Essential Sports Nutrition


Ironman Placid tracking, thank you's and photos

2013 Ironman Lake Placid

140.6 miles. 

It doesn't matter what the course looks like on paper, 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running is a test of mental strength, endurance and nutrition. There is no "easy" Ironman. Perhaps a course may favor your strengths or just magnify your weaknesses but at the end of the day, every athlete out on the course is committed to the task at hand and recognizes that you become strong when you are forced to be strong. 

The choice to do an Ironman is simply that. A choice. You may feel pressure as a newbie or veteran runner or triathlete to do a longer-distance event and feel as if the Ironman gives you the ultimate bragging right to show how fit you are (or can become). Perhaps the Ironman is the only road you will ever take to become a world championship finisher which is a major accomplishment in and of itself. For others, the Ironman is a way to fund raise, to give back or to race for those who can't. But whatever your choice may be for signing up for an Ironman, it is the commitment you make to yourself to prepare for the event and then execute in a way that moves you forward throughout the day in order to finish in 17 hours. You swim, you bike, you run for 140.6 miles and never forget that race day is the day you dreamed of for 3,6,12 months and when the time finally comes, the only thing you can do is let the day happen as it is meant to happen. 

I feel strongly in thanking my body before every Ironman as I know my body does not have to let me do this type of endurance event. It requires a lot of training and every year, my body gives me a little wake up call that it is a gift to race injury-free. For much of this year, I have battled with my ongoing hip issues and I feel that for this very special Ironman, I have so much to be thankful for. 3 months without running from Feb - April and then on-and-off issues alongside PT until the last few weeks of training. But I never let myself lose focus of my goals, my dreams and what I love to do. The only thing I could do is to find a way to move myself forward. Never thinking about the past but instead, where I want to be on race day. I could have easily complained and tried to do more than my body was capable of doing but then I wouldn't be standing here today, less than 24 hours to race day, with my hubby as he does his first Ironman with me. I am incredibly grateful to my body for letting me train in a way that I can confidently stand at the starting line with my current level of fitness and trust that my body not only knows how to race the Ironman but that it also loves to finish an Ironman. Rather than writing my body a thank you letter this time around, I feel I will be thanking my body repeatedly during the race tomorrow and owe it to my body to give it a big thank you when I cross the finish line and write my post-race race report. 

Knowing that we are expecting rain and wind tomorrow, I am hoping that every athlete will be safe on this very challenging course. A message to all Ironman athlete, race within your own capabilities. Be confident in what you are able to do with your skills and fitness and be inspired by those around you as you like-wise are an inspiration to others. Every athlete will have highs and lows but in order to get to a high, you have to get through a low. I believe that an Ironman forces you to be smart and to be patient and I wish that every athlete has his/her own personal best day no matter what the time or finishing pace. The best race results are not told on paper but instead, by the athlete him/herself after the journey is complete. 

This has been a great past few days in Placid and I look forward to a 3:30am wake-up call to finally release some energy. I want to wish Trimarni Coaching athlete Laura G. a very special Good Luck tomorrow as she races in her first ever Ironman and I can't wait to share this course with her as I have loved guiding her along in this journey. I also want to wish my Trimarni nutrition athletes a great race day as I know each of my athletes have worked hard on their nutrition and even if you can't prevent nutrition-related issues, you have the ability to deal with them when the arise.
And lastly, to my hubby who has been at the sidelines for 4 of my 5 past Ironmans. Thank you for always being there and for supporting me, believing in me and challenging me to move outside my comfort zone. Thank you for letting me know that all I need to do is to just stay on your wheel to get faster, yet my legs screamed to you that I can't. Thank you for letting me share this journey with you as 12 months ago you were a new swimmer who struggled to swim 500 yards and I have enjoyed seeing you improve so much in the water. And lastly, thank you for encouraging me to never give up as I have questioned many many times in the past few years that triathlon's and running was not a sport for my body. But you never let me quit and you always found a way to let me train and to heal my body at the same time. I know you will have moments in your first IM when it will seem tough and not possible as I have them too. The mind will question your sanity and there will be many why's as to the purpose of racing for 140.6 miles. Just think about all the training you did for a one-day event for on Monday, it will all be over. You can wear your medal, your finisher t-shirt and you can walk like you were hit by a bus and think about Sunday as if it was the best day of your life.
Karel, we are a team and I know we will help each other out like we always do, even if we are different parts of the course. I look forward to seeing you wizz by me on the bike, doing what you were born to do. 5+ hours of total enjoyment as I know this bike course is made for you.
And at the end of our day, if I can't give you the energy you need to dig deep because I am working on my own race day issues, I know there will be thousands of athletes, spectators and volunteers that will give you energy that you don't have in order to pull you to the finish line.


