Swim, Bike, Eat!

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is finally here and Christmas will be here before you know it! With the Holidays coming ever nearer and triathlon season complete, it’s important for all of us to stand back and assess our exercise/ nutrition regimens. Sorry guys, we’re not training for Ironman anymore, 3000-5000kcal diet is now long gone! It’s back to the grind. This Thanksgiving I want everyone to just enjoy themselves- heck, we all deserve it! It’s just ONE meal, no need to go overboard or anything but go out and enjoy yourself. Work out  hard Thanksgiving morning and then go enjoy time with family and friends! That’s what Thanksgiving is all about. As far as the week leading up to and after thanksgiving.. it’s important to quickly get back to your daily routine. This week, we cut back on our calories in the days prior to our big turkey feast since we both knew we wanted to enjoy ourselves to the fullest!

-These will be uploaded and posted to my Nutrition blog for you to go back and view if needed-

BREAKFAST: Spinach Omelet 20131127-110152.jpg

I paired my 2:1:1 Spinach Omelet with 2 mandarin oranges and 1 piece of Whole Grain toast w/ Sugar Free jam and a bottle of water.


SNACK: Mixed Berries paired w/ Dark Chocolate

20131127-110207.jpg 1/4c of raspberries, 1/4c blueberries, and 1/8c of dark chocolate chips! YUM! Pair with plain or vanilla greek yogurt.


DINNER: Grilled Chicken 20131127-110200.jpg

Baked grilled chicken breast paired with Sweet potato and salad. Not pictured- added half an avocado and half a tomato to salad w/ light balsamic vinaigrette- YUM!


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With the cold weather among us, it’s time to bust out that trainer! Dreading the trainer? Think again! Adding high intensity intervals will help keep your mind focused and give your body just what it needs in off-season- strength and speed! Try a pyramid workout with the first number in the set being hard, the second backing off a bit:


15min warm up, 1min ON/1min OFF, 2min ON/2min OFF, 3min ON/3min OFF, 4min ON/ 4min OFF, 5min ON/ 5min OFF, 5min ON/ 5min OFF, 4min ON/4min OFF, etc… continue the descent. Finish with a 15min cool down.  Time: 1hr 30min 


Be thankful for the Holiday season- the pool lanes are always clear (and clean) during this time of year! In offseason, I like to continue to focus and perfecting my swim technique and building that muscle memory. The majority of my workouts are using paddles- best thing my coach, Robbie Bruce, ever told me about! Doing swim sets to build speed is key.

Warm Up- 500yds -free swim, no paddles

Main Set-

10 x 25 SPRINT w/ :20 rest

20 x 50 moderate w/ paddles on :10 rest

10 x 25 SPRINT w/ :20 rest

Cool Down- 500yds- pull buoy and paddles

Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday!!



Sports Nutrition Update

Just added and updated my Sports Nutrition page! Please check out Osmo Nutrition and how it can help you in your training- click here to go to my page.

Morning/ Afternoon snacks

Snack/ Dessert: Banana Bites w/ Almond Butter and Dark Chocolate

Need I say more???! I saw this on Pinterest and immediately had to try it! All 3 of my favorite things and such an easy healthy alternative-


Slice 4-5 bananas, spread inside with Almond butter and let refrigerator for an hour (makes it easier to handle). Dip into dark chocolate and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Freeze until ready to eat!


SNACK: Greek Yogurt with Omega Swirl


1 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt + 1T of Barlean’s Key Lime Omega Swirl Fish Oil

This combination is AMAZING! I hate taking my Fish Oil tablets because of the re-occurring taste throughout the day, so when my friend Betsy Johnson introduced the Omega Swirl Key Lime flavored Fish Oil I was a bit hesitant but willing to try it out.



  • 1 serving is 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Tablespoon contains 60kcal
  • 1500mg of EPA/DHA per Serving.
  • 5 TIMES the Potency of Fish Oil Capsules


  • Can be taken straight or you can add 1 Tablespoon into juice, yogurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese or blended beverages.

Barlean’s Omega Swirl also comes in Pina Colada!

You can try out a sample tasting at Eddie’s Health Shoppe in Knoxville, TN or you can trust me on this one and order online!

