How to find the right "expert"

Getting and giving advice over the internet is so incredibly easy. Some people think they have an answer to everything. The problem with giving advice is that you aren't responsible for what happens next. For example, what if your nutrition advice negatively affects the health of someone? What if your training advice gets someone injured or sick? There are a lot of self-proclaimed experts who give bad advice because they don't take into consideration you as a whole person. You can't expect quality advice from someone without giving an expert all the current facts and your past history.  More so, just because one expert experienced success in weight loss, diet, health, athletics or career, this doesn't mean that what worked for him/her will work for you. Also, information can be heavily skewed to fit an agenda, such as selling a service or product or boosting popularity. There will always be a research study and success story to support any kind of agenda. With so many experts out there, here are some ways to help you select the right expert for your needs. Remember - don't believe everything you hear. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

1. You believe in his/her philosophy. When you have insight on how an expert approaches situations and how he/she helps others, you will gain trust in this individual as you have similar views and understand his/her methodologies. 

2. Your expert has credentials, competence, experience and a good reputation. 

3. You feel safe and not judged by your expert and you feel like you are treated like an individual. 

4. Your expert has a specialty area or is an expert in a specific field, based on experience and formal education.

5. Your expert is actively involved in learning with continuing education.

6. Your expert has patience for you and does not rush your journey. She/he doesn't have a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all method. Despite having knowledge, education and being extremely popular, experts are not magicians. Most issues or problems require ongoing support, accountability and assistance.

7. Your expert gives you his/her full attention, provides a supportive and positive environment and does not ignore or dismiss your questions or concerns. Your expert values a team approach when working together.

8. Your expert challenges you and wants you to step outside your comfort zone. She/he doesn't tell you exactly what you want to hear or give you false promises.

9. Your expert maintains your confidentiality.

10. Your expert doesn't change his/her approach based on what is "in" or trendy. While it's important for your expert to keep an open-mind to new research, trends and strategies, it's not necessary for your expert to change his/her beliefs every time a new fad becomes heavily popular. 

As you search for the best expert(s) to help you with your personal needs, keep in mind that the same expert may not work for everyone. Figure out exactly what you need and are looking for in an expert - keeping in mind that not every problem has a clear, simple or easy answer. 


Spectathleting Ironman 70.3 Chatty

It was a very quick and last-minute decision to drive 4.5 hours to spectate Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga but it was well worth it. With nine Trimarni team members racing (6 age groupers, 1 pro, 2 educational team members), we couldn't pass up this opportunity to see our athletes in action. Plus, we know the Chatty area really well after being there for Ironman 70.3 Worlds and Ironman Chattanooga last year so it was an overall stress free, quick and fun weekend. 

Although the weather was iffy for the weekend, it turned out to be absolutely perfect. It was hot and sunny instead of stormy which I'm sure delighted the minds of the athletes who were racing this weekend as it can be mentally exhausting to have to worry about the chance of storms and the possibility of a cancelled swim or race. The weather forecast looked to be worse for our athletes racing the Greenville Mountains to Mainstreet half ironman on Sat but thankfully the weather gods were in our favor.

We left Greenville on Friday late morning. Because our weekend was dedicated to our athletes, we strategically used the weekend as "recovery" from our training instead of trying to pile in longer Ironman workouts in a different training environment, without being able to focus well on recovery and nutrition. Therefore, we did our "longer" workouts on Thurs and Friday morning - although, neither was too long by most Ironman triathletes standards but we have been focusing more on quality and intensity over volume lately to help us fine-tune our fitness for our upcoming races.

After we checked into our hotel around 4pm, we quickly unpacked the car and drove to the expo to meet up with our friend Rachel at Ventum. It was nice to also see some other familiar faces at the expo. We had all the excitement of racing but without the nerves :)
We are so excited about our recent Ventum + Trimarni partnership and to have the opportunity to support and ride Ventum. I'm excited to say that I'll be riding a Ventum one at Ironman Wisconsin as my new bike will arrive later this summer (after we return home from our Europe race-cations). I only say all of this after I had the opportunity to test out the Ventum bike. Since we were in Chattanooga and there was a size 46 demo bike available, Rachel (aka director of happiness) let me borrow the bike overnight (how cool and awesome is that?!?) for Karel to do a quick fit/adjustment for me to test-ride the bike on Saturday morning. I was super excited to try out a new bike brand (with a radical design) as I have been riding Trek for about eight years and I have head nothing but great things from Karel since he got his Ventum a few months ago.

Since we brought a cooler full of food, we didn't have to rely on eating out or searching for food but we did pick up dinner at Whole Foods (on the other side of the river) to give us a nice meal to eat in the hotel room before calling it a night. After two extremely tough days of training, we really needed to make sure we stayed up on our nutrition and hydration, especially with being a bit off of our normal routine in Chattanooga. In the evening, I worked on the computer for a little bit as Karel watched the Giro (or Tour of California - not sure as he is in cycling heaven right now with so much to cycling to watch!) and then we went to sleep around ten. Campy loves road trips and he was so happy to be with us this weekend. With so much travel for us this summer, it was nice to have Campy with us as he makes everything more entertaining with him around.

We woke up rather early to get out on the bikes before the expo started so that we could return back the demo Ventum. With our athlete Josh staying in a hotel across the street from us, he joined us for the ride at 7:30 so that he could do some of his warm-up with us before we carried on with our ride. Karel had his road bike as this Sat ride was all about me getting to test out the Ventum. We were so thankful to Josh's wife Eedee for babysitting Campy at her hotel while we were out spinning our legs. Campy is one spoiled pooch.

