Essential Sports Nutrition


Race Report - 2.5 mile open water swim

4:20am - wake up. 

Well, it was supposed to be 4:30am but two furry cats decided it was breakfast time. 

Karel and Campy "slept in" til 5am and after I had coffee and a pre race snack of shredded wheat cereal + small banana w/ PB and cinnamon + tall glass of water, I was out the door around 5:10am to head to Jacksonville Beach. 

My open water swim race morning started with a 6.5 mile run. Close enough to the ocean to hear the waves yet dark enough to zone out and focus on my form. I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to have a body that loves to do what I make it do every day. MOVE. 

All sweaty and ready to cool off, I met Karel at the lifeguard station/packet pickup at 7am and he had our packets/chips all ready for the event. 

Karel and I grabbed our stuff from our cars across the street and killed some time chatting with our tri friends that we hadn't seen in a few weeks due to our trip to Placid and other things in our life keeping us busy. 

At 7:30am, the 2.5 mile swimmers boarded a bus and the 1.5 mile swimmers boarded a separate bus. This race is very well organized by our Hammerhead Tri club president Susan Wallis who does a phenomenal job raising money for all types of charities and organizations. Today's race entry fees were give to the Lifeguard station to keep our beach safe. 

Karel and I sat in the back of the bus but Karel decided he was too cool to sit with his wife so he sat with his buddies and they talked "guy" stuff for 2.5 miles down the road. Not to worry - I was enjoying my window seat on our yellow school bus, excited for the opportunity to swim 2.5 miles in the ocean in prep for Kona in 8 weeks. 

After we arrived to the start of the race, I knew from experience with this race that it would be a long swim. The water was semi-calm, although a slight current not in our favor. The sky was cloudy with a rain shower in the near future. There was a great turn out so plenty of company for 2.5 miles. But a point to point swim with only 1 buoy in the middle makes for a very long swim and lots of thoughts of "where in the heck am I in the ocean?"

After the race was started, I hit the start button on my Garmin 910XT and casually entered the water as to not get caught up with the crazy start of the race. We made a left turn around a small burnout to start our straight shot swim 2.5 miles away. 

I felt very good in the water and my watched beeped every 440 yards and I found that the first 30 minutes flew by. I was careful to just swim steady so that I wouldn't exhaust myself for the back half of the race.
I didn't find many people around me which worried me that I was off course. I spotted frequently just to check where I was going and at one point, my friend Don P. was near me and he stopped to de-fog his goggles and I asked "are we are course?" and just kept swimming. I think just knowing someone else was around me felt comforting. 

By the way, how is it that in all of the ocean, you can one minute be surrounded by hands and legs within an inch from your face and then the next minute you are all alone in the big blue sea. 

Nearing 40 minutes by looking at my watch, I checked my pace and I was rather pleased. 1:34 per 100 yards. Never able to really feel a good catch in the ocean water, I felt like I was channeling my inner college swimmer arms and really swimming strong. I was constantly thinking about my hand entry, smooth kick and hip roll. I guess with over an hour of swimming, I had to think about something to pass the time. 

Around 50 minutes, I kept trying to look for that  last buoy. I had passed the big red buoy letting me know I was passing the 1.5 starting point but that last little buoy was no where to be seen. 

Rather than feeling frustrated (I figured Karel would have plenty of that), I figured the buoy has to come sometime so long as I keep on swimming.

So, my inner nemo came out and I started to pick up the pace. I saw a few lifeguards on their kayak's and paddle boarders so I figured I was on course but no one was around me. Finally, after several rounds of swimming,spotting, swimming, spotting, I found it!! That little orange buoy was there....yet still so far away.

But, at least I knew I was getting somewhere. Unfortunately, somewhere wasn't coming very quickly.

I looked at my watch again around an hour, I knew I had to be getting closer. With 4200 yards for 2.4 miles (Ironman swim) and my swim likely on and off course, I checked with over 3500 yards or so and figured I was on the home stretch.  

Finally!! That orange buoy was here!! I was so happy to be so close to a buoy that I sprinted around it all by myself and sprinted to the shore. 

