Hydration and Race Day Tactics

Triathlon is a tricky sport. You can train perfectly and diligently, yet have a crummy race. Yes, I know this because as a Sherpa wife, I have witnessed MANY races. The good, the bad, the ugly. But after years of racing and a few trial and error “tactics,” I think it’s safe to say the kiwi knows what it takes to execute a GOOD race.

photo 1 (2)

That being said, today I’ve asked the Kiwi to spill his RACE DAY TACTICS!

hydration and race day tactics

Hydration & Race Day Tactics via James Cotter


Arriving at the start line of your race fit and ready to cover the distance is easy for majority. But arriving hydrated and staying hydrated is where we all can sometimes fall a little short and in the end can really hurt your performance.

I’m sure you all have read the stats about how our performances suffer with the smallest amount of dehydration. When we sweat we also loose water and salt from the blood. Once this happens the blood gets more viscous, your heart has to pump faster and it leads to the whole stall, spin,crash , burn, fall to pieces. We as athletes want to avoid this scenario at all costs. (yes, I’ve been there.. hence the IV in the picture below back in 2009).

IV pic

So during any race it is crucial to remain hydrated leading up to the event, during the event, and after to help promote better recovery. This will help you get back to training (post race) sooner.

I like to keep my hydration levels at optimal levels using a supplement called Drip Drop. Not only does it help keep you hydrated during races, it is great for using during traveling.

photo 1

Drip drop has very low osmolarity so it is easily absorbed into your system. The latest information out there says you drink to hydrate and eat to fuel. The caloric count in drip drop is low which helps with your gastric emptying rate, so your chances of suffering from GI issues during racing are greatly reduced.

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Here are so tips to go into events hydrated to perform at your best:

  • Night Before: one to two packet of drip drop on 18oz of water as a little load as drip drop contains 2 times more sodium than leading sports drinks.
  • Race Morning: Very cold 18oz of water with on pack drip drop. I find cold solutions keep the gut cooler before the race when your core will really start to heat up. Being cool is just as important as hydration.
  • Race: I will use drip drop in one bottle during the bike. Then i will make sure to have a cooler in T2 waiting for me before the run. Again this will be chilled as well to help cool the gut with cold fluid.
  • Post Race Recovery: Instead of getting a post race IV during a long car ride or flight home, another pack of drip drop will do the trick =. This will help to get the levels of hydration back to optimal levels

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*James (Kiwi Cotter) was asked to review drip drop during his racing and training, all thoughts and opinions are honest and his own.

I’d say those tips are pretty MARVELOUS! ;-)


Do you have any set race day tactics or hydration tips? 


Crazy Cotters

Places, Faces, and Races: The Recap

Well, we’re back to the grind and back in Austin after a race weekend in Maine. Like I mentioned Monday, I am extremely grateful for this community and the true friendships I have developed. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to go support my husband this weekend, which means the world to me (and him). It’s this community that has kept us going and DREAMING BIG. So thank you! And thank you again to Jess , Scott, Miguel, and Jolene. We appreciate all of you more than you will ever know. xxoo

Okay, now onto the weekend recap. I broke it down to 3 phases. Places, Faces, and Races. I know, clever aren’t I? But that way you can see it all, sherpa style. I doubt the kiwi cotter will post his own recap about this race, so I’ll do my best to share.


We flew into Boston on Friday, then drove up to Old Orchard Beach, Maine on Saturday for the Sunday REV3 race. Absolutely loved the weather and the gorgeous beaches and scenery. It’s always fun visiting the East Coast because of the history, architecture, and the New England vibe. Oh, and we learned the difference between  southies and and yuppies. Haha.

Old Orchard Beach (Race Venue)





Gosh I love these faces! Since we were staying with Jolene and M (husband), I got to spend a lot of time with Jess too. Friday night we went to Jessica and Scott’s house for pizza. Not only was it homemade (sauce and all), but they made a gluten free one just for me. It was heaven! And of course they had to teach me the wine snob pose.

wine snob

wine friends

Saturday morning (before we left for Maine) I had the privilege of taking Jolene’s Barre 9 class. It was freaking fabulous! She is an amazing instructor and the class was awesome. If you want to know more about Barre 9 classes, read Jolene’s post here. I highly recommend it for cross training conditioning.

