Essential Sports Nutrition


How I fuel - Triathlete feature

A few months ago, I saw an email in my inbox from my contact at Triathlete Magazine. I assumed it was a request for an article so I opened it to see what topic I was asked to write about. Well, to my surprise, the email was to inform me that Triathlete magazine wanted to feature me in an article! I was shocked, surprised and honored. Although the article was just one page, I found it to be a fantastic opportunity to share my messages on how I fuel my body.

In today's society, female athletes are bombarded with unrealistic body images and misleading nutrition advice. As an athlete, you can't let these images and misinformation derail you from achieving athletic excellence in your own personal athletic journey. As an athlete and as a nutrition professional (and coach), I want to be a good role model for female athletes of all ages. As a strong, confident and healthy female athlete, I aspire to encourage other female athletes to use sport as a healthy outlet to build confidence, strength and to improve health. I feel honored that I can do amazing things with my body through the sport of triathlon but the dedication to training and to my diet does not come from a place of body image. Instead, I train and eat for health and performance.

It's no surprise that I keep my body fit and healthy through consistent training and good daily nutrition choices. And with this dedication, I am able to do amazing things with my body on race day. However, my training work ethic and enjoyment for healthy eating is not forced, obsessive or extreme. I have no rules in my diet, I use sport nutrition regularly, I eat before all workouts, I love carbohydrates, I am a 25-year vegetarian and I have a very flexible diet. I don't count my training miles or volume, I don't feel guilty if I have to modify a workout and I don't make training my life. 

While this Triathlete article is just a short snapshot of my life as an athlete, I hope that I can continue to inspire, educate and motivate female (and male) athletes, of all ages and in all sports to see value and worth in your body for it has a lot of strengths and a lot of capabilities.

I encourage you to thank your body every day for it's physical abilities.

As an athlete, you can't achieve much on race day with just an image. 


IM 70.3 St. George race report

1.2 mile swim
Marni: 30.32 (3rd AG after the swim)
Karel: 30.17 (4th AG after the swim)

After the gun went off, I quickly went into my race effort to try to swim away from my wave. My feet were a little cold to start but they quickly warmed up (as did the rest of me). I could see a few yellow caps here and there but I didn't worry about anyone too much (especially the one girl who was quickly swimming away from me) as 1.2 miles is a long way to go and I typically find myself getting stronger as the swim goes on in distance. After a few minutes, I found myself in my swimming rhythm but that quickly changed as I now had to navigate through the 15 age group waves ahead of me. I am always mindful of the less experienced swimmers so I try to make sure to not be aggressive around them. I strategically positioned myself to the outside of the buoys to swim in relatively clean water but with every buoy that I passed (to my left) I found the lake to be more and more packed. With so many athletes together, I found myself zoning out a bit, with some thoughts that I didn't want to be racing right now. But as the swim went on, I found myself getting more competitive as I was passing a lot of people in the swim. By the time the buoy turned from yellow to orange, I knew I was half way. As the water started to get a little more choppy after the 2nd/last turn buoy, I was feeling stronger than when I started. I think not being able to get in the water for a swim warm-up threw off my mental state but I was happy that by the last half of the swim, I felt better in the water. The lake got really packed when I could see the swim finish arch and combined with the chop, I had to change up my swimming rhythm with a bit faster of a cadence. I managed to stay on course really well and after I exited the water, I was ready to get on my bike.
Karel managed to have an exceptional swim and stayed right on course. Although he started 16 minutes ahead of me, he still had to swim around a few athletes in the earlier waves. Karel makes sure to swim at an 80% effort for the entire swim as that gives him the "fastest" time possible without over-exhausting himself or swimming with an inefficient stroke.
My best advice for an open water triathlon swim is to always remain calm and confident in the water. The moment you stress out, tense up or worry, it's easy to panic. You must always remember that your swim training should build fitness but it should also transfer to great open water swimming skills and strength. Also, open water is still water. Don't let the lack of lane lines and no wall induce unnecessary fears. Believe in yourself.
As I ran out of the water, I quickly zipped down my wetsuit and ran past the wetsuit strippers. Since my wetsuit comes down to mid calf, it's very easy to get off. By the time I got to my bike, I stepped out of my wetsuit, put on my helmet (didn't forget it like I did at IM 70.3 FL!) and cycling shoes, powered on my Garmin 810 and I was off. 

