Essential Sports Nutrition


Pre-race nerves

Tomorrow I will be racing a 10K with Karel. The Native Sun 10K in Mandarin, just a few miles down the road. I'm super excited for the race and I've worked really hard to break 40 minutes. I've trained my body and my mind and tomorrow I will give it my best effort. It's going to hurt all over, my body is going to want to quit around mile 4 and my mind will try to tell me that I can't do it for the last mile. No race is without a battle between the mind and body throughout the race but I've learned that although we (as athletes) have a lot to face on race day, there are a few things that we can control on the days leading up to a race.

As a long-time athlete, I've experienced all types of pre-race nerves. From swimming competitively in High School in order to do well at State Championships to swimming in college and not letting down my teammates in order to qualify for Nationals. Then, in racing in my first triathlon, my first marathon, my first half Ironman and my first Ironman. All nerves for the unknown. I feel getting nervous never goes away but we all become better (or worse) and managing those pre-race nerves. However, for most of us, despite how bad those nerves may feel, we still toe the line and put our hard work to the test.

In working with a variety of athletes from all fitness levels, I've dealt with many different pre-race nerves. I've heard it all.....

I suck
I'm not ready
I'm not as fast as I use to be
I am worried about......
I hate the way I look

It's amazing as to what we tell ourselves before a race or even worse, how we speak to others about our personal feelings about an upcoming event.

One of the most important things in managing your pre-race nerves is confidence. This is not the same as being arrogant. Confidence is knowing that you have put in the work. Confidence is being honest with yourself as to the work you did (or didn't do) and how you will perform on race day. Confidence is knowing that there will always be people faster and slower than you.

Confidence is the ability to be grateful for the voluntary opportunity that you give yourself to pay money for an event, put in the work to get to the starting line, challenge the body and mind until the finish line and cross the line exhausted only to receive a t-shirt and maybe a medal. Confidence comes when we know that our choice to participate in a sport is an individual choice and to get to the finishing line, it is purely an individual effort to make the body work. Confidence shines bright when we enjoy being pushed, beat and challenged by others. You see, sports teach us so many life lessons and one of those is confidence.

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
Eleanor Roosevelt

The worst thing about confidence is that you can't buy it, you can only work on it. Funny thing is that people can give it to you and they can also take it away from you. But above all, if you don't have faith in yourself, every training session and every pre-race effort will be put to waste for you won't be able to reach your full potential.

I find a lot of athletes take part in fear-based training due to increasing pre-race nerves. To me, there is no need to test yourself in training just to prove to yourself that you can do "it". Sure, we all need to train the body to adapt favorably to the stress we put on it but I believe that athletes do the best when they save their best performance for race day. Why waste your best effort in training for an audience of one? Why show off to your training buddies when you can execute a fantastic performance on race day? Fear based training and not trusting yourself only leads to too many risks during training and an over-trained body on race day.

If you are participating in an event or race this weekend or in the near future, don't let pre-race nerves get the best of you. If you hurt when you run, walk. If biking hard makes your legs ache, just slow down. If you can't catch your breath while swimming, just flip over on your back and take a moment to regain focus. If you are one to compare yourself to others on the starting line, why not think about all the people who aren't as strong as you to get to the starting line? If you compare yourself to an old-version of yourself, why not thank your body for keeping you healthy and strong for so many years as you age. If you "wish you would have" there's no point wasting energy on something outside of your control (uncontrollables will steal your energy, just like negative people).

As you gear up for your upcoming race, take a moment to assess the work you did, the work you didn't do, the mental strength you have, the mental toughness you are still learning to achieve, the goals you have accomplished, the goals you have for the future and most of all, as you stand on your starting line, remind yourself as to why it was so important to you to get to the finish line. As you fear the unknown ahead of you, have trust your body, mind and abilities and don't forget......there are no requirements for calling yourself an athlete, how you get to the finishing line (so long as it is legal) and what you weigh (or look like). The best races are not told on paper but rather in a race report after the race is complete.

