Thursday, December 8, 2011

Las Vegas RnR Marathon Adventure

by Paul

I will try to focus this report on my trip and the positive side of the event. There are a lot of negative comments and blogs about this event but it really was wonderful not to kill someone during or after the race...

Oh wait - stay positive Paul, you PR'ed the race so feel good about it. Yes, I took 11 minutes off my Marathon time and I actually feel great about that.

My family and I drove to Las Vegas Thursday night to avoid the weekend traffic on I-15 and we made great time with no hassles. We checked into Circus Circus which at 12am (you wouldn't think there would be a 30-minute wait to check in, but that's Vegas baby - the city doesn't sleep and it wants your money!).

Wake up Friday morning, and now we had to find things to do to waste time and hopefully keep our kids' eyes off all the naughty pictures. Vegas is not for the young - no matter how fun they make Circus Circus, walking around outside is a constant reminder that the Vegas Strip is for adults. I never want to take my kids there again - well until they turn 21 of course. We didn't go to gamble - so we had to find things for all of us to do before the Expo and race.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Los Pinos 50K Race report

by Paul

The slogan for the race is: Feel the beast, and become one with it....
Well I got chewed up by the beast and spat out half alive.

This race takes place in the Saddleback Mountains off Hwy 74 in California. I just want to start out by saying - I have no idea how I am sitting here writing these words down while I reflect on an experience that will forever be etched into my mind. I survived this experience and I have no idea how I did. At times, I thought I would never make it to the top of the Los Pinos trail. I blacked out a couple times, and I know I saw grey a few other times while slowly dragging each foot up each steep incline. The only thing that kept running through my mind while out on the trail (other than I just want to get to the Aid station) was I can't wait to see my wife and kids at the end of this whole thing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Date Night - Spread

by Rachel

A couple of friends recommended Spread to us as a vegan restaurant that we should really try out! So, lastnight we went out on a date to have some hopefully yummy vegan food :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Noble Canyon 50k Race Report

by Paul

I was excited to get my second ultra started after my big changes in my eating habits and great training runs. Over the last few months I had changed so much about myself I wanted to see that transferred over to my race day experience. I wasn't really nervous for the race, I was just anxious to see if I could achieve my goals with better preparation. During my last ultra (PCT50), I faltered at the end because I had not salted or hydrated enough. This time I was determined to get it done right. I had my nutrition, hydration and my salt tabs all ready this time with sound advice from all my training partners during our training runs. Thank you Keith you helped me a ton.

Like always the night before a race, I barely slept because of the anxiety of the race. Waking up at 3:45am race day so that you can make it to check-in between 5:45-6:45am is a lot of fun. Sarcasm... yes it helps get me through the tough times. :) So I got up, did my usual stretches and push-ups to wake my system up for the day. Went down stairs, got some breakfast and coffee in my system and waited for the morning ....hmmm, how should I say it... you know that thing we all must do... :) I know TMI but it's a runner thing... and the conversations are some times a bit strange out on the trail if an outsider were listening in on us. It always helps to have everything out before you start the race.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TriRock San Diego 2011 - Race Report

by Rachel

OK I'm really good at putting off my closure blog posts - I got to taper week and really needed to just let go of my plans, let go of my structured training, and let go of feeling like I needed to write blogs and keep track of all these things on the internet... and I'm REALLY glad that I did! Just letting go of all that gave me some peace that I needed in my week before the triathlon, and I just decided every day what kind of workout I would do.

I had been training for this olympic triathlon for 16 weeks - following a weekly schedule that I made up myself, tailored for my lifestyle, you might say lol... each week would consist of:

  • 5 days biking to work, with one morning a week being my long bike ride
  • 1 hill run, followed by strength training (at lunchtime)
  • 1 tempo run, followed by strength training (at lunchtime)
  • 1 long run on the weekend
  • 2 swims 
  • starting on week 11, at least 1 brick per week

I feel like I worked soo hard and I was soooo ready to blow right by my previous olytri PR - I was SUPER confident that I would!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Achieving my goal weight

Four years ago my wife and I decided it was time for a change - a time to start to take charge of our lives and the way we ate and lived. We were both overweight and going nowhere healthy in the direction of our lives. I was drinking more, eating more and more - the weight climbing as each day passed.

I struggled with my weight ever since I stopped being an athlete in my early twenties. I was never taught much about food - except to eat as much as I could. To get as big and powerful as I could to knock peoples heads off in football.

When the playing days were over I was left with the same appetite - but way less working out. I sat around eating everything and kept gaining. I tried everything from diet pills, cutting weight pills, starvation, fasting and anything that was advertised to help lose weight. During this time my mind faltered on me as well, I started dwelling on my past and falling into a sadness and dark place I could not get out of no matter what I tried.

This affected everything in my life - my relationships with family, friends and anyone that came into my life. I sat, depressed, going deeper inside myself - inside this huge pit until I could no longer see the light at the top. I would be the goofiest person around but inside I was dying. Not many people would have realized the shape I was in only my wife knew most of it, she couldn't reach me at times. Even though she could be the most loving person in the world and most understanding she couldn't pull me out of my darkness I created. I never wanted to be like this - I never wanted to feel this way or be like that and I never wanted to be obese but everything I didn't want was coming to me. I couldn't see the wonderful things that were right in front of me - I couldn't see anything in the blinding darkness. No matter how many times I tried to pull myself out of a funk or anything I would drag myself back into it wallowing in some bad thing that happened to me. I was sitting around hoping to die... praying that I had the strength to end it all. I tried to find every outlet to take me away from myself be it drugs or alcohol or acting. Yes I used one of the few things I loved as an outlet of my pain. Acting let me be someone else other than myself - let me feel some relief of being around me. I wasn't a monster to anyone - mostly just to myself, inside myself. I was waiting to die and forgot I had a life to live because I couldn't get over my past. I was holding on to the pain that people had caused me, the pain of losing my mother... and everything else it all accumulated inside me and I couldn't let go. I wasn't close to anyone in my family after my mother died because my brothers lived with my father or had grown up and moved on. One of the most painful things for me was calling my brothers and letting them know that mom had died. The other thing was seeing my mother lying there... I just held onto those images and memories for so long I forgot about happiness. I did know about happiness I wanted it but I couldn't achieve it because of my mind would not let go of the past. I ballooned to over 300 pounds...

