Essential Sports Nutrition


Barbara salad

I think I've told this story before but it's a good one.

When Karel and I were in Lake Tahoe (for the first time, our first trip together) in 2006, we stayed with my Grandpa Joe and his wife, Barbara. We couldn't ask for better hosts to feed us great food after we biked around Lake Tahoe.
Here's a few pics from our amazing ride!

We only knew each other for 4 months and it was that trip that confirmed that Karel was the one for me. 1 week together, riding our bikes on mountains and Karel got to see exactly who I was on and off the bike.
Who would have thought that this picture from Tahoe '06...

Would lead to this in Oct '08

Anyways, while we were there, Barbara made us amazing salad's almost every day. She would put nuts, fruit, dried fruit, veggies, name it, it was in there! And it was sooo good.
Even though I am not a big "salad for a meal" eater (I like side salads with my meal) every now and then Karel and I have a Barbara salad for dinner.
I will list what I put in mine but I will leave it up to your imagination to make your own Barbara salad.

Romaine lettuce
Green peppers
Pine nuts

Here's another one with mandarin oranges and chives:


Hala bread pizza

If you've read my blog for the past 6 months, you know I LOVE pizza! What's better than bread, veggies, marinara sauce and cheese. YUM!
I have to admit, however, that I have not ordered-out for pizza in over 2 years. It may be longer. Let's just say, I can't remember a time when someone has delivered pizza to my door or I have picked up pizza after ordering it. I LOVE making my own pizza. I have not attempted to make my own dough but I think I have come up with every carb-creation possible for my veggies and sauce to cook on.

Karel and I save pizza for the weekend (usually sat with a movie) but last week I was craving pizza. I was heading to the grocery to pick up some ingredients for a pizza but I remembered I had a coupon for Hala bread (buy 1 get 1 free) at the local HALA store. Hala bread (not Challah, the Jewish bread) is kinda like pita bread. I'm not sure if you have a Hala store in your area but google-around and see if there is one nearby.
Here's a little about the arabic word Halal: (from the Islamic Food and Nutrition Counsel of America)

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, we will use these terms only in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, and food contact materials.

While many things are clearly halal or clearly haram, there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.

All foods are considered halal except the following, which are haram:

* Swine/pork and its by-products
* Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering
* Animals killed in the name of anyone other than ALLAH (God)
* Alcohol and intoxicants
* Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears
* Blood and blood by-products
* Foods contaminated with any of the above products

Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, etc. are questionable (mashbooh) because the origin of these ingredients is not known.

The bread there is super cheap and with my coupon, I could pass up whole grain and white Hala pita bread for pizza!

You could use a pita or wrap in place of the Hala bread if you want. With all of my recipes, I try to take meals that we all love and make them in a healthy, affordable and quick way. I don't measure, I just chop and load. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Hala Pizza

Hala bread
Marinara sauce
Shredded cheese
Veggies- onions, chickpeas, green peppers, mushrooms, corn, tofu.
1 clove garlic (chopped)
Tomato (sliced)
Spices - cayenne, chili flakes, pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
2. Cut hala bread in half around the edges.
3. Spread 2-3 spoonfuls marinara sauce on pizza.
4. Layer veggies on pizza (I pre-cooked my veggies with a little olive oil on a skillet. You can use fresh, frozen (defrosted) or canned (rinsed) veggies if you are short on time).
5. Top with slices of tomato.
6. On a cooking pan, lined with tinfoil, cook for 10-15 min until Hala bread is toasted.
7. Top with shredded cheese and spices.
8. Serve with colorful side salad.


Ironman training in a sauna

First off a BIG congrats to all of the IMCDA athletes. Way to go for my good friend LIBBY who was 7th in the 25-29 age group! Our friend James S. did awesome in the MASSIVE 40-44 men age group and blogger-friend Marit did amazing once again. There were many more athletes out there so congrats to everyone!

I knew this weekend would be hot but I had no idea how blazing hot it would be.
I guess you really don't know until you train in it.
In order to acclimate to IMKY temps, I am trying to train outside, in the sun, whenever possible. I try not to start my workouts too early in the morning because I want to get use to the heat and see how my body does when the sun is out. More so, these workouts are getting longer and more intense and I am trying to find what my body requires in terms of hydration, calories, electrolytes, etc. Rather than just giving my body what I think it needs, I start out simple with sport drinks and gels and then as the workout volume increases every week, I focus on how I feel during the workout. Because I want to keep my nutrition strategy as simple as possible during the Ironman, I am using each and every workout (especially the long ones on the weekend) to practice, practice, practice possible nutrition plans. Right now, I am not bonking, not cramping and not losing energy so I am thankful that what I am doing is working. However, with just under 70 more days until the IM, I have many more workouts to try my plan and tweak it along the way. My race day strategy is to race my own race and to focus on my own nutrition needs. This should allow me to have a good race...I hope :)

Karel headed to clermont with Jeff on Sat morning. He had an 80-min crit on sat and then a 7 mile TT at 6:11pm that evening. The TT was up and down, up and down sugarload in Clermont. If you know the area, that is one of our mountains in Florida. And honestly, it is really steep and challenging. Karel finished mid pack for the crit and 17th in the TT. On sun, at 9:30am Karel raced amazingly in the 80 mile (1 loop) road race. Luckily, neutral support was on the course handing out water bottles. Karel was in the lead group, feeling strong. Hot, but strong. The temp in Clermont that weekend was around 103-105 degrees! As the field was getting smaller and smaller Karel was still fighting for a top 10 finish. With 5 miles to go...FLAT! Bummer! Because the riders are not allowed to carry anything on their bikes, Karel had to wait for the wheel truck..which should have been right behind the lead pack. well, after 10 min of waiting and seeing that chase pack zip on by, Karel was out of the race and got a 5 mile ride in the race car (picking up riders who dropped out) back to the start/finish. What a bummer. We found out later that there was a crash and that is why the wheel truck wasn't around. He handled it really well but he is still thinking about that challenging race, where he felt so good. Ugghh, the life of a cyclist.

