Essential Sports Nutrition


Dessert for dinner - Kinda

Over the past few years, usually during the peak week of my Ironman training, I would have dessert for dinner on Sat or Sun evening. I figured, if I was craving ice cream after a 111 mile ride (I guess I was superstitious for not doing 112 miles before IMKY) and 45 min run, I may as well save calories by not eating a dinner meal. I ate normally all day but come 5-6pm, the only appetizing food in my place was in my freezer. Rather than eating a 400 calorie dinner meal and then 300 calorie dessert, I may as well pass on dinner and feel good with my portioned controlled ice cream treat.
Thinking back, I'm sure there was/is no harm in an occasional dessert for dinner. Considering that a bowl of ice cream, for me, is more like a bowl of fruit with ice cream on top, I figured an ice cream dinner was no big deal.

If you are concerned about a healthy diet, weight loss/maintenance and athletic performance, you are likely concerned about calories. Calories in, calories out. If you want to lose weight, you need to exercise more and eat less. If you want to maintain weight, you have to balance caloric expenditure and consumption.

I no longer crave ice cream. Rather than ice cream, I crave yogurt or milk. For Karel and me, tt's always been all-about low-fat yogurt and it's still about yogurt. We LOVE IT! I can honestly say that in the last 4-6 months, we have bought ice cream twice and I have eaten it twice. Hummm...I wonder who is finishing the ice cream in our place? I'm sure as my volume progresses and the weather gets warmer, my Ironman Wisconsin training will weigh heavy on my taste buds. I'll be honest, I'm bound to crave (and eat) ice cream at least once a month this summer.

For me, it's not so much about the calories but rather how I feel when I eat sweets/treats/desserts. Sure, sweets sound scrumptious at the end of a 5 hour bike ride or in the middle of a 3 hour run and oh yes, do they ever taste good when I eat them. But it's the afterwards feeling that I don't really enjoy. And because I am very conscious about my eating habits, I don't only think in the 'now' but I think in the 'later'.

Over the past year, I've really embraced a healthy relationship with food. As far as 'dessert for dinner', it wasn't really working for me. I'd eat the ice cream (portioned controlled with fruit) and still feel hungry afterwards. I'd eat a little more (justified by my previous long training session) until I felt satisfied and shortly after, I felt as if I wasted my calories.

In an effort to be consistent with food for fuel, it's not the calories in the ice cream that I am worried about. What's 150 calories of low-fat yogurt ice cream really going to do after a 6-7 hour workout session or after any training session if it's only once a week?
More so, if I neglect a balanced meal on Sun evening, after putting in almost 10 hours of training in two days, how will my body pay for that come Mon?
Will I be recovered?
Will I crave more sweets because of a change in blood sugar?
Will I have no appetite on Mon?
Will I eat excessively on Mon?

When it comes to nutrition, here's my individual take (from an wellness & athletic standpoint) on food:
We have 3 things to consider when it comes to putting food in our body:
1) Balanced diet - sticking to a range of calories for macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) in order to allow our body to perform and to stay healthy. Mostly, to help our body function properly for daily functions.
2) Meeting individual needs - if you have specific dietary needs you must focus on the nutrients (vitamins/minerals, protein, fat, etc.) that your body may be lacking or that your body requires. For myself, I am a vegetarian, endurance athlete. I have specific dietary needs to fuel my lifestyle.
3) Maintaining a healthy eating routine - how can I plan and prepare my meals so that I feel satisfied, that I can maintain weight (or lose weight in a healthy way, if necessary), that I can perform, that I stay healthy and that I enjoy what I put in my body.

Life is all about balance. If you want ice cream for dinner....find a way to incorporate ice cream in your dinner.

