Less comparison, more compassion

Comparison stings. 
Compassion motivates you to go out of your way to help others. 

Comparison negatively affects your confidence and self worth.
Compassion focuses on others instead of yourself, trying to understand another person's perspective. 

If you find yourself in a daily competition with people who make you feel inadequate, direct your energy elsewhere and start caring about the things and people in life that give you a bigger meaning and purpose. 

There are far too many people in this world who experience sadness, stress, pain, disappointments, insecurities, anxiety or depression on a daily basis, which is far from the picture-perfect life that is often depicted on social media.

Compassion helps us recognize the good in people and reminds us that we all want to be loved, safe, healthy and happy. Be mindful of where you spend your energy.

With less comparison and more compassion, you will put yourself into a world where there is less judgement and more acceptance. Although many people are taught to put other people first, the best source of compassion can be found from within. When you are kind to yourself, you can be more compassionate to others.


Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

It's difficult to put "healthy" and "dessert" into one category.  For me, if I am going to indulge, I don't need the item to be classified as "healthy" as I want all of the real goodness that comes in an indulging homemade treat. The idea of a healthy brownie is a bit of a paradox but I suppose there is a bit of a nutritional boost when you add black beans to a brownie recipe. 

Black beans are an excellent source of fiber, folate, iron and magnesium, while also providing a good amount of protein per serving. They also contain high concentrations of anthocyanins, which give foods a dark color and a heart-healthy benefit, like acting as an anti-inflammatory.

I was scrolling through an old recipe from the 2013 September/October issue of Food and Nutrition magazine and I came across a Fudgy Black Bean Brownie recipe on pg 19. I was craving a treat so I gathered all the necessary ingredients and went to my kitchen to start baking. Enjoy!

If you are hesitate about the added black bean ingredient, give this recipe a go as I promise that you won't taste the beans! 

Fudgy Black Bean BrowniesRecipe developed by MealMakoeovermoms.com for the Bean Institute as featured in Food and Nutrition magazine, 2013 Sept/October issue. 

1 x 15- ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 large eggs
3 tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. 
  3. Add the eggs, oil sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and optional peppermint extract. Process until smooth
    Note: I mixed step 3 ingredients in a large bowl and then added the black bean puree to the large bowl. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated. 
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
    Note: I did not have mini chocolate chips so I chopped large dark chocolate chips and sprinkled them in the mixture. 
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted int the center comes out clean. 
  7. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares. Serves 16. 


Weekend recap - snow and training

We are very lucky that we live in a southern city that provides us with all four seasons throughout the year. But even better, we can train outside year round. However, once or twice a year we get a beautiful snowfall in Greenville, SC. which forces us to train inside.

On Friday late morning, after our morning swim and strength session, we were shocked to see the rain turn into fluffy white snowflakes. We had over 24 hours of constant snow falling from the sky and it was absolutely beautiful. Although I was loving the change of scenery in our tree-filled backyard, Campy was not impressed as he is not a fan of anything cold and wet. I suppose when you are a 12-lb dog and live in a world where you can never be too warm or have too many blankets on top of you, there's nothing fun about voluntarily stepping outside, onto the cold, wet ground.

As for training, it was a nice change to spend two hours on my Tacx trainer with an hour of very specific variable cadence work. The main set was very mentally taxing but I found my legs getting super fatigued toward the end of the workout. It was a good type of hurt, which was then followed by a 25 minute run on the treadmill with a few 30 sec fast strides to open up the gait. In the evening, I had another run (well, power walk) on the treadmill for 45 minutes. This workout started with a 10 minute EZ jog and then I put on my 20-lb weight vest for a 34 minute interval main set of walking at a 15% incline. That workout had my legs shaking by the end but it felt so good to run for 5 minutes without the weight vest and at 0% incline.

At least I had a nice view from my workout room.

In the evening we watched the NBC coverage of the Ironman World Championship, which was incredible and super inspiring. Karel had a RETUL bike fit on Sat (and then again on Sunday) so we recorded the show for the evening.  Although I am still happy with my decision to turn down my Kona slot after winning my age group (and overall female amateur) at Ironman Chattanooga, I do believe that the Big Island of Kona is magical and I can't wait to return in October to watch Karel compete in his 3rd IM Kona.

On Sunday morning I opted to run outside, even though my workout would have been perfect for the treadmill. The sky was sunny and the snow had melted on the roads so it was safe enough to workout outside, even though the temperature was a tad cold (low 30's). I really enjoyed my long run which totaled almost 11 miles. The miles ticked away very quickly as the main set was a speed play set with different efforts throughout a 19-minute main set. This required me to really stay in-tune with my body which kept me engaged and present. I performed the main set twice and finished the workout with 2 x ~10 minute steady efforts. It was tough to get my legs moving again after the MS but it forced me to focus on my form (over pace) while running on tired legs (we call this fatigue based running form or FBRF).