I swam until my arms hit the sand and stood up, only to fall back down after a few steps thanks to a shallow part followed by a deep part. Ok, back up again and I ran to the finish line crossing in 1:11:03. 

Here are my splits from my Garmin: 

(for every 440 yards)
6:47 (1:32 per 100 yards)
6:41 (1:31 pace)
7:11 (1:38 pace)
6:53 (1:33 pace)
7:03 (1:36)
6:24 (1:27)
6:45 (1:32)
6:59 (1:35)
6:53 (1:34)
6:16 (1:25)
2:55 (last 204 yards, 1:25 pace)

1st age group (30-34)
4th overall female
21st overall

(Love my new Oakley Women swim suit that I wore under my speed suit)
As for Karel's swim....a big improvement from last year and considering that he just learned to swim last May, I am still so amazed with how hard he works and the progress he makes. He gets frustrated at times that he can't just go faster like he does with cycling and running (push harder, go faster) but he always has a great spirit with his swimming.

When Karel finished the swim today in 1:25, he came up to me and our group of friends to let us know that we shouldn't be worried that he took so long. He decided to visit his parents in Czech to get some cookies and that is why he took so long :) 

One of my favorite parts of life is working hard. I love the feeling of putting in the work and then getting a payoff down the road. I love the idea of having no idea when the payoff will come or what it will feel like when it all comes together. Even though I have been swimming competitively in some way for over 20 years, I love being able to work hard as a triathlete. Learning how to swim strong as I balance bike and run training. For Karel, it's a work in progress but he is not even close to giving up as he is really hooked with his new triathlon lifestyle and he is 100% motivated and excited to see where his body will take him over the next few years. 

Regardless of how the day turns out when you train or race, always appreciate what your body allows you to do and most importantly, have fun. There are many choices in life and there is something beautiful in using a body that was designed to move. 

Yay! - another picture of Campy sleeping. What a precious furry ball of cuteness. 


Managing pre-race nerves

The mind is an amazing thing. You can use it wisely to discover how strong you really are in life or you can let it fill up with negative thoughts and emotions which then lead you to damaging  actions. 

When it comes to life, it's easy to sweat the small stuff. I find that many athletes waste a lot of energy on things out of their control and I'll be the first to admit that I still want to discuss situations that I can not control with Karel and Gloria. Oh jeez, I can't tell you how many times I have worried about the wind and weather only to find myself quickly feel re-assured that I can deal with every situation that is within my control. I am constantly in-tune with my waves of emotions before a race and I have to remind myself over and over that 2,3-6 weeks ago I craved this day to come with every awesome workout complete. I remind myself that racing in triathlons is a choice- a choice that I commit myself to and I must finish the task at hand. For I paid money to train and prepare my body for the upcoming event and only I can get myself to the finishing line. I remove any pressure from myself that my race performance is going to make/break my life and instead, consider that what I get to do with my body is a gift that many people in life never feel or desire to feel in life.

How many times have you been in a bad or sad situation and tried to be happy? It's very hard to turn that frown upside down and sometimes we can't expect to be happy right away. But believe it or not, sports allows you to learn a lot about yourself, if you let a negative situation turn into a positive. Perhaps a race that didn't go as planned or just missing the podium or a personal best. There will always be times in races when things are not going as planned and you can either find yourself wrapped in negative a maze of negativity with no clear escape OR you can open your tool box of "strong thoughts" and show yourself that you can get out of any situation with the right state of mind and action plan.

Being nervous, having high expectations, worrying about the future, thinking about the past, worrying about what others will think, telling yourself it is not worth it. There are many things that occur in the mind before something important and that can be a lot to handle all at once. 

