Essential Sports Nutrition


Feeling good with good food

My training is going really well. I really enjoy pushing myself on a daily basis, but with the unpredictable winter-time weather, no week is without good and bad training days. I strive off consistency and when the forecast tells me it will be 60-degrees and sunny and it turns out to be 38-degrees and rainy, I wake up with no idea what to do in the morning. However, I love training too much to do nothing. I always have the motivation to get in a morning workout but some days, it just takes me a little longer than normal to figure out my morning plans.
This morning I decided to do my long run since it was 38-degrees and overcast and Karel braved the cold and rode with the group (warming up for his RR tomorrow in Tally). The weekends are typically tempo/aerobic workouts whereas during the week, I like to do a mix of anaerobic/interval and tempo work. I find that the more I push myself during the week (for 60-90 min. workouts), long weekend workouts are much more enjoyable.
Since I have been dealing with extreme on and off piriformis syndrome for the past 3 years, I value every workout. More like treasure. I think I take so much pride in my nutrition because triathlons are my lifestyle, not a priority. Nobody is paying me to do triathlons, therefor, it is simply an addicting, yet rewarding, hobby. But, if I don't know how to eat on a daily basis in order to stay healthy and maintain my weight without triathlons, than when/if I get injured or feel as if competing in triathlons aren't part of my lifestyle any more (I doubt that will ever happen and I'm 100% certain that I will always swim-bike-run for fun) than I am going to be extremely depressed. As you know, I don't train for triathlons so I can eat. My food is my fuel and I love keeping it as healthy as possible. Good for my workouts and my body. Training for triathlons is great because it keeps me from feeling bored with a daily exercise routine. However, triathlons or not, because I love to exercise and love to eat healthy, I will always take care of my body so that I can live a lifetime of happiness and opportunities.
I have worked really hard the past few months, working on my piriformis syndrome. Alongside lifting weights and working on my weak areas, my rt. butt cheek has a love-hate relationship with a tennis ball. Who would have thought that rolling my butt on a tennis ball could make me tear-up and smile at the same time.

Well, today was one of those valued workouts. What a great run.
12.75 miles in 1:41.02 (+ 1 campy mile in the sprinkling rain when I finished my almost 13-mile run)
Here's the splits of my tempo training run:
8:21 (warm-up)
8:08 (started warm-down)
6:12 (last .75 miles)
I'm really happy with my 7:55 min/mile average and most of all, I was feeling great during the run. Enjoying every foot strike.

After the run, time to recover.
If you know me...recovery-nutrition is my passion. What's a workout if you don't/can't recover from it?
After the run the thought of a smoothie was not very appetizing. Rather than stopping my workout and just laying on the couch, I decided to jump on the trainer and spin my legs for an easy 35 min. I caught up on the Olympics from last night (DVR) and smiled at my Campy taking a nap.

After my spin (no computer, no HR monitor) on a light gear, I was finally ready to recover. After my shower it was time for my Zoot compression tights and a painful 2-3 min. session with my butt and the tennis ball. Then, time for 1 Hammer Endurance amino pill and a smoothie....
(I don't measure anything so here are my guesstimates :)
*1/3 ripe banana
*1 scoop body fortress vanilla whey protein
*1 tsp glutamine
*2 tsp flax seed
*1/8 cup skim milk
*1 tsp peanut butter
*Dash of cinnamon
*3 ounces low-fat yogurt
*1 tsp dark chocolate (shaved)
*1/4-1/3 cup water
*6 ice cubes

I topped my smoothie w/ a few raisins and dried cranberries and had two of my flour-less Zucchini Raisin cookies:
*2 zucchini's (Shredded)
*1 tbsp dark chocolate (shredded)
*1/8 cup raisins
*1/4 cup crushed pineapple
*1 cup oats
*1 tsp baking soda
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp all spice
*1 egg
*1/8 cup skim milk
1) Mix all ingredients together
2) Place in small piles on non-stick cooking sheet (it will be a little runny)
3) Cook at 375-degrees for 15-20 min. or until firm on top
4) As soon as you remove cookies from the oven, drizzle a little honey over each cookie