Go out there and race your own race. And when the race is over, reflect on your accomplishment as you return to your "normal" life with your "normal" friends and "normal" job. If you struggle with pre-race nerves, just remind yourself that you are part of a select group - you are an adult athlete who chooses to partake in competitive sports despite having a job, not getting paid to compete and balancing a family/life. Your pre-race nerves are merely a sign that you are ready that you did the work and it is time to show off your talent.

Best of luck! Don't forget to thank your body at the finishing line.......


In case you missed it....

Wow - can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving? Time is flyiiiiiinnnnngggg by and before we know it, 2013 will be here!!!

Any big plans for 2013?

Since November just started and is almost finished, I wanted to provide you with a few things, in case you missed it.

First off...another pic of Campy sleeping. I can never get enough of him and never will I say I have too many pictures of Campy. Thankfully, I don't only take pictures of Campy but I make memories with him. This was after he ran a 5:40 min/mile (for half a mile) with Karel at the end of our long run on Sunday. Apparently, I have been running too slow for Mr. Greyhound.

In the Winter 2012 issue of Food & Nutrition Magazine, there was a product in the "New Product" section on pg 8. that caught my eye.

PlanetBox - Stainless steel, BPA-free, bento-style lunchbox

This box is designed for adults and kids and its three compartments hold a variety of foods in thoughtful portion sizes.
Last month I was quoted in Runner's World Magazine for the grocery store article by Matthew Kadey. This month, I was quoted in Runner's World for One-pot wonders. Check out the magazine available on news stands for some delicious recipes by Matthew Kadey, MS, RD.
I just finished up my next article for my Plate Not Pills column for Lava Magazine online. I am so excited to share with you all my yummy creation to go along with my article. As always, I will share on my Facebook page when the article is published.

But for now, in case you  missed it, I have a new monthly column on which is dedicated to health and wellness. For my first article, I decided to discuss a topic that is all too common to athletes....body image.

My monthly Iron Girl column comes out with the  monthly newsletter at the 1st of every month, but in case you missed it, here's my article on holiday eating.

Mission Possible: Holiday Eating

Also, I try to contribute to USAT Multisport Fuel Station as often as I can, so this month I decided to do another article on holiday "thinking."

 Reframe for the holiday season

Ladies, looking for a community that supports, encourages and inspires women to perform beautifully in all aspects of their lives?  I recommend signing up for Oakleypbc.
You can earn points for prizes by being involved on the website and spreading the word about products and gear.

Lastly, Karel and I were looking for an early season Half Ironman. We were hoping for a Rev3 event for March/April but with the 2013 schedule just released, we were sad to not to see an early triathlon. That's ok - the rest of the series looks amazing and depending on how things go after Ironman Lake Placid we can think about the rest of the season if Kona is not on our horizon.

If you are interested in an early season triathlon in Florida for a great price, I recommend

HITS triathlon series

Karel and I signed up for the half ironman on March 23-24th for a fantastic price of $75 (EACH). The price will increase on 11/19/12 so be sure to register early. We are really excited to dedicate our energy to a half IM as it can be exhausting to think about an Ironman distance triathlon for an entire year. We have a lot of work ahead of us and as usual, working on speed and endurance, without the higher volume IM training is key for a successful year of racing and training. For the past few years, I have dedicated 14 weeks specifically to Ironman training so I look forward to another year of dedicated my energy to two big races - one half IM, early season, a mid season 1-2 week break and then IM specific training.

Ok...I think I caught you up on everything. Have a great rest of the week! Off to do my daily evening stretching and cuddle with Campy....