I ran past the mount line and toward the barricades to avoid bumping into other athletes as I got on my bike. This made for a smooth start to the bike. Now that the swim was behind me, it was time to tackle 3200 feet of elevation over 56 miles on the St. George bike course. 

56 mile bike
Marni: 2:40.43 (1st AG after the bike)
Karel: 2:27.58 (2nd AG after the bike)

With this being my first time racing on the St. George course, I knew that I would need to take some risks in order to put together a solid bike. However, after driving most of the course (and riding the rest), I had a mental image of how to best execute the course. I did not chase speed or watts and I didn't wear a HR monitor. My perceived effort would help me produce my best effort possible, on this day, to deliver myself to the run. I hit the lap button on my computer after every significant change in the terrain so that I could review my file after the race to see how well (or not well) I executed the race. Karel never races by metrics as his bike racing experience has helped him master the concept of "racing by feel". Karel's only limiter these days is his lower back (disc issue diagnosed when he was also diagnosed with a hip labral tear in May 2016, which only affects him on the bike (and not on the run).
For the first 4.5 miles out of transition, the road went up.....although there was a gentle downhill after the first long climb, this was just before our first big climb of the day. With this all occurring on chipseal pavement, it was really hard to find a rhythm - but I was prepared for this. For this first section, my speed was 15.2 mph. Knowing this was just the start of the race, I was careful to not go too hard and to waste my energy in the first few miles of the race. 
I passed a lot of athletes on the first climb and that gave me an instant boost of energy. Karel discussed with me that the long downhills would not work in my favor because of my size so I knew I would need to use my climbing strength whenever possible.
I just loved the first 7.6 miles of the course. We passed through lots of farms (with furry friends watching us) and the course was free of cars. Although the pavement was never buttery smooth, there was nothing technical or difficult in this first section. My average speed for this section was 17.5 mph so once that first climb was complete, it was time to finally settle into a rhythm. 
I made sure to drink from my sport nutrition bottles every 10 minutes and to ensure that I stayed well fueled and hydrated, I took 3-4 big chugs every 10 minutes. After I finished my first bottle, I tossed it at an aid station to free up a cage for water. The temperature started at 63 degrees after the bike but around 10 minutes later, it was in the low 70.3. As the winds picked up throughout the day, so did the temps. 

For the next 9.3 miles (21 minutes), I was flying. Speed was up, power was low and I was passing a lot of athletes. I even saw one of my athletes Jane and told her to keep up the great work as I rode on by her. With a bit of wind at our back throughout most of the ride, I made sure to focus on constant chain tension to get the most out of every pedal stroke. My speed averaged 26.1mph for this segment with a cadence of 82 rpm.

With the entire left side of the hwy closed to cars, it was so nice to feel safe on the wide open stretches of road, especially with all of the downhills. After enjoying the free speed on the flat road, it was time to start our next climb - 2.4 miles of climbing. This climb took me about 9 minutes and I averaged 15.8mph. But after that nice flat segment, my legs were awake and I felt great on the climbs. Again, I was passing a lot of athletes and I had yet to be passed by another female athlete.

After this climb, we enjoyed a fast downhill before a few punchy climbs. This course was always entertaining with no boring part as the miles went by fast. I just loved how the course was broken up into different pieces, which helped me stay focused on the present moment and not jump ahead in thoughts (like thinking about Snow Canyon).

For the next 11.4 miles, I averaged 22.7mph and clocked my fastest ever downhill speed of 48.1 mph! Weeeeee!!!!

The coolest part of the run course was seeing Alistair Brownlee running on the run course as we were biking on the other side of the road. This 2x Triathlon Olympic champion looked so effortless running up the hills of the run course. Next came Lionel Sanders and then Sebatian Kienle. So inspiring!

For the next 10 miles or so, I averaged 22.5 mph. This section was very fast as we did an out and back section after descending down Red Hills Parkway (by the white Dixie sign, which was also part of our run course). 

After making a left to head to Snow Canyon, I noticed that the winds didn't pick up as much as predicted. It almost felt like we had a little push up the Canyon. The views were just breathtaking but I made sure to stay focused on my effort so that I wouldn't destroy my legs too much before the run. I found a nice steady rhythm and it was fun to see riders in the distance as my rabbits to catch. With a cadence of 75 rpm average up the Canyon and a total elevation gain of 1093 feet, my speed was only 12.1 mph average. The climb doesn't get too pitchy until the last mile and this was also the time when it started to get a bit more windy. Luckily, we had pre-rode this part of the course so that helped mentally more than anything to know exactly where I was as it related to pacing.