As I walked to the transition area of my last Ironman 3 weeks ago in Lake Placid,  I chatted with Trimarni coaching athlete Laura and Karel (Trimarni hubby) about ME being nervous. I joked that it was my 6th Ironman and here I am walking with two first-timers and I was just as nervous as they were. I knew what it felt like to finish 140.6 miles of racing and I had many races of experiences in my tool box to manage many race day situations. But I found I wasn't nervous because I doubted my fitness or ability to finish the race as I felt I had enough experience and training to cover the distance. I personally was nervous because my endorphins were flowing and I had no idea how the day would go and I needed to get things started so that my mind could relax. It's amazing how everything ALWAYS seems to sort itself out when the race starts. It's like the mind is so on-edge before the race and when the gun goes off and the chip crosses the timing mat, your body just knows exactly what to do. Then, all you have to manage is your mind. When I started swimming at Ironman Lake Placid, just like in the past 5 Ironman's, my nerves reflected my excitement that I needed to just start what my body was trained to do and that my mind was going to be my only limiter on race day.

I can't tell you how many times I have allowed myself to give up in training because my mind was tired. Over the past few years, I have battled with my mind to allow my body to keep going. For if my mind is tired but my body is still hanging in there, what's the point of surrendering to thoughts of "this is feeling too hard." 

With coaching many athletes over the past few years and working on nutrition for pre-race/race day with athletes, I've learned that every athlete manages pre-race nerves differently and that is to be respected. Every athlete has his/her own of ritual or ways of preparing for a race and not everyone finds it easy to manage emotions before a race. Certainly, we do not want to offend people or be rude to others just because we are nervous, scared, overwhelmed, frightened or worried but by working on your pre-race nerves can assist in better breathing, a more controlled heart rate, better digestion and a better racing experience all together. 

Since I have received so much help from my own personal sport psychologist Gloria (aka Mental coach Dr. G), I reached out to Gloria for some of her TOP personal blogs that she has written in order to help others learn how to create a strong mind. 

Helpful links on managing the pre-race jitters

Watermelon ginger smoothie

I love my is affordable and it durable. Two very important criteria for a Trimarni blender..for any food or gadget in my kitchen must fuel my active and healthy lifestyle. I don't eat for calories but for health, performance and for pleasure. 

When it comes to my eating "style", I'd say it is very intuitive. There's a lot of thinking about how food will make me feel as I eat it and afterward, some planning ahead but absolutely no guilty thoughts. I do not lecture or stress about food and eating is a happy time. Certainly, this was a long time in the making for several years of discovering a way of eating that works for me. But for the last few years, I have found myself with food freedom. In other words, food does not consume my life but instead it enhances me life. Food is not bad, overwhelming or difficult to understand but instead, something that I need on a daily basis for fuel and for health but also for the basic idea of eating for pleasure. I eat to honor hunger and stop when I am satisfied. If there is anything I don't like, it is being hungry but even worse, being stuffed. 

I find that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts are not in-tune with their body during training and thus, do not appreciate how food can help the body adapt to training stress and when properly timed with workouts can assist with successful balanced eating throughout the day. Although we should always focus on the nutrients found in food to protect our immune system from disease and illness, there is no better time during the day to put some passion into your eating, than when you are working out. 

Smoothies are an easy way to turn a recovery drink into a meal or to kick start the recovery process. There are dozens of ways to incorporate smoothies into your diet as an easy way to give your body fluids, vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. The ingredients in your smoothie depend on the purpose of the smoothie and with every food I put into my body, it has a purpose. Fuel. Health. Pleasure. 

I have a few "breakfast" meals that work for my body so depending on the workout and the type of morning I am planning (ex. working at the hospital vs being at home for my business) I have learned what meals and combinations of foods work best for me and my body. I don't waste energy on what other people are doing with the diet because I am not them and they are not me. For only I know my body and only I can reflect on what I feel is important to tweak in my diet to set myself up for successful eating for my active and busy life all while reducing my risk for disease so I can continue my awesome life for a few more decades to come.

Once you decide what is important to you with your eating in terms of why you are making changes, you will find it much easier to tweak the diet so that every day you are making a small change for long lasting results. There's no point being hungry, hoping to be better tomorrow, feeling low blood sugar or feeling guilty with eating. With a few small tweaks you can easily change your eating style and find yourself living a life that is not obsessed with food thoughts but instead enhanced with the nutrients found in your food choices.

