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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "Training"

Training the body: thanking the body.

Marni Sumbal

My legs were tired, it was hot and humid, the wind was blowing and I was riding behind Karel on his new Speed Concept.

33 days until Kona and I think I just finished one of my hardest training blocks ever.

Thank you BODY!

-Sunday's workout-

5 hour ride + 15 min run

1 hour warm-up, building to 10 watts below IM pace (legs took a while to warm-up thanks to the stress I placed on my body from Saturday's 3:15 bike + 9.5 mile run).
35 min IM pace w/ 5 min EZ
Main set 3x's:
35 minutes @ Half IM pace (watts) w/ 4 minutes in between (see below of details of this set)
Steady riding upper Z2 until finished
Total hours: 4:58
Miles: 99.3

15 min run off the bike (RPE 75-80%, ended up holding 8-8:15 min/miles)

Since Karel is training for a half IM (Miami 70.3 in the end of October), his training is a bit different than mine right now. He ran 1 hour before the bike and then joined me on my 2nd interval. After I did 35 minutes of riding at my IM pace and then recovered for 5 minutes, Karel joined me and we were ready for the main set.

The duration for the main sets has grown over the past few weeks and no more am I feeling the "low" I use to feel around 2.5 hours during my long rides. While training for IM Lake Placid, I knew that my endurance was going to come slowly after not running for 90 days (Feb - April) due to my chronic hip/back issues. But I continue to focus on the CANs with my exercise/training routine and enjoying everyday with my healthy, pain free body. Now, I feel my endurance is better than ever and since the training is getting very intense and specific, I am super mindful of resting my body before I really need to rest it. I really love the progression that Karel has given me with my training for it was a work in progress. I spent all last year working on my speed as Karel did not want me to do an IM but instead work on the little things that will improve my endurance. Hence, get faster before you go longer.  I remember blogging last year about doing my first Olympic distance tri in 4 years! Oh the nerves!! Then there was The Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater . Then another Olympic distance tri (first time for Karel!). And then I was able to put it all together at Branson 70.3

Anyways, the body is an amazing thing and I don't feel it is always respected. It takes a lot of time to train the body and mind, not only in athletics but with anything in life. You just have to have patience and I think our society loves quick fixes. Our society wants something to happen today just like.

Sometimes we have to shut up the mind to make the body go that extra mile to get stronger but many times, we don't listen to the body when it is speaking.

I feel athletes are no more stubborn than the rest of the population for many people push the body (or don't listen to it) when it needs to rest or slow down. I think for many of us, we just don't want to miss out on life and because of that, this is the reason why we should listen and constantly pay attention to the body and what we choose to feed it, do with it and most importantly, how we speak to it.

On Sunday, my main set was more than just 35 minutes at Half IM pace. It involved no tail wind (thanks to Karel choosing country roads with the long blades of grass blowing right at me or to my side) and very little shade from the heat. It was perfect Kona prep and Karel constantly reminded me what I was about to do with my body in Kona in about 4 weeks for 140.6 miles. "It's not going to be easy Marni. You can never beat the wind."

Riding with Karel is amazing. I can't tell you how much I learn and benefit from him as a cat 1 cyclist for many many years. His knowledge of bikes is one thing as well as his passion for anything on two wheels but it is his attention to details and tactics that really make him so smart as an athlete.

The set was as follows:
10 minutes of me in front riding half IM pace.
Then Karel would go in front and hold a similar pace (he did this workout for me so he obviously wasn't pushing his watts) and I had to stay draft legal (7 meters) behind Karel. He wanted me to pay attention to my speed and watts and to stay draft legal but still be "competitive" with who was in front of me. This is something I have a hard time with as I typically stay a bit too focused on myself and don't take a lot of risks when it comes to being pushed by the other girls who pass me. Karel wanted me to be relentless within my own ability and I felt like this was one of the hardest sets I have ever done and it really pushed my limits (physically and mentally).

I repeat myself quite often but the thought in my mind is that I am always grateful for what my body allows me to do. There have been many times in my life when I have wanted to give up - when things aren't easy, when obstacles arise or when it seems like everyone else has it easier than me. 

For the past few years, I have experienced a lot in life and I owe it all to my body. We go to great lengths to reach goals together and because of it, I have really taken advantage of life. 

You see, success in life- whether sports, career or anything in between - is having a purpose and then thinking in a positive way as to how YOU can go about reaching your goal.

I constantly remind myself that my body does not have to let me do "this". When I train I push my body and challenge myself. I get sore, tired and rely on sport nutrition because I am depleting my body of nutrients, fluids and electrolytes. I see patients in the hospital who are too tired to get out of bed, lay in pain, are unable to think straight and feel miserable - not because they just did a marathon or an IM or biked 100 miles that day but because their body is failing them at that time.

I find so many people are so focused on what everyone else is doing that they forget who they should really be paying attention to on a daily basis - their own body.

This morning I received an email from a Trimarni follower and it 100% sums up everything I believe in. With permission from Sarah S. I wanted to share this note from her which she shares her thoughts after finishing her first Ironman distance triathlon. There's a great lesson in thanking the body. 

I started Ironman Arizona last November but DNF'd due to dehydration about 100 miles into the bike....Rev 3 Cedar Point was my redemption race.

First of all though, you really have changed the way I think about my body and my relationship with food. I don't come from an athletic background at all....I couldn't run over a mile until 2009, never really rode a bike until 2010 and couldn't swim a lap until 2011. So this has been quite the journey! 

I never have had a healthy relationship with food but reading your blog has taught me that as athletes especially food is FUEL and we need to treat our bodies right. Also, thanks to you the whole day yesterday I kept reminding myself to thank my body for being awesome. 

When it got hard (which it did a lot) and I wasn't preforming how I *thought* I should, or going as fast as I had hoped, instead of being angry at my body or dragging myself down, like I used to do, I thanked my body for letting me get through training and for carrying me through this race. 

In the past I would have felt bad for myself and thought "you're so slow, you're near the back, why do you even do this?" but yesterday not a single negative thought entered my mind the whole day. 

I spent hours thanking my legs and my lungs and encouraging my body to keep moving forward. It's still a new way of thinking for me, but I love it!

How did Sarah's race turn out? Here's the end of her race report:

Miles 18-22 were the worst, I just gritted my teeth and used every single ounce of grit and determination and will I could to move one foot in front of the other. With about 4 miles to go I started feeling good again! I actually did a little bit of slow running and let myself get a tiny bit excited about finishing but not too much because I still had over an hour to go at my pace. I could see the lights of cedar point getting closer and soon I could see and hear the finish line. Miraculously once I got in the chute all the pain vanished and I was able to run again. I took it all in…everyone cheering my name like I was a rockstar and the tears started flowing….I did it! A 6:23 marathon isn't what I hoped for (about an hour slower) but it didn't matter, I was so proud of myself. After 15:19 of swim, bike, and run! I am an Ironman! After years of training and a DNF last year, I did it. It was the hardest day of my life and nothing anyone can do or say will prepare you for how deep you have to dig out there. I am just so proud of myself!

5 weeks away from Kona: Training update

Marni Sumbal

Over the years, my training has changed tremendously. I wasn't sure how to approach the training as an endurance athlete so I followed the crowd and trained twice a day, long workouts on the weekends and dreaded the recommended "off" day on Monday. 

It worked for my first Ironman, so I decided that if more is better, I should do even more than before. However, I became injured and extremely fatigued for my second Ironman and now I pay for that race (2007 Ironman World Championship) a few times every year since.

With Karel's thinking outside the box, we have adapted a philosophy of "train hard, recover harder".

Training is periodized so that we peak at the right time and training stays balanced with life. Every workout has a purpose, there are no junk miles and we have fun seeing progress.

Sometimes there are off days but there are a lot of great days. The off days finish with the mindset that we accomplished something that we almost didn't start and the great days finish with motivation for the next workout. 

There is an understanding that for the body to adapt to training stress and improve performance/fitness, there must be training stress. There is commitment to the training plan and a realization that you can either make excuses or progress. But when there is too much training stress, it is hard to adapt in a positive manner. Therefore, we have learned how to create training plans for me (and for my athletes and pre-built plans) that provide workouts for gains in speed, endurance and fitness and balance in life. For if you are burnt out, sick, injured or on the verge of injury, adaptations can not take place. Our bodies get tired with our training load but it is not to the point that we can't recover to set up ourselves for a great next training session the following day. There are recovery days, there is an appreciation of other important areas in life that can bring fitness gains (balanced diet, understanding of proper fueling around/during workouts, compression, epson salt baths, restful sleep, massages, good attitude, mental strength, hip/core work, stretching) and most importantly, the training plan is designed for long-term success. 

Everything is coming together amazingly well for Kona in just 5 weeks! I do not expectations of being on the podium but instead, having a strong race. It is an honor for me to race at the Ironman World Championship for the third time and my #1 goal is to arrive to the starting line healthy, injury free and hungry to race. 

Just like every Ironman, I really love the journey. Still reminding myself that I just did an Ironman 6 weeks ago (with 2 weeks of recovery), I am constantly thanking my body for what it is allowing me to do. Thanks to Karel having a very good understanding of my body (which is important for any athlete who works with a coach to consider the long-term investment that is required for a coach to understand how you, the athlete adapts to training), he has developed a perfect plan for me to get even stronger, faster and more efficient before Kona. 

There are no two-a-days and my weekly hours are around 15-16 hours a week. I have yet to do a bike ride over 4.5 hours and my longest run was 15 miles last weekend. I run an average of around 15-30 miles a week, with most of my runs off the bike. Every workout has a main set and my sets are typically long on the bike and RPE focused for the run. I swim 2-3 days a week (depending on my choice of day off or active recovery) and my swims are around 3500-4500 on average - with more yardage because I love to swim and sometimes have trouble getting out of the water when my inner fish comes out. I do hip/core work every night for 15 minutes + stretching and I do hip/core work in the gym twice a week. 

The best thing about quality training is the energy that I have for life. Rather than having an expectation as to how much I need to train each week, I have my week laid out (hospital/home with my business) and I have a training plan that allows me to separate my work time from training time. Even though I work from home and have flexibility with my work day (which is typically 8-10 hours a day dedicated to Trimarni), I would rather walk Campy in the evening, cook a delicious creation and go to bed early instead of squeezing in another workout in the evening. I give myself 2-2.5 hours every morning for myself to train during the week and I like to be finished training by noonish on the weekends. This doesn't mean that I have train all those hours and as much as I love to train, I like to see progress. I also respect my body and understand that too much training stress does not make me a better athlete but instead, an active individual with a dampened immune system. 

I really love this article Recover Right which include tips from Coach Matt Dixon from Purple Patch Coaching who is a strong believer in the "less is more" approach. 

Just to be clear - training smarter doesn't mean that I don't take risks. Just like any athlete, I love to push my body and not always does it work in my favor. But the most important thing I can do as an athlete and fitness enthusiast is appreciate the value of recovery. Your progress as an athlete is only as good as your ability to recover from workouts. Every athlete is different and keep in mind that as life changes, so does your training routine. The best thing you can do as an athlete is make it all work by focusing on your needs, your body and your goals. 

Here's a recap of my training this week: 

Monday (finishing off a 3-day training block with the holiday) - 4:15 social/fun ride (solid effort with the group)
Tues - day off from all training. 20 minutes of stretching in the evening and a 40 minute Campy walk in the am and several mini Campy walks during the day around the block.

Wed - 4300 swim + 1 hour spin (brick)
Swim main set 3x's:
300 steady at IM pace
4 x 50's fast on :45 seconds

Thurs - (in Macon) - 1:15 run of intervals (I rarely have mile-based runs for weekly runs, instead I go by time)
1 mile warm-up
Main set 6x's: over/under thresholds
1/2 mile @ sub 7:30 min/mile, 1/2 mile "slower" w/ 1 minute in between
(I did this around the block at Stefanies which was a perfect 1/2 mile loop). I went 100% by perceived exertion and ended up descending the 1/2 miles (thanks to my fast twitch fibers waking up over the set) and getting a little slower on the 1/2 mile "slower". I averaged around 6:33-7:15 min/mile for the first 1/2 mile and around 7:40-8:15 min/mile for the last 1/2 mile.
Last mile cool down and then 1/2 mile or so with Campy.
8 miles total.

