Essential Sports Nutrition


Rev3 Half Iron Race report (spectator version) - part II

While waiting for Karel to finish the windy 56 mile bike portion, my parents, Campy and I walked around and ate breakfast under a pavilion. It was a nice morning picnic (with a great view) as I enjoyed a PB and J sandwich and a banana.

The tracking for Rev3 was excellent. A bit confusing at first because it is different than Ironman Live tracking but it is extremely advanced. The coolest part about the expo was having two huge TV's hooked up to the Internet, which allowed the spectators to track on a big screen (vs our iphones). The tracking included things like splits and paces but took it one step further by not only telling where the markers were for splits but also what time the athletes arrived to the check point and how far behind the leader in their age group. I found this very useful because I was able to guess when Karel would be back at the transition area and to tell how he was doing in the race. Karel had been dealing with hamstring soreness all week due to working on our new 90-gallon fish tank. More like doing an hour of dead lifts trying to clean and prep our new tank (can't wait to share pics). Karel wanted to take a few risks during this race but with the questionable hamstring ache, Karel knew he would need to play it smart if he wanted to finish.
One of the greatest outcomes of being an experienced athlete is learning from mistakes. I fully believe that as athletes, we are all going to make mistakes and wish we could have a do-over. I remember a few years ago when I was not training smart and not wanting to taper for a 10K, I continued lifting on race week in addition to not tapering because I didn't want to lose fitness. After struggling with super tight hamstrings all race week, I realized that this interfered with not only my physical performance on race day but also my mindset leading up to the race. Rather than keeping my energy bottled for race day, I was spending all my energy worrying about my hamstrings and telling myself that I really regretted by decision to not taper for a race. Since then, I learned and no matter what race, I respect my body before and after races. Karel comes from a different background and with cycling, he is use to racing weekend after weekend so he is looking forward to learning as he goes.....Of course, we are a team and he asks for advice but sometimes we can't plan for everything. Thankfully, a massage, epson salt bath, stretching and a few non weight bearing workouts on race week helped him feel a bit more normal by race day.

(wearing my Oakley shorts and shine support top)
After Karel finished the bike, he quickly transitioned to the run. Again, still learning, Karel forgot that he can run with his hat and race belt and put it on as he is running. Looking back, he was frustrated that he had a slow transition by putting on everything in front of his bike instead of grabbing and going. Live and learn.

With only tailwind for the first 16 miles, Karel battled with inner thigh (adductor) cramps on one leg for the last third of the bike. He even joked that he got "chicked" because he was trying to stretch at an aid station. Oh, but don't worry - he made sure to tell me that he passed the female pro a little later in the bike portion. Karel always has the best play-by-plays post-race.

What I love the most about Karel as an athlete is that he is competitive and smart as an athlete. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to race this race like he wanted because his leg was screaming at him during the last 3rd of the bike. He was really looking forward to putting his cycling skills to the test by riding in the wind but despite trying to keep his competition in his sights, he wasn't able to respond with the other guys. We aren't excuses type of athletes so Karel is thankful for finishing the ride but is anxious to figure out his long-term race-day only cramping issue (since he was a young kid and racing as a cyclist) so that it isn't a limiter in triathlons.

Many would blame sodium but I rarely address "sodium" with my athletes (or Karel) when someone tells me they cramp. I have worked with many athletes who suffer from cramping and before I make recommendations, I make sure I understand the athletes training plan, racing plan, diet and sport nutrition regime. Then I ask the two most common questions "Do you stretch enough and do you strength train?

Other focal points for dealing with cramping:
-not enough magnesium in the diet, too much calcium in the diet
-not warming up enough or actively/cooling down before training/racing
-nutrient timing for the daily diet
-nutrient timing for sport nutrition (before and after training) or lack of sport nutrition during training
-type of sport nutrition
-training periodization, taper and race day pacing (intensity)
-strength training
-recovery nutrition
-too much processed food, not enough real food
-epson salt baths and flex power cream/massage/physical therapy
-muscular or nerve related?
Amazingly, Karel finished the bike in 2:21 with the following splits:
Split 1: 16.8 miles - average 27.39 mph
Split 2: 19.2 miles - average 25.27 mph
Split 3: 20 miles - average 20.66 mph

