6/2/17

Get the most out of your race day performance


Race day. 

This is what you train for!
So why do you often feel so disappointed with your race day performance(s)? 

Rarely will race day provide the perfect conditions for a PR performance.
It's likely that you won't feel "fresh" legs all day long.

Understanding that there will be obstacles and really dark/low moments on race day, it's important to approach race day with a positive can-do attitude that race day is all about performing with your body.

When was the last time you said to yourself "Body, let's see what we can do today!" with no expectations or assumptions?

With a good mindset, and accepting the reality that racing will not be easy, it's important to deliver yourself to the finish line knowing that you gave your absolute best. What more can you ask for by your body? 



Here are a few of my tips to help you get the most out of your race day performance so that you can feel proud of your race day performance. 
  1. Race day is not a test of your athletic merit/worthiness but instead, an opportunity to celebrate your hard work. Race day is the reward of all your training! Whether you were able to dedicate 100% to your training throughout the entire season or you experienced a setback, injury, sickness, life event or other obstacle that detoured you from consistent training, race day gives you an opportunity to race. Regardless of your current fitness status, race to your full capabilities at this point in your life. Knowing that there will always be another race, do not let one race define you as an athlete.
  2. Remove any unwanted pressure that may prevent you from rising to your potential on race day. Remove pressure that you need to prove something to your spouse/family and certainly don’t feel that you need to validate that your coaching was worth it by putting together the perfect race. Race for you!
  3. Don't change the formula. Losing weight, training more/harder or suddenly changing coaches is not how you get better overnight. Remind yourself that you are constantly evolving as an athlete, which means your development occurs over time. Many times, patience is the only key that unlocks great future race day performances.
  4. Don't stress what is out of your control. Trust yourself and do what has worked in training and in past races. Every race, you bring experience.  You can control your pacing, how you react to situations, your nutrition and your attitude.
  5. Enjoy race day! Sure, race day is tough but you have to love what you are doing. Find joy in exploring your boundaries, being very uncomfortable and stretching your limits.
  6. Do not attach your race day goals to a time or place. Racing requires you to take care of yourself from start to finish. You can't predict the future. Accept the challenge and be proud of what you accomplish at the finish - regardless of the results. Focus on the process and the outcome will take care of itself.
  7. Never overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. Race day will teach you that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought was possible by your mind and body.
  8. Invest yourself into your race day performance and then move on. So you had a bad race, oh well. Time to move on. So you had a great race - yippee! Savor the moment! Always make sure to learn from your mistakes and bottle up those amazing race performances to build motivation and confidence for your upcoming training. Workouts do not define you as a person and neither does race day. Remember - this is your hobby, it should be fun and memorable. 
 Stay passionate about your sport, never stop having fun, be courageous and brave, take risks and inspire others. 


6/1/17

Starting a bucket list


Time on Earth is precious and short. Are you focused on experiencing all that you hope to accomplish during your lifetime? 

I often find myself crossing things off my "in-my-head" bucket list but I have never taken the time to write down all that I want to do before I can no longer do them. Now that I am one year older at 35 years old, I thought that it would be a good time to make a list of all the things I've always wanted to do but haven't gotten around to them yet. Now that I am forcing myself to write things down, it's a bit more difficult than I thought it would be to write my bucket list! 

A few tips for writing your own bucket list: 
  • There are no rules. Write down what you really want to do without worry, fear or uncertainty.
  • Write down what immediately comes into your head. 
  • Start small and keep adding to your list.
  • Use a bucket list website for inspiration. 
  • Keep your mind open for new ideas. 
  • Don't limit yourself to just big, scary, possibly unreachable items. Include "everyday" goals that will make those bigger bucket list items feel more satisfying and memorable. 
  • Find meaning in each one of your bucket list goals.
  • When all else fails, think of what you would want to do if you only had one more day to live. 
When you have goals, hopes, plans and aspirations, your life becomes much more meaningful and purposeful. To cross off the items on your bucket list, you need to be driven, focused and passionate - and perhaps a bit lucky, adventurous and open-minded.