One of my favorite quotes says "You can't get much done if you only work on the days when you feel good" by Jerry West. I think this saying holds true for the weather that you can't just train on the days when the weather is too your liking. I'm not one to complain about the weather. Good or bad, I love to move and use my body as it does as much for me physically as it does mentally and emotionally. And if weather is not ideal outside, I have no trouble working out indoors. I always remind myself how lucky I am to do what I can do with my body and there are many people in this world who do not have the freedom or opportunity to workout on a daily basis. 


The Art of Triathlon Training - Learning from Dirk Bockel

It's a pretty cool experience when you can learn from an Olympian and Ironman champion.

On Tuesday evening, we had the honor of hosting an event at the Carolina Triathlon store with guest speaker Dirk Bockel. Recently retired professional triathlete, Dirk brings 27 years of experience, knowledge, stories, wisdom and strategies to help triathletes feel prepared for a race.

But this isn't just another triathlon training book. Dirk's passion for the sport of triathlon has helped him navigate through the stressors of life, surviving many lows that went along with his highs. In his book, he shares with us his strategies for how to create a successful and enjoyable triathlon journey.

During the talk, there were a few big takeaways that I found very beneficial for athletes:
  • Dirk performed at his best when he switched coaches and reduced his weekly training volume almost in half.
  • Dirk placed 3rd in his first Ironman and ran sub 3 hours after overcoming a foot injury that kept him from running more than 30 minutes on land in the month leading up to his race (only water jogging).
  • Dirk was always told that he was a "bigger" athlete and would not be successful on the run. He consistently ran sub 3 hours in the Ironman distance.
  • Dirk had several serious injuries, most notable was breaking his hand 10 days out from Ironman Kona (while training in Kona). He had finished 4th in Kona the year prior and felt as if he was in the best shape of his life. Despite a broken hand, he finished 10th.
  • Dirk used mental skills to visualize himself in a race well before it happened.
  • Dirk recommends that brick runs are no more than 15-30 minutes off the bike.
  • Dirk made himself a medal before his first Ironman and used that as motivation to help him train for the event.
  • Dirk is donating profits to: To walk again and SOS Villages D'Enfants Monde

So much of Dirk's training was mind games and the mental/visual aspect of training and racing along with having great trust in his coach.

To hear more from Dirk's talk, you can check out the entire chat on our Facebook page:

For more information about the book and his Facebook mentorship page: visit HERE.
Check out this great interview with Dirk on the Intelligent Racer Podcast: click HERE.


Drive for athletic leanness

For much of my career as a Board Certified Sport Dietitian with a Master of Science in exercise physiology, I have spent a great amount of time and energy helping athletes with their relationship with food and the body. Knowing that athletes feel a strong relationship between food and body composition relating to athletic success, I have never refrained from speaking about this topic openly and honestly for many years in an effort to help athletes stay healthy throughout a sporting career (and for many more decades to come). I have even reached out to many magazines (and publishing companies) to write more about the topic of body image and athletes but my pitches are often denied and in exchange, I am asked to write about the latest diet fad or nutrition strategy to help athletes gain the competitive edge.

In light of another recent social media post involving a professional athlete discussing body image struggles and restrictive eating measures, I am reminded that I have a very small voice in the big world of athletics as it relates to being heard but I refuse to stop expressing my thoughts and concerns as to how athletes eat and fuel for endurance sports as there is a safe way to achieve athletic excellence without compromising health and performance.

Sadly, our culture is obsessed with leanness. It's far too often that an athlete is praised for being lean and competitively fit, which drives the athlete to assume that leanness is the key to athletic success, self-confidence and notoriety. On a daily basis, athletes receive persistent spoken/written/viewed messages about body composition and performance/fitness from social media, magazines, books, notable athletic figures, coaches and other experts which reinforces the need to look a certain way - often at any cost (health, performance and quality of life).

Without even the slightest disclaimer that there can be great physical and psychological damage that stems from being strict, ritualistic, rigid and anxious about eating when training for an athletic event, athletes literally feed off the reinforcement given by society when the body becomes more athletically "acceptable" in terms of body composition.

Every time an athlete is glorified for experiencing athletic success while achieving/maintaining a lean, toned and fit body composition, there's a good probability that society is rewarding unhealthy eating and training behaviors. Eventually resulting in low energy availability (RED-S), there are great health and performance consequences to overtraining and undereating.