Fri - 5000 swim + core/hip work (20 minutes) + stretching
Main set:
10 x 100's on 1:30 (holding 1:20)
500 pull w/ paddles/buoy  steady (holding 1:27 pace)
5 x 100's on 1:30 (holding 1:19)
500 pull w/ paddles/buoy steady (holding 1:30 pace)
400 kick (50 free, 50 fly kick fast)

Sat - 3:15 bike + 1:20 run (AMAZING WORKOUT!)
Bike - (even though a shorter bike, this allowed me to push a little harder to receive a bit more stress without risking fatigue from long volume. This also allowed me to run on "tired" legs for training stress which is more valuable to my body than a "long" run on fresh legs).
1 hour warm-up building to IM pace watts
Main set 3x's
5 min Z4, 10 min Z3 low (IM watts), 5 min Z4, 10 min Z3 low
5 min EZ
(30 min main set + 5 min recovery)
Total 60 miles

Run off the bike (starting at 10:30 am)
8 x 1 miles @ RPE 80% effort (I managed to hold around 8 min/miles which really made me happy. I knew my HR would go up over time as it was nearing 92 degrees when I finished my bike according to my Garmin so I just monitored my HR to keep under 160 as I knew that was too high for me and I would have trouble recovering from a long run off the bike with a high HR even if I wasn't running "fast") w/ 30 sec walk in between. At 4 miles, I walked 1 total minute to refill my flasks.
Last mile + extra was "cool down"

Stats from my 910 XT (SO happy with this run as well as the entire workout today - what a solid workout for my body)
1:20 run
9.49 miles
8:26 min/mile pace (including walking)
Average HR 154

Mile 1: 8:04, 134 HR
30 sec walk, 138 HR
Mile 2: 7:56, 146 HR
30 sec walk, 138 HR
Mile 3: 7:57, 149 HR
30 sec walk, 140 HR
Mile 4: 7:57, 153 HR
1 min walk, 143 HR
Mile 5: 8:05, 154 HR
30 sec walk, 152 HR
Mile 6: 8:02, 156 HR
30 sec walk, 153 HR
Mile 7: 8:06, 157 HR
30 sec walk, 153 HR
Mile 8: 8:05, 157 HR
30 sec walk, 155 HR
Mile 9: 8:40, 170 HR (Super hot but felt really "EZ" but HR was not showing that it was EZ. Massive rush of blood to try to cool my body.)
2 minutes (.32): 8:20, 182 HR (officially done!)

Sunday (tomorrow) - 5 hour ride + 1 mile run

Total training hours: ~17 (including the 4 hours on Monday due to the holiday and three day training block)

You might be a triathlete when.....your car looks like this!

Weekend recap - physiology of the heart by training in the heat

Marni Sumbal

Some people have no trouble training in the heat whereas others think it is just brutal and not welcomed. I'd like to think that most athletes prefer the ideal temperature of 50-65 degrees for running and around 70-75 degrees for triathlons but everyone has their preferences....just like their style of training.
As I prep for Kona which is 6 weeks away, I am not training in the hottest part of the day for I feel there is no need to lose form or risk dehydration/exhaustion from the heat. Instead, I will train when I feel the best and that is in the morning but of course, it is to be expected that as my training volume progresses, I will be training in the heat whether I like it or not. Gotta love living in Florida for it is a sweat fest everyday.....and I love it!
For this weekend's training, I'd like to explain a little about my workouts and to also explain a little about the physiology of the body (the heart) in the heat to better help with your training/working out.
For my cycling, I go by power which measures my watts on the bike. My zones are determined from a max sustainable power test but I also with all my interval training and past Ironman, I have a very good idea as to what I can sustain (watts) for different intervals. I love training with my power meter because it takes the guessing away from training and also allows me to run stronger off the bike because I can pace myself on the run. I do believe in perceived exertion and keeping a steady cadence but I do not get hung up on speed...but it is nice to see that since IM Lake Placid I am riding much faster and stronger than before.
For my runs, I have to be smart with my running, not only for my past history with hip/back issues but to maintain consistency with my  training and now, Kona prep. I do not do long hours of working out each day but instead, I do  a lot of intervals at various paces. This allows me to recover better from working out because although I stress my body everytime I train (thus why I value recovery days off from structured training), I do not risk the gradual fatigue that occurs due to running out of oxygen or not getting enough nutrients to support metabolism during training by training high volumes (relative to many athletes in my sport of choice).
For my run off the bike on Saturday, I choose to go by RPE and only monitor my HR as I feel the HR should be focused on but it is not the best way to train 100% of the time. I am more of a RPE and pace kinda of endurance athlete and I feel that by understanding the physiology of the body, it is easier to get in a quality workout when you are not 100% focused on the HR, especially in the heat. However, you must always be smart with training and listen to the body - whether it is speaking to you with pain or it is showing you something unhealthy with your training data on your Garmin.
On Saturday, knowing it was 11am and 95 degrees out, my body was limited by my core temperature increasing and thus my HR increasing and not because of lactic acid buildup. Because running will naturally cause an increase in HR over the course of the run due to "cardiac drift", the smartest strategy for me was to walk each mile in order to help control my HR. As you can see from mile 5-6, my body was compromised by the heat as my HR was elevated but I was running much slower and perceived effort felt the same. I always run with sport nutrition but also water for cooling my body. Anytime you workout, your cardiovascular system is stressed. This is why I am not a fan of long workouts for Ironman training because this also dampens the immune system. I realize you must properly prep for the distance ahead but I believe it can be done by getting faster before you go longer and then adapting with the least amount of training stress. 

The heart is a powerful muscle and not always appreciated. Not only does it need to deliver oxygen to the working muscles but it also needs to help transport heat to the skin and to help ensure that the GI system is working to digest and absorb nutrients to fuel the body/brain during exercise. The stroke volume of the heart (volume of blood delivered by each beat of the heart) increases when you exercise to help circulate blood to your metabolic systems so that you can continue to have a great workout.
Eventually when you workout, there is going to be a plateau in stroke volume. Unlike anaerobic exercise which is limited by your ability to tolerate and flush lactic acid due to lack of oxygen (thus the need to slow down when you can't breath anymore and your legs are burning), we all have a limit as to how much blood our body can pump during exercise and eventually you are going to notice that your HR will not increase and your body will not go any faster. 
As you train, remember that working out and getting faster/stronger is not just about motivation. You have to be smart with your training in order for your body to actually respond favorably to training stress. Secondly, your main limiters with longer distance exercise is lack of oxygen and nutrients. If you are pushing too hard without adequate recovery and/or not supplying your body with nutrients (ex. fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates) to support the metabolic demands of your body (or not able to properly digest and absorb those nutrients), you are sabotaging yourself for performance gains. Many athletes feel frustrated when the workout doesn't go as planned and then blame the body for having a bad day. With smart, quality training, you should find yourself consistently improving, recovering well from working out and having your mind as the only limiter and constantly thanking your body. This equation is not always perfect so keep in mind, you must NEVER give up by finding the perfect balanced training plan to help you move closer to your racing goals.
3:45 bike + 50 minute run
Time started: 7:45am

1 hour warm-up (building to upper Z2)
Main set:
20 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
25 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
30 min Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
3 x 10 min low Z4 w/ 4 min EZ
Steady upper Z2 until time is complete. 

Run (off the bike):
Mile 1: steady, perceived effort 7/10, walk 1 minute
Mile 2- 4: steady 90% effort, walk 1 minute in between
Mile 5-6: Comfortable (get it done)

Garmin 910XT data:
54 minutes (6.12 miles)
Average pace 8:49 min/mile (with walking)
Average HR: 152
Mile 1: 8:07 min/mile, 136 HR
30 sec walk: 137 HR
Mile 2: 7:56, 150 HR
30 sec walk, 147 HR
Mile 3: 8:03, 154 HR
30 sec walk, 150 HR
Mile 4: 8:02, 159 HR
30 sec walk 155 HR
Mile 5: 8:50, 155 HR
30 sec walk, 150 HR
Mile 6: 8:35, 157 HR

Sunday: 2 hour run (or 15 miles) - whichever feels "right"
Time started: 8am

Total time: 2:10
Distance: 15.11
Average pace 8:38 min/mile (including walk breaks, not including a 3 minute stop for bathroom at mile 10 and to refill handheld flask bottles w/ nutrition)
HR 142 average

Set for today: hold around 8:15 min/mile (give or take 5-10 sec) which is my "ideal" run off the Ironman bike in a marathon but haven't yet accomplished that...but I still have it as my goal with training to see where I can take my body overtime and I am not afraid to work hard for it. I typically go by RPE on the marathon run in an IM based on my current level of fitness and bank these great workouts for mental strength on race day. Especially when my body is hating me around mile 20 of a 140.6 mile race.
My plan was to walk 30 sec after each mile and every 40 minutes to walk 1 full minute to help postpone fatigue. I have to be very careful of my body to not overdo it and since my longest run before Placid was 15 miles, I was using this as a confidence builder but also to assess my endurance and fitness. Let's just say I was very impressed with my body and thanked it about 15 times this morning. 
I have my watch set on auto lap each mile and then I hit lap to start a new interval.
I monitor lap time, current HR, lap pace and current pace.

Mile 1: 8:48 min/mile, HR 126 (warm-up)
30 sec walk: HR 116
Mile 2: 8:16 min/mile, HR 131
30 sec walk: HR 123
Mile 3: 8:10 min/mile, HR 137
30 sec walk: 125 HR
Mile 4: 8:07 min/mile, HR 141 + 5 minutes at 8:19 min/mile, HR 144
1 min walk, 124 HR
Mile 5.5 (ish): 8:13 min/mile, HR 143
30 sec walk: 133 HR
Mile 6.5: 8:15 min/mile, HR 143
30 sec walk: 129 HR
Mile 7.5: 8:14 min/mile, HR 146
30 sec walk: 138 HR
Mile 8.5: 8:10 min/mile, HR 149
30 sec walk, HR 142
Mile 9.5: 8:11 min/mile, HR 150 + 2 min walk 8:30 min/mile, 150 HR
3 min break
3.5 minute ease back into running, 8:38 min/mile, HR 134
Mile 10.5 (ish) - 8:17 min/mile, HR 146
30 sec walk, HR 142
Mile 11.5 - 8:14 min/mile, HR 148
30 sec walk, HR 143
Mile 12.5 - 8:13 min/mile, HR 148
30 sec walk, HR 143
Mile 13.5: 8:16 min/mile, HR 148
30 sec walk, HR 147
Last 5 minutes with Campy - 8:45 min/mile (he wanted to go faster...I didn't), HR 138

Endurance swim workout, beets and sport nutrition articles

Marni Sumbal

It's not hard to get me in a pool at 6am in the morning. I have been "a swimmer" for almost 20 years and I don't think I have gone more than 2 weeks without swimming in the past 20 years. I love being in the water - it's my comfort zone. Sure, I have my ups and downs with swimming and some weeks I am ON and have great workouts and others, I'm just happy I am in the water and still enjoying swimming. But, I'm sure you will agree that a new swimming accessory makes it easy to get excited for a workout.

Thanks Nootca for sending me and Karel new swim caps. I absolutely love silicone swim caps because they fit well and don't break like the other "racing" caps out there. This cap fits my head perfectly so I think if you have a larger head, this cap may be a bit tight or won't fit around your ears properly. However, I feel this cap will fit most people and you will really like it.

The swim set was great today at Master Swimming - just what I needed. Lots of variety and yards. 

1000 warm-up - stretch it out

Main set 2x's:
(rest as needed)
200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

200 EZ
150 moderate
100 fast
50 all out

100 cool-dowtn. (I did an extra 400 as I was having one of those days and wasn't ready to get out to start my strength training). 

Total yards above: 4100
(if you are a new swimmer or training for shorter distance, I recommend 500 warm-up and do only 1 round of main set for a 2100 main set)

I have a few articles published that I wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure. As always - send an email if you have any questions on a topic or individual concern to

Inside Scoop on Sport Nutrition

Triathlete's Kitchen - BEETS (my new monthly column on

(in case you missed it - my beet smoothie recipe.)

Train Smarter to Reach Success Faster

Lastly.....I am SO excited about this!!!

Are you in the Southern California, Boulder, or Dallas area and interested in becoming an Oakley Women Brand Ambassador? Oakley is giving 200 lucky winners the opportunity to attend an exclusive VIP Oakley Progression Session, in which they will be on the search for our newest ambassadors.

Visit for details on the Oakley Progression Session events in these areas and to enter for your chance to win! 

I look forward to seeing you there and having you take part in my nutrition seminar, along with an awesome yoga session with the amazing Lacey Calvert and Cari Shoemate to lead you in an awesome boot camp class. I am so lucky to be an ambassador with the other inspiration Oakley Women ambassadors and I hope you can be one too!

Broccoli and cashew stir-fry and Tuesday duathlon

Marni Sumbal

Monday was busy. Without a morning workout and the additional time that would have been spent driving, preparing for and cleaning up after the workout, I started my day early and finished late. But all was good by this morning because I had a great night of sleep last night knowing I tackled a lot on my to-do list and I woke up with a body filled with unused energy from Monday.

This morning I had a workout on my schedule that I was concerned about. Run-bike-run. Ugggh. I am NOT a duathlete, Karel!!!