A few of my favorite breakfast eats;
Yogurt w/ fruit and granola (typically when I work at home)
Egg omelet w/ veggies and cheese w/ fruit and bread (post long workout)
Oatmeal w/ fruit, nuts, protein powder (at the hospital)
Smoothie (intense workout or just in the mood)

Here is my delicious watermelon ginger smoothie that is packed with nutrition. I typically do not measure my food but I provided amounts for you so that you can make the perfect delicious smoothie to help nourish your body and/or recover from your workout.
I used this smoothie as a recovery "meal" and when I do that, I have some fats ad some type of carbs -typically some granola or breakfast bread (I love a good crunch).

                   Watermelon Ginger Smoothie

Ingredients4-5 large chunks watermelon
1/4 cup 0% fage greek yogurt
1 tbsp ground flax
7-8 ice cubes
~1.5 cups water
2 celery sticks (chopped and washed)
1 tbsp ginger (fresh, chopped)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 large banana
25-30g vanilla whey protein (I typically don't consume the entire portion of smoothie so I use a bit more protein powder for another serving for Karel or for myself the next day).

1. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend. 
2. For a thicker smoothie (like a milkshake - how I like it :) ) keep the blender going for at least 1.5-2 minutes. You will get more volume, just make sure your blender has room for 6 cups (this is how much my creation made as listed above).
3. Pour smoothie into cups (I typically do a 3-4 cup serving post workout as my "meal" with some granola mixed in and then pour the rest in a coffee cup and freeze. I then defrost in 30-60 intervals the next day or as a snack later in the day).

This smoothie is packed with natural anti-inflammatories (ex. ginger and celery - you could throw in pineapple for an extra boost too) and also will help with hydration as it is packed with electrolytes. You may use any protein powder that you'd like (Ex. whey, soy, vegan).

 If you use a smoothie as a meal, I recommend to make sure it has some fat (ex. flax, PB, chia, avocado, oil) to slow down digestion otherwise you will be filled from volume and calories but may find yourself hungry 1-2 hours later. This smoothie typically holds me over for at least 3 hours. 


A few of my favorite happy tummy eats

When it comes to discovering the best diet and exercise routine for you body and lifestyle, you must remember that you are eating for you and exercising for your goals. Never be afraid of what others will think of you as you nourish and fuel and work your body to encourage a long, happy life. Although you should never feel isolated because of your eating and exercise routine, keep in mind that your balanced diet and exercise routine may inspire others. 

Why I love it? Natural anti-inflammatory and perfect for the tummy when fueling with sport nutrition products. Also a must for me on the days leading up to the race to help with pre-race nerves affecting digestion. Also helpful for nausea.

Why I love it? 1/2 cup + 13g of protein!!! Not only is it delicious but it also provides iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium along with over 400 mg of potassium.

Why I love it?  A perfect combo of protein, carbs and fat to keep my brain, body and tummy happy. I portion control to individual baggies for easy snacking, especially after work on my drive home. I love to add trail mix to my yogurt and fruit breakfast in the morning w/ granola. 

Why I love it? Nothing better than having everything prepared for you and you can pick whatever you want, based on your workout routine or nutrient needs. But isn't it great when you don't have to pay by the pound? I always make sure I have a variety of fruits and veggies in my fridge at all times and I love shopping seasonally. I am loving the summer fruits while they last and there is no shortage of them in our house. I typically shop 2-3 days a week for produce as we go through it fast! Here's my Trimarni kitchen salad bar creation.. Spinach, arugula, onions, carrots, avocado, baby tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, feta, mixed brown rice, cashews, cottage cheese and strawberries.

Why I love it? The key to the perfect pre training snack is finding food options that are energy dense (high carb) but low in volume. Depending on the intensity and volume, a little fat and protein may be useful. One of my favorite pre training snacks for 1-3 hour workouts is Wasa North America crackers (light rye 2-4 crackers) spread with a little PB and honey, topped with raisins, cinnamon and banana slices. Happy tummy, happy muscles, happy body.