Note: Half these pictures are from Jolene’s IG.

After her kick butt class, we packed up for Maine and were on our way. I’ll go more into detail once I get to the race part, let’s finish up the lovely faces first.

So after the race we drove back to Boston and once again were spoiled by Jess and Jolene. This time we had a BBQ at Jolene’s house. Miguel grilled up a ton of veggies, lamb, steak, and chicken,. We all sat in the back yard, sipped on wine and just enjoyed each other’s company. Did I mention these blends are amazing? Ya, they are!


blends jes and jo

We left Monday but I got to sneak in a run with Jolene before I left. So fun to run and enjoy her day to day life with her.


So the race… well, there’s good and bad. First of all, the kiwi hadn’t raced since before he left for his France trip. This was a big deal since we didn’t really know where his fitness was. Of course, I always think he’s fit and super but I’m the wife, I am bias. Haha.

Okay, back to the race. We love REV3 races! They are always so supportive, organized, and very accommodating to athletes. The Maine race was no different. The field was stacked with e pros that were FAST!

Race morning teh kiwi felt ready. Water was perfect, weather was perfect, etc.



James (whoops, I mean kiwi cotter) is usually with the first pack out of the water, but I didn’t see him with the first pack in transition, I knew something was up. Turns out he had stopped to catch his breath before running the 3/10ths of a mile to the transition. Well, that was it, the pack was gone. He played catch up on the bike and rode his fastest bike split, but then received a penalty for drafting when going down hill (refs were pretty strict). So he lost that time and once again lost the pack.


Once he got the run, he felt pretty good. First 2 miles were 5:15 pace and it looked as if he could run his way back up to top 10. Then this happened.


I guess our waterproof blister Band-Aids didn’t hold well. Totally ripped up his heel. OUCH! But he did finish. And we got medical to treat the foot right away. All good now.

This race was a disappointment for him, but it also showed him that he’s got the fitness, just needs to sharpen up his race strategies, etc. Always a work in progress, ya know?

I think the post race mini cheesecake and cappuccino help ease the pain. Okay, well it made it happy for the time being. Winking smile


The next race is a little less than a month away. We’re back home. Working on smart training, budgeting, and moving onward and upward.

Do you have a post race MUST HAVE food?

Cheers and thanks for letting this Sherpa wife ramble!



Pretty sure there are a ton of grammatical errors in this post, but my brain is still in a different time zone and a wee bit slow, so just excuse them, k? Thx!

The Cotter Feeding Zone: Race Week

Well, we’re going. The kiwi is racing. I honestly didn’t know if it was going happen after last week’s bad week of training. As an athlete, he questioned his fitness. As a wife, I knew he was just stressed, it was hot (which makes it hard to perform certain KEY workouts), and he just needed some reassurance.

7761-ea_hold_on god knows what he doing design

So what did I do? I prayed, I hoped, I had faith. I’m a bit of a HOPE CHASER. But I think it helps in times like these. Helps to push through, to endure, to believe. Believe in those God sized dreams.

I believe in these words.. So perfect, ya know?

But hope is chased even when hurt is large and boulders abound. The snapshots I took when I could inhale the fragrance of hope because it was in the same room as I was, those snapshots beckon me when grief, trials, or hard work surround. Friend, if we don’t take snapshots of hope and hold them in our hearts, the ugly will consume us.”

So yes, we’re going. A weekend race is upon. One that might make HIM or BREAK HIM. But you never know unless you try. I’ll be sherpa. I’ll cheer. I’ll chase that hope.

And I’ll keep the “Cotter feeding zone” full of good stuff.

Race week means less volume, just fine tuning. A little less carbs than a high volume week. More balanced meals, good fats, omegas, and protein.  Race week is also when I like to focus on foods that help ease stress . Salmon or Tuna, omega rich eggs, nuts/seeds, etc. I also try to get in at least one meal that is iron rich. Usually grass feed beef with bell peppers (vit c) for good absorption. Just keeping things “clean” you might say. I guess better put the Pillsbury away for now. Haha.

Here’s a look into the Cotter Feeding Zone during race week.