I made sure to grab a water bottle at the last aid station to use for cooling. Although I didn't want any extra weight loading me down for the climb, I only had 1 bottle left on my bike (out of 3) of sport nutrition so the extra water wasn't an issue. I used this water to keep myself cool as the Canyon felt very warm. My Garmin only recorded 79 degrees but it felt a lot hotter as the sun popped out of the clouds.

After making a right hand turn out of the canyon, onto Hwy 18, it was time to make our final descend into town. For 9.5 miles (minus two punchy climbs), it was a fast descend into town. I pushed as hard as I could on the pedals, in my heaviest gear and still only managed to ride 27.2 mph. Karel averaged a little over 30 mph for this descend!

I was passed by Caroline C. who is a super strong triathlete and cyclist on the descend but I caught back up to her on the two punchy climbs. I wasn't able to stay with her on the descends so I considered it a success that I was only passed by one female on the bike. Although other females rode faster than me, I was really pleased with my effort. When I switched over my interval screen to total time, I couldn't believe that I was so close to breaking 2:40 on this bike course.

I eased up during the last 1.5 miles, especially on Diagonal street, which was the start of the run course. Although a net downhill, it was a bumpy road and I was transitioning my brain into run mode. I made sure to take a few sips of my sport drink to finish 2.5 bottles on the bike course and used some leftover water to cool my body.

As I was making my way past the first turn about, I spotted my mom. She didn't expect me so quick so I gave her a big wave. She was excited to see me. After turning right after the second round about, I eased up on the pedals and finally dismounted my bike. 

I had a quick transition to my run gear but I didn't rush out of transition. I put on my race belt w/ number, hydration belt, shoes and hat (with sunglasses on the rim) but I wanted to make sure to keep my body temp as controlled as possible before the first part of the run so I walked my way to run out until I felt like I was ready to jog. Although I was able to pee a few times on the bike, I really needed to empty my bladder so I stopped at the port-o-potty which happened to be outside of the transition area, technically it was on the run course (so my time in the potty was included in my run time and not in my transition time). Although it  felt like forever, I don't think I spent more than 2 minutes to take off my fuel belt and take on/off my one piece tri suit. It felt SO good to finally go to the bathroom (triathlete problems). 

13.1 mile run
Marni: 1.49.08 (1st AG after the run)
Karel: 1:30.13 (3rd AG after the bike)

So you may be wondering about my Garmin run watch since I haven't mentioned anything on my wrist throughout the race. Well, I planned to put on my run watch in T2 but during my descend down into town, I convinced myself that my watch would be "too heavy" on my wrist and I didn't want anything holding me down on the run. Yes, that is right - I didn't wear my watch on the run because it felt "too heavy". Plus, I knew that pace meant nothing on this course and I didn't want to be distracted by anything as I needed to direct all of my attention on taking care of myself for the next 13.1 miles. 
So for the first time in a long distance triathlon race, I did not wear a watch - and I loved it!

After running out of transition, I made sure to not run too hard. For the next 3 miles, the road went up and up and up. Although the first 1.5 miles were a gentle false flat after the hill to the round about off main street, we had a steep incline up Red Hills Parkway for almost a mile. It was great to see the female professionals finishing up their run on the downhill as it reminded me that what goes up, goes down. 

I took it very conservative on the first few miles to make sure to get a good rhythm. At this point, I was feeling very hot and by the time I got to the top of the climb, I needed to cool myself off at the aid station. I stopped to take in water and ice and then began running again. In between the aid stations, I took in my sport drink from my flask. This way, I was able to hydrate every 1/2 mile or so and fuel every mile. I only took in water/ice at the aid stations and the ice was AMAZING. The volunteers were fantastic and it was great to see all of the support on all parts of the course. 

Although I felt physically ready for the run course, for some reason my mental strength was not as strong as I would have liked it to have been. I walked through almost every aid station as I was trying to stay as cool as possible and a big part of me wished that I would have taken the risk and just ran through the aid station. While in the moment I was trying to manage, I now look back and wonder "what if". Well, I guess that's part of racing!