There's no denying that a fit and strong body is what every athlete strives to achieve come race day and to achieve a body that can survive the demands of race day, training and nutritional adaptations can be made to foster performance improvements. But without optimal health, the body image that you achieve is all for nothing if you can't do much with it on race day.

What's the point of having a lean body if you can't do anything with it when you are asked to perform at your best?  Far too many athletes are training and not eating for an image competition instead of an athletic competition.

Although more and more athletes are speaking openly about personal struggles with eating and body image, there is still a strong taboo with disordered eating and eating disorders. There are some brave athletes who openly admit to some type of body image struggle or disordered eating/eating disorder habits during or at the end of a sporting career (often concurrent with a serious health issue, debilitating injury or mental health disorder) but we can not overlook the fact that a great amount of athletes are secretly training with a very restrictive diet in an effort to change body image, often encouraged, inspired and counseled by a coach or nutrition expert.

Knowing that goal-oriented, highly disciplined and competitive athletes who like to feel control in life and base self-worth, athletic readiness and confidence on a certain body image, are at greatest risk for an eating disorder, it's critical that coaches and professional experts address their own personal relationships with food and the body prior to delivering nutrition advice. I personally believe that due to the many uncredible nutrition experts and weight-focused coaches providing unethically safe advice to athletes, athletes are led to believe that the best/only/most effective way to experience performance gains is to change body composition through dietary/fueling manipulation and training.

Because there is such a very thin line between maintaining your health, having longevity in your sport and maintaining quality of life and achieving athletic excellence on race day with a forced body composition change, if an athlete has even the most smallest struggle or occasional thoughts about body image or restrictive eating strategies in an effort to improve performance or to change body composition, it's highly recommended and encouraged to seek help from a trusted, credible and sport dietitian who specializes in your sport and understands how to counsel athletes who suffer from poor body image thoughts and a tendency/desire to intentional restrict food/fuel.

Before a serious health issue negatively affects your performance, now is the time to ask yourself....

What's driving your need for athletic leanness? 


Super simple homemade cinnamon rolls

Over the past few weeks, Karel and I have been enjoying the occasional longish swim to start our Saturday morning. There's something about a long swim that revs up the appetite (not complaining).

I remember back to my high school and college swimming days when that Saturday morning swim was complete it meant two things:
1) I could officially start my weekend.
2) Eat. All. The. Food!

During our swim this past Saturday, the image of cinnamon rolls kept popping into my head. If you know me well, you know that I love cinnamon rolls because well, I love cinnamon and bread.

Rather than heading to a bakery to buy a cinnamon roll, I decided to take my first attempt at making homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch. I found a recipe that was super easy to follow so after my recovery drink, I started baking (well, first I had to make a quick stop to the grocery when I realized we were out of flour!).

Enjoy this tasty recipe!

Super simple homemade cinnamon rolls



2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter (softened)
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

(Note: I did not make the icing as Karel and I are not big icing fans. While I won't turn down a yummy cinnamon roll with icing from a local bakery, I'd rather enjoy my cinnamon filled bread without the extra sweet icing. If you'd like to add icing, I suggest a cream cheese icing like this one).

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with melted butter (or cooking spray). 
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. 
  3. Work in 3 tbsp softened butter into the flour mixture using your hands. 
  4. Beat milk and egg together in another bowl. 
  5. Pour into flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.
  6. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and roll dough into a 1/4th thick rectangle.
  7. Whisk together the filling ingredients. Sprinkle 1/2-3/4th the cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough (I didn't use all the sugar mixture. Instead, I saved the extra cinnamon sugar mixture in a jar to use for oatmeal and other breakfast toppings.)
  8. Roll the dough to form a log and cut into small rolls (I made mostly medium size cinnamon rolls and a few mini rolls).

  9. Place rolls in baking dish. 
  10. Bake for 22-25 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and enjoy (this would be the part where you would add icing if you choose). 
Don't forget to yum! 


Affordable holiday gifts for the health conscious athlete

For a health conscious athlete, it can be tough to find that perfect holiday gift that supports an active and healthy lifestyle. Whether your friend/family member appears as if he/she already has everything training/nutrition/cooking/gear related or you are stumped finding that special present that caters to caters to a healthier lifestyle, I have a few affordable gift options that may just do the trick (and when you purchase a gift from these companies, you are also supporting small/growing businesses).

Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. 
Price: $22.49

If your health conscious athlete likes to cook (or eat healthy), there's probably a good chance that your special athletic someone already has the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook. Although the next version of this cookbook will not be released until August 2018, surprise your friend/family member with a pre-order the cookbook so that he/she will be the first to try out the new recipes (for hangry athletes) next summer. 