Love Grown Foods Super Oats with Chia (omegas) and Peaches, Greek yogurt, and a little maple/molasses on top.

peach oats

Gluten free and organic breakfast tacos from or favorite local café.


Lots of Sushi Salads. These are a favorite. Basically a deconstructed sushi roll on top of a bed of spinach. Goes great with wasabi dressing and avocado. I just mix wasabi with grapeseed oil and a little balsamic vinegar.

sushi salad

Applegate turkey, hummus, and broccoli slaw sandwiches on gluten free buns.


Fresh Basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pepper on roasted butternut squash (Vit A and good Carbs).


Snack plates: Sprouted corn tortillas with organic cream cheese, turkey, and cucumber. Bananas topped with nuttzo (omegas) and fig jam, bell peppers (vit C).


And lots of BIG GREEN Smoothies with coconut oil added for extra nutrients (good fats, omegas)


Alright, I think we’re feeling good! Now we just need the mind to be race ready!

What’s in your feeding zone this week? Favorite pre race meal?



More than Mediocre Monday

It’s Monday, which feels like Sunday. And I’m all confused. This weekend has not gone according to plan, but really, what does these days? So it may not be Marvelous, but it’s more than mediocre. Which is always good!

I’m going to copy the MARVELOUS Lindsay’s List this weekend and copy her One word Wednesday post, but instead, let’s make it two and call it a post.

Mmmmm.. k? Winking smile

Work..and play




Eat… and Relax (thanks to Simple Protein and Udis GF)


Train  and Rain (plus humidity hair)


Family and Faith..


Racing.. not racing


So ya, the race didn’t happen. Instead, we’re icing, resting, and hoping that the husband’s neck strain heals ASAP.


Maybe it’s not so marvelous, but then again, it’s more than mediocre and we’re happy it’s just a strain. Stay positive, stay thankful, stay hopeful. The glass is not half full, it’s RIGHT FULL.


What’s your one word, or maybe two this Monday?

Happy memorial day and thank YOU to our troops for serving!



Sherpa Scenes: Lavaman Triathlon

Such a great weekend! Being able to see my husband race, pain free and carefree, was my highlight. True JOY and PASSION! And despite having mechanical issues on the bike (had to stop and change out new wheels) he still finished strong. First out of the water and onto the bike then ran a 33 minute 10k. Not too bad considering he has been out of the racing scene for over a year. Love that guy!

I’ll leave you with a few Sherpa scenes. Every day was filled with friends, laughter, sunsets, and good memories. Just what us Cotters needed. A full recap will be coming soon (hopefully from the kiwi himself), but for now I’m soaking up my last day here with the hubs and the island. Cheers!


bfastfruitsunsethawaii Boochstarttransition

buttswimIMG_1113_Hagridlavaman triathlonfinish

tim and james



Signing off jet lagged and joyful!

Sherpa Wife


The Pro Triathlete’s Wife

This post was a long time coming, but for some reason I have been putting it off. I am not good at putting my complete thoughts into words. I always assume everyone can just read my mind, as they should, right? Just kidding. But in all honestly, it’s hard for me to really describe the depth of my “feelings” so to speak. But here goes.

A while back I was asked to write guest post about what it’s like being a pro triathlete’s wife. Well, I never got around to writing that post because  my answer always seemed to be changing.

You see, over 5 years ago I promised James I would be that support system for him, no matter what.

It’s led us down many CHANGING pathways. But I was ready. It’s no longer my schedule or his schedule, it’s our schedule. We’re a team.

That’s the thing about pursuing a dream, it really takes a TEAM!


For the past 5 years we have lived paycheck to paycheck, lived in several different places, and sold many things just to get by.

DSC03021.JPGboat ride


For the past 5 years we have gotten up at 4:45am each day. James goes to swimming, I prep the meals for the day.

james pool

For the past 5 years I have been by his side at most races. I have done the last minute tug of the wetsuit, I’ve been the “bag and gear” holder, I’ve been the “drop me off at transition” driver.