On sat morning, Katrine and I headed to Jax beach. We decided to change things up this weekend. Running with the ocean in site is 100% better than running in neighborhoods. The plan was 10 miles together at a 8:30ish pace (slower than normal but we were both feeling like we needed to run slow to have consistent splits) and then I would run 6 miles alone and katrine would ride her tri bike. I have recruited Katrine to train with me for my IM even though she is doing 70.3 Augusta. Isn't it great to have training partners that enjoy training with you even though they aren't doing your race!! I love the company!
We started at 7:30 and our run went by super fast and 10 miles later we were back at the car. I re-filled my fuel belt and off I went for 6 more miles. I wasn't sure if I would make it to mile 12 because I was starting to get super hot but I was able to keep myself cool and hydrate every 1/2 mile.
My focus right now is not speed. I work on that during the week. For the long runs, I am trying to be consistent with my pace and pace myself to be able to have enough in the tank for my last 3 miles, whenever I do a long run.
8:32, 8:41, 8:33, 8:32, 8:34, 8:33, 8:38, 8:41, 8:41, 8:35, 8:44, 8:26, 8:25, 8:41, 8:15, 8:16, 8:09.
Average 8:32
After the run I was bummed that I didn't bring my bike. I really needed to spin out my legs cause they were toast. I quickly jumped into the beach shower to cool off and then we took a dip in the ocean to cool off. The water felt great and it was nice to just relax after a quality workout.
I was moving really slow on sat but I had enough energy for my happy doggy to take him on a few long walks during the day. I spent a few hours studying in the afternoon but luckily, I was able to rest as I laid on the couch with my books and notes.

Sunday was a big day. The first 100 mile ride of the season. Not only that, but my longest EVER run after a 100 mile ride. When I trained for IMFL and Kona, I never ran more than 3 miles after a 100 mile ride. The plan for today was a 5 hour bike (or 100 miles) and a 35 min run.
Because Karel was out of town, I was a little sad about leaving Campy alone for so long. However, we went on two walks before I left at 6am. Campy actually loved going for a walk at 4:45am and then again at 5:30am. In between our walks I had coffee and my normal pre-bike breakfast of oatmeal, honey, raisins and slices of banana.
I left my place at 6am to ride 8 miles to katrine's. I met her and Ryan (her hubby) at 6:30 and we headed 7 miles to meet the group. I was never a fan of group rides for long rides because you can't draft in an IM bike but because this group makes me push and constantly focus (there is no easy part of this ride), I enjoy the challenge every sun.
We left at 7am and the plan was 65-72 miles. The ride was hot and I was sweating at 6am when I left my house. I didn't mind the heat because I was really focused on my hydration and focusing on my energy and my body during the ride. Luckily, all went well and as usual, I felt better and better as the ride went on. My endorphins seem to come around mile 60. :)
We averaged 22-23 for over 3 hours and we each took a pull (Katrine and I don't pull very long). My drafting is also much better than ever before.
I ended up with 100 miles, and even with my slow ride home in the wind (alone) I was able to average 19mph for the whole 5 hour and 5 minute ride.
After the ride it was time to get some love from campy. He was SO excited to see me. I put on his harness and we headed out for a run around the block. .6 miles at a stop and go pace of 9:09.
I told campy I would be right back and off I went for my run. I wasn't sure how I would feel, considering it was 97-degrees out and 12pm. I filled two flasks with water for my fuel belt so I could practice cooling myself and hydrating. I drank every .5 miles but more so, I wanted to pour the water on my face. Most of water went to my face but I felt like I was able to hydrate with what I had with me.
The run was amazing. Even though I didn't push it, my pace was great. Nice and comfortable off the bike. I seem to run better off the bike and because I am not a fast runner, I feel like my strength would be pacing.
Here are the splits for the 4.2 mile run.
mile 1 - 9:09 (with .6 at campy's pace, stop and go)
mile 2 - 8:04
mile 3 - 8:12
mile 4 - 8:12
average 8:09 for the 3.4 miles that I did alone.

After the run I filled up a large glass with water and ice, turned on the fan we use for the trainer and put a towel on the couch and just sat there for about 10 min. w/ campy. I was toasted!
What a great weekend! So happy with how things are going but now it is time to buckle down with my other life and that is student. It is finals week and my last week of my two 6 week classes. Luckily, I am choosing to recover this week with my training so I won't be too exhausted for my finals on Tues and Thurs and so I can be ready to go for Irongirl Atlanta on Sun!
Hope everyone had a great weekend!