Why I love him? He never complains, provides unconditional loves, loves to run, treats every day like a lottery winning day, never tries to rush the day, loves road trips, loves to be outside and loves life.
(Love my Oakley Women Warm-up shades)


Healthy, budget and kid friendly lunch ideas

 First off, a few yummy recent creations from my Facebook page that were enjoyed while working at Baptist Medical Center Beaches last week. Delicious fuel for my body and brain to help me be a great clinical RD to be patients.

                                                       Fruit salad oatmeal

Walnuts and sunflower seeds
Oatmeal (1/2 cup dry)
Water (to meet consistency needs)
~10-15g protein (Whey protein - if I don't add it I'm hungry in an hour)
1 tbsp flax seeds

Yogurt parfait

~4 ounces greek yogurt (Fage 0%)
Granola (a few spoonfuls)
Trail mix (w/ a few M&M's for to make my tummy smile)

I had so much fun on set of News4Jax yesterday, talking about my tips for planning healthy, budget-friendly lunches for kids with Melanie. Here are the two segments: 

Part 1 - Don't make it complicated and Dips

Part 2 - Un-sandwich and creating balanced lunch meals


Trail run, beach and Tacos

When you own your own business, the weekends often get squeezed together with the weekdays as every day is a work day.

Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC works great for Campy because in his world, every day is a weekend!!

I'm really looking forward to speaking at Speaking Of Women's Health in Jacksonville on August 24th on behalf of the HeartWise for Women prevention program. I can't wait for my talk on "Keeping eating healthy, easy and delicious" and doing a cooking demo with Mai Oui Gourmet catering my talk.

I also have a talk this Sunday with two other GI MD's at Baptist Medical Center Beaches where we will all be discussing GI related diseases and how they affect the fitness enthusiast. My portion will be on fueling the individual who has a GI-related disease (Crohn's, stomach cancer, IBS, celiac). 

I wonder what they are dreaming about?
It's been a very busy two weeks since returning from Lake Placid but I wouldn't want it any other way. 


This morning (after my 2500 form focused swim + hip/core work) around 7:40am, I prepped the set for my 8am hour TV segment with News4Jax on "Healthy budge-friendly lunches for kids". I will share the link via Facebook and blog when it is on the website. 

So for my last weekend of unstructured training....

A little girl time on bikes with my friend Heidi

A little mountain biking in Hanna Park for Karel (Sunday - 1 hour) after we slept in with no alarm. 9 beautiful hours of sleep and not working out until 9am.

And on Sunday, my 2nd run since Ironman Lake Placid, a 40 minute run on the trails (10 min run, 2 min walk after each trail segment). I was drenched in sweat and covered in spider webs and looking forward to wearing my new swim suit from Oakley Women. 

Love my unstoppable Oakley bag - perfect for a beach day with Karel to enjoy unstructured exercise before easing back into structured training. 

So on to more delicious news.....

Plant strong tacos

1 wrap
Veggie meat
Mixed greens
Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a casserole dish (small yet tall rectangle), spray lightly with non stick spray and place 1 cup (per person) veggie meat and 1 package sliced mushrooms (washed) w/ 2 cloves garlic chopped and 1/2 large onion chopped (thick slices) into the dish.
3. Steam broccoli and then cut into segments and place on top of mushroom mixture (the meat, mushrooms and onions will soak up a lot of flavor from the meat and the broccoli will be nicely roasted). Sprinkle with turmeric and a pinch of salt. See step #6.
4. After 20-25 minutes or until broccoli is a little brown, remove from oven (and turn off oven).
5. Remove broccoli from the top of the casserole dish and stir together meat with mushrooms, onions and garlic.
6. Prepare lentils according to package (I did a 1:3 ratio of lentils to water).
7. Place 1  warm wrap on a plate and spoon cooked lentils on the wrap. Add a little cheese (any kind - the real kind, not factory made cheese like fat-free) and a spoonful of salsa and then top with a big spoon of mushroom mixture and then with leafy greens. Close wrap and top with dallop of greek yogurt (not pictured as that would make my picture messy looking).
8. Serve with roasted broccoli and enjoy!