Karel looked strong when I saw him but he told me he was cramping really bad. I got a little nervous because Karel has dealt with cramping in cycling races and when he cramps, he can't dig deep. Karel loves to dig deep and suffer so I knew this run may not be really pretty. In cycling races, if you can't keep up, your day is done and you don't finish. In triathlons, certainly it is an individualized sport so we all have the opportunity to get our own body to the finish line. Having only quit one race in my life (Miami marathon in 2008) due to extreme heel pain (which started during the race which was odd, but it was pouring rain before and during the race so maybe I did something too it - I guess I need to re-read my race report) I just hoped Karel would find a way to finish (albeit slower than he would like) and would walk/run if needed to not make things worse or he would have the strength to stop and DNF so that he wouldn't hurt himself long-term. Either way, I wanted Karel to race smart.
The first time when I saw Karel he was less than 1/2 mile away from transition and just starting the run. My dad took this picture about a mile or so into the race and my dad said that he looked strong. Looking at the pics that my dad took as Karel continued running, I thought the same....but still worried about (that's what wife's are for, right??)
I checked, re-checked and kept checking the results and nothing was coming up for Karel, despite the results coming in for the top guys in Karel's age group. Karel was sitting in 4th place for his age group (35-39) and with some tough competition ahead of him, I started to get worried....he quit. I would never be made at him for quitting but just more concerned as to what was going on in his body. I think more than anything, Karel is so new to the sport that he is going to need many more races under his belt to learn how to mentally get over obstacles during races. Because I work with all levels of athletes (both with coaching and nutrition), Karel is certainly an anomaly in that he knows how to suffer. But what I often remind my athletes is that we are all out to race our own race and we can't expect things to be easy. There are going to be moments that you are forced to make a decision that can either positively or negatively affect the rest of the race. These moments occur over and over again but as athletes, we love to take chances. However, you can take smart risks and I hoped Karel was doing just that.
I texted Karel's boss Jeff K. (also a triathlete) that Karel was cramping. He texted back, "he can't be hurting that bad for running sub 7 min/miles!"

Not too long later, I see Karel and I was relieved. Still looking great, I could tell he was hurting. Since we have all "been there", I could only cheer him on and be his #1 fan. I wanted him to know I believed in him so that hopefully, he could believe in himself. Let's not forget that despite Karel being a phenomenal cyclist, this is his 4th ever triathlon, 2nd half IM (modified) and only 4th time "racing" a run off the bike. 13.1 miles is a looooong way to go.

Finally, Karel's splits came up.
Split 1: .8 miles - 6:27 min/mile pace
Split 2: 2.95 miles - 6:59 min/mile pace
Split 3: 3.28 miles - 6:50 min/mile pace
Campy was a trooper all day - talk about an Ironman doggy day! But we still had cheering to do!

Around 7 miles, we saw Karel and Campy gave his biggest bark to cheer for his daddy.

Looking strong and focused, it would be another 40 or so minutes (give or talk a few aid station walk breaks - which Karel said he walked every aid station) before we saw Karel at the finish.

Waiting anxiously, we saw a few friends to keep us busy......

I spotted my nutrition athlete and friend Katie A. in the medical tent, hearing that she collided with a motorized wheelchair crossing the street. She was flying (literally) at 27 mph when she hit the wheelchair and her bike did not survive....luckily, she did. A sad way to end her season as she was beyond ready for a strong performance but thankfully, she will live to race again.
Truly digging deep, Karel ran down the finish chute and I could tell he was so happy to be finished. The finishing line was amazing and there was a big jumbo tron behind the finish line with each athletes picture. Rev3 did an amazing job with the volunteers, support and professionalism of this race - I highly recommend Rev3triathlons!

I don't know how he did it, but Karel managed to run 1:31!!!
His last two splits:
3 miles - 6:58 min/mile
3 miles - 7:14 min/mile
Total for 56 mile bike + 13.1 mile run = 3:53
RESULTS: 5th age group (out of 45). 16th male (out of 305)

Karel was too sore for a massage and didn't want an IV so he just suffered in a chair for a few minutes and was then able to shuffle his way to me to take a picture.

Karel is really happy with his performances this season with 4 top 5 age group finishes. He has had time to reflect and he knows he has a lot of work to do before Lake Placid next year. We both love to work hard so I'm really excited to see what lies ahead in 2013. Also - the fish tank is finally set up!!! Karel is fully enjoying his off season and is looking forward to stretching more and building strength in his adductors. Also, a big congrats to Trimarni Nutrition athlete Chris D. who race strong with the race day conditions. Chris worked really hard on her sport nutrition and I'm excited to see what she can do with all 3 sports put together.