After a quick 45 minute spin on the race course, Josh left us to head back to his hotel and Karel and I carried on with our ride up Lookout mountain. It was important for me to test the bike in all types of terrain and my biggest concerns were how the bike rides on bumpy roads, climbing and most of all descending. Because me and the wind tend to not get along really well, I was anxious to hear if the Ventum would help me feel more in control of the bike when riding in the wind (especially descending). Although there wasn't much wind if at all, it was still good to climb and descend on the Ventum. My immediate feedback was that this bike feels just like a road bike - it's extremely easy to control, smooth and responsive. I felt in control while descending and it's very comfortable in aero. If you know me, I don't like change but I was loving this bike so much that I didn't want to get off it!

After about 1:30 of riding, we rode to the expo to meet up with a few of our athletes so Karel could help with some bike mechanical needs of our athletes and so I could say hi to others. I went back to the hotel after almost 2 hours of riding the Ventum and didn't want to stop riding it.

After getting Campy, cleaning up and eating, we headed back to the Expo to return the Ventum and finish off our morning helping our athletes out however needed. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel room working, watching cycling, eating and taking a short nap (phew, exhausted!) before heading out for dinner with Eedee in downtown Chattanooga at Bluewater. Dinner was so good and it totally hit the spot to have something filling, fatty and salty.

On Sunday morning, we stayed at our hotel instead of heading to the swim start so that we could see all of our athletes (and  the pros) start the bike (around mile 2). We were in the perfect spot to give some cheers to everyone. It was so great to see our professional triathlete Ericka in action as she put together a very strong race and was in the mix throughout the entire race, from start to finish. We are so proud of her. Our other athletes, Josh, Reid, Diane, Michaela, Pat and Andy did amazing, as did our educational team member Gin. Another team member Josh had a mechanical which took him out of the race on the bike but he was in good spirits which is important as that's part of racing. Everyone was smiling and looked in control throughout the entire run.

We headed down to the race venue before the male pros got off the bike, just in time to see Starky finish the bike and start the run. It was very inspiring to see the pros in action and we were able to give a big cheer for a few of our favs out there on the course, especially our athlete Ericka who was rocking this race and ended up 11th pro female.

The Chatty run course is perfect for spectating so we headed up the hill to backside of the course (before the bridge over the river) to see our athletes on both sides of the course. It was the perfect location to cheer for everyone. Campy was a trooper although he spent more time in my arms than on the ground as his 10.5 year old body doesn't move as fast for as long as it use to. Regardless, he had fun out there and gave a lot of barks/cheers. 

We watched most of our athletes finished but we needed to hit the road by 2pm in order to get back to Greenville before a busy Monday for us (nutrition consults and Retul fits). Thankfully, we saw everyone out on the course and it's always a relief to know that your athletes are off the bike. It was exhausting to spectate but well worth it as it was so awesome to see so many familiar faces and to be there for our athletes. Next up, Karel will be racing Raleigh (I will be staying at home with Campy so Karel is making the trip solo).

A few pics from the weekend....


A thank you to....

Instead of calling the following companies "sponsors," I feel more comfortable talking about these amazing companies as our supporters and affiliates. We believe in aligning ourselves with companies who have quality products or services to help our athletes reach their personal health and fitness goals. If you have any questions about the following, just send us an email.

2018 Trimarni Supporters and Affiliates

We would like to send a BIG thank you to our Trimarni sponsors and affiliates for supporting the Trimarni team:
  • Run In - for helping us with our running gear/shoe needs
  • Mg12 - for helping our muscles stay relaxed
  • Clif Bar - for quality, organic ingredients in quality sport nutrition
  • Carborocket - for providing a quality bike and run nutrition in tasty flavors
  • Base nutrition - for making delicious bars and a variety of products to meet the needs of endurance athletes. And for being all around awesome. 
  • Veronica's Health Crunch - for the most delicious hand made crunch - ever!
  • Infinit - for customizable sport nutrition with safe and effective ingredients
  • Levelen - for helping athletes optimize our hydration needs through sweat testing
  • Hot Shot - for boosting neuromuscular performance and preventing muscle cramps
  • Solestar - for maximum stability, better power transmission
  • KLEAN for making quality products, tested to be clean and safe for athlete consumption.
  • Boco Gear - for helping us race in style
  • Canari - for the most comfortable, functional and stylish gear and for helping our athletes race in good-looking kits
  • Amrita bars - for making the most delicious tasting, high-quality plant-based protein and energy bars. 
  • Xterra - for the fastest, most comfortable wetsuit ever.
  • Alto cycling - for engineering the fastest race wheels
  • Swamp Rabbit Inn and Lodge - for keeping our campers happy with perfect lodging options
  • Ventum - for designing a cool-looking bike that has been backed by research and top-notch engineering. And for supporting athletes whenever needed at races. 
  • Salem Anesthesia - for your Trimarni support


Ironman-ish swim workout

The pool is my happy place. I don't always feel great in the water but I am always happy to be in the water. Lately, my swimming has felt strong and speedy. Sometimes I find myself in a swimming slump and I just feel horrible in the water for weeks at a time. I typically swim 4-5 times per week - 4 days during the week and typically once on the weekend on Sunday late afternoon. When I am feeling good, I treasure those swims and the workouts that I get to do when I am feeling ON.

Yesterday was one of those days. I had a great swim workout and despite feeling a bit tired near the end (with heavy arms), I was focused the entire time, enjoyed the entire set and managed to do a great job executing the workout. Again, this doesn't always happen so when I feel good, I make sure to take note of these workouts and put them in my memory bank to refer back to come race day (just in case any doubts pop into my head - which they usually do as it's normal to have those pre-race worries and what ifs).