The Plant-Powered Diet - book review teaser


More info : HERE
As a long-time reader of Environmental NutritionI was very excited to receive an email from Sharon Palmer's PR agent who asked if I would like to receive a free copy of her new book. I will be honest in saying that it's been many, many years since I have picked up a "nutrition" book as much of my time (and money) has been used educating myself on topics of nutrition and sport nutrition thanks to lectures from professors, school, conferences, journals, research and real-world experience. Hands down, there's no better truth in understanding the relationship between food and exercise than training for and participating in an Ironman event (140.6 miles). Additionally, as much as I love reading credible research, it isn't until I step foot in the hospital and see trends among patients, that I begin to understand the beautiful relationship between the body and lifestyle choices.
I took advantage of this opportunity to read a book that encourages individuals to eat more whole, plant-strong foods, in order to achieve optimal health.
As you have learned to realize, I am not one for fad diets. I don't do extreme, even though it's desired by the public. I don't quick fixes because I believe that hard work and patience bring the best outcomes. I also believe that we are all individuals and every body should be respected.

As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I will be celebrating my 19th turkey-free Thanksgiving next week. Almost twenty years of no meat or fish all because at the tender age of 11ish, I decided I didn't want to "kill animals". My mom, dad, brother and Karel all eat meat - that's ok. All my relatives eat meat. What we all share in common is an appreciation for keeping our bodies in good health. It's funny because I don't consider myself "different" than anyone else (well, I may be a bit different in that I train for events that last for 10+ hours of swim, bike, run - kinda extreme) because there is no nutrition-related research study to match the genetic code and lifestyle for everyone in this universe. However, there is a common theme that we can all learn to more fruits and veggies and stay active for the rest of your life.

When it comes to radical shifts in dietary habits, many people have mentioned that Forks Over Knives changed the way they eat. I'll agree that it was a very powerful documentary encouraging people to eat a more plant strong diet but it did not mention that this "diet" was a vegan low-fat, 100-percent plant-based, no oil, no nuts, no seeds, no fish "diet". The results were significant when the patients started following this "diet" but certainly, a lifestyle of eating a large amount of processed, refined, high sugar, high fat, high salt foods will put your body at risk for health problems that will need to be reversed or minimized if you want to live a quality life.
So the question it the diet itself that should be followed by the public to "be healthy" or would it be more practical for us all to take a more proactive approach with our lifestyle choices in order to live a more quality of life? Certainly, I think most people would agree that that they need to work on their relationship and their body and not just start making a list of off-limit foods. In my opinion, I would rather take a more balanced approach to diet and exercise since I am not a fan of rules when it comes to how I choose to eat and live.

Here are a few other approaches (some extreme) to a plant-based diet but with a few similar trends:
(Source here)
Barnard Diet (by Neal Barnard, MD, founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine): Based on starches, vegetables and fruits. Diet is low-fat. Emphasis is on no animal foods, ever.

Biblical Daniel Diet: More than 2500 years ago a diet of vegetables and water was found to improve the health of men in 10 days, compared to men eating meat (the king’s food).

China Study Diet (by T. Colin Campbell, PhD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Animal foods may account for 10% or fewer of foods consumed.

CHIP Program (The Complete Health Improvement Program by Dr. Hans Diehl): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis is on eating low-fat.

Esselstyn Diet (by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. No nuts, seeds, avocados, or other fatty plant foods are allowed. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Engine 2 Diet (by Rip Esselstyn): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.
Fuhrman Diet (by Joel Fuhrman, MD): Based on green and yellow vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Not always low in fat. Small amounts of animal foods allowed. Emphasis is on eating “nutrient-dense” greens.

Hallelujah Diet (by Rev. George Malkmus): Consists of 85% raw, uncooked, and unprocessed plant-based food, and 15% cooked, plant-based foods.

Kempner Rice Diet (by Walter Kempner, MD): Based on rice and fruits. More plant foods and a few animal foods are allowed after recovery. Emphasis is on eating very low sodium.

Macrobiotic Diet: Based on grains (rice) and vegetables. Fish, seafood, seeds, and nuts may be eaten occasionally.

McDougall Diet (by John McDougall, MD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Healthy, trim people can eat some nuts, seeds, and avocados. Animal foods for holidays, at most. Emphasis is on eating starches.

