Los Liones

I hiked Los Liones today: a little under seven miles and some 1,200 feet of elevation gain, which I did in just about two and a half hours.

Here’s a pic of the summit. You can’t see it, but beneath the marine layer is the whole bay coast.


I celebrated afterwards with a Chipotle burrito bowl. There’s nothing I ever want more after a long hike than a Chipotle burrito bowl and a hot shower.

In slightly related news, I need a decent pair of hiking shoes for Nepal. The shoes I’ve been using are old and going down hill, my foot slips in them so that my big toes are bumping up against the shoe toe, which is bad. They need to be waterproof and relatively light, but also, you know, good for long treks. Any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate them!

Super satisfying breakfast, but no pictures. I’m sorry.

Breakfast today was a slice of rye toast topped with a quarter of an avocado all mashed up, some Tapatio hot sauce, and one fried egg. Just 315 calories, too. Oh, and the greatest coffee in the world* with some warm milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar. (Another 60 cals.)

This is such a satisfying breakfast. Nice and fatty, which I like, with that good protein kick from the egg, and a lot of tasty, different flavors. I highly suggest it.

*About three months ago, I switched from the indifferent coffees of my past to Malongo coffee, a French brand that I have to import from the UK. It’s worth it, friends. Malongo, made in my little stove top espresso maker, is just about the best coffee I’ve ever had anywhere. It’s so good that I’ve stopped drinking any of the coffee at work (which in comparison is so bad I can’t even take it) and haven’t had Starbucks or Peets or Coffee Bean or any other chain coffee since Christmas.

Here’s a pic of a chicken I roasted.


I made this for a special Valentine’s meal, but honestly, it was much easier to do than many of my mid-week dishes. And it was soooooo good. Very juicy and flavorful, with that pretty, crispy skin all over. I was so proud of this that I actually sent a pic to my parents (my dad makes the greatest roast chicken in the history of roast chicken) and then called them to make sure they saw it.

A few things I did:

1. I cleaned out the chicken, patted it to dry, and left it covered with a paper towel in my refrigerator for at least five or six hours before I was ready to stuff it. I guess when the skin is nice and dry, you’re more able to achieve crispy, golden skin. I’d never done this before, actually. I’d been relying on a very high heat and/or a lot of butter, usually at the cost of some flavor and juiciness, but not anymore.

2. I seasoned the cavity with a lot of kosher salt, black pepper, and herbes de Provence and then stuffed it with a whole garlic clove cut in half and a lemon cut in quarters. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, but if I had, I would’ve skipped the herbes de Provence and gone with a bunch of fresh thyme and rosemary instead.

3. I slathered the skin with unsalted butter and then salted and peppered the whole body.

4. I made a base of onions (2, chopped in quarters), a bunch of carrots, and another lemon chopped in quarters. This is deviant from my dad’s method — he lets the chicken roast on its own — but I liked this result: an even more intensely flavored bird, and lots of nice roasted vegetables to make into soup.

5. I added some white wine to the vegetables before popping that sucker in the oven. Again, deviant from dad’s method, but man did it help with the juiciness and basting.

And of course, the usual basting and roasting and so on. I roasted this one at 425 degrees for just about an hour and fifteen minutes, basting every 20 minutes or so.

Now I have a lot of roasted chicken leftover for lunches and sandwiches, and the makings of a decent chicken stock. Success! Certainly worth bragging to your parents/the Internet about.


Last Saturday morning, I did a training workout at the Santa Monica Stairs, a series of steep stairs leading from the bluff down to beach level. 189 steps in all. I’d never done it before, but I was cheerful about it. Stairs, shmairs. (For you Angelenos or anyone in the know, there are actually two sets of stairs; I took the one right at Adelaide and 4th.)

On the roster was 2 descents and climbs, a walk to Palisades Park and back, and then 2 more descents and climbs.

The stairs were packed with people, but I felt fine all the way down (nervous about slipping, but whatever). I was confident, even smug, as I bounced off the last step and swung myself around. 189 steps. Doable, right?

About halfway up, I realized that I was in for it. Breathing hard, muscles aching, I looked up at the immensity in front of me and was ready to quit. But how on Earth could I? There was really no choice. I had to go on.

Luckily, there was a slow old lady in front of me so I was able to pace her and make it without my lungs exploding.

That’s right. I paced myself gratefully behind a little old lady.

At the top, I spent a few seconds panting and sucking down water before taking the steps down again. By the time I finished that climb, my legs were shaking and I needed to sit on the curb by the entrance and just try not to die for a while.

The almost painfully slow stroll to Palisades Park helped mollify my mortification, and by the time I got back to the steps, I was cautiously optimistic that I could do it. And I managed to muck through, but the last ascent was particular slow, involved at least one or two pauses, and as I hit the top, I felt a mild wave of nausea pass over me.

I didn’t throw up. But still.

It’s not a good sign five weeks out from a trek in Nepal that this workout winded me. I knew I’d have to make stairs a regular part of my workouts from now on. At least twice a week. I went off and spent the rest of my Saturday just doing normal Saturday things and not thinking at all about the potential for soreness.

Until the following morning. My quads were a little touchy, but it was my calves that worried me: they were sore and rock hard. I drank lots of water and babied myself, trying to walk around as much as I could to loosen them up. The next day was even worse. After even a few minutes of sitting, I would have trouble standing. I walked bow-legged all that day. I made myself go to the gym and do some walking on the elliptical, hoping that this would help. It didn’t.

I was sore all week, in other words.

Yesterday, I tackled the stairs again: 3 descents and 3 climbs, a descent down to PCH access, a walk to the beach, a walk on Ocean Front Walk to Temescal Canyon (about a mile), and then back up Ocean Front, back up to the stairs, and then a final climb. 4 descents, 4 climbs, and an even longer walk than last Saturday.

Only a touch sore this morning.

Weigh In: Week 5

This week’s result: 170.0 lbs
Loss/Gain: -2.0
Overall Loss/Gain: -2.0

Well. That’s because of the tracking.

I tracked every day. I tracked everything I ate, even when I went out on Wednesday and drank two big mugfuls from the punch bowl, even when I ate a massive pile of pasta puttanesca I made for a dinner I hosted on Thursday. I didn’t like seeing that angry red negative sign those days, but I tracked anyway. Because tracking helps me feel like the next day isn’t a loss, a throwaway, that I haven’t broken the week and oh well.

I think that’s what made the difference.