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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: "kona bound"

Kona Ready: who said it would be easy?

Marni Sumbal

In six days I will have the opportunity to challenge myself in one of the hardest endurance events in the world ALONGSIDE the best endurance athletes (age group and professional) in the world. The finish line is the goal, anything else that comes with it (ex. PR on that course) is a bonus. 

For the medal awarded to every athlete that crosses the Ironman World Championship finish line before midnight is the prize that commemorates months and months of hard work, discipline, passion, commitment and a body and mind that was trained to perform. 

Knowing that athletes and fitness enthusiasts, family and friends from around the world will be watching their own favorite athletes as well as the successes of strangers, it is likely that you will be inspired by watching every athlete cross the finish line...from the first professional male and female winner to the last finisher that crosses before midnight. 

While the inspiration will fill your body to the point that you have no choice but to set a goal so big that you can't wait to wake up on Monday morning and start working hard for your goal......

What you can not forget is that the Ironman World Championship does not only award those who set PR's all season, only award those who never got injured, only award those who never got laid off/who never lost a job, only award those who never suffered with cancer (or experienced a family member getting cancer) or only award those who face absolutely no setbacks in life. What's so great about the Ironman, alongside any type of event with a defined start and finish line, is that every athlete has his/her own reason for competing as well as his/her own reasons for not showing up in the first place. 

When you watch the spectacle that is the IM World Championship, you see athletes who are refusing to give up. As a three time Kona qualifier and two time Kona finisher, I know that this is one tough race with dozens of obstacles to face on race day. But when "we" the athletes are out on the course, trying to battle every obstacle in our way, you anxiously await "our" finish. And when we finish, you see success - no matter what time is on paper, there is a finish line that is now behind each and every one of us and that is what inspires you to work hard for what you want in life. No matter what is thrown in your way, you can not reach that finish line, no matter how difficult you think life is, if you give up or hope that things would be easy. 

Every athlete has his/own struggles in life. Not always do you have to share those struggles with others or vocalize them as an excuse to the world. But what is required of you as an athlete, is to finish what you started. 

If you signed up for a race, put in the time to train for the event that you paid for. 
If you start a race, race your own race and execute as you put your training to the test. 
If you find yourself with a setback with training, don't focus on the CAN'Ts, focus on the CANs. 
If you find yourself feeling great during a race, expect a low to come. 
If you find yourself feeling low during a race, keep on moving forward to reach your greatness. 
Thank your body and respect your body. 

And most of all, have fun. Set goals that are meaningful, practical and realistic for YOU and only you as you will likely inspire others along the way. 

Are you planning on racing anytime soon? Check out my recent article with a week worth of to do's for race week: 

To follow me during Kona week and on 10/12/13 (race day): 
FACEBOOK Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition  (LIKE page for quicker updates)
Twitter: @trimarnicoach
Instagram: Trimarni (also check out #Trimarnikona and my roomie and sport psychologist TRIATHLETEDRG) - BIB 1933 (MARNI SUMBAL, Female 30-34 age group)
Thank you for your support, encouragement and inspiration. 

Kona ready: reflecting on the journey

Marni Sumbal

It was October 2005 when I heard about the Ironman World Championships taking place online. I was in the Nova medical library studying for my exit exams for graduate school and I was a few months away from running my very first marathon in Miami. I couldn't help but get on the computer to watch whatever was online at that time and although only having completed about 4-5 triathlons, I just felt like I needed to sign up for the Ironman. Not knowing what the training would be like or what's needed to complete an Ironman, November came and I registered myself for Ironman Florida (with my friend Carlos also joining me in this crazy adventure).

I remember calling my parents and they thought I was crazy. Covering 140.6 miles in one day seems impossible for the human body and I knew that...and that's why I wanted the challenge.

After running my first marathon, I qualified for the Boston Marathon. After learning about my accomplishment, I was addicted. I loved the journey of seeing where my body could take me both physically but also mentally and I couldn't wait to train for my very first Ironman.

After completing the 2006 Boston Marathon in April, I went on to finish my first half ironman in Disney in May. After I recovered, I was 100% focused on training for my first Ironman. I found a pre built plan for free on the internet and I followed every part of it. 

I went into IMFL with a goal. 
To qualify for the Ironman World Championship.

 I told my friends and Karel (who I was dating starting May 2006) and my parents and many people thought I was crazy...not only for running a marathon after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 112 miles but also for setting such an ambitious goal for myself. 

I never once thought the goal was crazy. I was motivated by my goal every day and the challenge made me excited. I never felt confident that it would be a breeze to win my age group and receive the 1 slot in the 20-24 age group for Kona but I also didn't let my worries keep me from dreaming big.

