Essential Sports Nutrition


IM 70.3 St. George - one more sleep!

I can't believe the time is finally here. One more sleep until race day! This race has been on my bucket list for many years and for the past year, I have been training specifically for this one race day. This race venue is incredible and it's hard to describe the beauty and the difficulty of the bike and run course. I'm so excited to share this course with 12 other Trimarni athletes and the rest of the St. George 70.3 participants.

As you may know, I love challenging courses. I love feeling strong when I race as it makes me feel grateful for what I can do with my body.

For tracking us on race day (note, this is also the North America Pro Championship so be sure to track the pros!):
Karel Sumbal - Bib number 132 (wave start 7:27am mountain time)
Marni Sumbal - Bib number 571 (wave start 7:54am mountain time)

Here are some pictures from the past 1.5 days.....

Swim venue

Be seen with the New Wave Swim Buoy.  MarniTri for a discount. 

Love our Xterra Vengeance wetsuits! Especially for the 60 degree water temp! 

T1 transition area at Sand Hallow State Park. 

Karel off to bike the first 40+ miles of the bike course to finish up riding the entire bike course (combined Wed and Thurs rides). 

Quick stop at Kneaders for local bread. 

Happiness - cinnamon roll bread!!

Athlete check-in. 

Colleen spotting! 

Athlete briefing at the race expo in downtown St. George. Only 92 degrees out!

Coach Karel and assistant coach Joe listening closely. 

Trimarni selfie! 

Most of our Trimarni group, excited to tackle the St. George course!

Biking the run course for a pre-race warm-up on Friday. 

Tough course - we love it! 

Trimarni athlete Peggy gearing up for her 2nd half IM! 

The view on the top of the run course. We climb up and up and up to enjoy this view!

So many bike paths! 

Dixie on the Red Hill. Here's the story.

Run course. 

More views on the run course. 

Still on the run course. 

More on the run course. 

Run course. 

Run course. 

Heading back up on the run course. 

Thanks for all the support. I hope that my pictures have inspired you to travel to St. George to experience this challenging and beautiful race course! Although I don't know what my day will bring, I know that this is one amazing course and I can't wait to finally experience it!

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Hello from St. George!

Without a doubt, I knew that I would 100% love St. George, Utah. Without ever traveling in or through the area, the pictures and race reviews made me fall in love with the nature and all of its surroundings. 

After traveling from Charlotte to Las Vegas, we drove the 2 hours to St. George. I wow'd the entire drive because I was now seeing what I had heard so much about. 

After our drive, we checked into our hotel (Best Western Coral Hills) and little did I know that I booked the "honeymoon suite" (which I thought was just a larger room for $10 more when booking online). The reaction was priceless from Karel as our room was filled with lovely decor and lots of mirrors and chandeliers.

On Wednesday morning, after breakfast, Karel assembled our bikes and we were off to ride from our hotel, to and through Snow Canyon to ride the last 25+ miles of the bike course. 

The dry, hot air was a bit uncomfortable but the views had me riding so happy as we climbed 4+ miles in Snow Canyon. 

I made sure to take lots of pictures during the ride because come race day, I will be in race mode. But little does Karel know, that even on race day, I make sure to take note of any animals and beautiful sights while racing. 

Enjoying the views and grinding away. 

Climbing and climbing....

Look at those views!

A quick pic at the top of the climb before descending down into town for 13+ miles. The descend is fast but you still have to work for it. 

After our ride and checking out of our hotel, we met up with Anthony and Peggy and headed to the grocery to do a big shop for our stay in our rental home. A bit before 3pm, we checked into the Green Manor house (our rental home). Our house is super charming and dates back to the 1800's. It is also just 3 blocks from the race finish/T2. 

Because of our large Trimarni group, I booked two houses for our athletes. The other house is about 3.5 miles away and we like to call it "the Mansion" as it is 7000+ square feet, with 6 bedrooms and a movie theater. Booking rental homes on VRBO is never easy and brings me a lot of stress but thankfully, these two houses worked out great!

Stay tuned for more of our adventures in St. George on the Trimarni Facebook page.  


It's all about the race experience.

