Sunday, March 30, 2014

Maggie's Week in Review!

By: Mags

I was wondering why my legs were so tired today... my first 50+ mile week since last fall!

Click me for real-sized image!

I'm still on track for the Silver State 50/50 (not that I have a choice since I'm registered). Moving forward I'm hoping to add on more elevation gain, so that I don't die on race day!

I also realized that I needed to recalibrate my Suunto settings so that it doesn't think I'm dying every time my heart rate is over 170. 

In other news, my life is going to get REEEEEAAL boring as finals and race day approach.

Read. Run. Eat. Repeat.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

This week's brew: Stone IRS 2014

By: Stevie

Russian Imperial Stouts are my favorite style of beer. Bold, viscous, and belly-warming, they're the perfect pair to any rainy day, and since we're finally seeing some moisture here in the Bay Area I thought tonight would be perfect to try the 2014 Stone Imperial Russian Stout.

Besides the Enjoy By IPA from Stone (which I'll be reviewing next) this is one of my favorite seasonal finds. Poured into my Deschutes snifter, it's deep black with a thick, tan head that dissipates into a ring of bubbles. There's no escaping the smell. As soon as it's poured, heavy overtones of burnt coffee, cocoa, and alcohol permeate the air. Mouthwatering.

11%'s a big one
The first sip is powerful. Thick, crisp, and carbonated. Then bitterness takes over, like a cup of black coffee, and is subdued with notes of sweet cherry. But, it's all washed away by a lingering alcohol burn. Age will be its best friend.

It's not the most flavorful IRS Stone has produced, but now that I have 3 vintages of it, a vertical tasting is probably in order.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another Way

By: Maggie

In procrastinating my studying, I just read an article in The American Scholar about choosing to eat meat. It is worth reading, but long. So here are my digestible info-bites (totally just my personal take-aways).

Two calves on the dairy farm I worked on in Ireland in 2010.

The American Scholar
Loving Animals to Death by James McWilliams
Cover Story - Spring 2014

The article questions the Food Movement's primary assumption that what is "wrong with animal agriculture - with eating animals - is the practice, not the principle" (as stated by Michael Pollen). Williams frames the story with an "ethical" farmer's personal statements that he believes his work is contradictory and actually deeply unethical. He outlines the basic ideas and players in the Food Movement, identifies the Movement's philosophical underpinnings, identifies a serious contradiction in the principle and the practice of the Movement, and then carries the actual principle to its logical conclusion. He concludes that eating meat is never really ethical and that the Food Movement should focus on that option rather than dodging the real "heavy lifting of moral consistency."

The Food Movement (FM)
The main players:
     Michael Pollan                 The Omnivore’s Dilemma
     Mark Bittman                   How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
     Jonathan Safran Foer       Eating Animals

Principle:    We have an ethical mandate to understand food and its impact on the system as a whole. 

However, the FM "players" all conclude that the only option is ethically sourced meat because eating less meat is EASIER than eating no meat.

The Inconsistencies

The FM dodges the question of moral consistency (that they raise with their principle) and ignore the facts:

1. Veganism is 7x more energy efficient than eating meat, and that if embraced globally, veganism could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from conventional agriculture by 94%.

2. The economics of nonindustrial agriculture doesn’t work. Consolidation pays. "Ethical" meat is expensive, so it becomes available only for privileged and elite consumers. The FM concept of "ethical" meat is not feasible as a movement.

3. Small “ethical” farms are only nominally more accommodating of farm animals’ full interests than industrial agriculture. The same abuses that happen in factories, happen on "ethical" farms because no matter the size of the farm, the animals are being treated as commodities for consumption.

The Start of a Solution

1. Shift agricultural practice: we need more diversified systems of production that focus on growing plants for people to consume, rather than for animals to consume.

2. Shift consumers' focus: we, as consumers/ marketers/ communities, need to make enlightened, intelligent, and informed choices about what we eat. Having an understanding of the environmental, health, and ethical effects of consuming animals leads to the logical conclusion that meat consumption is not viable (nor necessary).

