Essential Sports Nutrition


Key Ironman bike workout + mental training

I came across this article the other day and it really struck me with a big ?????

I believe that any athlete who signs up for an Ironman should physically prepare the body to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. As to the "best" approach to getting to race day, well there are many schools of thoughts to this so I thought I'd briefly share my approach.

Karel has been coaching me for the past few years with my training. I have yet to be burnt out or not arrive to a race hungry to race. I feel I have progressed a lot in the past few years with speed and endurance and most importantly, I always have fun.

I realize that my body has it's limiters with my hip issues relating to my spine and a lifetime of back-issues but I also recognize how to train smart. It doesn't always work out as I'd like since I am a competitor and love to push my body to higher limits but in the past few years, with every down moment that I have experienced with my body, I have only become a stronger and smarter athlete. Thus, my injuries have not been setbacks but rather enhancers.

My approach to training myself and my athletes is simple. Keep things balance. Be patient, keep your mind focused on the journey and never lose sight of your goals. I understand sport nutrition so I feel my training is only enhanced in that aspect but no amount of nutrition will help me train consistently well if my training is not balanced and specific.

I use a lot of tools when I train such as HR, garmin, power meter (910XT Garmin and Garmin 500 bike computer) but as we all know, it is only on race day that your trusted gadget will fail you...never in training!

The whole focus of training is to make progress and to not let your end goal keep you from enjoying the journey. I have taught myself (as an age group athlete who has been fortunate enough to have a body that has gotten me to Kona twice and finishing 5 Ironman's) how to recognize great workouts and how to adjust any workout to ensure it will become a great workout. In other words - completing my assigned workouts means that I understand that what is ahead of me is within my limits. Although many variables such as stress, sleep and nutrition can affect my performance (controllables), I know that each workout on my plan has a purpose. A purpose that the workout is allowing me to make progress. Many athletes are so stuck on the end result that they lose sight of the journey, worry about things out of their control and also push too hard (or not enough) and often question if they are making performance gains. I suppose little progress gains are often hard to "see" but then again, who says that you have to use times/speed as the marker of improving fitness?

My approach to Ironman training is that of quality. There are no Ironman days as I don't want to be training all day in the sun on the weekend and I want to save my best performance for race day. I don't need to prove to myself or on social media that I can swim, bike and run this many hours or miles each week but instead, prove to myself that I have made progress with the workout to set me up for a stronger and faster tomorrow.

Many of my Ironman and half Ironman bike workouts (over the past 3 years) have been relatively "short". Most of my Ironman rides are around 3:5 - 5 hours and most of my half Ironman rides are around 2.5 - 3 hours. The key is the learning how to pace yourself on the bike to get "faster" as an Ironman athlete but also to become more efficient and to run steady off the bike. Thus - I do A LOT of brick runs with each run having a purpose.

With 7 weeks left until Ironman Lake Placid, I really loved today's brick workout given to me by my hubby, coach, bike mechanic and training buddy.

3.5 hour ride + 30 min run - 4 hour KEY Ironman workout

15 minute warm-up
5 x 2 min leg openers (100+ cadence rpm)  w/ 2 min EZ
Main set: (I was drafting behind Karel so as he stuck to his zones, my zones were a tad higher than they needed to be but still doable - drafting behind Karel makes me stronger and it has really helped my cycling. I enjoy going "fast" behind Karel as I can't do his speeds alone but I understand that drafting properly keeps me in my proper zones as Karel is extremely consistent so I enjoy the bonus of covering more miles behind him as I prepare myself for my own race day effort. All zones are power based zones determined by a 2 x 20 min max sustainable power effort w/ 2 min EZ in between)

10 min Z4 low w/ 2 min EZ
15 min upper Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
10 min Z4 low w/  2 min EZ
20 min mid - upper Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
5 min recovery
35 min group ride (this effort was low to mid Z4)
5 min EZ
5 x 2 min (high cadence) w/ 2 min EZ
5 min cool down, transition to run.
Total: 73 miles, 3 hours and 31 minutes
(If training with power and/or HR on the bike and you have your zones set-up in proper endurance zones, you should be racing your endurance race in upper Z2 - Mid Z3, typically low Z3 for most athletes. If you want to get faster, you have to train smarter so that by race day, your low Z3 is "faster" than where you were when you started your endurance specific training. As for running in an Ironman - don't get caught up in paces. Used perceived exertion as much as possible while monitoring the HR and walk to help keep good form and to be steady with pacing).