Mg12 Sport 
Price: $9.95-$13.95 (athletic bundle $45.95)
Discount code: Trimarni

Every athlete is bound to have sore muscles after an intense or long workout or race. Niggles and aches are just part of the territory as it relates to training for an event. But aches and niggles are not limited to athletes as any fitness enthusiast will agree that it's no fun dealing with pain.

Mg12 Sport Balm (along with the roll on and salts) have played an important role in my training over the past two years. When I first approached and introduced to Mg12, I was a bit skeptical of another pain relieving cream but after reviewing the ingredient list and seeing the quality of ingredients, along with trying out the product and experiencing instant feedback that the magnesium cream was easy to apply with no strong odor or greasy/sticky after effect, I was hooked on the product. I use the balm before every workout and then I rub on any sore spots before I got to bed. I highly recommend supporting Mg12 as they are a small company but they have created something extra special in the pain-relieving category for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Price: $12.99-$26.99
Discount code: trimarni

Ingredients matter to me and the products that I support, recommend and use. When I was approached by Amrita, I was pleased to see the delicious flavors of minis and bars as well as the quality ingredients in each product. As I nibbled my way through each flavor, I was delighted that the taste and consistency matched my expectations. Certified non-GMO, kosher, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, vegan, high protein (plant based), no artificial flavors or sugar alcohols - each Amrita product will please the taste buds of your friend/training partner/family member who has dietary restrictions or is looking for a guilt-free, nutritious and healthy indulgence.

Price: $6.50-$27 (12  x 8 ounce bottles)
Discount: Trimarnicoach30

You've probably heard that there are many benefits of tart cherry juice. Well, Cheribundi has your needs covered with a wide range of products. With powerful health benefits, all Cheribundi products are natural, not from concentrate and made in the USA. We have experimented with the regular cherry juice, rebuild and relax and have been pleased with the taste and effects. As you may have seen, Karel and I will often bring a Cheribundi rebuild with us to a race to immediately consume post race to help with the muscle damage that occurred during a race. I also enjoy sipping on the tart cherry juice after an intense workout. Karel has found the relax drink to help him fall asleep during peak training blocks and before a race. This makes for a perfect gift for your athlete-in-training. 

Price: $7.50-$21.50
Discount: Trimarni2017

If you love trail mix like I do, you will love Veronica's Health Crunch. A healthy alternative to many processed sugar-filled snacks, Veronica has been a long time Trimarni supporter, ever since she approached us about her "idea" to make hand-made, all natural trail mix varieties for active individuals. And now with three delicious flavors (the cinnamon apple cranberry is my favorite), you can feel great about this healthy meets delicious product while supporting Veronica's small business. Perfect for traveling, snacking or a topping to oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes/waffles, you must believe me when I say that this crunch is so tasty that you won't stop yumming with every bite.

Lastly, here are a few good reads available for athletes/triathletes:

The art of triathlon by Dirk Bockel - $27.99

Fast track athlete by Matt Dixon
- $13.56

The brave athlete by Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson - $16.96

How bad do you want it by Matt Fitzgerald - $12.88


2018 Trimarni training plans - NOW AVAILABLE!!

High fives for a successful 2017 racing season!

At the end of every season, Karel and I sit down and talk about our coaching methods. We discuss what worked and what didn't work for each athlete and for our athletes as a whole. We evaluate the workouts that most of our athletes benefited from and should be repeated in the upcoming season and what workouts can be discarded. We talk about everything like our education delivery, how we communicate with our athletes, creating the ideal taper week for a half or full distance Ironman, how to best bring our athletes together as a team, the placement of certain workouts and how to keep our athletes healthy, motivated and enjoying the training journey. This discussion allows us to keep learning and so our workouts do not become stale and boring (no athlete likes stale and boring training).

We put a lot of thought into our training and although it's a ton of work, we don't repeat the same training after year. This is not limited to our training plans but also to our one-on-one coaching. Whereas it may seem like the "off-season" or October, November and December are slow months for coaches, they are actually our busiest months as we find ourselves staying extremely occupied with creating new training plans and formulating new workouts for the upcoming year. We also remade our strength training videos which took a lot of time.

New training requires a lot of brain power and time but it's a process that shouldn't be rushed as our athletes trust our methods and deserve training that is practical, effective and safe. While the periodization and workout focus may be similar from one season to the next, we like to change things up and keep our training new and fresh to ensure steady development and progression.
As coaches (and top age group endurance athletes), we have a wide range of workouts to select from when it comes to creating our Foundation, Olympic, Half and Full distance Ironman training plans. 