Food for thought!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trail shoe Tuesday: Brooks Cascadia 9 !!!

By: Stevie

Okay, so this is my first Trail Tuesday posting, but I just got a fresh pair of Cascadia's today and am pumped with the new update! The upper has been retooled for a more seamless fit and a lower heel provides a little more stability on the trails...the color is freaking rad too! I'm planning on a Rancho run tomorrow, so I'll have more news to report then!
Soooo bright and sexy

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Joaquin Miller Park - East Bay

By: Maggie

Had an AWESOME run today! Checked out some new trails in Joaquin Miller Park and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I'm still loving my Suunto and the great metrics it gives me after each run. I also really appreciate the visual interface. It's easy to understand and visually appealing too!

It was my first time on these trails, so I kept being surprised by stunning views when I'd come around corners! Absolutely beautiful day.

The Sequoia-Bay View trail was great. A nice long, flat-ish trail in an otherwise pretty hilly area. Dappled shade and cool air rising from the ravines. Unbeatable!

Coming back down into Joaquin Miller park there is an amphitheater with really beautiful pools of water tiered down along the hillside. It was worth the climbing to enjoy the sights!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Strawberry Canyon

By: Maggie

Got a run in between classes today!

I realized today that I have everything I'd ever hoped for: I get to study my brains out and then step into paradise for a hilly trail run. Living. The. Dream.

However, running up this butt-kicker did not feel like living the dream.

Still loving my lil Suunto. Forgot the heartrate strap today. Woops!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Changing pace

By: Maggie

Books!! Nom nom nom
Just devoured Eat & Run, and I'm changing pace to Covering (both linked below)! It amazes me how much the familiarity in one discipline can be applicable to another. Plus, running is the perfect time to think about all of these ideas!

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
by Scott Jurek

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights
by Kenji Yoshino

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Recovery Pancakes

By: Magphen

Banana blueberry pancakes - they're vegan AND gluten-free!
Recipe credit to [Love & Lemons]. Photo credit to Stephen!
I didn't do anything but eat them :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Suunto Loving

By: Maggie

Got a sweet new GPS to track my awesomeness. And it's awesome.

The interface is AH-MAZE-BALLS:

Like, every possible stat I could ever hope to know. I bought the one with the heartrate strap cause why not. Also, they give you an interactive graph below all of this raw data so you can display each of these stats over the duration of your run.

Our first date. #truelove

Oofos everywhere!

By: Stevie

About 6 months ago I received a free pair of Oofos recovery sandals, and, oh, how my feet have sung! Utilizing a proprietary OOfoam, Oofos deliver a lightweight, flexible, and supply soft piece of footwear perfect for post-race recovery or a day at the beach. I find them most comfortable after a hard day on the trails when my feet can no longer stand the confinement of a running shoe.

Post-race chillin' and 2nd place finish at Stevens Creek 50k
These are also wildly comfortable for anyone dealing with plantar fasciitis, to which I can personally attest. I've had some sort of plantar funk for the better part of 7 months and have almost no pain while wearing my Oofos. This is probably attributed to the built-in arch, which helps reduce pressure on my heel. 

With a piece of recovery footwear I'm ultimately looking for something soft, and these don't disappoint. Oofos sandals provide 37% more impact absorption, while remaining durable, providing long-lasting cushioning. Oh, and they're machine washable! How cool is that?! 

Mud Fest

By: Magalicious

I've been so pumped about the rainy weather! First off, we're in a drought. But secondly, it's a blast to get dirty and enjoy the trails when no one else is around!

I've been easing back into training at my usual spots. Hit up Rancho this weekend. The only downside of running in South Bay on weekends is that my fav spot Green Bites Cafe isn't open. Booooooo!

Leave it to Stephen. Thankfully he hosed off before getting in my truck..

I've also been getting into the groove in my own hood. The Strawberry Canyon trail is great, per usual. Mud doesn't get bad until about 3 miles in! I've been exploring more of the offshoot trails up through the trees. 