Snack: Homemade Trail Mix

With the Holiday Season in full swing, as well as my Husband studying for his yearly ABSITE exam, snacking is HUGE in our household. I try to leave out easy healthy options for both of us to see in help curb our appetite without rounding out our waistline this Season. Buying a bag of trail mix can not only be high in Sugar but also may have a mixture you may not prefer- why not create your own?!


Unsalted Peanuts, Unsalted Natural Almonds, Salted Sunflower Seeds, Raisins, and 1/2c of marshmallows.

1 serving= 1/4cup

The Protein Shake:

Recovering from a hard workout is just as important as the workout itself. This is my go-to post workout shake!

Visit http://www.optimumnutrition.com/products/211-recovery-p-252.html to see more information on these products or visit your local Health Shop! Image

1scoop of 2:1:1, 1tsp Creatine Powder, 1tsp Glutamine (not pictured), 1c Unsweetened Almond Milk, 1 frozen banana.

*I buy extra bundles of bananas, peel, break into half, and freeze in a large zip lock bag. They don’t brown, and are ready to go when a protein shake is needed!


SNACK: Mixed Berries paired w/ Dark Chocolate


1/4c of raspberries, 1/4c blueberries, and 1/8c of dark chocolate chips!

YUM! Pair with 1/2-1 cup of plain greek yogurt.


Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee


I use 1-2 Tablespoons of Kerrygold butter and 1-2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil


You can find all these ingredients at Kroger, Publix, Earth Fare, and Fresh Market! An immersion blender or standard blender will do, just blend for 20-30 seconds.


Breakfast: Protein.. I mean Pancake in a Bowl!


What you need:

1 packet of Cream of Wheat or 1/2c of Oats

3/4c Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1scoop vanilla protein powder

1T Agave or Honey


1. Warm up milk according to the package directions for either the Cream of Wheat or Instant Oats.

2. Once heated, stir in cream of wheat and all other remaining ingredients.

3. Adding extra toppings makes it even better: walnuts & 1/2 of a banana are also delicious additions to this high protein breakfast!

Leave your thoughts, comments below-


BREAKFAST: Spinach Omelet

Did you know: An average egg is 60 calories, 5grams of fat and 5.5 grams of protein! An egg white is fat free, 3.5 grams of protein and only 15 calories!


I paired my 2:1:1 Spinach Omelet with 2 mandarin oranges and 1 piece of Whole Grain toast w/ Sugar Free jam and a bottle of water.

**Use olive oil spray to coat the bottom of your cooking pan, cuts calories and taste great!**

Total     Fiber One    Kashi Go Lean    20131122-092236.jpg

Breakfast: Cereal

Pull out your boxes of cereal… now take a look at the ingredients. What is the first ingredient listed? How about the second? If it contains the word sugar or the suffix -ose, you may want to revamp your morning breakfast routine! You can pair each of these cereals with Unsweetened Almond Milk, a protein (nuts or plain Greek yogurt), and a fruit20131122-092246.jpgPictured Above: 1c Shredded Wheat Cereal with 1 banana, 1/8c walnuts, and 1/2c of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk 

Breakfast: Omelet

This is an easy “omelet”- or if you mess up the flip, call it scrambled eggs- made with ingredients I tend to always keep in our refrigerator. The more colorful the better! Turkey bacon, bell pepper, and onion can also be added, just be sure to load up the veggies to start your day fresh!                        


3:1 Egg White Omelet with half of a fresh tomato, 1 cup of spinach, and yes- a heated up leftover Crescent roll!

3:1 means 3 egg whites to 1 egg yolk.

Ironman Florida Race Report

Ironman Florida Race Report

November 2, 2013

2nd Ironman, 26 years old. Previous IM 12:55:59 at IMTX 2011.

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My goal was to get a new personal best. I knew racing Ironman Florida (IMFL) would be a fast course, so without a doubt I wanted a sub 11:30 (<11 hours would be ideal conditions). Now those that know me KNOW that I pretty much break down every course I race into sections. I have my splits laid out for those sections, best case/ worst case scenarios planned out, and I even account for the future wind/ day forecast when  I make out these splits. Yep. I’m pretty ridiculous, I know, moving on… My day was actually overall an 8/9 out of 10! There is always the “what-ifs” in every race but overall I was pleasantly surprised!


