Essential Sports Nutrition


Beaches Fine Arts Series #2 race report

Another sprint for the season. Not sure what I am trying to prove to myself by doing these but I do have a great time. I love seeing familiar faces (now that I have been in Jax for a full year now), changing around my normal weekend routine and putting my training to the test.
This week was a normal training week for me. Lots of hard work in the pool, on the bike and running on the road. No rest for me. I knew I would go into the race tired from training so I knew I couldn't be upset if I didn't perform to my potential (or what I think I am capable of doing). I've learned not to get upset at my races because I feel it's a privilege to do this sport when others only dream of doing a triathlon. Of course I want to do better than the last race and I live by the quote "the only easy day was yesterday" so when my alarm went off at 4:25am, I knew it was time to get on my game face.
I warmed up my coffee and small bowl of oatmeal and hit the road for my 30 min. drive to Ponte Vedra (Jax beach).
99% of the time I am OCD about picking up my packet early. I can't remember a time in the 4 years that I have raced in triathlons that I haven't picked up my race packet the day before the race. Well, due to finishing up 2 research papers and not wanting to make the 30 mile drive to the ABC store, I decided I would make a first and pick up my packet on race day. Still gets my HR up just thinking about. I even called one of the race directors to make sure my packet was there on Fri. I just hate the stress of feeling like I am doing things last minute. So not like me!
Karel always laughs because I pack for trips at least 3 days before we go away. :)
After a stress-free packet pick up, I hung out with my friend Katrine, got body marked and racked my bike in transition.
I always love the transition area at local tri's. I love seeing and helping newbies set up their transition area. I do laugh a little at all of the things people bring into races but then again, I laugh at myself for doing the same thing for over a year of triathlons. All I have to say about newbies is CONGRATS! It doesn't matter if you feel like you do everything wrong in your first race and you are way are starting a new lifestyle and get ready to get addicted!

The ocean was so calm this morning. Most people said that from the looks of it, the buoys were spaced really far. It did look like a long swim for 1/4 mile but I won't complain about a long swim :)
The water felt great! All of the women started in wave #3 at 7:09.
I felt like I was swimming strong and I could only see a few pink caps ahead of me. I made my sandy run to the transition area and I heard that I was the 3rd female.
I made a quick transition and off for the 13.5 mile bike. The first 4 miles of the bike were tough. I was feeling the ride I did last Sunday. I got passed by JC (who won the race once again) on the bottom of the intercoastal causeway but when we started climbing, I passed JC up the bridge. I guess my quads got stronger from Macon cause there is no climbing training here in Florida. Well, unfortunately I got passed on the other side of the causeway and never saw JC again on the bike. I ended up passing Malory (who destroyed us all in the water) on the bike but for her 2nd triathlon EVER, she was having an awesome race.
I never saw the other female on the bike so I hoped I would be able to have some kind of speed in my legs for the run to try to catch her. Or, at least keep my 3rd place and not get run down by Mallory.
After a quick bike I was back in transition area hearing that I was the 3rd place female. I worried that I was being chased down so I started off pretty quickly on the bike. I didn't pay attention to my watch because I knew I just had to run fast to not be caught.
Before the turn around at around 1.5 miles, I saw JC running like she was doing a 5k race. Then I saw the 2nd place female about 20 sec. ahead of me. I had her in my sights the whole run but with her steady run, I couldn't catch her. I ended up seeing Mallory on the run but luckily I was able to stay ahead of her on the run, even though she ended up with a faster run than me.
To end a good race, I placed 3rd overall female and 26 overall. I was really happy about my overall finish and for a sprint, on a tired body, I feel like my season is going really well.
After the race Katrine and I headed out for a 3 mile run. This was only the beginning of my post-race training. I wouldn't say unfortunately, but I did have to train after the race because I am in the beginning of a high volume block of training. No pressure on the run, nice and slow with our garmins. I would say we averaged around 9;20 miles for the first 3 miles and after the award ceremony (Katrine won the 25-29 age group!) we headed out for 5 more miles. It was pretty hot out and we added in 2 walk breaks but for a 8:50 pace after the race, we both enjoyed our run. Not only do we get know each other better but we talk about everything! Time just passes by.
We ended up back at the car around 11am, rinsed off at the beach showers and it was finally time to head home. As soon as I got home, my happy puppy told me that 4 hours alone was no fun, so we headed out for a 1 mile run.
For a 1/4 mile swim-13.5 mile bike-3.1 mile run + 8.3 mile run + 1 Campy mile....I say this was a great morning.
Series #2 (today)
Swim: 10:15 T1: 2:43 Bike: 37:00 T2: 0:57 Run: 22:16 Total: 1:13.09

