Essential Sports Nutrition


Cycle Dog

When I picked up "sparky" from his foster family in Amelia Island, it was an instant connection. I knew I would love this dog with all my heart. My love for him grows every day and I find myself loving him more than the day before.

There's something about a dog that just makes you appreciate life and forces you to take advantage of all opportunities no matter how scared or overwhelming they may be. It's amazing that dog's never have a bad day. They always appear excited, happy and thankful....the worst part of a dog's day is when they are alone cause they have no one to share their love with.
According to Wikipedia:
Campagnolo is an Italian manufacturer of high-end bicycle components with headquarters in Vicenza, Italy. The components are organized as groupsets (gruppi) and are a near-complete collection of a bicycle's mechanical parts. Campagnolo's flagship components are the Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets that represent their recent shift to 11-speed drivetrains. Record and the vintage Super Record (circa 1985) were the former top groupsets, followed by Chorus. Campagnolo also produces aluminum and carbon wheels, as well as other components like carbon seat posts.
According to the Campagnolo website:
Besides distinguishing themselves at the top in terms of innovation, quality and performance, Campagnolo products have also become the benchmark for design. This is testified by the prestigious Compasso d’Oro award from the Associazione Design Italiano in recognition of the Veloce groupset, Ergopower integrated controls and Shamal high-profile wheels. Campagnolo S.r.l. is not only a star of the cycling world, but of sport in general, as recognized by the Wall Street Journal which has named it as one of the most prominent sports brands in the world. This reputation has been earned not only through its countless racing successes, but also by virtue of the attention given to quality and to service that sets this company apart from all others.

So I suppose that when we decided to name "Sparky" with the name "Campy (short for Campagnolo)" it was only appropriate since our Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound was going to get the best of the best, for the rest of his life.

Karel really out-did himself this year. Campy got the coolest gift ever!
A collar and leash made out of recycled bike inner tubes.
This has to be the luckiest Cycle Dog in the world :)
Now Campy will really fit in at all of Karel's cycling races in the upcoming season.

Happy Holidays to all!!!



With the holiday season in full swing, I'm sure you are enjoying plenty of yummy chocolates, cakes, brownies, pies, cookies and candies. It is likely that you are enjoying your fair share of high calorie and high fat foods over the past month because there's always a time for everything and a little of everything is a lot better than a lot of one thing. But I'm sure that you are ready to get back to your normal routine of healthy eating and consistent exercise without the holiday stress.

The New Year can be an exciting time with many life-changing experiences but it can also be a time when many type-a athletes set overambitious weight, training and lifestyle goals and approach those goals with a black or white mentality. On Jan 1st, perhaps you may be one of many who rids your life of every "bad" food in your diet, exercises/trains like a mad-man/women in order to get closer to personal records (although, secretly you want to burn lots of calories in order to get a lean body) and vow to yourself that you will never miss a workout because then you will not reach your personal weight and/or training goals.

However you choose to be active, whether it is training for triathlon/running races or exercising for fitness gains, is a lifestyle choice. Certainly you understand that your weight loss and training journey is going to be slow. But consistency is the key to success.
If you are planning on participating/racing in an upcoming marathon, you are going to build in those miles over a period of many weeks. If you are planning on doing your first IM, you are going to incorporate several long bikes and long runs into a well-balanced training plan, so you don't risk injury and overtraining, as you teach the body to be metabolically efficient. If you are planning on setting personal records at upcoming events, you are going to focus on your weakness's as you build on your strengths.

While you may feel as if life revolves around the way you look, it is important that your life revolves around the way you feel. Remember, no one weighs you at the finish line of a race. How can you tell yourself that you are going to be a faster and more efficient athlete if you weigh x-pounds by x-race? Accepting a heart-healthy diet and balanced training routine, prior to seeing weight goals, will allow you to develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise and your body.

I hope you enjoy my latest New Year Resolution tip from the Iron Girl e-blast
BTW-don't forget that the Iron Girl 2011 Race series registration opens on December 31st and 9am EST!

Say good-bye to dieting and Hello to a Healthy Iron Girl lifestyle

By Marni Sumbal, M.S., CISSN, USAT level-1 coach, dietetic intern and Iron Girl Sports Nutritionist

When it comes to changing dietary habits, the aesthetic desire for a tone, lean body often outweighs the benefits of longevity and a decrease risk for disease. In all seriousness, who really thinks about improved eye health when eating carrots? As much as you would like to change eating habits for improved health, it's likely that New Year resolutions center around a number on the scale or a specific size of clothing.

If you are setting a resolution to lose weight, recognize that you are embarking on a lifestyle change. Heart-healthy living does not require deadlines, rules or restrictions.

Rather than thinking about all the foods that you shouldn't eat, focus on the many foods that you can eat. With 365 days in a year, there is no reason to have an "off-limit" food list.