For the past 5 years I’ve been the one waiting at the finish line, I’ve been the one chasing him down for bike splits, run splits, etc. I’ve been the one cheering for him and others as they zoom out of the water.

jc and lance

For the past 5 years I’ve been the passenger on long car rides to destinations races. I’ve been the one who carries the food, makes the meals, finds good hotel rates, and takes care of the travel arrangements.

road to BSLT

For the past 5 years I have seen a man win races, drop out due to injury, and fight just to the finish. I have been there to sit in silence after a let down. I have been there to hug , cheer, and kiss after a break through.


For the past 5 years I’ve been the one who rescues him after 2 flats on a long ride, or when he’s caught in bad weather. Yes, and I’ve been the one praying for safety each day too. Winking smile


For the past 5 years I’ve been part of a team. A really good team! James is the head, I am neck (the supporter). We function so much better together.


For the past 5 years we have been going through change. It’s ironic, because that’s the only thing consistent. Change. We know it’s coming. But maybe that’s the sacrifice we make? A consistently inconsistent lifestyle.


For the past 5 years I’ve watched my husband portray such strength, humility, respect, and determination. That’s why I love my job as a wife, a pro triathlete’s wife, a sherpa. Because being part of the THIS team is a not only a reward, but an honor.

pre race

Today the hubs went in for his second PRP treatment on his knee. We pray that this second shot will bring 100% healing and allow him get back to training/racing. But if it doesn’t, then God obviously has other plans. And I know I will always be part of that plan and part of this TEAM…. no matter where we go, what we do, etc.

So life, as wife? I’d say it’s special, it’s hard work, it’s worth every single bit!!!!


signing off,

LC (Mama Sherpa)


Check out Lindsay’s List tomorrow for an awesome Tuesday Trainer workout. Good stuff!

Scenes from the “Sherpa” Side

First things first… this poster. Yes, it basically sums up life right now. Don’t you think? Let’s all take that pride and run with it. Ready, set, go!


Okay phew, got that out of my system.

Well, 48 hrs have past since our little MULTIPLE CHOICE. I haven’t talked much with the hubs, but I know he’s got a still on his mind. In fact, I actually caught him writing a DRAFT blog post today. WOW, that means something. Thoughts on paper are a good sign. But all I can do at this very moment is be an encouragement, no matter what he decides to do with the rest of the season.

Speaking of encouragement, this past weekend was full of Sherpa’s encouraging their friends, spouses, family members, etc. I just loved it! I got to play “momma” sherpa to a lot of our friends and fellow athletes, and that makes me happy. I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak into my side of things on race day. The sherpa side.

Here’s a vlog that sums it up and pictures to follow. Smile








One of my favorite parts about “sherpa-ing” is catching those candid moments. The focus, the drive, the determination, the passion. You can see it in their eyes. It’s priceless.


pre race

The change up— > duathlon pro start…


Solid bike and transition….


Finishing the run… toughing it out before having to let the knee rest.


Our fellow friends and athletes KILLING it on race day. So proud! Go Jim and Sarah. Oh and Sarah just so happened to WIN the women’s pro race. Way to go SARAH!


The long 9 hr drive home….


Races don’t define the athlete, the athlete defines himself/herself with hard work, dedication, and passion. Sure, placing well is a bonus, especially when it’s your livelihood. But what you see “behind the scenes” of race day is far more impressive. Well, to me at least! I maybe a wee bit bias. Winking smile

No questions today friends, just pictures. Thanks for letting me share!



Multiple Choice Monday

Well crap, I did it again. Wrote a whole post and then it didn’t save. You’d think I’d learn by now. haha.

Anyway, just a quick hello this Monday. We are on the road back to Austin. NOLA 70.3 was this past weekend and I hate to say it, but it was not good. The Cotter’s are not having any luck with races that start with the word “NEW” in them. haha.

Bad weather blew in and they cancelled part of the race yet again. The hubs ended up having knee pain and walked to the finish… BUT HE DID FINISH!

So we are left now with the remaining options.

A) Get angry, bitter, and throw in the towel.

B) Make every excuse in the book and move on.

C) Reflect, Recoup, and do not make any rash decisions for at least 48hrs.

To be honest, I think the hubs is feeling a little bit of ALL OF THE ABOVE. I respect that, I really do. I think it’s healthy to get all those feelings out.

