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'24 Xterra Oak Mountain Race Recap

  Greenville crew The last race in our 3-week (15 day) racing block was Xterra Oak Mountain. For several years, we always dedicated this weekend to IM 70.3 Chattanooga (one of our favorite events) but with Xterra Oak Mountain being the same weekend, we went to Pelham, Alabama instead. Karel participated in Xterra Oak Mountain in 2021 (his first off-road triathlon) and in 2022 they didn't have the event. In 2023 we both participated (my 4th Xterra event) and I placed overall female amateur. When Xterra announced that Oak Mountain would be the home of the North American Championship, we knew that we couldn't miss this event. We love the trails at oak mountain, as well as the lake. It's a place that makes us super happy. The trails are proper mountain bike trails with rock gardens, technical turns, roots, climbs and descends but the trails are also nicely made with good rhythm and flow.  As for training going into Xterra, we had intentions of riding our mountain bikes on Tuesd
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'24 IM 70.3 Gulf Coast Race Recap

IM 70.3 Gulf Coast. Marni: 4:40.18, 2nd AG (40-44), 4th overall female. Karel:: 4:18.04, 1st AG (45-49), 15th overall. There were a lot of great takeaways from this race...... Although it's fun to go fast, I prefer hard, hilly and technical bike and run courses. I love three loop run courses! The training that I need to do to stay mentally and physically healthy and happy right now in my life is very different than the training I used to do to be mentally and physically ready to compete in the 70.3 distance. I've never considered myself great at the 70.3 distance but I'm happy that I can still be competitive without specific 70.3 training. I love competition! I ran the first loop as the lead female. I was passed in the 2nd loop by the eventual overall winner ( Samantha Skold - who was so fast and strong!) I then got complacent. My friend Jen Sylva passed me with a few miles left in the run and she encouraged me to run with her. I wasn't able to match her pace but than

Race weight, body image and performance (podcast)

In today’s culture, we are bombarded with artificially-produced, highly edited imagines of flawlessly sculpted bodies. As a result, achieving the “perfect” body has become the dominant measure of self-worth. Thinness has become a symbol of power, moral superiority, and even a measure of fitness/wellness. We have been taught that we can assume someone’s health status based on how they look or their weight. Weight stigma and anti-fat biases continue to strengthen these harmful beliefs. For example, how many times have you praised a friend or family member for losing weight? Are you more likely to follow health, diet and fitness advice from a fitness influencer who is lean or defined than one who may not have an “ideal” body? Has a doctor ever told you that losing weight will improve your health? Society has very strong views on how we should look, which impacts our thoughts about ourselves, which can then influence our food and exercise behaviors. Poor body image is often linked to dieti

Body Acceptance

  Photo credit: Brittany Bevis What do you think about your body when.... Standing on the podium in first place, yet you feel "too fat." Achieving a personal best time, yet your legs/butt feels "too big." Doubting your abilities because your stomach feels "too heavy." Blaming your subpar performance on your weight.  Lacking self confidence because you don't look like other athletes. In each of these scenarios is an athlete who believes one of two things: That looking differently will improve athletic success or a current look is the reason for lack of athletic success. Despite putting in the training and being physically prepared for an event, actual acceptance of one-self can be a major athletic limiter. Inside, you have internalized feelings of being inadequate because of a look, a comparison or an assumption. Poor body image can wreak havoc on performance, physical health and mental well-being. There are great consequences to trying to conform to r

How to recover QUICKLY from a race

  One race down, two to go.  We just completed the Whitewater Triathlon and one week later, we will participate in Gulf Coast 70.3. Six days later, we will race Xterra Oak Mountain.  Today we slept in and around 9am, we went for an easy ride. We left the house on our road bikes without a specific route in mind. We explored some different roads and made our way back to the house after around 2.5 hours. I ran an easy 38 minutes off the bike, listening to a podcast.  Although there is no one specific guideline, rule or method to speed the recovery after an endurance event, I feel it's important to walk you through some of the factors that contribute to your recovery time after an endurance event, some of the mistakes that athletes make when recovering from an endurance event and a few strategies to help you get back to good health after an endurance event. Why is race recovery important?  When training for an event, you welcome (and need) intentional and residual training stress for

'24 Whitewater off-road triathlon recap

On Saturday 5/4 we kicked off the first race in our racing block: 💫 Whitewater Off-Road Triathlon  (Charlotte, NC) 💫Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast (Panama City Beach, FL) 💫Xterra Oak Mountain (Pelham, Alabama) Three races over three weeks. We define a racing block as 2+ races within a 4-ish week time frame. Although we've completed racing blocks in the past, this race block approach is unique in that we have been training on three different bikes (road, TT, mountain bike) and running on road and trail. Preparing for events with different skills, terrain and physiological demands has been fun for us as it adds variety to training and keeps our body and mind sharp. We love racing blocks as it is the culmination of several months of periodized training and intentional overload. Knowing that there won't be much "training" between each race, arriving to a racing block healthy, fit, strong and resilient is the goal. Within each race of the racing block, we will recover quickly,

Carb loading is not calorie loading

Carb loading is not an excuse to eat whatever you want in the days leading up to an event. Carb loading is a strategic method of consuming specific foods to help load muscle and liver glycogen stores. Over the past 50 years, a significant amount of research has shown the important role of glycogen for delaying fatigue in athletes competing in endurance and ultra endurance events. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates. Glycogen is primarily stored primarily in the cells of the liver (~100g) and skeletal muscle (~500g). Skeletal muscles transform chemical energy to mechanical work. Glycogen is the body's predominant source of energy during moderate to high intensity activity. The depletion of muscle glycogen during endurance activity causes early fatigue. Carb loading should not be confused with calorie loading. Effective glycogen loading should be the result of emphasizing more energy-dense, carbohydrate sources and reducing fiber, protein and fat. As you can see from the a