First and foremost, appreciate the changes that you are making. What's the purpose in making a lifelong change (for the better) if you dread the change before it even starts?

Remember, you only have one body and one life. If you have goals, you are in charge of your destiny.


Asparagus Hash

My mom makes the best asparagus! I always look forward to it when we visit.
I created a super yummy asparagus dinner last week and I can't wait to make it again. I was in the mood for a light and simple meal and hash browns came to mind. But in order to keep things balanced, asparagus was my veggie of choice, in order to complement the carbohydrates from the hash browns. My meal was lacking protein so I tossed in some veggie crumbles and voilĂ , one super delicious, balanced, vegetarian meal.

Asparagus is a great vegetable to fit into your athletic lifestyle. As an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and vitamin A, asparagus is known to help with arthritis and swelling, as well as promote healthy bacteria in the large intestines. Asparagus is also a very good source of potassium (288 mg per cup) and
a good source of fiber. Asparagus contains glutathione which is a fantastic antioxidant for your body. Many sport nutrition companies promote glutathione in their products, which may help strengthen the immune system, promote faster recovery as well as increase energy.


Asparagus Hash

Frozen hash browns (non seasoned)
Onions (sliced)
Corn (about a handful per person)
Garlic (2 cloves chopped)
Olive oil (1-2 tbsp)
Veggie meat (or your choice of lean protein)
Tomatoes (roma - chopped)

1. On a large skillet, cook garlic in a little olive oil on medium heat.
2. When garlic begins to turn golden brown, add 1 tbsp olive oil.
3. Add onions, hashbrowns, corn and veggie meat.
4. Cook until hashbrowns are to your liking (I like mine almost crunchy and brown).
5. When hashbrowns are ready, turn off heat and add tomatoes. Toss and cover.
(season with your choice of non-salt seasoning)
*top with a little of your fav. cheese

2 tsp butter
optional: peanuts

1. Cut off ends of asparagus.
2. Cook asparagus in large pot with a little water, on low heat (covered).
3. When asparagus is tender (8-10 min), drain water from pot and add butter. Toss.


Two new legs...please!

Wow-it's been over 48 hours since I finished the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon and I'm still incredibly sore. I'm pretty familiar with the post-Ironman fatigue, insomnia for several days, weird food cravings and walking with legs that don't bend but my body is not appreciating my effort from a 13.1 mile running race. My entire body is hurting and my quads are still preventing me from walking normally. Although today is much better than yesterday (thanks to 40 easy minutes on the elliptical, 1500 yrds in the pool and 15 minutes stretching in the hot tube this morning) I'm hoping that I can soon keep up with Campy on our walks.

As for training...there is nothing on my schedule. After every big race, I clear my training schedule to allow proper recovery from my race. Because I have to respect my body and listen to it, I typically don't design my upcoming training schedule (with Karel's help) until I feel 100% and know that I am ready to train again. I will continue to exercise to keep my mind and body happy and healthy but my schedule is unstructured and low in intensity and volume.

I am treating this race similar to a Half Ironman because this race took a lot out of me. I suppose a 4 min PR deserves a little R&R and I am happy to do just that. I believe in training the body and with a broken down body, trying to "train" would only put me behind with my upcoming goals, rather than ahead. Although I am really happy with my performance, I understand the limits of my body and recognize that it would be silly to fill a glass that has holes in the bottom. Recovery not only heals a tired mind but also heals a tired body.
Training and racing are two excellent stimuli to encourage healthy muscle damage. If you are determined enough to traumatize the muscles and break down skeletal muscle tissue, you must be patient when it comes to allowing the muscles to restructure and grow.

Recovery after racing is key in a balanced and consistent training regime. If a body is well rested and is well nourished, you can expect performance gains with minimal activity. Through providing the nutrients required for muscle growth and giving the body time for physiological adaptations, it's likely that you will return to training with a stronger body than before.

I'm really happy with how things turned out with my run/walk strategy at my last race. Sure, I have walked in many races (most notably Ironman and Half Ironman's-at aid stations) but that was because my body forced me to walk...not because I planned to walk. I realize that my version of the galloway method is a little unconventional, especially since a lot of athletes feel as if walking is "not allowed" during triathlon racing (or training). Well, if you ask me (and several of my athletes that I am coaching), I am noticing a lot more performance gains, than drawbacks, when it comes to training my body with high intensity running, alongside walk breaks.

When I was in college, I was pretty clear on the rules of swimming. I understood that if I pulled on the laneline during backstroke of the 200 IM or broke stroke during my specialty event which was 200 Butterfly, I would be disqualified.
Lucky for us (triathletes and runners), there are no penalties for walking during a triathlon, marathon or running event. When the ultimate goal is to reach the finish line, I am pretty certain that telling yourself that you "can't" walk is only going to make you feel frustrated, mad and discouraged if your body tells you to slow down.