I never got the chance to write a race report from my first Ironman because I started my blog in 2007. But I remember IMFL like it was yesterday. I remember the fears, the mixed emotions and uncertainties of what the day would be like during this well-known endurance event. 

I also remember that with all the thoughts going on in my head as to the unknowns, I was so happy that I could finally experience what an Ironman was all about. And, if all went well, I was going to be an Ironman finisher!

Nearing the 1 week countdown until I participate in my 3rd Ironman World Championship, I still have the same emotions as I did with my first Ironman. I smile because I love what I get to do with my body and I enjoy the day that I prepared myself for. Although a bit more confidence and experience in my Ironman brain and body, I still respect the distance just like I did for my very first Ironman. #1 goal is always to finish, #2 goal - execute. 

No matter what type of athlete or fitness enthusiast you are, you must pursue a goal that makes you excited to wake up every day to see what the day will bring. Do not fear how long it will take you to reach that goal for the day will come anyways, you may as well make the most of your days on earth. Do not let others tell you what is not possible and don't be afraid to show yourself what is possible. Do not give up when things get hard and don't let yourself think that every day will be easy. 

Doing something for the first time is scary and the first step is always the hardest. You will make mistakes along the way and you will have setbacks. Many people get excited for a goal but never start the journey because of the uncertainty ahead. 

If you are driven by goals, you will find yourself always making progress. But you have to start in order to see what you are capable of achieving and you can never give up if you want to feel success. 

As I reflect on my very first Ironman, I am reminded of some things that still make me smile and I'd like to use this blog to remember some highlights of my very first Ironman. 

-It was around 40 degrees at the race start and super windy. I told Karel (my boyfriend of 6 months) that "the IM is hard enough, why does it have to be windy!" Still today, I have yet to beat the wind so I don't try. 

-I saw chicken broth was on the run course from the athlete guide. I was worried that what if I craved soup on the run....but I'm a vegetarian!?! I put a can of vegetable soup in my special needs run bag. However, I didn't use it and good thing - I didn't put a can opener in my bag!

-I was at a low moment on the bike course around mile 70 - 80. I finally warmed up but the bike was feeling long. Wouldn't you know...there was Karel and my parents waiting for me in the middle of nowhere. Thumbs up for being at the right place at the right time!!

-My tummy wasn't feeling so good at the start of the marathon. I made 2-3 stops at the potty in the first 3 miles of the race. I finished the marathon on pretzels and water. I'm ever-so-grateful for port-a-potty's on race courses. 

-After riding 112 miles, I couldn't believe that I just rode 112 miles. I never rode that far before and less than a year before that, I was scared to clip-in my pedals and not comfortable on my aerobars. I felt like I had already accomplished so much before I even started the run. 

Around mile 20 or so, I was getting closer to the end of the race. I had secured my Kona spot and 1st place age group win by 50 minutes. I felt absolutely amazing on this run course and I got by with the help of spectators, my family and the other athletes. I saw Karel with a few miles less to go and he yelled to me as he was running on the sidewalk "Babe - you are going to Kona!" and I yelled back "I can't believe it...I LOVE YOU!!"

That was the very first time I told Karel that I loved him. 

-After a massage and a few slices of pizza, we walked back to our condo and I was sore as can be. I could barely walk and I had never felt such soreness in my life. But I insisted on going back to watch the final finishers. Karel joined me. I hobbled my way back as I felt the need to watch those final finishers finish the race. The race that we all started together and with everyone having their own reason for finishing and refusing to give up when the mind and body say enough is enough. It is now my goal to watch every finish line in an Ironman that I finish. I've only missed one (Kona 2007) but I don't plan on ever missing another IM finish line. 

The feeling was surreal. A dream in the making. A goal that others told me was not possible for a swimmer, turned runner turned triathlete. I had this vision in my head as to what it would feel like to earn a Kona slot but never could I comprehend what it would feel like to cross the finish line as a first time Ironman finisher. 

Seven years later and six ironman finishes behind my name, I still get excited, happy and curious as to what body can do on race day. 

With Ironman #7 happening in 8 days, I hope that you are also counting down the days to watching the most inspiring event that you will ever witness and getting yourself excited to set a new goal for yourself. As you watch athletes from the world discover their limits and overcome obstacles on race day, remind yourself that the drive to succeed is from within and finishing a race is the culmination of weeks and months, if not years, of hard work. 
With your goals, you do not have to prove anything others so instead, set your goals for yourself. As you watch the IM world championship online (all day), dare to dream big for yourself and never waste a day working hard for what you want in life. 