A few pics from today and yesterday. 

Trimarni Nutrition athlete Fran (best of luck!!!)

Mirror lake - swim start

Morning swim at mirror lake

Laura and Karel - Karel giving tips like always. So grateful for his knowledge and perspective as a "cyclist" turned triathlete

Biking the run course

Biking the run course

Biking the run course

Biking the run course with views of Olympic ski jump

Biking the run course

Biking the run course - so happy

Biking the run course

Hubby enjoying his morning eats

Morning eats!

Supporting the local small business - Placid Planet Bike Shop

Race ready!

Packing transition bags

Empty transition area

Miracle on Ice! 1980 arena - athlete meeting

Snow from the ice skating rink

Pre-race ritual pizza two nights before the race - store-bought (frozen) this time, topped with my own toppings of mushrooms, nutritional yeast and tofu and fresh ginger and garlic

French toast w/ sunny side up egg, greek yogurt and fresh fruit and honey

Bike check-in

All checked in!

Transition area

Transition area

My hubby and me!

Trimarni coaching athlete Laura

Bike course - descending

For tracking on race day: 


Marni: Bib #664
Karel: Bib #1792

A little about our race course:
Slowtwitch: IM Placid guide
Lake Placid bike course

Thank you for your support, your cheers and your encouragement!
We will do our best to race smart and to finish strong.

And lastly - a HUGE thank you to the companies that have helped me along my Ironman journey. I absolutely love being an ambassador for companies that allow me to live an active and healthy lifestyle with their safe, quality gear/products.

Thank you:
110% Play Harder
Oakley Women
Brooks Running
Hammer Nutrition

Oh and last but not least - thank you to my family who supports me no matter what crazy thing I have in my mind to achieve. My parents have never missed an Ironman of mine and I know they are enjoying their time with Campy and cheering from afar. Thank you to my brother and his fiance Dana for cheering out Karel and I and always supporting our very active lifestyle.


Ironman to-do: Race Bags


When it comes to racing an Ironman, I believe that the training is the hardest part. Sure, 140.6 total miles of swimming, biking and running is a major feat on the body and requires proper pacing, fueling and mental focus and strength. But racing in an endurance event is simply the accumulation of days and weeks and months of training. The early morning and evening workouts, the balance of work, life, family and training, the sacrifices for a good night of rest, the investment in recovery tools, the passion for proper daily and sport nutrition, the money, the time and the commitment….so much work for the BIG day that comes and goes within an instant. No matter how long it takes a person to finish an Ironman within the allotted amount of time (17 hours), it is nothing more than 3,6,9,12 months of training only for a one-day event.

Thanks to thousands of spectators, athletes, volunteers and friends and family from afar, the Ironman race day is the “easy” part. All you do is show up to the race venue start and do what you love to do. Swim. Bike. Run. Even if you are racing for an age-group award, Kona slot or personal best time or just to finish, the entire day is up to your mind controlling your trained body. You imagined the race start day during every workout and you were motivated by your race day finish fist-pump and post-race eats. The day when everyone out on the course and on the sidelines is there to finish the race or to help you finish the race. It’s the most self-centered day for an athlete yet the most inspiring and motivating day for a spectator.

To help myself out before an Ironman, I always keep a to-do list/itinerary for what I need to accomplish before the race start. Because an Ironman requires that you pack transition bags to be turned in with your bike on the day before the race, instead of setting up your transition area on race day morning, I find that this can be a very stressful and overwhelming process for an athlete. For no matter how many long weekends you have trained for the race, there’s that little feeling like you are forgetting something before a race alongside second guessing what has worked so many times in training. I encourage athletes to always start a packing list well-before race day, typically after your last “long” training weekend. Simply write down your pre-training nutrition, during training nutrition (products/fluids, etc.), gear and clothing used as well as what gadgets were best used (ex. setting up your screens on your Garmin to show useful variables to monitor such as normalized power, cadence, current HR on the bike and current pace, lap mile pace, current HR and lap time on the run). But then there are the thoughts as to doing something for the first time or not trying things out in training (ex. using a fuel belt for the first time in a race, not wearing your HR monitor during a race, using race wheels for the first time) that may stress you out for you don’t know if it will work or not.

Since this will be Karel’s first Ironman and his 6th triathlon since he learned to swim last May and made the transition from Cat 1 cyclist to triathlete, there are many unknowns for Karel which I am sure is true for many athletes out there. One thing that is on Karel's mind - he has never worked out for more than 7 hours before. I remember at my first IM, I couldn't believe that my heart would beat for so long in one day, continuously. If anything on your IM race day, always be thankful to your body for what it allows you to do. And if you feel as if your body is failing you, just be smart. Likely it is just giving you a warning sign to modify your strategy or slow down.

