April 8, 2014

Digestive Health

A week ago I was 1 of nearly 500 people who battled the crazy Ohio spring weather to race with Speedy-Feet in the 7th annual "No Buts About It" 5k run/walk for colon cancer awareness. 

One common problem endurance athletes face is dealing with GI issues.  Whether it be a race day problem or a nagging issue during training, it is a factor that needs to be addressed.  Endurance athletes, including myself, often deal with any one of the following issues:
  • "Elevator Goes Up": aka vomiting, burping, acid reflux, or heartburn.  Not sure I can diagnose myself fully, but a better medical term would be reflux.  I've noticed this during training primarily, and it generally relates to my nutrition. 
    1. If I haven't drank enough water during the day I'll notice a difference in my digestion.  I try to drink 3 large bottles of water throughout the day (not including the fluids I take in during exercise). 
    2. I try to eat foods that won't upset my stomach and allow plenty of time between larger meals and workouts.  I'll plan out my meals according to my daily workouts.  For me, I need a little snack prior to working out, usually something pretty small and bland.  I can eat pretty much anything prior to a long bike, but not when it comes to swimming, running, or bike interval workouts. 
    3. Last year I was introduced to Generation UCAN.  Since using this product I've had steady energy (fewer sugar spikes/crashes from sugar or maltodextrin products), sustained energy (time released delivery of glucose), and less gastric distress (larger molecule of Superstarch passes through the stomach and digests slowly in the intestines).  Contact me and I will send you a couple packets to try out!! 
    4. I've also noticed if I eat smaller, more frequent meals my digestion improves.  I adjusted the amount, quality, and frequency of my eating habits during races as well.  Through trial and error I've found what foods to eat pre-race and during - everyone is different and I recommend you figure it out well before race day. 

  • "Elevator Goes Down": aka diarrhea...no pretty way to describe this one, sorry. 
    1. All of my running routes have a backup bathroom plan.  While I prefer a restroom or port-o-john, I always carry tissue paper in case of an emergency. 
    2. I try to plan my workouts according to the time of day.  I tend to have GI issues when I run, especially later in the day - swimming and biking aren't typically effected. 
    3. This past month I was introduced to Vector 450.  I haven't used it long but let me tell you: my GI system is much more predictable after using this product only a few short weeks.  I won't go into detail, but if you suffer from GI issues (and by the way, GI issues are directly related to nutrition and immune systems) then definitely try this product out.  I will be reporting on Vector 450 as I continue using it this season, but so far it has been a good addition and support to my training plan. 

  • Exercise Induced GI bleeding: athletes with bloody stools, diarrhea, and abdominal pain should see a doctor as they could be experiencing decreased blood supply to the GI tract.  
    1. My family has positive history of GI issues.  I've seen a physician to monitor any problems to be sure they aren't a symptom of a larger issue.  Better to be proactive about your health and address issues before they turn into problems. 
I don't assume to be an expert on medical advice, but I'm willing to share what I deal with during training and offer suggestions based on what works for me. 

May 10, 2013

MUSF Sprint Tri

(what a long title for such a short race...)

HFP Racing has successfully put on multisport races for over 20 years throughout Ohio, the midwest, and beyond.  April 20th they put on the Miami Sprint Triathlon.  Originally I had hoped to race an early season 70.3, but plans change and I am proud to be flexible with my schedule. 
A race director is gambling with Ohio weather in April.  You've got the chance for temperatures ranging from 30-70's and who-knows-what-else in terms of rain, sleet, snow, wind, sunshine, etc.  This year we had 35 degree temperatures and wind.  This is officially the coldest triathlon I've done in my career...
Testing out my new XTERRA skinsuit
The race begins with a serpentine swim through the lanes of the Miami University rec pool.  The participants enjoy a time trial start, one racer leaving every couple seconds, to complete a 400 meter swim. 