Homemade "chips" - toasted wrap at 375 degrees for 3-5 minutes each side (or until almost hard and slightly brown), then broken carefully into triangles (kinda) and drizzled with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. I bet cinnamon would be yummy on these too!


Ironman Lake Placid RR: 140.6 miles post race

(Photo from Megan Wiseman - 3rd place)

It's been two weeks since Ironman Lake Placid and thankfully, the body remembers nothing of the race. 

But because there has been minimal working out and no structured training for the past 14 days, there hasn't been a chance for the body to notify me of any residual micro tears in my muscles and fibers that would cause me to experience lingering fatigue, soreness, burnout and aches post Ironman. Now I will say, 6th time around, I am very in-tune with my body after racing for 140.6 miles and knowing what to do post race is just as important as considering what not to do post race.
Here is how the exercise routine looked for the past two weeks, with no structure or alarms to tell me that I had to do something. Everything felt good when I did it and I stopped when I wanted to stop.
Mon - Wed post race: nothing
Tues post race: Walking around on Whiteface mountain for an hour
Thurs - 45 min swim
Fri - 45 min Swim
Sat and Sun - 2 hour road bike, EZ spin
Mon - 45 min swim + light core/hip work
Tues - 1:45 road bike, EZ spin
Wed - 45 min swim + hip work
Thurs - 45 min run (5 min walk on incline 5% @3.5mph, 5 min running @ 6.5 mph (ran by feel) w/ no incline. Repeated this 4 times for a total of 20 minutes of running + 5 min walk cool down. 3.5 miles total, no soreness, fatigue or issues before, during or after the run or the next day. 
Fri - 20 min swim
Sat - 2.5 hour social ride w/ my friend Heidi
Sun (today) - plan is 1.5 hour bike + 30 min run (1 mile run + 1-2 min walk). Not a "brick" but just using the bike to warm-up my legs
Mon - back to training, easing in slowly with 9 weeks until the 2013 Ironman World Championship.

After I crossed the finish line and fell into the arms of two amazing volunteers (who were strong enough to catch me and my jello legs), and they asked me if I needed medical.
My reply in a joking manner "No, I'm ok. I'm just tired because I did an Ironman!"

They laughed and asked me what I wanted/needed. 
My reply "I need to find my husband, he just did his first Ironman."
And there he was, right in front of me. With his Mylar blanket keeping his body temperature warm after taking a dip in Mirror Lake to rinse off all the gels, sport drinks and sweat from his first-timer Ironman body, Karel gave me a big hug and said "WOW - you did awesome babe!" 

The first thing I asked him was "How was your race?"
Such a funny question since we were both on the course together and saw each other several times on the bike and the run, but never did I guess, think or wonder what Karel's finishing time would be. 

He replied "10:03"

I couldn't believe it. I kept telling him that was so amazing and he told me he was really happy and proud. The best part of it all was when Karel was running down the finishing chute and heard Mike R. call his name as a first timer from Jacksonville, Florida, Karel said he got emotional as he has been anticipating this day without knowing how the day would ever turn out. I was so happy that he experienced that finishing line to the fullest because that is what the Ironman is all about. 140.6 miles and no matter how the race goes, it is all turned around in those last few tenths of a mile as you approach the finishing line as a member of a special group of individuals who can officially call themselves "Ironman finisher". 

As I hobbled my way with the volunteers to some chairs, I noticed there were a lot of guys around me and many who were making their way to the medical tent. I couldn't take in any solid food as usual, only water. 
After Karel told me about his race, I managed to look at Garmin for the first time in the history file and after switching over from swim, to bike, to run, I told Karel that I ran a 3:48 marathon! I couldn't believe it! Of course, this is after I told him that it was the hardest run of my life, I had to sprint to the finishing line and I am not sure if I am 4th of 5th (if I will get a Kona slot but I may have a chance), my quads were burning the entire race and I really dug deep to finish strong.  I kept looking at my watch as I read 

"10:43, 140.6 miles."

