Essential Sports Nutrition



As many of us like to say... "It is finally official. I have a number".

Bib numbers for the Ironman World Championships were released last week and I will be racing in the 25-29 age group as Bib Number 1846.

As I end my enjoyable recovery week, my energy is building. My body is filled with an amazing amount of energy and I can't wait to EXPLODE on Oct 8th.

I leave to Kona on October 4th where I will be joined by my amazingly supportive parents and Karel. As I approached 1 more week of "fine-tuning" before a 2 week taper, I know that all the IM-specific quality training is behind me. Knowing that I will not be able to properly recover from any more high volume training, I will resist the urge to squeeze in any more long workouts. I will continue to reflect on the past 11 weeks of progressive build in order to pay respect and thank my body and continue to work on my mental strength. My massage therapist Marjorie does a lot of visualization with me before my Ironman's and I find it extremely beneficial to ease any nerves or doubt before a major race.
As for this last block of training/taper, I do not need to "see" if I can do x-miles nor do I need to prove anything to myself that I can do x-miles in x-time. It has been quite a journey over the past year and I could not be more fortunate to have a healthy and strong body and mind as I approach this Ironman. I am constantly reminded by Karel (aka hubby, coach and the most supportive best friend) to save my best performance for race day. With 19 days to go, I am filled with happiness, relief and satisfaction that I have fully prepared my body the best that I could possible imagine, for this 140.6 mile event. I am honored to share the race course with all the amazingly fast and inspiring athletes and I look forward to putting my training to the test.

As for the fuel that contributes to my non-stop energy and good health...

Pre Brick: stove top oats w/ banana slices and WASA cracker w/ PB.
Recovery Brick:
Bike: 3hr and 15 min
Main set: 6 x 10 min @ "IM watts" w/ 10 min recovery.
*It was SUPER windy today in the Jacksonville area. But Karel has always told me since IM #1 (IMFL) "you can never beat the wind, so don't try".
Run: 1:01 (8 min/mile pace). 7.66 miles
mile 1: 7:50
mile 2: 7:40
mile 3: 7:56
mile 4: 7:53
mile 5: 8:01
mile 6: 7:53
mile 7: 7:58
.66: 9:13
A big thanks to Jennifer and her dog Molly for pacing me on ALL 7 miles of my run.
Campy is a sprinter and doesn't do distance so we saved the last mile as a special "Campy mile".

Post-ride: Anti-inflammatory smoothie
Brazil nut
Non fat plain yogurt
Skim milk
1 scoop Whey protein
(Topped with cheerios)

Post-workout meal:
French toast on Panera whole grain bread w/ spinach (in olive oil) and scrambled eggs

Salad w/ pineapple, mixed nuts, celery, romaine, shredded cheese, tomatoes, carrots, roasted green peppers, onions, plums
Quinoa w/ apricots and a dash of cinnamon
Veggie burger sandwich with spicy hummus and cheese


Keep moving forward

Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.

This is one of my favorite quotes. I think we would all agree that life is constantly changing. For one moment you feel like you are on the top of the world and the next moment you feel as if the world is crumbling on top of you. I find it important to always remember that there will be a tomorrow. There will also be a few hours later and there is also a right now.

When an athlete/fitness enthusiast tells me that he/she "messed up" with the diet or missed a workout, I simply reply via email or text "good thing there are 365 days in the year!".

In all honesty, what's one day here or there. Perhaps we are too hard on ourselves as hard-working individuals, who enjoy setting goals that may be hard to reach. But how do we know if those goals are too hard to reach if we sit around just wondering??

Last weekend a Trimarni Nutrition athlete of mine, Ed Peirick, finished IMWI. I had been helping Ed with his daily nutrition for the last few weeks as well as fine-tuning his fueling plan in order to prepare for his first ever IM.
Ed was recently featured on TV as a cancer survivor and now Ironman finisher.

NBC15 news

Here is more about Ed's story

I learn so much from my athletes. Whether I am helping someone with nutrition or coaching, I am inspired by every one of my athletes.

Another athlete of mine, Gary Bonacorsi, recently finished his season with 7 first place finishes (primarily sprint distance triathlons, 3 second place finishes and one third and fourth place finish. Gary is extremely competitive and has improved his power, speed and efficiency over the past 4 years since we started working together. Amazingly, Gary inspires me on a daily basis as he pays such close attention to detail and truely respects his body. At the age of 63 (married and still working), Gary is already planning his 2012 season with new goals and new expectations for his triathlon lifestyle.

I could write a book on each of my athletes, how each one of them inspires me on a daily basis. When I became a dietitian, I didn't know how I would be able to take my new clinical knowledge and work it into being an exercise physiologist and coach but thankfully, there is no BODY that is perfect. We each struggle in our own way to find the best nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices to keep us balance and that is what makes us each special and unique. Regardless if my athlete has Crohn's disease, has survived cancer, is choosing to be a vegan/raw food or is just seeking a healthier and/or more active lifestyle, I treat them as an individual. I believe that the body should move on a daily basis but that we must respect the body if we want it to reach our personal goals.