A sprint race can be won or lost by mere seconds and time spent in T1/T2 needs to be minimal.  Not for this fair-weather-racer...  Let's be honest: getting out of a pool and jumping on a bike dripping wet in 35 degree temperatures is not smart, nor pleasant.  I put on 3 tops, head wrap, gloves, socks, and had toe covers already on my shoes.  I had pants set out, but opted against them when I saw another racer I had passed in the pool about to start the bike ahead of me...  time to get going. 
It was soooooo cold on the bike!  My ice block legs did their best to push through the 12 rolling miles around Oxford, Ohio.  I was excited for this race to gauge my fitness level, but in these conditions it was tough to get a clear read.  I would try to push harder but couldn't find any gears.  That's when you say, "everyone is racing in the same conditions... deal with it, and keep pushing". 

So glad for the Tri4Him long sleeve jersey
Run: I spent 5k running with a guy wearing only a Speedo wondering why on earth he didn't put more clothes on (and assuming he was thinking the same thing).  My legs were numb from the ankle down and I attempted a fast-turnover run through the university campus.  I crossed the finish line 6th overall/ 1st female and spent the next 10 minutes waiting for my face to thaw so I could talk right.  Some of us quickly packed up our gear and spent the next hour thawing in the hot tub  :)
Gotta love early season racing.  Click here for full race results

March 16, 2013


2013 is quickly becoming filled with many new and exciting things for me.  In terms of triathlon, I am proud to begin racing with the Tri4Him Pro team.

Click here to learn about Tri4Him's mission

Click here to learn more about my personal story

Click here to learn how you can get involved with Tri4Him
A couple weeks ago I got the chance to meet, train, and brainstorm with the Tri4Him founders, some of the team sponsors, and other professional athletes on the team.  What an amazing, motivating, driven group!  Our purpose is not merely focused on racing fast, but glorifying God and loving others through our sport.  Keep your eyes out for opportunities to serve with us beyond race day. 
Top Row: Matt Sheeks, Jared Milam, Nick Waninger, Ryan Rau
Bottom Row: Natasha van der Merwe, Natalie Kirchhoff, Abby Geurink, Missy Kuck
After spending time with me (as it relates to sport), you understand that I am serious about training, strive to excel on race day, and encourage others to get involved and push themselves.  Once you talk with me, you understand that my identity is not dependent on triathlon.  While I have enjoyed the successes and opportunities triathlon has brought, I've learned lessons far more important than mere race details over the past 19 seasons (yes...my first triathlon was in the summer of 1994). 
          • Humility
          • Perseverance
          • Leadership
          • Pride
          • Stewardship
          • Courage
          • Patience
(just to name a few...)  I can look at the lessons and relate them solely to racing, or choose to understand them as they correspond to other areas in life, and most importantly as it relates to my faith.

But for now I'm getting back on track after the trip to Dallas (with Tri4Him) and a 2nd year assisting with the Marine Corps Wounded Warriors Trials in San Diego.  Next post will cover that trip  :)


February 10, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

Ever get so behind on something...?  Has it really been since July since my last post on here?  (thank you Facebook for keeping me in touch with family/friends on my whereabouts)  It's been a crazy couple months - here's a quick month by month summary:  

    I drove to Chicago and met up with Andrew Starykowicz and Jill Cwik (...now Starykowicz...see December).  While recovering from his Abu Dhabi injuries, Andrew humbly stepped into "home stay" mode.  I'm sure plenty of people were nervous seeing him on race morning :)  My race went fairly well after having raced just the weekend before in Muncie.  I was 2nd out of the water, maintained the #2 position throughout the bike, and finished in 7th after a squelching hot run.  It's been a while, but I remember feeling "flat" throughout the race... no giddy-up. 
Picture courtesy of Ali Engin

  • I got confirmation that I was 1 of 30 professional females worldwide to claim a coveted spot to compete at the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas!  GOAL MET!!  I was relieved, though somewhat surprised to secure a spot considering my recent placings.  Nevertheless, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity and began training. 