There are many races when being the fastest athlete is the goal of many. However, for me, as an Elite, but not professional athlete, triathlon racing and training is my lifestyle. I'm sure you would agree that your goal is to not get paid to race but rather to live a long and healthy life, doing what you love to do (ex. swim-bike-run).
My approach to long distance racing is not about being the fastest athlete but rather, being the one who slows down the least.
After looking at my splits from the 2010 Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon, compared to the 2008 Outback Half Marathon, I am really excited about this upcoming year and being the best consistent and balanced triathlete that I can be. I also look forward to an exciting coaching season and helping my athletes reach their personal goals.

Outback Half 2008:

8:16 (last 1.1 mile)
Total: 1:36.30

Jax 1/2 2010:

8:00 (last 1.1 mile)
Total: 1:32.24


Jacksonville Bank 1/2 marathon - Race Report

I must say..watching the Ironman World Championships, on the day before a race, can be a wonderful boost. I say it every year, but the NBC showing of the IM world championships is so inspiring and motivating, and gets better every year!
Compared to years past, I had a calm, yet tingly, feeling while watching the broadcast. Knowing that I will be "one of them" in 10 months was a strange feeling. I say it all the time, but the Ironman is for anyone and it's all about the journey. I have coached athletes of all levels and for all distances but as an IM athlete myself, I absolutely LOVE working with first-timer IM athletes.
As for me, four times are not enough. I can't wait for my 5th Ironman to hear the words "Marni, you are a World Ironman Championship finisher". Ok...sorry for jumping ahead in time.

Well, it's been 3 months since I've written a race report, so here it goes....

With a goal of wanting to PR my 2008 half marathon time of 1:36 (which also happens to be my last solo half marathon) at the Jax Bank 1/2 marathon, I had one goal in mind when creating my training schedule with Karel.
Don't get injured
I think telling yourself "don't get injured" is easier said than done. It's really easy to not want to get injured, but it's through a balanced training plan, and an open mind, that one can really put the pieces together in order to reduce the risk of injury. Telling yourself that you don't want to get injured may seem over-ambitious, especially if training volume is too high, the daily diet is not balanced and doesn't support current training, you don't give the body adequate rest on a weekly basis and you don't take the time to strengthen the muscles in order to respond positively to the demands of training.
When setting goals for myself (both in training and in life), I find it helpful to develop an outline. Having written many papers and outlines in my never-ending educational career, an outline will begin with a general idea (the goal) and will be followed by specific examples (ways of accomplishing the goal).
With my goal in mind to PR at the Jax 1/2 marathon, I realized that "training hard" was not a practical plan of action. It's been over a year and a half since I've told myself to just "train hard" in order to reach my goals. With Ironman racing as my passion, I have learned to train smart...not hard. Sure, some training sessions are really really hard (especially if I am trying to stay on Karel's wheel) but I am beyond training for quantity miles. I know it doesn't work and I know what it does to the body. I train for quality.

Over the last 6 weeks I have implemented the Galloway method into my long training runs. From a training perspective, it has worked amazingly well. I finish every weekend feeling stronger than the last and I approach upcoming weeks with a stronger body than the weeks before. With 15-60 sec. walk breaks and fast .5-.9 repeater miles (depending my long run workout), I developed a schedule that allowed me to work hard during the week and work hard on the weekends. My long aerobic miles turned into fast, heart-pumping intervals...and a very fast "long" workout. With no run over 12 miles and no interval longer than .9 miles, I looked forward to sets such as:
2 sets of 3 x .5 miles @ sub 7 min pace w/ 1 min walk w/ 1 mile easy jog in between each set (for a total of 10 miles with warm-up and warm-down)
2 sets of 5 x .75 miles @ 7:15 min pace w/ 30 sec. walk w/ 1 mile easy job in between
each set (for a total of 12 miles w/ warm-up and warm-down)

It was amazing to me that despite walking for 3-4 minutes (total) in a long run, I could still average a 7:45 - 8:10 min/mile pace. More so, when I finished a long run I would be incredibly tired but my legs didn't feel the typical fatigue and broken-down feeling that I would experience after pounding mile after mile with poor form and an inability to properly take in nutrition.

Additionally, I was able to do long group rides on the weekend to work on my endurance threshold. Going into upcoming weeks was a great feeling because I was able to give my 100% for the day, to every workout, and still strength train at least 2 times per week. I stuck with my Mon-day off strategy (aside from 2 easy "floats" in the pool) and managed to keep the rest of my life, as balanced as possible.

So...on to the race!

