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What athletes eat: Race-walker Maria Michta-Coffey's night-before-a-race chicken dinner

Two-time Olympian Maria Michta-Coffey holds seven American records in race-walking -- a sport in which racers go as fast as possible, while making sure at least one foot is in contact with the ground at all times. Michta-Coffey competes in distances that range from two miles to 30K, and while the right fuel for intense workouts is essential for any endurance athlete, for her it presents a particular challenge: Getting all the fuel she needs the night before a race or workout. Thanks to a sensitive stomach, the Ph.D. microbiologist has to plan with care what she eats the night before so she can make it through a morning workout without eating until afterward.

She shared one of her favorite power meals:

Day and time: An evening before a race or workout.

Place: My home in in Farmingville, New York.

What I'm eating: Chicken, rice and green beans.

Whose recipe: My own.

Why I'm eating it: Prep is very minimal, it fits my dietary needs and it tastes good too. My husband and I often work as a team: He'll get the chicken started and I jump in the shower quick. Then when I get out I'll start boiling the water for the rice and prepping the green beans so he can get showered up. That way we both get washed up while dinner is made. It's nothing fancy or special -- just a simple, honest meal that gets the job done.

The recipe:
Ingredients:
2 thinly sliced breaded chicken cutlets (I usually save time by buying pre-seasoned panko-breaded cutlets from Whole Foods)
1 box of NearEast Rice Pilaf (original flavor), makes 3 cups
8 ounces of green beans
6-8 large cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves of fresh garlic
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray and place the breaded cutlets on it. Once the oven is preheated, bake until cooked through (usually about 37 minutes).

Heat the water for the rice. When it comes to a boil, add the rice and seasoning packet, and follow the directions on the package. (We follow the low-fat instructions and don't add any butter or oil.)

Mince garlic and roughly chop the tomatoes. Wash and trim the green beans. Place the green beans in a frying pan with 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer on medium high heat for two minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with olive oil. Add chopped garlic and tomatoes, and continue cooking another two to three minutes until tender.