Of course, Karel and I are a team so we both help each other out all the time (he cleans my bike, I make him dinner J) but with Karel being my Sherpa for my past 5 Ironman’s, he is very educated on what he needs for race day and with every long training session, Karel and myself simulated race day scenarios. We are prepared for the what-if’s, oh-no’s and awesome moments.

To help you out if you are planning for an Ironman or triathlon, here is my current packing list: 


Sandals/old tennis shoes if warming up with a jog
Zip-up hoodie
Skirt or comfy pants
Sport nutrition – 1 scoop hammer heed + water bottle, water bottle to toss, hammer gel, endurance aminos, electrolytes.
Pre race nutrition - ~450-600 calories (low fiber, low fat, energy dense, low volume but high carb foods, as tolerated, `3 hours before your race start time) + 16 ounces water + cup of coffee. Typically I have rye wasa crackers (3) + honey + banana + walnuts + granola + milk (however before races my tummy doesn’t like milk except in coffee so I will omit but I always do milk before training)  + PB + raisins.
Karel typically has a base of waffles or oatmeal and then some additional toppings, similar to mine. He also likes the Bolthouse yogurt-based drinks.
Spray sunscreen
Body Glide
Race outfit (often I put on dry clothes in transition area, especially if weather is chilly)

Goggles (2 pairs)
Cap (provided by race)
Wetsuit or speed suit (depending on water temp)
Garmin 910XT (set on multisport function) – for swim I have it set to lap every 400 yards and on my screen I can see distance, time and pace.

Garmin edge 500 (charged and reset)– I have multiple screens on my garmin but I will set my garmin to my interval screen for the majority of the ride (3sec power, normalized power, current cadence, current HR, lap speed, lap time, average speed)
Cycling shoes
Bike pump (pump tires race morning if needed and check brakes to avoid rubbing)
Helmet (I will not be wearing an aero helmet for IM Placid because I feel the advantages of having the helmet will not be too my advantage at this race because of my riding style and because of the toughness of this course).
Race wheels (practiced many times in training) w/ power meter properly working
Sport nutrition – I will be bringing 4 bottles with me so that I do not have to rely on the aid stations except as needed and for water for sipping and cooling. I will always have 2 bottles of sport nutrition and 1 bottle of water on my bike at all times for most of the race. I will bring a gel flask to supplement additional calories w/ gels + water so I don’t have to mess with gel wrappers during the race. I do not eat solids during an IM but if I need something it will be at an aid station. I take in around 300 calories per hour from sport drinks and additional calories from gels as needed.
Electrolytes and endurance aminos - wrapped in mini plastic wrap bags w/ tape
Oakley commit sunglasses (I find these lighter than my Radar glasses which is important since I will be wearing sunglasses for 9.5+ hours)
Tri/jersey top and cycling shorts (depending on weather – I will be wearing my Trimarni Cycling shorts through the entire race, the padding in the shorts does not bother me and I prefer to ride in cycling shorts)
Additional clothing pending weather – gloves, ear covers, arm warmers (depending on the race day weather)
Towel (small) in transition bag to wipe off after swim

Race belt w/ race bib number (first name) + extra race belt w/ race number (last name) – I always have a back-up if needed. IN the past Ironman required a race number on the bike and I would use my first name number and put backup last name in my T2 bag but now you only have to wear a number on the run so I will use my pink race belt w/ first name bib.
Extra sunglasses (my Oakley’s never fall or slip but in the case of an emergency I will have a backup)
2 gel flasks filled with gels (I will rely on aid stations for water and additional calories as needed/tolerated. Pretzels are often my best friend if my tummy feels off from swallowing the water in the swim portion)
Tums (in case of an emergency)
Endurance aminos and electrolytes - wrapped in mini plastic bags w/ tape
Extra socks
Running shoes w/ lace locks
Towel (small) in bag to wipe off after bike

I put all my individual items in large zip lock bags within my transition bags so that when the volunteer dumps my bag, nothings gets lost as it can be a little chaotic in the transition tent. Also, in the case of overnight or day showers, this prevents items from getting wet in the transition bags.
I tie bright string on my bags to easily locate my bags if the volunteer cannot help me out.
I always thank the volunteers J
I always review the course as much as possible before the race to get familiar with how the aid stations will be placed as well as what to expect along the course which may affect/impact my pacing / nutrition strategy. This also helps me visualize the course as I am in the moment as I don't like to jump ahead with my mind on race day. I was taught by my mental coach Gloria to always stay in the moment. Think only about the swim while you are swimming, etc. 