But, there is always a method behind the madness so instead of starting my doubts and excuses, I went ahead and tried it.

2 mile build run + 1:15 interval bike + 4 mile descending run. 

The first two miles were OK. .Actually, the first mile was OK and the 2nd mile was great. I was sure to do extra dynamic stretching before the run to loosen up the hips and to get the blood flowing but for someone who requires a long warm-up, 7:37 went by and I was making my way back to my car in Nocatee to finish my two-mile (out and back) run. The 2nd mile came in at 7:12 and it felt much better. I am finally learning how to think about my form while running which keeps my HR better-controlled and helps me focus on efficiency and economy when running. The strength training and hip work pays off with every run as I feel myself landing on one leg - relying on my core, hips and glutes for stability and then doing it again with the other leg. Over and over again. Oh the little things we take for granted when we just train for miles. Thank you body for being strong.

After the run I got my bike out of the car and was happy to see Karel about to start his ride. We have been driving 15 minutes down the road to Nocatee to train because the roads are the safest we can find here in Jacksonville and the area makes us feel like we are someone away from "home". Sometimes a change in routine is good for the mind.

Karel is doing 2-days of road racing this weekend. Actually, he is doubling up so two races each day. He has spent little time on his road bike as he is loving his new triathlon lifestyle but I also know he is excited to be riding with the cat 1 guys (and Masters 35+) for a weekend of crit racing and pain.

My main set started as soon as I got on the bike.
10 min Z3 steady
5 x 1/1 (1 min ON - fast cadence 110+ rpm, 1 min OFF - EZ)
10 min Z3 steady
5 x 1/1
10 min Z3 steady
5 x 1/1
10 min Z3 steady
Z2 back to the car (a few minutes)

This is a great set to help with pacing and to teach the legs to pedal at a higher cadence (A work in progress for me in the past few years). In the past month I have done a lot more "strength" at lower cadence on the bike so that is also paying off for my Z3 intervals. Because I "race" a half IM at Z3 low to medium effort, I am working on my speed and cadence knowing that by race day I will be able to perform "faster" at the lower interval zone due to having more power in my legs. There's a lot of work to be made but I'm lucky I have the energy and motivation to keep on working at it.

The legs burned a bit on the ride for the higher intensity intervals and I knew I'd feel it on the run. I do a lot of brick runs and feel most comfortable running off the bike so mentally, I never have to talk myself into running off the bike. It just comes naturally as something that I do in the build phase of my training. I didn't do any bricks from Sept until Jan so it was a nice welcome back for the legs.

The set off the bike was 4 miles descending. The last mile was suppose to be under 7 but I cut myself a deal. I just love this about being an athlete. Here I am, all alone with no accountability for my workout completion except a Garmin to upload onto Training Peaks. Only a piece of paper "telling" me what to do.
So, I started my run and all the thoughts went through my head. How about 3 miles tempo and then walk and 1 mile fast? How about 2 miles EZ and call it a day? How about 4 x 1 miles with 1 min walk in between? I figured regardless of the run distance or effort, I'd be happy with anything after this workout. So, if I could get through 3 miles and descend to a fast pace and not break good form, I would "allow" myself to walk and then run the last mile EZ. Could I have done all four miles descending? Maybe - but this morning I I knew I'd be just as happy with 3 miles descending as I would with 1 mile EZ off the bike.

Mile 1 - 7:37
Mile 2 - 7:21
Mile 3 - 7:11

2 min walk
Mile 4 - 7:37 (Amazing what  a little walk will do. I thought I was running EZ and when looking at my watch, my perceived effort low comfortable but pace was still good. I'll take this one with me to Ironman Lake Placid as I have nothing wrong with walking if it allows me to resist fatigue as much as possible to maintain consistent pace).

As soon as I got home, I went right to the trigger point roller, the ball and my yoga mat. The workouts are getting tougher and I can not afford to overlook anything that will help me reduce risk for injury.

Last night's dinner must have fueled me well for this morning's workout. I hope you enjoy it!


Broccoli (steamed in microwave)
Chickpeas (rinsed and drained from can)
Leftover whole grain (I used my toasted barley - cooked in a little olive oil on medium heat in small skillet - pressed down like hashbrowns and cooked for 8-10 minutes until crunchy and golden brown)
Mushrooms (sliced, washed)
Corn (frozen)
Ginger powder
Soy sauce (1 tsp)
Tofu (firm, cubed - about 1/4th container per person)
Farmers cheese (or your choice cheese)
Cashews (or your choice nut)

1. On large skillet on medium heat, drizzle with 2-3 tsp oil (or up to 1 tbsp for 2-3 people).
2. Add tofu, mushrooms, corn and chickpeas and stir every few minutes to evenly cook all sides. Tofu should get golden brown. Add a little ginger and your choice seasonings.
3. Remove veggies and tofu mixture from pan and add broccoli and drizzle with a little oil to give it a little bit of a grill taste. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
4. Turn off burner and place 1/2 - 1 cup barley in your shallow dish and add your veggie, tofu and broccoli mixture to create your plant strong meal. Drizzle with a little soy sauce and sprinkle with cashews (broken in your hands, 3-4 per person will be a good amount for a nice crunch) and farmers cheese.

TIP: Plan for leftovers so that you have enough for lunch tomorrow. To save time, use frozen veggies and cook in microwave and assemble with 10-minute cooked brown rice and make it a "hot" dish not prepared on stove top. Add your choice of protein. If you have picky eaters in the family, you can prepare some veggies on separate skillets and then prepare your protein in the oven (and a mix of proteins if you want, but plan for leftovers) so that everyone can make their own plate. I recommend serving grains/starches separately so that everyone can portion for their own individual needs as they create a plant strong meal.

Awwww. just so freakin' adorable! I just want to put him in my pocket and take him with me wherever I go!

Weekend training recap

Marni Sumbal

I'm happy to report, another consistent week of training. I love the freedom of the weekends but my life never stops when it comes to my business. I look forward to the weekends like everyone else but I also find enjoyment in every day of the week. I find that life becomes very rushed when we only look forward to the weekends for with 4 weeks in a month, only being happy about 8 days a month seems kinda upsetting when you think about it. 

Training was good. Hard both mentally and physically but sleep, stress management, diet and proper training scheduling has allowed me to see gains within every training session. Campy is an expert recovery partner so as I stay busy on the computer, he does extra resting for me. I was "on call" at the hospital this weekend. A patient I had to attend to yesterday had alcohol abuse and liver disease and was intubated after admit so the MD on the case consulted the on-call RD (me) for tube feeding recommendations (formula and rate). Being a clinical RD really makes me appreciate the freedom we have to make choices every day to live our life to the fullest....and the voluntary desire we have to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Thanking my body for another week of training was in full effect after my workout on today (Sunday). I find many people do a lot more body bashing than thanking. Certainly we should be thanking our body for what it allows us to do on a daily basis, despite our eating habits, sleeping habits or tendency to overwork and stress-out which may cause the body to feel fatigued, weak, injured or tired. Yet we still expect our body to perform well during work, chores, errands and of course, exercise/training. 

Saturday workout: 
3 hour bike - 30 min warm-up. Join the Lodge-ride group in Nocatee.
-With the group I did my intervals on the left side of the group as to not draft directly but to still push myself. This group is a great group and I love the guys on the ride. They are all really nice and supportive and a mix of cyclist, bike lovers and triathletes. Sometimes there are fixies on the ride and that always amazes me! I have a hard enough time at times keeping up with all my do they do it with 1 gear and no brakes??

Main set: 
2 x 12 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ (for the EZ I joined the group, although I am not sure it was recovery for the full 2 minutes)
2 x 20 min Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
10 min EZ
4 x 8 min Z4 w/ 2 min EZ
Z2 for the remainder of the ride
(60 mile ride)

30 minute form-focused transition run:
7:38 min/mile average pace, 4 miles
7:50, 7:44, 7:34, 7:22 min/mile (out and back, headwind out, tailwind back)

Sunday workout: 
(I did my long-run of 11 miles on Thurs which included 3 x 10 min half marathon pace w/ 2 min walk recovery. Then 5 min recovery jog. Then 5 x 90 sec @ 10K pace w/ 45 sec walk recovery)

1:45 bike - 30 min warm-up in Nocatee.
(windy morning but great weather!)

Main set: 
5 x 3 min Z4 w/ 2 min EZ
5 min EZ spin
20 min TT effort (time trial effort - sustainable max power)
15 min Z2 steady
Cool down

50 min transition run:
2 mile warm-up (8:10 min/mile, 8:02 min/mile)
2 min walk break/stretch/lower HR

Main set:
3 miles continuous, steady sustainable pace (very windy):
7:41.09 (HR 137)
7:41.30 (HR 145)
7:41.83 (HR 149)
1 min walk break
1 mile "hard" - 6:54 min/mile (HR 155)
Cool down
Total: Average pace 7:59 min/mile, 6.74 miles, 53:52 total time

I really enjoyed both sets that Karel gave me this weekend. What I liked the most was having a perceived effort run today since it would be hard to nail specific splits like I did last weekend. My body is tired but still recovering very well after workouts. Thankfully I don't get lingering fatigue but I also do a lot of stretching and still keeping up with strength training.
This is all part of training - consistency and adapting with the least amount of training stress. The goal with performance gains is to not train hard when you feel great and then make excuses when you don't feel good. You have to train smart.
I believe in using my garmin wisely and setting up proper screens to help with pacing (Ex. One of my four screens on my Garmin 910XT has lap time, current pace, lap pace and current HR to help me with pacing. One of my screens on my Garmin 500 on my bike has normalized power, 3 second power, current cadence, current speed, lap time, lap distance) and I also believe in not counting myself out from any workout until I am forced to make a decision. I also get great sleep which is my top secret to not getting sick (for the past 5 years, no flu shots and no daily multivitamins - although everyone is different so I am not advocating anything without discussing with your physician) and when I say sleep - it is restful and deep for 7-8 hours most days of the week. Oh and in my bed...not on the couch with the TV on. I believe in a balanced lifestyle and all of this contributes to performance gains and consistent training.

The number one thing that keeps me excited to train is consistency. Being able to bounce back from off workouts and to challenge myself in the great workouts. I constantly battle with my mind when I think to myself "I don't know if I can do that" as I think about an upcoming set or workout. So, instead I allow myself to stay in the present and wait until that  moment happens. Funny thing - more often than not, that moment (when I thought I would be struggle) doesn't occur or doesn't hurt as bad as I thought..or if it does hurt, it is still something that I can overcome. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for two of the yummy creations that helped me fuel for my workouts this weekend. Hope you had a great weekend and be sure to enjoy (and make the most of) the next 5 days!

Fruit pizza and recent training update

Marni Sumbal

And you thought muffins were my only baking creation? Ok, so it's nothing spectacular to look at it but sure does taste delicious!!! Who loves fruit pizza???
One of my favorites for a party or a holiday, I love making fruit pizza with seasonal fruits. This is a super easy dessert that is always a crowd pleaser. Of course, we all know that if it has fruit in the name, it has to be healthy right??? :)
3/4th -1 package chocolate chip or sugar cookie dough (depending on the size of your round baking dish)
Seasonal fruit (I recommend 3-4 options, chopped) - I used canned pineapple, pears, apple. If you use banana, be aware the banana will brown w/ leftovers (however leftovers are the best with this recipe!)
Optional: raisins, cranberries (as pictured), nuts, seeds
Whipped cream cheese (plain) or strawberry

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray pan with non stick spray.
3. Gently press cookie dough in pan to form a small layer (about the size of two tic-tacs on each other) - use a clean palm of your hand for pressing (have the kiddos help with this).
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown on edges (you want to remove when tough is still a little soft as it will firm-up when you let it cool). Do not cook as recommended on package, that will burn the "pizza".
5. Let pizza cool for 5-10 minutes. When cool, spread a light layer of cream cheese on pizza and top with seasonal (and/or canned) fruit.
After a needed 2-3 week break from my triathlon season, I always welcome a change of pace for a few months in order to remove myself from structured triathlon training. Over the past few years, I have welcomed my "unstructured structured" phase of training to include emphasis on running speed which includes 3 runs a week dedicated to training for one or two upcoming running races. As a pro-active triathlete, I am always thinking ahead not only with goals in mind but also what can I do to keep myself healthy and strong year-round. Lessons learned along the way but for the past two years, I spend a lot of my "training" energy on stretching, strength training, recovery and cross training in order to keep myself consistent with training. Learning from mistakes and thinking before I act, I have been able to be extremely consistent with training over the past two years and I feel my body is in a great place as I gear up for my 6th Ironman in July. Thinking ahead, it's not the distance that I think about when it comes to an Ironman because I don't do fear-based training. I know I can do the distances so my goal is to get stronger, more efficient, more economical and faster as an athlete. That means training smarter not further and making sure my body will respond to training stress over the next year, the year after, etc.