4 x 1 miles w/ 10 sec walk in between
(I often walk with my IM training in most workouts as it helps me reduce gradual fatigue, it helps me better tolerate nutrition, it helps me control my HR the best I can and it helps me keep good form to reduce risk for injury. I may walk anywhere from 10-60 seconds depending on the workout and although 10 sec is brief and often I wish I could walk longer, it serves the purpose of helping me have a quality workout as I help simulate aid station walks for IM race day).
Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 4: 7:47
(around 10-13 second walk in between)
Total 4 miles, 32:28, average pace 8:07 min/mile (with ~40-60 seconds of walking)

Should you still do a Key "LONG" workout like a 100 mile ride + 2 mile run or even a 112 mile ride + 10-15 minute run? Yes. Those will be coming for Karel and I in a few weeks. BUT, if you can't do 3.5-4 hours of quality riding + a steady "short" run off the bike, what makes you think that your body is "Trained" to ride 100 miles, weekend after weekend? Those short IM intensity focused bricks will pay off when it is time for the long workouts. Remember - save your best performance for race day. Don't waste your time with junk miles just getting the miles in..make those miles count. And if you can prove to yourself that you can do it in training, trust yourself that you can do it on race day. Don't be a super hero in training and not be able to execute on race day.

After stretching and cooling off with Karel and enjoying a little watermelon and recovery drink (before Karel headed to work today), I had to stop by the Trek Beach store for Karel and when I finally arrived home, it was time to officially refuel!

Do you enjoy thanking your body for a great workout with delicious food prepared from home?
Today's creation:
An Omelet with tomatoes, arugula and goat cheese with oregano and rosemary. Rye bread with fruit jam and plain Greek Fage yogurt with fresh cherries and a drizzle of honey.
If you are wrapped up in the idea that Ironman (or endurance) training has to involve a lot and a lot of miles, how about thinking about other areas in your life that can make a positive impact on your training and racing. Certainly, we all know that even with the best preparation, there can be a variable or two on race day that can count you out from putting all that hard training to the test. Certainly - your mind and nutrition are two important components of training and racing that can help take your fitness to the next level..likely more so than in any long workout for without the right mental focus, pacing strategy and nutrition plan, there's really no point in putting your body through all that long and hard training if you are not equipped properly to handle that training stress (mentally and physically).
As you know, I work with my friend, Licensed Psychologist Gloria (Psy. D) on my mental training as she is an experienced mental coach and sport psychologist.
Here is a great video to show you the importance of mental training for fitness/performance. Even if you aren't racing or training, I recommend watching this video as it has a few helpful slides on how your mind can either enhance or limit you in terms of reaching your personal goals in life.


Endurance swim set and tofu pistachio stir-fry

What a beautiful meal to fuel my body last night!

For the tofu, spritz your pan on medium heat with olive or sunflower oil. Cube firm tofu and cook until golden brown, tossing lightly occasionally to prevent sticking. Season with turmeric and rosemary and a pinch of salt.

My meal creation also included arugula, mixed greens, red bell pepper, tomatoes, pistachios and brown rice.

To make this your own creation:
Choose your leafy greens
Choose 2-4 types of veggies (or fruit/veggie)
Choose your type of protein ~20 grams (you can have a mix of protein)
Choose your type of whole grain or starch (ex. potatoes, noodles)
Choose your type of nut/seed
Top with your choice of dressing, oil or salsa

Ironman-focused Endurance set:
1650 warm-up - nice and steady.
150 backstroke - EZ/recovery
Pre-set: 10 x 100's w/ paddles and buoy w/ 10 seconds rest (I did them on 1:35) - 80% effort, focus on reaching and catching the water.
150 backstroke - EZ/recovery
Main set: 5 x 300's broken
(150 @ IM pace, rest 5 seconds. 150 @ half IM pace - the focus is on pacing yourself) w/ 30 sec rest ( I did these on ~4:50)
500 with paddles - breathing every 3 strokes, nice and steady.
50 cool down backstroke
Total: 5000 yards


Your brain on food - NEW TRIMARNI SERVICES!

Did you know that "there are more than 100 million neurons supporting trillions of connections, processes of the human brain? And all these neurons are a manifestation of genetic variation, natural selection and the environments in which our ancestors lived?"

In the Spring 2013 issue of SCAN's PULSE (Vol 32, No 2, pg 7) there was a great article titled "This is your brain, this is your brain on food."