Hello from Lake Placid!!

Race to travel. Travel to race.

Karel and I absolutely love seeing new places and making memories together. Since we both live a very active lifestyle, the combination of traveling and racing works very nicely for us for it allows us to see new sights in a very active way.

Lake Placid was a race that we decided to do last year around June. Karel was seeking a new challenge after spending most of his teenage - adult life training and racing cycling, with the past few years as a cat 1 cyclist. Karel jumped in the water last May for his first swim "workout" and after working hard in the water for a few weeks, he was ready for his first ever triathlon in mid July. Never did I ask Karel to do a triathlon, let alone an Ironman for I believe that with two active individuals being married, they don't have to have similar passions but instead, excitement for similar lifestyles. But one day, Karel said he wanted to train for an Ironman and knowing that it would take a while, he set his eyes on a June/July race for the following year ('13) so that he could train for an entire year, primarily learning the skills of triathlon. After tossing around a few ideas, we narrowed down our choices based on logistics, timing, weather and terrain and Ironman Lake Placid was on the top of our list. We both seek challenging, hilly courses and IM Lake Placid was not going to disappoint us based on what we new about the race. Additionally, we really enjoy visiting places where the town comes together to support the Ironman. Knowing that not every town is in favor of having 2500+ athletes take-over 140.6 miles, it is very special to be in a place that thrives off the Ironman weekend.

Lake Placid it was........our first Ironman together.

It was a long day of traveling, starting with a 3:45am wake-up call to drive 2 hours to Orlando (much cheaper flights in Orlando vs Jax). Before we even left Orlando to head to La Guardia, I received a message on my phone from Delta that we would have a delay in NY before heading to Vermont. So our 5 total hours of getting from Orlando to Vermont turned into 7.5 hours. Then, we had to take a ferry from Vermont to New York and I choose the longest ferry which took an hour. But we just missed the 4:10pm ferry so we had to wait until 5:30pm - which was the last one! We killed time by heading to the local grocery store for some groceries for the morning and before we knew it we were driving on board the ferry for a very beautiful trip to NY. I enjoyed a salad from Moe's which made my tummy happy. After arriving to NY, we traveling about 1 hour and 10 minutes to Lake Placid which put us to our rental cottage around 8pm. But despite all the delays and mistakes with my travel arrangements, it was an absolutely beautiful welcome to get to Lake Placid and we purposely drove on the bike course to our cottage (3 miles from the race venue on River Drive) to check out the course. Beautiful, challenging, tough.

We went to bed just before 9pm as we were both exhausted from the day. But up early without an alarm at 6am to get the coffee going w/ a small snack before we met Trimarni Coaching athlete Laura G and her bf Duran for a swim at mirror lake.

Karel and I didn't have our wetsuits because they were packed with our gear bag with Tri Bike Transport and I was really worried that the 43 morning temps would freeze me from a morning swim. Laura let me borrow her speed suit and Karel wore a tri suit and actually, the swim felt great (albeit a tiny bit chilly but nothing that would keep me from swimming 1.2 miles in mirror lake). It was really nice to get the blood flowing as I am itching to push hard and release my contained energy but doing nothing will only get me tight and unfocused.

After warming up back in the cottage, it was time for a real meal, followed by check-in, expo exploring and grocery shopping. So grateful for Laura being a local (grew up playing hockey around Placid but now lives in NC) as she was an excellent tour guide, driving us around and explaining the course to us (which was an added bonus since I have been reviewing her training files on training peaks for the past 2 weeks since she has been staying up here with her family).

After a light lunch, we picked up our bikes at Tri Bike Transport and Karel put on our pedals and we were ready for a ride with Laura as our tour guide.

Karel and I needed to do a little climbing to wake up our legs as it is always a shock for the body to climb, especially when you don't do it for a while (or regularly). We rode the last part of the course by heading down the last climb to Wilmington to then head back up as if we were actually on the course (2 loop course). We rode from Wilmington towards whiteface mountain on Route 86 for around 11 miles of climbing, a few rollers and not a lot of flat. This course is extremely challenging and race day calls for a big chance for rain so this course certainly requires a lot of patience and love for mother nature. All-in-all, I love this course already!

After the ride, it was nearing 5:30 pm by the time we cleaned up so Karel and I each made some dinner and the rest of the evening was relaxing.

We are looking forward to a very easy workout in the morning with a very short swim in the lake at 7:30am followed by a 45ish minute "flat" ride on river road (well- as flat as you can get around here with a few rollers).

The pictures speak louder than words and I hope you can enjoy Lake Placid via my photos for we are absolutely loving it here!

(Karel's eats)