Essential Sports Nutrition


Work hard, Play hard


I suppose that is my new motto...WORK, PLAY, REST.
I needed this planned recovery week with my IM training because I really wanted to knock out a handful of assignments for my dietetic program.
Each rotation (community, food service, clinical) I am required to complete several dozen assignments and projects. Some are more time-consuming than others. Throughout the course of my community rotation, I will be completing a project that involves the community.
After participating at the Unison Health fair on Tues, I was planning on speaking at the Lunch n' Learn on Fri at Unison. After finding out that I could do a power point and handout educational material at my talk, I spent Tues and Wed evening (after interning all day) as well as all of Thurs (my off day since I am required by my school to take 1 day a week to work on projects and not "intern") creating my powerpoint and designing a pamphlet.
I have always been a creative person but I have to say that I have fallen in LOVE with Microsoft Office 2010, the professional version. My creative juices were flowing and the new Office makes my life SO much easier.
I had a BLAST spending a good 10+ hrs on my power point presentation as well as my pamphlet and based on the comments after my talk (and the evaluation that I handed out to the employees) I think it all worked out. I also had everyone fill out the questionnaire that was posted on my blog and I received some great comments (although I have to say, only a few of the Unison forms were as detailed as the comments from my fabulous blog readers :)
I will be spending all of Aug working with a large handful of the Unison employees on their diets and hopefully encouraging my participants to support a more plant-based diet. This will be a lot of work but I'm excited to see the results.
I really enjoyed speaking to this group. Everyone was really nice and seemed really interested in making some healthy and balanced changes.

The workouts have been easy-cheesy this week. Just enough to keep me entertained since I truely love to exercise. Mon was off but that worked out well since I had to drive 44 miles to St. Augustine at 7:30am. After my BIG weekend last weekend, I needed some SLEEP!
Tues was an easy 1:15 spin on the trainer and I enjoyed catching up with some reality shows on my DVR. After the spin was a walk with Campy and then all day at the health fair.
My normal wed tempo run was replaced by strength training/core and I followed that 20 min. session with a good 4000 yrd swim. After breakfast I spent the day at the University of North Florida.
Thurs is typically an off/active recovery day but I choose to run. I decided to remove a few runs on Tues and Wed in an effort to ensure 100% recovery from my 18-mile run on Sun. 18 miles is a long way to run and after all that stress on my body, I just didn't want to risk an injury by squeezing in a 2-6 mile run. All I had to tell myself was that there would be plenty of more times to run in the next few weeks and that was enough to keep me balanced and enjoying my recovery week.
After an interval-ish 6 mile run at the Y (while watching the tour) I did a little machine-work and a little core and butt/hip work. I was feeling great on Thurs morning and it was nice to work on my computer the rest of the day.
I planned to swim on Fri morning but I was TIRED. Sleep comes first and I have to say, that rarely I miss a workout due to being too tired. However, staying up an hour later than normal really did me in on Tues, Wed and Thurs (I'm an 8-hr sleep kinda person when I'm training for an Ironman). I took Campy on a long walk on Fri morning and then rode the trainer (while practicing my talk) for 1hr 30 min.
The rest of Fri was BUSY! I arrived at Unison at 10:20 and my talk was scheduled for 11 until 12. I stayed to answer questions until 12:30 and headed straight to the beach to meet my preceptor (who came to my talk, I was SO happy she was there) for a busy afternoon of clients. We met with 3 clients and at 5:30pm my day was done!

Whewwww, what a week!
My friend Stephanie and her hubby came from Macon on Fri evening so that Karel could give their fabulous Trek bikes a little TLC. Since I didn't get home until 6pm on Fri, my poor little Campster was dying to see his mommy. I couldn't leave him at home so we power walked to the Trek store (1.2 miles) rather than driving to meet Steph, her hubby and Karel. We all went to The Loop Pizza and Grill for dinner and Campy was happy that they had outdoor seating :)
This morning was a ride at the beach so I gave Steph and her hubby a tour around Nocatee (bike-style) and then I joined the Lodge ride. It was windy and hard but I felt great. Just me and the guys but they were all super supportive and nice to me. I really love doing this ride because I feel stronger every time I finish (or don't get dropped) from this ride. I rotated almost the entire ride and my confidence was up. Thank goodness for REST!
After the ride I did a short 3 mile run (7:48 mim/mile average) and it was Super Duper HOT! Nothing like a cool-off in the ocean.