Above all, a bucket list helps you turn your life priorities into achievable goals that will make your life better. 

OK, so here it goes. My first ever written bucket list. 
  1. Write a nutrition book. 
  2. Make enough money to live comfortably so that I can donate money to those in need (ex. animals). 
  3. Rescue an older dog.
  4. Live in a cabin/house by a lake in the mountains. 
  5. Fly first class overseas with a flat-bed seat. 
  6. Go on a safari in Africa. 
  7. Swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. 
  8. Race Ironman Lanzorote. 
  9. Race triathlon Alpe d'Huez. 
  10. Break 10 hours in an Ironman. 
  11. Win an Ironman (amateur female). 
  12. Meet Ellen DeGeneres. 
  13. Grow 50% of more of my daily produce intake. 
  14. See Karel place on the podium at Kona or win overall male amateur in an Ironman. 
  15. Be a guide to a visually impaired athlete in a triathlon. 
  16. Live a few months in Europe. 
  17. Bring Karel's mom to the US to stay with us for 1+ month. 
  18. Swim in the dead sea. 
  19. Visit the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa. 
  20. Swim in the swimming pool at San Alfonso del Mar. 
  21. Be a keynote speaker at a conference/event. 
  22. Go whale watching. 
  23. See the Amazon rainforest. 
  24. Be mortgage-free. 
  25. Have my own at-home lap swimming pool. 
  26. Watch the Giro d'Italia with Karel (while cycling from stage to stage). 
  27. Run a 50K trail race. 

5/31/17

35 facts to celebrate my 35th Birthday!!!