For me, last night was a "kinda" dessert for dinner. The best part, I felt great eating it, I was satisfied, I had a great workout this morning and I was able to stay consistent with my normal eating habits all day today.
BTW-workout this morning:
6.3 mile tempo run - 5:10-6am
4300 yrd swim - 6-7:30am
Main set:
4 x 400's negative split on 6:30 (went 5:44, 5:38, 5:34, 5:33)
200 back easy
3 x 200's pace 80% on 3 min (2:47, 2:44, 2:43)

Enjoy my latest creation! I hope you enjoy your dessert for (WITH) dinner!

Zucchini Strawberry bread

1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp flax seed
1 tsp all spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs
1 tsp cream of tarter
2 tbsp greek yogurt
2 Zucchini's (shredded) - 2 cups
1 tsp rum extract
5 dried prunes (chopped)
2 tsp blackstrap molasses
6-8 strawberries (chopped) - 1/3 cup
1 tbsp coconut
2-3 tsp shaved dark chocolate

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat together eggs and cream of tarter for 3-4 minutes in larger bowl.
3. Add other wet ingredients to eggs and mix well.
4. Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet by 1/4 cup. Mix well after each 1/4 cup.
6. When all ingredients are combined, pour 3/4 mixture in a loaf-pan (sprayed with non-stick spray)
7. Use the other 1/4 mixture for zucchini-strawberry cookies by placing 1/8 cup batter on a non-stick baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray).
8. Cook cookies for 15-18 minutes and bread for 50-60 minutes.

Veggie black bean mix
1 veggie burger
1 can black beans (washed and drained)
4 large mushrooms (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 cups spinach (chopped)
1 chive (chopped)
2 roma tomatoes (sliced)
1/4 container tofu (cubed)
2 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat pot to medium-low heat.
2. Add olive oil and rest of ingredients.
3. Cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Stir every 4-5 minutes.

Fruit mix


Pizza & Pasta - vegetarian and waist-line friendly

I love re-creating recipes. More like, re-creating meals. As athletes, we are all bound to crave x-food every now and then and I don't believe in feeling guilty or restricted when it comes to food....especially when I work so hard with my training because I am 100% committed to being the best athlete I can be. Having said that, I am 100% committed to putting the best nutrients in my body in an effort to perform well, improve with my training, stay healthy and prevent injury or disease. Simply put, I don't exercise so I can eat. I eat for fuel.

Since we all need to exercise (I encourage 60 minutes a day although recommendations are 30-60 min. of moderate intense activity a day) for a healthy life, it doesn't really matter if you are training for an event or just exercising for fitness or for are still working out, burning calories and hopefully, getting stronger. So, if you are physically pushing your body on a daily basis and you are normal it's likely that you enjoy a "reward" every now and then for your hard effort.

This morning when I came back home from my 2 1/2 hr tempo bike....
Karel's main set for me:
3 min LT watts (get the HR up and get the legs going
Right into 20 min on, 10 min off, 30 min on, 10 min off, 20 min on, 10 min off (all at specific watts and cadence for the on intervals and off)

When I was preparing my smoothie I saw a commercial on TV, promoting this gourmet burger. Let me introduce you to Wendy's Bacon and Blue Burger.

First off, thank goodness I am a vegetarian.
Secondly, this burger is not even appetizing enough for me to even try a "creation" with this recipe. I guess I could do soy bacon, a veggie burger, blue cheese and a whole wheat bun but when it comes down to it, where's the balance in this meal? 1 slice tomato and 1 piece iceberg lettuce????
Sorry folks, you will not see a Marni-creation for the Bacon and Blue burger on this blog.

According to Wendy's healthy options page (
At Wendy's, we believe in nutritious options.
At Wendy's, we believe in choice. Choice in toppings. Choice in dressings. And the choice to select from a wide variety of nutritious options.

Well, forget the 550 calorie or less menu. The Bacon and Blue burger has 680 calories and 40 grams of fat. With 15grams of saturated fat, you can eat 75% of your daily saturated fat in one sitting.