I read this article a while back while traveling and it really caught my attention. I am always interested in the lifestyle approach of healthy living and just like you, I get it that it can be overwhelming to learn how to "eat healthy"....there's a lot of information out there and I try to read it all!

It's my job to help others develop a lifestyle that is balanced in a way to meet individual health, fitness and body composition goals and to be lived in a way that is of quality. But we can not forget that the human body is complex and even with the best research, scientists still don't understand every working part in the body especially as it relates to disease prevention, performance and overall health. Maybe, each individual part but when they all work together - it's complex!

"Seeing that a significant portion of the human brain is dedicated to the motivation, emotional, hedonic, and cognitive information processing that supports decisions about when, what and how we eat, it is no surprise that aberrations in their activity and neuroarchitecture can lead to a variety of pathologic eating behaviors that can take many forms, including overfeeding (obesity), dysregulated feeding (binge eating and bulimia nervosa) and feeding that fails to meet the body's energy needs (anorexia nervosa). "

I really enjoyed reading this article because it gave great insight as to the mechanisms of food regulation (homeostatic system with hormonal regulators of hunger, satiety and adiposity levels as well as systems that drive us to eat because foods taste good and offer hedonic pleasure), it discussed obesity and food as reward ( easy access to palatable, energy-dense foods is a major environmental risk factor of obesity and the positive reinforcing nature of these foods is a powerful motivator that easily overrides homeostatic signals of satiety) as well as anorexia nervosa lacking the food reward process (demonstrating that patients with anorexia may experience food as less rewarding because of heightened viscerosensitivity).

In light of this article and understanding that eating is far beyond "good and bad" and what is or isn't trendy with the diet, food will always and should be used for nourishment, fuel and for pleasure.

If you feel overwhelmed, confused, stuck, stressed or excited about learning to eat in a way that will help you meet your individual health, fitness and body composition needs, or  to take your training to the next level, OR to help you fuel properly for your upcoming event, I invite you to check out my updated website....with NEW SERVICES listed in the service section.

Any questions, comments or concerns - just send me an email. I always enjoy hearing from you and learning more about what is on the mind's of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. I look forward to possibly working with you or hearing from you.



110% Kick Back Quad Sleeve - product review

Oh, do I LOVE compression. You will see me in my CEP compression socks, calf sleeves, tights or 110% Play harder gear before, during and after all my training sessions and races. I am a firm believer that it works for me but compression is not going to make you race fast if you don't put in the work in training.

A while back I wrote an article about compression when compression started to be "hot" and since then, more and more companies have come out with compression-related gear. I have used 110% Play Harder since they first came out on the market since it is a Jacksonville -based company and prior to that, I was wearing compression shorts "back in" 2010 while running as I decided to ditch the running shorts to offer my legs a bit more support while running.  I just love compression and the 110% products are perfect...... and the team is fantastic!  I just love being an ambassador for fun, energetic, sport-minded individuals.

The quad sleeves have been making my body very happy with my Ironman Lake Placid prep work. I wear them with and without ice as I just love compression on my quads. I love these quad sleeves because you can put the ice anywhere around your upper leg and my adductors, abductors, ITB and hamstrings love the cold after a hot, hard workout.

From the 110% Play Harder website:
Kick Back Quad Sleeves combine the benefits of compression and the power of an ice bath in one incredibly convenient piece of gear. With 360° pockets, reusable ice inserts, and a thermal carrying bag they transition from high performance compression gear to a simple active recovery system in one simple step.

If you have any questions about 110% Play Harder gear, just send me an email so I can help you find the right product to fit your injury/healing/compression needs.

My other favorite product is the flat out sox which I love to wear after my long workouts and when I travel.

Happy National Running Day!!


Team Sumbal race reports - Rock n' Rollman Halfman and Aquabike


After Karel got off work on Thursday evening, we headed up to Macon, Georgia (4 hour drive) with Campy. With this being my 4th year doing this event (2009, 2010, 2012) but first time doing the aquabike, I was super excited to swim and bike and save my running legs for the next 8 weeks of IM specific training. Karel has always been a spectator for this race (an amazing one!) so it was finally his turn to truly experience this race course - on his tri bike and running legs.