It's funny that in an Ironman, you can go into the race with your current level of fitness and anticipate a finishing time. But the only thing that is certain is how many miles you have to cover until you get your finisher medal, hat and t-shirt. Never can you chase a time for 140.6 miles is a long way to go.

For Karel, his two goals were to qualify for Kona and to break 10 hours. Of course, big goals for your first Ironman. Karel and myself are motivated by our goals and we love to put in the work for them in a balanced way so that are action plan has results. I would never tell Karel or any of my athletes to not dream big, even if the goal is not possible at this point in time. The key is making sure that your goal/dream motivates you but does not distract you from enjoying the journey. Karel never put too much pressure on himself that he would need to compare himself to the crazy fast guys in his 35-39 age group (with only 6 Kona slots) who can swim, bike and run their way to a sub 9:30 Ironman or that he would hate his training because he can't get faster quick enough. What Karel experienced with the Ironman journey is that his body only let him do so much throughout training and he was only allowed to accept his current level of fitness within 24 hours of the race and what he could do to execute a strong, well-paced race. He did just that and without taking too many risks, he is motivated to improve his swim and to learn to be a faster triathlete.
Never would I want anyone to not dream big but at the end of the day, your race day performance is not titled good or bad just because of a finishing time. After sitting around in the finisher area for a good 15 minutes until my body felt semi-OK to take a picture ...

I told Karel, just like I did at IMWI when I crossed the line in 4th place, 90 seconds behind 3rd place and only 3 Kona slots again, that I was so happy with my performance that I wouldn't care about not getting a Kona slot. I did exactly what I trained myself to do and that was to race a strong race. You never know how the cards will be dealt on race day and when things are going well, I recognize them and don't expect things to go even better. Sure, I got ran down by many girls but I was racing a strong race for me and my body and that was worth celebrating.

Toughness comes from overcoming personal limits, obstacles and doubts. You have to argue against the internal voices in your head that scream at you to slow down. Your body gives you feedback that you are not able to maintain this effort to the finish line and that your energy levels are falling. No one but yourself can experience these feelings and no one but you can overcome them.....unless you choose to give in to the pain.

No matter the distance of your upcoming race, how you choose to execute the race or your finishing time, you are a tough, strong athlete because you have prevented barriers which would have stopped you from reaching the finish line and have shut-up the thoughts that tell you it is not possible.

After grabbing our phones from our transition bags and getting our bikes, I checked my phone in my pre race gear bag and was overwhelmed by the messages from our friends and family. Absolutely shocked is a better way to put it as I couldn't believe how many people tracked us throughout the day. Deep inside, I think I heard everyone so we thank you!!

We got on our bikes and painfully (ouch!) rode our bikes 3 miles down the road to our cottage while cheering for the athletes on the course. And this is why I love the Ironman...athletes still with over 13 miles to go on the run and they are congratulating us for our accomplishment. Just amazing!

When we arrived home, we both collapsed on separate beds and chatting with our families. Karel's family in Czech were tracking us all day and you could only believe how excited his parents were since all they knew of Karel was him as a cyclist. 

I took a cold epson salt bath and spent some time dealing with my tummy post race (nothing abnormal) and finally managed to get in some nutrition - pretzels, fruit, glass of milk, leftover small slice of pizza.

I packed some pringles, tums and saltines for later as well as 1 FIZZ in my water to replenish electrolytes. 

Nearing 10:30pm and completely exhausted, sore and aching all over, it was time to head back to the race to cheer on the last hour of finishers. 

It was dark on River Road and on our bikes, pedaling super duper slowly, we cheered for the athletes and told them we expect to see them at the finish line when we get there. Volunteers still on the course, it was all becoming so real that we really just did an Ironman together!

We met Laura and her boyfriend and family at her place and I could finally congratulate her for her amazing first timer 6th place age group finish and we all walked to the finish line for my favorite part of the Ironman..the last hour. 

Thank you again for all your support, cheers and kind words over the past two weeks.

I look forward to sharing my 7th Ironman journey with everyone.....starting tomorrow!