Although I love learning as I go, I believe my balanced approach to training which includes training hard and recovering harder prevents me from experiencing burnout, fatigue and injury. On the flip side, however, having specific intense and hard workouts keeps me motivated to see what my body is capable of achieving on a daily basis.
Since I am only running about 3.5-4 hours a week (25-30 miles/week) which includes running w/ walk intervals (for all my runs), I still swim twice a week (W, F) with my Master's Swim team and join the lodge ride in Nocattee on Saturday (around 52 miles round trip) which is fast and a lot of fun. Strength training includes primarily hip and core strength on W/F and lots of stretching morning and night. Depending on the week, I may do a tempo short swim (around a mile) on Monday but the past two weeks I have enjoyed having a full day off from training. Oh, and then there are lots of Campy walks and "sprint" runs around the block when I finish my run. Karel has been pacing me for the past two weeks for my long run which has been very helpful for my pacing. It hurts in a good way and I don't appreciate the progress I am making until the run is finished and I can analyze my logs.

So, what's all this hard work going toward??
This weekend I will be racing a local 10K with Karel and on December 16th I will be racing in the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon.

 The training has been intense over the past few weeks and I'm excited to see if I can get closer to my BIG running goals. One would think that the upcoming races will show off training from the past month of run-specific training but as an athlete, I believe we bank fitness year after year, month after month and race after long as the training is consistent and we keep having fun in our individual journey. Never stop performing beautifully.

When it comes to setting goals for sports/fitness, I believe we should all set realistic, yet challenging goals. Although seasonal goals will keep an athlete motivated throughout a season, I personally enjoy having long-term goals that keep me entertained on the possibility of achieving something beyond my capability at that moment in time. For the past few years, I have challenged my body to running a sub 1:30 half marathon and a sub 40 minute 10K. Earlier this year I broke 20 minutes in a 5K which hurt....bad. I love having a triathlete's body and toeing the line with "runners". I am not afraid to fail and as I have mentioned before I need faster athletes around me to help me reach my full potential. Although in triathlons, I am rarely set on a finishing time, there's something to be said about working so hard for a time in a running race. Picking the right race is important, the weather has to be ideal and the competition should be fierce. Will all things considered, I feel we can all reach goals or inch our way closer to the goals. Remember, some progress is better than no progress.
Half Marathon
12/16/2012 Jax Bank Half Marathon - 1:??:??
11/24/2011 Subaru Half Marathon - 1:31.51
12/19/2010 Jax Bank Half Marathon  - 1:32.34
11/28/2008 Outback Half Marathon - 1:36.30

10K11/17/2012 Mandarin 10K - ??:??
11/14/2011 Rotary 10K - 40.06
4/4/2009 Iron Girl 10K - 45.27
11/15/2008 Mandarin 10K - 45.08
Are you a goal setter? What's your BIG racing goal that seems so impossible but you are willing to work hard in order to achieve it? Or, did you recently achieve your BIG goal?

1 week 'til race day!!

Marni Sumbal

Ugggh....taper blues.

Heavy legs, lethargy, super sleepy, weird appetite, no energy, mood changes....

Don't ya love taper????

A 50% decrease in training volume and with 7 hours of training during our recovery week, it took 6 long days to finally find our legs. Thank goodness that after 6 years I get to share this feeling with Karel. Of course, he has put up with me year after year, race after race, always reminding me "you will be fine on race day". Never have I trained so hard to prepare my mind and body for race day and because of that...WOW - did my body really need time to recover.

It's interesting that in the article on taper blues, the author (

All the money is in the bank

Marni Sumbal

It's hard not to agree with a quote like this. Considering the many things in life that require hard work, it is the consistency of actions, with determination, passion and dedication that bring change. It doesn't happen over night but rather, days, weeks and months of work, work, work. Many people say things in life that require work are worth it and I certainly agree. But what we often forget is that with hard work, we should not stop having fun. If you struggle to have fun or feel like you are a bit on the obsessive side when it comes to training/exercise or the diet, remove (or turn down) the pressure to be perfect all the time. This will help you achieve better balance in staying on track with your personal goals. Never stop remembering that every day you have the ability to inch closer and closer to your goals.
This past weekend was our last "official" weekend of training. On Saturday morning we changed things up and instead of training out of our house, we drove 20 min to the beach because there's nothing better than a cold rinse-off shower (outside) after a hard workout. Oh, and the beach is nice as well.
Saturday was hot and windy. Nothing new. We rode on A1A which made for strong headwind and a fast tailwind. Both directions were challenging for the headwind was a steady hard effort and the tailwind made my legs work hard to stay on Karel's fast wheel.
Our main set was 3 x 40 min w/ 3-4 min EZ spin in between. Weeks and weeks of working up to this point and finally putting the training to the test. The zone was Z3 - nice and steady. I stayed on Karel's wheel and it was a solid workout. Off the bike, a 45 minute run. 3 miles warm-up. 3 miles descending w/ 1 min walk in between. Of course, Karel was nearly a mile ahead of me as his fast cycling legs now enjoy running fast as well.
Sunday morning we were going to do a group run but with the radar looking not-so-good at the beach, we stayed local and both did around 8 miles early this am. Karel did his own thing based on feel and I did 4 miles warm-up and then 4 miles tempo (~7:20-7:29 min/mile, holding the same HR for all 4) w/ 1 min walk in between.
Nutrition is going great and both of us are playing it smart - saving the best performance for race day.
Karel has this saying that I find so appropriate for training:
"All the money is in the bank now. All the work is done. It's time to make investments, rather than withdrawals."
This upcoming week will be a recovery week to allow the body to rejuvinate, repair and relax. No running until Thursday, light swims and bikes this week and an easy weekend of the normal biking and running (but less volume and intensity). The following week is race week and that is officially the "taper" week where intensity is high but volume is low w/ ample recovery. We both have a massage scheduled for next Tues. Monthly massages have been a ritual throughout our 13 (for me) week and 16 week (for Karel) "official" Branson 70.3 training plan.
Wow - can't believe the time is finally here but mind and body are ready. No need to rush the days for the time will come and every day is a day to prepare my mind for the challenge ahead. No need to buy time for my body is strong and healthy. I won't lose fitness in two weeks and I won't gain fitness. All went as planned so it's time to just let the magic happen. Sleep, nutrition, massage, stretching. The work is DONE!
Speaking of nutrition....Sunday's dinner was another winner.
  • Sweet potato slices tossed in olive oil (425 degrees in oven until golden on the bottom)
  • Asparagus (cooked in glass casserole dish in oven, with a little water)
  • Corn on the cob (split w/ Karel) (cooked w/ sweet potatoes)
  • Hard boiled egg (every Sunday I try to boil some eggs for the week for easy protein for lunches)
  • Brown rice w/ tomatoes, black beans and feta cheese (this was easy - microwave rice for 20 minutes, cut up tomatoes, rinse can of black beans under cold water for 1 minute and toss w/ feta cheese. I made leftovers for work the next day).
Even thought I've been a vegetarian for almost 19.5 years, these creations never get boring and they taste A-mazing. I really get inspired by flavors (a lot of the time, based on what I am craving) and get excited by what the foods can offer my body. There is always a time and place for processed foods and I'm not a believer of "off limit" foods. But with plant-strong meals, there isn't always a lot of room for the "extra" stuff so it all seems to work out that we (at our place) can eat wholesome meals without feeling restricted in our diet.
Most of all, there's a lot of yumming when we eat and I love feeling better after I eat, than before.  The best part for me is creating creations and seeing food for its powerful nutrients, rather than counting calories.
For those who are working on their own personal journey in order to focus more on quality over quantity, keep in mind that some progress and slow progress is better than no progress.
And to make sure you start your week with a smile - another Campy pic reminding us all that an after-work walk is the best feeling in the world after you have been inside all day.

Weekly recap - food, workouts and Campy

Marni Sumbal

Another week is about to come to an end. Branson 70.3 is approaching and life is keeping us busy. After our hilly bike + run workout in San Antonio (Dade City), Florida this AM, I'm in recovery mode so this blog post is very random but a brief summary of the week.
First off, another pic of Campy. Doing his thing - focusing on a good night of rest.
What a workout today! Karel told me it would be tough....and it was. 58 miles in hilly San Antonio - staying on his wheel and keeping his pace. Love my new climbing cassette and enjoyed having Karel in front of me to remind me how to pace my race on Sept 23rd. Love the hills but also need to race smart.
After the bike we went our seperate ways as I can no longer keep up w/ Karel on the run. We both ran for about an hour but w/ Karel holding an average pace of 6:50 min/mile for his 8 miles, I was just glad to do my thing for 7 miles. It was blazin' hot but we both felt good when it was over.
We both practiced our nutrition for Branson 70.3 by really focusing on getting in more calories on the first half of the bike. I typically use around 220 calories an hour during my long bike rides but I've increased it a bit and made sure to drink frequently (every 10-15 minutes) while riding. For the run, I'm really paying attention to my heart rate for when it gets too high, it's hard to recover (and digest/absorb nutrition properly). All great things to consider for any athlete who is preping for a race. Pre, during and post nutrition are my main priorities on a daily basis for I am an athlete. Not an exerciser.
Campy posing for the camera as Karel and I recover in my parents' pool.
Have you picked up/received the October issue of Runner's World? I think we'd all agree that the best opportunities in life come with hard work, determination, patience and passion. I was beyond excited to receive the October issue of Runner's World (special nutrition issue) and see my quotes and business name on pg.55 and 61 in the "Grocery run" article. Make sure you check it out- this issue is filled with great material! Thanks for all the congrats and likes on my facebook page - I really appreciate it!!

Monday and Tuesday were recovery days....Just like last week. My body has been feeling great so the intentional recovery days are working perfectly. Karel and I swam an easy 2500 yards on Tuesday morning and took Monday completely off (aside from several daily Campy walks). Wed was a really tough swim and I'm really stepping things up by swimming in the "guys" lane. I Love to be pushed and although sometimes I need to adjust the set so I don't get lapped, it is still a great workout for me. Karel is doing GREAT in the water and I'm jealous that his "newbie" status allows him to make big improvements in such a short amount of time. On Friday we did 8 x 200's as our main set and I managed to squeeze in a 2:30 for #8. By far my fastest 200 in a LONG time. I've been working so hard for those little seconds here or there whereas Karel, on the other hand is dropping 5 seconds a 100 - almost every 1-2 weeks! Jealous but proud ;)
Track on Thursday was hard....really hard. Karel came up with our set and it was a killer on the lungs. Legs felt good thanks to consistent workouts + recovery but still a challenge for the body.
Main set: 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/2 mile.
Each interval had a specific pace for me to hold and I walked 200 meters in between. I was sweating buckets out there but it was a great way to start the day. Above is the smoothie I made - blueberries, whey protein, peach, milk, ice cubes, chia seeds, almonds, banana, spinach, celery and carrots. And a piece of cinnamon raisin toast. YUM!

Work has been going great at the hospital and I'm learning lots. I love the balance between clinical nutrition and sport nutrition/fitness/wellness through my business. There's always something to learn and both jobs are super rewarding.

Above is a pic of my oatmeal - blueberries, chia seeds, oats, banana, sunflower seeds, cinnamon. Such a delightful (and filling) way to start my day. I'd consider this meal #1 but I start my morning w/ a pre-training snack, fuel during all workouts and then recovery nutrition (either smoothie, whey or milk). In case you missed it, here's an article I did on Oats for USA Triathlon.

Hope you enjoyed the random weekly recap! Enjoy the rest of the long weekend and be safe.

Whewww. What a weekend

Marni Sumbal

I remember a while back when I use to think of the week as 5 days + 2 days. It was easy to look forward to the weekend, whether it was to train, relax, eat..whatever. But one thing I've learned over the years is that a week that becomes chunky, is simply a rushed week. Life rushes by super quickly and I find it important to enjoy every day you are given. Your life, your actions, your results.

Since Thurs (or late Wed evening), Karel has been enjoying himself in the mountains of North Carolina with a few of his friends.

Yep - he left me and Campy at home and from the looks of it, he is really roughin' it :)

But not to worry - Campy got in some quality training and a little vitamin D as I stretched outside...sporting my new Oakley Women Changoever shades

Saturday morning was an early start with a 3 mile run.
A little change to the normal bike + run, Karel had me running first and right after, getting on my bike for some tempo intervals.
It was an akward feeling to run first but I always enjoy a change in the schedule. The workout looked easy on paper but because the zones were low in intensity, I just couldn't seem to hold them steady.  Maybe my ego got in the way this morning as it is always hard to hold back when you know you can push harder.I suppose Karel is slowly teaching me more about pacing as that is something I continue to struggle with on the bike....but always a work in progress.
2:30 bike
Main set:
2 x 8 min Z4 w/ 2 min EZ
15 min upper Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
18 min mid Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
22 min low Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
20 min low Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
Rest of the ride Z2.