Here's the swim workout from Tues morning:

500 EZ swim (last 50 backstroke)
200 kick with fins (on my back alternating free/fly by 50)

Pre-set: 2x's:
2 x 25s max w/ paddles
50 EZ
50 max w/ paddles
2 x 25's EZ
(rest 10 sec)
This is a great set, above, to do on race week to get the engine going) 

Main set
8 x 200's w/ 30 sec rest
8 x 100's w/ 20 sec rest
8 x 50's w/ 10 sec rest

All as: 
2 x 70%
2 x 80%
2 x 90%
2 x very strong

Cool down:
100 w/ buoy
50 breastroke/backstroke

The key to this set is to focus on execution which means not going out too hard and to be able to keep good rhythm and form even when tired as the set progresses. It's also important to stick to the rest breaks. I didn't take any extra rest between each part of the main set. I sipped on 1 scoop EFS during in 20 ounce water during the swi (finished the entire bottle during my swim)

Here's the data from my swim (I usually don't swim with a watch but I wanted to capture my splits from this workout):
4100 yards (57:41 swim time, 1:10 total time in the pool)
8 x 200's as:

8 x 100's as:

8 x 50's as (as you can see, I don't get much faster the shorter the distance :)


Now is not the time to diet

Nearing the 2-3 months out from a key race, many athletes start paying close attention to any limiters that could potentially sabotage race day performance. Weight is typically one of those "potential" limiters that comes to the front of the mind for my athletes.

Although weight can play a positive or negative role in performance, it's not the only way to improve or destroy performance. Sadly, when athletes start looking at performance and how to get faster, stronger or go longer, weight becomes the only focus.

It's not uncommon for the athlete who wants to achieve a specific body composition to look for strategies and behaviors that are extreme in order to make for quick changes. Because most people won't keep up with new habits if they don't result in quick changes or feedback, many of the strategies that athletes take to change body composition adversely affect health. Fasted training, restricting fluids and calories during prolonged sessions, not focusing on good recovery, eliminating food groups, drastically cutting out calories and not having an all around good relationship with food can cause a host of issues, such as : hormonal disturbances, slow tissue growth/repair, slow energy metabolism, declining energy and excessive fatigue, bone issues, endocrine issues, altered pyschological and physiological functioning and a decline in performance. The athlete who feels the need to make extreme changes in the diet is typically the athlete who will experience the greatest risk to health and performance down the road, if not immediately. In other words, a strong desire to get leaner for performance actually destroys performance, instead of helping it.  

Keeping in mind that even short periods of intentional or unintentional food restriction, food group elimination or poor sport nutrition fueling can negatively affect how you train, compete and recover. Poor exercise performance and an increase in injuries and burnout is common in the underfueled and undernourished athlete. 

Let a change in body composition be a direct and non-forced result of good nutrition habits and behaviors. By doing a great job of meeting your daily energy needs, focusing on nutrient timing, using sport nutrition properly and not neglecting your health, you'll find yourself with a body composition that you can be proud of because it's the body that is fueled, fit, strong and healthy and ready to perform. 

A healthy body performs amazingly well. Instead of making strict changes in the diet in order to change your body image, focus on fueling and nourishing your amazing body.

I never said you can't lose weight or change body composition to boost your performance. But now is not the time to diet (nor is it ever OK to make an extreme change to your diet that isn't sustainable). If your strategies for weight loss or body composition change are counterproductive to your initial goals of being faster, more resilient, healthier, stronger and more powerful or you are unable to meet the athletic demands of your sport with your new lean and toned body, your dietary approaches are not productive. 


The Ironman hat is ON!

It would be wrong to say that we are just now starting our Ironman-specific training for Ironman Austria as we don't like to break down the season from race to race. However, now that our two half Ironman events are behind us this season and next up is Ironman Austria, it's only appropriate that now is the time to put on the Ironman hat and put the mental energy into the next 7 weeks of training. While the training volume is going to increase slightly, it won't be anything drastic or extreme, relative to what we have already been doing over the past few months.

This weekend was a long ride of 5 hours followed by a 20 minute run. The ride was beautiful as we rode to Keowee and then back home with a big loop that included over 5000 feet of climbing (we actually picked this route because it was a more "mellow" route with not a lot of climbing. Funny how the elevation just adds up where we live! The last time I rode this long was in Ironman Chattanooga in September so it's been a while since I've spent this much time in the saddle but it wasn't too much of a stretch from our normal 3.5-4 hour rides that we have been doing over the winter/spring. Because we are still recovering from the eccentric muscle damage of St. George (downhill running), the training volume and intensity of running has been very low this week. My "long" run on Sunday was only an hour and it was one of those make-me-feel good types of runs.

With the race season in full swing, the excitement for training and racing is high. Warm weather makes it easy to start the workouts that you once dreaded and you may be tempted to go harder than you should, especially if you are training with others. Every workout may become a race-prep strategy and you may neglect proper fueling and hydration with the warmer temps. I find that many athletes get into trouble around this time of the season as bad habits from the winter/spring begin to become more noticeable or the excitement of racing takes over and there's little ability to make good decisions in the moment. I feel it's important to remind you that all the small things that you do - mobility, fueling, daily eating, good sleep, proper hydration, good recovery, etc. - are essential to keep you healthy and well all season long. 

If you are like us and have your racing "hat" on, don't forget all the good things that you have been doing all winter long to get you to where you are right now or else you may find yourself injured, overtrained or sick. 