I recently read my friend (and mental coach) Gloria's race report from Austin 70.3. She (and her hubby) had their own obstacles overcome in the race so I wanted to share a very strong quote that she posted in her blog:

"My, the amazing wonders of the body and mind! The mind always wants to protect the body and will diminish pain perception so that it can continue to function in the manner that it needs.NEEDS, however, is subjective because we triathletes choose to put our bodies under such stress. At the same time, we live and learn, and then move on to try to be better versions of ourselves each day, each race, and hopefully each living moment. Sometimes we don't know how far we are willing to go until we are pushed to our limits...."


Holiday Eating: Mission possible

For my November column on Iron Girl, I choose to take a different approach on holiday eating "tips". If you google "holiday eating tips" you will likely come across pages and pages of links to eat this, don't eat this, do this, don't do that. Can we all agree the nutrition and exercise tips are out there but not much has changed in the past few years??


As you know, my approach to the diet and exercise has little to do with the act of exercise and eating but more so with the approach. I believe that in order to change habits, we need to address the habits to be changed, the outcome we will receive when we change them and most importantly, why it is important to change habits. I also believe in changing lifestyles. Changing the way people live life, act and behave.

The other day I received an email from one of my friends and former nutrition athletes who is a mom of a few teenagers. Her son was mad at her for wanting to hand out raisins on Halloween. I laughed because I thought it was a great idea but I could just see myself at 14 or 15 years old, doing the same at my parents "Uggg, you are so embarrassing mom!" hehe

She wanted some "healthier" treats so I suggest dark chocolate Hershey kisses or mini Hershey bars. But I wanted to digress.....

Why is it on holidays that we want to or feel the need to watch what we eat so carefully? Why is it that so many people excuse the office candy bowl munchies that calls your name every around 3pm, 365 days a year? Why is it that many people feel the need to have dessert after dinner, every night, 365 days a year? Why is it that so many people feel guilty when eating something indulging on a holiday or special event (ex. birthday, celebration) but that same "regret" gets unnoticed when eating sweets at home due to mindless eating/snacking, 365 days a year?

If you eat well most of the time, you don't have to worry about the rest of the time.Consider your thoughts before blaming your actions, when it comes to holiday (and daily) eating.

Holiday Eating: Mission PossibleBy Marni Sumbal

If you’ve ever tried to stay on track with nutrition throughout the winter holiday season, you can forget the saying “it’s as easy as pie.” Weight gain, stomach distress, lethargy and poor body image are a few of the many common side effects of approaching the holidays with an unhealthy relationship with food and the body.
Do you feel out of control with holiday sweets? With 365 days in a year and only 3 federal holidays between November and January (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day), consider that your anxiety about preventing the typical holiday weight gain may be a bit exaggerated. Perhaps it is the added stress about an overabundance of seasonal holiday food (much prior to the actual holiday), alongside the unintentional weight gain from January until November, that causes you to feel uneasy about the holiday festivities.
Do you feel better after you eat than before? If so, there’s absolutely no reason to worry about a few trivial added pounds over the holidays. Instead of speaking poorly about your body in front of the mirror (thus forgetting what your body has allowed you to do in life, like crossing finishing lines), find enjoyment as you indulge in your grandma’s cobbler, prepared with love and memories. Whether you are eating a balanced, wholesome diet or enjoying the occasional treat, never forget the importance of mindful and intuitive eating. As you eat for fuel and for health, eat with a plan and a purpose.
Instead of adding to the hundreds of tips available on the Internet on the topic “Healthy Holiday Eating,” here are a few tips to overcome the anxiety that comes with having an unhealthy relationship with food.
Instead of saying……
1) “I shouldn't eat this,” say
“I am so thankful that I have an opportunity to enjoy some occasional treats (prepared with love) with the people who I care about the most in this world.”
2) “It doesn’t matter if I eat that, I already ruined my diet,” say
“I am really proud of myself for being able to regret, reflect and change my past habits, which will ultimately help me reach my short and long term goals.”
3) “I may as well have another because I already cheated,” say
“I am thankful that I have a balanced diet where no food is off-limit. Because I eat well most of the time, I don’t have to worry about the rest of the time.”
4) “I'm being so bad,” say
“Knowing that my daily habits such as not going into a meal starving, eating balanced meals, snacking nutritiously with a purpose, drinking plenty of water and focusing on wholesome foods are helping me to control blood sugar and reduce cravings/overeating, I feel great because I know I will stop eating when I am satisfied and will be well-fueled for my next workout.”
5) “I am going to be so fat after this,” say
“I know that my weight fluctuates throughout the day and not all is lost or ruined in one day or in one meal.”
6) “Uggh, I need to find a diet to help me lose weight, fast!” Say,
“I know that an extreme diet is not a lifestyle. I want to create balanced eating habits in order to live a quality life in order to reduce my risk for disease, to help increase longevity and to improve my fitness. If I cannot address my weaknesses on my own, I will seek out a qualified professional (ex. Registered Dietitian) to help me in my personal nutrition journey.”