After years of struggle and just needing a change, my wife and I decided it was enough and we needed a change. I wasn't getting any healthier. My family history wasn't great either. My dad has had many heart problems and my mother died from complications of years of high blood pressure. I finally got it after our second son was born - that I wouldn't see him grow up if I kept the pace I was going. My wife started training for a 5k and we bought ourselves a treadmill and changed the way we ate. I got hooked on running and broke the first three treadmills. My wife and I started to educate ourselves about what to eat and how much is safe to eat. We also read a lot on food and exercise.

But I still didn't have my head all the way on about my weight or how I saw food.

We aren't taught about food and where it comes from or how to eat it. Most of us are like myself and just eat whatever they put on the television. We believe everything they tell us - and go blindly out and get obese before we know who we are anymore.

I started running and doing races, but I would use food as an award still for my accomplishments - for finishing or doing well in races. So I would balloon back up 20 pounds or more after a race. We were trying to eat right, organically and what not, but I still used food and alcohol as an award and would binge eat and drink after races. I wasn't learning the lessons. I had this goal but like always I would self-sabotage myself before getting there so I could pout and go back to that dark place. I just wasn't getting it in my head - what the right way is to eat - and how I used food or I should say abused food.

When my wife and I moved to San Diego a couple years ago I got it in my head to do the PCT50 - a 50 mile ultra trail run - to test myself beyond anything I had ever heard about. That race truly changed my life - the person that came away from that race was a much stronger person than I ever thought lived inside of me. I persevered where I had always failed and it showed me something that half and full marathons never could...
Running became my therapy.

Life is worth living to the fullest and that life is beautiful as long as you make it that way.

Be strong even when adversity comes into your life.

I had my head on straight after this race but I still had bad habits of eating and drinking - and I ballooned up again to 245 pounds.

But during this time my son and I volunteered for the SD100 race - a 100 mile ultra trail run - at one of the Aid Stations. During our time there, someone mentioned the ENGINE 2 diet. So I came home and told Rachel about it and we started looking into it.

I had no real idea what a vegan was before this, I heard all the stories of lacking all the nutrients and that anyone who was vegan looked like they were about to die. I didn't know anything about being plant-based(vegan) until the ENGINE 2 diet challenge. This ENGINE 2 is a plant-based plant strong diet, and Rachel and I decided on June 20th to take the 28 Day Challenge, which is a meal plan that you can find on the Engine 2 website.

I ended up losing 25 pounds in the 28 Day Challenge. We have stayed the course after finishing the challenge and I have lost over 46 pounds. What is even better is I reached my goal weight finally which was 200 pounds - I am now 198.2 as of today.

Eating plant-based has made me healthier and smarter about food.

I finally have the meal plan I so needed. I have the knowledge I lacked during all those years of abusing myself eating the wrong stuff for the wrong reasons. I feel amazing! Never before in my life have I felt this good. I attribute this to ultrarunning which keeps me in shape, and the knowledge I learned through the ENGINE 2 meal plan. My wife and I have enjoyed learning how to make the same things we enjoyed before ENGINE 2 but now using Plant-based ingredients and recipes.

We as Omnivores now have a choice of what we eat, we should choose the healthiest possible way for ourselves and for those we love. This omnivore has found being plant-strong is the best and healthiest way to eat. I would like to thank the ENGINE 2 meal plan for helping me become smarter on my choices of food. It helps to get to know food and not to abuse it.

I am writing more goals down now - embarking on new adventures to chase them down and achieve them. I truly do hope that everyone finds that strong individual inside themselves and goes out and totally lives the life they deserve to live. Find the things that work for you to find your peace and happiness. Healthy day

Monday, August 29, 2011

My 37th Birthday Challenge

I had never heard of doing a Birthday Challenge until a couple weeks ago on a training run for the Noble Canyon 50k. Some friends were talking about one of their friends doing a birthday challenge - where he would do 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours...

I thought that was intriguing so I came home and thought about what I could do to challenge myself for my birthday. I decided to do a birthday run - to run a mile for each year I’ve been alive - to burn off the years I left behind. It wasn’t anything special or very intriguing to others but it became some thing of a symbolic gesture to myself.

I lived a lot of those 37 years wasting away in a dark place and not really living but waiting to die. I wanted to go through those years in one day - and kind of move on from them (even though I have moved on mentally years ago and learned from those years) - I wanted to go out and sweat out those miles and remember how far I’ve come.

I’ve learned a lot these past 4 years of my life and I keep growing and learning as each year, month and day goes by. These last few months I’ve learned a lot about my eating habits and have changed the way I eat. I have been chasing my goal weight and yo-yoing up and down for these last couple years - forgetting I set this weight goal when I started out 4 years ago above 300 pounds.

I am a pound a way from hitting my goal weight of 200 pounds as of today.

Starting out four years ago, I never imagined where this life change would lead me and what I would be doing in the future. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I can achieve if I let myself just do what I set out to do.

I set a goal and chase that goal and accomplish it.

This simple chain of events changes your life - not only to achieve that goal, but the journey to get there will change you for good. You will come out of your journey a stronger and better person for going after your goal. I never truly understood this until I really worked for my goals.

I had goals as a kid to be a a pro-football player (among other things) but I truly did not put everything into it or work as hard as I should have. I let my weakened mind take me down - I never truly believed in myself so I would self-sabotage my journey. I know that now - I used to go after a goal, then just fall apart right before achieving it - then blame others or some circumstance for my failure to achieve that goal.

