Essential Sports Nutrition


Scottsdale, Arizona Train-Cation - Day 4

Some swim workouts are better with company. A swim partner keeps you accountable to getting to the pool to start your workout and to stay in the pool to finish your workout. 

For our last workout of our train-cation, we had a mega swim workout provided by Tower 26.

My body was still feeling pretty tired from the bike ride on Wednesday but I shifted my mindset from "I'm too tired" to "you can do it!"

Here's the swim workout......

500 warm-up
4 x 50's kick with snorkel and board w/ 10 sec rest

Pre set:
400 swim w/ fins and snorkel

MS: 10 x 350's with 40 seconds rest as
#1-4: 70, 75, 80, 85%.
#5-7: 85% (same effort as #4)
#8-9: 70%
#10: Best effort

CD: 100 EZ
Total: 4600 yards


Scottsdale Arizona Train-Cation - Day 3

We came to Arizona to escape the cold of winter and well, we haven't had much warmth since we arrived on Sunday. But, as the saying goes "make the most of what you have, when you have it, where you are." We came for new scenery, a mental recharge and a change in our normal routine and despite the crummy weather, we are still making the most of our train-cation (which is coming to an end tomorrow as we head back to Gville in the evening).

We headed out for our 5-hour ride at 9:30am. The weather was perfect - not too cold, not too hot. The first 90 minutes were filled with amazing scenery. Emily showed us some of her favorite sights and we love the terrain here - a nice mix of steady gentle climbs where you can settle into a rhythm, flat roads to power with or against the wind and plenty of wide open roads with minimal car traffic. And the views - wow!

After a stop to refill our bottles around 2 hours, it was time for a 9-mile gradual descend. Just around this time, the sky gave us cold rain to ride in for the rest of our ride. It was cold, wet and cloud but we made no excuses. A train-cation is great for stepping outside of the comfort zone, practicing skills and working on mental strength by putting yourself into situations that would normally be not-ideal to train in.

Despite the bad weather, I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend the morning. Outside, with like-minded individuals, on my bike and enjoying nature.

After the bike, I quickly changed out of my wet socks (my feet were so cold) and put on my running shoes for a 25 minute brick run. I debated about not doing a run but I always feel the best running off the bike so I don't like to pass up on an opportunity to run off the bike. Luckily, the ran stopped when we got back from the ride so I had a rain-free run on a packed gravel trail.

I wish I had more to share about today's ride but it was wet, cold and windy, which meant I left most of my energy out the bike and little brain power to blog this evening.

Hope you had a nice Valentine's day - don't forget to give your body a big "I love you!" for all it does for you each day.


Scottsdale, AZ Train-Cation - Day 2

Before I talk about our last workout of the day, let's start with the first workout of the day.....

Day two of our mini train-cation started with an outdoor swim.......
My happy place. My comfort zone. My favorite sport!

After my mental struggles on the bike yesterday, I was so excited to start Tuesday with a 75-minute, 4350 yard swim workout (prescribed by Tower 26). I had never done this workout before and really enjoyed it.

WU: 500
Pre set: 5 x 200's with snorkel and fins with 20 sec rest as
200 swim
150 swim, 50 kick with board (head down in water stretching arms out while holding the edge of the board)
100 swim, 100  kick
50 swim, 150 kick
200 kick

500 at 70% w/ 1 min rest
2 x 250's at 75% w/ 40 sec rest
4 x 125's at 80% w/ 30 sec rest
7 x 75's at 85% w/ 20 sec rest
25 EZ

Post set:
500 smooth with snorkel, buoy, ankle strap

12 x 25's at 95% on 40 sec interval

50 EZ

After the swim, we changed and headed to the gym for a 50-minute strength circuit focusing on full body, with a lot of hamstring/core/back work. It was intense!

After the workout, time to EAT! I may just need to do another blog on all of our delicious eats because we have been enjoying some yummy meals filled with fresh ingredients! Today we ate at Mojo Morning Joint, which was amazing after our morning workout. I had the skinny frittata and Karel had the Mojo Burrito and the Rise and Shine smoothie. Oh - and I also got a mini cinnamon roll because......I love cinnamon rolls!

