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Vegetables And Stuff


We tried this whole clean eating thing for a week, well, five days…OK 4.5 days. It was hard as heck. The goal was to not consume any refined sugars, simple carbohydrates, alcohol, meat, and dairy. Two reasons why we wanted to do this: 1) To inspire healthier than usual eating habits (we eat vegetarian during the week, but the food choices aren’t always healthy. 2) Force us to try new recipes and be more creative with staples we have around the house.

I wouldn’t say we noticed any significant changes. We didn’t all of sudden start running faster and our skin didn’t turn Jay Lo-esque, but there was a feeling that eating this diet made us more superior than most people…j/k! It was guilt free eating.  What we were ingesting was actually good for our body. We felt good. My farts didn’t smell and I know that has to be a good thing.

Unless you’re rich and can afford to constantly buy prepared food from Whole Foods or M Cafe, then you have to cook the stuff yourself. I will say that eating a strict vegetarian diet is less costly than eating animals and processed foods. For a week’s worth of produce and fruits we spent about $35 at Super King. This was for three meals a day with snacks! Although organic would be ideal we can’t all the time because rent and financial aid payments.

If you decide to do this clean eating thing you’ll also notice that the recipes will be very simple and more emphasis is on combing ingredients to create certain tastes. Garlic is magical and chili peppers don’t always have to taste spicy. Spices are key. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

So, big takeaways: 1) Cheaper to eat fruits and vegetables specially if you eat with the seasons. 2) Planning and effort. You have to plan your meals and make time to prepare them. 3) Farts won’t smell. Junk in. Junk out.

Here are some recipes of food we ate during the 4.5 days:

Kale and Quinoa Fry
Cook 1 cup quinoa in 1 3/4 cup water for 15 minutes. Fluff and set aside.
Mince 3 garlic cloves and half an onion. Chop as much kale as you’d like. If you don’t like it as much, 2 cups is good. f you love it then 6-8 cups is plenty.

Saute the garlic and onions in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the garlic is close to browning. Add 1/4 tsp. chili flakes then add kale. Add 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water and cover until kale is a bit wilted. Add quinoa and turn up the heat a bit. Continue to stir and make sure most of the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad
Soak 1 cup hard wheat berry overnight in the refrigerator. Boil wheat berry in 5 cups of water for 40 minutes. Strain while runnign cold water over wheat berry. Set aside.

Dice 1 apple (Fuji or Gala), medium onion, 3-4 stalks celery. Add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

Whisk 1/3 cup safflower oil, 1/4 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, pinch salt and pepper.

Combine apple mixture with wheat berries. Toss with oil mixture. Refrigerate for an hour. Eat.

Breakfast Smoothie
Blend 1/2 cup oatmeal until it’s a powder. Add 1 1/2 cup coconut milk (we use the drinking kind from Trader Joe’s), 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, and 1 tablespoon honey. Blend until smooth. Drink.

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Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 Review

Everything you thought you knew about Mizuno will be shattered with the newest edition of the Enigma. The Enigma 5 feels and fits different. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, I guess.

The out-of-the-box fit is snug and the feel very plush. Working at a specialty running store, I make it a point to surprise veteran Mizuno wearers with the feel and have them try on a pair of the new Enigmas.

I’ve run 50 miles in my pair and have a mixed review of the shoe. I love the cushioned ride and the fit of the heel, but not the snug fit of the forefoot. The softer layer of foam below the heel and forefoot gives the shoe a very cushioned feel. While I love the firmer/faster feel of previous Mizunos (hello Sayonara!), I also love my feet to be caressed and cushioned on the run. This shoe does that. I’d say the shoe is not very responsive and the actual feel of the surface is numbed. Not a bad thing for me as far as how I prefer my long mileage shoes to be. While there is a hint of a bounce on hard surfaces, I would think this would not be felt by most runners. On soft surfaces (I’ve used them on horse trails) the shoe is very squishy.

Parts of the fit of the shoe I like. I like the snugness and firmness of the heel counter (the part of the shoe directly behind your lower ankles and upper heel) and heel cuff (the part that surrounds your ankle and cinches tight as you pull on the laces to tie them). I have a slim heel and skinny ankles and I always appreciate shoes that can secure them. The part of the fit I don’t like is material on both sides of the forefoot Mizuno added to secure the forefoot. While this may be viewed as an improvement in fit for others, it’s a poor fit for me because I like a wider toe box where my toes are free to move and react. The feel in the new Enigma is cramped with some pinching on the pinky toes on the toe-off. I even feel a pinch above the 3-5 metatarsal that seems to go away after a mile or so. The wraparound the foot is very cushioned as well. You’re foot is surrounded by plushness.

While this wouldn’t be a “do everything” shoe for me, it works well in my current shoe rotation along with the New Balance Zante and Wave Sayonara. The Enigma is currently my long mileage (10+ miles) shoe. I’ve run all sorts of paces in them: from fast strides to tempo pace to slow slogs. They felt sloppy and flopped at the faster paces, but felt right at home at my long run pace (8:00+/mile).