Kona ready: active recovery week

Marni Sumbal

On Monday morning I finished my last long run in prep for Kona. The body and mind felt amazing and I can't wait to put it all together on the big island.

It's pretty cool to see how the body can adapt to training stress over a period of time but it's even cooler to feel it all come together. At one time the body feels slow and the end point seems so far away and with so much work for the body to handle, it's hard to even grasp what it would feel like to be stronger and faster "one day". But when the hard work is done and the day finally comes, you know that it was all worth it. Patience as an athlete can be challenging. Patience for anyone can be tough. We live in a world of wanting everything yesterday and if it takes too long to achieve, there's a quicker way somewhere, somehow. 

I like the journey. I love my lifestyle and I never take a day for granted. I really love what my body allows me to do and every day I wake up excited to see what the day will bring. Not every day does my body give me what my mind can handle and vice versa but I always try to make some type of progress. Or as Karel likes to say "you want to make investments with your fitness and minimize the withdrawals as much as possible. As athletes we are always teetering on the edge - avoid falling off."

Monday morning run -12 mile "long" run
1 mile warm-up
Main set:
3 rounds of 3 x 1 miles descending w/ 30 sec walk in between. 1 minute walk after each 3 mile round. 
Then 1 mile descend to fast. Walk 1 minute. 
Then 1 mile cool down

The body responded amazingly well and I could not slow myself down as my normal 8:15-8:30 min/mile pace for my IM prep just felt like a jog on Monday morning. I just couldn't hold back as sub 8 min/miles was what my IM body wanted to give me on this day and I allowed myself to give in just enough to enjoy the moment but not too much that I wouldn't be saving my best performance for race day. 

 What a beautiful way to end 10 weeks of IM Kona specific training. 

As for Tues: 3000 active recovery swim (no watch so I probably didn't count my yardage correctly but that's OK - I enjoyed the swim and didn't want to get out). Hip and core work followed the swim. 

Wednesday - 1:50-2 hour bike (only my wrist watch - no Garmin) w/ 5 x 6 min hard efforts w/ 3 min EZ in between. 1 loop run off the bike (not sure of time - probably around 7-8 minutes). 

I absolutely love the active period that follows my last long training load for it also leads into taper...which means that race day is near. 

A chance for the body and mind to rejuvinate and recover means extra time to reflect on the past journey. What doesn't change during this tapering period is my lifestyle. There is balance just like there was with training. Plenty of time for Campy, real-food Trimarni creations and sleep as well as my career of speaking, writing and coaching/nutrition with Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC.....which pays the bills. I also maintain physical activity with just enough structure and purpose to keep me sharp but plenty of gadget free workouts to keep me in-tune with my body. 

 Not once during Kona training (or 22 weeks of training for two Ironmans) did I let training affect my love for a balanced lifestyle and not once did training affect my quality of life. Knowing that good sleep, a fantastic real-food diet, good stress management and quality rest make for great training sessions, I never overlooked the many important areas in my life, that alongside putting in the hours of swim-bike-run, that will also contribute to a great race....not to mention a great experience during my prep for Ironman #7. 

This past week (although it's only Wednesday) has been a busy one but I wanted to reflect on a few highlights of the past three days. 

The best part of my day is enjoying the outdoors with Campy. We love our mini walks but we also love the short runs together that make our hearts pump even faster. I'm so lucky to have such a great dog who loves an active and healthy lifestyle just as much as his parents. 

I love lunch n' learns and really enjoyed my talk to a group of employees at Brown & Brown of Florida INC. They are starting a wellness challenge which is fantastic. I love to see people taking an initiative to take care of their health, especially in a group setting. Since I don't prefer to speak about the specifics of nutrition like calories, carbs, proteins and fats but instead the "lifestyle" approach of healthy living, I feel the group walked away with a better appreciation of how to live a more balanced active and healthy lifestyle. 

One of us is taking this tapering thing to the extreme. I guess with Campy turning 6 soon, he has a good reason for feeling tired after helping me train for my past 5 Ironman events. 

Mother nature prescribes the most delicious creations!!
Mixed greens, toasted red quinoa, apple slices, carrots, cucumbers, edamame, corn, leeks, tomatoes, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pecans, avocado, goat cheese and strawberries.

I believe that your meals should be too pretty to eat and worthy of a photo. 
Red quinoa toasted with olive oil, strawberries, raisins, avocado, cucumbers and sunflower seeds on a bed of mixed greens.

I've been working on a few articles and quotes lately for magazines (Women's Health, Triathlete, Runner's World) for the winter months as well as on and but I wanted to share one of my favorite run workouts, featured at Triathlete magazine online.

