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Cook's Corner

I still want to learn …
Connie: I want to go back to school next August and get my Ph.D. I have a thirst for knowledge.
Dave: I don’t know. I’m pretty content.
I can’t wait to …
Dave: Cross the finish line … and have them tell me I’m an Ironman again.
Connie: I’m a planner. We’ve got our goals planned out. I don’t sit and wish. We do it.
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Triathletes Dave and Connie Cole of Kendallville fix meals to complement their training schedule.

Triathletes plan meals to benefit training schedules

– A printout of menus and workouts hangs on the refrigerator of Kendallville triathletes Dave and Connie Cole.

Connie, a 47-year-old nurse practitioner at IPFW Center for Healthy Living who also teaches, plans meals for the week for herself and her 48-year-old husband, taking into consideration what the couple’s work and exercise schedule will be.

Dave, a technician at Max Platt Ford dealership in Kendallville, says, “She’s the mastermind, and I’m the laborer.”

“I plan the main item. I don’t cook. He’s the cook,” Connie adds.

She says that during the winter months, the couple may eat meatloaf or a tater tot casserole, but normally she observes what their routine will be during the week and then writes down what the focus of the meal is.

“We live on carbs, or otherwise we couldn’t train the way we train,” Connie says.

Dave adds, “It’s pretty important because we have to plan for the gas to go or recovery.”

Dave says he might have used cookbooks when he was younger but now finds recipes online. Likewise, Connie says she searches online for recipes that use chicken, salmon and tilapia.

“It’s not my favorite, but I’ll eat it because it’s good for us,” he says about eating seafood.

Dave says that before he met Connie, his diet was mostly boxed macaroni and cheese. The couple now avoids anything greasy and deep-fried.

“We just mix it up. If we want to be real naughty, it’s fried potatoes and sausage. That’s our reward meal,” Dave says.

Pointing to a dinner plate of grilled pork chops, rice and vegetables, Dave says, “This is good. I cook (enough) so there’s leftovers for lunch.”

Keeping their diet balanced, the couple does include fruits.

“I love fruits. I eat fruit all day long. We eat watermelon, apples, oranges, plums and peaches. I like pineapple, too,” Connie says.

Dave says he likes bananas, apples and watermelon.

Q. How long have you been triathletes?

Connie: It’s our third summer. I’ve been doing it longer.

Dave: I was a boring runner.

Connie: (He watched me in 2011) and at a Half Ironman in Muncie.

Dave: I saw the lake and how far it was across and thought, “No way I’m doing triathlons. I’ll stick to running.”

Connie: The following year, you did two marathons, two half-marathons, an Olympic distance triathlon and three sprint-distance triathlons. Chicago is the goal race this year. We’re trying to beat our previous (times).

Q. How often do you work out?

Dave: We try to take one day off a week. Last night, we swam 32 laps or 1,600 yards.

Connie: Usually (the day off is) Mondays. Yesterday, we were up at 5 a.m. and ran 8 miles before work. After work, we swam for an hour. I was out of gas by then. Our body mass index is very good.

Q. What’s something people would not find in your refrigerator?

Dave: Alcohol.

Connie: That’s for sure. You won’t find real butter or anything full fat.

Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food you would have to have?

Connie: Red Vines and chocolate.

Dave: It would have to be Mountain Dew, but that’s not a food.

Connie: It’s a chemical with sugar in it.

Meal 1

2 butterfly pork chops, cooked on the grill

2 baked potatoes (or baked beans), cooked in microwave

1 (12-ounce) bag of frozen veggies, cooked in microwave

2 small salads of iceberg lettuce; may add sliced carrots, onions, cucumbers and celery

Makes 2 servings.

Meal 2

2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked on the grill (or baked in oven)

1 (2-ounces) instant mashed potatoes, cooked according to package directions

1 (15-ounces) canned peas

1 (15-ounces) canned carrots

Optional small salad

Makes 2 servings.

Meal 3

2 to 3 pounds beef roast

4 to 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 pound carrots, cut into large chunks

1/4 to 1/2 onion, cut into chunks

Place meat and vegetables in a slow cooker. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-88; fax 461-8648 or email