Then off for another run and wow - was it hot out!!
6 miles. 2 mile warm-up. Then 3 miles descending (7:29, 7:18, 7:10). Then cool down.

Lucky for Campy, he got two mini runs this morning....I love having him as a training partner!

Sunday morning was another early start and another new change in my routine.
Karel has been running with the Turtle Run group at Atlantic Beach on Sun mornings for the past two weekends so he encouraged me to go to my first ever group run.

I was excited and not nervous but certainly, a group run at 6:30am on a Sunday made for an early 4:50am wake-up on the weekend.

I ran with Jeff and 2 other guys and although most of the run was conversational, it was certainly a run that kept me at the top of my comfort zone.

Total time: 1:40
Pace: 7:49 min/mile (woah baby - can't do that alone!)
Distance: 12.88
average HR: 140 beats

Splits per mile: 7:45, 7:31, 7:39, 7:41, 7:53, 7:52, 7:53, 7:35, 7:27. Cool down: 8:03, 8:04, 8:06, 7:08 (for last .88 mile)

After the run, I got on my bike for a necessary recovery spin. 1 hour and a speedy 14.8 mile per hour average :)

After the morning workout, I had the pleasure of having a late pancake breakfast w/ my friend/co-worker Susan who is having her baby this week (I will be filling in for her at Baptist Beaches during her maternity leave).

While I was making dinner (or whatever you want to call a meal around 4pm), I was thinking to myself about the yumminess that was about to enter my body. Rather than seeing the food as "fuel" or as something "healthy" occured to me that my lifestyle was effectively using the food that I was putting nto my body. Because I am nourishing my body, I am able to live the active life that I crave on a daily basis. Perhaps we can all start taking a more proactive approach to living a more balaned life.

Starch: 1 sweet potato (microwaved)
Veggies: broccoli (steamed), red pepper, corn, onions, garlic, kale
Protein: Tempeh
Whole grain: Millet (prepared ahead of time)
Oil: Olive oil
Seasonings: marjaram, chili powder, pepper, parsley

1. In a large skillet, sautee veggies (except kale) and tempeh on medium heat in olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan, lightly.)
2. When veggies begin to brown, add kale and toss in a little more olive oil.
3. Turn off heat when kale begins to wilt a little and add seasonings.
4. Place serving of millet in a shallow dish, add veggie mixture and chopped sweet potato pieces (I made lots to have leftovers for tomorrow so I used 1/2 sweet potato and saved the other half for tomorrow).
It's ok to yum out loud when you eat this. Campy was confused as I ate this...way too much yumming.

Making every minute count

Marni Sumbal

 Everyone talks about the lifestyle component of healthy living. Certainly, it's easier said than done.

In looking back at my life over the past 6 years, I have stayed extremely active with  my triathlon lifestyle but I have also created some awesome habits that keep me happy, consistent and healthy.

It isn't rocket science to create this lifestyle habits but it's so hard at times because of all the chatter out there as to the right, wrong ways of doing things. It's like everyone is an expert out there as to how you should live but obviously, they don't walk in your shoes.

I think one of the hardest parts of training for sports or appreciating a more balanced diet is the trust factor. It's almost as if athlets fail at their continual attempts to live a healthier lifestyle by losing trust in their own actions as soon as someone starts talking about a better, newer, faster or easier way to do things. One thing I've learned over the years is to focus on myself. Sounds sellfish but hey, it's my life and I have a lot of responsibilities in my life.

As a professional, my knowledge comes from textbooks, journals and scientific research. I will occasionally read the outrageous blog posts, articles and facebooks posts from people talking about x-diet or training advice...but I always go back to applying scientific evidence to real world settings. I just don't have time to waste energy on people screamng to others to DO THIS AND DON'T DO THAT!!! Yes - that is how people talk on the web...why do people sound so angry all the time when their intent is to convince you to change something in your life to "be heathier"?

Again- I just don't have the energy to focus on what I am not suppose to do....I suppose that is because I am doing too much of the right things in life, that make me feel good.

Tuesday morning was an early workout on the track. What a great feeling to be excited to train with others - running in circles at 6:30am. I joined Karel and Jeff for the same workout as last week - 3 x 1 miles w/ 400 meters jog/walk in between.
6:12, 6:08, 6:07 per mile.
Thank you legs for that one!

I wasn't able to bike with the guys for I had to work at Baptist South. I suppose I could have made the time to bike but it's all about balance.
Recovery drink
Shower/change/get ready

For me, the extra time spent on recovery is more worthwhile than an hour on the bike for with proper recovery, I train more consistently and I don't have to worry about getting injured or gettng sick.

Around 5:15pm, it was time for workout #2.
1 hour bike + 2 mile run
It was a quicky but a goodie.
Main set on bike: 5 x 4 min upper/mid Z4 w/ 2 min EZ
Run off the bike - 1 mile "hard", 1 mile cool down.

Every workout has a purpose and this was a great finish to the day.

But, my day wasn't over at 6:45pm.

I had a few more priorities to keep my consistent with my "balanced lifestyle"
-Run 1/2 mile with Campy around the block
-Make dinner - quick!
-Make breakfast for Wed (due to going straight to work after swim/weights)
-Make lunch for Wed

As soon as I finished my run with Campy, I turned on the oven and a pan on the stove (to medium heat).
I ran upstairs for a quick shower, then back downstairs to prep dinner.

I chopped eggplant, washed mushrooms, chopped onions, steamed corn and broccoli and sliced tomatoes.

I put 3 tilapia in the oven (marinated with dressing) for Karel (dinner and lunch the next day) and cooked my veggies on the stove in olive oil.
As the veggies were cooking, I scrambled 2 egg whites + 1 whole egg in the microwave for my protein the next day.

As I was cooking dinner, I had a glass of milk + handful of shredded wheat cereal and a few strawberries.

And just in time - Karel came home around 7:20pm from work and dinner was ready....
And so was breakfast, snacks and lunch for the next day.

Breakfast - leftover smoothie from Tues morning, consumed after swimming on Wed w/ banana and PB.
Mid morning snack - non fat dannon yogurt + nuts/seeds + blueberries, cinnamon, cheerios and pecans (more like breakfast #2 during my break teaching the Diabetes Class at Baptist Beaches) pictured below....bed of dark greens, w/ leftover veggies, scrambled eggs, leftover Basmati rice and topped w/ mozzarella cheese, drizzled with sunflower oil and for crunch, some pistachios on the side.

My lifestyle works for me. I think ahead, plan ahead and work ahead. The other day I received an email from a Trimarni Nutrition athlete who told me at 9pm she decided to bake some veggies in the oven for lunch the next day - for she was busy around the house so she thought she may as well make lunch the next day. Funny thing is that she said that that idea would have never occured to her before we started working together. I guess a few years ago, it didn't occur to me either but I desired more consistency in my life and I discovered better use of my time.

It's moment like those that make me really happy that I can inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle. I suppose I could rejoice with you that chocolate is now "approved" to be "healthy" (According to this study) OR you can just eat dark chocolate because you like it. In our household, dark chocoalte is a daily thing (1 ounce for me). But believe it or not, I don't eat chocolate just because a research study tells me it is healthy. I enjoy it, I savour it and it works for me.

Even for myself, it is difficult to put all your trust into research, articles and the media. Because food is such a sensitive topic for many, the best advice I can give in this blog is to make every minute count. Take that advice as you wish but perhaps next time you are eating because you are bored, trying to put off something that you don't want to do, emotional, stressed or sure to let food enhance your lifestyle, not control your life. You can't live your life fearing cancer and at the same time, you aren't living life if you are constantly obsessing about your body. Let your choices in life, work in your favor and before you know it, you will be living the life you never could have imagined....and yes, it feels that  good to live a balanced lifestyle.

Disclaimer: I have to admit that this little guy make me feel so lucky to be alive and healthy. I just love making memories for him in his short little life.

Salad Pizza - YUM!

Marni Sumbal

Sunday morning was a toughy.
Karel kicked my butt...more like, he made my butt work hard!!

On my Training Peaks schedule, Karel had "Brick with Karel" .That's it and I didn't ask questions. When I train with Karel, I've learned that to be mentally strong, I have to be willing to try to stay on Karel's wheel and with that, I can't psyche myself out before the workout starts.

On Saturday, after Karel's race, I did a Z2 3- hour endurance ride just to loosen my legs from one of my toughest long runs, on Friday (10.5 miles). I had no intentions to run on Saturday for I wanted as much recovery as possible before Sunday's workout.

At 6:30am, we were out the door. Karel said he was a little sore but he was glad he had the day off on Saturday from work, to recover from the intense effort of the sprint triathlon. Although it was only a sprint, it was an all out max effort for one hour. I think many people downplay the stress on the body for a sprint or Olympic distance race and overlook the changes with the diet, altered sleep and recovery that comes with racing. For even if it is "only" a 1-2 hour race, the body still suffers and with that, always be mindful of how you choose to reward it or punish it after a race.

After a 35 min. warm-up, it was time for the main set.
2 x 8 min Z4 w/ 2 min recovery
4 min EZ
15 min upper Z3 w/ 4 min recovery
2 x 22 min upper Z3 w/ 4 min recovery

And the surprise at the end, just when I thought I had suffered enough on Karel's wheel,
2 x 8 min Z4 w/ 2 min recovery
Z2 ABP (Always be pushing) effor on the way home

I couldn't believe it but I made the entire set (with a great attitude) and felt super strong. I've finally dialed down my nutrition at this point in my training, for as I become stronger and more efficient, I know I need to be mindful of how I am fueling before and during my workouts. I have no problem recoverying from workouts for I believe I recover really fast thanks to a wheyprotein smoothie and cereal or milk + carb-rich breakfast (w/ protein).
Pre training I had oats, milk and banana slices with a few pecans. I have noticed that this combo sits better in me when I don't cook the oats so I have been eating it cold and it tastes delicious. Oh, I always have cinnamon with my breakfast - or anytime I can sneak it in for fantastic flavor. YUM!

We did a big loop, starting from our place and then through Nocatee, over the bridge, to A1A, to the Vilano bridge into St. Augustine area then back toward home on Philips Hwy/US 1. It was a bit cloudy out so that helped but it didn't make the workout any easier.

Stats from Karel's ride and me suffering behind him on his wheel....
2:42 total time
58.71 miles
Average speed: 21.71mph
Main set:
8 min - 24mph, power 162, HR 134 (my HR and my power - I just stayed behind Karel as he stuck to his zones and my workout was steady because of that)
8 min - 23.61 mph, power 171, HR 135
15 min - 23.69 mph (OMG - it was SO windy on A1A with a tough cross wind making it SO hard to draft), power 175, HR 141
22 min - 22.57 mph, power 162, HR 139
22 min - 23.17 mph, power 162, HR 137
8 min - 25.25 mph, power 168, HR 140
8 min - 24.72 mph, power 176,HR 140

Certainly, I can not hold those speeds alone but riding with Karel (who is really steady) only makes me stronger. As for being able to push a high power during my rides (not being able to sustain those watts on my own for this entire workout), when I draft there are microseconds here and there where I can recover so that helps vs pushing alone and not being able to take a breather here or there in an interval.

Karel was really impressed that I was able to stay on his wheel after each interval but as the workout went on, my responses of "I'm ok" turned into the look of "are we done yet?". But, I kept telling myself "Marni - this is doable! The bigger question is DO you want to DO this!". Thinking back to all the workouts in the past that I was not able to survive with Karel, I was ready to not give up and to just give my best effort. Thankfully, my best effort lead to one of my best workouts.

After the bike.....came the run.
Again, the look of "uggg, do we have to?" but Karel assured me that it was a conversational run. Once we started running, a mile ticked by with us chatting about training, races and how much we both wanted pizza for dinner.
It was super hot out but we managed to have a quality run to finish a really great morning of training.

Stats from run:
36 minutes
4.55 miles
Pace: 7:57
(last 1/2 mile w/ Campy)
Mile 1: 7:45
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:59
Mile 4: 8:00

Karel had to work 12-4 and I was on the computer all afternoon with training plans and nutrition for my athletes/fitness enthusiasts. It was a tiring day but I couldn't wait for our yummy dinner.

No food after tough training or a race makes me happier than Pizza.

It's all too often that I hear athletes say "I deserved it or I earned it". In my mind, you can have pizza or x-food anytime you want. For you need calories to survive on a daily basis, so it is up to you how you want to divide them out.

But for most of us, we'd agree that some days food tastes better than on other days and certainly, pizza is one of those foods.

