Essential Sports Nutrition


Celebrating more than 32 years of life today

I started early....whipping up a delicious Trimarni creation!

Wow! I have been living for 11680 days!

Today celebrates 32 years that I have been on this Earth. 

32 years of growing, learning, overcoming obstacles and heartache, laughing, loving, traveling, making memories, crossing finishing lines and experiencing life. 

Today is not only my birthday but also the day when I met my life partner, Karel. 

Meeting Karel on my birthday not only made it easy for us to remember the first day when we met (which resulted from us being set-up by mutual friends on a group bike ride) but it's very special that I will always be able to celebrate living another year of life with someone who I get to share the rest of my life with. 

And if you know us well, we sure do love to experience life with our gift of good health. 

I could fill this blog with hundreds and hundreds of words about all the experiences and memories I have had over the past 32 years as well as dozens and dozens of pictures to capture those special moments. 

But I would not be able to experience life if it was not for the most amazing parents who brought me into this world and raised me to the best of their abilities. 

I love my family!

With a very heavy heart, this birthday is the first time I celebrate another year of life without my dad. 

The most amazing man I know, Dr. James A. Rakes, O.D., F.A.A.O., passed away on Wednesday May 28th, 2014 at the age of 67 years after a heroic 10-month fight with a rare cancer. 

I realize that this will be recent news for many but my super healthy and active day (who never missed a day of work for a sickness and ran 3 miles every day for as long as I can remember) started his battle with cancer a few weeks before Karel and I went to Lake Placid for our Ironman last July (Karel's first Ironman). I am not quite ready to use my brain and heart to give my dad the Trimarni blog (from his daughter) tribute that he deserves so for now I want to share the obituary that my brother and I put together about our amazing dad. 
(I have personalized this obituary specifically for this blog post)

My dad was an Indiana University graduate where he completed Optometry school and continued his residency at the University of Kentucky. He recently retired from the VA hospital as the chief optometrist of the VA eye clinic in New Port Richey, FL. He was a Primary Low Vision care provider and optometric physician.

My dad touched many patient lives in his almost 40 years of working for the VA hospital as he was extremely dedicated to his work, his research, his teachings and helping others. As the director of residency and extern programs, he guided over 100 optometry students to excel in their field.  He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and was on the Indiana University adjunct faculty.

In 1977, my dad married the love of his life, and best friend, Susie Rakes (Congress) and together they had me (who married Karel in October 2008) and my younger brother Aaron (who married Dana in September 2013). Me and my brother have always lived a very active lifestyle, just like their father.

My dad loved life and his family. He always had a positive spirit, a great sense of humor and the ability to tell the best stories. As a high school track and wresting athlete, he continued to stay fit through daily running and held a strong passion for astronomy, stamp collecting, corvettes, classic movies, anything electronic and the weather.

My dad will be greatly missed by so many for he was incredibly kind, loving, patient and supportive. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Borish Center forOpthalmic Research.

And the Cancer Survivors Park in Greenville, South Carolina.


In honor of my dad, who absolutely loved life, his job of helping others and his family, it is my wish for you to never wait in life to do what you want to do. 
There will never be a perfect time for something so don't wait until tomorrow to start something today. 
As you know, Karel and I made our recent move to Greenville to live an active lifestyle in a beautiful city as we continue to work hard to grow our business.  
We knew this move was risky as small business owners but even after 3 weeks, we do not regret this decision. 

You only have one life and there's nothing better than waking up excited to experience another day of life.
Dream really big and accept hard work.
Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live.
Have fun, laugh and smile as you make memories. 
Pick your battles and don't waste your breath arguing over something that is not important. 

Stand up for what you believe in, keep an open mind, be flexible and accept others for who they are.
See the good in every minute of your life. 
Live the life you have always wanted to live. 

I love you Dad, always and forever. Thank you for being my biggest fan, for raising me to work hard for success, for always being proud of me, for taking the best pictures at my races, for never having a bad day, for loving mom and showing me what it is like to have a great marriage for over 35 years, for welcoming Karel into our family and for always loving me. 


Strong - steady swim set

As a life long swimmer, swimming is therapy for me. It's my outlet to think about future Trimarni creations, for the right words and sentences for my articles and also my happy place to just be alone with my body and mind. 

Unlike running, swimming is non-weight bearing and for my body, swimming is an opportunity for me to recover in the water and also to push in the water.  

Unlike most sports, you can be moving for a long time but the distance you cover leaves you with the same sights as when you started. But, your body still knows you covered a specific amount of distance even though you are just swimming 25 yards at a time. 

I really appreciate my good health when I swim. 

I love how my muscles work to keep me moving. Stroke after stroke, they contract and relax to help me power through my strokes. Sometimes my muscles get tired and boy oh boy do I feel it, but then I really appreciate my good health in knowing that with a little rest I can still repeat my effort in the next 24-48 hours in the water. 
And you better believe I can't wait until the next swim session is on my training plan from "coach Karel".

My lungs and heart are so important when I swim and I do not take them for granted. You never realize how much you love oxygen and the simple gift of breathing, until you jump in the water. Short breaths every 3-5 strokes and a constant build up of carbon dioxide until you finally get to rest at the wall. And then you get to do it all over again until the warm-up, main set and cool down is complete. 