I have learned to work through that voice or that self-sabotaging inside of myself. I beat it down during my first 50 mile race - I came out of that race a different, better and stronger person. I’ve learned I want to inspire others who might have had a similar story as myself.

So this Birthday Challenge was to run through each year and think about how far I’ve come as a human being. The Challenge itself was exactly that - a challenge - but one I am totally happy I did for myself. I had some loving and awesome people help me along the way.

I started out at 6am in the morning running on top of the mesa we live on for the first hour, running around the Qualcomm campus trails and roads around it. I had time to think to myself and reflect on those first childhood memories I had as the sun rose in the eastern sky.

For the second part of my run, I had a friend who was meeting me at the Los Penasquitos Canyon. Christine met me at the parking lot and we embarked on a 13 mile journey though the canyon. It was so nice to run with someone while going through the canyon - it can get lonely and hot. Christine had just done a 20 mile grueling run the day before - so to have her come out and share a birthday run with me (and talk to and encourage me) was completely amazing! With her spirit guiding me I had a wonderful time. She showed me the ranch house and a lot of the cool sites inside the Canyon I had no idea about. When we got back to her car she had some food, juice and water in her trunk waiting for me. She was not only a great pacer she was a great crew :-). Thank you so much Christine for your company and your awesome spirit! She sent me on my way after pouring water over my neck and head. I left her at 18.5 miles down and 18.5 miles to go.

It was kind of crazy to leave and embark on the next few miles on my own - the third part of my run. I started thinking of the improvements I have made mentally and physically  over the last few months. I reflected on those years between age 18-24 and burned them away as each foot hit the pavement - on my way to meet my wife at Torrey Pines State Beach. She was meeting me there to finish out her brick training for the day - she is training for a Triathlon so before meeting me she had swam a mile and biked over 25 miles - she came out to run the beach with me and be my aid station for my run.

We met around my 24th mile and she fed and watered me and sunscreened me up. For the fourth part of my run, we ran to Del Mar and back on the beach. She stayed with me until I hit the 32 mile mark. We both reflected during this time and it felt good to have us doing something that just a few years ago we would not have been doing. We have been through so much together in the last 16 years - it feels good that both of us are growing and learning together. She is an amazing person to stick around all these years (with the person I used to be) - I appreciate everything she has done for me.

With her driving off and me having 5 more miles to get home, I was amazed at how good I was feeling and I think it came from the fact that the last 4 years of our lives have been some of the greatest we’ve shared. My legs felt great as I started the fifth part of my run. I was still running strong and it felt nice to finish the run and not fall flat on my face. Today as I write this I still feel great - a little sore but I felt like going out and running... but it was my birthday so I rested.

I attribute how good I felt to a number of people
  • to my friend Keith for his training runs and his nutrition advice - especially now that I am plant-based and plant-strong eater
  • to my friend Gaby who makes the tastiest bars I can stomach during a run GABYBARS
  • to Christine for being one awesome lady and being there for me in the morning and helping me out after you ran with me
  • to my wife Rachel who is the most amazing woman and person I have ever met. You are one amazing human being Rachel. Thank you for coming out and believing in me during my life and this run. You’ve always been there for me.

I am 1.2 pounds from my goal weight and I feel like I’m in the greatest shape of my life. I’ve worked the hardest for it and I now know what it means to set goals and go out and accomplish them. There is nothing like it people - I mean nothing like it...

If you do one thing in life, set a goal - one lofty goal - and go out and achieve it! I bet you will come out one hell of a different person - not only for achieving that goal, but for that journey you went on to get to that goal.

I feel great and I recommend that everyone to chase those dreams and goals. Don’t forget to live - and live the life you want to live.

I hope that you turn the impossible into the probable and conquer your goals.
Healthy Day

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

La Jolla Cove - Sea Lion Encounter

by Rachel

When I go to La Jolla Cove, it's because I know that I'm more than my fears - there is such a big world out there, and we will never experience it if we hold on to the fears that our mind blares at us...

I'm getting more comfortable swimming at the cove - I'm really beginning to enjoy it! Every time I'm there, I see wildlife - little neon orange fishies, many other kinds of fish, lots of sea plants, giant kelp plants, osprey, pelicans, cormorants?, and sea lions!

It's really very very beautiful there - and there's always snorkelers, divers, swimmers, kayakers, paddleboarders - lots of people out enjoying the beauty of it - lots of people just watching and enjoying from land too!

Yesterday I went out for a swim around 6pm - the water was choppy, and around 66 degrees. I planned to go swim out to the 1/4 mile buoy. I swam out, and as I got about halfway to the buoy, I started seeing deep yellow suds on top of the water - not a ton, but enough to make me a little nervous about swimming through it... so I decided to turn back before I got to the buoy. (I learned later that this was likely algae - it was not tons and you couldn't see it from shore - I did report it but the lifeguard didn't seem concerned)

So, while I'm swimming back, I'm looking down into the water, and I notice some movement... to the side for a breath, and when I look back down, I see a sea lion under me! 3 more strokes, to the side for another breath, and the sea lion is still there, swimming along with me and then it looks up at me - swimming with me...

I mean really - that was so cool/awesome/crazy/weird/make-you-stop-and-think and when I watch nature documentaries I think that kind of thing is so cool - but ALWAYS from a spectator point-of-view. I never thought that I would experience something like that - swimming and hanging out like that with a wild animal...

It only lasted for a few seconds - then it was off to check out some other swimmers - but it's hard to put into words what that was like. I just loved it, and I will be swimming at LJCove for years to come and I love that place!

Week 13 Tri Training RECAP!