Understanding that every athlete is different, we carefully select the workouts that have been tried out by our one-on-one athletes (and by us) that we feel will work best for the masses. We put as much attention and detail into our training plans as we do for our own coaching athletes. While a training plan is not for everyone, as some athletes seek one-on-one coaching, we take great pride in our training plans so that you can gain the necessary confidence, endurance, resilience, strength and skills for your upcoming triathlon event. 

I'm so happy to say that our 2018 Trimarni training plans are now available!!!

We have four detailed, well-designed plans to choose from: 
  • 8-week Foundation plan
  • 20-week Olympic distance plan
  • 20-week Half Ironman distance plan
  • 20-week Ironman distance plan
Each plan includes: 
  • Email delivery of your plan via Training Peaks - you can choose your preferred start date of the plan and apply to your own person Training Peaks account. 
  • Strength training video links, structured workout and recommended sets/reps - included in every plan! 
  • A detailed workout prescription and focus for the workout.
  • Treadmill and outdoor run workouts.
  • Trainer and outdoor bike workouts (most bike workouts will include a trainer option).
  • Pool workouts and a few open water swim workouts.
  • "Checkpoint" week (aka testing) - results can be uploaded into our custom zone calculator (emailed to you). Note: the foundation plan does not include checkpoints. 
  • Welcome packet - detailed information about Trimarni training and recommended equipment/gear for your Trimarni training. 

Why choose a 2018 Trimarni training plan?
Trimarni training plans are designed for self-sufficient, goal-oriented, committed triathletes of all fitness levels who seek structured training with a well-designed training plan. The Trimarni training plans are designed to help you maximize your fitness, without sabotaging your health as we take away the guessing so that you can avoid haphazard training. With a clear focus for every workout, we are confident that our plans will keep your motivation high while minimizing burnout and risk for injury. Our plans provide the right mix of challenge and skill as you prepare for your upcoming event.

To learn more about our plans and to purchase, click HERE.


Book tour with Dirk Bockel

2008 Olympian
2011 4th Ironman World Championship
2013 Ironman Roth champion - 7:52:01
2014 Asia-Pacific Champion at Ironman Melbourne
Raced for Leopard Trek and BMC Pro Triathlon Team
27-year triathlon career

Recently retired professional triathlete Dirk Bockel will be stopping by Greenville, SC as part of his book tour on December 5th. Dirk will be sharing some of his best triathlon racing stories and answering your training and racing questions, while also promoting his new book package: THE ART OF TRIATHLON TRAINING: A Proven Guide For Your Triathlon Journey. 

For most professional athletes, no sporting career is without it's highs and deep, dark lows. Dirk's long sporting career was not without obstacles and setback, along with some memorable highlights. He will be sharing his best lessons learned (and perhaps a few well-kept secrets to athletic excellence). We could not be more excited to hear his tips and stories!

Even if you aren't a triathlete, I highly recommend to attend this motivational event as Dirk is a great speaker and he has a strong passion for health and fitness. 

Dirk will have autographed copies of his book available for purchase For full information on his books visit his website here.  

To learn more about Dirk, check out this recent podcast interview with The Intelligent Racer Podcast:
Listen HERE.

We invite you to this fun, educational and inspiring event at the Carolina Triathlon Store on December 5th from 6-8pm EST.

Any questions, feel free to send me an email. 


Are you struggling to fit training into your busy life?

You have big athletic goals for yourself in 2018 but in looking back at 2017, you feel your biggest struggle was lacking the training consistency that was needed to get you to the next level.

Whenever a goal-oriented athlete is unable meet daily (or weekly) training expectations, there is a general sense of failure and frustration stemming from missed workouts. Work, travel, family, projects and other life stressors are bound to get in the way of training but you are constantly reminded that consistency fosters success.  In looking back at 2017, be honest with your assessment of what needs improvement in 2018. Is the missing link to your inconsistency better commitment to training or a better designed, smarter training plan? 

Now is the perfect time to think about your previous season and what changes, tweaks or modifications are needed to help you be more consistent with training in 2018. It's natural to assume that "not enough" training prevented you from reaching your training but in reality, the biggest issue for most athletes is how you deal with the life stressors that disrupt your training rhythm. 

Consistent training does not mean perfect training.  Life will get in the way of training so you must always be an active and motivated participant in your life to safely integrate training into your work, family and travel commitments. Consistency comes when you find a way to integrate your training plan into your busy family schedule, a high stress work environment and other life commitments without compromising sleep, energy levels, emotions/mood, relationships and dietary habits. 