As an athlete, I realize that we all can choose races that give us "fast" results on paper. Although we can't compare race to race, year to year, there's something to be said about comparing race times and deciding what is "fast" and what is "slow". In the past 5 years, I have gravitated toward challenging bike and run courses as I feel it fits me as an athlete. I love being smart on hard courses and having to rely on my mind to be strong on race day. I personally prefer and love the challenge of a hilly and hot course and I don't mind the outcome of a "slow" time on paper if it means I can use my knowledge of the physiology of the body to race a smart race and pace my own race. Again - it's not for everyone but it is important that whenever you select a race, you are familiar with the course and you race with your current level of fitness and you execute a smart race to give you a successful performance. Don't show off your best performance in a training it for race day. Remember, the best race performances are not told by a finishing place or a time but instead, by the athlete him/herself and what she/he overcame to get to the starting line and what she/he battled with on race day (highs and lows) to get to the finishing line.

We arrived to the Swangers around 10:30 and by 11pm, we were all off to bed. Waking up without an alarm on Friday was beautiful and our bodies were rested.

Stefanie (my athlete) was already on the trainer in her room bright and early and it was a big motivator to get the day going (I could hear her watching Kona IM on her iPad).

Pre race/my birthday!
Karel and I both made our own oatmeal creations to start the day, along with a nice cup of coffee and glass of water. The key for today was to focus on hydration and fueling every few hours with easy to digest foods. We both know what works for each of us so the day before a race is never a stressful or overwhelming time in terms of eating. Transition packing - well, that's a different story as it always feels like you are forgetting something.

After a Campy walk and kisses, we said good bye to Campy and then Stefanie as she headed off to work and then we headed 20 miles to the race venue.

Seeing that Karel and I had a wonderful vacation two weeks ago for 10 days, we have really pushed hard with training for the past two weeks. With a fresh mind and body since returning from Czech, this race was all part of our "plan". Although I don't always recommend "training races" for athletes, I think it is important to recognize the state of the body upon arriving to a "training" race. Certainly, if you are going to miss training to race but not "race the race", your body can not be completely destroyed, fatigued and sore going into the race. The entire purpose of training is to train the body but to also practice nutrition, strengthen the mind and get use to scenarios that are similar to race day (including making sure your bike is set-up in a way that works for you, your gadgets work, your clothing is comfortable, etc. all those little things). Whether you are training or racing, the idea of pushing your body (with or without a medal at the end) is to make performance gains or test your fitness and training. Karel and I (as well our athletes) do not do high volume training. It may look high compared to the exerciser but we are very focused on quality - no junk miles. Our weekly training hours are less than 13 on most weeks and every day we wake up energized and ready to give 100%. Rarely do we feel "off" but it does come with the territory of pushing our bodies so we just adjust to still make progress. Training is not our life, but our lifestyle.

The focus of our pre-race ride on Friday was to ride the course - 56 miles.

Since I have ridden this course 3 times, I am very familiar with the ~3000 feet of total climbing on this course. There is a lot of changing wind, steady climbs, descends, turns and lots and lots of gear changing. You have to have good cycling skills and with my progress with cycling over the past 2 years, I couldn't wait to race this course on Saturday. However, despite riding the entire course the day before, Karel made sure that I didn't overdo it. I drafted off his wheel for most of the ride and we rode steady. For the climbs - I didn't do anything crazy and I let Karel drop me and he would wait for me down the road. I guess our 3 hour ride was slow for Karel because of a few missed turns and waiting for me but all in all, I was so happy to be on my bike on my 31st birthday, sharing the day with Karel. And I must say - riding this course gave me a lot of confidence and excitement and I couldn't wait to do it again on Saturday.

We finished our ride around 1:20pm and it was hot. My Garmin 500 said it was 93 degrees and you could feel it without any breeze and on the black asphalt. We removed some of our  cycling gear and rode our bikes to the water and took a dip in the bath-like water of the lake. Yep - no wetsuit needed for race day.

After we cleaned up a little, we registered for the race (aquabike for me, half IM for Karel) and picked up some swag (yay for Hammer being a sponsor) and racked our bikes. How cool...the first time we racked our bikes next to each other!! Of course, this was only our 3rd triathlon race together so that made me even more excited to share this with Karel.

We stayed hydrated with Hammer FIZZ to stay up with electrolytes and we also made sure we got in plenty of our sport drink on the bike. I also used cold water to cool my body on the bike to dissipate the heat the best I could.

(I saw so many females wearing the Oakley Women Commit sunglasses out on the course! I just love mine - so comfortable and light)



Feeling really good after our morning adventure, it was around 2:30 and we needed something to eat. Karel found Chick-fil-A and as I went over the athlete guide with Karel, he enjoyed a sandwich and I enjoyed a yogurt parfait and fruit and some of his waffle fries.

