Leanda’s career as a professional triathlete started back in 1994 and now at 33, she has transformed from a short course specialist to a potential Ironman World Champion. Leanda is known for having one of the best swim/bike times in the sport and her improving run makes her a legitimate threat at any distance. 2011 was a breakout year for the ever-consistent Cave, who capped her season with her first-ever Ironman victory at Ironman Arizona. Her finish was 24 minutes faster than the year before, despite suffering a calf cramp in the swim and a flat on the bike. Prior to Arizona, Leanda competed in 12 other races, topping the podium in all but two. Leanda turns to berries for the nutrients she needs in order to claim her next title.
We’ve asked Leanda for advice on training for a triathlon and the role Driscoll’s berries play in her healthy diet.
I love all berries, but I love, love, love strawberries! They are so sweet and refreshing at anytime. I am also a bit of a romantic. There is nonchalant indulgence about eating fresh strawberries from the [clamshell] that is a reminder of the simple pleasures in life.
Berries mixed with yogurt are a favorite snack of mine. Along with putting them in [my] breakfast, I stick berries in any salad, and I make compote to put over meat dishes. Berries are such a convenient and healthy way to snack any time of day.
Berries contain the highest levels of antioxidants amongst all common fruit. Athletes need antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in the blood. Free radicals are a byproduct of training and can prevent recovery, deteriorate muscle regeneration and cause aging. Eating berries is a natural way to counteract the negative effects of training and enables athletes to bounce back from hard workouts.
Your first race should be an enjoyable experience; however, the reality is quite different. You are full of nerves and the distance can seem overwhelming. So try to find someone you can do the race with. Take a bit of nutrition with you, like a gel pack and make sure you drink [liquids] during the race. Finally, don’t be afraid to walk if you feel distressed. As long as you are putting one foot in front of the other, you will make it to the finish line.
My most exciting race was when I won the silver medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. I came from behind on the run and fought hard to pass two girls in the final 400 meters of the run. This was in front of THE biggest crowd I can remember, but what made it so special was I had all my family there watching. It was the first time in 20 years since my parents had been back to the UK and the first time in 10 years that we had all been together. I wanted to make them all proud, and it was exciting when I did!