Here's the nutrition facts (taken from

Well, at least Wendy's offers Healthy Options. So, as you are filling your arteries with fat, Wendy's encourages you to pass on the small fries (330 calories, 16g fat) and ask for a side salad, baked potato, chili, mandarin oranges or Caesar salad. And while you are at it, to be super health-conscious, you should probably order a Diet Coke to save calories. Heaven forbid you order a Large Ice Tea with your Bacon and Blue Burger. A large Iced Tea at 190 calories and 48 grams sugar will certainly throw you off your quest to fill your body with healthy foods.

So, all kidding aside...isn't this meal ridiculous?

As a vegetarian, I really have no desire to eat fast-food because my options are slim and I'd rather prepare and eat my meals at home (or ahead of time). Even when Karel and I travel (which is usually 2-3 times a month from March - June) I have such a hard time finding enjoyment in ordering food on the road. I'd rather save my money, enjoy a piece of bread w/ natural PB and walnuts, alongside a baggy of carrots and an apple from my travel cooler, order a Frosty at Wendy's or a Parfait at McD's for my "occasional" treat and call it a meal.

Here are two yummy and healthy ways to enjoy your favorite restaurant-style meals in your own house. Not only will you save money (and time) but you will feel satisfied with your healthy creation.

Veggies served w/ Pasta

Serves 2
2 tsp olive oil
1 large zucchini (sliced)
2 large roma tomato (sliced)
8 baby carrots (cut into 4 thin slices)
1-2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/4 cup corn
1/8 cup onions (chopped)
1-2 tsp of Basil and Marjoram (seasoning)
2 ounces pasta (equals 1 cup cooked pasta)

1. On a non-stick pan, cook veggies in olive oil on low heat for 10 minutes or until soft and lightly brown. Turn off burner and cover.
2. While veggies are cooking, add pasta to a pot of boiling water. Reduce heat and cook until pasta is to your liking (8-12 minutes). Drain immediately.
3. Place 1/2 cup cooked pasta (110 calories) in a large bowl and top with veggies.

Frozen cheese pizza w/ a healthy vegetarian twist
1 (cheap) frozen cheese pizza (look for the lowest calorie option)
Green pepper
Crushed pineapple

1. Preheat oven according to package of frozen pizza.
2. Layer toppings (the higher the better!)
3. Cook for 20-40 min or according to package (may need additional minutes over recommendation, due to extra toppings)

Before (BORING!!)

After (YUMMY!!!)


Homemade Popcorn!

Aside from fruits and veggies, there are so many great healthy foods that I recommend for a balanced and healthy diet. Unfortunately, companies believe that foods will sell better if they taste better. Therefore, heart-healthy foods (when served alone) become heart-unhealthy (and waist-line unfriendly) when they are packaged or prepared by someone other than yourself.
Would you like specifics?

-REGAL medium, no-butter popcorn - 1,200 calories, 60g saturated fat, 980 mg sodium (the butter adds 200 calories and 3g sat fat per 1.5 tbsp).
*1 cup air-popped popcorn - 31 calories, .4g fat, 1mg sodium, 1.2g fiber, 1g protein

-Linguine Alla Marinara Olive Garden dinner entree - 551 calories, 8g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 770mg sodium.
*1 cup whole wheat pasta - 174 calories, .8g fat, 4mg sodium, 6.3g fiber

-2/3rd cup Oats and Honey Granola Cascadian farm - 230 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 120 mg sodium, Sugar 13g
*1/2 cup oatmeal - 150 calories, 3g fat, 4g fiber, 5g protein
*1 tbsp blackstrap molasses - 60 calories, 10g sugar

-Nesquick chocolate milk 1 cup - 200 calories, 5g fat, 3g sat fat, 30g sugar
*1 special dark Hershey Kiss - 20 calories, 1.3g fat, .8g sat fat, 2.3g sugar
*1 cup skim milk - 86 calories, .4g fat, 12.5g sugar, 8.4 g protein