Over/under interval run workout

This picture doesn't have to do with the article but I love any excuse to post another pic of Campy. 

And lastly - a huge thank you to Susan Wallis (president and finisher of 39 IM's and 8 IM world championships) and the members of the Hammerhead Tri club who came out out to Corner Bistro this evening for a get-together/Kona send off party. I love my Kona towel and can't wait to use it at the pier (aka "dig me beach") next week!!

Wow - it's been 7 years since I did my first Ironman at the age of 24 and I still have the same love, passion, excitement and respect for the distance and what my body allows me to do to prepare and race in an Ironman -140.6 mile distance - triathlon. 

5 more days til Kona prepped and ready turns into Kona bound!

Ironman Lake Placid RR - never give up

Marni Sumbal

It seems logical to write a race report starting with the beginning of the race and then progress to the finish. But I want to do things a little bit different this time around for my 6th Ironman. One thing I have learned throughout the past 7 years since starting endurance racing, is that patience, hard work and commitment can bring an athlete very far in his/her fitness, let alone with reaching personal goals. It doesn't matter if you are an athlete racing for a finishing line or a fitness enthusiast that wants to workout for health and fitness, if you want something in life you have to work for it but most importantly, you can't give up when things get tough. Life is not easy and as an athlete for most of my life, I often use similar tools for getting through life and sports as life brings obstacles, just like sports and if you don't have the right mindset, you get yourself no where. 

I am sore, exhausted and drained. But it was all worth it. Yes, in some crazy type of way, we pay money to do this and then walk extremely funny the next day as we remember the highs and lows of race day. This time around, I am able to share stories with my Trimarni Coaching athlete Laura G who placed 6th age group (25-29) in her first IM (11:02) as well as with Karel (hubby) who placed 13th age group (35-39) in his first IM (10:03) and I can't stop thinking about all the amazing athletes, volunteers and spectators who encouraged each other to move forward to get to the finishing line and I am so grateful that we choose this Ironman for Lake Placid became a village of Ironman athletes and the community was extremely supportive. 

Many times in my racing career I am plagued with a chronic injury that keeps me from running for 8-12 weeks at a time. I have seen many doctors, had tests and I am thankful to my PTs and massage therapists who help me stay injury free when I can put all the pieces together correctly. Although I see this often as a limiter in my training and racing, oh what I would give to just have my mind as my only limiter, I have never let it define me or what I am capable of achieving. I know I can only race and train injury free so since I get hickups along the way when I train for races, I find myself forced with three decisions.
1) give up
2) be stubborn
3) focus on the can's and never give up 

I always choose #3 and this time around, it is important to me that I share with everyone that I often a get the flare-ups in my hips/glutes/back and I absolutely want to quit triathlons when that happens. Yes, I want to quite something that I love so much in life. I tell Karel how much pain I am in and that it is not worth it for I don't want to be disrespectful to my body. I have never had a stress fracture or broken bone and I hope to leave this earth with the same body parts that I entered it with. Therefore, I am often stuck with the decision of #1 and #3 which leads me to my message at the beginning of this blog. 

Life requires hard work, patience and commitment. I gave myself a goal when I signed up for Lake Placid Ironman to try to qualify for Kona. I didn't care about times or places but instead, to race to my full potential and to leave nothing out on the course. There are very few athletes out there who can "race" an Ironman and I acknowledge that I am one of a small group that chooses to put a lot on the line to compete for 140.6 miles instead of just hoping for a finish (which I always remember is the ultimate goal). This group, however, still goes into the race with the same dedication, passion and commitment as those who finish in the top 50% of their age group and as those who finish within the 17 hour time limit. Even though some of us use our bodies to race the Ironman, we are all there to endure the physical feat that is the Ironman. 

Through the highs and lows of life that I encountered throughout my Ironman-in-training journey, I reminded myself that the only thing I can do on race day is to race with my current level of fitness. There is absolutely no reason to dwell on the past that can not be changed, unless it is for a reason that was within your control to bring you to a better tomorrow. Therefore, I wanted to make sure I did not give myself any reasons to wish I would have done things differently. 

I feel the Ironman teaches athletes a lot of lessons. Many times, athletes are numb to these lessons and think beyond what is within their control. I like to have control over situations and I feel this is something that has been learned through my history of endurance racing. I like to know what the course looks like, what type of competition is on the course, what the weather will be like, where the wind is coming from, what paces are reflective of my current level of fitness and most of all, that at the end of the day (on race day), my mind is my most powerful weapon. If I don't stay positive, stay in the moment and love what I am doing (have fun and smile!), I accomplish nothing on race day that I trained myself to do in training. You can give yourself a thousand reasons why something won't work but if you can think of the one reason why it will work, you will find yourself doing what the mind believes...and the body will follow. 