After my smoothie, Campy and I went to the Trek store to visit Karel and bring him some lunch. Around 90 min. after my workout, I was finally ready for breakfast.
Many athletes believe that training should be rewarded with treats. In other words, because you "just trained" you "deserve" a treat. I can agree with that philosophy every now and then but even if you feel you deserve a treat every weekend try to make your treat a healthy treat. Believe me, I know what it feels like as a newbie and what it feels like to accomplish another ground-breaking workout...YAY for bigger distances and faster speeds! For me, I enjoy fresh bread. So, after my weekend workouts, if I am not having my homemade pancakes I am usually having French Toast on french bread and Eggs.
(once again, I don't measure so feel free to be inspired by my recipe and add your own ingredients :)

*2 slices french bread cooked in egg mixture (below)
*2 egg whites (w/ a little yoke) + 2-3 tbsp skim milk (after I cooked the french toast I added 2 tbsp part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese and pepper and cooked the eggs-open omelet-style)
*extra's - a little chopped dark chocolate, cinnamon and drizzle of honey for my french toast
*1/2 chopped peach and piece of banana (sliced)

Do you have a favorite post-workout meal/snack?
Let me know if you'd like me to make a healthy-creation inspired by your post-workout meal :)


Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin cookie

My training has really ramped up this week.
How's your training going?
Lots of interval work on the treadmill and on the trainer and lots of tempo work in the pool and on the bike. I feel great and loving the daily morning sweat. I am happy that my recipes are fueling my healthy and active lifestyle and based on the comments on my blog and nice emails...I am glad to hear that my recipes are fueling your lifestyle as well :)
I figured I should post these recipes before the weekend so that you can cure your post-workout cravings with a healthy and yummy treat. What better than cookies!
Enjoy my latest creations!

Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
3 egg whites
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp honey
dash of all spice and cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup raisins (chopped)
1 tbsp dark chocolate (shaved chocolate bar)
1 tbsp flax seed

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a non-stick pan w/ non-stick spray
2. Combine honey, spices, baking soda, oats, whole wheat flour, raisins, dark chocolate and flax seed in a large bowl. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl (not glass), beat egg whites, cream of tarter, almond extract and brown sugar until stiff peaks form.
4. Gently fold in oat-mixture into egg whites, by 1/4 cup. Be sure to fold softly but enough to prevent clumps in flour.
5. Place batter on pan by the spoonful (small spoonful).
6. Bake for 15-20 min. or until cookies are hard.

Zucchini Carrot Raisin Cookie


Homemade Ceasar dressing and tofu-egg salad

According to scientists, traditionally there are four taste sensations: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. However, in the Eastern hemisphere, piquance (the sensation provided by, among other things, chili peppers) and savoriness (also known as umami) are also identified as "basic" tastes.

I am going to create another sensation: CREAMY

I am not sure what proteins are in creamy food and what receptors in our body can detect this "taste" but it's really hard to resist cream-based foods.

Ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese, soup, sauce, whipped cream, pie, pudding, risotto, mousse, smoothie, milkshake and pudding. Are you drooling yet?
What's your favorite creamy food?

In addition to my above list (which I'm sure there are more), two foods come to mind when I think creamy:
Salad dressing
Egg salad

The other day Karel asked if I could find him a "healthy" Caesar dressing. He loves Caesar salad's when we go out to eat (99% of the time, we eat out only when we travel) and was craving a different dressing than our normal "salsa" dressing.