In learning to develop a healthier relationship with food, I invite you all to learn how to speak about food more kindly and respectfully. For beating yourself up with every bite of food is no way to enjoy food. As we were enjoying local pizza, topped with my assortment of roasted veggies (eggplant, onions, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and not pictured, tofu, pineapple and beans), it wasn't the pizza that was making me happy but rather the entire experience. Watching the Tour de France with Karel (and Campy), tasting each flavor in the "salad" pizza and talking about our morning workout and how I felt so strong. A few years ago, I was not able to even think about riding with Karel. Certainly, my two slices of pizza topped with my beautiful selection of veggies were enjoyed with every bite and I only had good feelings, thoughts and emotions as I refueled with Karel (we both had a smoothie post workout and a large glass of water with a splash of OJ and 1 hammer FIZZ).

I have been hearing a lot of people say "I don't eat that" and that makes me concerned as to how that resonates to other. For if you hear me say "I don't eat that" and I am referring to meat, well you may think "meat is bad" or "off limit" if you didn't know I was a 19 -year vegetarian. Perhaps you are on your journey of developing a quality lifestyle and regardless of your fitness status or weight, you enjoy a slice or two of pizza (on any given day) with a friend, loved one or family member. Having someone tell you "I don't eat that"  could make you question your food choice, your goals and your body. There's so much wrapped up in food that if we could all just speak about food a little nicer, maybe we could all have a healthier relationship with food and feel more confidence about our food choices.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, there is no reason to justify your eating. You only cheat on your diet if you have rules, lists and restrictions..and that's no fun, who wants that?

Own your choices and be proud of your choices. Belive it or not, sometimes pizza is just the best thing that you can eat to reward your body when it needs to refuel. And boy, does it taste great when you can put a quality workout  in the memory bank!

My "Salad' pizza. Local cheese pizza topped with my own selection of roasted veggies. I saved a lot of money by buying local and it was filled with flavor (and nutrient density).

Triathletes n' Training

Marni Sumbal

Two words. Diet and Sleep. There's really no other way that I would be able to function on a daily basis...for I have a lot of contained and natural energy for life and I want to be sure I perform beautifully on a daily basis....forever. Every day I strive keep my body fueled with food that makes me feel good inside and to rest my body for 7-8 hours, every night of the week. For triathlon training is my lifestyle and not my life. I don't have to be a triathlete to be healthy (not to mention an Ironman lover) so I consider my triathlon training a gift that I have been given for my body allows me to train optimally on a daily basis - so long as I reward it with healthy fuel and adequate sleep.

On Sunday morning, I did a 5 mile run (average pace 7:30 min/miles) just to wake up the legs. Saturday's brick was tough so I welcomed a change in the routine from a normal "Sunday long run".

After my run, my bike took me to the biggest mountain near my place...ok, a hill maybe? Here in Florida, we will take whatever we can get so after my warm-up, I did 10 x bridge repeaters with the highest cadence I could sustain (I was aiming for over 80 rpm) and I stayed seated during each climb. I recovered on the downhill, spinning out my legs with a few deep exhales to rid my body of CO2 and did it again and again and again, etc. As Karel would say "it hurt so good."

Monday was an active recovery day so Karel and I swam at the Y for a drill focused swim - after we woke up without an alarm...ah, love a restful night of sleep. I think we swam around a 2500, primarily focusing on form and efficiency.

Tuesday was a nice twist to the normal routine. Karel's boss, Jeff invited us to join him at the UNF track for a workout at 6:30am. Karel was totally up to the challenge and after he texted me to check my Training Peaks schedule, I read that I was about to be up to the challenge as well. Notes from coach Karel "Track workout w/ Karel". It's nice being married to my coach :)

This is a pic of the certified track which we are not allowed to use but I wasn't able to snap a pic of the other track that we used next door because the sprinklers were on....a refreshing feeling mid workout!

After a few laps for warm-up, we did a lap of dynamic running drills to open up the hips and to further loosen the body.

Main set 3 x 1 mile repeaters at threshold pace. 1 lap (400 meters) walk/jog recovery.

We all started together but with Karel as our rabbit, Jeff and I stayed together and let Karel run like forest....looking like he was trying to break the 4-minute mile! What a speedster!

With Jeff being a lean Ironman triathlete yet former NFL player, he pushed me to be consistent as I was drafting right behind him for each mile repeater.

Jeff and my splits for each mile:

Karel's splits for each mile:

After a few cool down laps, I couldn't believe the amazing workout that we had. I am now giddy for the next track workout as it was a great change in the routine and it felt so great on my legs to be running on a rubbery track. So....workout #1 was complete, now time for the bike.

We drove a few miles down the road to the Beach Trek Store and changed into our bike gear and off we went for a ride along Jax Beach and the Ponte Vedra Beach. Karel and Jeff were riding at a comfortable pace and I was behind them, drafting with a slightly higher heart rate than normal.

Karel and Jeff did a 15 mile TT (time trial) so I wanted nothing to do with that. My set was quality and just perfect for me...
4 x 8 min Z3 upper to low Z4 (the first minute of each 8 min interval was "hard" with a high cadence) w/ 4 min EZ spin.

A fantastic morning of training....which was just the start of a fun-filled, busy day w/ a lunch n' learn and lots of computer work for my coaching and nutrition athletes.

Wednesday - strength and swim. I did several hip and core/lower back exercises before master's swim and was joined by Karel who has progressed exceptionally well with his swim. In the past two months since he started swimming seriously, he has swam 3 times a week for most weeks with most of the workouts dedicated to stroke technique and skills. There have been only a handful of times where he has done "a set" for he has the endurance but it is all about efficiency. When we do sets together, I typically have him doing 50's so that he can get his HR up to improve his threshold but not to fatigue him so that he will lose his form. Karel often joins Masters swim for our coach really helps him with his stroke and he adjusts the workout as needed to meet his needs based on his comfort and skills in the water. There's no rush with his tri-journey for it is all about the skills to make up great performances. Quality not quantity.

This morning was a fantastic workout given by coach Lindsay....
300 swim, 200 IM drill, 100 skull
12 x 50's free (desc every 4) on 1 minute
500 kick (25 fast, 25 free)
Main set 6x's:
300 (75 fast, 75 easy, 50 fast, 50 easy, 25 fast, 25 easy) w/ 15 sec rest
100 cool down (for me - I had to get out early)
Total: 3600 yards

As for fuel.....this was last nights dinner which was so delicious and savory and just bursting with flavor and color:

Jambalaya rice (prepare ahead of time - 20 minutes)
Sweet potato (cubed)
Frozen veggies (broccoli, carrots, peas, peppers, onions, corn, green beans)
Large portabella mushrooms (thick slices)
Orange juice (a few splashes)
Olive oil
Ginger (shaved around 1 tsp)

1. In large pot, cook veggies in a little olive oil (enough to lightly cover middle part of pan and add about 1/8 cup water to help with mixing. Cook on low-medium heat.
2. Add tofu while cooking sweet potato in microwave. Stir occasionally.
3. Splash with a few spoonfuls orange juie and add in ginger.
(recommend season with curry, marjoram and chili pepper - or your favs)
4. Serve 1 serving rice (cooked) in shallow dish and toss in lots of the veggie stir fry. Top with cubed sweet potato (Karel and I split a large one)

Be sure you make leftovers for work the next's my leftover dish that I enjoyed at my hospital, Baptist Medical Center Beaches after helping to teach a 4-hour diabetes class.

I added Kale, parmesan cheese and peanuts to last night's meal. YUM!

Sleep well tonight and dream of this.......

Weekend wrap-up

Marni Sumbal

There was a wealth of valuable and credible (key word - CREDIBLE) information provided by a group of brillant individuals at the International Society of Sports Nutrition annual conference. Info presented on research, not found on blogs or from strong-minded nutrition guru's.

Whereas most of the population hears info like this "the amino acids in protein will help you recover faster after a workout", this is what I hear at the ISSN conference from the PhD's:

"Essential amino acids (EAA), particularly leucine, also have been shown to activate the mTOR signaling pathway, which turns on the translational machinery necessary for muscle protein synthesis in both rodent and human models. Recently, it was shown that EAA apparently activate mTOR via a unique class 3 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), hVps34, which stimulates mTOR by an unknown mechanism, bypassing the insulin-induced activation of mTOR through Akt. However, mTOR activation due to nutrient intake of both essential amino acids and carbohydrate (EAA+CHO) may be accomplished via the insulin-stimulated signaling pathway through PI3K-Akt-TSC2 as well as the insulin-independent amino acid-induced pathway just described (i.e., hVps34).
More recently, we measured mTOR signaling and muscle protein synthesis after ingestion of a leucine enriched EAA+CHO solution. After ingestion of EAA+CHO, muscle protein synthesis increased ~100% within 1 h. The rapid increase in muscle protein synthesis was associated with a significant increase in Akt and mTOR phosphorylation as well as phosphorylation of downstream components S6K1 and 4E-BP1, indicating that translation initiation was enhanced. In addition, eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF2) phosphorylation decreased significantly compared with base-line, suggesting that elongation of translation was also stimulated by this leucine-enriched “anabolic” nutrient solution.
Postexercise nutrient ingestion, in the form of EAA alone or in combination with carbohydrate (EAA+CHO) has clearly shown that muscle protein synthesis is elevated above that measured following resistance exercise alone."
(Source) - this research study specifically was not discussed in the conference but there was a lot of great recent research on leucine and protein for increasing protein synthesis.

Certainly, this is heavy duty stuff for even me to understand in terms of fully understanding the mechanisms of action...I'll leave that to the PhD's. However, in my Master Degree program, we did learn a lot in term of HOW nutrition and exercise affect the body, specifically on a muscular and chemical level.

And, I must add that this is why it is so very important for the public to consult a qualified professionals to help with training, nutrition or health for research can answer questions but it doesn't answer all questions. Science must always be applied to real world situations and it can certainly be confusing and misleading when bloggers, websites and guru's are citing every single research study OR can not adopt the information in a real-world setting.

Although I didn't completely remove my clinical dietitian/RD hat at this conference, I am leaving this two -day conference with an abundance of information on nutrient timing, supplements and exercise physiology. As a professional in the field of health and wellness, I can firmly say that my ongoing (and always evolving) philosophy and POV with diet and exercise is supported and validated by a bunch of great research presented this weekend....specifically on the topics of a plant strong diet, not avoiding carbs, consuming quality protein, prioritizing sport nutrition before, during and after training consuming dairy in the diet. And, to the relief (or surprise) of many there was absolutely no support or discussion on ANY diet that restricts or limits carbohydrates (aka "carbs are bad" in order to increase lean muscle mass or to improve performance and I strongly caution anyone who chooses to follow a mass-marketed diet that severely restricts critical nutrients in order to boost performance and help with health and body composition.

Now, I will say that EVERY individual has his/her own prescription for the distribution of macronutrients in his/her diet but this should not come with a list of dietary rules or off-limit lists that make you feel restricted or guilty. I strongly support a balanced diet - I believe fat, carbs and protein should all be consumed as macronutrients within a plant-strong micronutrient-rich diet. ...for health, body composition and performance gains.

I have a great appreciation for professionals who provide sound advice and this is why I choose to treat my athletes and fitness enthusiasts as individuals and do my best to keep up with research and apply in real world settings. I'm so excited to take all this amazing info and continue to help others fuel for life and for sport. I am also happy to have a roller dex of emails and go-to contacts for when I need a second opinion or clarification for a research study or topic.

I am very excited to sum-up the conference as there was SO much awesome info I just couldn't help but soak it all an effort to help all you athletes and fitness enthusiasts that have athletic, health and body composition goals. I may be a RD, but I am an exercise physiologist at heart. It is this nice balance that allows me to (legally) help individuals reach all types of body-related goals.

Speaking of exercise "long" run on Saturday morning was a successfully challenging one. I stayed with one of my athletes at Clearwater Beach to help me save some time from driving an extra 2 hours (there and back) to my parents on Friday evening. I still didn't have a lot of time for training on Sat morning so I did what I could and focused on what I "CAN" do. I normally bike before I run but there wasn't enough time before my 9:30am conference + 90 min run (plus making sure I didn't sacrifice too much sleep because we all know sleep can make or break consistent performance gains) so I did about 10 min of active running drills before my run plus a solid warm-up around the streets of Clearwater Beach.

Mentally, this workout wasn't bad because I love running on new roads. Physically, the workout was tough but doable.