  1. I was born in Lexington, KY. 
  2. I went to a Montessori school through 3rd grade. I went to an arts school from 4th - 8th grade and "majored" in piano. 
  3. My mom grew up as an Orthodox Jew. I had a Bat Mitzvah when I turned 13. I don't practice Judaism but it's a big part of our family history. My dad converted to Judaism after he married my mom. 
  4. I played piano until I graduated from high school. I competed in many competitions and concerts and was a very accomplished pianist. 
  5. I was a very creative child/teenager. I loved to draw and express myself through my clothing and hair styles. I also enjoyed singing and dancing. When I was young, I had my hair professionally dyed blonde. I immediately hated it! Since then, I have never colored my hair. 
  6. I am a visual learner. I remember information better by seeing it versus reading it.
  7. I have 11 ear piercings and I did 3 of them by myself in high school. I got my belly button pierced when I turned 16. I had my tongue pierced only during my freshman year of college (my parents were not happy about that one!). 
  8. I have one tattoo - the Ironman M dot. I got it done 2 weeks after I did my first Ironman in 2006. When the time comes for my beloved dog, Campy, to go to doggy heaven, I will change the tattoo to remind me of him and my other love of cycling (which is thanks to Karel). 
  9. I went away to college my freshman year to IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) for swimming (Division II). I felt like it was too much swimming and not enough learning so I transferred to my hometown university, Transylvania, for the rest of my college career. Transy provided me with a great liberal arts education and helped me discover my passions of speaking and writing. My favorite speaking events are live TV segments and group talks. 
  10. When I was young, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist when I grew up. Then I wanted to be a doctor. Then a Strength and Conditioning Coach. I went to Graduate school in FL at FAU (Davie campus) and earned my M.S. in Exercise Physiology. I then realized that I wanted to do something with triathlon and nutrition. 
  11. I was diagnosed with two extra cervical ribs in high school after having serious back issues while swimming. 
  12. I tried out for track, volleyball and diving when I was in high school. I never made it on to a team. My heart was always into swimming. I started swimming when I was 10 years old. My first swim meet event was the 50 yard butterfly. I swam competitively from age 10 until 22. I swam all four years of college. My specialty strokes were 200 fly, 100 breast and 200 IM. I placed 5th in the 100 breast stroke at Nationals my Sophomore year (NAIA). I got burnt out from swimming during my Junior year of college. I joined the cross country team in the fall (while still swimming on the team). I really enjoyed off-road running but I hated being away from my swimming teammates. 
  13. I am a sensitive person and care a lot about the feelings of other people. I don't like it when people are upset and I don't like mean people. I've always been told I am "too nice" and I never stop smiling. I am a very passionate person and when I like something, I don't second guess my decisions and I always give 100% to whatever I do. 
  14. After finishing up a season on the cross country team and enjoying my new sport of running, I decided to do a sprint triathlon in the summer of 2003 before my senior year of college. My dad went with me to cheer me on. I received a hybrid Giant bike a week before the triathlon for my birthday. I won my age group (but I was the only one in it). The next summer, I did an Olympic distance triathlon and during graduate school, after training for my first marathon, I got into triathlon training more seriously in 2005. 
  15. I have never broken a bone or had a stress fracture. The last time I was sick was in 2007. I have never worn glasses or braces. 
  16. I wrote in a journal, every night, for over 10 years. 
  17. I collected Grover items (from Sesame Street) while growing up. I was more into stuffed animals than dolls. 
  18. I became a vegetarian when I was 10 for animal reasons. I am not sure exactly what made me decide to give up meat one day at school. I have always loved animals. We have a dog, two cats (Madison is 9 and Smudla is 14) and a tank full of African Cichlid fish. If we didn't travel so much, I would have lots more rescue animals. 
  19. I met Karel on a blind date - which was a group ride in the Palm Harbor, Fl area. I stood him up for a few weeks before I met him because I was afraid to do the group ride. We met on my birthday in 2006. A few months later, we traveled to Lake Tahoe for a training trip and I realized that he was the one for me. At IMFL in November 2006, I told him I loved him for the first time as I was running the last few miles of the IM. We got engaged on Karel's birthday (2007) and married in October 2008. 
  20. Karel and I got engaged at a Kobe Japanese Steakhouse in Clearwater, Florida in front of a small group of our cycling friends. The entire restaurant clapped for us after I said yes. Although we moved to Jacksonville, FL in 2008, we got married in October in the Dunedin area (Honeymoon island on the beach - morning wedding) because all of our friends lived in Clearwater. 
  21. My dad passed away 3 years ago on May 28th, 2014 from stage IV spine cancer. He passed away 10 months after he was diagnosed. My dad was never sick and he ran 3 miles every day for over 15 years. We were very close. He was a very successful optometrist. 
  22. I was a lifeguard in high school and then pool manager. I have been CPR certified since 1994. I taught spin classes, aerobic classes and water aerobics when I was in high school. 
  23. I moved in with my parents when I finished graduate school in Dec 2005 because I had no money. They had just moved to New Port Richey, FL for my dad's new job as the chief optometrist of a VA clinic. 
  24. I don't like to wear make-up. I feel most comfortable when I am working out. I get my hair cut at Great Clips. 
  25. My brother (2 years younger than me) Aaron Rakes, was the 2007 NCAA High Bar Champion. He had a full ride scholarship to the University of Michigan. He and his wife Dana are expecting their second child (a boy) in a few weeks. Baby Jack is 1.5 years old. They live in Pittsburgh, PA. My brother works for Ernst and Young. He has his Masters in Business from Carnegie Mellon. 
  26. I went to Japan for a student exchange program in 8th grade. I went to the Philippines during the last 2 weeks of my Senior year of college for a work service project. I had no electricity or running water during my trip to the Philippines and I took bucket showers and went to the bathroom in a hole in the ground. This trip changed my life. 
  27. I found/rescued a small Chihuahua behind our apartment complex in Jacksonville, FL in 2006. A few days later, we found his owner. A week later, we adopted Campy (previously named Sparky) from a foster family in Amelia Island, FL. We got Campy just a few weeks before we got married. Campy follows me around wherever I go, he has slept in bed with us since the first day we brought him home (under the covers) and he is very protective of me. Campy started to get seizures in the summer of 2015. He is now controlled with Phenobarbital (morning and night).  
  28. I like to live every day to the fullest. Anytime I feel like life is rushing by, I try to slow it down. 
  29. My mom lives 1 mile away from us. Her favorite hobby/activity is hiking. My mom and my dad were married for almost 37 years. My dad was 9 years older than my mom - they met at Indiana University. He was a teacher (optics and pharmacology) and she was there as a student. 
  30. My favorite color is pink. But during my grunge phase in middle school, my favorite color was black. 
  31. I had long hair throughout middle school - it was down to my butt. My hair is thick and wavy so it would take me over 15 minutes to dry! 
  32. I played t-ball on an all boys team when I was 7/8 years old. I was a tomboy for much of my childhood and I wanted to always prove that girls could do anything that boys can do. 
  33. I spent a lot of my extra time in school (4-8th grade) helping out with the special needs students. 
  34. I love my sleep. I get ~8 hours of sleep every night. I thank my body every day. I also love to laugh and smile. 
  35. I started my own business in Jan 2012 after receiving my RD credential. This was a long time dream of mine that required a lot of hard work, energy, time and money but it was all worth it! My dad would be so proud. I now get to work with Karel and we have the most rewarding job of helping athletes reach personal health, athletic and nutrition goals. And, Karel and I get to spend every day training, working and living together. 