At the age of 10, I started swimming for a local YMCA swim team. As the years went on, through High School and then into College, I continued to swim competitively. As a competitive swimmer, we would travel a lot for swim meets. Sometimes the meets were in exciting locations like DC, Chicago, Indianapolis and Florida, whereas other times, they were in small, quiet towns. Regardless of the swim meet location, I always loved the experience of racing. Traveling to a new location, staying in a hotel and then arriving to a new natatorium. I actually enjoyed the car/bus/van ride to a swim meet because it meant that it was time to compete. When I walked into the natatorium, I loved the smell of chlorine and being surprised by what the pool would look like. The bleachers, the locker rooms, the warm-up/warm-down pool, the team was all so exciting for me. To be honest, sometimes I looked forward to the meet experience more than the meet itself, which helped me remain calm and collected before a race.

To this day, I still love the race experience. I believe this is the main reason why I continue to train and race as a triathlete. Although the training is very challenging on the body and mind and it is never easy to put in the work, day in and day out when there are so many distractions and excuses to "not train today", I always remind myself of the upcoming race experience. Feeling prepared for a race is a great feeling and I find myself enjoying the race experience so much more when I can look back at all the hard work behind me.

Although race-cations are not inexpensive, the race experience brings so much value to my life. The race experience keeps me motivated and excited to train and race. I often ask myself why I continue to train and race after so many years of being a competitive athlete (swimmer, turned runner, turned triathlete) and the "race experience" is what keeps me going. This is the main reason why I choose race-cations. Every race-cation provides me with a unique race experience to see new sights, to experience a new community and to meet new people.  The race experience makes me excited to train because come race week, I get to travel to a different location. And even if I have been to the location before, it still get excited to return to a venue that is beautiful and familiar. And unlike my competitive swimming days, now I get to choose the race location where we/I race and I get to share the experience with Karel (and often with my Trimarni athletes/teammates).

In just a few hours, we will be boarding an airplane to Las Vegas (from Charlotte) and then picking up the rental car (mini van) to drive to St. George. Like always, traveling with our bikes is stressful but it will all be worth it. We have traveled by plane with our bikes over a dozen times so we know what to expect. Karel and I have never been to St. George before and we are looking forward to the new sights. This race has been on our bucket list for many years and we feel so lucky that we can finally experience this challenging and beautiful course. When we arrive to St. George this evening, we are staying in a hotel for one night before checking into our rental home on Wed afternoon. I booked two large rental homes to accommodate our 12 Trimarnis that are racing in St. George with us. On Wed, Karel and I will ride on the bike course (as much as we can) and then meet up with our athletes (and my mom). On Thursday, we can pick up our packets, explore the expo and swim in the lake. And then there is dropping off our bikes, attending the athlete meeting and of course, race day! There is so much to look forward to and I can't wait for this upcoming race experience. This race is many years in the making and I can't believe that the time is finally here!

St. we come!!


10 tips to achieve peak performance with the mind and body.

Peak performance.

What is it? 
For most athletes, to perform at your best, you need to be physical ready. However, race day readiness is much more than the physical training that precedes an important race.

To allow your body to operate at a level of peak performance, you need your mind to work with your body. An athletically ready body can only perform when you are confident in your abilities and you are calm, focused and determined.

To get into this "zone", where you are able to think about absolutely nothing other than what is absolutely necessary to succeed, your body can deliver the desired results.

For many athletes, it's likely that before and on race day, you let your mind get in the way of your performance. That is, your mind works against your body, instead of with your body.

Stress, loss of focus, self-doubt, competition, inability to stay present, worrying about the uncontrollables and fear of not meeting your expectations are all race day demons that can destroy a potentially great performance by your body.

To help you achieve a peak performance by your body, here are some factors that can help you perform at your best:
  1. Specific, realistic and measurable goals 
  2. Intense and strong motivation to succeed
  3. Self-confidence and positive attitude
  4. Experience
  5. Sport knowledge
  6. Routine - nutrition, warm-up, music, etc.
  7. Imagery, visualization, meditation
  8. Mantras, courage and positive self talk
  9. Anxiety management and calming/relaxation exercises
  10. The mind stays in the present moment
To get the most out of your body on race day, you can't just hope that your race will go well.  It is important to not isolate the body from the mind as it relates to achieving peak performance. Race day readiness is not simply based on your physical preparation but also your mental and emotional game before and on race day.

Because only on race day do you feel immense pressure to perform, it is important to consider the following sentence as it relates to peak performance.

When you are physically ready and mentally ready, you are ready to compete at your best.