Series #1 (may)
Swim: 10:40 T2: 2:36 Bike: 36:45 T2: 0:45 Run: 22:06 Total: 1:12.50


Two Quick Meals

My life is consumed by school work right now. Since I start my day with a 90 min - 2 1/2 hour workout every morning of the week, I feel like the harder I train the more productive I am with my school work. Good thing I have an Ironman in two months or else I'm sure I would go crazy with all of my homework, papers and assignments.
There are a few things in my daily routine that I look forward to everyday to keep me happy and enjoying life:
1 - Karel coming home from work. I love 7:20pm. Karel comes home from work (he goes to work at 10:45), I have a meal ready for us to eat together and then we watch TV. Usually Karel is on the computer as I am watching reality shows (by 7pm I am done with the computer) but it is just nice to be together.
2 - Campy. I love being outside and just enjoying the HOT weather with Campy. We take a 15-20 min. walk every 4 hours. Since we live in an apt on the 3rd floor, I don't really like just taking Campy out to pee every 3-4 hours. So, I give myself a mental break from my 8-hour day on the computer and Campy and I enjoy a little sunshine (and sometimes rain). I also love my campy miles. No workout is complete without a 10-20 min. run with Campy.
3 - Training. I don't have to train...I WANT to train. Even though I push hard, I feel so stress-free when I am training. I love my garmin because I run outside ALL the time now. So much more relaxing that running on the treadmill. I look forward to every morning and the workout that I will do to start my day. Even though I have good and bad days with my workouts, I feel so lucky that I can wake up and exercise and enjoy what I do.
4 - Sleep!! I love sleeping! I don't take naps during the day or on the weekend. I blame my schoolwork and the need to be busy all the time. I don't do any schoolwork in the evenings so I can go to bed without anything on my mind. If I have a lot to do the next day, I write it down on paper so I am not laying in bed thinking about tomorrow. I am usually in bed around 9 and out by 9:45. I'm up at 5:15-6am depending on the day but I just LOVE my sleep.
5 - COOKING! Last but not least I LOVE cooking. I would rather workout long in the morning so that I am not coming home from an evening workout, starving and eating a meal that wasn't home-cooked. Some of my meals are boring but I enjoy making creations. I can say that I love cooking every night of the week but I also look forward to traveling when I don't have to cook. And, even when I cook every night of the week, some of my meals are simple like salad and soup or an omelet. I usually know what I will cook at night, first thing in the morning but when I don't have an idea of what to make (I'd ask Karel but he will eat anything) I get inspiration from my friends, the cooking network or the internet.

The first meal is super simple. It takes about 30 min. to prepare but with leftovers this is an easy meal to come home-to after a workout. My friend Katrine made me egg salad on Sun. after my run and she put it in a wrap. It was so yummy so I took her recipe and added a Marni-touch to it.
The second meal is easy. I mean easy. Take whatever veggies you have (and a veggie burger), roast them in the oven! The best part about this meal is you can just chop the veggies, put them in the oven and forget about them. Same thing with the rice.

Egg salad
6 hard boiled eggs (4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs)
1/2 Onion
1/8 cup Jalapenos
3 cloves Garlic
1/3 of Firm Tofu (in package)
3 Roma Tomatoes
1/2 tbsp. Spicy Mustard
1 tbsp. Olive oil Mayo
Cayenne pepper

1. In a medium sauce pan w/ 3/4 water, boil water on high. Slowly add eggs when water is boiling and reduce heat to low for 10-12 min. When eggs are finished cooking, immediately put eggs under cold water.
2. While eggs are cooking, chop onions, jalapenos, garlic, tofu and tomatoes. Stir together in a bowl (or Tupperware container).
3. Peel eggs and chop 4 egg whites and 2 whole eggs.
4. Add eggs to mixture and stir.
5. Add mustard and mayo and a dash of seasonings.
6. Stir and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
7. Top 1-2 slices fresh bread with egg salad

Cooked Veggies with Long Grain Rice
Any veggies you want (Green peppers, onions, garlic, corn, mushrooms)
Firm Tofu (chopped)
Veggie burger (optional)
Long grain rice

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. On a non-stick pan or cooking pan w/ tinfoil (sprayed with non-stick spray), lay veggies and tofu on pan. If you want a veggie burger, put it on the pan as well. Top with pepper.
3. Cook veggies and burger until golden brown, or around 15-20 min.
4. While veggies are cooking, cook your favorite rice in the microwave or pot. Plan to serve 1/2 cup of rice per person.
6. When veggies are finished cooking, place veggies in a shallow bowl or plate. Top with rice and enjoy!
7. Serve with 1 slice fresh bread and hummus.