Over the past few years, I've learned that there are no good or bad foods. There was once a time in my life when I thought carbs and fat made me fat and feeling hungry meant that I needed to eat more fruits and veggies. Boy was I wrong! That way of eating wasn't not maintainable and I was certainly not enjoying food. Not to mention, my diet was lacking in key ingredients to support my vegetarian/athletic lifestyle.
I think we can all agree that there are foods which can sabotage your mission to improve athletic performance and keeping your heart healthy. But if your diet is consistently healthy and balanced, once one or two times of enjoying/trying something different can be a welcomed changed and a reminder that consistency with healthy eating has countless rewards.
So, when it comes to creating a balanced diet, if you focus on foods with little or no ingredients you will find that there are so many healthy foods that you can eat on a daily basis. There is no reason to fear healthy fats, high-fiber carbs or lean/low fat protein.
I believe that everyone handles foods differently and we should never forget that we all require a different percentage of fat, protein and carb to fulfill our daily calorie requirements which support our daily activities, nutrient recommendations and training routine.

Here's my new favorite snack!
Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain?? Talk about a great way to add more fiber to your diet!
How did I go so long without appreciating the value of homemade popcorn???
Looks like I will be busy making healthy popcorn "creations" for the next few days.
Any suggestions?

Homemade popcorn:
1/3 cup kernels (I bought a 4 lb bag of Jolly Time popcorn at Big Lots for $2.50)
1 1/2 tsp olive or canola oil

1. In a large cooking pot (w/ lid), pour olive oil over kernels. Mix well so that kernels are coated with oil.
2. Turn on burner to medium heat (I used a setting of 5) and cover pot.
3. Wait 4-5 minutes until the kernels start popping. When you hear (and smell) the popcorn, lift pot off burner and give a little shake every 20-30 sec.
4. After 2-3 minutes, popcorn should be finished and ready for seasoning.
*use no-salt seasonings, pepper, herbs/spices or cinnamon
(this recipe makes 6 cups popcorn!!)

-rather than using a zillion sprays of spray-butter, melt 1/2 tbsp smart balance butter in microwave (10-15 sec.), pour over popcorn and toss.
Calories and fat in 1/2 tbsp butter: 22.5 calories, 2.5g fat

Nutrition of popcorn kernels:
2 tbsp unpopped (1 cup popped)
20 calories
1g fat
0mg sodium
26g carbs
7g fiber
4g protein

Nutrition of 1 1/2 tsp olive oil:
45 calories
5.25g fat

Nutrition of 1 cup popcorn (my recipe):
27.5 calories
1.8g fat


Lunch Break!

I'm really excited about my latest article.
I recently contributed an article to the American Dietetic Association Student Scoop, which is an online newsletter exclusively for Student Council members. There are lots of benefits of being a member of the American Dietetic Association but even if you aren't a member, there are a lot of great resources for the public. Check out to get the most accurate information regarding healthy eating.
As much as I LOVE writing articles, I love reading. I try to read in the evenings but usually I catch up on my newsletters and magazines on the weekends (or when traveling). There's nothing like finishing a 2 hour run or a 4 hr bike ride and laying on the couch, with my whey smoothie, and reading about nutrition. I feel really lucky to be a health and exercise professional and I am so happy that my passion for healthy and balanced eating, alongside daily physical activity, is slowly molding into my career.

Here are a few paragraphs from my article:
(Found in the March 2010 issue of The Student Scoop, pg. 6)