1:20 - 1:30 run
(instructed no more than 12 miles by Karel if my distance was reached before the time)

3.5 mile warm-up
Main set:
3 x 1 mile mid to upper Z3 (or holding 7:10-7:20 pace goal) w/ 45 sec rest.
4 min EZ jog
3  1 mile mid to upper Z3 (same pace as above) w/ 30 sec rest.
4 min EZ jog

Cool down

For nutrition:
Pre-workout 45 min before
*Piece of flat bread + smear of PB + banana slices, 8 ounces water + cup of coffee w/ skim milk.
(Typically I have toast before my run specific workouts but since I was not biking before, I know I need a little lighter carb choice on my system but one that still supplies a similar amount of carbs to toast)
*During workout:
1 bottle water and 1 bottle w/ 1.5 scoops HEED (Hammer) at my "stopping" point. I refueled after warm-up (sipping sport drink and using water to rinse mouth and cool body) and took a sip to simulate aid stations between every interval.
*Post workout:
12 ounces - 8 ounces milk + 4 ounces water + 1/2 scoop whey protein + handful shredded wheat cereal (had this as I was getting ready).
My amazing host/athlete, James, made me the most delicious egg omelet w/ beans, spinach, cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onion and 2 slices whole grain bread (I couldn't finish it all so I saved 1 slice of bread for a mid morning snack w/ the other half of my banana). I also had 1 FIZZ during the morning at the conference and had a glass of water with breakfast.

Stats from run:
1:27 (time)
Miles: 11.06
Average pace: 7:55 min/mile (didn't stop my watch during the workout - this includes walk breaks)
Average HR: 139 beats

Mile 1: 8:23
Mile 2: 8:00
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 3.5: 8:03
Mile Intervals:
#1: 7:08 (HR 144)
#2: 7:13 (HR 147)
#3: 7:06 (HR 150)
4 min EZ jog (8:35 pace, HR 135)
#4: 7:14 (HR 146)
#5: 7:18 (HR 149)
#6: 7:35 (HR 148) - didn't have much left so went by perceived effort...this was my 80% effort and I'll take it vs quitting and not doing the last interval
4 min EZ + cool down: 9:31 (130 HR)

The Sumbal's will be racing together at.....

Marni Sumbal

Karel and I met on a group bike rid in 2006, on my birthday. I was a newbie cyclist, barely able to ride 18mph without suffering. I had no skills on the bike and I was scared to ride with others. It was just a few weeks prior that I did  my first half ironan at Disney and I was 7 months away from my first Ironman.

Karel came into my life and ever since then, we have shared some amazing memories on our bikes.

If you read my blogs or know anything about Karel, he lives and breaths cycling. As the GM of the Trek store, Karel is the guru of anything and all things bikes and people in the community know that. Karel can disect even the smallest noise on group ride and fix it in a blink of an eye. He is just that good with bikes but also, being a perfectionist doesn't hurt him when it comes to perfecting his skills both on an off the bike.

As we all know, Karel's fire burns for cycling and he has never stopped loving the bike since the age of 3. From the suffering to daily bike riding to following riders on the internet and on TV, he loves it all...and I have learned to love it with him. 

I have never asked Karel to do a triathlon because he loves his lifestyle of road racing, mountain biking and the occasional 10K and half marathon in the off-season where he effortlessly runs sub 7 min/mile pace without much training. Certainly, knowing there is a beer at the end of a run never hurts either.

Realizing that there are many multi-sport families and relationships out there, we are just like everyone else. We love competing and we love training. We love understanding our sports and keeping things balanced to profit from living a fun and exciting life.

Keeping in mind that Karel titles himself a "cyclist" and I am a "triathlete", I firmly believe that couples who are active should share similar lifestyles and it's perfectly fine to have different passions.

I think of us as a team and with us both being able to ride our bikes and have that in common, Karel has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and do some amazing things on my bicycle...of course, things I never thought were possible without his support, guideance and knowledge. 

(Lake Tahoe)

(Our very first trip together after 4 months of dating in 2006 - we rode our bikes around Lake Tahoe and enjoy some amazing scenery. I'm pretty sure this took me all day as I loved the climbs but the downhills -  not so much)

(Georgia mountains trip 2007 - climbed Brasstown Bald which is the highest natural point in Georgia)

(6-Gap century event completed in Georgia in 2009! The HARDEST event of my life - I wanted to quit 10 million times but sadly, no cell reception so I had to keep going.)

(My first time mountain biking in 2011 - why not on the Smokey Mountains??? Karel gave me pointers all the way up but waited a long time for me to finally make my way down the mountain)

And with all those accomplishments being shared together, it's been a joy over the past 6 years to feel like a team when it comes to reaching our own personal goals.


                                            (Athens Twilight criterium finisher - 2010 and 2011)

(Karel coaching me to a 4th place, roll-down Kona slot, 10:57 finish at 2010 IMWI. I love this pic because Karel is literally holding me up before my legs give out,)

(And what better than to share my 5th Ironan finish and 2nd Ironman World Chapionship finish in Oct 2011, than with my best friend, coach and bike mechanic :)

So, with no further hestitation.....

Karel has decided to put the bike racing on hold for a few months as he is now a Tri-geek!!

Ok - sorry, I had to say it. :)

Karel is always looking for a challenge and he needed a change. Still enjoying his road bike at times and his mountain bike, Karel has added goggles and Newton running shoes to his gear collection....and I have a new multi-sport training partner!

I will save the details of his progress over the past few weeks, for another blog so I suppose you are all waiting for the announcement as to what triathlon we will be doing together this summer.

A, too short.
An Ironman...his swim skills aren't ready for that yet.
An Olympic....ehh.


On September, 23rd, 2012, Karel and I will be heading to the Vegas of the Midwest......Branson, Missouri for the Branson 70.3!!!

Hello HILLS!!!

There are several reasons why we picked this race - but I will spare you the details for another blog as I am sure you are ready to see the new addition to our bike family...

(Di2 equipped Speed Concept - quark, electronic shifting, garmin 500...I'll have to get the details on the rest of the components for the bike gurus)

 According to Karel, "this ride is sick...all I have to do is steer it, it's so freakin' fast".

Looks like my blogs will be a bit more exciting over the next few months as I will have the opportunity to dedicate a few blog here or there and share our journey together - cyclist turned triathlete. Also, I am excited to put on my coaching hat a bit more than normal on this blog and provide some helpful pointers for all the newbies out there who are considering diving into a new sport....for even if you have fitness, it's all about the skills and focusing on the bigger picture.

Always keep in mind that your love for competition, racing, training and fitness is a lifestyle and there is no rush in the sure to enjoy every day by recognizing at least one thing that you are able to accomplish for that day.

Oakley spotted and good LAVA magazine reads

Marni Sumbal

The July 2012 (issue 14) LAVA magazine was filled with fantastic surprise - it is one quality magazine with amazing photo's and brightly colored ads.

The issue featuring Lance Armstrong was wonderful and I am sure I'm not alone when I report how sad I am about the recent USADA allegations, which is now causing Lance to be banned from triathlons. I think Lance has done wonders for his own sporting career as well as helping the lives of so many cancer survivors and families of those who fought a hard fight. But most importantly, in relevance to the current media frenzy of banning Lance from triathlons, this makes me incredibly upset because I think Lance is doing amazing things for the sport of triathlons - not only for the professional and sponsors but also for inspiring people around the world to take part in this amazing lifestyle of swim-bike-run. I'm trying to not to spend too much energy on this issue but it really does make me sad as the human body is an amazing piece of work...and I love watching Lance's body go to work. He is purely a gift to science and above all, he loves to race and we all love that as well.

I remember when I was a young swimmer and I couldn't wait to watch Janet Evans and other notable swimmers take the blocks at the Olympics. At the age of 30 - I still get excited...counting down the days for the Olympics. I feel many people understand my enthusiasm for competitive sports as it isn't just about watching gifted athletes go for the gold or cross a finish line in first but rather empathizing with the sacrifices that were made in order to pursue goals and to defy the odds. In our house, triathlons, cycling, running, swimming, boxing...these are the sports we love to watch and the DVR has not shortage of recordings to keep us entertained on a daily basis.

Back on topic now...
There was a lot of great info in the July issue of Lava and if you don't subscribe to the magazine, I highly recommend doing so. But of course, you can always keep up with my
Plate not Pills Colum ONLINE - for FREE! There's lots of great info about some amazing nutrients that will help you reach your health and performance goals.

On page 32, there was an awesome picture of Mirinda Carfrae (looking like the strong woman she is!) and a great article about triathlon-related companies offering casual clothing lines.

Although I don't consider myself much of a fashionista, I didn't have to think twice as an Oakley Women ambassador to dress head to toe (well more like tank, shorts, headband and Drizzle sunglasses) in Oakley Women when I was checking in my bike at the 2011 Ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii.

On Pg 34:
"Oakley has long offered an extensive line of casual clothing and glasses, in addition to the sporty shades we al know. While not always for the faint of wallet, they have great quality and great style to meet the needs of nearly any conceivable social event. From ski pants and jackets to T shirts and sweaters, they've got you covered. They even have backpacks, duffel bags, golf bags, luggage and shoes. And while you're wearing these clothes, why not ditch your Oakley Radar glasses for something a bit more subtle in its declaration of your bib short collection? Their lifestyle collection could serve you well if you want to make a trip to the store without looking like you're from the future. "
-Greg Kopecky

And on pg 36. you can take a look at the Oakley Jupiter Squared and Overtime shades (I am a BIG fan of the overtime!)

Skipping ahead.......
-Matt Dixon's article on pg 56. "A fresh approach for the great dane" was awesome. I don't think I have ever read an article by Coach Matt Dixon of Purple patch fitness that I didn't love (I agree with his philosophy of training and enjoy keeping up with his athletes as well) and I think of him as a mentor I have never met but long to say "thank you" to one day.

-Jesse Kropelnicki wrote an article on body composition evaluation on pg 64. and although I don't agree with every word (which is fine - I'm sure people don't agree with all my writings as well), I do like how he explained the purpose of breaking down the training plan from a periodized training standpoint as well as not being strict on the changes of body composition and repeatedly instructing athletes to contact a Registered Dietitian to help in this process. Overall, a good read to get you thinking about your body composition from an athletic standpoint...but as you know from my philosophy - health first, performance second. There's not point of having a lean body if you can't do anything with it.

-Mark Allen (no introduction is needed here) wrote a great article on pg 73, emphasizing the importance of going short and hard first as you train for endurance events. Something that I 100% believe in is intervals and a structured training plan that is balanced to allow for proper recovery between intense/long training sessions. At Trimarni Coaching, I do not emphasize miles but rather time and what we can accomplish within that time frame...every athlete has his/her own struggles with time management and life getting in the way of training and because of that, you have to make it all work and the easiest way to do that is through interval training.

-Ben Greenfield touched on short-course racing and fueling on pg 82 which I think is a great topic for athletes of all fitness levels to better comprehend. Again, I don't agree with everything in the article but he did do a great job of explaining the physiology of the body and keeping things really simple. Also, I was brought back to my exercise physiology days of graduate school and doing resting metabolic tests and VO2 tests on subjects in the laboratory.

If you get a chance to read the magazine and have any questions for me, send them my way via email and I'd be glad to answer them in a future blog (or answer your individual questions via email).

Happy Friday!

It's your life...focus on YOU

Marni Sumbal

A bit before leaving work at Baptist Medical Center Beaches on Friday afternoon, I got word that Nick Vuijicic was speaking at the hospital. One of the case managers googled his name and up came a video that kept us all from working for a few minutes....

Every Saturday and Sunday morning as I am enjoying my coffee, water and pre-training snack, I enjoy searching for motivational quotes to give me the motivation and inspiration to get me out the door with the right attitude to see what I can accomplish for x-hours with my morning training session. I was having a hard time leaving my computer because I was so engaged in Nick's story as well as the message he sends to others. On Sunday, my friend Lindsay with USAT Triathlon posted something on her facebook page that I couldn't wait to share with my Trimarni facebook readers;

60 quotes that will change the way you think.

With Saturday being my last day of an enjoyable week of unstructured activity, following my half ironman last weekend, I had plenty of time to think about life....yes, one of those days were it's hard to not overthink.

You see, when it comes to training or nutrition, it's your life. You are responsible for you and ultimately at the end of the day, it is you and your body that go to bed to start a new, fresh day.

  For if you are eating out with others, training with friends or hanging out with others, you have choices to make all day and every day. Resisting a piece of dessert may be tough when everyone else is eating one but you know you are satisfied and it isn't necessary at that moment in time.

For many people, saying no when it comes to food is really difficult and uncomfortable but remind yourself, at the end of the day, you are eating for you and others do not know your eating habits, nor your short and long term goals.  You also don't need to explain or give excuses to anyone as to why you are doing something that you are doing...simply inspire, don't lecture....believe me, eventually they will follow and if they sabatoge you or put you down, ask yourself if they are someone in your life that is giving you energy or taking it away from you.

Don't be afraid to politely but confidently say "no thank you" - for it is your life, focus on you</i> Training with friends can be fun. It is mentally stimulating and at times, can get you out of your comfort zone. This is one area where athletes often struggle because there is often a struggle of finding the happy place in the middle. For training with faster people may keep you extremely fatigued and tired and lacking consistency and the understanding of what your body can actually handle depending on your upcoming race/event. For training with people slower than you may keep you from reach your goals - for not because you aren't being pushed all the time but rather, because on race day you have an expectation of what you want to accomplish and sadly, you didn't train your body to do so in training.