When we got back to the Swangers, we cleaned up and I let Campy run like crazy in the fenced back yard (chasing birds in the sky) and I played with baby Colton who just loved campy! Then I had some of a fresh baguette with a little PB and Jelly and sliced banana and a glass of milk.

A few hours later, it was time for our pre-race meal which was prepared by Chef Kenny (stefanie's hubby - who is an awesome cook!). So delicious and of course, Stefanie knows me really well so they knew exactly what fuels Karel and myself before our races.

This race was no different than any other training day. Real food that made me feel good and a mind that was excited to swim and bike. No need to do anything different with my training gear (except for a nice bike clean-up from my cute bike mechanic/hubby).

Is it bed time yet?

It was bedtime around 9:30am and Karel and I both had a so-so night of rest, before our 4am wake up call. Of course, Campy slept like a baby.


Both Karel and I like to take our time in the morning. I don't like to be rushed as it can really take a number on the body in terms of nerves affecting digestion. I always try to keep myself in a happy place, around positive thoughts and people. I try to stay in the moment and think about my current level of fitness - not the would have's, should have's or could have's. It's all about the present moment and let me tell ya, both Karel and I were ready to Rock n' Roll!!

After walking Campy, I had a cup of coffee, along with a full glass of water. I had filled my bottles with powder the night before (~250 calories each per bottle of heed, + 1 bottle of 1 scoop heed for sipping with Espresso gel) so all I had to do on race day morning was fill with cold water. Karel freezed his fuel belt flasks the night before (he used 1 FIZZ for the two flasks as he knew based on past experience, he wouldn't be able to tolerate much nutrition in the heat and he knew he would drink coke so I made sure he had electrolytes as that would be the game-changer for the run. you need electrolytes for muscles and tissues along with replenishing what is lost in sweat. There are many ways to get electrolytes from sport nutrition so just find what works best for you). For Karel's bottles, he used his Infinit custom made formula that I created for him which has worked really well for him.
After oatmeal mixed with a little milk, banana slices, sliced almonds and a little ground flax, we were ready to head to the race site by 5am.

Again - nothing different today for me. Same fueling strategy as training and no nerves that would cause any GI upset with my normal foods.

This race is relatively small and I love that! The energy is so positive and everyone is really nice. I love the smaller races because often, they are very safe and fair. There is no drafting when you race against a few hundred people and the support from the community is really positive. There were tons of volunteers and for my 4th time, this race makes me so happy. It was great to be back in the race scene since I haven't done a tri since Branson 70.3 in Sept 2012.

I saw a few friends (Dee and Wes) and my athlete Roger and my friend from Jax, Brian and it was great to see familiar faces.

After we set up transition, it was time to head to the swim start for the 7am start for Karel (7:03am for me).

Thanks Colton for getting your parents up early to watch the triathlon!

The water felt great and Karel and I both swam a little to get started. We wore our speed suits and both had our Garmin 910's set on multisport zone. I took a full gel around 10 minutes before the start and that sat very well. I was ready to go and I gave Karel a go-get-em kiss and hug and we both went our separate ways.

Karel started with the 39 and under males at 7am. It took Karel a while to get his rhythm as swimming in open water is still very new for him. But progress is still being made.

The aquabike, duathlon and 40+ males started at 7:03am and without a nerve being scared in my body, I couldn't wait to get in the water.

When the gun went off - I started off strong. Knowing that this swim is known for being "slow" in terms of time, I didn't get stressed with my time as my Garmin buzzed every 400 meters for me to see how I was doing and how far I had gone.

The course is a large triangle and after the first buoy, I had really found my rhythm.

I couldn't believe it...nearing buoy two, there was Karel!! I was hoping he would see my pink compression socks which I wore in the water (approved by the race official) but he said he didn't see me. In my head, I was cheering for Karel hoping he would hear me.

I carried on swimming and spotting and felt like my swim was going really well. I was staying on course really well and after I made my way back to shore, I noticed I wasn't tired and felt abnormally strong and smooth in the water. I really focused on catching the water and reaching and rolling.

Exiting the water, I was the first female out of the water (the half Ironman females started at 7:06am) and from that point, I lead the race.

From the swim exit, you head up a steep hill which officially stops your swim time. Into transition, I put on my pink helmet (decided to not use my Giro Aero helmet as I am very comfortable in my regular helmet and with the hot course, wind and up and downs of the hills, I felt like my regular helmet would suit me better. Karel went with his aero helmet), cycling shoes and socks and turned on my garmin 500. My Garmin 910 was set on multisport so I just hit lap when i get into transition and exit so it will be ready for the bike. This helps me in case my power meter doesn't work as well as for analyzing my race.