I can't resist...


Iron Girl Atlanta

As if being in the race wasn't exciting enough!!!

June 9, 2009 (Tampa, Fla.) - Today, Iron Girl, the premiere all-women's event-based brand, announces that the third annual Aflac Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon will be televised nationally on NBC Sports. The broadcast will air on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. The telecast will showcase a highly competitive professional field as well as a diverse group of athletes varying in age and fitness level.

"The partnership with NBC will highlight tremendous athleticism alongside stories of incredible personal achievement," said Jeff Charney, Aflac senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Viewers will be inspired by these amazing women and will find their own motivation to live healthier lives."

The broadcast will be shot on location on June 28, 2009, 45 minutes northeast of Atlanta, Ga., at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, situated on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier. Featuring a 1/3-mile swim, 18-mile bike and 3-mile run, the sold-out event will take more than 1,200 women into pristine Lake Sidney Lanier, transitioning them on to a scenic, yet challenging bike course of rolling hills through Buford County. The run will lead athletes along the natural beauty of Lake Lanier Islands Resort, one of Georgia's most visited resort destinations.

"The team at NBC is excited to televise the Aflac Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon and is happy to continue growing its relationship with World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman Productions," said Jon Miller, NBC Sports' executive vice president. "We are pleased to add this exciting event to our telecasts that also include the Emmy-award winning Ford Ironman World Championship and the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3."

Viewers will watch stories of athletes who have overcome adversity, as well as gain inspiration from women who have adopted healthy, active lifestyles, served in the military, survived debilitating conditions and more. In addition, the following world-renowned professional athletes will be vying for the first place title:

* Michellie Jones: An Olympic silver medalist, Jones has mastered a variety of distances. Boasting top Ironman and 70.3 finishes, she placed second in her debut at the Ford Ironman World Championship in 2005 and returned the following year to win the title. In 2007, Jones won the title at the inaugural Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon.

* Kate Major: Major's talent at both the Ironman and 70.3 disciplines, coupled with her natural athletic ability, make her a formidable opponent. With multiple Ironman and 70.3 titles, and three Ironman World Championship podium finishes on her race resume, Major is often deemed part of "triathlon's next generation."

* Samantha McGlone: The 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 titleholder, McGlone has earned multiple Ironman 70.3 victories, as well as a second place finish at the world's most challenging endurance event, the Ford Ironman World Championship.

* Mirinda Carfrae: Carfrae is a multiple Ironman 70.3 champion, as well as the winner of the 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3. In 2008, Carfrae won the inaugural Aflac Iron Girl Las Vegas Triathlon.

* Pip Taylor: With a swimming background, Taylor has earned top placements at well-known events such as the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon, Eagleman Ironman 70.3 and the Aflac Iron Girl Las Vegas Triathlon.

The broadcast will also feature participants racing in support of pediatric cancer research, the Aflac Iron Girl National Event Series charitable cause for 2009. Participants are raising funds to be donated to the Aflac Cancer Center, located in Atlanta, Ga.

"Iron Girl is an example of ordinary women accomplishing extraordinary things through events," said Judy Molnar, the vice president of Iron Girl. "Our athletes include not only those whose livelihood depends on performance, but also those women who may be your mom, neighbor or sister. Their passion and dedication exemplifies the mission of Iron Girl."


What to believe?

I love it when I receive emails from people who want to know about a supplement they found on the internet, or from a magazine or from the store. Mostly, people want my recommendation if it is worth taking, or most of all, if it is worth the money. Thank you for trusting my judgment.
It is amazing how many supplements are out there claiming to "treat, cure or prevent" certain conditions. However, because most products that we all take are not backed by the FDA, the product will probably say "helps increase bone strength" because it cannot say "prevents osteoporosis". If the FDA (Food and drug administration) approves a product, a qualified health claim on the bottle is based on emerging scientific evidence to make that claim. Not to worry that most products that you use say "this statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease". Go take a look and see how many supplements you take on a daily basis that are or are not supported by the FDA.

Sadly, it is up to the consumer to educate his/herself about the reason to use and the selection of quality products. More so, there are subtle differences in similar products and generally, there is an expensive product that claim to have something better than a cheaper version of a product but with almost identical ingredients. This then leads to misinterpretation and possibly, inappropriate use of the product.