  • One of my favorite training trips over the years has been with a group to North Carolina... this year we headed to Tennessee.  5 days of riding mountains (including the infamous Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap), running trails, and swimming in lakes.  We started out camping, but after getting rained out, hearing park rangers search for a mysterious hiker, and one of our group members terribly miscalculating his daylight:run time ratio... we shacked up with Glen in the cabin we should've be in from day 1. 


The bike course...yes, mountains!  Love it
    Vegas baby!!  I joined 29 other female professionals (and thousands of age group athletes) racing one of the toughest 70.3 courses out there.  The temperature was over 100 degrees (no shortening the race distance like at Muncie) and the course takes you through mountains...not hills...I said mountains.  This is the type of bike course I love!!  This is the type of bike course people blow up on if they don't conserve early... and they did! 

    Speedfil drink system
    made my bike AERO!!
Swim: gun went off and I was side by side with Leanda Cave in the first pack until the first turn, then WHAM!!...she kicked me in the eye and I fell off the pack ever so slightly, but it was enough that I couldn't stick on the feet in front of me and I was on my own. 

Bike: I knew I could handle this course and was excited to race with the top professionals all together.  Several women took it out HARD and paid for it later.  I saw several top racers crack mid-way through or caught them at the end of the bike. 
Enjoyed the strip after :)

Run: I love everything about this venue...except the run profile.  You're either going uphill for 2 miles, or downhill for 2 miles.  Bleh!  I suffered the consequences of poor nutrition on the bike and eeked my way to the finish line after walking quite a few aid stations.  Electrolytes and salt tabs are important!!  Force them down even if you don't feel like it... lesson learned the hard way. 
The Nageotte support crew
Inside OSU stadium
My sister Crysten ran her 1st marathon last year.  This year she let me organize her training a bit and she raced #2.  She did amazing, taking 25 minutes off last year's time!!  I ran the last 15 miles with her (yes, I'm a bandit... but I never crossed the finish line and I brought my own nutrition).  I think she's ready for some serious training and a real goal: I see a Boston Qualifier in the near future :)

  • After Vegas I didn't feel like throwing in the towel on the 2012 season, though I had met my goal in qualifying for 70.3 World Championships.  I decided 8 weeks would be plenty of time to gear up for Ironman Florida.  I am familiar with the distance and know some friends competing... why not? 

  • After 8 weeks of long distance training I headed to Panama City for Ironman Florida.  I knew it would be a gamble, but the way I figured: all IM distance races are tough the last 6-10 miles.  This one would be no different... right?
Photo courtesy of
Ramon Serrano

    • Swim: the ocean was choppy and had a strong current.  I had a terrible time sighting the buoys on lap #1.  Lap #2 I just told myself to relax and finish the swim knowing it wasn't going to be stellar.  That was a first...
Bike: LOVED IT!  This was my first full distance as a professional and it was quite different.  In past IM races, I've witnessed large age group packs on the bike.  At Rev3 Cedar Point I only saw a couple dozen riders the entire bike.  After this race I had a friend challenge me saying I probably drafted.  No way buddy - there were officials all over the female pros and especially following Jessica Jacobs (previous IMFL champion).  I saw a motorcycle every 5-10 minutes, several riders around me got a penalty, but I managed a clean ride - one I was quite proud of!

Run: I felt relaxed, smooth, and ready to gut out a long run.  Everything was on target through mile 16.  Aaaannd then I faded.  It was all I could do to finish but I was determined!  I walked a handful of aid stations (1 with Jessica Jacobs who ended up having a worse day than I did) but finished only 3 minutes off my PR from 2 years ago.  Not too shabby.  I'll get you next time! 
Another great experience with TriBike Transport! 
Thank you! 

Congrats Andrew and Jill
Bob, Lisa, and I

Took a road trip with my coach Bob Duncan and his wife Lisa to Chicago to celebrate Andrew and Jill Starykowicz's wedding.  Wish you guys nothing but the best!  Thank you for inviting me to join in on the celebration

Whew...  at least I'm caught up to 2013.  Lots of changes this year... race season already underway... 



