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August 2013

Santa Barbara Long Course 2013

By | Fitness, Fuel, Race Reports, Triathlon | No Comments
There is something about race reports that gives each race a bigger feeling of being “complete” in the enjoyment of it.  It almost seems like the race doesn’t end until post-race thoughts are given words and the “publish” icon is clicked (yikes–this race has lasted for 5 days).  I never used to write race reports and I never understood their meaning.  Now that I have started to do it regularly, I notice that each report feels fulfilling and gets me amped up for the next race and the next write-up!

…That reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis about praise being the completion of enjoyment:

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed…The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.

So, in an effort to experience the full enjoyment in God’s gift of health and triathlon:

5 things that have stayed the same over the 4 years that I have participated in/cheered at this event:
  1. The venue:  Located on the beach in Santa Barbara, there is a gorgeous pre- and post-race view, challenging ocean swim, ample parking lot-transition area, nearby hills to challenge even seasoned cyclists, perfect waterfront run path, tons of weekend warriors out decorating the course and sometimes offering cheers.
  2. The wonderful sense of camaraderie: This race in particular seems to draw the most friendly racers.  Maybe it’s because of the coastal, casual, aura?  I wonder if it is because of the unusual distance (1mi swim/34mi bike/10mi run)?  Perhaps the fact that it is unique in its distance attracts athletes interested in the challenge rather than the outcome/finish time, since the times cannot very well be compared to results at other races.  Regardless, it makes me happy.
  3. The last 2 miles: Without fail, the last two miles of the run course, coming in to the finish, go on forever!  I haven’t officially clocked it yet, but I am pretty sure that the last “two miles” are actually at least 5 miles in distance…
  4. The support crew: My wonderful parents have not only cheered me on all three times that I have raced here, but they have also driven me to the race at 5am and dropped me off while they went in search of a parking spot…which brings me to number 5:
  5. The parking: There is really no parking lot to park in since the transition area takes up a large part of the parking availability.  Parking is available on the street immediately next to the transition area, and in surrounding side streets.  It’s definitely not impossible to find free parking all day, but be sure to arrive early if you want to snag a close spot.  Otherwise, jogging and/or biking to the start should not be a problem!  Just plan ahead.

5 things that were new for me this year:
  1. Veronica and Isaac: my new international friends.  Vero, from Argentina, competed in the race with me.  This couple has been a pleasure to get to know.
  2. Book (Racing Weight) and signing: author Matt Fitzgerald was at the race expo selling and signing his book.  We had a chat about sports nutrition, and he even asked about my thesis work.  I am really liking the book so far and would recommend it to any endurance athlete looking to perform at their best.
  3. Pre-race meal: I am pretty sure that this was the first time I have ever had delivery pizza the night before a race…and I am happy to say that I was okay with it!
  4. Swim: This was the first time that I have ever swam with one person for the entire swim length…and it happened to be my dear freind Christine! (see photos below)…so fun.
  5. Run/Finish– Despite my run split still being 5 minutes off my best on this course, I am happy with a total 6-minute improvement from my overall race time last year.  Also, the the last two miles of the run seemed to be a bit less torturous than in years past, and I am attributing this to good, smart training and racing.  Thanks, Coach Gareth!
5 things to be grateful for:
  1. Coach Gareth and Trio for the coaching, lactate testing, and spiffy Trio visor
  2. Sean and Richard for the Fluid (bike fuel), Pearl tri suit, and Pearl shoes
  3. My support crew- Brice, my parents and all of my lovely buddies
  4. New friends, Vero and Isaac, for the ride to the expo, for the yerba mate, and for being awesome
  5. Padaro Beach Grill in Carpinteria for the fabulous post-race burger, sweet potato fries, and lemonade!

Tine-y Bare-y and I

Almost to shore!

Christine is good at back pats during races


Friends that swim together both finish (but not necessarily together)!

I Think I’m Turning Japanese

By | Fuel | No Comments
I have never been to Japan, and I am not even 0.001% Japanese on a good day, but I sure do love to eat some of the delicious, good-for-you foods that my Japanese friends enjoy…err, at least my American upbringing has led me to believe that they enjoy them.  No matter.  A friend and I made a great meal inspired by some personal conceptions of Japanese cuisine.  Katie and I decided to have dinner together, and buckwheat noodles sounded especially appetizing.  So, we put together a little two-serving soiree of soba-veggie salad, edamame, miso soup, and salmon.  That’s not all, folks.  We ended the show with chocolate mochi ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and a cup of jasmine green tea.
I first made this salad about three years ago, and I have not been able to forget about it since.  The recipe is so simple.  In fact, I have not looked at the recipe for three years…I just throw in whatever sounds good.  It usually has the same basic colorful and scrumptious appearance, though.

Soba-Veggie Salad

(print this recipe)
Toss the  following, in accordance to your preferred amounts/variations:
Cooked and cooled soba noodles (2-3 servings)
Sliced cucumber

Sliced mushrooms
Peeled, Chopped carrots
Chopped bell peppers
Diced green onion
Sliced plum tomatoes
Drizzle of rice vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of soy sauce
Handful of fresh basil/cilantro

Top with sliced avocado and fresh ground pepper

…Feel free to add in whatever other things you think might fit in this salad.  Seeds, nuts, veggies, cheese?  I don’t think there is much out there that won’t taste good with soba noodles!

Soba noodles are exciting to me because they are made from buckwheat!  Buckwheat just sounds healthy, right?  Well, it is good for you, has a bit of protein, is a slower-burning source of carbohydrate for longer-lasting energy, and is suitable for those on gluten free diets (but not so fast, Celiacs!…check labels to make sure that there are no wheat ingredients in your soba noodles).