Tosca Reno


Friday, July 27, 2012

Tough Love Triathlons

I am excited today's guest blogger is my daughter, Rachel, aka The Traveling Naturopath. While she is in the midst of completing her clinical year at CCNM in Toronto, she is also maintaining her athletic endeavours. This past weekend she competed in her 3rd sprint-distance triathlon and she did it in honor of my late-husband, Robert, her stepdad. I'll let her tell you how it went...
Our fabulous medals & my Tough-Love Bob tee made for a pretty stylish race. 
Hello Eat Cleaners. It's exciting to write for you and share all of the fabulous things that happened last Sunday in Michigan.

My boyfriend, Mat, and I traveled down to Ann Arbor to race in the He Tried/She Tried sprint-distance triathlon put on by the super-fun Epic Races group. My draw to Michigan, aside from the friendly race environment, was also my Aunt Tammy (aka Sister in Speed Tammy), my Uncle Ron, and my 2 cousins. She was competing in the Olympic-distance event.

This was my 3rd triathlon and Mat's 1st. How great is it that the event was made for couples? It's the perfect way to try out your first event.

I had been inspired to race years ago by my Ironman dad. My 1st race was in high school and I nearly drowned even with all of my lifeguarding, swim instructing, and competitive swimmer experience - something about that open-water swim can just knock the wind right out of you. Two years ago I came out of "race retirement" when my mom decided to compete in a triathlon as her new goal after turning 50. We went down to Ann Arbor to race with my aunt in the Tri Goddess Sprint Tri and we all wound up winning our age groups. Let's just say this was more than inspiring!

With the race bug fully implanted, I competed with my friends in an Olympic-distance relay last summer. This summer I thought I would be ready for a full Olympic-distance. Unfortunately, my stepfather's sudden illness and passing took the wind right out of my training sails.

It took me until the middle of May to feel like I wanted to get off the couch again.

With the help of Coach Rita, I trained hardcore until the middle of July. No alcohol, no grains, lots of weights, running, cycling and swimming. I settled for sprint distance instead of Olympic.

I was ready!

Mat & I packed up the car with our gear (you can read what I bring with me on my blog here) and headed down to Michigan after a long day of seeing patients at the RSNC.

Our game plan was to do the best we could.
Mat in the transition zone rocking his Bull's Eye tee. 
We set up our transition zone and got ready to race. Once again, I panicked in the water, but I kept telling myself to breath and stay as calm as possible. I reminded myself constantly that my stepdad and stepbrother were watching over me and would keep me safe. Lots of breast stroke transpired between bouts of front crawl so I could keep my composure. But I made it out of the 800m swim in about 17 min. Mat was right behind me. We started the bike together, but eventually I felt the power and tried to push harder. My 20km hilly bike was over in 36min. Now, onto the run. I was feeling the burn so I downed an Espresso Hammer Gel (yum!) and raced through the beautiful trails for 5km passing a few people, including a U of M competitor. I felt the power and the energy and sprinted the last 150m finishing my run in 23min. Wow! Mat had finished a few minutes before me and I jumped into his arms at the finish line.

We did it!

But we certainly weren't expecting the results... we won our age group! How exciting.

Taking the podium as #1 in our age group! Wahoo!
It was a powerful day made even better by the fact that I got to do it with my best friend & #1 supporter.

And now I know I am ready for an Olympic-distance next summer.
Our wacky racers including Sister in Speed Tammy in the black and red. 


  1. Congrats Rachel and Matt. Very exciting to win a race. You have a looonnnggg tri future ahead of you because those age groups categories go pretty high!

  2. Although I've never participated in a race of endurance of any kind, this inspires me to try a Triathlon. I am very intriqued to hear more about your diet prep in addition to Rita's no alcohol or grain rule. How do you eat before, during, and after the race?

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  4. Congratulations! Sounds intense but I am glad you were strong enough to endure and ultimately win. WOOOHOO! I would like to know why you don't include grains. What is the benefit?

  5. Congratulations to the both of you! I am glad you enjoy your visits to Michigan! :)
    I think it's great how you met your challenge and overcame your fear in the water.

  6. So I have gone grain-free over the past couple of months because my trainer, Rita Catolino, offered me the challenge of trying it out. To be honest with you, as a student of naturopathic medicine, wheat/gluten products were always taken with a grain of salt, but rice, millet, spelt, etc was alway revered. In the interest of slimming down after putting on an extra 12 pounds with the stresses of school and family life from Jan-May, we decided grain-free (and alcohol free for 1 month) would be a good challenge. It certainly helped. I don't feel malnourished or hungry. And I'm still building a lot of muscle (I have a lot of protein and healthy fat in my diet). So before a race... protein shake with greens, glutamine, water and protein powder; during a race - Hammer Gel and SISU Water; after a race - fruit (or a sweet potato), protein and veg.


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