My best friend Jennifer came in from Lakeland on Sat afternoon. After picking up her packet, catching up and watching the last episode of Top Chef (what else would a RD and future RD want to do than watch a food show?), I prepared a super yummy dinner for when we watched the Ironman World Championships.

Roasted Red Potatoes (w/ olive oil and gold garlic)
Pineapple and walnut salad (w/ homemade dressing - olive oil, balsamic and spicy mustard)
Egg and tofu salad w/ pitas
(not pictured was canned tuna, which was enjoyed by Jennifer, Karel and 3 furry little ones)

This morning Jennifer and I woke up at 5:15am. I prepared the coffee and had my typical pre-race, run breakfast of sandwich thin w/ peanut butter, banana slices and a few walnuts (I have an oatmeal mixture for pre-race triathlon). I took 2 hammer endurance amino's and 2 anti-fatigue w/ water while I was at home and on the way to the race I had 1 race cap supreme. It was a chilly and misty morning but I was excited to put my training to the test.
We made our way 4 miles down the road, to the race start, and stayed warm in the car until 6:30am.
We made our way to the race start, and after a quick potty stop, we were ready to warm-up.
Jennifer and I were both shooting for PR's so we decided to run together, with an understanding that if one person felt better than the other, to just keep on going. No hard feelings needed to be in place, especially since we were both shooting for PR's.
The first 3 miles were into the headwind (heading North) and we tried to not go too-fast. Staying behind tall-people, we were able to get a good draft before we made the turn to start heading south.
Approaching mile 2, we were both feeling good. Certainly not conversational but we were able to keep each other going. By mile 2.5, I started to feel a slight build-up of lactate so I told Jennifer it may be good to walk at mile 3. Although I was kinda up in the air with my Galloway strategy during the race, my thoughts were to run the first 2 and last 2 miles and to walk 10 sec. at every mile, trying to hold somewhere between 7 min and 7:15 min/miles (on average, including the walk breaks for 9 miles.
At mile 3 we took in a quick sip of fluid (while walking) and started to pick back up with our pace. My focus was on my effort and I didn't worry about the other runners behind me or in front of me. I knew what I trained my body to do and it was up to me, and only me, to put my training to the test.
Between mile 4 and 5 it was getting really hard. Although we were heading south and the wind was helping, it was still a solid effort to keep up our pace. My thoughts were if I don't cross over into the red zone and put my body into a place that I can't get out of, I can continue with run/walk and still set a PR.
With my gel flak in my hand (filled with Hammer gel) I was well-fueled with a tiny sip of gel at every mile or whenever I felt like I needed it. I don't carry gels any more during my long runs because it is so much easier for my body to take in a little gel every 7-8 minutes, than to take in 100 calories every few miles. I enjoy having a constant stream of energy in my body.
By mile 7 I was feeling really good. Jennifer slowed down just a tad and I let her keep her own pace. I was really sad to leave her cause we were both keeping each other motivated but we both had to do our own race in order to reach our goals.
Having run the race course many many times during my training (my typical weekend route for long runs), I new what to expect at each mile.
The race was going by really fast and I felt strong. It was a hard effort but I couldn't help but look forward to every mile...just to give myself a little "breather".
By mile 9 the race got really hard. I really had to dig deep if I wanted to continue walk/run. I figured this strategy was better than seeing my pace drop slower and slower.
At mile 10.5 I was back into the head wind and the wind was blowing. It was a slight uphill to the finish and I was ready to get my PR. I kept looking at my watch and my self-talk kept me going.
"You trained hard can do this. It'll feel so amazing when you cross the finish line!"
Seeing people out on the course helped so much, especially a few familiar faces.
Surprisingly, I had a little fan club of my friends/training buddies at mile 12 and boy did I need it. Without walking at mile 12, I slowed down to a jog, just hoping to keep a sub 7:30 min/mile pace. The last 2 miles were super tough but I was nearing the finish and I craving a really big PR.
Approaching the track to the finish line, I tried to pick up the pace but my tired, almost cramping legs (muscle related) were not getting the idea. Smiling and overwhelmed with an "OMG" feeling...I crossed the line with a 4-minute PR!
Finishing time: 1:32.34
7:03 min. mile average
5th age group (25-29)
102 overall
13th overall female

Jax 1/2 2010:
6:51 (this is where I started walking for 10 sec at each mile marker)
7:03 (this was my last walk/run and it was getting hard on my body to keep up the pace)
7:14 (ouch...windy!!!)
7:18 (almost there!!)
Total: 1:32.34

A big congrats to Jennifer for finishing in 1:34.49 and setting a BIG PR and 3rd in her age group (30-34).

After the race, we went home, got warm, had a recovery drink, grabbed Campy (and his sweater) and went back for awards. BRRRR. Karel was out for a 100 mile (freezing) ride.
Campy is officially famous...