July 12, 2012

Muncie 36.2

You may be asking, "36.2?  I thought you weren't doing Muncie."  I wasn't until Friday afternoon when WTC announced the change in distance due to the weather forecast.  While most people were upset with the decision, I was not. 

1 mile swim
29 mile bike (supposed to be 30)
6.2 mile run

Race pictures courtesy of Ali Engin.  Click HERE to see
more photos from Muncie.  I'm in a number of them.  He did a
great job capturing pre-race, transition, and up-close race photos. 

Tues: I talked with my coach and we decided it might be best to race Racine 70.3 instead of Muncie 70.3 (as was originally planned). 

Wed: double workout and full work day.

Thur: full work day and 2 1/4 brick in the evening.

6am: long swim. 
Worked 8:30-2:30. 
2:30 got a text from Erika Wetzel  confirming a change in race distance due to and extreme heat forecast (103 degrees + midwest humidity). 
2:32 - called coach and debated whether or not I should race.  He voted "no".
3:09 - called coach back and said, "I think I should race."  We discussed pros/cons and put together a race strategy and I was given the green flag to head to Muncie, IN. 
4:30 - made plans for my dog, car was packed up, got directions to hotel, and was heading west. 
7:30 - had already picked up my packet, snagged a couple items at the expo, got food at Subway, and checked into the hotel. 

4:20am - wake up and head to race
6:35am - race start.  The water was 86 degrees.  I was the only one without a speedsuit (which surprised me).  By the halfway point I felt like a noodle in the water due to the temperature.  I fell off pace of the 2 leaders and came out of the water 3rd. 

7:00am - hit the bike.  I almost lost my shoe during T1 and started out on the flat course.  No wind along the ride today.  I felt pretty flat on the bike, but kept pushing.  I'd see 18mph and wonder why I was going so slow... ahhh, false flats.  The adjusted course took us on an out-and-back that merged back into a loop with the waves of racers behind us.  I was thankful for that visual motivation versus the vacant road ahead (which is my typical view on the bike).  I got nearer to the 2nd place racer but did not pass her and ended up 3rd going into the run.  Race highlight: fastest bike split!! 

8:10am - started the run, and was quickly passed at mile 1.5, then 2, then 2.5.  I was still in 6th...still in the money.  The race plan given to me was to relax on the first mile ("ridiculously slow") and build into the run.  The second half I pushed so I could stay top 6, but was passed in the last mile.  After looking at my run split, I may have relaxed a little too much - whoops!  I ended up 7th overall. 

12:00 noon - back home in Dayton, OH getting showered, eating some food, and getting ready to head out to my cousin's wedding.  I was in the chapel by 2:10 with coffee in hand (to stay awake...it was 103 degrees...who would want coffee otherwise?)  The ceremony and reception were fabulous, stocked with good food and dancing.  Congratulations Ty and Cathy! 

Sunday: recovery day (yard work, cleaning my house, getting my roof patched, etc...  that's recovery, right?)  I was thankful for the day off work to get my bearings. 

This upcoming weekend: Racine 70.3
I'm excited - I've always wanted to race this course.  It started out as an event put on by my friends at HFP Racing.  I raced with them for 6 years and keep a handful of their events on my schedule each year. 

July 1, 2012

Tri Clinic

This weekend Daniel Smith and I hosted a triathlon clinic in Vermilion, Ohio. 

Daniel and I earlier this year in San Diego at the
Wounded Warrior Trials

Developing a training plan that provides zone-focused workouts and adequate recovery, yet allows for flexibility in response to unforseen details remains the priority importance in triathlon.

Any single sport lends itself to numerous details as each athlete strives to gain a competitive edge over their opponents.  Multiply that x3 in this sport...then add transitions into that mix.  Daniel and I covered details from each of these disciplines, and provided advice regarding nutrition, recovery, and strength training

 swim clinic

Not only were we able to discuss running technique, but we were fortunate to have AV equipment to record and review each person's run form.  This provides instant feedback to the athlete. 