In order to stop making excuses and start being proactive,
use the following tips and learn to enjoy your lunch time
• Make extra food at dinner and use leftovers for lunch.
Use a variety of foods in a meal, such as veggies, potatoes,
legumes, beans, vegetarian meats, tofu, rice, pasta,
fruit, eggs and lean-meat, so that you can be creative
with leftovers.
• When grocery shopping, buy foods for your house
which you can also use in a brown bag lunch. If the food
is in a can, frozen or boxed, always check for the lowest
sodium options.
• Don’t put it off! Make lunch immediately after you finish
dinner. If you don’t have leftovers, you can never go
wrong with whole grain bread, veggies, cheese and lean
meat (or vegetarian meat alternatives) for a quick and
easy sandwich.
• If you are a morning person, prepare your lunch while
the coffee is brewing. Or, make lunch as you are watching
the morning news.
• Be a role model for your family. With childhood obesity
increasing, teach your child to enjoy making his/her own
lunch, rather than spending money on heart-unhealthy
school lunches. Shopping for groceries and cooking
with children will teach them how to differentiate between
heart-healthy and heart-unhealthy food.
• Be a role model for your friends and co-workers. If you
already bring your lunch to work, motivate others to take
part in a brown bag social hour. If others are stumped as
to what to pack, pick a theme or style of food (ex. Mexican,
Italian, vegetarian, comfort food, etc.) and see who
can be the most creative with his or her own lunch.

Give yourself 30 minutes, three times a week (include
weekends) to chop, cut, package and wrap veggies, meats
and fruit. So long as you keep everything in a sealed bag
or container, you will have an array of options from which
to choose for a quick and easy sandwich, salad or wrap.

Get inspirations from restaurants, the internet, blogs and
the cooking channel. Come up with your own ideas for a
knock-off lunch meal with your favorite healthy foods.
Think simple! A 4 pack of tuna, a bag of pita bread and a
mixture of chopped veggies can go a long way. Spending
$5 to $10 on sandwiches, a few times a week will eventually
add up! If preparing salads for lunch, be sure to complete
your greens with a protein in order to keep you satisfied
after your meal.

Not enough time?
As an educator, student or credentialed professional, making
the effort for healthy eating is an individual choice.
While work meetings and overtime are often beyond your
control, it is up to you to make time for exercise, food,
sleep, TV, computer and social activities. Because exercise,
sleep and stress management are a few of the many
keys to a long and healthy life, stop making excuses and
start making lunch!

When planning your lunch, always think about the day. If you take the same thing to work everyday and it works for you (meaning, you are at a healthy, maintainable weight, you have energy throughout the day, you eat a variety of foods to create a balanced diet and you enjoy your food choices), GREAT! If you are constantly hungry from 2-4pm, you eat mindlessly when you get home from work (and until you go to bed), you can't seem to get your training nutrition down or you start your day with no or a quick digesting, low calorie breakfast, it's time to make some changes in your normal routine.
I find that many people are overly focused with life commitments and neglect the value of a wholesome and balanced meal. Sure, healthy food may help you perform better when exercising and may help you reach your goal weight but there are so many other benefits of planning healthy meals snacks. Let nutrition fuel your daily priorities. Ultimately, when you appreciate the value of healthy food in your body, you will see yourself becoming a better parent, worker/employee/employeer, partner (wife/husband/bf/gf) and athlete.
It seems as if people are doing the same thing every day (because they read it in a magazine or weight loss book) and hoping for results. How can you expect yourself to not overeat in the evenings if you are skipping lunch, fueling your day off diet cokes, salads and protein bars and trying to work out 15 hours a week? Sure, you think that reducing calories during the day will promote weight loss, but this is not a maintainable healthy habit. Even if you eventually reach your goal weight through unhealthy, unrealistic habits, you will eventually find yourself returning to old habits. Furthermore, if you are living an athletic lifestyle, your goal throughout the day is to provide nutrients to your body in order to stay energized, to maintain stable blood sugar and to properly recover.

I always tell my athletes, don't work your training around your eating. Rather, work your eating around your training. Same with food planning. Depending on your daily life commitments, create a healthy eating routine that will allow you to feel satisfied when you eat your meal, will provide you with an array of healthy nutrients, will provide energy for your workouts, will help you recover from workouts and most importantly, gives you enjoyment when you are eating.

If your working environment doesn't have a microwave or refrigerator, it would be wise to assume that you wouldn't bring soup and egg salad for lunch. However, this doesn't mean that you can't pack a heart healthy and filling lunch.
If your work requires you to be on the go or you have inconsistent eating habits during the day (ex. lunch can be at noon and other days it may be at 3pm) you need to create a meal plan that works with your schedule. Rather than eating breakfast at 8am and lunch at 3pm, create mini-meals and snacks so that you are eating every few hours. If you don't have a long lunch break or have no planning over your lunch break, plan for food options that can be eaten on the go or consumed throughout the day.