Here's the nutrition facts of Newman's Own Creamy Dressing:
Serv. Size 2 Tbsp (30g)
Calories 170
Fat Cal. 160

Total Fat 18g (28% DV)
Sat. Fat 3g (15% DV)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholest. 20mg (7% DV)
Sodium 340mg (14% DV)
Total Carb. 1g (0% DV)
Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV)
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g

Ingredients: Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil), Water, Distilled Vinegar, Egg Yolks, Salt, Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Anchovies, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt), Lemon Juice Concentrate, Olive Oil, Mustard Flour, Garlic Powder, Spices, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum

After looking at the nutrition facts, there was no way that I would bring a bottle of fat into my home. When we go out to eat a few times every few months, no problemo. But this dressing is not part of our every day diet.
However, because I do not like to see food as GOOD or BAD food, I wanted to see if I could create a healthier alternative to settle is creamy Caesar craving.
When I got home, I went right to my fridge and was excited to make a new healthy creation.

Homemade Caesar Dressing:

2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp egg yoke (I used a piece of yoke from my egg salad)
1 tbsp greek yogurt
1 tbsp light sour cream
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 large clove garlic (crushed)
Dash of pepper

1. Mix all ingredients, except water, with a fork in a bowl.
2. Slowly add 1 tsp of water until dressing is "creamy" and drips off your forks

(Karel LOVED it and was so impressed. He thought it was the coolest thing that I could make it taste so yummy).

Next comes Egg Salad. I am a big fan of my tofu-egg salad. However, not so much a fan of the egg salad at Whole-foods (this was the only "prepared" egg salad I could find on-line):
Whole-Foods egg salad:
Calories 220
Calories from fat 180
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 3.5g
Cholesterol 325mg
Sodium 350mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g

Although eggs appear to get a bad reputation due to the cholesterol, there are a lot of great research studies on the benefits of a whole egg a day. There are very few studies on the health benefits of egg whites, aside from the protein. However, the yoke is filled with healthy nutrients such as selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. Even as a vegetarian, who is a vegetarian for animal-reasons, I don't mind egg yokes...however, I do admit that I have trouble just sitting down and eating a hard-boiled egg yoke. Therefore, when I eat eggs, I usually cook them.
Because the protein is in the white, egg whites are a big part of my daily diet. However, because I eat a few (usually 2-3) eggs a day (primarily w/ lunch or dinner) I let a little yoke (about 1/2) drip in my egg whites when I am making a meal for myself. If I am making a meal for Karel and me, I usually use the whole egg. Although egg whites are really filling, especially as an omelet or Frittata, I use the egg yoke to contribute to my daily fat intake.
Here's the nutrition facts of a large egg:
Calories: 71
Fat: 5g
Saturated fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 211mg (70% of daily diet)
Sodium: 70mg
Protein: 6g

Here's my favorite tofu-egg salad's a bit spicy :)

Tofu-egg salad
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/3 block crumbled tofu (firm)
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
Pepper, cayenne pepper
1 tsp horseradish
1/8 cup salsa
1/8 cup canned chili tomatoes or 2 fresh roma tomatoes
1/8 cup chopped jalapenos
2 tbsp Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt)
6 hardboiled eggs (4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs -sliced/chopped)
1 ounce brick Swiss cheese (shredded)
3 large celery sticks (chopped)

1. Mix all ingredients together.
*It's so much better after you refrigerate it for 12-24 hours.

Here was the dinner the other night:
*For asparagus: I steamed asparagus in a little water on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. I turned off burner, drained water from pot, added 1 clove garlic (chopped) and 1 tsp smart balance butter to pot. Mixed together and covered.

(Karel's plate: hummus on french bread)

(My plate: 1/2 flat bread (from local HALA store))

Here's the egg-tofu salad to go along with the dressing:


Traveling with your bike

When Judy (Iron Girl VP) asked if I wanted to write an article about traveling with your bike, I was so excited. After I committed to the article, I called my mom. She's my travel agent and knows a bit too much about airlines, rental cars and hotels. Let's just say she puts me to ease when I consider traveling for a race. Next, I talked with Karel. Since we've traveled with our bikes and he knows anything and everything about bikes, bike cases and FedEx/UPS, I knew he would be the one for the specifics on traveling with your bike.