Yay, springtime! Gotta love California!

Altras are definitely broken in! I think I prefer wearing these without socks, even in the rain! I know - be still, my beating heart. 

I've also been working in early morning gym days. Nice and dry in the weight room!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Way Too Cool 50k and Weekly Wrap-up

By: Stevie

It's been a few weeks since I've written anything, and since the Way Too Cool 50k is around the corner, I figured a post was in order. WTC is one of the NorCal classics and always draws an impressive field, promising a fast and competitive race to the finish. The course isn't super hilly for a 50k -- 4800' of gain -- which means that the speedsters really dominate here. I've been including some speed work every week in hopes to keep up with the frontrunners, especially considering the first 2 miles are usually between 5:45 and 6:15 pace. I know this won't decide the race, but it's reassuring to be able to hang with the big guns.

I ran a 3:59 here in 2011 which was good enough for 14th overall, so anything faster than that, and I'll be stoked. Last year I blew up pretty early on, finishing in 4:09; nothing spectacular, but still pretty quick. My training has been more sporadic than I'd care to admit, and even though I'm not logging the miles like I used to, I'd like to think that I'm physically and mentally stronger than I was 3 years ago. I guess we'll find out this weekend!

Monday, Feb. 24

AM: 24.9 miles, 3:23, 3800' -- Redwood/Chabot
Decided to do my last long run 12 days before the race to fully allow my legs to recover. Did an out-and-back on the Dick Collins 50 course, starting at Skyline Gate in Redwood Park and turning around in Lake Chabot Park. I tried to keep the pace fairly easy for the first 2/3, and picked up my effort for the remaining miles. Felt really strong on the climbs and focused on a quick turnover. Had 3 Gu's, 40oz water and some dates.

PM: 5.1 miles, :51, 775' -- Strawberry Canyon
Shake-out run with my girlfriend in the Berkeley Hills. Legs felt chipper and was happy to be on the trails with Mags.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

AM: 11 miles, 1:15:42, 150' -- Los Gatos Creek Trails
Since WTC is such a fast course I tried to recreate the feeling of racing on tired legs...I think I succeeded because it hurt! My original plan was to run a few hard intervals with the majority of miles being fairly easy, but when I noticed that I wasn't too fatigued I kept pushing the pace. The last mile at 6:11 pace was the most painful, but it should pay off come race day.

PM: 4 miles, :32, 3% incline -- Treadmill
Really easy shake-out to flush the legs.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

AM: 8 miles, 1:05, 800' -- Rancho
Completely wrecked from the past two days of training, so I cut the run short and kept the pace relaxed.

Thursday, Feb. 27

AM: 8.6 miles, 1:16, 1031' -- Redwood
Redwood Park is quickly becoming my favorite place to run! Lots of beautiful single-track and views of surrounding hills and mountains keep me inspired the entire run. I was still fatigued from monday and tuesday, so I tried to run relaxed and not push the pace.

PM: 5.4 miles, :59, 200' -- San Fran
I had an interview with Brooks (the shoe company!!) which consisted of an easy run around San Francisco and a beer. Definitely the best interview I've ever had...hope I'll have good news regarding the position soon!

Friday, Feb. 28

Complete recovery day. Lots of food and relaxation with my gf and her mom.

Saturday, Feb. 29

AM: 4 miles, :26 -- Los Gatos Creek Trail
I was crunched on time this morning, making for some faster, tempo-ish miles. Spits were: 6:50, 6:39, 5:44, 6:24.

Sunday, Feb. 30

AM: 9 miles, 1:06, 993' -- Rancho
Went to Rancho with the lady and, starting from the dirt lot, ran the Wildcat trail up the middle to Upper High Meadow. Held a moderate to hard pace up Wildcat, resulting in a PR from lot the dirt lot to the Upper High Meadow split! Descended down Upper Rogue Valley and clicked off a sub-5 minute mile. Felt great!


-Miles: 80
-Time : 10hr 55min
-Elevation: 7750'