Pre-Ironman Lake Tahoe Dinner

Pre-Ironman Lake Tahoe Dinner


Bon Appetit!

Last weekend I was in Lake Tahoe with one of my athletes, Khem, as she was participating in the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe. We were staying in a rental house in Tahoe City, and there were 8 of us staying there. Two were race participants, I was there as coach support, and the rest were the sherpa crew. Yes, Khem had 5 sherpas and a coach to support her Ironman race. Because we had a full kitchen and I wanted to make sure everyone ate well the night before the race, I volunteered to cook the pre-race dinner.

Joining us for dinner was also Wes of Pro Bike Express, a friend of Khem’s who was working some bike transport for the race. We thought at first we overwhelmed him sitting at a table of eight women, but it turns out he has five sisters so he felt right at home!

Before traveling to the race, I planned a menu and got athlete approval. When looking into what might be good to cook, I got my inspiration from The Feed Zone Cookbook. I knew those would be healthy recipes and also easy to prepare.


Le Menu
Lemon and Herb Salmon and Chicken (p. 233)
Quinoa Salad (based on the millet salad, p. 278)
Pan Cooked Brussel Sprouts (not in the cookbook)
Chocolate Bread Pudding (p. 260)

I made the bread pudding first so that would be done and not have to be cooked in an over that just cooked fish. I just may have added a little extra chocolate.

The goal with the main course was to have a healthy protein and some easy to digest carbohydrates. Not everyone was a fan of salmon, so we opted to cook both chicken and salmon. Both were prepared the same way with a little salt and pepper and then topped with fresh herbs and lemon. These were baked until done.

Lemon & Herb Chicken & Salmon

The brussel sprouts were an addition requested by Khem and Kristi. I don’t normally eat these because I never ate them growing up. But many of the gals said these are one of their favorite veggies, and they turned out great and were easy to cook. We simply cut them into halves and then cooked them in olive oil on the stove with a little salt and pepper. Next time I’ll add bacon!

The Quinoa Salad was inspired by the millet salad that is referenced with the salmon recipe. But since I’ve never cooked millet, and neither had anyone else, we went with quinoa. A pre-race dinner should definitely consist of foods with which you are very familiar! The quinoa cooked up a little mushy (I added a little too much water), but it still tasted great. We added herbs, cucumbers, and carrots to the salad.

I made some modifications to this salad based on taste preferences and convenience. I bought black olives instead of green since that’s what I could find already chopped (time saver!). Then we didn’t add the yogurt directly to the salad, but let everyone add it on their own if they wanted a creamy salad. We also left out the tomatoes per request of the athletes.


Coach Nicole’s plate – salmon, quinoa salad, and brussel sprouts.

Extra chocolatey bread pudding with raspberries.

Extra chocolatey bread pudding with raspberries.

Everything turned out fantastic. Not only did the athletes get a healthy pre-race meal, the sherpas did as well to prepare them for a long day of athlete tracking, support, and cheering.

I’ll leave you with a few more pics from Ironman Lake Tahoe.

Athletes heading into the mist in the rolling swim start

Snowcapped mountains surround the swim course

One of the climbs on the bike course.

Olympic flame at the entrance to Squaw Valley

Olympic flame at the entrance to Squaw Valley


Team Khem shirts.

The fun begins when the sun goes down at the Ironman finish line.

Team NEO athlete Khem giving Mike Reilly a hug at the finish line. Photo credit: Newton Running

Team NEO athlete Khem giving Mike Reilly a hug at the finish line. Photo credit: Newton Running

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Nicole Odell


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