This article took a lot of research and time...but well worth it. I hope you find it useful when planning your next trip or racing event. If you have any additional questions, just let me know. If I can't answer them, my bike mechanic is sure to know the answer :)
Here's the PDF link for printing.
Traveling with your bike

Also-here is a video that Karel did on packing your bike
How to pack your bike for shipping

Traveling with Your Bike to an Event
By: Marni Sumbal
By means of plane, bike or car, traveling to a race can be a stressful experience. Regardless if you are participating in your first triathlon or 50th, there’s nothing easy about taking a trip to a new or familiar race venue. Whereas running events only require that you remember one particular item (you guessed it, your favorite pair of running shoes), the weeks leading up to a triathlon can become quite tense when you begin to wonder how you and your bike will arrive to the race venue on time and all in one piece. While bike racks, or a large backseat, can accommodate the athlete who prefers to travel by car, flying with your bike creates a whole new flying experience. From the finding the right airline, dealing with airline fees and bike box regulations to packing your bike and booking a rental car, it is important that you become a well-educated, prepared and patient athlete when it comes to traveling with your bike.

Airline Fees and Regulations

Flying with oversized baggage was never an easy process but with stringent policies,
airlines have become very strict on baggage size and weight. While experience and
planning will take you far, never expect an unproblematic experience when flying with a bike. Especially in the case of dealing with a new or difficult airline attendant, you never want to create a scene with an employee who refuses to check your bike or feels necessary to charge you outrageous fees, even though your bike meets the regulations on the respected airline website. Whenever you travel, always have a plan B. As the number of multisport events grows in the US and abroad, it is evident that more and more airline employees are in need of training when it comes oversized items such as bike cases. Depending on the airline and specific details on its web site (which can change periodically), it is recommended that you bring as much information with you on travel day, from your airline policy website. Ultimately, it is up to you, in a professional and calm manner, to inform the airline personnel regarding your very expensive and
prized, oversized item.
While it pays to search for the most affordable airline to get you to your final destination, it is equally (if not more) important to know what your “cheap flight” will charge you for your bike. Whereas one domestic airline may charge $175.00 each way (international routes may cost $175-$250 each way) other airlines may charge as little as $50 each way.
Because prices may change, always check on-line baggage regulations before booking
your flight. Even if you plan on traveling light, keep in mind that a bike is generally a separate piece of luggage and due to its size and weight, you will most always have to pay some type of fee unless the airline does not charge for bikes.

Examples of airline bike fees:

United: $175
Jet Blue: $50
Delta: $175
US Airways: $100
Continental: $100
Southwest: $50 (free if under 50 lbs and 62 linear inches)
Air Tran: $79 each way
(Prices are one-way and domestic only, unless otherwise noted)

While it certainly costs a lot to travel with your oversized item, the only exception totraveling with a bike is if your bike case is less than 62 inches and less than 50 lbs. However, although airlines have a 62 inches or less (Length + Width + Height) maximum size regulation for free checked baggage, the standard hard bike cases will be more than 62 inches. Additionally, don’t expect that you bike and bike case (plus any additional items in the case) will weigh less than 50 lbs.
Shipping your bike UPS and FedEx will ship your bike to your final destination. The benefit of shipping your bike within the US is that the cost of shipping may be less than the domestic airline shipping price and you don’t have to worry about the hassle of hauling your bike to and from the airport. Additionally, shipping your bike will allow you to insure and track your bike. When flying with your bike, there is no guarantee that your bike will arrive to your final destination on time (or at all) and the airline is usually not liable for damaged bikes or cases. The downside of shipping your bike is that you must secure a place to hold your shipped bike until you arrive. Also, you will typically be without your bike for 4-13 days before and after your trip due to shipping time. While hotels may hold your bike with a considerable fee, check with your event web site in an effort to contact the preferred event bike shop to discuss your shipping concerns.
If you are traveling only in the U.S., a less stressful method of shipping your bike is through the use of a professional bike courier service. Depending on the transport service that you choose, the process is of shipping your bike is simple. Make a reservation, pay the fee (typically around $300 round trip), bring the fully assembled bike to the partner shop around a week or two before your event and the transport truck will take care of the rest. Bikes are driven to the race site, stable and upright, and you will collect your bike at the bike expo/registration on the day or two before the race. While this convenient and worry-free method of bike shipping may be more advantageous than traveling with a bike case and a slightly disassembled bike, be prepared to be without your bike during your taper period. Lastly, it is crucial that your bike is in excellent racing condition well before
the shipping date.