On the positive, I was able to pass a lot of athletes in the back half of the run and I felt strong on all of the climbs. With two out and backs on this course, it was fun to see other athletes for instant motivation. Not only did I see Karel when I was about at mile 4 (he was passed mile 9) but I saw all of my Trimarni athletes out on the run course - which was so awesome! Another positive was another race with no GI issues and no low moments on the run. Although there were faster female runners out there, I felt like I took good care of myself to put together the best race possible - but a part of me is fired up to take a bit more risks at my next half next weekend in Greenville.

The wind really picked up throughout the day, as did the heat. Although the temps never got above 85 throughout the race, it felt hot all day. I found myself having to turn around my trucker hat a few times due to the wind.

As for Karel's race, he also didn't feel too happy about this run but he put  together the best race possible without ever racing on this course before. He was able to pass a few guys throughout the run but he said it took a lot out of him to try to keep up with some faster guys on the run. Karel relied on his fuel belt and Red Bull/Coke from the aid stations and didn't have any low moments and another GI-free race for Karel (he has never had any GI issues in a half or full IM).

After cresting the last big hill, it was time to finally make my way to the finish with 3 miles of running downhill. While the first part of the downhill was steep, the last 1.5 miles was not easy as it was in straight headwind - so I felt like I was still running uphill!

With about 1/2 mile to go, I saw Karel out of the corner of my eye as I was focused on one foot in front of the other to get myself to the finish. Karel ran with me for a few steps (he was on the sidewalk) not saying anything but just cheering me on by being there.

I was SO excited to see the finish as I felt like I put together the best race possible, under the race conditions, for my first time at IM 70.3 St. George. When I crossed the finish line, I was excited to see Karel and hear his race recap and then get back out on the race course to cheer for my athletes. While waiting for our athletes to get closer to the finish, Karel, Anthony, Robb and I hung out in the food tent. I was completely exhausted but no food sounded appetizing for a while, except my Cheribundi Rebuild drink that my mom was holding on for me for after the race.

Although I was sore, I was still able to walk semi-ok, so we made our way to the last part of the run course to cheer for the rest of the Trimarnis, until every one of our athletes crossed the finish line. For me and Karel, our title as athletes is over once we cross the finish line. Then it's back to being coaches until all of our athletes finish the race. 

Later I learned that I placed 1st AG and Karel placed 3rd AG. A repeat from our results at IM 70.3 FL. I was pumped about another AG win on such a tough course but I am eager to come back next year as I feel more experienced on this course and I feel I can do even better next time. The finish line area was great, for family and friends and the awards ceremony was packed with athletes and spectators, in the middle of downtown St. George. It was hard to say good bye to this beautiful venue but we will be back next year for another great race-cation!

Congrats to the Trimarni team for placing 1st Division V Triclub! 

Thank you for the support. As always, if you have any questions about race execution, race venue details or nutrition, don't hesitate to reach out via email. 

A BIG thank you to our 
2017 Trimarni sponsors and affiliates:

-Run In - for helping us with all of our running needs
-New Wave Swim Buoy - for keeping us safe and seen in the open water
-Mg12 - for helping our muscles stay relaxed
-Clif Bar - for quality ingredients in quality sport nutrition
-Cheribundi - for providing a safe, natural and delicious way to reduce inflammation
-Veronica's Health Crunch - for the most delicious hand made crunch - ever!
-Infinit - for customizable sport nutrition
-Levelen - for helping us optimize our hydration needs through sweat testing
-Hot Shot - for keeping Karel cramp-free!
-Solestar - for maximum stability, better power transmission
-Boco Gear - for helping us race in style
-Canari - for the most comfortable, functional and stylish gear
-Xterra - for the fastest wetsuit ever (so fast, Karel is now beating me in the swim!)
-Alto cycling - for enginnering the fastest race wheels
-Swamp Rabbit Inn and Lodge - for keeping our campers happy with perfect lodging options
-Salem Anesthesia - for your Trimarni support


IM 70.3 St. George race report: Pre-Race

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FRIDAY (Day before the race)
On Friday morning, Karel, Peggy and I set out for a spin on the run course, while Meredith did her run warm-up for her relay. Because of the layout of the run course, we had several opportunity to wake-up our legs with the undulating terrain on the Red Hills Parkway. Although the run course was mostly all marked, we were a little confused by some of the out and back sections but nevertheless, we still saw enough to know that the run course was going to be one tough half marathon off the bike. But with the theme of the race, the views on the run course were spectacular.