Last night Karel found an article on Velo news that was really interesting.
Here's the link:

The primary reason for the article was that there was an add on promoting a product called "EPO Boost". As we all know, the last thing the cycling community needs is an add promoting cyclists to try a product claiming to boost EPO (erythropoietin). Whenever I see a product like this, I immediately look at the label of the product to see what is in the product to support the claims. Whether the product is claiming to boost red blood cells, human growth hormone, VO2 max or buffer lactic acid, the ingredients listed on the label will tell me exactly what I am taking in order to become a better athlete. Most products have herbs and natural stimulants which make you feel like you are getting stronger, leaner or faster.Unfortunately, only training will give you the competitive edge you are looking for. Not a $60 bottle of pills, which encourage you to take 10-15 a day. Although there are certain supplements out there which are essential to an athletes diet, because of extreme training (high volume or high intensity) and the need to supplement the diet with extra nutrients to support training, any product that claims to improve performance on that supplement alone, is probably too much of a good thing.
I wish there was an article like this for every product out there but hopefully this is a good start for the consumer (people like YOU) to start reading labels before taking a costly pill which has minimal effect in your body.

Onto a separate topic
I received about 10 emails this morning about baby carrots and chlorine on the carrots. Here is what the email said (below), which I read before reading the article on
This is from the forwarded email I received:
"The article says that the small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made from larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a
machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots. However, once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and
chlorine in order to preserve them, the same chlorine in the pool. You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots. This is the
chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk
to have esthetically pleasing vegetables?
Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen, which causes Cancer.. I
thought this was worth passing on. Pass it on to as many people as
possible in hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and
how they are processed.I used to buy those baby carrots for vegetable dips. I know that I will never buy them again!!!!"

I wouldn't throw out your baby carrots just yet. First off, if this article was true, there would be an immediate news report on every television channel warning us not to buy carrots. Second off, Campy would be very upset because he loves carrots.

I just find it amazing that people will read into an article claim and be instantly convinced that the article is true. You only hear of things like this (with health food that we eat on a daily basis) every now and then and generally you are warned because of a food recall.

So, I wanted to create my own list of warnings...why don't people worry about these ingredients from foods that they eat on a daily basis...

Don't drink Soda's!
Ex. Diet Dr. Pepper:
carbonated water, carmel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate, caffeine, phenylketonurics

Don't eat colored cereals!
Ex. Lucky Charms
Whole grain oats, marshmallows (sugar, modified corn starch, corn syrup, dextrose, gelatin, calcium carbonate, yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, artificial flavor), sugar, oat flour, corn syrup, corn starch, salt, trisodium phosphate, color added, artifical flavor, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols).

Don't eat soup!
Ex. Progresso Chicken and wild rice
Chicken broth, carrots, cooked white meat chicken, partically cooked wild rice (wild rice, water), partially cooked rice (Rice, water), tomatoes, celery, modified corn starch, contains less than 1% of water, salt, carrot puree, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed corn protein, chicken fat, onion powder, autolyzed yeast extract, ascorbic acid, dried parsley, soy protein isolate, sodium phosphates, garlic powder, citric acid, ascorbyl palmitate, tocopherol, calcium chloride, natural flavor, sugar, beta carotene, alpha tocopherol.

Don't eat organic granola bars!
Cascadian Farms Organic Sweet and Salty mixed nut chewy granola bars.
Tapioca syrup, peanuts, sugar, rolled oats, crisp rice (rice flour, sugar, sea salt, malt extract, annatto color), cashews, vegetable oil (palm kernel and sunflower), almonds, cocoa powder, brown rice syrup, rice maltodextrin, soy lecithin, sea salt, vanilla flavor, nonfat milk, baking soda, natural flavor.

Well, as you can see, there is a lot put in our food that we eat. I am not sure if we can call it food. How about chemically modified food?
If you think about, what are we really eating when we eat cereal, a granola bar or soup? If we want to eat vegetables, why don't we just eat vegetables? The only reason why I put the organic granola bars is because many people believe that just because a product is organic that it is good for them. Sure, there may be more natural ingredients than a non-organic food (a product must read 100% organic if you want 100% organic ingredients, anything less has non-organic ingredients in it) but you are still getting fat, calories and sugar and those macronutrients, consumed in excess, can make you unhealthy.
I think it all comes down to understanding what you put in your body. There can be a healthy balance to taking supplements and eating real food. If you make a conscious effort to eat real food, there will be less of a need to take supplements for those missing ingredients. But as I mentioned before, there are times when a person needs to supplement regardless of the quality of the diet. However, regardless if you are a competitive athlete or fitness enthusiast, pay attention to what you put in your mouth because in the long run, you eat for fuel and to live a quality life.
A little of everything in moderation is fine, but don't let your little bit of everything be a daily thing.