What a week! Well, I can't complain. I am really loving every minute and I wouldn't want my life any other way. Well, if I could bring Campy everywhere that I go, that would make me the happiest :)


Avocado, Chickpea and Walnut salad - Creations

I've made a lot of salads in my life but this one "takes the healthy vegetarian cake".
My preceptor gave me an avocado from her organic delivery and it was delicious. I have trouble picking the best avocados. They always seem too hard when I cut into them so I don't buy them as often as I should. They are a great healthy fat and for a fruit, I highly recommend having a serving of avocado a few days a week.
Also, I decided to "toast" up some chickpeas as I was chopping my ingredients. I added some hickory hot sauce (35mg sodium per 1tsp) to the chickpeas while they were cooking and they were super delicious.
I can't wait to make this salad again!


Day break: Egg wrap - Creations

I have a new found love for lunch. It is a great way to break up the day, especially when interning for x-hours every day, after waking up at 4:30am to train.
My preceptor and I share a similar philosophy for food. We are so passionate about cooking and we love sharing recipes over lunch. My preceptor is very understanding of my training and she understands that I'm eating a bit more than normal in an effort to accommodate my increasing training and volume. Sometimes we are in meeting or are super busy doing paperwork and she reminds me "Marni, we need to take care of our bodies...time to break for lunch".
Although I snack every 1-2 hours throughout the day (nuts, veggies, fruit, yogurt, string cheese) I really look forward to my home-made lunch on a daily basis. Not only does it get me through the day but it keeps my blood sugar stable so that I don't feel starved by the time I get to dinner or my after-noon snack. With that happy feeling in my tummy, I am able to spend a little time preparing my dinner meal as well as spend a little Q-time with Campy.

Charting notes at the St. Augustine Center for Living (fantastic facility!

Health Fair at Unison facility

Early evening in the park w/ Campy

Campy plyometrics

Mr. Squirrel, you better watch out!

(can you see these video's? For some reason I can't when I publish post :(


A cravable "salty" salad - Creations

I have to be honest, veggies are the last thing on my mind after 6 hrs of continuous Florida training or after 11 hrs of training Fri-Sun. I think every athlete gets into a routine of craving similar foods after long/hard workouts and having no trouble indulging in a special post-workout treat or two. I totally do not disagree with you in feeding your cravings post workout but it's important to recognize your cravings and not just rely on habits and rituals.
For example, when I was training for Kona, I always "rewarded" myself with a Frappachino at starbucks and then pancakes. And then there was ice cream on Sun after my long run, as my afternoon snack. It was my routine after my long sat bike+run and long run and well, I figured I deserved it. But when I got injured 32 days before Kona (2007) I found myself continuing to crave the Frap and pancakes, even though I wasn't training. Even worse, my emotions really affected me on the month preceding Kona and I found myself craving ice cream, sugar and all of my "reward" foods on a daily basis. It was a super rough time for me and I really hope to never return to that place again.
My diet was boring, routine and not balanced. I gave myself an entire year, and no Ironman, to try to understand what my body truely needs on a daily basis and to learn to have a healthy relationship with food. I do not need to feel guilt and restriction with my eating habits so I choose to love what I put in my body and to take a little time each day to understand my daily lifestyle and activity requirements.....and then plan my meals and snacks.
Over the past 2 years, I don't find myself craving sugary foods anymore. I wish I could say I enjoy ice cream every now and then but it just isn't appetizing to me anymore. It is more of an occasional treat and when I have it, I like the real-stuff and I don't worry about calories (nor do I ever "count" my calories). I use to reward myself with ice cream for dinner after my hard Wed night ride in 2007, but that was just a waste of a dinner because it never filled me up and didn't gave me a good feeling in my body when I went to bed. I should have just had a hearty salad and then a small portion of ice cream afterward. As I mentioned before, I do not obsess about food, I just love the feeling of heart-healthy food in my body.
Although I promote a plant-based diet, I feel strongly that you need a balance of carbs, protein and fat in the diet. With this comes a balanced diet. It's important that you first focus on nutrient-rich foods which give you the most nutrients with the fewest calories from unhealthy fats and sugars. If you build your daily diet on a variety of nutrient-rich foods (ex. colored fruits and veggies, whole fiber-rich grains, fat-free/low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt and lean meats, fish, eggs, beans and nuts) you are going to find it much easier to understand your body and what your body really craves, needs and requires.
Having said that, 150-200 calories from "favorite" foods, a few times a week is not going to prevent you from meeting performance and weight goals. Perhaps it is the thought of "feeling fat" or "bad" or "ashamed" when you enjoy a few chips, a cookie or a scoop of ice cream but honestly, 200 calories out of a 2000-calorie balanced diet (key word= balanced) is nothing to beat yourself up about.