Swim times:
ME: 34:38, fastest female swim of the day
KAREL: 40:26, 33rd male

I didn't have a lot to do in transition because I swam with the gel in my back pocket of my Trimarni kit so my transition was really smooth, quick and easy so all I had to do was put on my socks and shoes and helmet and go. I wore my Align sport bra by Oakley Women which fits really well over my heart rate strap (no tightness Ladies).

I exited transition and had a few people yell at me that I was the first female. This made me smile and my competitive side started to itch and I couldn't wait to see what my trained cycling legs could do.

The first 2 miles of the bike include some steady rollers - they aren't kind to the body and Karel and I knew you can't gain anything in 5 minutes from transition. We both took it really easy until the first right hand turn and boy, did it pay off. Legs felt fresh and although the course was not easy and it was hot and windy, I was feeling so amazing.

It was around 40-45 minutes into the race that Karel wizzed by me. He told me "great job!" and later told me that he saw me and couldn't believe how strong I was riding. As mentioned before, this race is challenging and fair. You are alone, maybe with 2-3 other people in sight, playing cat and mouse but other than that, it is you against the elements.

After that first section, I hit my power meter to lap every 20 minutes. This would help me pace myself so that I could focus on my 3second power but also my normalized power. I really felt strong and all that hip work was paying off. Although I have been pushed by Karel for the past few weeks on the bike, I know I couldn't do this pace last year and it isn't just pushing hard in training that has made me stronger. It's a lot of off-the bike work and finally - I was able to have the race I have dreamed off. Even if I wasn't doing the run, I still wanted to bike strong for 56 miles and pace myself for a well executed race.

With Karel out of sight, he was still in mind. I remembered the pointers he told me on Friday about sections on the course and I stuck to my plan. Although I love to climb, I pushed just enough with a steady cadence to stay strong on the descends. There was a lot of wind but I did really well staying fueled every 8-10 minutes with sips of my drink, using cold water from aid stations to cool my body and properly changing my gears as needed, along with getting out of the saddle to stretch my hips.

Around mile 30, I checked my power and all was in check. I noticed that my average speed was better than ever but I was more focused on having a strong back half of the race. I wanted to prove to myself that I can ride strong from start to finish and not suffer or fatigue at any point. Even though I was passing several guys and enjoying my TT effort, my biggest focus on this course was to race smart. 

I kept reminding myself of all the bike rides with Karel - steady intervals on his wheel. 5 x 20 minute intervals w/ 2 min recovery came to mind as that was a recent bike workout that we need a week ago. I remembered the 5 x 3 minutes that I did on his wheel at a fast pace on Thursday and I knew I could do this. 

With 26 miles to go - I stayed smart but also reminded myself that I would not surrender until my body gave up. Amazingly - my body only wanted more and more and I was happy to give it everything it wanted to have a PR race. 

Nearing the last 6 miles, I knew this would make or break me. Windy, tough climbs (although it doesn't seem that way on the elevation chart) and 6 miles that feel like forever...but on this day, I didn't want those miles to end. Nutrition went well and I was riding in a race, as if I was training. I was so focused on how strong I felt that I just wanted to keep proving to myself that I could do this. Nearing 2 miles to go, I realized I was going to win the aquabike and that I was going to have one of my best bike rides ever. I think it was smart that I did the aquabike because I needed this performance as a confidence builder...especially with all the obstacles I have had to overcome with my hip/back/spine issues in the past few months. Sure, I can run but there's no need to make withdrawals with performance when you can make investments. 
My stats from the ride:
56 miles: 2:42.31 (average pace 20.64 mph, average power 158, average HR 143, average cadence 85)
Lap 1: 7:23 min 17.94 mph, 174 watts, cadence 80, 141 HR
Lap 2 - 7 - 20 minutes each
Lap 2: 21.33mph, 163 watts, 88 cadence, 143 HR
Lap 3: 18.86mph, 174 watts, 86 cadence, 145 HR
Lap 4: 20.60 mph, 156watts, 84 cadence, 141 HR
Lap 5: 21.34 mph, 124 watts, 83 cadence, 138 HR
Lap 6: 21.71mph, 146 watts, 87 cadence, 143 HR
Lap 7: 21.08 mph, 162 watts, 85 cadence, 145 HR
Lap 8 (29 minutes): 20.8mph, 168 watts, 84 cadence, 147 HR
2nd fastest female bike split
Karel's stats:
2:32 bike (22:02mph), 5th fastest male bike split
Arriving into transition, my chip stopped my time and I could hear the announcer say that I was first female. After returning my chip and finding Stefanie and Kenny, I got this amazing rush of energy in my body that I really really really wanted to run! Again - the cheers and excitement really made me happy but according to my it for the big day in  8 weeks. 