One person who has inspired me over the past few years is my best friend.
Laura, like so many other people who choose to partake in the multi-sport lifestyle, has her own obstacles to battle, aside from feeling sore or lacking the motivation to "stick to the training schedule". Although I consider myself very healthy in the inside, I also recognize that I can not take my health for granted.
Recently I have been filling in at Baptist Medical Center South, where Laura also works PRN. We have had a blast working together and I love being around someone so positive, especially when I am still learning as a clinical dietitian.

Laura has been battling Lupus nephritis (affecting her kidneys) for most of her life and recently, the Lupus decided to attack again. Laura is recently undergoing chemo for the second time. Despite having Lupus, Laura recently finished a half ironman (Oct 2010) and finished a marathon in Dec 2009. Laura and I met at the YMCA pool when I moved to Jacksonville in 2008 (as a future dietetic intern) and we both instantly connected when we found out that we both love fruits and veggies! Also - our doggies are BFF's.

As I mentioned before, Laura and I both respect the human body and believe in taking care of it on a daily basis. We both are not "strict" with our diets but we take pride in the food that we put into our body. We get super excited about fruits and veggies and absolutely love to cook and enjoy the outdoors with our doggies. Laura makes the best homemade veggie burgers as well as the BEST carrot cake (w/ coconut icing).
As a tribute to my best friend Laura, I would like to share my most recent yummy creation that is filled with beautiful colors that will ensure lots of energy and a great feeling inside your active body.

Sundried tomato and hummus pesto salad
Romaine lettuce
Purple onions
Red and green peppers
Chopped brazil nuts
Sundried tomatoes
Pesto Hummus
Grilled tofu (or your choice of protein)
Spicy jalepeno Cabot cheese (shredded)
Raspberry balsamic dressing


Panini sandwich

Isn't this picture beautiful? Fresh basil from my backyard basil plant.

Don't tell Karel but I haven't prepared him a "meat" dinner meal in over a week! Of course I never want to turn my hubby into a vegetarian (against his own will) but he isn't complaining about my veggie-packed meals! Best of all, he is still riding strong and feeling great..and his belly is filled with lots of color!

I was browsing through some old food pics on my computer and I came across this pic from a few weeks ago. We just LOVE our panini maker and it makes any plain sandwich 10x better and yummy smells just fill the room.
For my non-vegetarians, here is a simple tuna salad sandwich recipe for a quick and yummy lunch. For my vegetarians, whenever I make Karel tuna salad, I make the "base" of the salad and then divide it in half. I use either eggs or tofu as my protein choices for my salad and then use tuna for Karel's salad. This way I don't have to go out of my way to make Karel a separate dish and we can both enjoy a yummy panini sandwich or wrap. YUM!

Tuna Salad
Tuna, eggs or tofu
Spicy mustard
Greek yogurt
Black beans
Oats (I use a few tbsp of oats to thicken the salad)


Quick dinner eat

Where did the year go?

This morning I realized that one year ago today I became a Kona qualifier.

One year ago yesterday I wrote the following on my facebook status
"is an IMWI finisher! And super sore! Finished 4th age group, 11st amateur female and 22nd overall. 10:57 finish time. I am amazed that my body let me "race" such a challenging Ironman. Crowds were amazing and helped me dig deep."

In 25 days I finally get to dig deep once again. For I haven't done a triathlon since IMWI which was 365 days ago. I have a 4-minute PR from the Jacksonville Half marathon (1:32) under my belt but I am going into this Ironman completely fresh and I am about to explode with excitement. Nothing makes me nervous about the Ironman for it is a race based on preparation. Not only physical but how you mentally approach the day. Of course, I get nervously excited because there are a few uncontrollables that can affect the day but I have to say that for every Ironman (including my first) I have felt this amazing sense of ease as if I know what my body is capable of doing and I trust that I will race my place. Of course, with my first IM (IMFL) I didn't really have a plan so I trusted my intuition and just listened to my body for all 140.6 miles.

What I love about my facebook post was the fact that I recognized what my body allowed me to do. Thanks to my body, I was able to "race". After watching so many inspiring athletes cross the finish line at the 2011 IMWI (via Ironman live), I could only imagine the thoughts of the thousands of finishers who couldn't believe what they had just done. For it doesn't matter if it is your first Ironman or 20th, running down the Ironman finishing line is priceless.