As you reflect on last season, consider re-evaluating some of the most common reasons that cause inconsistency in training:
  • Lack of motivation/accountability
  • Feeling constantly rushed in life, you can never slow down
  • Trying to progress too quickly with intensity or volume (often due to fear-based training)
  • Poorly planned recovery/easy days
  • Trying to follow a training plan that doesn't fit into your life
  • Summer burn out from being too "all in" with volume/intensity, too early in the season
  • Racing too much without consistent training
  • Not keeping up with strength training (or rehab from a previous injury) when training volume increases.
  • Skipping the boring/easy sessions
  • Training through injury or sickness
  • Trying to make-up workouts (or do more than needed) for fear of losing fitness or not being race ready
  • Sacrificing sleep order to squeeze in a workout
  • Poor dietary planning
  • Poor recovery nutrition
  • Not understanding how to use sport nutrition properly
  • Not being present during workouts (too easily distracted, mind wandering)
  • Always comparing yourself to another athlete (or a past version of yourself)
  • Not being patient
  • Not keeping your easy days easy
  • Fear of failure
  • Relying too much on your gadgets/metrics to control your workout
  • Being too hard on yourself
  • Making the wrong investments (ex. race wheels instead of a bike fit)
Training is not about checking off workouts and cramming in workout sessions. It's better to do less training really well than to do too much training very poorly. Be realistic with your training expectations so that you can smartly integrate training into your life in an effort to reach athletic excellence in 2018. 


Let's talk (show) FOOD!!!

On Tuesday, we traveled up to Fort Wayne, Indiana to visit my 94-year old Grandpa Joe, my aunt, uncle and cousin and my brother and his wife (and their two babies). It was a lot of fun to be with family. Campy enjoyed his road trip and his Thanksgiving eats. My dad was certainly missed during this holiday but we had plenty of great stories to share about him.

Karel and I stayed active during our trip with 2 x 4000 yard swims at the YMCA. Karel ran once on Thursday and I ran on Wed evening (30 minutes) and then on Thursday (10-miles). Tues and Sat were off days from training due to travel. It was nice to change up the training environment but we are happy to be back in Greenville (and back outside on our bikes).

As for food - I enjoy a break from my normal eating routine. I find that traveling and the holidays provide such a great opportunity to be inspired by new food creations. I was yumming a lot over the past week and rather than writing out my delicious eating experiences, I'll let the pictures do the talking. Here are a few pictures from what I enjoyed (I didn't take pics of all of my meals/snacks):

A stop at the Old Amish Store in Berea, KY in route to IN. I had the most delicious 3-bean cumin sandwich with swiss cheese, tomato, onion and sweet peppers on sourdough bread. AHmazing!

After a long drive (12 hours due to traffic), we were delighted to have a home cooked meal ready for us when we arrived (thanks to my Uncle Denny). I yummed over a vegetable packed stew and a side of cornbread. 

Pre-swim on Wednesday morning I traded my normal pre-workout waffle snack for a bowl of oatmeal topped with banana slices, blueberries and walnuts. 

For lunch on Wednesday, roasted vegetables, cottage cheese topped with pumpkin seeds, a beautiful salad and leftover cornbread. 

My eating experience on Wednesday evening was incredible. My aunt took us all to a vegan/vegetarian restaurant called Loving Cafe. This was one of the coolest experiences of my life as a 25-year vegetarian as I could taste what everyone was eating as I could eat everything on the menu! Karel even enjoyed his meal so much that he wanted to return back to the restaurant the next day (sadly they were closed on Thanksgiving). 

Cabbage soup

Lentil and bean soup


My meal - quinoa vegan cheese burger

Karel's meal - Orange sweet and sour

Eating wings with vegan ranch dressing! 

Thursday morning pre-run snack - raisin challah bread with PB and jam and a never-too-much cinnamon and a side of yogurt.

Afternoon Thursday snack - yogurt with chopped dates (topped with coconut - from the Amish store), almonds and blueberries. 

My entree for Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving spread

My Thanksgiving plate (dessert was locally made Rhubarb pie and vanilla bean ice cream)

Campy's plate - plus so many "accident" floor droppings. 

Leftovers on Friday evening (and more)

My entree on Friday - leftovers from Thursday plus cooked crumbled tempeh and cauliflower. 

Friday night eats

Post 3 hour workout (2.5 hour ride + 30 min run) - Homemade french toast on mini brioche bread.

A beautiful large salad to kick-start a new week. 


Shop Small Saturday

We are lucky that we live in a town that thrives off small business. If you ever get the chance to visit downtown Greenville, you will be so impressed with the variety of shops and restaurants that crowd the streets of our beautiful downtown.