Ironman 70.3 St. George - race report

Running to the finish line in a long distance triathlon race is an amazing feeling. As I ran my way to the finishing chute at Ironman St. George, I couldn't help but thank my body for being so resilient. While I don't feel "fast" right now, I have been able to set a course personal best in my last two half Ironman races. So although I am getting faster, I contribute this to being great at not slowing down. With my focus now shifting to Ironman racing (with Ironman Austria and Ironman Wisconsin on the schedule), I feel I am in a good place with my endurance so the goal isn't necessarily to get better at going longer but to continue to trust the process because whatever I am doing, I think it's working! 
Pre race: 
So many to-do's on the day before a half Ironman. After a good night of sleep and a little work on the computer in the am, II had a quick snack of 2 waffles, PB, raisins, granola, egg and syrup (similar to race day) and then laid out all my gear for the race. Around 8am, I left the house for my pre-race warm-up which was around 75 minutes on the race course (mostly the run course) followed by a 15 min run. My pre-race warm-up is never the same as I always go by feel and do what I need to do to feel race ready. After my warm-up, it was time to eat. I had a glass of milk before showing and then I yummed over homemade cinnamon rolls (2 of them - made my Michela) and some scrambled eggs. Yummo! I also had some fruit (banana, strawberries, tangerine).

With bike check-in lasting until 5pm, we were in no rush to drop off our gear. I spent the next few hours working on the computer which was good as I could take my mind off race and not overthinking anything. I stayed hydrated throughout the day and ate every few hours (mostly carbs with a little protein). I never felt too full, bloated or stuffed which was a good feeling going into the race.

Around 2pm, I packed up my transition bags and Karel and I headed off to T1 (Sand Hollow State Park) to drop off our bikes and gear. The gear bags were optional (cycling shoes and helmet) but we decided to drop them off with our bikes so we had one less thing to carry with us on race day morning. We scoped out the transition area and the swim course as all the buoys were set up.
Since we had already driven some of the course (after our practice swim on Thurs), we took the quickest way to downtown St. George to drop off our run gear bags in T2. Although two transitions make things a little more time consuming on the day before a race, it does feel good to drop things off, similar to an Ironman. Since Karel and I (and our athletes) all use some type of hydration system on the run, we still needed to access our run gear bags on race morning to drop off our flasks for our hydration belts.

Nearing 4:30pm, it was time to head back to the house to eat, rest and sleep.
For dinner, I had rice and potatoes and cottage cheese with a very small salad and Karel had chicken with rice. It was nice to have some many Trimarnis in our house as we could all socialize in the evening - reducing some of the pre-race nerves and jitters. By 7:30pm, I was getting tired and with a super duper early wake-up call, I managed to fall asleep around 8:30pm. While I felt I slept great for a few hours, I woke up sometime in the middle of the night but refused to look at the clock because I didn't want to get frustrated if I saw a time that was close to our 3:40am. I tossed and turned a little but eventually, I think I went back to bed to get a few more hours of sleep.

Race day
With our early wake-up call, I was a bit tired and slow moving. After my fainting incident at Ironman 70.3 World, I have become very mindful and attentive to how I feel and move on race day morning so I made sure to get up very slowly. Anytime I start to feel a little lightheaded (which now seems to only happen on race day morning) I just make sure to walk slowly to a place to sit or lie down until it goes away. Thankfully, no major issues that I couldn't resolve with a quick sit as I was waiting for my coffee to heat up. I had my typical pre-race/training snack of 2 waffles, PB, banana, lots of maple syrup and an egg (I swapped my normal yogurt for an egg this race) and one small cup of coffee. I also had 1 scoop Osmo pre-load in a cup of water. After I ate, I headed outside for a quick 5-8 minutes jog to get the digestive system flowing. I spotted Karel out doing the same thing. Nearing 4:40am, it was time to pack everything up and head toward T1 to park, drop off our run flasks and set up transition and board the shuttles.

After setting up my run transition area, we boarded the bus to head to T1. The ride was uneventful although it felt like it took forever to get there. Karel listened to his music and I listened to all the chatter from the athletes on the bus. I sipped in 1 throw away plastic bottle of 2 scoops Osmo hydration throughout the morning up until the race.

After we arrived, Karel pumped up my tires and I set up my bike transition area followed by placing my 3 sport nutrition bottles in my bike flasks. I put my computer on my bike and I was done. I still had a good hour before the race start but it felt good to not be rushed.

Because this race does not have a water start (which is very unfortunate considering the cold water), we resorted to dry land warming up with lots of jogging around the parking lot. I must have spent a good 20-25 minutes of stop and go jogging with some resting/stretching/talking in between. It was great to see so many of our athletes and familiar faces.

With the water temperature being 65 degrees, I debated about not wearing booties as I have never worn them in a race before. But Karel and I loved how they made our feet feel in our practice swim so we decided to wear them for the race (since they are allowed in 65 degree water or cooler).

I started to get excited and I felt ready to get things going. Nearing 6:40am, I poured some water down my wetsuit to adjust it and keep it from "sucking" to my chest and headed to the corrals to line up for the swim. To avoid starting out too fast with the cold water and to allow more riders on the course before I got there, I strategically stood in the 30-33 wave instead of being with a faster group. Karel lined up next to me.

They started us every 3 seconds (in rows of 3) and Karel started right in front of me.As soon as he went off, it was my turn to go. As soon as I stepped into the water, I was so glad that I had my booties on as it was a nice to not feel as if my ankles were being chopped off due to the cold water. 

1.2 mile wim
29:00 - Marni
29:30 - Karel 
The good -
I feel I swam super strong. I managed to see Karel for the first part of the swim but then I lost him in the craziness of having to swim through so many people. It was a little choppy so I tried to time my stroke rhythm with the chop. I was breathing every stroke and swapped sides for breathing every so often. Despite the sun, I was able to sight really well to stay on course. As I was swimming, I felt fast in the water and I kept thinking I would swim 28 minutes for the first time in my triathlon career. Wishful thinking - so close.