The specs are interesting in that the heel cushions are super high (at least for non Hoka wearers – listed at 32mm) and the forefoot cushion is higher than most shoes (20mm) – 12mm offset, the ride doesn’t feel awkward or too sloppy. While I wouldn’t say it’s the smoothest riding premium cushioned shoe I’ve worn (I’ve worn the Glycerine and Triumph ISO), it’s tolerable.

Go ahead and try on a pair at your nearest local running store (support small businesses!) and maybe you’ll love the new feel of the new generation of Mizuno.


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Miwok 100k Training

There’s a lot that goes into racing an ultra distance race. Training takes time, money, and social sacrifices. If you’re not a paid professional runner married or dating another professional runner, then all those things I mentioned are a strain to the person running and to those close to them.

Preparing for Miwok hasn’t been consistent. I didn’t hit my long mileage goals, but I’m happy with the work I did during all of my runs. In the 11 weeks following Sean O’Brien I averaged 61 miles, 12-20 hours of running, and 12,000+ft. of climbing weekly. There was a period of seven days where I didn’t run, otherwise I kept to a six-day run week with Mondays being a complete rest day.

I’m in awe of people to work full-time and manage quality training weeks. To put into perspective what my typical training day is, I wake up two hours before a run to eat and prep. When possible I take two hours to rest and recuperate after a run. This includes eating, stretching, and napping. What happens more often is I have to rush off to work without proper nutrition and recovery. I hate running at night, so when I’m pressed for time in the morning, I often cut my run short to have time after for a light meal and commute time. I’m constantly rushed to get to work where I try to recover. Never a successful endeavor. So, when I say I run so-and-so hours in a day there’s actually more time beyond “time-on-feet.”

One thing that has been consistent have been the kind of trails I’ve chosen to run. I prefer to keep a consistent running pace so I prefer to run less technical trails. I run Mt. Wilson Toll Rd. at least once a week, running to Idlehour trail or to the top rather than the more Instagram scenic Old Mt. Wilson trail where it’s more crowded and rugged. I feel the 10 mile downhill runs have helped toughened my legs more than the uphill sections. Although I’m still slow on the descents, I can consistently run long downhill sections.

I’ve also lifted a lot more weights. I go to the gym twice a week and I can feel the difference in how I’ve been able to handle fatigue during long runs and the pain-free day afters. Since I started lifting heavy eight weeks ago, I’ve managed to get pretty close to my four-rep. maxs. When I paddled my four-rep maxs were: 70lbs dumble bench, 185lbs barbell bench, 225lbs squat, 275lbs dead lifts. Just last week I lifted 55lbs dumble bench and 185lbs squat. I’m a gallon jug of water and 2 scoops of protein away from becoming a bro.

Well, all that to say I’ll most likely have an average day out on the trails this weekend. My goal was a top ten finish, now I’m aiming for a sub 12-hour finish. My training frustrates me because I know the work that needs to be put in to run a competitive ultra race. I know 70-mile weeks aren’t enough for a 62-mile race. I know the value of a 25+ mile run and the need for recovery, but I can’t put it all together. I know a race is determined long before the start. It’s determined in the preparation. One of these races I’ll have my act together and be able to compete as I know I’m capable of.


Trying out Altra Lone Peak 2.0 for the first time since the Inov8 Ultra Race 290 were too stiff and opposite of cushioned. After two runs in the Altras I’m digging the design and concept of a cushioned zero drop shoe.

If you care to follow my decline (bib #46)…

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Shoe Variety (and Sean O’Brien race shoe choice)

When I plan for a race, and even training runs, I wear shoes to match the intended pace and terrain. This means I sometimes wear two different type of shoes running the same route on different days. For instance I love to wear my Saucony Rides on days I want to work on faster downhill running on the Mt. Wilson Toll Rd. On the same course I’ll wear my Mizuno Kazan, Montrail Bajada, or Brooks Cascadia on days I need better grip to work on speed hiking or faster uphill running. On streets I’ll either wear Mizuno Wave Sayonara or Saucony Triumphs depending on distance/time-on-feet and pace. I’ll even wear Sayonaras on trails for speed workouts (Brown Mt., El Prieto, Sam Merrell, Cheseboro, and Griffith Park). So, all this to say you should be varying your shoe choice. Shoe variation improves strength, helps with injury prevention, provides specific feel for different surfaces, and extends the life of a shoe. At the very least have a second pair that is the opposite of your regular trainer. If you run in a supported shoe, keep a second pair that is more flexible or less cushioned or a lower ramp height for recovery runs or for speed work. It will activate, stretch, and strengthen muscles, tendons, and joints that normally wouldn’t be in a more supported shoe.

At the very least have a second pair that is the opposite of your regular trainer. If you run in a supported shoe, keep a second pair that is more flexible or less cushioned or a lower ramp height. Use the less supported shoe for recovery runs or for speed work. It will activate, stretch, and strengthen muscles, tendons, and joints that normally wouldn’t be in a more supported shoe. Running in minimalist or barefoot shoes? Try a firmer shoe for racing so the shoe can help with biomechanical efficiency. Softer/minimalist shoes use more muscles and more joint movement from foot plant to toe-off in slower paces.