Natural Hygiene Diet (by Herbert M. Shelton, ND): Advocates a raw food diet of vegetables, fruits, and nuts; and also periodic fasting and food combining.

Ornish Diet (by Dean Ornish, MD): Based on starches, vegetables and fruits. Low-fat dairy, some fish, and fish oils are used at times. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Popper Diet (by Pam Popper, PhD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.

Pritikin Diet (by Nathan Pritikin): The original diet was based on starches, vegetables and fruits. Small amounts of meat, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy are allowed. Emphasis is on eating very low-fat.
I have a long way to go in the book so this is not yet a book "review" but rather a teaser as I feel I can already recommend this book to individuals who desire to eat a more plant-powered diet.
There are no pre-reqs as to what kind of diet you have to follow before reading this book or what you are suppose to "not eat" when you are finished with this book. The book is simply a step-by-step approach to understanding how you can incorporate more plants into an omnivorous diet or why you should continue to enjoy your current plant-based style of eating. With a 14-day meal plan and 75 delicious recipes, this book keeps "balance" in mind and will likely leave you excited to live a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. David L. Katz (Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center) wrote the forward to this book. After I reach his forward, I was moved beyond words as to how he describes his views on food. Considering the many diets out there and the desire that you may have to follow the masses, please enjoy the following two paragraphs as you consider changing your views about food and your body, aiming for a more enjoyable and positive approach to "healthful" living.
The theme of healthful eating consistently emphasizes the same basic constellation of foods: vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. There are several legitimate variations on the themes: some include low- and nonfat dairy and eggs, others do not. Some include fish and seafood, others do not. Some include lean meats, others do not. All banish to the realm of rare indulgence those highly processed foods that deliver concentrated doses of refined starch, sugar, trans fat, certain saturated fats and sodium. All start with the building blocks of actual foods that are recognizable and pronounceable, especially plant foods, and the portion control that tends to occur all but automatically when eating these foods.

That we can assert a theme of healthful eating with a confidence we lack for any specific variant is arguably a good thing. An allowance for variations on a theme is an allowance for customization. Food is a source of important pleasure in our lives, and while we should not mortgage our health for that pleasure, neither should we mortgage that pleasure for our health. The dietary sweet spot, as it were, is loving food that loves us back! Variations on the theme of healthful eating allow us each to get there in our own particular way. Several of these dietary variations have been investigated regarding their potential for health promotion.


Fruit pizza and recent training update

And you thought muffins were my only baking creation? Ok, so it's nothing spectacular to look at it but sure does taste delicious!!! Who loves fruit pizza???
One of my favorites for a party or a holiday, I love making fruit pizza with seasonal fruits. This is a super easy dessert that is always a crowd pleaser. Of course, we all know that if it has fruit in the name, it has to be healthy right??? :)
3/4th -1 package chocolate chip or sugar cookie dough (depending on the size of your round baking dish)
Seasonal fruit (I recommend 3-4 options, chopped) - I used canned pineapple, pears, apple. If you use banana, be aware the banana will brown w/ leftovers (however leftovers are the best with this recipe!)
Optional: raisins, cranberries (as pictured), nuts, seeds
Whipped cream cheese (plain) or strawberry