Lessons learned - I didn't have any issues in the swim but Karel felt a little tightness in his chest at one point which prevented him from picking up his effort. He stayed smart throughout the swim and still put together his best every open water half Ironman swim time. I feel like I only have one speed in the water and even though I can pick up toward the end, I wonder if I am swimming Ironman effort for 1.2 miles.

2:30 - Marni
1:58 - Karel
The good - I felt like I had a quick transition until I saw Karel run past me (wahoo - I beat him in the swim) and then saw him quickly head out.

Lessons learned - I quickly wiped off my arms and legs as I was worried about being cold to start the ride. Not sure if that costed me a few seconds and if it was even worth it.

56 mile bike
2:38.20 - Marni
2:31.14 - Karel
The good - I was really proud of how I executed the bike. I managed my effort for the first 8 miles or so to really let my legs warm up. I did feel a little cold to start the bike but after the first climb, I felt much more comfortable. I got passed by two ladies in the first 10 miles of the bike but that was it for ladies passing throughout the 56 mile ride (I had the 20th fastest bike including the pros, I think 8th fastest female amateur). I didn't let it get to me when I was passed as I was focusing on my race and trying to put together the best race that I could from start to finish. I enjoyed passing lots of guys on the bike, especially on the climbs. I felt really strong throughout the entire bike, nutrition went perfectly and I had a lot of fun. The miles went by fast and the weather was perfect. Although a tough course, if you are a good climber, you get plenty of "recovery" for every climb.

Lessons learned- Karel did not have a good bike. He's been very frustrated with his biking and he isn't sure why his body is struggling on the bike. He is still running and swimming well but he is going to change up his bike training to see if he can bring back some speed into his legs. While he feels great on his bike (ex. no back issues like in the past), he just feels flat when he races. I felt a little warm near the top of Snow Canyon - I used water from 2 of the 3 aid stations to cool off so not sure I would have done anything differently. Although I used my climbing strength the best I could throughout the race, I felt I lost time on the downhills. I rode confident and skillfully but I don't think there's enough of my 5-foot body to give me much more of an advantage going down steep descends. 

2:49 - Marni
2:30 - Karel 
The good - I remember last year being really tired after the bike when I entered the transition area. We had much less wind this year compared to last year but I also think I executed the bike and fueled/hydrated better.

Lessons learned - I spent too much time at my rack putting on all my gear. I should have walked out and put things on as I was walking to save some time. Every second counts!
13.1 mile run
1:40.50 - Marni
1:25.61 - Karel
The good - The first few steps out of transition felt good. Not great but far from bad. This was my first wearing the Nike vapor fly 4% in a race (same with Karel) as we have only put about 4 miles in them to keep them responsive and fresh. They felt amazing to run in and I felt so springy and light running off the bike. That feeling alone changed my mindset immediately as I was really enjoy the run from the first step. I was able to break down this course into sections which helps my mind when I run so I don't feel into any ruts. After the first few miles uphill, I found a good rhythm and couldn't believe how "fast" I was running. Last year I was disappointed in my 1:49 run as I stopped too much at the aid stations and just felt heavy and tired throughout the entire run. I felt in control and strong throughout the entire run which was a great feeling. I used only water and ice from the aid stations and made sure to hold ice in my hands between each aid station to keep myself cool - it worked wonders. Thanks to my hydration belt, I could drink whenever I wanted to and I tried to strategically drink on the downhills when breathing was more controlled. I loved seeing more and more Trimarnis out on the course as the miles went by for me. Karel had an amazing run that he felt made up for his sub-par bike. With Haines City not being a good run for Karel, he was wondering if his "fast" running days were overwith. It's a nice surprise when you can prove yourself wrong. Karel only took water from the aid stations (he said he didn't use much ice as he didn't feel too warm) and relied on his flasks from his Naked Running belt (which he loves because it doesn't bounce when he runs fast).

Lessons learned - I feel like I could have broken 1:40. I was looking at my watch several times as I felt in control over my form and it wasn't negatively affecting my race to see my pace. If anything I think it was encouragement as I was shocked to see the paces I was running. I am not sure if I would have done anything differently for if I had tried to run harder earlier in the race, I may not have felt so strong in the last few miles where I was able to pick up some good speed down the hills and to the finish line. I also didn't see Karel the entire run! I was bummed about that. Because of all the downhill running in the last 3 miles, my feet were starting to get a little tired so I think I need to make sure I do more feet strengthening exercises.

The finish - 70.3 miles
4:53.27 - Marni, 2nd AG (I was given 3rd place as I tied with 2nd)
4:30.26 - Karel (3rd AG)

The good - Oh that finish line feeling. I tried to run as hard as I could to the finish line. I wasn't sure what I was chasing but I knew this was going to be a big improvement from last year (5:04). Karel also had a course PR of 2 minutes. I was really proud of myself for the race that I put together and I couldn't wait to get back on the course to cheer for the rest of our athletes. After not recovering so well in the 24 hours post Haines City 4 weeks ago, Karel and I made sure to focus on our hydration and refueling as soon as possible after the race (we neglected to do so in Haines City with over 30 of our athletes on the course). This time I had Osmo pre load right after the race to replenish electrolytes and fluids (I had it in a bag for post race) and then I ate fruit, chips and 2 slices of pizza within 30 min post race. Karel had a chicken and rice dish from the food tent, along with a Mexican coke that he brought for post race.

Lessons learned - In looking back at the race, I don't think I would have done anything differently. My equipment was great, my nutrition went well, my mind was in a good place and physically I felt great all day. I made a huge improvement from last year on this course, I felt strong all day and I had fun racing. I smiled all day and felt like my body worked really well with my body - a great feeling that doesn't always happen in endurance racing.