I can tell you that I now have cravings for salt (who doesn't in this crazy heat?), fat and fruit during my workouts. I try to listen to my body, after my recovery smoothie, to understand what it is I really want and what my body really needs. Certainly carbs and quality protein but there is nothing wrong with balancing out my meal/snacks with fat and salty foods. I don't own a salt shaker so I try to seek out the best options of salty foods that will keep my body happy after my workout as well as satisfying my cravings.

I made the most delicious salad on Sun (around 3pm) after my 11am "post-workout breakfast" of a whey smoothie and then my "real" breakfast of french toast (I used a cinnamon bagel), an orange/blueberry/banana medley and an extra egg w/ tomatoes.
Sorry I didn't take a legs were sore and my camera was in my car :(

Campy and I went to a Farmer's market on Sun to pick up some fresh produce and I couldn't wait to make my salad.

I also picked up some wheat thins at Big Lots (where I buy my "processed" food like cereal, oatmeal, sauces, spices, cans, nuts, etc.) and I couldn't wait to assemble my salad of leftovers. I find that if I make the effort to buy an occasional treat, I don't crave it on a daily basis and don't feel any sense of guilt when I have it.
This salad was perfect to solve my salty craving and I felt really good while eating it.

My tip to you. If you find it hard to stop cravings or give up on old habits, look forward to something at your meals. Start with a heart-healthy plant-based meal, balanced with healthy fat, low fat protein and complex carbs and then add a side or top your meal with around 50-100 calories (or a small portion) of your fav. food. This way, your "intimidating" healthy meal, which you may not crave, may become more desirable. Hopefully, overtime you will start to crave the produce and find yourself easing away from old habits which prevent you from reaching your weight or/and performance goals.

What's your favorite post-workout snack?

Questions for you - Blog readers!

Over the weekend I did a lot of brainstorming and I posted a few questions on my blog that will help guide me in the right direction for my community nutrition project.
I have received a few GREAT emails from blog readers and I really appreciate the time to email me.
If you have a chance in the next few days, I would love to hear your opinion, comment or feedback to the following questions. You can be anonymous via email or leave a comment. Email me Based on your comments I will be creating my community nutrition project to encourage people to adopt a more plant-based diet.
(you don't have to answer every question)

1) Do you feel as if you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies on a daily basis?
If so, do you feel satisfied during the day or hungry?
If not, why is it challenging for you to meet recommendations?

2) Do you eat fruits and veggies for health benefits or for the taste..or both?

3) Are there factors that stop you from eating fruits and veggies? ex. cravings for other foods, enjoyment of processed foods, money, availability?
Do you feel as if it is cheaper to buy process food/fast food than buy/eat fruits and veggies.

4) Would you buy more fruits and veggies if you could buy from a farmer's market?
Do you shop at farmer's markets and if so, how often (week/month/year).