5/29/17

2017 Trimarni Greenville Skills Camp wrap-up


Well, that's a wrap! With our first Greenville skills camp behind us, we wanted to take an opportunity to share with you the highlights of the camp. 
Day 1 swim skills:
We met our eight campers at Furman University (Physical Activities Center - PAC) outside the building and then proceeding inside to a large classroom for a meet and greet, followed by a 90-minute discussion on swimming. We designed this skills camp to be a small, intimate and personalized camp to ensure that every camper was able to get one on one attention with lots of opportunities for questions.

Swimming topics discussed included:
  • Pool versus open water swimming 
  • Importance of body posture, alignment and propulsion as an open water swimmer
  • Framework of an effective swim workout
  • Tips to improve swimming as a triathlete and common swimming mistakes by triathletes
  • Detailed discussion of the phases of a swim stroke - catch, pull, exit, recovery
  • How to breath when swimming
  • Discussion of pool toys and importance of swimming with toys versus swimming with drills - ankle strap, fins, buoy, snorkel, fins
  • Open water tips 
After the discussion, it was time for our campers to get into the water for a 90-minute skill focused swim, followed by a "main set" to put all the skills to good use.

Here are some pictures from our first skills session, taken by Joey, who was our support throughout camp.







Day 1: Run skills
Following our swim skills session, it was time to head down the road to Poinsett Park for a run skills session. We had our campers get warmed up with a 1/2 mile EZ jog. We then started our run skills discussion on the following topics:
  • Posture and form
  • How to reduce risk for injury in running
  • How to improve running efficiency
  • Tips for food form running
  • Running drills
  • Busting some running myths: Shoe types, running styles, strength, stride rate/length
  • Up and downhill running tips
After our run skills session, we gave our athletes a workout to put everything together. 
Here are some pictures from our run skills session. 









Day 1 Bike skills: After a 2 hour break for food/recovery, it was time for our last session of the day - which was the one I was most looking forward to as I know how much triathletes need to work on bike handling skills. 
Karel did a phenomenal job working with our athletes on their bike handling skills and we had a variety of drills to practice in a safe parking lot at Trailblazer park. 