As always, thanks for the support and for following us along in our adventurous and extreme hobby. Next up.....my favorite race venue ever.....Ironman Austria on July 1st! 


Ironman 70.3 St. George - race day gear and nutrition


Pre race: 
Kit - Canari Trimarni two piece tri kit
Calf sleeves: Compress sport
Warm-up shoes: NB 1500
Body glide: Pjuractive 2skin
Nutrition meal/drink: 2 waffles, syrup, PB, hardboiled egg with salt, granola. Osmo pre-load (1 scoop), 1/2 scoop Klean BCAAs, 1 small cup coffee. Throw away plastic water bottle for pre-race warm-up with 2 scoops Osmo. 

Goggles: 2.0 special ops femme transition clear 
Wetsuit: Xterra Vengeance w/ Xterra LAVA booties
Gadget: no watch

Bike: Trek Speed Concept w/ dura ace Di2, Cobb 160 mm crank
Wheels: Alto CC 86/56
Helmet:  Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet with shield
Tires: Specialized Sworks tires 24mm
Other stuff: Ceramic speed oversized pulleys, Garmin vector pedals, ISM PN 1.0 saddle
Shoes: Bontrager Hilo
Socks: Balega ultra light no show
Gadget: Garmin 810
Fuel: Infinit Trimarni custom formula (2 bottles - Fruit Punch and Grape, 2 scoops each bottle), Carbo Rocket Black Cherry Half Evil 333 (1 bottle, 2 heaping scoops). Total calories on bike = 750. 

Shoes: Nike Zoom Vapor Fly 4%
Hat/visor: Boco Gear Trimarni trucker hat
Socks: Balega ultra light no show
Hydration belt: Nathan Trail Mix Plus 2
Fuel: Carbo Rocket Hydration (1 heaping scoop raspberry lemonade in flaskk), Osmo women active hydration (3 scoops in flask). Total calories during run = 210. Additional water and ice from aid stations.
Sunglasses: Oakley Flak 2.0
Gadget: Garmin 920


Pre race:
Kit - 2 piece Canari Trimarni kit
Calf sleeves: CEP ultra light socks
Warm-up shoes: Nike Zoom Fly
Body glide/Sunscreen: Chamois cream, EMJ Sunscreen
Nutrition meal/drink: 1 packet protein Oatmeal w/ walnuts, Osmo pre-load (1 scoop), Coffee. Espresso. 1/2 nut filled Clif bar at lake. 1 Hot shot before the swim.

Goggles: MP Xceed, mirrored
Wetsuit: Xterra Vengeance w/ Xterra LAVA booties
Gadget: Garmin 735

Bike: Ventum one with dura ace Di2 w/ 165 crank
Wheels: Alto CT 86 wheelset
HelmetGiro's Aerohead MIPS Helmet w/ shield
Tires: Specialized turbo all round tubular tires
Other: Ceramic speed oversized pulleys, Garmin vector pedals, Dash custom saddle,
Shoes: Bontrager Hilo
Socks: None
Gadget: Garmin 810
Fuel: 1 bottle w/ 1 1/2 scoops INFINIT, hydration system filled with 2 bottles INFINIT (each with 1 1/2 scoops). 1 Enervitine Cheerpack. 1 Hot Shot. Total calories = 875. 

Shoes: Nike Zoom Vapor Fly 4%
Hat/visor: Boco Gear Trimarni trucker hat
Socks: Balega
Hydration belt: Naked Sports Innovations w/ 2 x 8 ounce flasks + 1 x 6 ounce flask
Fuel:  1 flask with less than 1 scoop Carbo Rocket Kiwi Lime, 1 flask with Precision Hydration 1000) + small flask with 2 packets Enervitine competition cheer pack w/ caffeine (only finished 1). Total calories: 370. Additional water from aid stations. 
Sunglasses: Oakley radar EV
Gadget: Garmin 735


Ironman 70.3 St. George - quick recap

Ironman St. George was once again memorable and jaw-dropping. You've probably seen countless pictures of the scenery floating around social media but the views are even more amazing in person - and that's one of the many reasons that makes this race so special. The Ironman staff puts on an incredible race - the course is well marked, easy to navigate and many sections of road are completely closed off from traffic. The community really supports this race and the volunteers are fantastic. I can't say enough good things about this race. Even the finish line area is fantastic - perfect for kids with the splash park and other activities. While a bucket-list race for many, it's certainly a challenging course that requires a lot of physical and mental strength. 

Sharing the race course with eleven of our Trimarni athletes was so much fun - especially since most of us stayed in the same house together. We shared laughs, food and stories leading up to the race and of course, the fun race stories post race.

There's something about a challenging course that makes you feel very accomplished - regardless of the outcome. St. George 70.3 provided us athletes with the opportunity to explore our mental toughness while testing our physical abilities, which makes the finish line feel oh-so-rewarding.

Without a doubt, St. George 70.3 is a very tough course from start to finish. The swim is cold and a little choppy. The bike is hilly but with long steady climbs followed by long descends. The wind is always unpredictable and the temperature can get rather warm. The run is extra hilly with long climbs and donwhills with no flat sections - its either up or down. But with all the toughness comes the satisfaction of completion and a feeling of confidence and self-belief.