5) Do you feel healthier when you eat fruits and veggies?

6) Are you on a "diet", an athlete looking to improve performance, trying to maintain weight and/or trying to lose weight?

7) Do you feel as if you eat too many fruits and veggies and not enough grains, fat and protein?

8) Although there is an abundance of articles, books and articles on the benefits of fruits and veggies, what resources would you like to encourage you/hold you accountable to eating a more plant based diet? ex. recipes, health benefits of fruits and veggies, grocery list of seasonal produce, more farmer's markets, guides/checklists, etc.

9) Any other thoughts.....



The big weekend

Every Ironman athlete has his/her BIG weekend of training at least once a month on the 1-2 months before Ironman race day. For myself and my athletes, I try to only schedule a few BIG weekends over the course of IM training so that the body has ample time to recover as well as avoiding the possibility of overtraining or injury. Although there are many physiological adaptations that occur throughout IM training, I believe that the mental aspect is one to be trained and that you need to do a few long workouts to prepare the mind, body and soul.
I have 8 weeks until Ironman Wisconsin and my training has exceeded my expectations for this year. Not since my first IM have I raced and trained injury-free. However, since my first IM I have never felt this strong. Fast is a relative term and I suppose I feel fast at times but for an Ironman, I don't have to be fast in order to have a great finish.
Success in an Ironman is not the fastest person but the person who slows down the least.

Karel left for Dahlonega, GA on Fri morning to ride the mountains with our Gearlink friends until Sun. Karel needed a guy's trip and although I was invited, I needed to stay home and focus on my dietetic stuff.

On sat morning I woke up around 5:30 and after coffee I took Campy on an early morning walk. I prepared my oatmeal w/ walnuts, banana and raisins and afterward I got my bottles and self ready for my ride.
I had 3 bottles on my bike. 1 w/ water and 2 w/ 1 1/2 scoops strawberry heed and 1/2 scoop sustained energy (all by Hammer).
I also had 3 Hammer gels w/ me and a handful of Endurance Aminos (Hammer).
I left around 7:30am (a little later than I planned).

I gave myself a set for the majority of my ride and I tried to do my best at it, despite the wind not being in my favor and a temperature of at least 90-95 degrees for the majority of my ride.
After 1:15 warm-up....
20 min @ 130 watts
10 min @ 115 watts
10 min @ 140 watts
10 min @ 115 watts
5 min @ 150 watts
5 min @ 115 watts
15 min easy spin

I can't download my data until Karel gets home with his computer (WKO+ power tap program) to see what my intervals looked like but I know I wasn't reaching all of my power goals. That's ok, I gave a great effort out there and never got discouraged. I actually had a lot of fun and the time passed by rather quickly. The endurance aminos really help me stay focus and help postpone fatigue so I was sure to take 1-2 an hour after the first hour. I took in 2 1/2 gels (1 an hour) after the 3rd hour of my ride and refilled my bottles w/ water around 2 1/2 hours.
What a difference from last weekend when I was 100% discouraged at my performance and not mentally strong. I've also learned a lot about my body throughout this past year of training and I really pay attention to keeping my core temperature down, or as much as I can. Therefore, a lot of water goes on my body, in my helmet and on my face to keep me cool. I plan to have 3 bottles of Hammer on my bike for IMWI and grabbing water at every aid station to stay cool (depending on the weather, which you never know what the day will be like in Wisconsin in Sept).

After 4 hours and 55 minutes and 90 miles later I arrived home and happily accepted lots of kisses from Campy when I walked inside our place.