After the hour-ish spin, I went for a 20 min jog on the run course. With our rental home located only about 2 blocks from T2/finish, it was the perfect location to get anywhere by car, foot or bike. My run included a few pick-ups to get my legs ready for race day. Overall, I felt good but something inside me had me worried that I wasn't going to have a good race day. I tried to ignore all the confusing pre-race feelings making me feel "not ready" so I made sure to clear my mind and focus on all of the training I had done, up until this race, to remind me that I was ready. Plus, with all my athletes around, I was filled with constant inspiration and excitement to race. As a coach and athlete, I can honestly say that with every race that I race, I become a better coach because I can put myself into the same situations and scenarios as my athletes. And with 11 years of endurance racing behind me, I have learned a lot by racing a lot.

After my short pre-race warm-up, it was time for a big breakfast which included hardboiled eggs, fruit and french toast, along with a glass of OJ. Knowing that the St. George race would require a lot of energy, I made every effort to load-up on carbohydrates before the race, without feeling too stuffed and uncomfortable. Since I always have a great relationship with food and my body, I don't worry too much when I do feel a bit "heavy" before a race. In my mind, calories are energy and with a plan in place, I trust what I am feeding my body as it is fuel for race day. For me, I gain more of a competitive adventure by loading up my muscles with glycogen going into the race than to risking GI issues by trying to overfuel on race day on calories/carbs (especially with the heat and difficulty of the course).


Although I spent the morning relaxing, Karel helped out our athlete Natalie with her bike, as her base bars cracked in route to St. George (from Texas). Karel and Natalie went to every local bike shop to try to find a new set of bars as Karel was not going to let Natalie ride with cracked base bars. With no luck, they finally found a set at the Diamondback Bikes, which saved the day. For the next two hours, Karel rewired Natalie's bike with the new base bars attached so that she would have a safe ride for race day.

For lunch, I had pizza (leftover from our team pizza party on Thursday night - pizza from the Pizza Factory), salty tortilla chips, a handful arugula and fruit. That meal hit the spot.

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With T1 located about 22 miles away from T2/finish, we had a mandatory bike check-in (with bike gear - helmet and shoes) on Friday from 1-6pm. To make sure that we could rest in the afternoon/evening and limit time out in the hot sun (the high was 96 degrees!), we headed out to T2 after lunch (around 1:30pm) and around 25 minutes later, we were at Sand Hallow State Park to drop off our bikes. We brought our bikes and bike bag with helmet, shoes and anything else for the bike (besides nutrition).

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It was a little windy so our bikes were blowing around a bit, which always makes me nervous since my bike never touches the ground. Yay for being 5 feet "tall". We met up with a few other Trimarni's in transition, which was great to see familiar faces. I feel so much positive energy when I am around our athletes. Despite the logistics of having to plan for a point to point race, the drive to the swim start is just beautiful so we certainly did not mind driving there twice before the race (on Thursday we swam in the lake for an entry fee of $10 per car). The race staff did an excellent job of making this race super scenic and easy to get around.

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On the way home, we (Karel, Meredith, my mom and her friend Sharon) drove the bike course to get familiar with the layout of the course. Karel had biked the entire course between Wed and Thurs ride so it was nice to have him giving us the "real feel" based on being on a bike versus in a car (where it always feels different in a car). After driving the first 35 miles of the course on Friday and then including our ride on Wed (which included miles 35-56), I felt very prepared mentally for the bike. With so much Greenville riding behind me, I was really looking forward to the bike portion of the race. My only concern was how  I would execute the bike as the climbs were long and the descends appeared to be fast, and there was only one section of flat roads after the first major climb out of T1. However, I felt confident that I could put together a solid bike based on all of the riding that I have done over the past 3 years in Greenville. I suppose that is one of the exciting parts of racing- you can't plan the outcome when you need to focus on the present moment.

After driving the course, we arrived back to our rental home around 4:00pm and we were ready to eat. Rather than having a snack, thus pushing dinner back a few hours, I encouraged my athletes to eat an early dinner to allow for plenty of time for digestion before bed. Thus, it allowed us to all snack before bedtime without risking an upset tummy before bed. For dinner, I had hardboiled eggs (no tempeh at the Smiths grocery), tomato soup and basmati rice, topped with salty tortilla chips and a little cheese. Although a light dinner, I felt very well-fueled from all the eating on Thursday and Friday, in addition to only working out for 2 hours total on Thurs and Friday. Around 7pm, I felt a little nibbly so I had a snack of yogurt with granola, which hit the spot before laying down in bed around 8pm.