Bike Case and recommendations

In order to fly with your bike, you must have a protective, strong and reliable bike case. A cardboard box, which traditionally ships most new bikes to bike shops, is recommended over a soft bike case, as an affordable and safe way to ship your bike. However, if you plan on flying with your bike more than two times per season, a hard case is worth the cost in an effort to give you the most assurance that your bike will arrive to your final destination all in one piece.
Bike case options:
-Rent a case from your local tri/bike shop
-Borrow a case from your friend/teammate
-Choose a hard case over soft case for maximum protection due to its supportive
-Consider buying a used bike case (a new case may cost $300-$550)
-Clearly mark and secure your bike case before arriving to the airport
-Contact your local bike shop for a leftover cardboard bike box

Getting to your final destination
If your hotel offers a shuttle, it is important that you check with the hotel to see if the shuttle will accommodate you, your bike, your luggage and other passengers. If the event is new to the area or brings little attention to the city, it is likely that your request will be an inconvenience to the hotel staff. However, if the hotel is prepared for the event, or your stay, you may be able to speak with the hotel manager in order to discuss a few options of getting to the hotel with all of your belongings. In addition to hotel services, you may want to check with the airport regarding travel arrangements to your hotel or final destination.
The easiest way to get to your hotel is by rental car. The downside of a using a rental car is not knowing what kind of car will accommodate your bike case. Depending on the dimensions of your bike case, the easiest solution is to find out the back seat dimensions of your preferred rental vehicle in order to make a wise decision of what size car you will need to rent. While an SUV may fit 2-3 bike cases, it is likely that a midsize car will have no trouble fitting one bike case in the back seat or with the seats down. In the case of traveling with friends or family, you may need to take two or three trips to and from the airport in order to commute several bike cases, luggage and/or people.