My dad works for the VA (he's an optometrist) and he typically eats lunch around the same time everyday. Karel, on the other hand is the general manager of the Trek store. If he is not ordering bikes, bike parts, accessories, etc. for the store, he is likely putting together bikes. When the store is incredible busy he is typically doing tune-ups for walk-in's alongside helping customers. According to the other guys at the shop "Karel is always eating". But for Karel, it works better this way. Rather than eating breakfast and then not knowing when he will eat lunch (or if he even has time for a break) he is better off preparing a bag of food that he can "graze" on throughout the day.

What is your favorite lunch to bring to work (or prepare at home if you work from home)?

A typical day of food for Karel at the Trek Store:
1) Some type of filling sandwich (Karel typically uses the Panini maker): Tofu, 1 egg (Scrambled), 96% fat free deli ham, veggies, cheese and hummus on whole grain pita bread
2) A smaller sandwich for a snack later in the day: typically PB &J. This time it was with apples, natural PB and jelly and sunflower seeds on an english muffin.
3) Chocolate: gotta have something sweet during the day and it may as well be good for you too. Around 1 ounce dark chocolate.
4) Low-fat yogurt: this is a must, everyday.
5) Veggies/fruit: whole fruit or cut fruit like apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, peaches, etc. Baby carrots and celery are easy to snack on when he is working (not with greasy hands, of course :)
6) Nuts: great to snack on during the day. Today it was sunflower seeds on his sandwich.


Gate Rive Run 15K race report

It's been 7 months since my last race (IMKY). I guess I am due for a race report.

I woke up at 5:45 am on Saturday morning (race day). Lucky me, I was blessed by the higher being that decides that me, and several of my friends (after exchanging texts in the early morning) would be racing during 'that time of the month'. I know, T.M.I but it is important that I disclose that fact in my race report because my race day morning was not ideal. Having said that, I have to admit that GIRLS ROCK and guys have no idea what we go through on a monthly basis. Sure, there are plenty of research studies showing performance enhancements during specific parts of the menstrual cycle but that doesn't mean that it is fun. Blah! Ladies...I'm sure I'm not alone here and guys, thanks for putting up with us :)

So, as far as my normal pre-race breakfast, not-so-much. I didn't want to stomach anything and running fast was the last thing on my mind. If I wasn't racing, I would have chosen an easy long run or bike but a 15K, hoping for a PR.... Ughhh. I managed to start with my normal coffee (thank you Karel for making an awesome pot of coffee) and a piece of toast w/ a little PB and Jelly. I sipped on a bottle of water on the way to the race and 1/2 scoop heed (in a plastic bottle) before race start.
I arrived to the race around 7:20, after sitting in traffic to accommodate the 13,000+ runners and it was COLD. The sun peaked out of the clouds here and there but with the wind, it was a chilly morning.
I went to the bathroom a zillion times and said hi to many familiar faces. This is my 2nd Gate River run but just as exciting as the first time.

The Gate River Run is the largest 15K in the US and is recognized as the USA 15K Championships. I think there were 6 Olympians this year, but maybe there were more.

I was able to receive a seeded number in the BLUE zone based on my time from last year of 1:08.50 (which was a PR). Thank goodness I was seeded this year, compared to last because the crowd of people was endless.

I warmed up for a few minutes by jogging around in an empty parking lot but all I wanted to do was get this race started. I figured a PR was not in my future because I was so worried about my BLAH feeling. Also, with my on-and-off leg problem (Piriformis syndrome) I am never sure how I will perform at my max. I have had several great runs in the past few weeks but I can never be 100% confident that my leg will not suddenly go weak and cause me to stop (typically, I just have to stop, walk for 10-15 sec. and then I am good for another mile or so).