Kenny told me that Karel was out on the run course and in 6th place. WHAT!!!! AMAZING!!

He said that he had been out there for around 15 minutes so I did a little math and I figured I would be able to catch up at one of the intersections with this clover-like course with three out and backs.
This is a very challenging run course - no flats, all up and down and as the race goes on, it feels like the downs just disappear. 

This elevation chart doesn't give justice to this course. It looks like the last few miles are downhill - not so much. I guess only the athletes can say how hard a course is based on their own experience. 
I ran 2 miles down the road and I was cheering for athletes when I saw 3 males run by. 2 more guys ran by and there was Karel. He looked, um, not so good after climbing for around 4 miles but I gave him a cheer and told him to hang in there. Nearing mile 6, I knew this race was a toughy but if he was smart, he could have a great race. 
I ran another mile or so to another intersection and all of a sudden, there was Karel in 4th place. BOOM - passed two people just like that. If you know Karel, you know he can suffer due to years of cycling on the rivet. He has a big hurt box and he loves to fill it up during races so I knew, race or training race, he was going to give a good fight. But, still sticking with the plan - race smart and be patient. In endurance racing, you can still bike strong within your appropriate zones but you have to hold back on the bike just enough to have a good run from miles 7-13. 

After cheering for Karel, my friend Dan A and Bethany and a few other lead girls that looked awesome, I started to run back to the start. Although I only had 2 miles left to run, I never imagined what I would see......

With 1.5 miles left, I see Karel's bright green Brooks Pure running shoes and his Trimarni kit. OMG - 3rd place!!! 



Karel was passing people like crazy - I suppose just checking them off his list. He raced a very smart race and I knew he had to have held back a bit on the bike and the first few miles of the run to run this strong. He was walking 5-10 seconds each aid station to cool his body (from what he told me ) and fueling off coke and his FIZZ in his fuel belt. 

Sadly - I wasn't fast enough to get back to the finish but I cheered for Karel and called Kenny to cheer him on at the finishing chute. 

After my 6.5 miles of running, my legs were sprinting to the finish to give Karel the biggest hug. Later did we find out, 2nd place was a duathlete...Karel finished 2nd overall male!!!

Wow! What a great race for Karel. I couldn't believe it.....and neither could Karel.


Karel went from 33rd on the swim, 6th off the bike and 2nd overall finisher. Not to mention...the FASTEST run split of the day in a quad-burning 1:33.03.

Total time: 4:48.13
The time may look slow but that's how you execute a smart race on a challenging course. 

After pizza, cheeze-its, pretzels and watermelon (my plate is the picture - Karel had a regular coke as that was all he could stomach), we both cooled off in the shade and I couldn't wait to share the news with Karel that I had a BIG PR on the bike and won the aquabike division (male and female) and had the fastest female swim of the day and 2nd fastest bike. 

We drove back to the house to shower up and I couldn't wait to share the news with Campy. Of course, he always thinks we are winners and he was just happy that we didn't leave him in Macon. I refueled with a delicious glass of milk and nibbled on some more pizza and a banana. 

Around 3pm, we arrived back at the venue for the awards and it was exciting for us both to get our  top awards...and very cool awards too!!!

I want to send a big thank you to the companies which I love to support. They don't pay me to say nice things. I am a brand ambassador because I love quality gear that helps me reach my goals and live an active and healthy lifestyle.  
Thank you....
And a big thank you to Georgia Multisports Productions for putting on a great 10th anniversary race!

(guess who got to sleep all the way home)

It was a great day for both of us but I have to say, it was a lot of fun. So much positive energy and support, it really got me even more pumped up for Ironman Lake Placid in 8 weeks.