"Main Street Greenville promotes historic preservation and economic development, resulting in a cultural downtown district that attracts and retains businesses and entrepreneurs, making downtown a desirable destination."

As a small business owner, I know how hard it is to build a small company in a big business world. But then again, everything big starts small.

I encourage you to shop small this Saturday - even if it's just a cup of coffee or small gift for a friend, the small business that you support will greatly benefit from your support.

What's your favorite small business?


Happy Thanksgiving!!

May this holiday season bring you love to your heart, health to your body, happiness to your soul and and peace and joy to your home.

From our homes to yours, wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

~The Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition team
Marni, Karel, Joe and Joey


4 tips for a satisfying Thanksgiving feast

Overeating and overdrinking. This doesn't sound healthy, right?

For many, Thanksgiving is a day to surround yourself with family and friends, all while consuming a smorgasbord of food in a short period of time. Although "a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and of the preceding year", Thanksgiving is a holiday that makes it socially acceptable to binge eat. Regardless if you have a meat or vegan feast, Thanksgiving is known to be the holiday in which you have the permission to indulge and eat with reckless abandon.

But knowing how binge eating and overeating makes you feel, is it really worth it to eat until you are stuffed on Thanksgiving? 

Maybe because I've spent the last 25 Thanksgiving's as a vegetarian, but this holiday doesn't make me think "food" but instead, "family." I think back to many Thanksgiving holidays with my mom and dad, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparents and it was always a fun time to catch up with everyone as it's difficult to find time in the year to get everyone together. Thanksgiving was always the day when we could count on a holiday gathering. And with my dad no longer with us, Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings back many memories with my dad.

For any individual who adheres to a restrictive (or low calorie/macronutrient) diet, Thanksgiving can be tough. When typical food restrictions are pushed to the side, it's easy to overeat on foods that have been previously off-limit. Thanksgiving is not just a "one day" feast as the entire holiday season is surrounded by food - there's not question why so many people feel the need to diet come January 1st.

Whether you plan to eat until satisfied or eat until stuffed, I find it important to eat mindfully so that you can have an enjoyable Thanksgiving experience.
  1. Don't "make room" for your feast - Starving yourself all day so that you can eat more at meal time will lead to overeating. When you are anticipating your feast because of your hungry/empty belly, there's a good chance that you will eat fast, taking on more helpings than you need and inhaling all of your food in less than 15 minutes. Instead of saving up for the big meal, go into your feast well nourished by eating small nutritious mini meals every few hours, starting with a healthy breakfast. The best part about eating is feeling better after you eat than before you started. By arriving to you meal slightly hungry, you will eat in a controlled manner, making a conscious decision about what and how much you want to eat.
  2. Use the hunger scale - I love the idea of using a hunger/fullness scale to help you check in with yourself before your feast and during your feast. Because many people are not well trained to eat mindfully, a scale can help you identify where you are at with your eating decisions. I suggest to start your feast around 3-4 on the hunger scale and to finish your meal at 5-6.  If desserts are the mouth-watering highlights of your feast, I recommend to finish your dessert portions around 6-7. Give yourself time to digest the food that you have consumed before going in for seconds. If something is "oh so good" on Thanksgiving, plan to have your second portion on Friday. You may even enjoy your second helping even more the next day!

  3. Choose wisely - Anytime a food is off-limit, it becomes very appealing when you allow yourself to eat "just a bite" of it. With so many different food choices available, it's easy to overeat on everything, even if you don't like the taste of something. It's recommended to serve yourself so that you are in control of what and how much you eat. You can practice mindful eating by observing food before you serve it to yourself and pay attention to any emotional reactions to the food. For me personally, I like "homecooked over store bought." Unless you just love gravy from a jar or instant mashed potatoes, make your food decisions based on the story behind the food, the smells, textures and presentation. If you aren't sure what you will like to eat, start with small portions so that you can take note of what excites your taste buds and if you really love something, go back for another small portion.
  4. Savor your food - Have you ever noticed that food becomes less appealing as you become more full? Does food suddenly become unappetizing when you are stuffed? Eat slowly so that you can really taste and enjoy your food. You may find that the pumpkin pie with vanilla bean ice cream was calling your name all day but after two delicious bites, the pie became "too sweet." There will come a point in your feast when eating is no longer enjoyable......don't let yourself get there. Be thankful for what you have for many are without. 


Paris Mountain 20K road race recap

With Paris Mountain standing just a few miles away from our house, we have the opportunity to bike (or run) up the mountain anytime we want. Here's a picture (below) of my ride on Thursday, when I did 4 x 9 min heavy gear (45-50 rpm) intervals up Paris Mountain (and descended 3 minutes down between each interval). With no lookout point to stop at on the mountain, it's an added bonus to bike riding when we can enjoy the views and get in a great workout at the same time.