Since this was our second time competing at St. George 70.3, we came into the race with a better understanding and appreciation of the difficulty of this beautiful course. I'm very pleased with my performance as I was racing against several very fast and tough ladies which brought the best out of me. I was more willing to take risks at this race compared to last year but I felt like I stayed in control all day and my body responded well at all times. I had a personal best on this course by 11-minute compared to last year by improving all three disciplines - swim, bike and run. I felt strong on the course all day with no low moments and I enjoyed racing for myself - determined to do better than last year to showcase my continued improvements in the sport. Karel was disappointed in his bike performance but thrilled with his swim and run. He had a two minute improvement compared to last year and we both ran much faster than last year (Karel ran 5 minutes faster and I ran 9 minutes faster). Challenging courses are difficult because you can't chase a time or outcome but you have to stay in the moment and be proactive and present throughout the entire race.

More details to come but for now, here are the final results:

1.2 mile swim - 29:00
T1 - 2:30
56 mile bike - 2:38.20
T2 - 2:49
13.1 mile run - 1:40.50
Total: 4:53.27
2nd/3rd AG 35-39 (I tied for 2nd but they gave me third place)
1.2 mile swim - 29:30
T1 - 1:58
56 mile bike - 2:31.14
T2 - 2:30
13.1 mile run- 1:25.61
Total: 4:30.26
3rd AG 40-44

Also congrats to our athletes who embraced the challenges and finished strong! It was so much fun to share the course with so many Trimarnis!


St. George Day 1

We completely forgot how beautiful this place is. It didn't take long on our late morning ride to remind us how magical the red rocks are in St. George.

After a solid night of 9-hours of sleep, we woke up around 5:30am mountain time. We got a little work done on the computer while drinking a delicious cup (or 3 for Karel) of espresso - thanks to Karel's travel Wacaco Nanopresso and then around 7:30am, enjoyed a selection of hotel breakfast foods. Originally we were not going to check into our rental home until noon but the owner texted me that it was ok to go to the house anytime. Our rental home is absolutely beautiful (and huge) but the best part is that we are surrounded by farm animals. As I write this, I can hear the cows moooing behind me. We have donkey's in front of the house and goats just down the road. I am in farm heaven!


Instead of Karel assembling our bikes in a hotel room, we made our way to the rental home (around 5 miles from the race venue) around 8:30am. As Karel built our bikes, I went to the grocery store to stock up on food for our house...and with 14 of us in one house, I had a lot of groceries to buy!

Nearing 11am, Karel and I got on our bikes and heading one mile down the road to the race course to ride to Snow Canyon, up the 4.5 mile climb and then a fast descend back into town and then back to the rental home. In total, the ride was just a little less than 2 hours and around 34 miles. As we remembered, the views from the run course and in Snow Canyon were breathtaking.


After the ride, we went for a 15 minute run just to finish off a good longish session to remind the body whats to come on race day.

For the rest of the afternoon/evening, the rest of our house-mates/teammates started rolling in. It's always fun to share a race experience with others and staying within one roof makes for a fun race-cation, filled with no shortage of laughs.

I made dinner for the group, which included roasted sweet and white potatoes, a large salad, boiled eggs, tofu (for me and Thomas) and roasted veggies. We also had deli meat for the meat-eaters.
Nearing 9:30pm, it was time for bed. More fun to come on Thurs (today) as we will swim at the race venue and check in for the race, followed by our traditional team pizza party + course talk. 


Hello from St. George!!

Our travel day started super early with a 4am alarm. Campy was not too excited about his disrupted sleep, not to mention the fact that he figured out that he wasn't coming with us. I kept reminding him that "grandma" would be getting him later in the morning but he didn't appreciate the situation.

We arrived to the GSP airport around 5:15am and as usual, I dropped Karel off with the luggage + bike cases and I went to park the car in economy parking.

We typically fly Delta but I found a great deal on Southwest and with only $75 bike fees (per bike), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to fly Southwest. The check-in went smoothly and we were at our gate by 6am (I love our small airport).

Flight one was uneventful as Karel and I took a short nap and before we knew it, we were in Atlanta. With a two-hour layover, we had enough time to do some airport walking and get breakfast. I try to always get layovers at least 90 minutes when we travel with our bikes to give our bikes time to get to the next plane.

I ordered a delicious egg and cheese sandwich with fresh fruit (instead of hasbrowns - for $1 more) and Karel had a yummy egg dish with potatoes....and a tiny bite-sized croissants. Karel loves his croissants and he was extra disappointed in this measly ball of dough. I guess he will need to wait seven more weeks when we head off to Europe, for him to enjoy a real croissant. 

Flight #2 to Las Vegas was around 4 hours and once again, was uneventful. Karel purchased the internet for $8 so he could get some work done on Training Peaks and I spent the entire flight working on a big project that is taking up a big chunk of my life right now but it helped to pass the time on the flight. I brought some snacks for the plane - a PB&J sandwich, Amrita bars and minis and a bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit.

Although a super early wake-up call, it was nice to arrive to Las Vegas at around 11:15am PST. Karel waited for the bikes and luggage and I took the shuttle to get the rental car from Avis. We ended up with a Sante Fe Sport and unbelievably, all our stuff fit in the SUV!

Nearing 12:30pm when we finally got through Las Vegas traffic, we decided to stop for some food before our 2-hour drive to St. George. Karel spotted Chiptole so we enjoyed a sit-down lunch before continuing on with our travels. I yummed over a salad bowl with brown rice, black beans and tofu, topped with all the yummies and a few salty chips. 

During our drive, we listed to the Work, Play, Love podcast with Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman - I highly recommend it!

With the one-hour time change to mountain as we went from Nevada to Arizona to Utah, we arrived to our hotel a little before 4pm. We had a little rain on and off but nothing that prevented us from seeing the amazing rocks surrounding us as we got closer to St. George. The last 30 minutes of the drive from Las Vegas to St. George has some incredible views! We are going to be spoiled for the rest of the week with these magical rocks!

