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Vegetables And Stuff

gym-diet

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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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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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.
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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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Undertrained Yet Overjoyed: Bulldog 50k Post Race Thoughts/Review

I thought I was being realistic about a top 10 finish even considering my weekly mileage leading up to the race was minimal, but I was wrong. I ended up running a 4:44:09, 13th overall. After I crossed the finish line I was just glad to have ran without injuring myself and having run a race I was proud of.

Bulldog Garmin Race Profile

Before the race I made the decision to put myself in a position to compete for a podium spot by running with the lead pack for the first loop. This was a crazy strategy, but made a lot of sense at the time. I figured one never knows when it may be the day for a breakout performance until you put yourself in the position to do great things. Can’t be scared about running up front! (Note that this strategy only works with proper training:-)

The first few miles were spent waking up the legs to get ready for the climb ahead. This course is great because the first three or so miles are relatively flat so there’s ample time to prepare the body for the heavy climb and steep descent.

I managed to consistently run 4th-6th place for the first lap. I ran a personal record of 1:56:xx for the first lap (previous PR was 2:02:xx at Malibu Creek 25k race). I was just starting to feel some cramping after stopping to refill my water bottles and tried to hang on for a mile before having to walk. At this point I decided I wouldn’t be able to maintain any kind of competitive pace and decided finishing healthy would be the best thing to do. New strategy: power walk the climbs and controlled running downhill. The new strategy led to a 2:46:xx lap. My lungs were fine, but the legs just couldn’t hang. Now I’m excited to race Bulldog next year and run to my potential.

What’s next? Lots of slower miles and lots of climbing. Simple, but effective for me.

Major thanks to:
My wife Cristina and sister Pureza for coming out and cheering me on. Nancy Shura-Dervin for putting on a festive and very well organized race. Nuun for adding some pizzaz to my water. Mark from Mizuno for the pair of Wave Kazans. The Kazan enabled me safely bomb the fire roads down without fear of slipping and with firmer cushioning under-foot to help dissipate shock. A Runner’s Circle for their support of my running. Very lucky to be working for a company that understands my passion and enables me to spread my love of running to others.

Finally, pictures! (Thanks to Rony Sanche, Becky Galland, and Deo)
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2013: Year-In-Review

Miles: 2,231.62
Max Distance: 37.83
Elevation Gain: 58,943 ft.
Time: 338:29:15

I was surprised I ran so many miles. Most of them were training miles and I rarely ran for fun (not that training wasn’t fun, but most of those runs felt forced). I only mention the vertical gain so I have something to compare my 2014 total with. I plan on running “up” a lot more this year.

Nutritionally it wasn’t the most healthy year. I ate a lot of fast food and drank lots of sugar. I think I would’ve felt better on more runs had I eaten the right kinds of food. I also depended too much on fueling during the run rather than fueling before.

I’d like to think I was physically strong during the previous year. I did a weekly routine of push ups, pull-ups, core exercises, and lunges/squats. What was missing was flexibility work and active recovery. I hope to do more preventative care while continuing body weight training in 2014.

Overall, it was a good year of running. I earned my first buckle, set a half-marathon PR, a few podium finishes, learned new training/nutritional techniques, discovered new trails, raced/trained with friends, ran alongside my wife, and was injury free!

Photo taken by MK.542732_482048085184070_1140172712_nIMG_0427

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What About Running?

It seems that I’ve been doing everything else except run recently, but I’m writing this post to reassure all of my fellow run nerds that I’ve been putting in miles. I took last week off because of back spasms caused by parkour and snow shoveling. I’m back at it this week, so far running one hour a day. Thanks to @mk_liveloverun for sharing some of those miles.

This week I’ll most likely hit 50+ miles on 6 days running. Next week I’ll be back to my base building schedule (the last two weeks!). In January I’ll be introducing some speed to my weekly runs before going all out February and March. I’m excited about my racing prospects in 2014. Looking forward to new PRs.

I didn’t race that much in 2013, that was intentional. I wanted to put in the kind of work in training that would carry me to a new level, being able to toe the line and know good things will happen. This current training plan is very aggressive on the miles. I feel that mileage is key to becoming a competitive racer.

I’m looking at my training from Camarillo Marathon to replicate a few behaviors and practices. It was my perfect race! I’m going to need to run with sub 3:00:00 peeps. I was also running about 20-30 miles of trail with 4,000 ft+ of climbing weekly along with Tuesday and Thursday speed work. Man, I miss those Gritty City runners!…and the San Gabriel Mountains!

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Kaua’i Half Marathon Recap

IMG_0907The Kauai Marathon was a honeymoon run of sorts for Cristina and I. We enjoyed running in the rain, seeing rainbows, being entertained by hula dancers and taikoIMG_0902 drummers, and running with Bart Yasso! Although I planned to race the half marathon, running with my new bride ended up being the better and more gratifying decision.

The Kiahuna Plantation hotel was only steps away from the start line. With the race being chipped time and a 6am start, Cristina and I weren’t in any rush to be out with the masses. We walked to the start at 5:55 and ran from the back. We quickly moved pass the walkers and slower runners and found ourselves in the middle of everything. I ran with my phone in hand because I want to chronicle everything about it! I think I may have over-vined, but how many times will we get to experience Kaua’i while running together…EXACTLY!

IMG_0898The start consisted of us shuffling through the heavy traffic of walkers and joggers and at the same time trying to pin my bib on my shirt. I forgot the bib tag in the condo and had to have my sister pick it up for me. This resulted with both of my sisters being late for the start. At the mile marker we were surprised to see Cristina’s parents cheering us on. Her father is a big running fan and it had been a long time since he’s seen Cristina run in a race, so it was nice that they both could experience the race together. Of course we had stop and take photos before we started the long climb to the highway.

The temps were cool and the humidity bearable. There were two points during the race when we got rained on hard. The first time it was a fairly quick downpour around mile 4. For a couple miles after there was a steady drizzle of rain. The sky continued to be overcast for the entire race, which was very different from my experience in 2009 when it was unbearably hot and humid. Around mile 11 we encountered the heaviest rain fall and strongest wind. The rain was coming from all angles! This was also the time we ran up on Bart Yasso! What an awesome guy! He remembered who we were just from our Twitter conversations!

Cristina felt great at this point and she decided to hammer the slightly downhill portion towards the straightaway finish. She left Bart and I in our tracks. I managed to catch up to her a half mile from the finish line, where we finished together. We were greeted by her parents and my sister, who finished the half earlier.

IMG_0915My other sister ran the full marathon and it was nice to be able to run with her for a couple of miles before the course parted. For those who don’t know, Kaua’i is a super difficult course with steep hills and long gradual climbs. Since it starts and finishes at sea level, so, what you run up you have to run down! Your legs get the beating of their lives! She survived and is a better runner for it!

I have to mention that before race day my two sisters along with Cristina and I were interviewed for a special show to be aired locally around the state. Cristina and I had the opportunity to be filmed together to share our story of how we met and how running was a part of our union. It’s neat that our race experience was documented for us to treasure for years to come.

It was a joy to experience this race together and with our families. We’ll run many more races together, but I don’t thing any one will be as special as this race.

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