Final reminder: If your body is in good health, recovering from injury/illness/disease or if you are overcoming obstacles in your life, spend your energy on being thankful for living another year. Never forget that food should not be your life. Use food wisely and let it enhance your life.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N

Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Runner's World, Fitness Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.


Staying strong

Happy Halloween from my cute little spider!!
In light of the recent damage from hurricane Sandy, I have been struggling to finish Karel's race report as well as blogging about Halloween Nutrition Tips or talking about my training. I've been updating my Trimarni Facebook page several times throughout the day with articles, tips and motivational posts (be sure to LIKE for daily updates) but I just didn't have the energy to talk about happy events in my life when others are struggling.
Early this morning I was voluntarily swimming with access to a pool. I was drinking clean water, I refueled with fresh food and used appliances that were charged with electricity. I drove my car to and from the Y and I was comfortably warm with the cooler temps outside.
Throughout today, I have been keeping up with the Sandy aftermath but more so with the updates on the NYC marathon. I typically do not write blogs about my opinion on controversial topics but I do want to express my concern of having a 26.2 mile running race when many people are suffering up North. I feel it is in the best interest of the runners to cancel the event for a marathon experience (let along the NYC marathon) is not just about the miles and the medal. Traveling for a race is all about experiences and making memories. But for a 26.2 mile event, this is a big toll on the body. My concern is the amount of water that is going to be used for the event when many people are without water and heat. IV's, medical and first aid - typical overlooked needs of athletes post (or during) a race yet vital components of the medical action plan to help the many survivors of Sandy's destruction. Eating out, supporting local businesses, keeping the body (and immune system) in good health (and not risking chance for disease with the destruction of the hurricane) and enjoying a race experience to the fullest with an event staff that is experienced and planned for all controllables.
This blog post is not designed to make anyone participating in the NYC marathon feel guilty about their decision to run. Certainly, with all that training, you are ready to put your strong body to good use.
One of the many great things of calling myself an athlete is being able to carry with me a strong passion for life. Obstacles occur every day and for many, they may seem impossible. For the athlete, he/she finds a way no matter how difficult the task is at hand. If anything, the harder the challenge, the more exciting the journey ahead.
I posted this quote before Karel's race on Sunday (Rev3 Florida) which turned into a duathlon due to strong winds. The day was expected to be brutal for the athletes due to the forceful winds but I felt so much positive energy from the athletes.
In sports, we (athletes) do not stop ourselves from doing things because of the risk of "chance" happening. We take chances every day because we see the outcome of success as something bigger than the chance of something going wrong and things not going our way.
Races get cancelled. Races get modified. Training gets disrupted. Yes - life happens.
As we all know, life throws curve balls but it also has grand slams. Could you imagine your life if you never took a chance? Never signed up for a race for the chance of getting injured, the race being cancelled or being sick on race day? No. You sign up for a race for what you hope to become by race day. The finish line is simply a bonus for becoming someone you never thought you could become.
In life, we have many controllables and then we have a few uncontrollables that stress us out. Ugh, rain on a race day when the entire week was sunny. Ugh, a flat tire when you have not had a flat in years. Ugh, an upset stomach while running when your nutrition strategy has never failed you.
Thinking about the individuals affected by hurricane Sandy, my thoughts and prayers go out to those (both human and animals) who are forced to stay strong.
Donation tips can be found HERE
I've learned a lot in life as an athlete. One reminder I'd like to share with everyone is to always be grateful for the controllables in your life. Be thankful for your health, your family, your close friends and your job. Sometimes life will not go as you like and uncontrollables will ruin your perfect plan. But if athletics can teach you anything, never forget that you are strong enough to handle anything that is thrown your way. It may suck at first and you may repeat to yourself "why? This is not fair!" but keep in mind that your worst day may be someones best day.
Life  is likely moving on. It is up to you if you want to move on with it. Likely, there will be more races, more opportunities and more chances to show how strong you really are.