Click here to visit Daniel's website- he is a creative photographer
AND knowledgable coach

I believe photography and video feedback is one of the most valuable teaching tools in any sport.  Over the years I have learned through visual aids such as these and others.  In competitive swimming, attention to detail combined with training builds an efficient, powerful athlete.  I can remember doing swim benches, stretch cords, and swimming while studying my stroke in a mirror. 

Lodging accomodations allowed me to bike, run, and get an
open water swim right from the front door :)

Afterwards, it was back to training for me.  This heat has been incredible, no?  It was 93 degrees when I went for my bike ride at 5pm.  Bleh...

Sunset, dinner, and relaxation on the beach at the end of the day. 
(right across the street from where I stayed... perfect loction)

I'm excited to continue working with Daniel and offer triathlon clinics.  Contact me if you are interested in attending one!  missykuck@hotmail.com

thank you for everything Daniel!

June 19, 2012

Kansas 70.3

The song in my mind for this race: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
My last post indicated my knee issues.  I harp on other people to take time off when injured so I had to heed my own advice.  Here is my running schedule 6 weeks leading up to the race:

6wks out: 5 runs including 1200m repeats, hill efforts, "bookend" brick, and 2 easy runs
5wks out: no running
4wks out: one 30min test run (painful...almost walking) and two 10min jogs
3wks out: one elliptical workout and one 10min jog
2wks out: two elliptical workouts, 3 water jog workouts, three 10min jogs, one 2-mile jog
1wks out: 2mile, 3mile, 3mile, 4mile, 4mile, 6mile EASY
Race week: 2mile, 3mile, 4mile, 5mile

Not only did a conservative training approach allow me to finish the race, but also a "team effort" in terms of logistics.  Here's what I mean:

Tina covered "on-call" at work so I could go to the race.

Jeff "aka: Speedy feet" brought my bike to Cathie

Cathie and Valerie (elite E2 racers) drove 10hrs
from OH to KS to race...with my bike in the back

Kromer let me borrow his
race wheels...since he is temporarily retired
from triathlon after Lake Placid

Nickie (elite Veritas racer) let me borrow
her speedsuit.  My WTC-legal speedsuit has
not arrived yet.  Waited for the TriSports sale to order it :)

Lou shuttled me to/from the airport (and helped feed
 my Dairy Queen habit).  He shaved a "monkey tail"
in his beard on race day....AWESOME!!  Miss you Abby

Cathie's parents were a gracious homestay
for Cathie, Valerie, and I the night before the race

Race Report:

Swim:  the winds were high, making the water very choppy.  I've never swallowed so much lake water.  Wetsuits were not allowed (water temp 76.8) and many people's race was finished somewhere during the first leg of the race.  I came out of the water 3rd

Bike:  I loved this course-  rollers all the way, baby!  The wind made things a bit interesting: leaning into the crosswinds, coming out of aero on some downhills to hold onto the bike, pedaling uphill with the wind at my back almost as fast as I had gone downhill a few minutes previous on the turn-arounds.  I held my position in 3rd throughout the bike section. 

Run: I set up my gear in T2 almost as a joke.  I thought the effort from the 56 hilly miles would put my knee out.  But it didn't, so the plan was to run up to the point of pain, then flag someone down for a ride back to transition.  I didn't want a DNF by my name, but started the run assuming I'd be done in 2 miles.  Then 4 miles...6 miles...by mile 8 I was holding strong in 4th place and decided I was finishing the race.  When I got passed at mile 11, I encouraged the racer to catch the pro in 3rd (which she did...) and finished the race in 5th.  Splits indicated I almost even split the run exactly! 

Jenne was the most energetic supporter out on the
run course!  I didn't know her, but had to meet her
after the race and thank her for dancing and
playing music

I made "thank you" peanut butter s'mores cookie bars for people.
Here's the link for the recipe:  RECIPE