Saturday, RACE Morning- My alarm went off and 4am never felt so good.. I was ready! I began eating, drinking my usual pre-race meal consisting of Applesauce, Whey Protein, Powerbar, 24oz of Perform, and a banana. Whew, it was a lot of food but I had been practicing eating this large amount before so it wasn’t as painful as it sounds. Kelly Mann, a friend and fellow athlete who stayed with me overnight to be close to the race, finished her similar breakfast as well, and then we headed over to Transition to check on our stuff. I aired up my tires with ease, did a once over on my bike , loaded up my “suitcase” of nutrition in my bento box as my Coach and Charles Payne call it and I was set! I was eager to look in my T1 and T2 bags as it had rained the whole day before. As I was heading to my T2 bag to put my dry shoes in, I tripped on a pot hole, fell, and “tweaked” my ankle a bit. Naturally there were about 10 people at my side freaking out, but being 6’2’’ I’m pretty much use to the whole ankle sprain thing! At the time I thought my ankles were invincible! Haha- naïve I know. They checked out my ankle, it looked fine, sore but nothing to worry about. I put my shoes in my T2 bag, checked everything twice and headed over to T1 and did the same thing. Kelly forgot her nutrition box, so she was heading back to transition as I was leaving- another good reason to stay at the Host Hotel before an IRONMAN! I headed back to the room and found my coach, Robbie already there, anxious… and with three huge cups of coffee in hand. It was just 4:30am. Impressive. 20131120-092321.jpg Swim- With the new “swim start initiative” they had us lined up from left to right under predicted IM swim finish times. So starting far left (which was in line with the buoys going out) was the under 60min group, then 1 hour to 1:10, 1:10 to 1:20, and so on. As I looked at the current and after talking with my Coach, I just went ahead and lined up in the very front with the under 60 minute group. This was actually a great decision and I wouldn’t take that back! Kelly, Charles, and I all found each other and were lined up side by side as we heard the National Anthem play. Before getting ready to head off, I saw Bill Beecher, who is this amazing swimmer/ athlete in our town, he looked at me like I was insane for lining up where I was but we exchanged some quick words, he wished me the best, and I never saw him after that! The cannon went off and the “washing machine” began. It actually wasn’t as bad as I remembered. I think I just got kicked in the face once, which left a pretty good mark, but after the turn buoy it all cleared out quite nicely. If you are new to the IMFL race course, make note that there was one sand bar about 50 yards out from swim start. On race day, I decided that I would refrain from dolphin diving until after that sandbar. This worked out pretty well for me, especially since I’m tall and can stand my own to each wave. As I was ending the first lap I looked at my watch and the time had stopped, I had no idea how I was doing. I looked around and saw mostly green swim caps, which means males, so I figured I was doing decent.  I asked a guy next to me what he had for time, he said 31 minutes. Score! I was determined to beat my brother’s PR (1:08:22), sorry Kyle! Lap 2 was pretty unremarkable, with plenty of room to swim. The swim finish came before I knew it, I felt fantastic. It literally felt like I had just done a 5 minute warm up! Swim Time 1:06:17, 6th in AG, 55th Female.


T1- Wetsuit strippers were right when you got out of the water, very fast and efficient. I took time to try to wipe the sand off my tri-suit in the showers overhead but didn’t stay for long. Since my bag was in the front, I just grabbed it myself headed to the changing area, put on helmet/ sunglasses/ wiped my feet off with the towel I packed and decided to carry my bike shoes with me to my bike. I passed a lot of people who were trying to make the long transition “running” in their bike shoes. I put mine on while the volunteers were busy getting my bike out from being racked- worked out perfectly! T1 Time- 5:02