Tabouleh stir fry

In the Sept/October issue of Eatingwell there was a small article titled "Fronds with Benefits"  discussing a few veggies who have a leafy green bonus attached to the top of them. Karel likes to use celery root (the "bulb" of the celery) which is hard to find around our area (we find it at Whole Foods) which is perfect for his Czech soups and recipes, inspired by his mom. I know that celery leaves are super nutritious so I often throw them into my smoothie w/ a celery stick (to help with inflammation). Make sure when you buy the following veggies that you use the entire vegetable:

1) Radishes - radish leaves have a pungent and peppery flavor similar to arugula. A favorite in Asian cooking, they're great in a stir-fry.

2) Fennel - a staple of Greek cooking, fennel's feathery green fronds have a bold anise flavor. Use a little as an herb to season fish or gazpacho.

3) Onions - be sure to make use of the zesty green tops of mild spring onions - try them sauteed in a frittata or minced into a salad dressing.

4) Beets - fans of chard will love beet greens, which have a similar earthy, mineral flavor. Slice them thinly and add to green salads.

Today I taught a cardiac nutrition class at Baptist Medical Center Beaches which from 5:30-6:30pm. This required me to leave my house around 4:30 and after questions at the end of the class, I arrived home around 7:30pm.

As much as I love cooking, I don't like to cook later in the evening or on a hungry stomach. My interval run this morning was a toughy and I really wanted a good dinner to finish off a great day of refueling and fueling.

At 3:30pm, I prepared dinner.

Thirty minutes later, dinner was ready and I called Karel to let him know that dinner would be ready when he got home from work a little after 7pm. This is a habit that I acquired a few years ago after many times of coming home hungry and missing a vital opportunity to nourish and fuel my body with a convenient option (aka cereal). It takes a little planning and creativity but it makes for a great evening knowing that I can come home to a pre-cooked homemade meal.  Enjoy!

Tabouleh stir fry
Bulgur - prepared with olive oil, mint, parsley, garlic (to save time, buy boxed tabouleh and use 1/2 seasoning packet to reduce sodium and bulk up with salt-free herbs and spices from home)

Green bell peppers (2) - thick slices
Frozen mixed bag of onions, pepper and celery
Carrots (bagged, pre-sliced)
Onion - thick slices
Canned pineapple (in juice) - this was leftover so I added it for a nice sweetness, I used about 1/4 can without juice (I'm not afraid to be creative with my food :)
Frozen edamame
1/2 can diced tomatoes w/ basil and oregano
2 egg whites + 1 whole egg

1. Mix the above ingredients (except bulgur and eggs) on a large deep skillet on medium heat with a little olive oil (the water from the frozen veggies will help prevent sticking).
2. Stir occasionally until veggies are soft.
3. Add eggs and scramble in the veggie mixture (may need to add a little oil to prevent sticking unless there is enough extra water in pan from veggies).
4. Once eggs are scrambled, turn off heat and cover.
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Combine tabouleh (bulgur mix) w/ stir fry mixture and enjoy!


Rev3tri Half Iron Race Report (spectator version) - pre race

Off to Venice Beach Florida for the Rev3tri! Campy and I were excited for our spectator responsibilities but first, a quick stop to see my parents in New Port Richey, Florida.
Campy loves the resort-style living at my parent's house. Lots of love from his grandparents and plenty of room to run off a leash and chase the birds in the sky.