Helpful tips of bike traveling
1) Don’t stress yourself. Always have a plan B and plan C
2) Opt for direct flights to avoid changing of planes and multi-handling of your bike case
3) Give yourself lots of extra time and be patient
4) Deflate tires before packing your bike in your bike case
5) Come prepared with as much possible from the airline website, specifically regarding the baggage policy
6) Feel 100% confident in the assembly and disassembly of your bike. Have a professional bike mechanic show you (and one of your travel companions) how to dissemble, pack and assemble your bike
7) Bring mechanical tools, scissors (for zip-ties) and extra accessories for your bike
8) Do not travel with pressurized CO2 inflation cartridges and flammable aerosol
lubricants. Do not give the T.S.A. any reason to search your bike case for you never know
if they will accidentally remove an item or carelessly move around parts
9) Use clothes, towels and other soft and light materials to fill in empty spaces in your bike case
10) Use zip ties, Styrofoam, insulation tubes or other non-scratch materials to secure your bike and prevent it from moving during travel. Be sure to bring extra materials (zip ties) for the trip home
11) When flying, if you do not see your bike on the luggage carousel, plan to pick up your bike by a luggage cargo door
12) Clearly secure the outside of your bike case and mark your case with the following information; destination, departure date, flight number, name, phone number, email
13) Secure all movable bike parts with zip ties and remove handlebars, pedals and seat. Smaller bikes may only require that the pedals are removed. Be sure to mark your bike seat and handlebar placement (use a piece of electrical tape) before removing parts. After removing parts, be sure that you and/or your bike mechanic remembers to pack all dissembled parts (ex. don’t forget to pack your removed pedals and seat post)
14) When traveling international or domestic be prepared for the ‘what if’ situation when maneuvering your bike case to and from the airport terminal (ex. no elevator, tight staircase, no shuttle from long-term parking, etc.)
15) Don’t forget to pack your helmet, cycling shoes, wheels, spare tubes/tire, bike pump and any other accessories (water bottles) for your race. It is best to travel light in your bike case and carry-on as much possible when it comes to your racing gear/accessories
16) To ease your fears, watch out the airplane/airport window to make sure your bike
case boards your plane
17) When you land at the airport, immediately check your bike case for any damaged or
stolen parts/goods
18) While it is good to be prepared before you travel, you can buy most bike accessories at the race venue or at a local bike shop
19) Get a professional bike-tune up at least 1 week before you plan on flying or racing with your bike. If you do not keep your bike regularly tuned-up or well maintained, be prepared to buy new parts (ex. chain, bar tape, tires/tubes, cassette, chain ring, etc.) in an effort to race with a clean, functional and safe bike. While you are at the shop, do not be talked into buying unnecessary, spur-of-the-moment, “must-have” bike parts in an effort to try to have a faster racing time
20) Always check the event-website “travel” section prior to booking a flight. Some events websites will provide a promotional code, or special price, for athletes who make flight reservations with the sponsored airline

Every race will be different. Depending on your final destination and length of trip,
recognize that there are several options of getting your bike to its final destination.

Marni holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. Marni is a Level-1 USAT Coach and is currently pursuing a registered dietician degree. She is a 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship finisher and finished the 2009 Ford Ironman Louisville Triathlon in 10:54. Marni enjoys public speaking, healthy vegetarian cooking, running with her dog and writing, and she has several published articles in Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to and
Any questions, Email

Special thanks to Karel Sumbal, Category 1 cyclist, for his experience and expertise in the writing of this article. Karel is the General Manager of the Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville, FL and holds a Trek Fit School certification. Karel started cycling at the age of 12 and as former member of the Czech Republic National Development Team he has raced all over Europe. When Karel is not racing for the Lindner Capital Advisors Elite Cycling Team, he enjoys trying Marni’s healthy, vegetarian meal creations. Any questions, Email


Lots of yummy creations

I've worked with so many athletes and one of the biggest problems for athletes (primarily long-distance athletes) is overeating because of the volume of weekly training. Isn't it strange that you can train for an IM and actually gain weight, as opposed to losing weight?
I don't believe in 'rewarding' myself with unhealthy food after my workouts. Remeber my motto: IF YOU EAT WELL MOST OF THE TIME YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE REST OF THE TIME.
And when I say the rest of the time, I'm not talking about every night after dinner or every weekend. Let's be a little more realistic and understand that eating a bakery desert, bowl of ice cream, side of french fries, chicken wings + beer (Karel's fav) or handful of chips once or twice a month (or even once every 3 months) will not hurt your performance and/or weight loss journey. And believe me, if you think it can't be done (replacing your favorite post-workout sweets/treats with healthier options), I have several emails from my athletes (who I have helped with nutrition) who either don't crave their favorite sugary/fatty foods any more because they enjoy healthier options or know how to control cravings through a more filling and nutrient-dense diet.
So, what about me.
Ok-there was one or two times after my longest IM workouts where I craved foods that I would never eat and I figured, will one or two times a year really affect my workouts/health? Unlikely. Just like in an IM or long-distance race, your body is going to experience a lot and at some point during the race, you are going to have that "oh-no" moment. But we all know if you stick to your nutrition plan and listen to your body, you're going to know what to do when that nutrition-related problem arises. Same with training, you are far better off weighing the costs/benefits of acting in the moment than just eating everything and anything in sight.
After my longest bike + run (111 mile ride + 45 min run) I called Karel (who was coming home from a race) and told him to stop by the store and buy me a box of Cheez-it's. Yes-Cheez-it's.