The gun went off at 8:30am and we were off running. Typically, the first mile of a running event is fast but for me, I was surprised I wasn't running faster. I assumed it was just a preview of how I would perform for the day...not as fast as I would have liked. However, within that first mile I was feeling better than I thought. I am not one to not give 100% (there is never a B or C race for me. Every race is an A-important race) so I knew I had to just give it my all and hope for the best.

My garmin went off before the first mile marker but because I was watching my average mile pace on my watch, I paid attention to my Garmin and not the mile markers w/ clocks.
The 2nd mile included a bridge and I always look forward to inclines. I do much better on "rolling" courses compared to flat courses so any opportunity to run with a slight incline is welcomed by my quads.
I saw my good friend Mallory around mile 3 and she was looking strong. My other good friend Katrine and her hubby Ryan, as well as Laura were out on the course, and my friend Libby, so I guess you could say that we all wanted a personal best for the day.

I was feeling really good for the first 3 miles and mile 3 was one of my fastest. I felt like I was able to continue this effort but wasn't sure for how long. Well, my question was answered around mile 6. I was getting really tired and felt like I couldn't keep my pace. I was just exhausted and almost considered walking. I decided to slow down a bit at the end of mile 6 for 30 seconds and take mile 7 a bit easier. After a few minutes of running easier at mile 7 I was ready to pick up the pace again.

My 7 went by fast because I knew the big bridge was coming around mile 8. I wasn't sure if I should hold back during mile 7 in order to save myself for the Hart Bridge or if I should run fast in mile 7 because my pace would drop when I ran up the bridge. Well, I decided to just try to keep my pace before the bridge and just focus on being steady up the bridge.

I felt great (more like 'OK') up the bridge but it was windy. I was passing several people but of course, I was being passed on the way down. I am not a good downhill runner. My breathing was heavy and I was really pushing hard up the bridge. I looked at my watch and with a little over .5 mile to go I knew I had to give it my all to have a PR and possible reach my goal time. Because my Garmin was showing me that the course was long I decided to just pay attention to my Garmin.

The last .4 miles were long. The finish line just didn't come. I was huffing and puffing through the finish line chute and in Marni-fashion, I was smiling the whole time. I was thinking to myself how bad this race hurt and when I crossed the line, boy did it show. Luckily, no leg pain. No stomach issues and no bonking. However, racing 9.4 miles at 100% (110%, if that is possible) for me is not enjoyable. The race hurt, every mile got harder and harder and I was hot from the start. Even with 3 aid stations to cool me with water, I was toasted at the finish.

Running fast is not my style. However, when I want something I will go after it. Before I sign up for a race, I think about my training. After I sign up for a race, I am 100% committed to that race and performing my best. Therefore, I push myself and focus on quality workouts (not 'junk' workouts) in an effort to prepare for the race. Then I set a goal based on my training. I tend to set ambitious goals for myself compared to previous races but I have to trust my training. Since racing nutrition is never a concern for me, I train my body for how I want it to perform. Sure, my philosophy for setting goals doesn't always work but it is sure nice when it does.

As for the 2010 Gate River Run 15K.....I set a PR! A whole 3 minute PR!!!

Here's the stats (according my Garmin):
9.47 miles
Mile 1: 6:44
Mile 2: 7:01
Mile 3: 6:30
Mile 4: 6:44
Mile 5: 6:44
Mile 6: 6:52
Mile 7: 7:05
Mile 8: 7:10 (up the bridge)
Mile 9: 7:27
.47: 3:05 (6:34 min/mile pace)

Average pace: 6:54 min/mile
Finish time: 1:05.25

5K: 21:30
10K: 42:58

25-29 age group: 23rd out of 1205
Overall Place: 431 out of 13341

(Thanks Kellie for the pic...I sure hope there are better ones of me. I promise, I have better running form than I do during the last 100 meters of the race :)

(thanks Tyler for the great pics!)