After our eats, we rested for about 90 minutes (Karel took a short nap and I got caught up on emails since I am not a napper) and it was time for our 2nd workout of the day - a trail run!

There's something so therapeutic about running on trails - out in nature and free from the world. Although this trail required a lot of ankle and hip strength to run over all of the rocks (there was a bit of walking to safely navigate my way over some piles of rocks), I felt really strong running on the trails. Plus, it was a heck of a workout! Emily tackled the trails like a champ which just shows me that trail running requires a lot of time to build strong tendons and ligaments to tolerate the twisty, turner nature of running off the flat road. I can't tell you how many times I rolled my ankle on the run today but thankfully, no inflammation or sprain (or falls!).

Fun fact about the cactus...

It can take 10 years for a saguaro cactus to reach 1 inch in height. By 70 years of age, a saguaro cactus can reach 6 and a half feet tall, and will finally start to produce their first flowers. By 95-100 years in age, a saguaro cactus can reach a height of 15-16 feet, and could start to produce its first arm.

Thanks to the fun fact, every time I see a cactus here, I try to figure out how old it is. How old do you think this cactus is?

Well, day two of our mini training camp is a wrap and now it's time to eat some yummy pizza from Picazzo's (and leftovers) and fuel up for our big workout tomorrow!


Scottsdale, AZ Train-Cation - Day 1

I remember not too long ago when I was very afraid to ride my bike down a hill. I'm not talking about mountains but hills - anything that went down was scary for me. It was an uncomfortable feeling that brought me great anxiety and stress.

Overtime, my skills improved and I felt more at ease on downhills and what was once unnatural an scary, became familiar and comfortable. I soon found myself descending on mountains and switchbacks and although I don't have skills like Karel, I am no longer afraid to descend.

Descending in windy conditions, on the other hand, is way out of my comfort zone. Because we don't get a lot of wind in Greenville when we ride (we are tucked away between the mountains on our country roads), anytime I experience a gust of wind, I feel unstable, tense and scared. I have no problem admitting this because it's something that I know I need to work on. Thankfully, I have an expert cycling coach in Karel who always gives me great advice and calmly talks me through my fears. For me, wind is an enemy and I want to avoid it at all costs but since I love riding my bike, embracing the wind and working on my skills is something I need to constantly work on.

Well, today in Scottsdale, AZ, for our first official day of our "train-cation" I had 4 hours to work on my riding the wind. Not only did I get to descend in windy conditions but we had chilly, slightly wet conditions to make things even more "interesting" for me. Talk about an epic day of camp!

After a morning pre-workout meal around 7:30am, we got our gear ready and headed out for our 4-hour ride around 9am. Emily led the ride as we made our way out to Bartlett Lake at Tonto National Forest. It was so great to be able to settle into a rhythm on the bike with little car-traffic once we got out of town. Like I do in Greenville, I felt very safe on my bike in Scottsdale where we rode. In Greenville, we stick to our hilly conditions as we have no safe "flat" routes to settle into a rhythm. If you like hills - come visit us in Greenville!

The first two hours and about 15 minutes, we made our way to Bartlett Lake. It was an endurance effort out which allowed us to enjoy the scenery. Despite some windy conditions, I felt strong and comfortable on my bike and managed to snap some pics in route to the lake. 

With the lake in our sights, we started a two-mile descend to the lake and suddenly I found myself mentally and physically uncomfortable. Karel was there with me to help me out although I don't think his tips went into my ears as I was so focused on staying up on my bike. I suppose it's the same "out of control" feeling that I use to feel when descending that I feel when I go downhill in the wind. Descending with the gusty wind was not fun for me but somehow, I made my way to the bottom - relieved to put my feet on the ground.

For the next 13 miles (1 hour), we had a specific set (provided by Matt Dixon of Purple Patch) which included some nasty efforts at different cadences - all strong efforts. It was super challenging to change the cadence on different types of terrain and after the end of the set, our legs were spent. For the rest of the ride (46 minutes), we were flying home as it was net downhill and we had the windy (mostly) at our back.