What you’re all dying to find out, what shoe did I use for Sean O’Brien 50 mile race a couple of weeks ago? I wore the Mizuno Kazan. Same shoe choice as Bulldog 50k. Picked this shoe mostly for the outsole. I wore the Montrail Bajada and Saucony Rides on all trail runs leading up to the race. I knew I needed a shoe with a firmer and cushioned heel for the downhill running, but also having some flex in the forefoot for steeper climbs. Cushioning would also be key because of the rocky terrain and the walking I would do at some part of the race. The Kazan only became an option when I wore it on my last training run up Mt. Lowe. Although it wasn’t as cushioned as the other shoes, it provided the best grip. I would sacrifice comfort in the Kazan (especially when running downhill), but the shoe’s flex through the forefoot provided better options overall for faster running.   Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.12.43 AM


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Trying The 50 Mile Distance…Again.

Although I fell behind my training schedule for Sean O’Brien due to the bike accident, I managed to pull together four solid weeks of running.
Distance: 322.64 mi
Time: 57:12:54 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 67,823 ft
Max Elevation Gain: 7,492 ft
Max Time: 4:55:08 h:m:s

I feel confident I can finish the race in under 9:30:00 based on my training. I would estimate a better finishing time, but I was unable to go on a 5+ hour/30+ mile run. So, all I can hope for is to run a gritty race. Two weeks ago I ran the back half of the course as a training run and was physically beaten by the amount of downhill running. I’d like to think all those runs up and down Mt. Wilson Toll Rd. has prepared me well.

I think I’ve been a responsible eater most of the time. I made sure to eat a recovery snack post-run (mostly in the form of a smoothie) and calorie/nutrient dense food most meals. I hydrated fairly well, being conscious to drink water first thing in the morning and intermittently during runs. I haven’t had any major stomach problems and have dialed in my race day nutrition plan. I’ll be using GU gels, Nuun tablets, and Probar chews. My mindset has been to eat for energy; food as fuel. It’s helped me stay focus and limit junk food.

Seven more days until I toe the line. I have goals for the race and none bigger than to keep moving forward no matter what happens or how I feel at any time. Big question is, music or no music?

The course and elevation profile:

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It will take a car hitting me to stop me from running…

…and that’s what happened. I was hit while riding my bike to work on December 2. The person who hit me never saw me in the intersection and accelerated after rolling through a stop sign. I fell on the left side of my body. It all happened so fast that I didn’t completely feel all of my injuries nor was in the right mind to comprehend just what happened. I WAS HIT BY A FREAKIN’ CAR! A CAR! I’m a very aware and careful pedestrian/cyclist. I’m this way because I always expect the worst from drivers. If you live in the South Pasadena/Alhambra area you know to always expect the worst from drivers. You just do.
The injuries were not as bad as one would expect after being hit by a car. It wasn’t a high-speed collision, thank god! I suffered bruising, cuts, and scrapes on the left side of my body. I was hit from the right and fell squarely onto my left. My hip and knee became bruised and inflamed from the impact of hitting the ground. I have a pretty bad ass scar from a nasty gash on my hip. X-rays showed nothing broken, torn, or separated.

I took two weeks off from running, which was very frustrating since the previous month I was averaging 70+ miles a week of quality running. I just recently I started running again. Stuff still hurt: left knee, left shoulder, and wrist. This past week I ran a total of 22 miles with a few mile repeats at “race pace” to test out the legs. My lungs are still in good shape, but I can’t help but feel my development has been set back severely in gaining a racing fitness level. I’ll continue to take it easy, aiming for 35 miles this coming week with some trail running miles.

I’ll be running a few high-profile races in 2015 and I hope to put in the kind of work that my wife, my family, and others who have supported my running can be proud of; that I can be proud of.

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Post Run Calorie Consumption


Image from Runner’s World

I wrote a post about caloric debt and it’s effect on better racing times (Caloric Debt, 2011). I should have followed that post with my thoughts about caloric consumption during training since it relates to weight, efficiency, and performance. The belief “I can eat whatever I like because I’m a runner” is not only false, but unhealthy. The average person burns about 100-105 calories per mile ran (based on a slow pace). A lighter person burns about 93-99 calories. Of course, the faster you run the more calories are burned. Also, the more you weigh increases the amount of calories you burn. What does this mean? This means you don’t need to eat that double-double with fries and shake after a long run! While it may taste good and feed your hunger cravings it’s adding to a positive caloric balance. If you’re looking to lose some pounds or maintain a good racing weight that 1,760 calories you just ate just sabotaged your plans. Of course, if you ran 17+ miles then your In-N-Out meal was justified. Keep in mind we also consume gels and other calorie dense snacks on our long runs which lessens post run caloric needs. In short, keep post-run meals and snacks calorie sensible if your mileage is on the lower end. Do the math and don’t go overboard with ingesting too many calories for what your body really needs. It’s about replacement and not storage. Unless you’re going back-to-back long mileage sessions, there’s no need to “load up.” As always, aim for whole food alternatives and remember to drink water to help in energy conversion and to aid in filling you up during meals.


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