Knowing that many triathletes are afraid on the bike, and tend to spend a lot of emotional energy while riding, we spent a full hour working on bike handling skills so that our campers could ride more relaxed and confident on two wheels. 
A few reasons why triathletes should work on bike skills: 
  • To feel safe and confident on all types of terrain and conditions 
  • To ride comfortably around other riders
  • To be able to to safely pass other people and dodge obstacles in the road 
  • To improve safety and safety of those around you. 
Many crashes can be avoided with experience, skills and mental preparation. 

After helping our athletes learn how to sit properly on the bike while learning how to stay relaxed, it was time to work on some drills! 
  • Practice changing gears while riding – small ring to big ring, etc.
  • Anticipate stopping quickly and unclipping quickly. 
  • Hand skills – right turn, left turn, slowing/stopping, signal something on the road, grabbing bottles, rotating bottles
  • Look behind you and keep the bike in a straight line
  • U-turns – left, right
  • Figure 8’s
  • Standing up
After our drill session, it was time to take the bike riding to real conditions. We all rode 5 miles down the road to a safe and quiet location with a steep hill to practice climbing and descending. 

Here are some pictures from our bike skills session:

















And what camp would be complete without a pic with Mr. Llama!


Day 2: For our second day of camp, we all met at Hotel Domestique for a 2.5 hour ride followed by a 20-minute run.

Karel first discussed a few terrain management tips for riding on the hills as well as why we want to learn how to stretch our available cadence to help ride more efficiently (rather than shifting to the smallest gear to "save your legs"). To apply this information, Karel gave the group a main set that we could ride with our campers to help with some one on one work.
We all rode together to the base of the Watershed and performed the main set on the watershed (up for each interval and then down for recovery)

MS 3x's:
9 minutes Z2 as 3 minutes 75rpm, 3 minutes 65 rpm, 3 minutes 55 rpm.
Then ride back down for recovery
6 minutes Z2/3 as 55-65rpm
Then ride back down for recovery
4 minutes Z3 as 45-55rpm

After the ride, we all rode back to the hotel for a quick transition to the run. We had our campers run a 20-minute hilly run to show them that even though they did a lot of mechanical work on the bike, they saved their cardio system for the run. Everyone did amazingly well and gave 100% for the entire 3 hour brick. 








Day 2 nutrition/training talk: 
After a few hours of recovery, we all met downtown Greenville for a 2-hour Q&A talk at Falls Park before dinner at Trio Brick Oven. This was a great opportunity for our campers to ask us questions and to talk about the application of sport nutrition for triathletes. Our campers asked great questions!


Day 3: Transition work
It's very common that triathletes put a lot of time into training but neglect the importance of having a plan and practicing the plan for a quick, effective and smooth transition. Because transitions can cause a lot of anxiety, stress and time, we want to practice transitions and to think of them as "free" time in your overall triathlon time. In other words, you don't have to be fit and trained to have a quick transition.

We gave our campers a few transition tips and then for their final workout, they had several opportunities to practice transitions.

We started with a run around a cement track, followed by transitioning to the bike. We set up a little course which included a mount line, a 2 mile bike course (with a descend and hill on this bike loop) and a run course that led to the track. Our campers had to set up their gear similar to a race and we even had a transition rack for them to practice their entire transition.

Our campers did a total of 8 transitions (run, bike, run, bike, run, bike, run, bike, run). Of course, knowing that transitions are never smooth, we made sure that "stuff" happened to our campers in transition - like another cyclist getting in your way on the mount line or your helmet getting knocked off your bike and one of your  shoes moving to another athlete's transition area. We made sure to think of all transition scenarios so that our campers could practice, practice, practice to build confidence for race day. 

What a successful camp! We could not be more proud of our campers who invested a lot to improve swim/bike/run skills. We overloaded their heads with information and they had a lot of one on one help. We have no doubt that our campers built a lot of confidence from camp and will feel more prepared for upcoming training and racing. 






And to finish off camp - awards for all of the campers!


What an inspiring group of athletes! Best of luck this season! 

We would also like to give a big thank you to the Trimarni sponsors and affiliates who continue to support the Trimarni team and camps:

-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