Jackie Dikos, RD, CSSD

You might wonder how I ended up where I am today. In order for you to get the full picture, it helps to go back to beginning.

First, I’m one of 9 children. Yes, 9. You can imagine how difficult it would’ve been for my parents to tote each child around to sporting events. If we wanted to be involved in sports, we had to figure it out on our own. I remember team members in high school thinking it wasn’t fair that I tallied extra weekly mileage because I often ran to and from summer practice. I’m not sure if they realized that I was just trying to get to practice.

In high school I was a decent runner with a cross country 5k personal record of 19:09. However, I never made it to the state meet other than on a 4 x 800 relay team. Even in college at the University of Cincinnati, I improved to nearly breaking 18 minutes on the track for 5k, but again, never a national championships birth. In fact, if I recall correctly I only won one race in college. It was the steeplechase; I won it at a home meet the first year females could run the event.

After college running was more for the health benefits and to maintain some sort of fitness. I ran 3 marathons, all the Chicago Marathon. To prepare I used the Hal Higdon training plans. I felt good about training as I attempted parts of his advanced training plan. The plans served their purpose; I successfully finished all three marathons in a 3:15. When all was said and done, year after year I put in minimal training effort. I logged at best 30-40 miles/week and as few as 20-25 miles/week with little to no speed. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that all-in-all I feel like I was a very average runner.

I can remember sitting on my couch drained after long runs. I wouldn’t eat because I felt nauseas. I’d waste the day away lethargic watching Notre Dame Football. You see, my undergraduate degree is in Dietetics, but right out of college I decided to get married and move with my husband for his medical schooling. Finally, 2 years out of college we ended up in a situation where I could complete the Indiana University Dietetic Internship in becoming a Registered Dietitian.

It wasn’t until I gave birth to my first son that my competitive spirit went into high gear. We bought a treadmill a month after he was born since my husband had such an erratic schedule. I thought just running on a treadmill seemed so boring. Before I knew it I was adding ladders and tempo workouts similar to college to mix things up a bit. I’d run early in the morning before my son woke; or they were late day runs after work. Many, many of my miles were logged either on the treadmill or pushing the running stroller during this complicated time in our lives.

It was 7 months after the birth of my son that I ran the Indianapolis Mini Marathon and finished 14th with a 1:24:29. I think I earned a little prize money for being one of the top Indiana finishers. It was this race that was a motivational turning point for me. If I could do this, surely I can do more.

That summer I logged personal records. I ran a 17:55 5k and a 5:09 mile. That fall I walked into the Athletic Annex for new shoes and met my current coach, Matt Ebersole. We sat down for a 1 hour meeting where he very briefly brought up an Olympic Trials Marathon attempt. I remember laughing to myself thinking this guy is crazy; but I did understand that I had potential because I was still only logging about 30 miles a week.

By spring he had me up to 50 miles a week and an improved Indianapolis Mini Marathon performance of 4th place with a time of 1:20:26. It was after this race that he really pushed to go for the Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon. It’s kind of funny now to think back at how I was so proud of the fact that I was a working mom running 50 miles a week. It felt like so much. How could I possibly fit in more?

With the support of my wonderful husband, Matt got me up to 90 miles a week by the fall. Such mileage was an achievement for me in and of itself. I got down to a 17:06 5k and achieved what I once thought was the impossible – an Olympic Team Trials birth. I finished the Chicago Marathon in 2:45:35, nearly 1.5 minutes under the 2:47 qualifying mark.

Since I was also a Registered Dietitian by this point I had a whole different appreciation for the role nutrition had on performance. I’ve really embraced my world of running and nutrition. There have been setbacks, injuries, and challenges that I feel have only made me stronger. What an awesome journey!

I now have 2 children and earned qualification to the 2012 Olympic Trials. I’m extremely excited for what the next year of racing will bring. I feel running is not only a great way to maintain good health and fitness, but it’s a great outlet for personal achievement. Combine running with good nutrition and performance improvements may follow. In the very least we’ll have our health and a great time along the way!

    Professional Background:

    I’m a board certified Registered Dietitian (RD) with a board certification as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Dietetics at the University of Cincinnati and completed the Indiana University Dietetic Internship in Indianapolis.

    I established my nutrition consulting business, Nutrition Success in 2005, and provide a variety of services. Some of these services include individualized nutrition counseling and education to those seeking assistance in weight loss or gain, medical nutrition therapy, sports nutrition, disordered eating, and general health and wellness.

    I speak on nutrition, health, wellness, and exercise in a variety of settings including the club and corporate environment and as an adjunct professor at the University of Indianapolis. I’ve been a contributor to Running Times Magazine and www.runningtimes.com; and have been cited as a source in other popular magazines including Runner’s World, Women’s Running, and Shape.

    My professional history involves clinical experience working with medical conditions in infants, children, and the adult populations. I stay up to date on current nutrition trends as a member of the American Dietetic Association, Indiana Dietetic Association, Central Indiana District Dietetic Association, and the ADA Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists Group (SCAN).

    I’ve earned qualification to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Team Trials in the Marathon and have achieved racing success at a range of distances. I’m a member of PowerBar Team Elite, Personal Best Training, and the Athletic Annex Running Club.

    Athletic Achievements:

    5k: 17:06
    10k: 35:34
    15k: 54:33
    10 mile: 59:16
    Half Marathon: 1:17:32
    Marathon: 2:45:25

    Mt. Rainier Summit 2011

    Competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Team Trials