I don't know what to say about last week - I had some REALLY good days, and some ugh crappy days - but I pushed through it all to have a really good week!

bike to work (8 miles)
hill run (3.28 miles)
workout (pushups, crunches, back extension, lunges, ankle strengthening)
pace for my run was 8:44 - totally weird

bike to work (8 miles)
swim (1 mile)
swam at De Anza Cove - really weird - each 1/4 mile lap was pretty much exactly 8 minutes - so I ended up with 1 mile in 32:07!

bike to work (7 miles)

bike to work via Torrey (29 miles)
BRICK run (1 mile)
Woke up extra early today and got out for a 25 mile bike ride before work - started IN THE DARK and it was a really good ride! My avg pace overall was 14.8 - which isn't that great for a 25 mile bike ride, but when you put the Torrey Pines hill into it, I'm actually really happy with that average :)
nutrition was 1 toast w/ pb and applesauce and banana beforehand (with coffee/almondmilk) - during was water w/ 1 scoop Perpetuem, and 4 dates
1 mile run after the bike and I didn't get an exact time - but it was under 9 minutes !

bike to work (8 miles)
tempo run (3.1 miles)
had a company picnic to go to at lunch, so I woke up and ran in the morning - ick! I felt like crud, but ended up with a 9:18 average anyways


swim (1 mile)
long run (6.87 miles)
I swam at La Jolla Cove today, and then ran from the cove all the way up to UCSD and then back down to Sorrento Valley - long distance trek! I did it in 1:13:13 - which averages 10:39/mile - but I feel really good about it because that includes the hill at La Jolla Shores Blvd, which is NO JOKE!
nutrition was regular breakfast - swim didn't start until around 11 or so - after swim my goo (1 scoop Perpetuem, tbsp chia seeds, tbsp applesauce, tbsp cocoa powder, water), then took 1 bottle water w/ Perpetuem on my run, with 4 dates

Weekly Totals:
swim: 2 miles
bike: 60 miles
run: 14.25 miles
pushups: 60
lunges: 80

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 12 Tri Training RECAP!

This week was crazy! I ran so fast this week, the fastest that I've ever run!

I don't know what changed... but I have been able to push faster than ever and I'm completely surprising myself with every run now!

bike to work (8 miles)
hill run (2.78 miles)
workout (crunches, pushups, lunges, back extensions, single leg balances)
9:21 avg pace on my run!

bike to work (8 miles)
swim (1/2 mile)
Swim at La Jolla Cove - it was more than a 1/2 mile but no way to really measure for sure. Beautiful swim and I swam up to two sea lions on my swim and they just hung out in front of me for a minute - was awesome!

bike to work (7 miles)

bike via Torrey Pines (14 miles)
BRICK run after bike (1 mile)
Brick run after my Torrey Pines 10 mile bike to work - ran it in 8:35!

bike to work (8 miles)
tempo run (3 miles)
workout (pushups, lunges, crunches, back extensions, single leg balances)
Ran up to the track (1 mile), ran on the track (1 mile), then ran back (1 mile). Avg 9:18 pace! Oh, and my second mile (on the track) was my fastest EVER, 8:23!!!


BRICK swim then run
swim (1/2 mile)
long run (10K)
Early to La Jolla Cove and got a good swim in - out past the 1/4 mile buoy and back so it's more than 1/2 mile but no way to measure...
Then got ready and set out for a 10K - very flat which is the first time I've been able to run a 10K during training that will be that flat (needed to do at least one because the race is going to be flat)...
Got to use the Garmin so here are my splits :)
mile 1 - 9:03
mile 2 - 9:06
mile 3 (1.1m) - 8:53
mile 4 - 9:07
mile 5 - 8:57
mile 6 (1.14m) - 10:36
Total - 56:41 - avg 9:05 pace!!!

Weekly Totals:
swim: 1 mile
bike: 45 miles
run: 13 miles
pushups: 120
lunges: 120

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Engine 2 - 28 Day Challenge - Summary

Now that I've had a few weeks to mull over the challenge, and recover from all the blog writing, I can look back and say that I really enjoyed the 28 Day Challenge, and learned quite a lot from it!

Before the challenge, the last major food-changing event that happened in our lives was when I happened to read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. This book ultimately found its way into our eating habits by us eating and buying as much organic food as we could - for two reasons. One, because we didn't want to be eating pesticides and herbicides, or eating food that is being monkeyed around in a laboratory on... and Two, because I feel that it is important to "vote with your checkbook" - that is, buying organic tells the stores and companies that I, as a consumer, feel it is important to grow food in a sustainable way - not killing us and the earth with chemicals and chemical unknowns.

Over time, that very strong opinion has eased a bit, but it's still there in a very real way. We had been regularly buying organic food, eating out but I'd say less than the norm, and eating much less meat than the norm. But we were still very much into dairy, and Paul (and our 14yo) had very much just gotten into a love of carne asada burritos since we moved to San Diego :)

When Paul started getting into the ultrarunning scene here, he started hearing about the Engine 2 Diet as a way to lose weight. So we took a look at the website,, and found the plan for the 28 Day Challenge right there on the website! We did not buy the book - and this is mostly because I do NOT read cookbooks anymore. I look for recipes online, and read foodie blogs - I have not cooked anything from my cookbooks for years... so I apologize in advance Rip - but I really relate to and love the ideas behind the Engine 2 Diet that are online!

So, I have already written two other summaries of our experiences:
Engine 2 - 28 Day Challenge - what we learned
Engine 2 - 28 Day Challenge - By the Numbers

and Paul has written a summary of his experience:
Thoughts and lessons learned on the Engine 2 28 Day Challenge

And a quick update - we started the 28 Day Challenge on June 20th - got done on July 17th. Since we have been done with the challenge, we have basically stayed the course - I have been meal planning for the week, and we have been eating vegan - with a few rare exceptions. Paul ended the challenge at 220, and is now at 209! I ended the challenge at 120, and have been between 117-120 since!

Here is the 28 Day Challenge, in condensed form and I hope that our experiences help some of you along the path to plant-based health!