BikeHave patience!! So my plan here was to take it easy for the first half of the bike and then at that point I could start my race.  The first half was also unremarkable; I was passed by pretty much everyone! There was a small headwind heading out on 75N but I just went by feel and didn’t pay attention to everyone else around me. I always heard and even made a note about this “special needs road” people kept writing about in their race reports. This is no joke. This road is absolutely horrible. Bike parts, bottles, nutrition everywhere.. it was just a mess and pretty miserable. I lost my Flat Kit on this road somewhere and just made the daring decision to not go back and get it! At the turn around, mile 56, I looked down at my TIMEX 2.0 Cycle Trainer and the roads were SO bumpy, I think my hand or water bottle holder must have hit the stop button so I had no idea what my time was. Good thing this bike computer is so easy to use, I was able to clear my previous time and restart my bike computer all while in aero. I love my Cycle Trainer- the GPS and heart rate synced immediately and I was good to go! As I was approaching special needs, I saw one my buddies, Charles, about a 0.5-1mi going towards the turn-around. This is where my competitiveness stepped in and I couldn’t let him pass me! My coach always said I was “nice until I put spandex on,” haha this couldn’t be truer! I took my first shot of caffeine for the day and started my race on the bike! I actually felt fantastic from that point on. On the 20 mile road heading West, it felt like a pretty good headwind but I was passing people left and right, so I didn’t mind it much. I knew once I headed South, I would get a good tailwind and it would be smooth sailing from there on out. I saw a pretty good crash literally right in front of me, I didn’t stop but I did my part by telling the next aid station which was only a couple hundred feet ahead. Charles finally caught up with me somewhere in between miles 75 and 80. At that point, it was just good to see a familiar face as we talked a little bit about how our day was going. At the small out and back-mile 90- my ankle that was “tweaked” started hurting a bit and I was just asking people for Tylenol. Charles took a look at it and said it was “FINE” so I thought I was just being a pansy and started refocusing on my nutrition for the remainder of the bike ride. From mile 90 to 112 we played “leap-frog” and legally drafted off each other the remainder of the bike ride. BIKE TIME- 5:35:31, 20.03mph. 6th in AG, 82nd Female.


T2Same thing here, I grabbed my bag before the volunteers got to it since I knew exactly where it was (put purple tabs on my handles) and headed into the changing area. I ate my banana, reapplied deodorant and sunscreen, put my shoes on, begged for Tylenol- but no one had it- and then headed out! T2 TIME- 3:35


RunAs soon as I exited transition I saw Betsy, Jamie, and John Temple cheering me on. It was so good to see them and have their support! I asked them what my swim time was, since I still had no idea, Betsy yelled 1:06 and I was so happy. I knew my brother was going to be ‘mad’ at me for beating him, so it made me laugh a good bit just thinking about it!! I rounded the corner and saw my coach where he gave me my stats for the day- where I was in my AG, how I was doing, etc. I loved that! The crowd was amazing, the volunteers were even better and just people cheering/ playing music made the whole experience a blast. The first 6-7mi felt great, I didn’t feel any pain in my ankle so I ran on! At the turnaround, I think my adrenaline started wearing off and the pain was getting worse with each step. I had two decisions, I could walk and prolong the marathon or I could keep running and get this sucker over with! Obviously, I went with the later. I reminded myself of my Mom and her always telling me “Elyse, no pain no gain.” I literally grimaced and repeated this for the remainder of the marathon, not joking! Nutritionally, I was taking in coke at every aid station and PowerGels (Double Latte, Tangerine, and Vanilla) every 45-60 minutes. As I hit the Run Special Needs, I grabbed my nutrition for the second half of the course-that was in a sandwich baggie- and stuffed it in my tri kit pocket. I saw my coach and friends again which got me going. I asked if they had any Tylenol for my ankle and I think one of them said yes and that they would get it to me. Whew, thank goodness! Little did I know they sent JOHN TEMPLE to try to catch up with me on the course… so long story short, I never got any Tylenol but nice effort J.T.! Towards the end of the race I knew I had done it, I was going to go under 11 hours. I honestly couldn’t believe it! One of my nursing co-workers told me I’d better finish before shift change and I knew I had done just that! I was STOKED! RUN TIME- 3:58:48, 4th in AG, 64th Female. 20131120-095607.jpg I crossed the finish line and pointed to the camera thanking all those who had tracked me that day, and gave a kiss to my Husband who I knew would be watching me from work. The volunteer asked me if I needed medical attention for my lip, I asked why and she said it was blue and purple, “probably from the kick to the face on the swim,” she just look at me like I was bazaar. I saw my coach, family, and friends at the exit area. I tried to walk towards them and couldn’t take another step. My ankle was done to say the least. I looked down at my right foot and it looked like I was a 500lb diabetic! My coach and brother walked me to the cold outdoor pool to “ice” my ankle and assess the damage. It looked like the same thing I’ve always done in years past- definitely an ankle sprain! We had a medic come out to wrap my ankle and I finally got some medicine from somebody (who knew at this point) and I headed to the room to start my R.I.C.E. process. I had friends update me on everyone else finishing and people came by my room afterwards to change and share war stories. This was an awesome experience- we all did absolutely amazing and it’s just honestly so cool what your mind and body can accomplish when you push yourself to the limit. TOTAL TIME- 10:49:13, 4th in Age Group, 64th Female, top 13% Overall 20131120-092909.jpg



