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This is why I do Triathlons

Posted Mar 05 2013 2:22pm


So I guess my "Why" is more than just a finishing line, award or medal but rather the ability to do what I love on a daily basis, share that experience with others, and to always feel great with what I can do on any given day. My body does not have to let me do triathlons and sometimes I am frustrated with that fact. But at the end of the day,  my body is amazing in that it can heal itself without extreme medical interventions, it has never had a stress fracture or broken bone and I haven't been sick in over 6 years. So despite lack of running here or there every year and the pain that keeps me from running, I'd say my body is pretty special and I'll take a great race and training session, whenever my body is ready for it.


Marni Sumbal, 30, Clinical RD, triathlon coach, business owner, writer, speaker, Jacksonville, Florida


Why do you take part in triathlons?? I love the lifestyle of swim-bike-run and the enjoyment I feel (in both mind and body) when I finish a workout. I love training for a race and overcoming obstacles and setbacks along the way.
How long have you been taking part in triathlons? ~7 years competitively
Tell us about that. Not only do I coach others to reach personal fitness goals in the sport of triathlon and running, but I am also a competitive triathlete who enjoys racing in long-distance triathlons. I typically race 4-5 times a year (in both triathlon and running events) and since 2006, I have finished 5 Ironman triathlons.
Most challenging aspect of triathlons: Teetering on the edge of being injured as I like to push my body to see what I am capable of – in both mind and body. Also, knowing when to hold back in order to focus on quality workouts. I enjoy training smarter to train harder.
Most fun aspect of triathlons: Being able to “train” with other adults who “get it”.
Most rewarding aspect of triathlons: Knowing that my body is capable of racing for 140.6 miles in one day…and thanking it before, during and after every race.
Who/what inspires you when you’re feeling weak? My athletes as well as those who are unable to exercise due to medical/health reasons, but would give anything to be outside and to voluntarily move the body.
Advice for others who’d like to get started: Think small and work on weaknesses and strength training prior to starting a structured training plan. Determine how many hours a week/day you can realistically devote to “training” the body after you factor in sleep, work, family time, meal planning, eating, commuting, etc. There are no rules as to how many miles/hours you have to train per week, focus on your own individual goals and consistency will allow you to make progress.
Your must-have equipment for completing triathlons: I love my gear! Trek Bicycle (pink of course), 910XT Garmin, Nootca swim cap, Oakley Women Commit shades, Road ID, my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition triathlon kit, Pink laser helmet, Speedo vanquisher pink swim goggles, Brooks Launch running shoes, Louis Garneau triathlon shoes, Garmin 500 Edge bike computer.
Favorite training song: Any kind! I love to listen to the radio when I train (iheartradio).
Favorite healthy food: Hard to pick just one, but I love nuts, seeds and veggies.
Favorite not-so-healthy food: Banana bread (not the healthy kind).
Funniest /weirdest/most awkward experience participating in triathlons: During my first Ironman, my boyfriend (at the time), Karel was watching me race. We had been dating for six months and as I was finishing the 26.2 mile run at the end of the race, he shouted to me that I was in the lead for my age group and I was “going to Kona” (IM World Championships). I yelled back “I love you!” – it was the first time I ever told him I loved him. Now we are happily married.

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