After checking in to our hotel (Best Western) and unloading the car, we headed off to the Washington Community Center pool for a short 1800 splash to loosen out from a day of sitting. The pool cost was only $5 a person and well worth it for active recovery after traveling.

WU: 600 swim
Pre set with buoy:
200, 150, 100,50, 50, 100, 150, 200

2 x 25's fast, 50 EZ, 50 fast, 2 x 25's easy

For dinner after our swim, I ordered take-out from Twisted Noodle Cafe so that we could eat some delicious food but while relaxing in bed in our hotel room. Karel ordered the Asian bowl with chicken and I ordered the quinoa vegetable salad with tofu. Both were extra yummy! 

It was a packed day to travel from Greenville to St. George but we are so happy to be back in the area. I'm so excited because tomorrow morning we will get on our bikes and ride some of the bike course! Thanks for following along with our race-cation adventures! 


How to pack your bike in a Scicon bag

It doesn't matter what type of bike case you have (cardboard, hard or soft), there's always a risk of your bike getting damaged when flying. Any triathlete or cyclist understands the stress, anxiety and worry of handing your bike off to the TSA and whether or not it will arrive to your final destination when you do AND in the same condition as when you packed it.

In total, we will be flying with our bikes a total of five times this year. So far, we traveled to Arizona for a train-cation, now St. George and then we have a trip to Europe (Prague/Klagenfurt/Znojmo), Wisconsin and Hawaii. Thankfully, I am married to an expert bike mechanic who takes great care of our bikes, all year long. Since we have flown a lot with our bikes, we've learned a lot as to the best ways to keep your bike in good condition (with many "lessons learned" along the way).

To help you out for your next bike-flying adventure, Karel made a video demonstrating the process of how he packs our bikes in our Scicon travel bags, as well as some of his top tips and suggestions to keep your bike safe in route to your final destination.



Hello race week!

Picture taken on a ride in Greenville. I love stopping to say hi to farm animals. 

Seriously....it seemed like Jan-March lasted a year and now it's already May!!?!?! Time sure does fly! I can't believe we are about to race again. And in 8-weeks will be off in Europe at Ironman Austria for the 3rd time! Another block of training is behind us and I can't help but be thankful and grateful to my body for letting me show up to another race feeling strong, fit and healthy (and still loving the sport of triathlon). This will be our 2nd time racing Ironman 70.3 St. George and now that we know the course a bit better, I am excited to give it another try as last year I felt I raced too timid and didn't showcase my abilities. I feel stronger and more confident this time around and I can't wait to share the course with eleven of our Trimarni coaching athletes (and several of my nutrition athletes).

I always try to take time during my last "long" workout before a race week to reflect on the journey and to make note of what's going well. It's far too easy to address limiters and what could have, would have, should have been. Spending too much energy on negative thoughts simply removes energy that can be used for race day. In my reflection, I wanted to share three things that I am focusing on in my 2018 triathlon journey to help me reach my athletic goals while keeping my body in good health. You  may be surprised (or not) to hear where I am putting my energy this season (not unlike seasons in the past).
  1. Do things well - From sleep, nutrition and fueling to skills, form, mental skills and workout execution. I make an effort everyday to do things well. As an example, last week I had an intense brick workout with a hard trainer bike followed by a specific treadmill run with some race efforts. The first five minutes didn't feel good, which worried me since I usually feel rather good running off the bike. I gave it some time and started the workout but at ten minutes, what should have felt controlled and steady felt hard and difficult. I started to get some feedback from my body that form was falling apart and I immediately decided to stop my 30-minute brick run at around 9 minutes. This is just one example where it pays to do things well as one workout doesn't make or break a season. Consistency is key. By focusing on the little things and always showing up to workouts with the mindset of "do the best you can and do things really well" has been a motto that I take to every workout. I believe this mindset has helped me reduce risk for injury and sickness over the years.
  2. Be great at not slowing down - Like any athlete, I want to get faster. I've already accomplished "going long" many times as I have completed 12 Ironman distance triathlons and have two more on the schedule this summer. But in endurance triathlon, it pays to be great at not slowing down for the fastest performance by your body is the one that comes with delaying fatigue for as long as possible. It's not a fast effort but one that is steady. To be great at not slowing down, the body must be resilient and strong. Running has been an area of weakness for me for almost all of my endurance triathlon career. While I have still accomplished a lot in the sport, I continue to believe that I have a "faster" run in my body for 13.1 or 26.2 miles (likely, it's going to be in a marathon off the bike than a half marathon as there's much more room for time improvement there for me). Rather than focusing on becoming a faster runner, my approach to run training (with the help of Karel as my "coach") has enabled me to run with better form, which allows me to be more economical. Because I have the fueling/hydration part down, my biggest focus this year has been to train the run so that I can keep great form. This includes specific runs sessions and strength training (which I still do - all season long). So far so good as I am running "faster" than in years past without any specific speed work training. I am also staying injury free (since June 2013) so that allows me to stay consistent with my run training. And for the first time in a very, very long time, I am actually loving running and I find it "easy" on my body. This focus also applies to bike and swim as I'm much more focused in strong sustainable efforts than trying to get faster just to prove to myself that I can go faster.
  3. Enjoy the process - For anyone who has been in a sport for a long time, joy for the sport is just as important as having big goals. Although the winter months of foundation building are always tough, I find enjoyment in the developmental process. I don't try to skip steps, look for marginal gains or seek quick fixes. I love the daily grind, day in and day out. Triathlon is not my life so it's something I have to find time and energy for but it's something that I enjoy and thus, I do make time for it in my busy day. The fact that I am still improving in my 12th year of long distance triathlon tells me that something is working. Plus, I still love the sport today, as much as I did when I did my very first triathlon.