I want to start by saying, I absolutely love to cook! I mean, LOVE IT! I think this stems from my Mom’s side of the family. My “Nanny” (grandmother) was always in the kitchen and always having me involved in everything that she created. She was one of those types of people who never wrote anything down and her recipe’s called for “dashes” of this, “sprinkles” of that sort of thing. I want to preface this by saying, I am not a Registered Dietician by any means, I am just writing to show you that it is possible and EASY to cook healthy- whether you are on a budget, Mom/ Dad of 6 kids, or whether or not you have 20 organic food stores in your home town.. eating healthy is an option, you just have to make it a priority.

Bon Appétit,



A little bit of my history

Before I begin blogging, I want people to know a little bit more about my background-


I was born and raised in Nacogdoches, which is a very small town in East Texas. It is home of Stephen F. Austin (SFA) and it is the oldest town in Texas- we take great pride in our town, Axe ’em Jacks! I have two older brothers, Kyle and Ryan, and a sister-in-law, Becky, who I pretty much call my sister since she has been in my life since I was 13 years old. It was actually her crazy idea to get me to sign up for our first triathlon in 2007! (She ended up beating me only because she baked me a box of chocolate fudgies the day before the race)! I started playing sports as soon as I was old enough to register- I wanted to be just like my brothers. Soccer was always my favorite, even though my Mom wanted me to be a ballerina. I took swim team, dance, tennis, basketball, volleyball, pretty much anything and everything! In high school, I continued on to play soccer and dance until college. Below is my High School graduation picture. Next to it is Becky and I after finishing Ironman Texas in 2011! IMTX was my very first Ironman- I completed it in 12 hours and 55 minutes, when I was 22 years old!

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In 2005 I was named Heritage Festival Queen of Nacogdoches. It was quite an honor and I know I made my Mom proud! You see, my Mom passed away when I was 15 years old from a brain tumor. My mother was always the woman who knew and believed in my potential to accomplish great things. My willingness and inspiration to compete in triathlons stems from her memory and her never-ending quote to me, “No pain, No gain.”

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Pictured Above- Heritage Festival Coronation, Receiving the crown; My Mom and I after a soccer game on Mother’s Day; My Dad and I beginning the Tennessee Waltz as my first dance as Queen.

After graduating high school, I attended the University of Mississippi- best college ever, HOTTY TODDY- where I was Pre-Med. After a year of being away from my family and many heart-to-heart talks with both my Dad and brothers, I decided to switch over to Nursing and was accepted into the University of Texas Medical Branch(UTMB) to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. UTMB is a special place for our family, as my Dad and two brothers both went there for their MD and my Mom for her Nursing Degree as well. Little did I know it was just the beginning! At UTMB I met my future Husband, John, where we clicked instantly. We were married in Grand Cayman a year and a half later then set off to Knoxville, TN where he matched into General Surgery Residency the following week! It was a very busy time in our life but we just went with it! We have two adorable dogs, Layla a Golden Retriever and a rescue dog named Annabel who is a German Shorthair Pointer. I currently work at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital and absolutely love what I do! I train daily with the local triathlon club here and couldn’t ask for better people to train with- inside and out!! I truly am blessed! 20131118-102247.jpg

My Family- No one believes me when I say I’m the “shortest” in the family! (Minus my sister-in-law, pictured far right)

I have such a great support system with family and friends always encouraging me to do my best both in and out of triathlons. With this season winding down, I am looking onward to a fantastic next year and can’t wait to see what God has in store! 20131118-102325.jpg

Me, Layla, and Annabel 

Ironman Florida Swim Start

Ironman Florida Swim Start

This is the beginning of the swim start for Ironman Florida on November 2, 2013. A little under 3,000 participants start their day with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run- so that each individual can be called an Ironman!