Don't hesitate to ask a trained professional to help you design a suitable training plan that will allow for quality training. Keeping in mind that it is your life and you need to focus on you - don't put too much energy is telling yourself what you need to accomplish every week with training. Rather, figure out how much time you have to devote to training and establish zones for heart rate, power, pace and even perceived exertion so that you are making the most of every training session - with or without training buddies.

This morning I had the pleasure of looking at Karel's butt for 2.5 hours.....despite it being a nice butt (what cyclist doesn't have a nice rear end??? :), riding behind Karel is no easy workout and there was little time to enjoy the scenery. :)

We had talked about this workout prior to leaving the house this morning and with my next half ironman in Sept (surprising announcement to come in 2ish weeks regarding my next half - stay tuned!!), I know I need to be pushed in all three disciplines for I improve the most in a short amount of time, when I am pushed.

And when I say short amount of time - 16 weeks goes by very quickly (believe it or not) so I make sure I am focusing on balanced training so that with every workout, I reap the most performance gains, as physically and mentally possible.

With Karel being my coach, he had all confidence in me that I could stay on his wheel while we both did the same set. (which is an excellent set for any long course athlete or athlete seeking build/endurance-type fitness)

Main set:
2 x 8 min Z4 w/ 2 min EZ
12 min Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
15 min Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
2 x 20 min upper Z2 w/ 2 min EZ

(brick run followed - 4 miles: all under 7:25 min/mile)

I was sure to focus on myself during this workout and with us doing many loops in Nocattee (safe roads - although wet this morning), I was mindful that if I got dropped I would be doing my intervals solo. Amazingly, I made every interval sitting on Karel's wheel! This is a huge improvement for me considering that this was a tough "long" workout for me because of the steady power that was required for each of the intervals. The focus was not on speed- just hitting the power zones at this point in the build phase of my training.

But as you will see below, it is possible to maintain consistent speeds with changing of power zones - all because of pacing and adjusting gears to control cadence and power. Karel's says "it's magic" how it all works out :) I am not sure how we did it but Karel was able to hit his zones and I was able to be really close to my zones and be extremely consistent with the intervals as well. This is one of the major bonuses in training with power- in that we were both going the same speed but my power and HR was different than Karel but absolutely within my capability.

Here's the stats of drafting behind karel (my data from my Garmin 500).
8 min: 166 watts, 139 HR, 23.9mph
8 min: 167 watts, 139 HR, 23.8mph
12 min: 150 watts, 133 HR, 23.0mph
15 min: 152 watts, 132 HR, 23.4mph
20 min: 136 watts, 125 HR, 22.3mph
20 min: 143 watts, 130 HR, 23.0mph (I was getting tired and not drafting very well so I was surging a lot to prevent getting dropped - thus the higher watts and HR for me)

Talk about consistency!
If I was alone, I would not be able to go those speeds but the watts are very similar (a bit lower than normal but still close) to what I would need to hold if I was riding alone. If you have any questions about training with a power meter, please let me know (email) - happy to help!

This week, see if you can be more attentive to your needs and what works best for you. One of the best things in life is being in control over your choices and in order to be in control, you have to be a good planner. Think ahead, assess situations and determine the best game-plan to receive the most favorable results. Keep on performing beautifully!
Happy Monday!

Tampa Twilight Criterium Cycling Festival - recap

Marni Sumbal

What a fabulous weekend. Training, racing and spending time with friends and family. Karel, like many of his friends, training partners and teammates, are not "real pro's". They work real jobs (weekends included) and then squeeze in training with the rest of life. Karel likes to challenge himself and race at a higher level and I think that is admirable and something we should all strive for in life....always trying to be better and to not be afraid to get out of our comfort zone.
Karel and his boss Jeff make the time to train (Jeff is training for his first Ironman, IM Texas). For training/exercise is part of being in good health and when you are in good health, you are more happy, productive and overall, in better spirits. It's all about how you balance it all to maintain a sense of consistency in your life.

After working at the hospital on Fri, I picked up Karel at work at the Trek Store and we hit the road to my parents down in New Port Richey.

Saturday morning came quick but due to a few nights of not sleeping well (we watched my parents cats last week at our place) I had direct orders from coach/hubby that I needed to sleep in. Orders obeyed.

I was on my bike at 8am and it was time for a challenging bike... kudos to Karel I have no idea where he comes up with my workouts but they sure do work!
The wind was blowing and riding on the suncoast trail required that I had both mental and physical strength for this workout.

2 x 8 min w/ 2 min EZ
15 min w/ 2 min EZ
20 min w/ 2 min EZ
2 x 25 min w/ 4 min EZ

I had specific power zones for each part of this workout and the total ride was around 3hrs and 45 minutes. Miles were uploaded but I don't really focus on my distance. I download my data onto a free software program called Goldencheetah and then upload data onto Training Peaks for me and Karel to analyze.

After the bike came a 30 minute run. It was hot but my legs felt great. Sure, a bit wobbly during the first 4-5 minutes but it always gets better. Finished my run with a walk with Karel and Campy...sweaty, hot and ready for my Hammer FIZZ in water, a dip in the pool and a recovery meal w/ milk + whey protein.

During the day, Karel rested after his bike warm-up. I try to not talk to him much when he races the bigger races (On the National Racing Calendar - NRC) as he likes to get into his zone, but I'm always around if he needs anything. I'm the opposite at my Ironman races - I love to socialize, laugh, smile and be around lots of positive energy.

I have really worked with Karel on his race day nutrition for the evening crits so that he is comfortable racing for a long duration at such a high intensity, so late in the evening. He knows what works best for him but it is still all about experimentation based on the race course, time of the race, time of the year/weather and race distance.

For this race, Karel had as his "main" meals:
Breakfast post warm-up - milk + bagel + whipped chive cream cheese + eggs
Lunch - Brown rice + beans and tuna

A little bit of snacking but that's it..and it worked fantastic this time around. Karel does not like to have much food in his system before a crit but he does sip on sport drinks throughout the day and chooses more "sport" products in the 1-3 hours before the crit. Again, it's what works best for him and we've tried a lot of different things...I always make mental notes. I always make sure that he eats well on the days leading up to the race as I know that on race day, he will not be eating a lot of food, however his system is full of "fuel".

I was so excited to go to the race as it was the first year it was on the NRC list. The venue was packed with people and booths and I was so happy that several of my athletes (Gary, James, Jennifer, Stefanie) came to support Karel. I spotted several of our Gearlink friends and some other familiar faces in the crowd.

Karel drove seperately from me and my parents so that he could get his number and start getting ready. We arrived around 6pm and by that time, Karel was getting ready to get on his trainer to start flushing some lactic acid to get his legs ready for the race.

By 7:25pm...they were off!

This race was a bit shorter than other races but no less fast. 4 corners and several crashes but luckily, Karel dodged them all. Karel had a few Gearlink cat 1 riders on his team in this race and they all rode really well together. Knowing that the Gearlinkers are riding amongst a totally different caliber of riders, it was great to see them all out there, riding strong and confident.

I felt good about this race for Karel all day long and sometimes, I can just sense that he will do well. You never know in bike racing what the day will bring but I had a feeling this would be a great race for Karel.

Karel stayed near mid pack during the entire race and with over 90 starters, the field was getting smaller and smaller with every loop of the 80 minute race.
The field ended up getting lapped by 2 riders near the middle of the race but the entire race was filled with excitement. I absolutely love watching cycling as there are so many tactics involved between the different teams. My favorite announcer Chad with USA crits always explains the race very well so if you are ever able to watch a USA crit race, I recommend attending.

I was really excited to see Karel sprint for the finish as that is his speciality. He loves to sprint, unlike me who loves a steady effort..not too slow, not too fast. I suppose by now, Karel is teaching me how to suffer...

Karel had a great sprint and placed 28th with one of his teammates Eric S., placing 30th. Both guys earned a nice paycheck since the event payed 30 deep, which they then shared among the team for all the guys who finished.

Karel told me that he could have had a better finish but another rider got in his way and he wasn't able to move up much more during the sprint. Regardless, Karel was really pleased with the race and finished the race, craving for more.

Well, 2 more weeks and we are off to North Carolina for the Charlotte Twilight downtown Crit and then it all leads up to the notorious Athens Twilight Criterium in downtown Athens Georgia. Then...a break for Karel and it is time for me to race some Tri's!

We will both be back in the Clearwater area on April 22nd as I will be racing in the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, Florida and later that afternoon, Karel will be racing a Florida Series race in downtown New Port Richey.

Life is good...can't complain. I do enjoy resting as much as I enjoy this on-the-go lifestyle. It's all about balance...and lots of restful sleep!

On sunday morning as Karel was watching the Tour de Flanders, I had a 1 hour easy spin followed by my 1 hour and 45 min long run. I warmed up for 4 miles and then it was time for the main set:
4 x 12 min (7:32 min/mile pace, 7:26 min/mile pace, 7:25 min/mile pace, 7:32 min/mile pace) w/ 2 min EZ jog/walk.

Talk abou a main set! But good thing I had a lot of motivation, adrenaline and positivity after seeing Karel suffer for 80 minutes on Saturday evening. I always seem to have amazing workouts when Karel races.

Do you ever get inspired by watching other people race?

Performing beautifully, wearing my Oakley Women Overtime shades, Fly fleece hoodie and convert tank. No outfit is complete without Campy at my side.

Karel looking strong...

...fueled by plants!

Weekend catch-up and beany crockpot stew

Marni Sumbal

What a beautiful weekend! The weather forecasted rain all weekend and instead we received clouds, comfortable temps for training and a few sprinkles from the sky.
My 2 hr and 45 minute bike on Sat included a lot of wind and with every interval into the headwind, I gave my legs a little pep talk that I would be enjoying the tailwind in a matter of time. This week has been a fantastic recovery week with just enough of tempo work and "schedule" to keep my body fresh and recoverying without too much intensity. After the bike I went for a leisurely jog, monitoring my heart rate as I went by feel on the run. 4 miles later, Campy was ready for his part of the run...a quick sprint around the block. Unlike me, Campy is a born sprinter!

This morning the wind was once again howling so decided to do my 90 minute pre-run bike warm-up on the road where I live...riding 4.5 miles each way for a few loops into the headwind and then enjoying the tailwind. I saw so many people outside on the run/bike path and it made me smile. Talk about motivation.

I made sure on my bike to keep a watchful eye on my power as riding 15 or 16 mph into the headwind is no fun for my competitive ego but when I see that I am pushing watts similar to my Z3 and Z4 zones, it is easy to back off and increase my cadence in a lighter gear. No need to prove anything on an easy bike ride.

After the bike I grabbed my garmin and headed out for a run. This time around, the wind didn't bother me so much as my legs were feeling fresh and I held a steady 8 min/mile average pace for 7 miles. The last mile was with Campy and like's a fast one!

(What a cutie!)
After an epson salt bath, followed by my 110% recovery gear, I made the most delicious fruity green whey smoothie:

3 baby carrots
1 stalk celery
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger
Dash of cinnamon
Small handful spinach
1 scoop whey protein (vanilla)
1 cup crushed ice (or 5-7 ice cubes)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup fresh fruit (mango, apple, orange)
1/2 cup milk
4 almonds
3 large chocolate chips
water as needed

Blend together and add water to meet your consistency needs. Most of my smoothies make around 5 cups which is too much for me to eat alone so I typically consume a large glass (around 20-24 ounces) and save the rest for a snack (in the freezer in another smaller cup).
I like to top with smoothies with a little crunch so this time I used sunflower seeds and a little organic granola that Karel purchased yesterday from Native Sun.

As we finish up the weekend and welcome another week of work, life and training, get out your crockpot as it is time to make a delicious stew for a quick dinner or two (or three) or lunch. Leftovers can be used in a casserole, stir-fry or on top of a bed of dark greens.

I just discovered this "soup" from Campbell's and at 960 mg sodium for the entire 2 cup box, I figured this is too much sodium for a person to eat in one sitting but the perfect amount when added to the crockpot.

I didn't measure everything so my suggestion is to use equal amounts (to the eye) of the following, around 1 - 1 1/2 cups..or a layer of each in the pot.

Mixed frozen veggies (carrots, green peas, corn green beans)
Butter beans (frozen)
Red beans (bagged)
Chick peas (bagged)
Mushrooms (whole)
Red potatoes (4) - sliced in quarters
1 medium onion (sliced)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
6 cups water
1 box (2 servings) of V8 garden vegetable soup
Season to taste - as needed

1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot and let cook for 8-10 hours.
2. Refrigerate when cooled to room temperature. The flavor intensifies after a day.
3. Top with a scoop of ricotta cheese for a creamy soup or your favorite cheese.