When he got home, I had a handful of them and I was happy. As for finishing the rest of the box, it took us a good 2 months to finish them because well, they aren't part of our daily diet. Let's just say that I had to be really creative to find ways to use Cheez-it's in my creations. Although I wouldn't do it every day, eating a salad topped with Cheez-it's is actually quite satisfying. However, I haven't had a Cheez-it since July.
As for other rewarding treats, it's mostly what my body craves and I'm really good at understanding my body. I use to crave ice cream after after long IM workout but the last time we bought ice cream, was a good 3-4 months ago. Even when I buy it, I just don't crave it anymore and even with a summer of IM training, I think I would enjoy yogurt w/ my homemade granola a lot more than ice cream.
I will never forget this pic from the Boston Marathon.

This was the only time I had a doughnut in the last 9 years (I think it could be more than that but it's likely that a doughnut or two was consumed during my freshman year of college). Boston was my second marathon and as a somewhat newbie to endurance sports, let's just say that doughnut holes + cheesy pizza tasted great at the moment but left me walking down stairs backwards for a good 5-7 days.

I really try hard to focus on what my body needs after a workout and not necessarily what I want. Sure, there are Ironman training workouts were I crave certain foods, but when the workout is over and I finish my smoothie or glass of milk, I focus on the best foods possible to re-fuel and recover.
I made lots of yummy foods this weekend. Certainly there are days when I would rather lay around w/ Campy and watching TV, than cook, but when it comes to feeding myself after long or hard weekend workouts, I prioritize a healthy, portioned controlled and balanced meal immediately after a workout and focus on healthy small meals and snacks throughout the rest of the day.
I think many of us would love a stack of pancakes after a long bike ride but after a 150-250 recovery whey protein drink/smoothie, I find it very inefficient to fill your belly with 600-1000 calories of primarily carbs, sugar and fat.

Rather than eating a large carbohydrate meal immediately after a workout, try to keep your meals balanced and portioned controlled. Instead of eating one big meal after the workout and not having an appetite to eat for the rest of the day and then eating a quick and unhealthy dinner and sweets for desert, aim for a healthy carb+protein breakfast after the workout and several snacks and mini meals throughout the day. Although carbs are important to restore glycogen, that protein+carb breakfast + recovery drink (immediately post workout) will help with glycogen resynthesis and will prevent overeating at your upcoming meal. Unless you enjoy a whey protein + fruit smoothie, your post workout meal is where you can focus on adding in a variety of nutrients through wholesome and healthy foods, and 50-80 calories of a sweet treat if you crave it :)
As far as what to eat the rest of the day, focus on heart-healthy foods, even if you crave sweets, salt or fat. Salads, fruits and veggies will give you necessary vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that keep your immune system healthy as you improve with your training routine. Healthy carbs such as whole grains, whole wheat, rice, potatoes, grains and pasta are encouraged but be sure to combine carbs w/ protein and healthy fat so that you don't eat more food than you need. There's nothing wrong with a treat here and there, such as ice cream, crackers/chips, bakery deserts or candy but if your "occasional" treat is consumed more than once or twice a month, you may find it hard to rely on willpower and discipline when you come into contact with your favorite treat after every long or hard workout.