Before a race, I like to listen to motivational Ted Talks on You Tube on my Ipad, while Karel listens to Techno. We both like to visualize about the race as this helps us get into the zone. Listening to people talk also helps me feel sleepy. By 8:45pm or so, I was out and surprisingly, I slept really well! Perhaps it was the comfort of having a house full of athletes (and spectators) so I knew I wouldn't oversleep through my alarm (which I have never done but always a fear which keeps me from sleeping well the night before a race).

My alarm was set for 3:45am. By 3:40am, Karel and I were out of bed and ready to cross this race off our bucket list!

Race Day Morning
By 4am, I was drinking a small cup of coffee and a glass of water before heating up my pre-race pancakes that I made on Friday afternoon. My pancakes total around 500 calories (including syrup and a little butter) but I was having a hard time eating them all . I tried my best and left one pancake on the plate. Still a success on race day morning at 4:15am.

After getting ready for the race and grabbing our morning clothes bag (with swim gear) and run bag, around 4:45am, a few other Trimarni's (from the other Trimarni rental home) came to our house and we all walked over to T2/Finish in downtown St. George (about a 8-10 minute walk) to set up our run gear in transition and to board the free shuttle buses (school buses). There were lots of buses so obviously, the race director was prepared for all of the athletes choosing to ride the buses. The other option was to get dropped off at the race venue but this option prevented athletes from being dropped off right at transition and instead, you had to take a short walk. Spectators were not allowed to ride the buses but the race event staff did a great job helping spectators get to the swim start with parking options at the swim venue (about 1/2+ mile away).

We boarded the buses around 5am and by 5:30am, we were at the swim start. Although I arrived two full hours before my wave start, I didn't mind the extra time as I was in no rush to set up my transition area, do a warm-up and stop by the port-o-potty a few times. I actually liked the extra time and surprisingly, it went by fast. As we were heading to the swim start on the bus, while listening to my music on my phone, I realized that I had left my bike computer in my transition bag, which I decided not to bring last minute. Oh no! Karel offered to give me his computer as he doesn't look at any metrics when he rides but I told him I would be fine without it. Although I would have been fine without it,  I did want to look at my bike file after the race and have something to glance at to keep me on a schedule for drinking throughout the ride. I had no power goals for the race and I did not wear a HR monitor so my computer was there for reference. But, I did ask my mom to bring it, in case she arrived before transition closed at 6:30am and thankfully, she did and saved my day!

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Before heading to bed on Friday, we found out via Facebook that the race director moved up the swim wave times. With predicted wind gusts of 40mph, the race director wanted to get everyone out on the bike course as quick as possible.So instead of me starting at 7:54am, my wave started at 7:31am.

After arriving to the swim start/T1, I put my bottles on my bike and Karel pumped up my tires (Karel took out air in our tires on Friday due to the hot temps). It was rather warm out (66 degrees) on race day morning but with the water temp at 64 degrees, I wanted to stay warm before the start - I stayed dressed in long pants, a hat and a jacket before putting on my wetsuit around 7:10am

Because Karel started 15 minutes before me, I wished him good luck before heading off to start my jog warm-up.

Funny story - Karel was so excited to spot two empty port-o-potties at the very far end of the parking lot/transition area during his jog warm-up, that he could not wait to tell me about them. Oh, it's the little things on race day that are so important to athletes :)

I spent a good 10 minutes jogging around to get my blood flowing, with some dynamic warm-ups. Since we couldn't get in the water before the race, I relied on my dry land warm-up to get me heart pumping before the swim start.

I hung out with my mom, and a few of my athletes, before the swim start and around 7:15, I started to make my way to my wave (18-24W and 35-39W). I made note of the other women waves so I knew when all of the female waves started. This was my first experience starting way back in a race but I didn't let it get to me much as I was actually looking forward to seeing so many athletes on the course versus being alone for most of the bike ride, like I was at IM 70.3 FL 4 weeks ago.