With the human body being so complex in its physiology, it's absolutely amazing how the body just knows what to do in the water. Here at 6 months old, I was a pretty happy baby. But nothing made me happier than being in the water....and my parents started me young with the baby swim sessions. Just plop the baby in the water type of "lesson." Without even knowing the skills to swim, I remember when my mom and dad took me to my first swim lesson and I just loved how free I felt in the water. 

Plus, it was super fun to just be in the water and my parents always knew that when we went to any type of pool for fun, that it would be a struggle for me to agree to leave when it was time to go home. I remember always telling my parents, "just a few more minutes..pleeeeease???"

In honor of my love for swimming and all those years of my dad driving me to swim practices at 4:30am and then my mom taking me at 4pm the very same day, I created a great set that has a mix of strong and steady efforts for every type of swimmer. 

Strong-steady swim set
1000 warm-up - mix it up (include drills, fins, kick, pull, etc. - stop as needed)

Main set #1:
6x's (with 20 sec rest in between, continue repeating until the 6 rounds are complete):
150 strong (~90%)
100 steady (~80%)
(if your form suffers, take extra rest and for less experienced swimmers, you can shorten the set to 100/100 OR 100/50 and keep the same effort and extend the rest interval as needed)

200 EZ 

Main set #2:
6 x 50's (odd ~80%, even ~90%) w/ 10 sec rest 
(if your form suffers, take extra rest)

200 EZ 

Total: 3200 yards

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.....


Eggplant pizza, mango slaw and more!

On Saturday, my body did not disappoint me. I was actually very impressed with how my body performed with 6800 feet of climbing over 85 beautiful, hilly miles. Our ride included a 45-minute (for me), 5 mile climb to the top of Ceasers Head which has an elevation of 3215 feet. And to finish off the fun, I had a good two more hours of riding behind Karel's wheel to finish off our workout.
In the past I would have called this a training camp but now it's just part of our training, in our new backyard.
I will do a separate blog on this ride soon. In the mean time, let's eat!

After our 85-mile ride and 4 mile run, we did a little resting coupled with computer work and then it was time for some meal prep for our first house guests in Greenville!
Our friends Kristen and Trent Norris (and Trimarni athletes) came to Greenville from Charleston for their own personal Trimarni mini training camp in prep for Ironman Boulder and since nothing beats a home cooked meal, I couldn't wait to make their bellies happy after our awesome morning of training (they did a slightly shorter route of around 64 miles followed by a 15 min run).
After our workout we had our first real meal of the day (glass of milk w/ whey protein and handful granola for a recovery snack and then eggs, fresh bread and fruit for a meal for me) and then snacked throughout the afternoon before dinner. Mini carb + protein meals are best for helping the body recover and repair as oppose to one large super filling post workout meal followed by several hours of not eating.

For starters, an assortment of foods to meet the many cravings of athletes after a workout:
-Sweet cravings - fresh dates
-Salty - Pretzels and Triscuits
-Carby - fresh baguette from the local French bakery
-Crunchy - Mixed raw veggies
and hummus for dipping/spreading


Pizza makes me super happy all the time so I decided to do eggplant pizzas.

Eggplant Pizzas
2 large eggplants (cut into slices)
Panko bread crumbs
2 egg whites (slightly scrambled)
Marinara sauce
Fresh Mozzarella cheese
Fresh Basil (chopped)
Pepper and garlic spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Arrange items: plate of sliced eggplant to far right, then shallow bowl of egg whites and then shallow bowl of bread crumbs.
3. Take one eggplant and place into bowl of egg whites for a second until slightly coated (just one side) and then press into bread crumbs and then place onto non stick cooking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Continue doing this until all eggplant slices are coated.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until breadcrumbs are slightly toasted or eggplant is soft.
5. Remove pans and spread a spoonful of sauce on each eggplant and top with a pinch of fresh basil (as much as you want) and then a few pieces of mozzarella (I just broke the cheese into pieces instead of one thick slice on top).
6. Season with your choice of seasonings (I used fresh cracked pepper and garlic powder).
7. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Instead of a salad I wanted to do a refreshing slaw that had a bit of sweetness to it.
This slaw is very versatile and you can use whatever ingredients you are in the mood for such as nuts/seeds, raisins, cranberries, dried fruit or a different flavor of yogurt. This was a delicious side to our meal. 

Mango Slaw
2 bags slaw (I purchased from Publix grocery store)
1 large mango (soft to the touch)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of salt
2 small containers of pineapple chobani 0% Greek yogurt

1. Pour slaw into a large bowl.
2. Spoon yogurt into bowl and mix with a large mixing fork until evenly combined. 
3. Add a pinch of salt (to taste) and coconut and mix.
4. Add cubed mango and combine. 
5. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
(best if consumed within 3 days)

My plate made me yum a lot and my belly was super happy.
For my protein I kept it simple, a black bean Morning Star veggie burger. For everyone else, Karel made baked chicken (his own recipe).
We also had a bowl of Jasmine rice w/ onions because we LOVE jasmine rice. 

And for dessert......
Fresh cold seedless watermelon and

Dark Chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joes.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend, trained hard and smart and did some yumming with your own happy tummy "food is fuel and food is medicine" creations.