28 Day Challenge - Main Page
I should caveat this by saying that I used each week's Meal Planner from the website. However, I did not use the Grocery List from the site - I wanted to look at each recipe, and built my own grocery list so I was more in tune with what I was buying and why. I also did not stick 100% to the Meal Planner - if I knew we wouldn't like a certain dessert, or I didn't want to buy what was required, or if I knew of something else I wanted to experiment with, I went with it and substituted. I believe Rip would approve!

Week 1 - Plan
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Week 1 Highlights -

Week 2 - Plan
Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14
Week 2 Highlights -

Week 3 - Plan
Day 15 Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 Day 20 Day 21
Week 3 Highlights -

Week 4 - Plan
Day 22 Day 23 Day 24 Day 25 Day 26 Day 27 Day 28
Week 4 Highlights -

Recipes from others that I really enjoyed:
loveveggiesandyoga Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate with Almonds
loveveggiesandyoga Coconut Cashew Butter
exploitsofaveganwannabe Black Bean Spread

I'm really glad we did this challenge - it's a turning point for us! Also, I'm really glad I'm done with this blog post because it means my blogging responsibilities for the challenge are now officially 100% accounted for and done!!! YAY!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week 11 Tri training RECAP!

by Rachel

This week I introduced bricks into my training. For those who don't know, a brick is where you do one event right after the other. The most common one (and the one that triathletes most need to practice) is to bike, then run immediately afterward. This gets your body used to running on tired legs and mimics what you will be going through on race day. So it's a MUST for someone training for a triathlon to do at least a couple brick workouts before the big day!

My back is 100% better and SOOO glad for it! This week I noticed, however, some numbness two different times in my left fingers... I am left-handed, and have had bouts of carpal tunnel pain several times in the past, and I'm pretty sure this is related. I really hope it behaves!

OH - and I hit my ultimate runners weight goal (115) on Sunday after all my workouts lol - even if I only saw it once and then it went right back up after a family bbq (lol) - who wouldn't be excited about that?? We'll see if it returns by the time race day rolls around :)

bike to work (8 miles)
hill run (3.35 miles)
workout (pushups, crunches, planks, lunges, back & ankle strengthening)
Ran out to check out the beach/cliffs and got 5 good hills in - 9:25 pace

bike to work (8 miles)
swim (1 mile)
first swim in my new WETSUIT!! I ended up doing 1 mile in under 34 minutes and so I continue to lower my mile time every week - although I will attribute some of it to the wetsuit this week lol
I ended up with a rash on my neck from a rubbing spot on the collar of the wetsuit, and a couple of red spots on my back... I think I will survive :)

bike to work (7 miles)

bike to work via Torrey Pines (14 miles)
BRICK! run after bike (1 mile)
Biked up Torrey with a 14.1 avg speed for the 10.3 miles - which is my fastest yet :) - then dropped off my bike and ran a mile right after... in 8:40! Crazy fast for me, and it felt GREAT!
It was also my first test of long distance nutrition - I ended up doing 3/4 scoop of Hammer Perpetuem (cafe latte flavor) in my water bottle, and 2 seeded dates. I made sure to drink my entire water bottle on my bike, and eat the dates (which were nice and soft! - easy to eat)
I really liked this combo and will continue to build on it - I think this will work awesome for me!

bike to work (8 miles)
tempo run (3 miles)
workout (pushups, lunges, planks, back & ankle strengthening)
Paul ran up to meet me at work today - so I waited until he got here and ran with him! 1.5 miles out, hang out for a few minutes, quick kiss, then run back! :)
9:01 avg!


swim (1/2 mile)
bike (let's call it 13 miles)
run (6.4 miles)
Woke up early to kickstart the day - drove down to La Jolla Cove for a morning swim! Let me tell you it is AWFUL to try and find a parking spot at the cove around 9am! I drove to a spot I learned about a few weeks ago and hiked in to the cove - only took me about 10 minutes to walk over.
Didn't find anyone to swim with, so I went by myself, with others leaving before and after me - swam out to the 1/4 mile buoy, swam around out there a little bit trying to find someone to swim back in with - found two ladies checking out a school of fish :) - then finally saw people making their way back so I hitched a ride with their group and swam back in lol
No time for my swim - I didn't have a good way to time it - but I felt pretty good about it considering I was at the cove, swimming more or less by myself, and I didn't freak out!!!
Next up was my bike/run brick! I decided to spin on my spin bike for 50 minutes before taking off for my 10K long run - this is the first time I've ever used my spin bike lol - the seat is just a tad crooked so that continued to bug me throughout the whole ride - I'll have to figure out how to fix that... but watched a good episode of Top Gear while I biked so can't complain too much lol
Took about a 10 min break to map out my route and get my butt in gear - then off for my 10K which ended up being 6.4 miles and I averaged 10:06 - to be honest, the fact that I biked beforehand didn't bother my body at all! I was mucho relieved :)
Nutrition was:
pre swim - toast w/ PB, applesauce, and banana - and coffee w/ soymilk
during bike - water bottle w/ 3/4 scoop of Perpetuem, 2 dates
pre run - gel made with Perpetuem, chia seeds, applesauce, and water
during run - 1/2 a water bottle
I felt pretty good with the eats/drinks I planned out - the gel was an experiment and it seemed to work out pretty well - I didn't bonk out on the run and that's the point of all of it right?

Weekly Totals:
Swim: 1.5 miles
Bike: 58 miles
Run: 13.75 miles
Pushups: 120
Lunges: 130

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 10 Tri training RECAP!

by Rachel

This week was hard - I started having lower back pain on Sunday, and by Wednesday I went to the doctor just to see what could be done - somehow I did something to my SI joint and my muscles on the opposite side were trying to compensate for it...
home from work on Wednesday resting my back, Thursday no workout (even took the bus to work), then Friday tentative return to exercise - and Sunday was back to it!
Conquered the back pain and now I'm ready for Week 11!

bike to work (8 miles)
hill run (3.2 miles)
no workout (well I did 4 pushups then childs pose for like 5 minutes lol)

bike to work (8 miles)
swim (1 mile)
my back was KILLING ME by the time I was done with my swim - the arching of my back is what killed the most.

complete rest day - didn't even go to work - doctor, then muscle relaxants and ibuprofen...

