back to “school”

Starting a brand-new training cycle feels like back-to-school time. Nervous excitement. Unknowns. New outfits.

Yesterday marked Day One of a new, 10-week run and swim-focused training block under the tutelage of Dr. Evil himself, and I was giddy. Giddy to return to Masters yesterday at the Encinitas Y (and I didn’t have to move down a lane!); and apparently jazzed enough on the idea of today’s pre-dawn treadmill/recovery swim session that I kept waking up at all hours last night. Well hello, motivation. Won’t you stay awhile?


I miss this. (Photo by eschipul/Flickr)

After Austin 70.3, I took my usual week (er, and a half) to stuff myself silly, indulge my inner gluten worshipper, and lay around on my couch, bed, or (in extreme cases) my yoga mat. Having just two days at home between Austin and traveling to Panama City Beach, Florida for work made this even easier. In Florida there were plenty of alternatives to having to run alone, in the rain, in a strange town teeming with triathletes: dinner with Marni and Karel, late-night ice cream dates with myself, watching crappy TV in an even crappier hotel room, and of course, working.

Finally home, I began easing back into training and my normal eating habits—trying not to be too hard on myself, and coming to terms with new numbers on the scale. I had completely forgotten to weigh myself before my Austin race (I like to know how I race at different weights), and why I decided to do so after a week of indulging, I do not know. I freaked out at first, but after emailing back and forth with the wise, aforementioned Marni, and being reminded that weight can fluctuate 2 to 3 pounds daily, I chilled out and moved on. (*See tidbits of Marni’s wisdom below.) I commuted to work on my road bike on a gloriously clear, crisp morning. I returned to my Thursday group run workout and was OK with the sluggish feeling. I rode easy with Beth on Saturday and ran trails/ate Mexican/cyclocross spectated with Kayla on Sunday.

Hernandez Hideaway hole in the wall.

Hernandez Hideaway AKA hole in the wall Mexican.

I was tired after my post-race break and flirted with the idea of delaying my Ironman South Africa (oh yeah, newsflash!) training until January. But see, there’s this monkey on my back called running, and someone who believes I can get faster, and that was enough. And just like going back to school/the fall always does to me, I’m feeling renewed. It’s finally fall (ish) in San Diego, and the dawn of my favorite season is energizing: That dusty, leafy smell of the few rogue changing trees. A sun that gives up at 5 pm, as if encouraging us to join her slumber. Squash of all shapes and sizes at the market, inviting warm meals.


Kimchi jjigae. (Photo by

In no particular order, here’s what else I’m loving right now:

  • Korean food. We hit up the newly renovated Zion market on the way back from the airport last week, and Mark turned our findings into two Korean-inspired dishes: beef short rib lettuce wraps and kimchi jjigae, or kimchi stew. This weekend I re-upped our kimchi stores with my now-memorized favorite kimchi method ever. As a friend put it, Korean food is the ultimate winter Asian food: big, bold flavors and hearty, comforting textures.
  • Soleil Yoga in Cardiff. I snatched a 30-day unlimited Groupon and have found it to be the perfect blend of modern and traditional yoga. Plus, it gets me back in my old cheery, quirky, colorful neighborhood.

My cat’s new “Ah! It’s cold out! Must cuddle for maximum warmth!” phase.

The tease of a chill in the air that is Southern California’s answer to winter. (OK Jen, you can stop talking about fall now.)

Stumbling on this eloquent Chicago Tribune answer to the hilariously glib web-wide attack on pumpkin spice overkill, which is really just an unexpectedly beautifully written ode to fall. (OK that’s it I promise! No more fall rhapsodizing.)

Red IPA. Maximum hops-meets-smoothness factor.

Focusing on the present: The beauty of where I live now, the job I have (and love), and the people I’m lucky enough to have in my life, no matter what’s around the corner.

*And, as mentioned above, Marni’s tips for transitioning from racing to regular life (smiley faces preserved for authenticity):This is a great time to “work” on the diet,” discover balance when you aren’t expending 1000+ calories a day. :) Notice any signs of true hunger, reasons for snacking/hunger, and shoot for overall balance with a more plant-strong diet. The best thing you can do is to not be extreme with anything.” “Always remember not to bash your body … that same body that may feel heavy or “fat” will need to take you 140.6 miles in South Africa :) Take a little time to focus on yourself and without being black/white with your diet, think about how the food you are eating is making you feel and focus on your own needs.”

Kimchi Jjigae


200 grams of pork belly (about 1/2 pound)
4 or 5 cups of chopped kimchi
1 tbs sugar, 1 tsp of hot pepper flakes, 1 tbs hot pepper paste
onion, green onions
half a package of tofu
sesame oil and water


  1. Put kimchi and juice in a shallow pot (we used our Le Creuset Dutch oven).
  2. Add sliced onion, hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, sugar, green onions, and pork belly.
  3. Pour water over the ingredients until they are submerged.
  4. Close the lid of the pot and boil it 25 or 30 minutes. (first 10 minutes will be high heat and then turn down the heat over medium heat)
  5. Add some tofu and boil it 5 minutes more and put some sesame oil right before serving.

Recipe from the mighty Maangchi, queen of Korean cooking blogs

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