In total, 3 hours and 55 minutes, 69 miles and ~5300 feet of elevation gain.


After the ride, it was time for our brick run from Emily's house. We all ran on our own around her neighborhood which included a few small inclines/declines in the road. From the first step, I felt amazing which was such a welcomed feeling. We had a specific set for the brick run which is one of my favorite runs off the bike:

3 min form focused, 2 min strong
3 min form focused, 2 min stronger
3 min form focused, 2 min very strong
5 min 70.3 effort
5 min form focused
5 min 70.3 effort
5 min form focused

Overall - this was a quality brick filled with specificity and working on skills, nutrition, mental tricks and stretching the comfort zone. It's been a very long time (since last race season) since we have performed this type of workout so it's no surprise that we spent the rest of the day working, while feeling super exhausted and tired.

Day one is complete. Now time to get a good night of sleep before day two of our mini train-cation which includes a swim, strength and trail run workout.

A few more pics from today:
Sport nutrition that we brought with us to help fuel/hydrate our workouts.

Bartlett Lake

Climbing back from the lake.

Regroup before our ride back home. 

Settling into a rhythm. 

Ready, set, brick! 


Hello from Scottsdale, AZ!

Several months ago, Karel and I decided that we would take a vacation in February to change up our normal training scenery and to enjoy some warmer weather in a place that we have never visited before. That place.....Scottsdale, Arizona and that time is now!

Although we travel a lot for our races, I can't remember the last time that we traveled somewhere for a train-cation. I think the last time was in 2006 when we were dating! No race, no camp, no athletes to attend to.....A train-cation just for us! While it feels kinda weird to have the focus only on us as we love traveling for races or for our athletes, it is probably a little overdue for us to have the opportunity to spend a few days just to ourselves to do what we love to do - swim, bike, run. Although we can't shut-off our computers during our train-cation (there's always work/coaching to do), it's refreshing to change the scenery to awake the mind and body.

With our furry crew enjoying a few days with "Grandma", we left Greenville early on Sunday morning around 5:40am to head to the GSP airport. We had a quick flight to Atlanta and then a 3.5 hour flight to Phoenix. Each flight had a minor delay while we were on board but with all things considered, the travel out west was fairly uneventful. 

Although I brought snacks with us, we picked up "brunch" from Nature's Table (terminal E). I got a side of scrambled eggs and a vegetable wrap (tomato, zucchini, lettuce and provolone) and Karel got a tuna sandwich. 

It's always hard for me to leave Campy when we travel so I am always on look-out for furry friends to say hi to when we are away from home. Gotta get my animal-fix! Luckily, I had this little friend sitting in front of me. This is 14-year old Lilly and she doesn't have any teeth so her tongue sticks out. She was very well behaved and so cute. 

This train-cation all started back in November when I was texting with my friend Emily and mentioned to her about wanting to go somewhere warm to train in Feb. She suggested that we come stay with her at her home in Scottsdale, AZ and we can all do a mini training camp together. Since Emily is coached by Matt Dixon with Purple Patch, we knew we would get some quality workouts for our camp together and we would be in great company from a "local". Plus, Emily is a super strong, fast and resilient triathlete with great results to show for her hard work and we both have had the opportunity to train with at past PPF Greenville camps, so we knew she would make the perfect training partner.

As soon as we arrived to Emily's house, we quickly unpacked and then headed off to the local outdoor pool for a 2200 swim. It felt so nice to swim outside and to feel warm(er) weather on my skin! 

After the swim, Karel assembled our bikes (all good from the travel!) and I got caught up on emails while we waited for dinner to be delivered. I could not stop yumming over our dinner from True Food Kitchen! What a great way to end a long day of traveling.

We are excited for our first official day of our train-cation tomorrow which includes a ~4 hour ride with some cadence/effort intervals, followed by a 30-minute run and an afternoon splash in the pool.