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray pan with non stick spray.
3. Gently press cookie dough in pan to form a small layer (about the size of two tic-tacs on each other) - use a clean palm of your hand for pressing (have the kiddos help with this).
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown on edges (you want to remove when tough is still a little soft as it will firm-up when you let it cool). Do not cook as recommended on package, that will burn the "pizza".
5. Let pizza cool for 5-10 minutes. When cool, spread a light layer of cream cheese on pizza and top with seasonal (and/or canned) fruit.
After a needed 2-3 week break from my triathlon season, I always welcome a change of pace for a few months in order to remove myself from structured triathlon training. Over the past few years, I have welcomed my "unstructured structured" phase of training to include emphasis on running speed which includes 3 runs a week dedicated to training for one or two upcoming running races. As a pro-active triathlete, I am always thinking ahead not only with goals in mind but also what can I do to keep myself healthy and strong year-round. Lessons learned along the way but for the past two years, I spend a lot of my "training" energy on stretching, strength training, recovery and cross training in order to keep myself consistent with training. Learning from mistakes and thinking before I act, I have been able to be extremely consistent with training over the past two years and I feel my body is in a great place as I gear up for my 6th Ironman in July. Thinking ahead, it's not the distance that I think about when it comes to an Ironman because I don't do fear-based training. I know I can do the distances so my goal is to get stronger, more efficient, more economical and faster as an athlete. That means training smarter not further and making sure my body will respond to training stress over the next year, the year after, etc.

Although I love learning as I go, I believe my balanced approach to training which includes training hard and recovering harder prevents me from experiencing burnout, fatigue and injury. On the flip side, however, having specific intense and hard workouts keeps me motivated to see what my body is capable of achieving on a daily basis.
Since I am only running about 3.5-4 hours a week (25-30 miles/week) which includes running w/ walk intervals (for all my runs), I still swim twice a week (W, F) with my Master's Swim team and join the lodge ride in Nocattee on Saturday (around 52 miles round trip) which is fast and a lot of fun. Strength training includes primarily hip and core strength on W/F and lots of stretching morning and night. Depending on the week, I may do a tempo short swim (around a mile) on Monday but the past two weeks I have enjoyed having a full day off from training. Oh, and then there are lots of Campy walks and "sprint" runs around the block when I finish my run. Karel has been pacing me for the past two weeks for my long run which has been very helpful for my pacing. It hurts in a good way and I don't appreciate the progress I am making until the run is finished and I can analyze my logs.

So, what's all this hard work going toward??
This weekend I will be racing a local 10K with Karel and on December 16th I will be racing in the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon.

 The training has been intense over the past few weeks and I'm excited to see if I can get closer to my BIG running goals. One would think that the upcoming races will show off training from the past month of run-specific training but as an athlete, I believe we bank fitness year after year, month after month and race after long as the training is consistent and we keep having fun in our individual journey. Never stop performing beautifully.

When it comes to setting goals for sports/fitness, I believe we should all set realistic, yet challenging goals. Although seasonal goals will keep an athlete motivated throughout a season, I personally enjoy having long-term goals that keep me entertained on the possibility of achieving something beyond my capability at that moment in time. For the past few years, I have challenged my body to running a sub 1:30 half marathon and a sub 40 minute 10K. Earlier this year I broke 20 minutes in a 5K which hurt....bad. I love having a triathlete's body and toeing the line with "runners". I am not afraid to fail and as I have mentioned before I need faster athletes around me to help me reach my full potential. Although in triathlons, I am rarely set on a finishing time, there's something to be said about working so hard for a time in a running race. Picking the right race is important, the weather has to be ideal and the competition should be fierce. Will all things considered, I feel we can all reach goals or inch our way closer to the goals. Remember, some progress is better than no progress.
Half Marathon
12/16/2012 Jax Bank Half Marathon - 1:??:??
11/24/2011 Subaru Half Marathon - 1:31.51
12/19/2010 Jax Bank Half Marathon  - 1:32.34
11/28/2008 Outback Half Marathon - 1:36.30

10K11/17/2012 Mandarin 10K - ??:??
11/14/2011 Rotary 10K - 40.06
4/4/2009 Iron Girl 10K - 45.27
11/15/2008 Mandarin 10K - 45.08
Are you a goal setter? What's your BIG racing goal that seems so impossible but you are willing to work hard in order to achieve it? Or, did you recently achieve your BIG goal?

Top 10- Veggie Holiday Dishes

Who loves thanksgiving eats? Meet your veggie recommendations with the following side dishes. #Oakleypbc #oakleywomen
Top 10- Veggie Holiday Dishes