With each wave started 2 minutes apart, the time went by really fast. I felt a little weird before the start, which concerned me a bit but I just told myself that I would feel better once I got into the water.

I gave my mom a wave before we were allowed to enter the water and in less than 2 minutes, I was swimming about 100 yards or so out to the start buoys as my only warm-up. I had a short amount of time to adjust my wetsuit and put water inside the neck/chest of the wetsuit so that the wetsuit wouldn't "suck" on my chest and neck. I also used that time to relax and take a few deep breaths before it was time to start the race. 

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   I just love my purple Xterra Vengeance wetsuit - it's so easy to spot!

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With a 30 second warning, I adjusted my goggles once more and then it was time for the 10 second countdown. I took a few deep breaths and exhales, started treading water a bit faster and then we were off!!

Stay tuned for part II of my race report.......


IM 70.3 St. George - quick recap

The human body is an amazing machine. I love to use my body. When I can use my body to conquer a challenging race course, I feel very strong and accomplished. I love this feeling. To me, this feeling makes me love and appreciate what my body can do and thus, I find myself continually invested in the process of being the best athlete that I can be, for as long as my body will let me do what I ask it to do in training and on race day.

A challenging race course is not comfortable and it's not easy. You can't just wing it and hope for a good result. A challenging race course requires great physical and mental strength and resilience and the ability to adjust quickly to the many different scenarios that occur during the race.

On a challenging race course, you can't predict what will happen during or at the end of the race. Thus, a challenging race course brings a deeper meaning to what it means to be "an athlete."

It's easy to avoid challenging courses for fear of not being able to complete the course or because of the inability to predict (or control) the outcome of the race. Easy courses are safe but there is so much that can be learned by embracing the challenge of a difficult race course.

Challenging race courses require discipline in the preparation for the race.
Challenging race courses require commitment, from start to finish.
Challenging race courses require respect to the race course. 
Challenging race courses give you a greater meaning to life.
Challenging race courses give you a strong appreciation for your body.
Challenging race courses teach you more about yourself than you ever thought was possible by your body.

As soon as we arrived to St. George on Tues evening, I was in love with the scenery. Knowing that St. George offers a very challenging 70.3 race course, I knew this was the perfect venue for us and our athletes.

The course was everything that we wanted it to be....and more.

The weather started out warm at 66 degrees and increased to the upper 80's, with the winds picking up as the day went on.

The swim was picturesque. The water was a perfect cool 64 degrees. There was a bit of chop in the water in certain sections but otherwise it was a great swim with plenty of buoys to help us stay on course.

The bike was challenging. There was only a short segment of a flat road after the first big climb out of T1 so the theme of the day was climbing. Lots and lots of climbing. But with every climb there was a nice descend, especially the last 8 miles which descended us into town after climbing the 4ish miles in Snow Canyon. The wind was certainly a factor on race day as the winds picked up as the day went on.

The run was difficult. Very, very difficult. But we love a challenging course and this run course exceeding our expectations. The wind + long, long climbs were brutal but that is what we came for. Although there was a 3 mile descend into town, the 10 miles prior required a lot of mental and physical strength and smart execution.

The finish was fantastic! Right in the heart of downtown St. George! After 70.3 miles, the finish line was invigorating!

We could not be more proud of all the Trimarni athletes who came to St. George. Everyone started the race and everyone finished the race. Congrats for conquering this difficult race!

Trimarni trifecta relay: Tricia, Freddy, Meredith
Adam G.
Joe N.
Natalie R.
Robb F.
Angelie J. (Relay)
Jane G.
Peggy N. (and hubby Anthony)

Thank you St. George for the warm welcome and to the race staff, what an exceptional race that was well supported by the community. The course was very well marked, extremely safe and was filled with 3000 volunteers.

Karel Sumbal 
1.2 mile swim: 30.17
T1: 2:23
56 mile bike: 2:27.58
T2: 1:32
13.1 mile run: 1:30.13
Finish: 4:32.23
3rd AG (40-44)
58th overall male

Marni Sumbal 
1.2 mile swim: 30.32
T1: 2:19
56 mile bike: 2:40.43
T2: 1:59
13.1 mile run: 1:49.08
Finish: 5:04.41
1st Age Group (35-39)
24th overall female 

Goggles: TYR Pink 2.0 special ops 
Wetsuit: Xterra Vengeance long sleeve
Gadget - None
Kit: Canari custom short sleeve Trimarni tri suit
Sport Bra: Oakley Women continuity bra
Pre-race fuel: 4 homemade pancakes w/ syrup, banana slices and butter. Glass of water and cup of coffee. 1 scoop Clif Cran Razz hydration in throw away plastic bottle sipping in the 45 minutes before race. 