On July 28th, 2013, I gave my best effort in an Ironman. I raced smart, paced myself well and never stopped believing in myself. I had many opportunities to think it wasn't possible to achieve what I wanted to achieve back in July 2012 considering the setbacks I was given this year. But I know better than to think like that. 

We are often limited in life by thinking of our past instead of staying in the moment. For in the Ironman, we do the opposite as well - we think about what we didn't accomplish that may have made a positive impact on race day and we can easily think about what's to come and worrying how we will deal with it. I admit I did a little of both while I was racing but Gloria (my mental coach/sport psychologist) always reminds me to stay in the moment so I had to constantly get myself to that place over and over for 140.6 miles. 

As athletes, we often compare ourselves to others, wishing for better, more or something different. I did not do that this time around for this Ironman. I knew what I wanted to achieve on race day and I kept within my own box but with a peephole to keep an eye on what others were doing on race day. I did not deviate from my plan or worry about something that was not happening at that point. Why worry about what's to come if you have to be in control of the present moment? 

My 6th Ironman performance landed me in 5th place. Only three Kona Ironman world championship spots were available for my age group (30-34) and I knew I had stiff competition - but amazing, nice and supportive athletes. 

(first and second amateur females which also happened to be in my age group. Katie and Kendra - amazing people and fast, strong, talented athletes!)

But as usual, I strive to better myself as an athlete and the only way I can do that is by being pushed by those who are better than me. I do not wish to be at the front more than once for then I stop growing as an athlete. I am constantly seeking ways to challenge myself as an athlete and I find I do that best on hard, difficult courses with strong competition.

Before the award ceremony today, I heard there was a chance that there would be a rolldown slot for Kona. That means the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place girls would receive spots because the 1st place girl (Katie T.) already qualified for Kona by winning her age group at Eagleman. But if there was another person to not take her slot, that would mean the slot would roll down to me. Roll downs do not happen that often but that is why you should never give up or count yourself out. 

As always, I did not celebrate until the time would come that I was actually hear my name from Mike Riley, telling me that the slot rolled down to me. 

After waiting and waiting, 11:05am came and it was time for roll down. 

I chatted with Karel about me qualifying for Kona and he was supportive of the decision that if I qualified, he would want me to go as we make all our athletic decisions together for the IM is no easy distance to train and prepare for, not to mention my second Ironman within 3 months and I have a busy August with speaking engagements. 

I couldn't help but think about the possibility of qualifying for Kona for it was something that motivated me every day when I trained and kept me balanced when I questioned if I should do more with training or rush the journey. But then I thought about race day which I will explain more in my race report. I thought about how hard I dug during the race and battled every demon in my body that wanted to give up. All that training, focus, time, money and prep to make excuses and give up? Absolutely not. I raced injury free, with a clear mind and with my hubby for the first time. Nothing was in my way on race day and all I needed was patience, commitment and hard work and I was willing to execute on race day in the same way that I do in training. Have fun and don't give up out until the body gives every reason possible to give up.

What if I would have counted myself out in Feb, in March and in April. Seriously - 3 months of no running and I expect myself to run a marathon after biking 112 miles, let alone race against athletes who have no limiters with their body? 

On July 28th, 2013, I earned my Kona slot which I received July 29th via roll down. I will be heading to Hawaii for the 2013 Ironman World Championships, which will be my 3rd time racing in Kona. Luck was not needed for a Kona slot. On race day I didn't need luck on my side. The answer was simple for Placid. I didn't give up for the past 12 months, I never counted myself out. Believe me - this is never easy, especially when you can't step without pain or you wish things would be different in that moment. But there is always something inside me that believes I can get myself to a place that I feel is not possible at the present moment. Sometimes it doesn't work as planned but I try to do everything within my capability to dream big and work hard for my goals.  

I did all I could on race day and if I would not have given everything I had on that course, I would not have gotten the opportunity for the slot to roll down to me. The entire race came together with my best Ironman racing performance and Kona is just the icing on the cake. Race results are not told by a piece of paper or on the internet but by the athlete herself for what she had to overcome before and during race day.

As I finish the beginning of a series of race reports, I hope today's blog post always motivates you to never give up, to never count yourself out and to always work hard for what you want in life. 

And onto even more exciting things.....YAY - real food from the Lake Placid brewery!!!! Veggie burger for me, real burger and local IPA beer for Karel. We both joined the clean plates club after today's lunch. Looking forward to recovering from this Ironman for the next two weeks and thanking my body for all it went through on race day. Race reports to come.......