Fueling oatmeal creation, wild rice side dish and pre-race dinner

While at our friends house (Stefanie and Kenny Swanger) from Thursday evening until Saturday (for our race - which I will be writing our race report soon), we enjoyed lots of delicious food creations. Seeing that Stefanie has been a long-time nutrition and coaching athlete, and Kenny is an amazing cook, we are always incredibly spoiled in our belly's when we go to visit them for a race in Georgia.
To start off the morning before a pre-ride warm-up on the Rock N' Rollman race course, we both enjoyed a delicious oatmeal creation. Stefanie and Kenny set up their kitchen like an oatmeal buffet with all the fixings on the counter and us to create something delicious.
I measured out 40grams of oatmeal on their scale (150 calories) to ensure I was getting enough to meet my needs for the morning. I then added 1/2 large banana (sliced) + 3 large strawberries (sliced) and a little each of cinnamon, PB2 (chocolate kind - delicious) and ground flax seeds. I mixed it with milk and just a tad of water and voila - a delicious Trimarni creation. I added some of my homemade trail mix granola (granola + peanuts and sunflower seeds) on top for a little cold crunch on the warm oatmeal. My belly was super happy and it did what it needed to do - it keep me satisfied and fueled for the morning activities.
On Wednesday, I made a trip to Whole Foods to buy several items from bulk (nuts, seeds, granola) for our trip to Macon and as usual, I just love buying whole grains and coming up with a delicious creation for them. The wild rice really caught my eye as it was so beautiful in it's unrefined form. I LOVE wild rice because it has a great nutty taste to it and mixes well in stir fry's or on top of a salad.
Since I was planning to fill our bodies with medicine (salad) that evening as the main part of our meal, I decided to do the rice as a side dish, combined with steamed  broccoli and veggie crumbles and after it was prepared, I topped it with a little asiago cheese. If you are trying to make dietary changes, I encourage you to not try to eliminate food...especially food that can be beneficial to your workout routine and overall health. Wild rice is a good source of carbohydrates to help keep your body energized and without added sodium or preservatives or food coloring, you can't go wrong with this type of carb. It contains protein and dietary fiber to help keep you satisfied. You will never find yourself "missing" out on anything while having a salad as the main part of your meal for having a side dish of whole grains is the best compliment to create a balanced meal - instead of making the "carb" or starch the main part of the meal, which often leads to people blaming "carbs" and starches for weight gain due to oversized portions.  Wild rice also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B9 as well as iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium. No need to pop pills when you can get your vitamins and minerals from real food. Plus, I absolutely love cheese that is so tasteful that you only need a little to be satisfied. Asiago cheese does just that as you can't eat a lot of it at once for it has just enough salt taste to cure your cravings and it is so delicious that you have no choice but to savor a little of it.
For cooking rice, you want to first rinse the rice. Generally, the ratio is 1 cup of rice + 3 cups of water. Boil the rice over high heat. Once the water level drops and the rice is visible, turn the heat to low and allow the rice to steam for 30 to 45 minutes. I usually keep my rice covered while cooking.

For serving sizes as a side dish, I recommend 1/2 - 1 cup of rice + ~1/2 cup veggie crumbles (or around 2 ounces protein of your choice) + broccoli (your choice of amount)  + 2 thin slices of asiago cheese.
For our pre race dinner at the Swangers, we kept it light and simple. Easy to digest, delicious and the right balance to keep us fueled for race day (Especially with a 4am wake up call).
When I work with athletes on race week/day nutrition as well as sport nutrition for training, it's important that I recognize that every athlete is different. We all train for different events at different intensities and our bodies are unlike our training buddies. Nerves, stress and sleep can all affect appetite and your relationship with food and individual fitness needs can also affect your dietary choices. Therefore, although the science is there in terms of how to eat before a race, I don't believe that there is a cause and effect - one size fits all (especially when research is often in a controlled setting) with how you eat before a race and how you will perform on race day. There are things to reduce (fat/fiber) as well as emphasize (carbs with a little protein) but in terms of what you choose to eat, this will always vary. My pre-race, happy tummy meal always includes a sweet potato and veggies and a little protein. I do bread and rice as well on the day before the race if it is available.
Kenny prepared chicken for Karel as well as all the other items on my plate. It was so absolutely delicious!

-Sautéed asparagus and mushrooms with sesame seeds (thinking back, every time I Have had asparagus before a race, I have done very well - perhaps my new good-luck food :).
-Hard boiled egg and cottage cheese - for protein.
-Salad with bell peppers and avocado with a little shredded cheese - topped with balsamic and olive oil.
-Sweet potato with cinnamon and a little butter.
-Sliced potatoes (Karel isn't a sweet potato lover like me so he typically does white potato or rice pre-race but I am happy to enjoy both).
I finished the dinner satisfied, around 6:30pm and felt energized and ready for a good night sleep before the race.