So for now, I will let the race talk go aside and allow some reflection, some confusion, and some recouping to take place.

pre race

But let’s take a good look at the other side of the weekend. The travel side. The history and character of New Orleans.

We had a great time in this city and the people just couldn’t be nicer. Thank New Orleans for the warm welcome.

From Bourbon Street to Canal Street to Café du Monde… we saw it all.

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And let’s not forget the frequent visits to the Warehouse Style Whole Foods for hotel snacks.


Best combo snack ever right here. Winking smile


I’ve got lots more race photos and video to post, but I think I  will save that for another day. Time to recoup.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend…

racing, reflecting, and recouping!


Cheers from the road,


Fake it Friday

Ahh yes. Friday has come. Although it’s just another day in the Cotter house, it still feels good to say it’s Friday.

I think my brain and body are finally on the Friday wavelength too.

So what is the best way to overcome jet lag? I say “fake it.” Fake like you never left the time zone that you are currently in. This means you get up, eat, sleep, etc. all at your normal hours. It means going to be when you are not tired and waking up when you are still SUPER tired. We’ve been on the “fake” routine the past 3 days and last night it finally worked, slept the WHOLE night. No sleeping pills needed either. Although I was “this close” to taking them. haha.

While we’re on the topic of “faking it,” and no I don’t mean that kind. Winking smile  I mean the attitude kind, a few people have recently asked me how I (we) stay so positive and “happy”. You know what I say?


I’m a firm believer of FAKING IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. Well, for most things.

If you put yourself in a situation where you must persevere in order to reach your “potential” or reach your “dreams” per se, then the only way you can survive is through positivity. This is just my opinion. It’s what works best for my our brains.

We are striving towards a dream. We are taking risk. It’s bloody hard. It’s disappointing at times. It’s draining. It’s A LOT to handle.


If we focus on the good that comes from each trial. If we look past the current situation. If we see each setback as a chance to then LEAP forward, then we just might….




And if we don’t, then at least we grew stronger trying.

That’s real strength, no faking it there.


Let’s see, what else do we tend to “fake?”

I think it’s safe to say we “faked” liking our sweet get up car we drove in New Zealand.


But like I said, some things you just can’t fake.

Some things are better off seen as they are.

You can’t fake racing a half ironman when training 4 months for a FULL Ironman. Yep, that about explains it all.

I think the hubs said it best here.

IMNZ Race Day Photos


I promise that’s James. It’s the headless cotter shot I took. Whoops!

2nd out of the water, and 3rd onto the bike!


And the run, where look on his face explains it all.

No fake smile there and that’s TOTALLY OK!


Oh and there was no faking me hiding out in the car for 20 minutes after the swim portion.



Guilty as charged.


This post is just a little explanation of our thought process. Some might think the same way, while others don’t. I totally get that. You gotta THINK the way that’s BEST for you, right?

So what’s your motto? Are you a Fake it till you Make it person?





To thank you for such amazing support, i’ll be hosting a giveaway next week. It’s a personal one, and it just might have to do with Healthy Bites.


It is what it is..

This morning I woke up and just so happened to have an online devotional sent to me in my email. Thankfully, we had 1/2 G of data left so I could read and pass it along to the hubs. It was hard to read, yet comforting at the same time.

These words were loud and clear.

“As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, “Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust.”

As a wife, it’s hard to see your husband’s career take off then backfire due to injury. It’s hard to see him FULL OF CONFIDENCE then have to start all over, building it up again from scratch. And to be honest, it’s hard to see him sacrifice so much only to be feel disappointed in the end.


It is not the end. We are staying positive, yet realistic.


Realistic in the fact that there is a time to feel angry, disappointed, and frustrated. Those feelings need to be let out, am I right!?


2012 still awaits for us. It’s our last year to really go for those dreams. We will focus on that. No looking back, no looking forward.


With that being said, New Zealand did bring us healing. In ourselves, our marriage, and so much more.


Tonight we board our plane for Austin. Our journey here may come to a halt, but it is not over. Just switching gears you might say.


Cheers to New Zealand.



I have race pictures and a recap coming up later. First we must get home and settled. Winking smile


Thanks for always supporting TEAM COTTER. Thanks for letting ME (the wife) share my life here. Thanks for following us on this crazy ride.