

26/82 AG
136/414 overall

Tomato Vegetable Soup with Wheat Berries

Sunday was pretty much the best non-racing race day ever.  There was a practice race on the Dipsea trail up in Marin county, and Mike talked my dad into running it with him.  The trail is only 6.8 miles long, but it climbs over 1600 feet total, and involves a whole bunch of stairs.


After they took off I spent about 20 minutes exclaiming to my mom about how beautiful Mill Valley is, and that if I win the lottery the very first thing I’m doing is buying a house there.

Then we went and found a snack.


This was at Mill Valley Beerworks, and I plan on going back as soon as possible for dinner and beer.  After a scone and tea, we drove over to Stinson Beach to wait for the finish.   It was completely gorgeous, and reminded me it’s been way too long since we spent time at the beach.


It’s topped 90 degrees the last few days, but I couldn’t not share this soup we had for dinner on Friday.  It was one of those typical “I have no idea what to make for dinner but it’s already 3 so I better figure something out NOW” afternoons when I came across this post, and it was just as good as I was anticipating.


I used wheat berries instead of barley, because I some already cooked and sitting in the fridge, and I gave the bowl a generous sprinkling of fresh basil.  I don’t care how hot it is, I’ll be making this soup again soon!


(adapted from In Praise of Leftovers)


3 Ingredient Vegan Ice Cream


One week to go.  Still totally excited.

I went to my usual Saturday morning group ride this morning and chatted with a guy who did the long course at Wildflower last year.  I asked (like I ask everyone who has done that race) how bad Nasty Grade is.  Like a few others, he said if I can ride up Diablo, I will be totally fine. Thank god I checked that off the list last weekend.

My total workout this morning was a 1:50 ride (31 miles) and s 20 minute run (2.4 miles).  6 months ago that would have felt like a real workout, but today I feel like I’be barely done anything.  I tested out my new race shorts and they were awesome for the bike and run.  I’m feeling ready to go!

I’ve been sort of wading into veganism, just testing the waters.  We haven’t had cheese in the house in quite awhile and I honestly don’t miss it.  I think Ellie does, but she gets plenty of it at daycare, so she’ll live (and I’m sure we’ll be buying it for her again one of these days).  I was doing great all week, but then a sixth grader brought me a cupcake yesterday (funfetti!) and I was halfway through it before I realized that I was sort of unofficially trying to avoid milk/dairy products.  Oops.

I made this for dessert last night and it kind of reminds me of a Wendy’s Frosty (although I haven’t had one in almost 2 years so I could be way off).   I used carob because it’s slightly sweet on its own, but if you’d rather use cocoa powder, I’d recommend using a few extra dates to sweeten it.  It’s super rich and creamy, but doesn’t have an overwhelming coconut flavor.  It’s also kind of dangerous because I pretty much always have all three ingredients in my pantry!


Chocolate Cream Pie


Welcome to Taper Town. Have some pie.

Somehow there are now fewer than two weeks between me and Wildflower.  As of right now, I feel confident in my training and ready to embrace taper.  I’m sure that within a week, however, I will begin completely freaking out.

On Saturday I decided to go for a ride up Mt. Diablo, which involves climbing about 3800 feet. I’ve never done this ride before, but I loved it.  I rode up the North Side, and it was amazingly beautiful. I used to think there was nothing better than the Douglas Fir forests of the Pacific Northwest, but California’s oak-covered hills might be starting to edge them out.


Obviously had to take the awkward selfie at the top, and a picture of the gate, and a picture of the view.  In between the picture on the left and the pictures on the right were about an hour and a half of alternating between gawking over the scenery and cursing the wind.  But I made it to the top and it was glorious.  That picture on the lower right is 17 miles from my front door.

Coming down was really unpleasant.  I’m still kind of terrified of going more than 25 miles an hour, so I basically rode the brakes as dozens of cyclists flew by.  I went down the South side (definitely the more popular option for riding up), and followed up the ride with a 7 mile run.

Someday I will learn to drink enough fluids after a hard ride + run in 80+ degree heat.  My headache on Saturday afternoon was reeeeal nice.  I also hope to some day learn how to make pretty slices of pie.


What this pie lacks in beauty, it makes up for in flavor.  Chocolate cream filling, chocolate crust, and lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Dorie Greenspan knows what she’s doing.


from Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 Great Salads and 2 Weekend Workouts

This was it. My last BIG training weekend before the taper for Wildflower. And it ALMOST went perfectly.

On Friday after work I picked up my fancy new Rudy Project helmet, which I got an awesome deal on because they sponsor the tri club I’m in. It’s such a huge improvement on my last (junky, ugly, old) helmet.
Riding high on new gear, and with my aero bars newly attached to the bike, I headed out for my usual Saturday morning group ride. Pretty much right away, my seat started slipping, tipping slightly back with every bump I went over. 10 miles in, I decided to stop and see if I could tighten it, and thought I had, but a few minutes later it slipped even more. I decided to throw in the towel and call Mike for a ride to a bike shop (this may have been a slight overreaction on my part, but it was frustrating and I couldn’t seem to fix it myself).