Didn't even bike to work - I did walk to the bus station and back, so I did get a little exercise, but even that did not feel too great...

bike to work (8 miles)
test run (1.9 miles)
back to biking to work, and my back is feeling better so I decide to go out and run a test run to see how it feels - ended up 1.9 miles and I felt pretty good!

Shopping, and DATE NIGHT!

long run (5K)
swim (1 mile)
I set out to maybe run 6 miles, but for some reason as I'm running I start going faster and faster - probably because I'm wearing the Garmin (which I hardly ever do). I end up doing a 5K and I'm dead after that lol - mostly because I have no water with me, and it's mid-day. But I'll take a 5K over nothing, and NO BACK PAIN so it's a good run in my book :)
avg under 10 min/mile - my second mile was 8:47! whew no wonder I was poopered!
Went out and swam 1 mile at De Anza Cove - took another minute off my time - 35 and change!

Weekly Totals:
swim: 2 miles
bike: 24 miles
run: 9.2 miles
pushups: 4 lol

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Date night - Jyoti Bihanga

One of the goodies for participating in the La Jolla Self-Transcendence Swim & Run was a 50% off coupon to Jyoti Bihanga. Now, we were both excited to see this coupon - we'd been there twice and both times really enjoyed it!

Jyoti Bihanga is a vegetarian restaurant in Normal Heights - which is somewhere closer to downtown than where we live lol. It is the first restaurant that we went to when we moved here - my sister took us there - and the second time we went there our cousin chose it!
From the outside, very unassuming, and really from the inside as well.
The restaurant is run by followers of Sri Chinmoy - if you're interested in their philosophies, there's more information on their website. Suffice to say I really like a lot of what they have to say. Also, they are into sports (they put on the Swim & Run) and they're vegetarian/vegan food is yummy!

We had hot chai with soymilk, and hummus w/ cucumbers and tortilla to start - all very good!

Then we had our soups - I had beet coconut soup (PINK!!!!) and Paul had gypsy soup. I really enjoyed my weirdly colored soup, and the gypsy soup was really awesome as well - had a little Indian flavor to it.

For dinner, I had the Blue Plate Special and Paul had the Vegan Neatloaf!
By the time I remembered to take a picture most of the neatloaf was gone lol

The Neatloaf is one of the best dishes at Jyoti Bihanga by far - with mashed potatoes and gravy it's just a really down home and heartwarming dish. The Blue Plate Special was veggies and rice, but the sauce to top it all off with was really nice and flavorful so it rounded off the veggies nicely! Unfortunately, I had already drank 3 glasses of water!, a cup of tea, ate a bowl of soup, and appetizer - I only got through a little bit before I was FULL! Had to take that home for later.

Also have to mention the organic 9-grain bread on the side - awesome bread and you can tell that it's homemade - it's just lovely!

We took home two gigantic vegan chocolate chip cookies - TOTALLY worth it!

We were both so full, but it was a really nice and healthy full - and we LOVE this place!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"you make it look so easy"

by Rachel

How many times have I thought that about others? When I was first starting my c25k program (in.... 2007?) - I have a very strong memory about this lady that waltzed into the workout room, jumped on the treadmill and banged out a 10 minute mile, then quickly walked over to the side and started banging out pushups - WITH leg lifts!

I remember thinking:
-that lady is AWESOME and she makes it look sooo easy!
-I will NEVER be able to run that fast!
-that lady is doing so many pushups - my wimpy arms are NEVER going to be able to do that!
she’s so skinny and fit - no wonder she’s hardly even breathing hard!

It seemed effortless - and it crushed me because I was never going to be like her... I could barely even jog a mile... I was still trying to lose weight and I was having trouble getting to my goal weight...

Now that I look back at that - I’m sure that others can relate to exactly what I was feeling and thinking at the time...

I actually think about that event often, especially lately. Now that I’ve been running for a few years, and have some races under my belt - I’m lower than my original goal weight, running less than 10 minute miles, and doing 60 pushups in a single workout... it’s just really weird to think that I’M that lady now! It’s hard to wrap my own brain around - that I worked HARD and for YEARS and now I can do the things that I thought I would NEVER be able to do!

Here’s the thing - it wasn’t easy - and it still isn’t easy... I have to push myself EVERY SINGLE TIME that I get out there - and want to stop running, or slow down, or not try for those last two pushups... It’s not easy to get faster, or get stronger - it takes EFFORT

So when you look at someone that’s just out there looking like they’re not even breathing hard, or they just seem to float through the things that you can’t fathom even doing - remember that they are WORKING HARD - even if it’s not showing in the way you’d think - mental toughness is something you have to work on every day, and making you brain stronger is a daily effort!

The reason that I have been able to push myself to do more than I ever thought possible is because I am learning every day how IGNORE the person inside me telling me CONSTANTLY to slow down or stop... I’m also constantly in tune with my body, determining every second what pains are actually PAIN because something’s wrong... or fatigue, that I need to ignore and put off until the end of my workout.

And by the way, I still think this about others - there will always be people faster and in better shape than me! And I have to be OK with that - I am still learning to be OK with that :)

I guess I basically wanted to say - I work hard EVERY DAY (except rest days lol) and I deserve to be where I’m at - I am the strong, fit, confident lady that I have always wanted to be and I worked hard for it - I am proud of it!