Campy told me he would gladly run a little with me for my brick run and I took him up on his kind gesture.
Campy had a great pace for .6 miles but sadly, he hit the wall and had to walk/jog the last .4 miles. I told Campy that we all have good and bad days and likely, our 2 miles together on Fri probably toasted him for the weekend. Oh yea, considering that it was nearing 12:45pm, I think we both wanted to call it a day after .6 miles of running in crazy Florida heat.
After I dropped Campy back at home, I gathered my fuel belt w/ COLD water and a gel and headed out for my run.
I made it 2 miles and needed to stop under a tree. I do a lot of mental talk while I train and race and it seems to help. However, at 1:15pm without a cloud in sight, my body and mind where screaming at me.
I managed to hold a good pace throughout the run and took in 1/2 gel at my half way point. Before I left for my run I put several ice cubes down my shorts and top and that seemed to help for a few minutes. I plan to do the same at IMWI.
Stats for my run:
5 miles
41 min
8:18 min/mile (including Campy's mile)
Mile 1 (w/ Campy): 9:32
Mile 2: 7:57
Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 7:57
Mile 5: 8:08
I'd say consistency was on my side for this run :)

After the run I came home and nearly died. Figure of speech but wow was I hot. It was nearing 1:40am and I was dying for a cold shower. After the shower (w/ my water bottle in the shower) I cleaned up, put on my ice shorts (1 ice packet goes on each quad and 1 goes on each butt/hamstring - great invention!) and made a smoothie. It was not the most appetizing thing after close to 6 hours of training but it was one of those tough it up moments. I added blueberries, strawberries and banana to my whey, milk and yogurt smoothie and topped it with a large handful of cereal. I had several small snacks and meals during the day after my smoothie and made sure I ate every 2-3 hours. I had lots of water during the day....oh how I LOVE water.

Well, early to bed on Sat after spending much of my afternoon doing assignments for my community rotation.

I slept in this morning until 6:10am and the morning was similar to sat except for a sandwich thin PB&J sandwich (w/ walnuts, raisins and banana slices) instead of oatmeal. It sits much better for me before a long run but on an IM race day, I always have 1/2 bagel (or bread) w/ PB and then a bowl of oatmeal.

Well, I wasn't sure what to expect this morning. I knew it would be tough for me to get going and I was stalling all morning. I finally made it out the door at 7:30 and placed a bottle of water in a tree for refueling. I started my garmin and off I went.
This would be the longest run of the season and it was better than I thought it would be. My leg started to act a little weird around mile 7 but luckily I was getting close to the middle of my run so after a few miles of feeling a little weird in the psoas/glute region, I made a stop at my loop starting/stopping spot (in front of my apartment) to refuel my fuel flasks. After my fuel stop, my leg was back to normal and I was pleasantly with my energy. It was incredibly hot when I started my second loop and that definitely made it hard to stay focused. Since last week was my longest run this season, I decided to give myself a set so that I could control my pace and not run too hard or too slow.
My set 5x's:
2 miles between 8:15-8:30 min/mile
1 mile between 8:05 - 8:15 min/mile

Well, despite a few mental comments of wondering "why this is so hard" and then telling myself "there's nothing easy about training for an Ironman" I made it home in one piece, with no pain/injury, and ready for a 20 min walk with my Campy.
I had 3 amino's over the course of my run and 1 gel around mile 8. I had 6 flasks (starting w/ 1 heaping scoop heed in each flask) and then water (I refilled my flasks for the second time after 15 miles). The first 15 miles I was really focused for and the last 3 miles were just enjoyable, thinking about how amazing the body can be when we take care of it.
Stats for my run:
2hrs and 30 min.
18.15 miles
8:16 min/mile
Mile stats:
1) 8:16
2) 8:15
3) 8:04
4) 8:10
5) 8:16
6) 8:02
7) 8:19
8) 8:24
9) 8:05
10) 8:21
11) 8:27
12) 8:07
13) 8:21
14) 8:20
15) 8:07
16) 8:19
17) 8:31
18) 8:23

With open arms I welcome Recovery Week! The weeks are ticking by and I am really enjoying my 4th Ironman journey. I am amazed that this never gets easier but yet I find myself getting stronger and faster with each training season. I'm really enjoying myself and feeling really good with my recovery and my ability to balance IM training with the rest of my life.
Well, back to some assignments and readings for week #2 of my internship. My preceptor has a big week planned for me and I even have a speaking engagement on Fri to a group of employees on corporate wellness and nutrition.