Saturday was a beautiful morning. Albeit, a bit windy, I was looking forward to running on the Starkey trail near my parent's house. I left around 6:30am and with no specific intervals or zones, I enjoyed moving my body through the dark outdoors until the sun came up. It was one of those runs where I could have ran forever. Eight miles later I got on my bike for an easy spin - fast in the tailwind, steady in the headwind. Karel tested out his disc and decided for the front wheel to go with the 60 mm vs to 90 mm due to the anticipated winds for Sunday. Karel felt better holding a straight line in the slighter "calmer" winds on Saturday with his 60mm. Even from an aerodynamic POV he knew with stronger winds the front wheel would be more wobbly so he decided to go for a smaller dish for his wheel in the front.  Around 10:30am, we headed to Venice Beach Florida and around 12:30pm we arrived to the race venue.
The race venue was outstanding. Very well organized until the end of the race and the volunteers were incredible (and so many of them!). I met up with a few friends as well as Trimarni nutrition athletes so that was fun to see some familiar faces. I said hi to Tracey (Campy's #1 fan), Chloe, Katie, Chris D. and looked for Kim S. but didn't end up seeing her until Sunday. After the athlete meeting (which I believe should always be mandatory for athletes) and picking up Karel's packet/bag (which included a new pair of Blue Seventy goggles) we found out that because of the gusty winds at Venice Beach (much more forceful at 25-35pmh compared to a bit north at my parents) there would be no bike check in on Saturday and the swim would likely be cancelled. Although Karel is not the strongest swimmer, he has worked really hard on his swim and he really looked forward to the ocean swim for more practice before IM Lake Placid next year. I think the most stressful part was mentally not knowing if there would be a swim so we prepared as if there wouldn't be a swim.

After picking up some eats at Publix grocery store around 2:30pm (similar to Branson for Karel - chicken, yogurt, rice, fruit and for me, he got me salad, hardboiled egg, a veggie sub and for both of us, Starbucks instant coffee packets for the morning. We forgot to get milk but we survived). Our hotel was super cute!! We stayed for one night at the Island Breeze Inn and it was just like we were in Key West or on an island. Campy loves traveling with us and for a $10 pet fee, this place met all our travel needs thanks to a 'fridge, microwave, sink, kitchen supplies and plenty of room to make this our home for 1 night.
After a yummy lunch (which included some of my foods from home in my bag of goodies), I spent just a little time answering emails before it was time for the Ironman broadcast on NBC. What a great way to finish the day!

After a lighter "dinner" around 6:30pm, it was time for Karel to pack his transition bags, prep his bottles (Hammer Sustained Energy mixed w/ gu roctane powder - 1 scoop each + EFS gel flask with 400 calories) and put in fridge (1 in freezer for last hour of bike, 1 bottle to pour into aero bottle), review course maps and do a little last minute stretching and foam rolling. Our little one was exhausted but never complained. We finished the evening watching the cutest show on the Animal Planet about kitties and it made our hearts melt. A perfect calm way to end the day at 9:30pm before a 4:30am wake up call.
Good Morning!! Campy loves his roaching position - perfect for belly rubs and stretching.
Karel started his morning with coffee, followed by Oatmeal, a Bolthouse protein drink (just like in Branson 70.3), a little banana and then sipped on Ultragen (1 scoop) pre race w/ a stinger waffle. Karel and I have different pre race foods but with this being Karel's 4th triathlon, he is still learning what works best for him before a triathlon compared to his long history of cycling races. Karel knows his body better than me and he always communicates with me as to what works/doesn't work so that as I prepare for our race day, I can stock-up on our pre race foods.

On the plus side, the weather was perfect. Slightly cool despite gusty and forceful winds - only to get stronger as the day went on. We found out via Twitter feed from Rev3tri (which was great for instant communication about the race) that the swim was cancelled for the everyone. The pro's would do a 1.5K run before the 56 mile bike + 13.1 mile run and the age groupers would line up by number (essentially age group) and run "Lemond style" from the swim enter with no gear, just like exiting the water. Athletes could wear socks and sunglasses but no shoes or helmets. The race was also pushed back from 8am start to around 8:25am which is why Karel had the stinger waffle due to a possible push-back in start time. After setting up his transition in the very cool bike racks, we rested in the car until around 7:45am when I met up with my parents who drove very early that morning to watch the race.

It was time for Karel to line up for the start so I gave him a kiss and good luck wishes and told him to just enjoy the day. There was nothing easy about this race due to the winds so I knew for his 4th triathlon, there would be a lot of risks and guessing on his effort on his bike and mental strength for the run. Karel transitioned quickly to get his bike and put on his shoes and helmet and he was off for a very challenging flat 56 mile bike ride.......