Sitting by the side of the road waiting for him to pick me up, a guy from the group ride who had turned back early stopped and fixed the seat. It was an easy fix, but for some reason I couldn’t  figure it out on my own. I called Mike and told him I actually didn’t need to be picked up, then rode home and finished the ride on the trainer, because I was worried something else would go wrong. Fortunately, after that, my transition run went really well.

Workout two of the weekend was much better. Aron figured out how to run to some great trails less than a mile from my house, so we had an awesome 2 hour run as the sun was coming up. Perfection.

I’ve become an extremely lazy weeknight cook and pretty much just stick to salads. This week I made two that we all adored:
1. Bulgur, lentils, kale, and avocado.
This one is super simple: boil 2 cups of water, pour over one cup of bulgur, and let stand while you prepare everything else.
Chop a head of curly kale and a clove of garlic. Mix the garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and massage into the kale.
Cook 1 cup of French green lentils in a pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes (or until tender), then rinse and drain.
Drain the bulgur (if necessary) toss everything with the salt and 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (to taste), and top with diced avocado.

2. Marinated tofu, bean threads, lettuce, and jicama, carrots, herbs

This one is slightly more involved.

To make the tofu marinade: chop 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp of garlic.  Put in a blender with 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Pour over 1 lb of extra firm tofu (diced), and let stand for 20 minutes. Soak 2 ounces bean threads in warm water.
Put 6 cups of mesclun mix in a large salad bowl and add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil. Add 1/3 cup each julienned carrot and jicama.
Saute the tofu in 1 tbsp of peanut oil until golden brown. Set aside. Drain and chop the bean threads into 1″ pieces, then add to the salad.
To make the dressing, combine 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tsp honey, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil, and 2 tsp minced fresh ginger in a blender.
Add the tofu and dressing to the salad bowl and mix well. Top with a little diced avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Orange Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake


I’m not sure how it happened so fast, but during the week we were in Atlanta, every single tree in this town grew all its leaves back. It is so pretty and bright green everywhere right now! (Of course that means it’s Spring which means it’s going to get hot which means the hills are about to turn brown, but for now it is so beautiful outside I don’t really know what to do with myself).

Suddenly there are only 4 weeks until Wildlfower, and only 10 weeks until summer vacation, and only 9 days until my sister’s birthday, and less than a month until I turn 29… bring on the cliches about time going to fast because they all apply to me right now. But it’s spring and it’s green and I love it.

After pretty much slacking off completely the entire time we were gone, I jumped back into training right away this weekend. The night we got home Mike and I ran 5 miles at sub-8 pace. The next morning I had myself all talked into going to Masters for the first time ever…got to the pool and (sad trombone) there was no practice. So I did 2300 meters on my own. Saturday was a group ride (50 miles, half of which was in the drizzle), and Sunday was a stroller 10K in Golden Gate Park.

I did a 2 mile warm up and my legs felt completely dead, so I figured it would just be a total suck-fest. But somehow, when the gun went off, I felt good! Surprisingly good, especially with the first 3 miles being pretty much completely uphill. Ellie was eating some snacks, I was actually passing people, and my legs felt great.

After the turnaround, I knew the hardest part was over because it was all downhill to the finish. With two miles left to go, I had moved from 10th woman to 7th, but Ellie was pretty much over the stroller and started fussing quite a bit. I kept trying to hand her things to keep her entertained, and pointed out things like squirrels, dogs, and babies (her favorites), but she wasn’t into it. I picked up the pace quite a bit just trying to finish as fast as possible so she could get out and play.


I saw Naomi with about a mile and a half to go, and that gave me a pretty good boost. I kicked it in to finish as the 5th female with a time of 46:26. I immediately took Ellie out of the stroller and she had a blast running around and watching other finishers. She was also super excited about our yellow 5th place ribbon, so I think she forgives me for those unpleasant minutes in the stroller.

My parents came over for dinner Sunday night for homemade banh mi and this pound cake. I know orange season is almost over and I didn’t want to let it go without baking something like this.



(from Joy the Baker)

A Week In (and around) Atlanta


We just got back from a week in Atlanta (with a night in Asheville, NC), and it was amazing.  I’d never been anywhere in the South and was honestly SHOCKED by how friendly and polite everyone was.  California, take a lesson.

The whole week we were gone, I ran exactly twice (and the race is now less than a month away. crap.) but I had so much fun hanging with Mike and Ellie, eating tons of good food, exploring new places, and meeting friends from the Internet.