Here's my weekend creations:
Strawberry and peach pancakes
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp oats
Small handful of raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts
1 tbsp flax seed
1/8 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
Strawberries and peaches (sliced)
Toppings: drizzle of honey, natural PB and banana slices
Side: 2 egg whites w/ 1/8 cup ski milk

Apricot and apple granola
1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp smart balance butter
1/8 cup each of raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped peanuts
2 tsp flax seed
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tbsp honey
6 apricot halves (canned)
1/4 cup apple (sliced)
(cooked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes)

Baked peach, strawberry and apple crumble

4 strawberries (sliced)
1 apple (sliced)
1 peach (sliced)
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp honey
1/2 tbsp smart balance butter
cinnamon, all spice
1 tbsp flax seed
raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts
(baked at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes)

Fruit salad w/ granola and low-fat yogurt


Colorful salad
Romaine lettuce
Sunflower seeds
Carrots (shredded)
Brick Swiss cheese (shredded)
Sunflower seeds

French Bread Pizza
2 toasted, thin slices of French Bread
2 x 1/2 tbsp greek yogurt or 2 x 1 tsp light sour cream (for bread)
Baked veggies/protein - jalepenos, garlic, tomatoes, chickpeas, tofu, veggie burger, corn, onion (cooked at 400 degrees for 20-30 min) drizzled with olive oil


Warm-er weekend, great for training

Did everyone enjoy the warm-er weather this weekend? No matter where you live, I hope you enjoyed a little outdoor training this past sat and sun.
We sure did....

(This is an old pic but one of my favorites)

What did you do this weekend for activity/training?
Karel and I headed out around 7:20am for the Open Road Group ride and although it was a bit chilly, I warmed up fast once we met up with the other 40+ riders. My plan was a 3-3 1/2 hour ride, even though the group ride is a little less than 2 hours. I really like this ride because it is fast and makes me work on my drafting and bike handling skills...along with making me mentally tough. Saturday's group ride was a bit slower than normal because of many of the fast riders racing in Lake Mary, but nevertheless, the 24-26mph pace was enjoyable.....that is, until my cable snapped.
Around 20 miles into the ride, Karel drifted back to me, from the front of the pack, to see how I was doing. I smiled and was actually feeling really good. Just as the group was about to make a rt. turn, we all slowed down and all of a sudden, my rt. shifter wasn't working. Thank goodness my bike mechanic rides with me. I called for Karel to come and see what was wrong and 5 seconds later, he tells me to go ride home because my cable snapped for the first time ever. Well, at least it wasn't my brake cable.
I made my way home, slowly, in the big chain ring, biggest gear. Although I do have a tendency to rely on my slow-twitch fibers and push heavy gears, I've worked very hard to up my cadence and use my small chain ring as much as possible. Therefore, the ride home was not as enjoyable as the first 20 miles.
I eventually made it home with 35 miles and wasn't ready to call it a morning.
I grabbed my Garmin Forerunner 405 (one gadget that I absolutely power tap is the other), kissed Campy good-bye and headed out for a long run.
The run went great and the weather was just wonderful for running. I held 8 min/mile pace for 10 miles and 1 hour and 20 minutes later I was back home. It was time for Campy miles.
My legs were really tired from the my morning workout but nothing would make me pass up an opportunity to run with my favorite running buddy.

2 miles later, home, ready for a shower and on went the Zoot compression tights. What a great morning.
Karel cleaned and fixed my bike at work on Sat. He put on my old cassette for "flat" road training. Come to think of it, snapping my black cable for these pretty white cables turned out to be ok.

Sunday morning was a nice 3:15 bike. The sun was shining and it was absolutely beautiful out. Karel gave me a few tempo intervals for the middle hour of my ride, but other than that, I was enjoying the wonderful morning. Karel was off in Lake Mary w/ Jeff, Curtis, Clint and James for a crit race. Since I wasn't there, I only have this pic (courtesy of FB) to show off Karel (far rt. in the front, Jeff behind him) sprinting for another top-10 finish.

However, this time it was 6th place!!! Way to go Karel!

As for the rest of the weekend, there was lots of good food. Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog, devoted entirely to many healthy creations!