Training weekend

I haven't had much to write about lately. My brain was overloaded all week because I had to prepare for my Nutrition assessment/medical nutrition therapy mid term exam. I took it yesterday and I will find out the results in a week or so. It was incredibly hard and I don't think I did too well. Karel said that if I knew everything I wouldn't need to be in school. I agree with Karel but I just get so frustrated that this material does not come too easily with me. Right now I am learning about feeding tube diets, liquid diets for people in the hospital, assessing people for different nutritional disorders and learning how to plan interventions and monitor and evaluate patients. My dietetic program has nothing to do with sports nutrition but what I am loving about my school is that I am learning valuable information that will prepare me for the clinical world of dietetics. I guess anyone can call themselves a nutritionist or sport nutritionist with some knowledge or passion in nutrition but in the long run, all this stress and education overload will be worth it. Although I had a higher GPA in grad school compare to undergrad, I always felt like I struggled with my courses in graduate school. Even though I understand exercise physiology so much better now than in graduate school (I think being a triathlete helped), I am hoping that one day (probably in my internship) that this will all click and the hands on experience will make me a better sports nutritionist.

This weekend was all about training....and a lot of rain. Luckily, I was able to get in 2 quality workouts this weekend.
Sat morning I drove down the road to bike/run with my friend Katrine. We headed out on our bikes for an easy spin at 7:30. We went 1 hour at a really slow speed but it was a nice warm-up for our run. My legs were super sore from swimming and running on Friday morning and my legs really needed to warm-up for our run. BTW-swimming has been great lately! Super fast and lots of yardage. I told our swim coach that I need to work on my threshold and I need less rest between sets. Well, she listened to me and because of my suggestion we have been doing awesome sets with little rest.
Back to the workout on sat, after our bike we grabbed our fuel belts, running shoes, visors and garmins (did I mention I am really obsessed with my Garmin!!!) and headed out for our run. We averaged around 8:15 pace for the 11 mile run and finished in around 1:30. It was a comfortable run with mile 7 at a 7:35 min/mile pace (just to pick it up for a bit). After the run we walked to the pool at her condo and soaked in the cold water. After the dip in the pool, we picked wild blackberries in a forest by her house. YUM!
After the workout I went home, had breakfast and studied for a few hours. It was storming outside so it made it easy to stay indoors but then a few hours later it was time to take my mid term exam which took an hour and 15 min. After that stress, it was time to get out so Campy and I visited Karel at the trek store.

This morning I could hardly walk from my run and I was moving super slow on the early morning walk with Campy at 5:45am. Karel was nice enough to join me on a group ride with Libby and Katrine, and several other riders. It was a new ride for me and a new group but this time, I wasn't nervous. I was really thankful Karel was joining me cause he always boosts my confidence. Karel and I met Katrine at her place and headed 7 miles down the road to meet with the group of around 15 riders. It is Libby's b-day today so I was happy to see her on the ride and wish her happy b-day. she is getting ready for her IM in 2 weeks.
The ride was super steady at around 22-25 mph. NO slower and no faster...except when Karel was pulling the group at 27mph. It was really tough for me because I have not trained like that in a while. Pushing hard for almost 4 hours, on my already tired legs, was super tough for me. I wanted to give up on the last 10 miles and just pop off the back but I stuck on a wheel at hung on. We all took turns pulling so that was fun..except when Karel pulled :)
It was a great ride and I was happy to be back at Katrine's place. My last 7 miles were super slow but I had no power left. We ended up with 76 miles and it was great to be off my bike.
Then it was time for a run. I never pass up an opportunity to run off my bike. Even if I am feeling super super tired after a bike, I at least get in a mile or 10 min. just to run with tired legs.
I 100% believe in brick workouts (at least 1 during the week) and I really recommend running off the bike after long rides (or 1-2 rides a week for the short distance triathletes). There is just something so mental about riding hard and then telling yourself that it is time to run. Just like in an Ironman, it doesn't matter how bad you feel off the bike, you have a marathon to run after the bike.
My run off the bike was great. I ran in the pouring down rain (luckily it didn't rain in the bike) and ran consistent 8:13-8:15 mile splits for 3 miles. After a 30 min. run and 3.5 miles, I was back at Katrine's, soaking wet, super hot, covered in dirt (from the bike) and ready for a shower!

Well, there's my weekend. I'm tired but I am feeling good. Ironman Kentucky is in 2 1/2 months and I am getting ready for my first BIG build of my Ironman training. I've put in so many quality hours of hard training but with the progression of Ironman training, I anticipate that my weekend workouts are going to get longer and even more exhausting.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend and have a great Monday.

Of course, my weekend is not complete without quality time with my Campy