I was soooo looking forward to going to Asheville, but the town itself wasn’t as awesome as I was hoping.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent time in other hippie towns like Eugene, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz, and maybe it’s because the weather was drizzly and freezing, but I’m glad we only decided to spend one night there.  The food, however, was fantastic.

asheville food

We had lunch at Rosetta’s Kitchen (Buddha bowl for Mike, tempeh reuben for me, and coconut curry for Ellie) and dinner at Laughing Seed (Omega Hempnut burger for Mike, Dal and steamed vegetables for Ellie, and raw Dragon Bowl for me).  I wish both places could open in my neighborhood.

I loved pretty much everything we did in Atlanta, which was basically just cruise around neighborhoods drinking coffee and finding playgrounds.


Can I please just move to Inman Park right now?

We also ate the healthiest meal of the trip at the Varsity. Onion rings, grilled cheese, and a frosted orange? YES PLEASE.

the varsity

Also, I’m pretty sure Atlanta has the best pizza in the country, as random as that may seem. It’s far from glamorous, but it’s BYOB and absolutely delicious.


The city also happens to have a really fun Children’s Museum.  We spent three hours there on Easter, and Ellie just couldn’t get enough.
I also got to meet some Internet friends!  I’ve “known” these people online only for 5+ years and it was awesome to finally meet them in real life.


We had coffee with Annie and Josie (and their adorable kids), a super tasty Cuban lunch with Trish, and ran 7 miles (then drank beer, obviously) with Shelby.

It was such a great trip, and Ellie only screamed a couple times on the plane (she hasn’t flown in a few months, and this trip was MUCH longer than that one, so I was totally worried about having that kid.  Thanks to a few packets of snacks, Mr. Potato Head, and some sticker books, she did really well.)

List of stuff we enjoyed:
The Varsity
Octane Coffee
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Running on the PATH
Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party
Candler Park
Grant Park
Inman Park

Walt Stack 10K (PR!)

A 70 mile bike ride is probably not the best way to spend the day before a 10K race, but it obviously worked out OK, because I beat my previous PR by 18 seconds!

Saturday morning, I went to a group ride planning on riding about 52 miles.  When we got to the usual turn around, there was some chatter about extending the ride and going down (and then back up) a hill they call “the wall.” I felt good and had grabbed an extra Gu before the ride, so I decided to keep going.  We descended the wall, and then kept going down, down, down until we were in Milpitas, which is a LONG way from home!


The climb back up was not too bad, except for a small segment that was incredibly steep.  I tried sitting and standing, and felt like I was about to start rolling backwards at any second.  Fortunately it was really short, because I maxed out my heart rate and felt like I was going to throw up. Fun!  We cruised back into town for a total of 69.2 miles (according to my Garmin, which I forgot to re start at a few stoplights, so it was probably over 70…but I’m just going to stick with what the Garmin says!)

My legs were tired, and I slacked a little and didn’t do a transition run, but I now feel like I’m ready to tackle the insane bike course at Wildflower!

Sunday morning, we got up early, drove into the city, and picked up Alyssa for the Walt Stack 10K at Little Marina Green.  I had forgotten to charge my Garmin after the bike ride, so I planned on running purely by feel.


We did a 1.3 mile warm-up around Crissy Field Marsh and were ready to go. It was a PERFECT day, nice and sunny but not too windy.  When the gun went off I went out at a pace that felt fast but not too horribly uncomfortable, and just tried to hold it there.  We ran down to Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate bridge, then turned around and back past Marina Green to Fort Mason.  We climbed up and over the hill before turning around (those hills were ROUGH!)

I was running with 3 older guys and we kept alternating the lead in our little pack.  With about a mile to go things started feeling a little ugly, but I tried to pick it up a little.  I had absolutely NO kick left for the final stretch and was a little bummed to see the clock tick past 44:00, but I was still overjoyed to finish in 44:12 (a PR by 18 seconds).


Good enough for second place female!

Mike was a total rock star and pushed Ellie in the stroller for the whole race.

I’m now convinced the Crissy Field area is my lucky running spot because it’s where I set my 5K PR, too!

Simple Curry Red Lentil Soup


I’ve made a bunch of red lentil soups before, but this is the simplest, and we all really love it (espeically Ellie).  It’s almost as comforting as a bowl of mac and cheese (or maybe I’ve been eating hippie food for too long…) and easy to throw together.

Life lately has been full, but so much fun.  Saturday I did my first ever double brick with Page.  Of course we documented the event with awkward photos in the parking lot afterwards.


I never thought I would find 30 miles of cycling + 30 minutes of running + 20 miles of cycling + 20 minutes of running fun, but this absolutely was.

Sunday we went on a family date to Peet’s.  Ellie is a huge fan of people watching (and dog watching) so it was totally perfect for her.

photo (25)

Ellie turned 18 months old last week and is of course growing up way too fast.  She’s recently become obsessed with a makeup brush.  I probably shouldn’t have let this happen.

photo (23)

So… how about that soup?




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