Bike: Trek Speed Concept 7 series custom (pink rocket) w/ Shimano ultegra Di2 shifting.
Tires/tubes: Specialized S-works turbo tires and vittoria latex tubes
Gearing: Front: 39/54. Rear sprocket: 11/28, 11sp
Wheels: Alto cycling. Front: cc56. Rear: cc86
Chain: KMC X11SL Pink
Saddle: ISM PN 1.0
Bottle cages: Xlab turbo wing with 2 Gorilla cages (rear), Aerobars - Bontrager pink cage
Helmet: Lazer Wasp Air with shield
Fuel: 3 bottles each with Infinit Trimarni base blend (230 calories per bottle, grape) + 1/8 tsp salt (pink Himalayan). A few swigs of Enervitene cheerpack (no caffeine). 
Socks: Swiftwick 
Shoes: Bontager RXL hilo
Power meter: Garmin Vector 2 pedals
Bike computer: Garmin Edge 810

Shoes: New Balance Zante (Pre-race warm-up shoes: Hoka Clifton 3)
Hat: Trimarni Boco gear performance trucker
Sunglasses: Oakley women radar lock with vents
Hydration belt: Nathan mercury 2 (2 x 10 ounce flasks)
Fuel: water and 1 scoop EFS grape per flask
Gadget: None

Goggles: Michael Phelps (MP) XCEED
Wetsuit: Xterra Vengeance long sleeve
Gadget - Garmin 735XT
Kit: Canari custom short sleeve Trimarni tri suit
Pre-race fuel: 2 Espresso. Croissant with jam and a few sips chocolate protein Bolthouse drink ~2 hours prior, sipping 1 scoop LEVELEN in water bottle. 1 Hot Shot pre race. 

Bike: Trek Speed Concept 8 series custom w/ Durace Di2 shifting 
Wheels: Alto cycling. Front: ct86. Rear: Disc CT311. With CeramicSpeed bearings.
Tires: Tubular S-Works turbo
Gearing: Front: 55/42. Rear: 11/25, 11sp
Chain: Ultra Optimized Chain
Saddle: Pro Aerofuel Carbon
Bottle cages: Rear: Profile mount with Gorilla cages. Front: Bontrager 
Helmet: Giro aerohead 
Fuel: 3 bottles (2 with 1.5 scoops Levelen Strawberry. 1 with 1 scoop Levelen Strawberry). Hot Shot. Enervitene cheerpack. 
Shoes: Bontager RXL hilo
Power meter: Garmin Vector 2 pedals
Bike computer: Garmin Edge 810

Shoes: New Balance Zante breathe (Pre-race warm-up shoes: NB vongo)
Hat: Trimarni Boco gear performance trucker
Sunglasses: Oakley radar lock
Socks: Swiftwick 
Hydration belt: Fuel belt helium (3 flasks )
Fuel: 1 Hot Shot in T2. Red Bull, coke and water at aid stations Flasks: 2 with EFS pro, 1 with Precision hydration 500. 

A BIG thank you to our 
2017 Trimarni sponsors and affiliates:

-Run In - for helping us with all of our running needs
-New Wave Swim Buoy - for keeping us safe and seen in the open water
-Mg12 - for helping our muscles stay relaxed
-Clif Bar - for quality ingredients in quality sport nutrition
-Cheribundi - for providing a safe, natural and delicious way to reduce inflammation
-Veronica's Health Crunch - for the most delicious hand made crunch - ever!
-Infinit - for customizable sport nutrition
-Levelen - for helping us optimize our hydration needs through sweat testing
-Hot Shot - for keeping Karel cramp-free!
-Solestar - for maximum stability, better power transmission
-Boco Gear - for helping us race in style
-Canari - for the most comfortable, functional and stylish gear
-Xterra - for the fastest wetsuit ever (so fast, Karel is now beating me in the swim!)
-Alto cycling - for enginnering the fastest race wheels
-Swamp Rabbit Inn and Lodge - for keeping our campers happy with perfect lodging options
-Salem Anesthesia - for your Trimarni support