I also want to tell everyone that YOU CAN BE THE AWESOME ATHLETE that you want to be - YOU WILL BE THAT AWESOME ATHLETE... if you’re not already, that is :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week 9 Tri training RECAP!

by Rachel

This last training week has been AWESOME! I have been sorely lacking on the blogging front - lost a lot of motivation to sit and write now that I'm not challenging myself to do it every day lol

I do need to sit down and write one more blog about the E2 challenge - about our favorite meals, and an overall recap page that has links to all the days... soon :)

I'm into the second half of my training program - drawing closer to the September 11th race day!

bike to work (8 miles)
hill run (3.5 miles)
workout (pushups-50, crunches, lunges-60, planks, ankle strengthening)
Ran out to the cliffs today - also managed to get 5 hills in!

bike to work (8 miles)
swim (1 mile)
Was only going to do 3/4 miles, but my cheering squad (Paul!) got me to go around one more time!

bike to work (7 miles)

bike to work via Torrey Pines (14 miles)
This was my first Torrey Pines ride with my new clipless pedal setup - averaged 14.1 speed overall which is my fastest average for this particular ride - yay!

bike to work (8 miles)
tempo run (3.6 miles)
workout (pushups-60, crunches, lunges-60, plank, ankle strengthening)
2 laps of running - I really wanted a negative split! But somehow, my first loop avg was 9:06! and my second loop avg was 9:27 - I'll take it!

Swim at La Jolla Cove (around a mile)
This was the most beautiful swim that I have had to date - the water was AMAZING! I was supposed to meet up with a tri group but I somehow lost them all... instead I tagged along with 4 ppl that have been swimming together at the cove for years! It was great - we saw lots of fish - and a huge school of fish under us! We also saw scuba divers way down below us - that's how clear the water was! I couldn't believe - I almost got over all the issues that I have with kelp, it really helps to go out there with experienced people that have been swimming out there for so long :)

long run (6 miles)
went out with my 6yo to our park at our townhouses - it's a .25 mile loop trail with picnic area, and tennis courts, and volleyball courts in the middle. He biked while I ran, then he also ran/walked for awhile too! I got my 6 miles in - easy running - 62 minutes total. My 4yo got in 4 miles of bike/run/walk!!

Weekly Totals:
swim: 2 miles
bike: 45 miles
run: 13.1 miles
pushups: 110
lunges: 120

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Engine 2 - 28 Day Challenge - By the Numbers

by Rachel

I'm a nerd - I like numbers! :)
That's probably why counting calories appeals to something instinctual in me...

In any case, I wanted to cover the weight loss numbers, the calories eaten, and the exercise hours/mileage that went along with this challenge.

I don't want to make light of the fact that we're pretty active - but I DO want to make it clear that the weight loss we experienced was directly related to the food challenge - we were already very active before the challenge started.

I am in the midst of training for an olympic distance triathlon, and Paul is training for a 50K ultramarathon - so a lot of exercise accompanied the 28 Day Challenge.

Here are my exercise totals during the challenge:
swim: 4.93 miles
bike: 167.5 miles
run: 42.65 miles
strength training: 2 hours
around 7.5 hours of training every week

Here are Paul's exercise totals during the challenge:
1746 minutes of running (a little over 29 hours over 4 weeks)
155.6 miles of running with a little bit of hiking thrown in
he's also doing pushups or lunges or other strength training throughout the day - like 50 pushups a day - he doesn't track this

This only applies to the calories I ate - Paul generally ate more than I did, which is how it's supposed to be - he weighs 100 more pounds than I do, and is 10 inches taller than me! Lots more muscle than me too!
8 out of 28 days were less than 1600 calories.
4 of the days were over 2000 calories.
The most surprising for me was how much FIBER we ate! I couldn't believe the numbers some days...

My starting weight was 127
End of week 1 - 123
End of week 2 - 122
End of week 3 - 121
End of week 4 - 120
****Total weight loss - 7 pounds!

Paul's starting weight was 245
End of week 1 - 235
End of week 2 - 230
End of week 3 - 225
End of week 4 - 220
****Total weight loss - 25 pounds!

OK I think that's more number nerdiness than you needed to be exposed to - but hopefully of interest to those looking to do the 28 Day Challenge.

Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thoughts and lessons learned on the Engine 2 28 Day Challenge

by Paul

Starting this 28 day challenge, I had no idea if I could do it - and I don’t think I could have done it without my wife. Rachel was so awesome with the planning and shopping for this - then blogging about it each and every day was beyond amazing to me. She is an amazing person for helping me during this time. I think she did it mostly for me because I needed to lose some weight and get healthy.

I should start off by thanking my wonderful wife for being there for me throughout my weight loss battle. It’s been a struggle these past years. I tricked myself over and over into believing I could eat whatever I wanted - as long as I was pushing myself harder and further in my running. I’ve had a battle for so long with food it’s not even funny anymore. I’ve found out I really like to binge eat or drink whenever I have food around me or alcohol.

One thing this challenge did for me is made me realize that what everyone says - that you need these certain foods for protein or whatever - is not always true, and most of that is based off someone else’s opinions. So many of us base our lives off what others say about one thing or the other that we don’t live our own lives and experience things for ourselves. I’m learning every day now about myself, what kind of foods make me feel better to eat, and what makes me a better person through my own experiences.

The Engine 2 Diet helped me realize a lot about myself and the misconceptions on what makes an athlete go. During this challenge I lost 25 pounds in 28 days eating only plant-based foods. If you were to tell me in the beginning that  I’d be able to do that... and be able to run an hour and a half each day and have all the energy I needed...  I would tell you you were crazy and laugh.

For so many years of my life I’ve been told so many different things from so many different people about eating and working out that I have no idea what was right or wrong. Everyone has their own opinions of what works or doesn’t for that individual. Something I learned was you have to experience things for yourself and don’t always listen to others - they might ultimately keep you from something you love.

So many years of my life I never heard about ultramarathons because nobody I knew was into that - I had no idea that you could put your body through that and not damage it. Now I’m in love with ultrarunning after experiencing one for myself.