(Ironman Kentucky 2009 - finishing time 10:54)

One thing I have learned in the past year, is that I really love putting plant-based meals into my body. Sometimes my meals are super creative and I have to text Karel a picture because I am too excited to wait for him to get home and sometimes, well, the meals are not so blog worthy.
One thing I have also learned is that every meal and snack is an opportunity to provide my body with fuel and quality nutrients. Regardless if I am training for an event or focusing on my health, I take pride in the food that I put into my body. Without rules in my diet, I also realize that by eating well most of the time, the rest of the time allows for occasional treats where my body does not mind something atypical in my diet.
There was a time in my life, many years ago, where I would have ice cream for dinner or cereal for dinner. I excused the action because of a hard workout, lack of time to prepare a meal or well, because I just "wanted it". In my mind, if I "controlled" the calories, it would come out similar to if I had prepared a regular, in my mind, my body wouldn't gain weight. However, if it only worked that way.
Many people struggle with weight loss by constantly focusing on calories. I don't believe in counting calories nor do I believe that athletes should become overconsumed with weight. With the right nutrition and fueling plan ALONGSIDE the best possible training plan, an athlete can become very efficient, thus metabolizing fat for fuel, gain strength and power and fuel workouts with less calories than once believed (which will also help to minimize GI distress) and focus solely on training due to a healthy relationship with food.
I focus on color, vitamins, minerals and overall satisfaction with my meals. I recognize foods that may enhance my performance and based on experimentation, foods that may limit my performance.
I had a busy day with work at the hospital and the a long walk with Campster and by the time I got home, I had 20 minutes before Karel got home and I was ready to eat.
I turned on the oven to 450 for the potatoes and when the oven was pre-heated I sliced the potato, tossed the slices in olive oil, sprinkled with paprika and seasoned with pepper.
Because I don't believe in going into a meal starving, I had some carrot and cucumber slices with hummus and peanuts as I was making dinner.
I then prepared a stir-fry of red beans, mushrooms, garlic, onion, eggs and broccoli in olive oil and added a few slices of cheese.
Super easy and packed with color. I also finished my meal knowing that I had quality fuel for my Tuesday morning workout. Enjoy!


Monday Product Review

What a weekend. My last BIG build before Kona!! This week I welcome a full recovery week in order to gain strength, speed and power from working hard in my last two training blocks. I have been training for 10 weeks and started my 14-week B4KONA training plan after almost 3 months of NO running due to hip pain and a stressful internship. I have to say I am feeling like I am in the best shape of my life and absolutely LOVING my training. Certainly I welcome the upcoming taper at the end of the month but I don't feel as if I "Need it" to come now. I am not burnt out and I am not losing my love for Ironman training. I love growing as an athlete after every workout and that is what I will miss the most as I near the end of this training. However, with this growth, I can't wait to put my training to the test on October 8th, 2011!
As I approach the last 3 weeks before Kona (after this well-needed recovery week), I will not lose focus on intensity but rather, lengthen recovery between intervals. The idea of a long-distance taper is to find yourself healing from the hard efforts from the previous months of training..thus, the body will likely feel extremely tired, fatigued and somewhat "off" due to the massive amount of healing that is needed from high volume IM training. As the race gets closer, I will introduce specific "speed" sets to wake up the legs and prepare my body for the 140.6 mile event. And if all goes well, I will find myself continuing to get stronger without high volume training, as well as getting more and more hungry to "compete" on race day. There will be no Ironman for me next year so I am excited to go for it in my 5th Ironman. After watching everyone compete in various events this weekend, being a coach to 8 amazing athletes and being the wife of a competitive cyclist who inspires me on a daily basis, I am fairy certain that even without an IM in my life (I will still be racing but not for 140.6 miles), I will continue to feel inspired and motivated by the many people out there searching for ways to reach their dreams, overcome obstacles and above all, live life to the fullest.

A quick product review..
Sayonara swimskin

This will be my speed suit for Kona. The Sayonara Shortjohn Swimskin suit feels absolutely amazing in the water. I tested it out this weekend at the Ponte Vedra Club pool, prior to my bike + long run workout on Sat. It feels so comfortable and not super tight around my neck or thighs. It has a great fit and I can't wait to wear it for 2.4 miles.
A little about the suit from
The Sayonara Swimskin for women is the triathlon industry's first swimskin to use patented Yamamoto Biorubber Mark III fabrication. Engineered as a lightweight SCS (super composite skin), the SAZS6 provides thermoregulation in the water and utilizes hydrogen-bonding on the surface to minimize drag and maximize water repellency. Built to provide a super low drag coefficient and unrivaled performance, the Women's Sayonara Shortjohn Swimskin reduces stress and muscle fatigue, while a special stability core helps swimmers maintain proper body position in the water.

Tri-Layer Construction features a limestone base micro-honeycomb exterior to maximize water repellency, a flexible titanium alloy mid-layer that contours to the natural shape of the swimmer's body and a single knit stretch polyester inner-layer to provide a low water absorption ratio.

Collapsible Travel cup by Popware for Pets

My mom gave Campy a wonderful gift when we went to visit them over Labor day. What a perfect gift for my traveling poochie (Campy goes by many nicknames).
I absolutely LOVE this travel cup as it expands for use and collapses for travel. It comes with a quick release clip and the cup is light and holds the perfect amount of water. Karel has several races coming up in Sept and then one more when we return from Kona so I plan to make good use of this travel cup as Karel finishes up the rest of his 2011 season.