Once a year in Nov/Dec, the Greenville Track Club puts on the "toughest race in the south" with a 20K road race that goes up and over Paris Mountain and covers 2500 vertical feet of elevation gain, 89 curves and a few hills over 15% grade. For any athlete who likes a challenge, this is the race for you.

This year, the race was the host of the 2017 Road Runners Club of America South Carolina 20K championship. In 2015, Karel and I participated in the race and enjoyed using our triathlon resilience as we mixed it up with the road runners. Although I love a challenge, I found that the race really beat my legs up (as to be expected) and it took a while to recover from the extreme event. Karel wanted to race it this year but I decided to pass on it so that I didn't have to take any risks with my run training, as it's been going well and I've been very consistent. But, I could still get my racing fix by cheering on Karel (and our athlete Thomas) at the start/finish of the race and doing my scheduled run in between.

The race started at 7:30am at the Shi Center of Sustainability so after we parked at the Timmons arena, Karel did his warm-up to the start (about 3/4th mile away) and I started my workout (60-90 min endurance run). With about 10 minutes to spare before the start of the race, I made my way across Poinsett hwy so that I could cheer for everyone as they made their way to the base of Paris Mountain. After a few speedsters went by, I spotted Karel who looked like he was getting into his rhythm before the 2.5ish mile climb.


Karel went into the race with no expectations, except for the slight chance of winning overall masters, which would give him a $100 award. But seeing that this race brings out the real runners, it's tough to mix it up with those who are in the peak of their season. Karel (and myself) have done no speed work or intense run training for several months so for Karel, as a triathlete, his performance reflected his ongoing development as a triathlete.  He said maybe he would have slowed down a tiny bit in the first 1/2 mile but otherwise, he felt good with his execution and could not have gone any faster/harder. This course requires a lot of resilience and strength and great running form for both the uphill and downhill sections. Although the mountain climb comes in the first mile, there's a nasty stretch of a few miles at the base of Paris Mountain that will require your legs to be strong and durable for the back half of the 12.4 mile race. The community, police and volunteer support along with the race organizers do a fabulous job with this event. I just love our Greenville community that embraces active lifestyles.

After I finished my 80 minute run, I timed it perfectly to change into some warmer clothes (although great running weather in the mid 40's, it got cold once I stopped as there was no sun, just cloud cover) and then a few minutes later, the first finisher for the 20K was making his way to the finish line in 1:11. I had no idea how the race would go for Karel but seeing that he did the race in 2015 in 1:24 (on a slightly different course in the last few miles), I expected him to be a little faster since he has improved a lot with his overall resilience over the past few years.

A few more male finishers came back and finally, I spotted Karel making his way up the last hill on a cement path in Furman. I cheered him on to the finish and then got the details from him after the race.

Karel was happy with his performance but he said there was just no way for him to go any faster. He was pleased to have completed the race in 1:20 (12.4 miles and 2000 feet elevation gain) and to place 1st in his age group. Sadly, he was the 2nd masters finisher as a 45-year old beat Karel by 2 minutes - those runners are so fast! Well, we can say that Karel was the winner of the hydration belt category as I am pretty sure he was the only one wearing a hydration belt for the race - as we like to say "it's cool to fuel."

We waited for Thomas to finish and then went inside the building to wait for the awards.

Karel was pretty exhausted and sore for the rest of the day as the race took a lot out of him (stand along running races are so much more difficult than triathlon events!). At Trimarni, we encourage our athletes (triathletes) to be mindful that the sport of triathlon is different than the sport of running. Although it's perfectly fine (and sometimes encouraged) to jump into a local 5K, 10K or even half marathon event, we advise against training specifically for that event in an effort to achieve a personal best. Many triathletes are under the impression that training for a running race will better prepare the body for triathlon season. Although your running race may build confidence for your upcoming season, the adaptations of training and physiological makeup of a triathlete is much different than a runner because of how we train for the sport of triathlon. It's always fun to see our triathletes participate in a road race with little run specific speed work training and outperform expectations. In triathlon, we want to build a strong and resilient body. While this body may not be fast relative to what a stand alone swimmer, cyclist or runner can do, to succeed in the sport of triathlon, you must learn to train in a way that makes you great at not slowing down. Once again, Karel showed us all that you don't have to be fast to do well in a race, you just have to be great at delaying fatigue with a resilient body and strong mindset.

Congrats to everyone who "conquered the mountain!"