I had no real idea what a vegan was or what they ate until this diet, I just had the rumors of others and opinions of others.

I’m not saying this diet or challenge will work for everyone but I can only tell you what I learned from it and what it did for me - and then you can decide for yourself if it will work for you. I never thought I could go without meat, cheese or butter - three things I love and enjoy very much. But on this diet I’ve learned some of my favorite dishes like pizza, lasagna and chili don’t need meat or cheese on them to make it tasty and delicious. I also learned that plant foods go through your body a lot different and faster then processed foods - makes sense if you think about it. The more processed the food is the longer it takes to process inside your body and sometimes those processed oils and sugars stick inside your body until surgically removed.  

I’m glad I did this because I feel so much healthier than I did a month ago - inside and out. I learned so much about food and myself during this challenge.

I will probably continue to eat like this in my own home for now, but if I go over to others homes and they have prepared a meal I will eat what they have prepared just to keep the harmony and peace inside their home. Inside my home, I’ll be keeping to this meal plan - until I get to my goal weight and beyond - because of how it makes me feel through my experience with it.

I would recommend it for anyone that asks me, please experience it for yourself and see what it does for you. Even if you don’t lose weight you will gain a new perspective on food - and yourself.

It’s been a great ride and I hope those that try it learn some thing from it like I did.

Healthy day folks!

La Jolla Swim & Run 2011 - Race Recap

by Rachel

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team puts on a lot of different types of races around the world, and this particular race was a perfect training race for my TriRock olympic triathlon in September. Not only that, it was only $40 - which is a STEAL compared to a lot of other races - especially triathlons...

So the race is a 1 mile open-ocean swim, followed by a 10K run - this type of race is called an aquathlon - and it was my first aquathlon, and first open-ocean race swim. My other races have been in a bay, lake, or river.

I tried to compile a Google Map that would give you a decent feel of what the course was - it started at the lower left - at La Jolla Cove. Then we passed by three buoys in the ocean, then headed inland to the shore. After that was 6 1-mile loops on the beach. Obviously the line through the ocean is a guess, but the last buoy was a decent way out from the shore - I'd say it's a pretty close representation.

Saturday night I made Sweet Potato Lasagna (from Engine 2) - it wasn't done until 10PM! Scarfed that down, then went right to bed - sat there for a little while before I finally fell asleep...

Sunday morning up at 4am - had toast with PB&Applesauce, a banana, 1cup of water, and coffee with almondmilk! I wanted to give my body some time to wake up and start processing. Did some morning yoga poses, and yep - my body started processing ;)

Woke everyone up - then had a fig with sunflower butter and 1 more cup of water.

Left at 6am - got to La Jolla Cove and checkin was really easy - there were less than 200 people in the race so it was a very small group. This, to me, is crazy for a San Diego race!

We all gathered at the beach, watching sea lions in the water, while they made their announcements before the race:
1. 3 bright orange buoys - follow them on your right
2. white shark sighting the day before at Scipps Pier
3. moment of silence and contemplation
4. Get ready Go!
wait - white shark??!! Well, at least I knew about this already, as we had spent Saturday at La Jolla Shores and were there when the sighting occurred. Nobody saw the shark during the race as far as I know...

I swam at La Jolla Cove several times before, but this was the first low tide swim - we had to walk out over the seagrass till we were far enough out, then the swim starts!

Only 3 buoys for a 1 mile swim meant that for a lot of the time, you couldn't see the buoy you were swimming towards - it would be interesting to see how far offcourse I was throughout the swim...

I was correct in my assumption that swimming with others would diminish the fear in my mind about swimming here - knowing that everyone else was doing the same exact thing helped a lot! Also, focusing on what everyone else was doing keeps your mind off of fear.

I swam past many kelp plants reaching up to the surface - it helped a lot to get around those without freaking out - another step to conquering this fear I have of the open ocean.

I didn't see any wildlife while I was swimming - guess they all knew well enough to stay away from all the splashing idiots in the water :)

There were lots of lifeguards out on ski-doos, surfboards, and even a boat - so that was always nice to see as you swam by them.

Like I said, I'm sure I was offcourse a lot - can't be helped much when the waves are always changing your line of sight. It was not a windy morning, but the waves were hard to deal with - but I just kept going - no laying on my back to rest - in fact, the only rest I took was to try to ride the waves up to gain a better view of where the next buoy was!

After the last buoy, we turned to head right into shore - but it was hard to see where we were supposed to be heading - so I ended up veering off - but corrected myself... that probably added some time to my swim.

I got out (finally!) and the time on the clock said around 45 minutes - which was more than I had wanted, so I was kind of bummed but had to keep going!

Transition was a little difficult because I hadn't really practiced a swim to run transition - but got through that in a few minutes, then off to my 10K!

6 1-mile loops - time for some transcendence!

If I'm going to run around in circles, I'll always enjoy running with this beautiful scenery! :)

I walked through the aid station 3 times... and I'm OK with that... dangit - I'm OK with it!

By the last lap, I was getting a blister on both balls of my feet - so I stopped and took my shoes and socks off! Ran the last lap barefoot - and it felt like my fastest lap!

Finally I was done! 1:47:37 was my final time - I loved having my family there to cheer me on - they are my cheering squad!

Initially, I was kinda bummed about my time - my swim took longer than I wanted, and my run was a little slower than my 3mile pace has been... but it was my 1st open ocean race - and I had never raced in the waves, or with buoys so far apart! And my 10K was just about the same time as the 10K practice I had done the week earlier.

So, I am happy with this race! I would definitely do it again - it was low-key, and I got a cool shirt with the following on the back:

"Always take the mind's positive thought-road" - Sri Chinmoy

I definitely walked the walk with this quote during the race - and during all my races - so many times in my races, my mind is telling me that I can stop, or slow down, or take a little break - or any number of negative things - but I choose to take the positive path!