Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3 weeks - 19 days actually but who's counting until Ironman Chattanooga - The nutrition plan

Sorry for the delay ... but
I actually wrote the draft of this post over the weekend. But yesterday was a tough day. I started  Monday by going to a funeral. With the exception of my dad's super non-traditional memorial about 6 years ago this was the first funeral I've been to since I was in high school. Really, not fun. Oddly, within the last 10 days I know of 3 people who have died. 2 Were parents of people I train with. One a parent of a mommy-friend. Uber-downer to say the least. However an excellent reminder to live for the day. Life can and will change in an instant so enjoy each moment. Impossible advice and yet also perfect advice when it works.

Yesterday after the funeral I sat down to edit this post and well post it and it was just too dry and serious and just not good. So, I didn't publish it coming back to it today to make it better. If it's still crap just know it's the best crappy post it can be.

Where is the race anxiety? Where ... oh yup, there it is.
I'm three just three weeks away from my second Ironman. The focus of this post will be on what my nutrition plan is but first I want to touch on my lack of race anxiety. Why well just to make this post a little longer than it already is. Actually just because it puzzles me and writing it here helps me work that out a bit.

I was super anxious before Ironman France and I am wondering why I'm not more stressed before this race. Clearly some of the reason is that since I completed France it's not a totally unknown thing. But it's still a massive race so I should be nervous. I should be anxious. Don't get me wrong I'm not brimming with bravado - I'm just not panicked. What else could it be? My guess is actually that it's because I'm doing this with my group. So I'm not alone. It's just a thought but that's what I'm thinking for the moment.
I saw this somewhere and I love it. While I draw strength from folks cheering me on I have finally figured out it's okay that I just do this for me to enjoy the journey.

That being said - I did have some trouble sleeping last night. I'm happily drifting off to sleep and then blink - 20 days - crap! 20 days. Crap - totally awake. But I just read a little more and drifted back off to sleep.

And now back to nutrition. What follows next is long, tedious and boring. I'm not sure anybody cares. So feel free to skip it I won't be bothered.

This morning I walked into the gym and the owner offered me a doughnut. He didn't actually have one with him he just thought I should eat one. This is a sign that I'm pretty close to race-weight.

As of this morning I weigh about 115 pounds. I'm 5 feet 4 inches tall. So that makes me a full-sized adult but I don't carry around a lot of extra pounds to burn through on race day. The good news is that the weight is holding steady and I'm about 8 pounds heavier than I was when I went to France. I hope those extra pounds are solid muscle.

I absolutely need to do my best to make sure my body is topped off at the start. So, my nutrition plan starts pre-race. I start putting an extra 200 calories or so into my diet 3 days before the race. This is usually in the form of a bar of some sort. To clarify I eat normally and add an extra bar during the day. I also take some supliments (daily vitamin, magnesium/calcium). I'm also drinking lots of fluid at this point ... but that's always true. I want my muscles rested and as full of glycogen as they can be. I was told that it takes 48 hours for your body to convert fuel to glycogen stores. That's the reason that I start this so far in advance.

The day before the race I will eat a giant carb-fest breakfast. In theory this is what I'll be burning the next day in the swim. My meals the day before will all be a little bigger and while balanced they will be more carb-based than usual. I will eat a little extra salt all day the day before the race and hydrate with a mix of water and elecrolyte drinks (gatorade - osmo - pedialyte). I usually don't also add salt-tabs. I'm not a heavy sweater and there is sodium and potassium in my bike and run formula. Too much potassium can cause an irregular heart rate so combining infinit with salt tabs should be done with caution. The night before the race I'll have pasta with meat sauce. I'll eat at 5pm and then I'll also have some sort of late night snack right before bed - possibly left over pasta from dinner, possibly a bar. I will not have any garlic rolls and probably no veggies at dinner other than the tomato sauce.

I am a little bit of a freak about controlling what I eat leading up to races. I drink bottled water. I avoid dairy products and anything out of the norm. No fish, nothing rare, nothing fried, nothing spicy, no sauces. Think grilled chicken and rice. Where normally I want to choose fun local eateries I tend toward plain simple safe foods when I'm traveling. 

Race Morning
At the butcrack of dawn I will awaken after pretending I've slept and eat as much of the following as I can choke down.

  • Small cup of coffee perhaps with a touch of cream
  • a banana
  • a hard-boiled egg
  • 2 cups of oatmeal with dried cranberries and sugar. 
This is what I eat every morning on the weekend before a long workout. I make it at home. I honestly don't know how I'll do this in the Holiday Inn in Chattanooga but I will. For France we had an apartment and I carried the ingredients in my suitcase - this is how far I will go to control the food I eat.

About 60-90 minutes before the race I'll try to eat a Luna bar. 20 minutes before the swim I'll take some chomps. This used to be a Gu gel but I've switched to chomps for everything else. However because chewing on chomps might take longer I might stick to a gel here. I'm undecided. If it's a gel it's plain and decaffeinated. During this time I'll be sipping on some sort of electrolyte fluid possibly Osmo but I'm not picky. But I stop that about an hour before. I can be nauseated when I swim so I don't want a stomach full of water.

This is sort of where I want my mind to be at the start. Calm and relatively confident that I can go the distance with courage.
What do I eat during the race
Swim - nada. There are people who eat gels during the swim. Not me I'm too busy hoping not to puke anyway.

In transition 1 - I take a few sips of water and rinse my mouth with mouthwash. I don't take in any calories until I'm on the bike.

I have an alert on my Garmin that ever 7 minutes I swallow 4-5 sips of my Infinit mix. Yes the beep is annoying. Yes, I'm sick of my infinit by the end of the ride. Oh and yes the ride has an extra 4 miles to it. Woo-hoo!

love this! Can't use it too often, right?
I also plan to take a few gu chomps every hour. I usually try to do this at the tops of climbs to make up for the extra burn of climbing. I start with 3 bottles of Infinit mixed and I will mix three more bottles somewhere on the course. .In special needs I will have more Infinit powder and water. This is because I have never actually successfully picked up water on the go on the bike. Weird but true.

My plan at water stops is to proceed all the way to the left with extreme caution avoiding all the other people who don't know how to grab a bottle either but they are trying to do it during the race. Then I will come to a full stop at special needs and mix my bottles. I will also have a snickers bar there waiting for me. Yum. I have eaten a snickers in almost every long run half-way. I also did it in France. It's my tradition. I keep it in a refrigerated bag in special needs :-)
an actual photo during an actual snickers stop on last weekend's ride. Notice my new fancy bike shades.

Special needs in this race we see twice. Mile 52-ish and also mile 99. I think the second pass will just be a fly-by. I'm not even sure if it will still be staffed honestly.

T2 - In my transition bag I have tums. Also again mouthwash to wash out the infinit taste. After 7 hours brushing your teeth would feel fantastic but that would be silly. I used tums in both France and also in Raleigh. Something in the Infinit mix creates gas in the belly. Plus I have a 16 mile run stomach. The idea is to chomp on some tums to get ahead of the giant gas bubble. In Raleigh this worked well. My stomach felt fine. Of course that's half the distance. In France I remember my stomach being very tender during the run - very tender.

On the run my alert goes off every six minutes. 2 sips of Infinit Mix and a sip or two of water.

This is my run formula. It's a little sweet for my taste but whatever. It is luckily a different flavor than I have on the bike because by the end I'm suuuuuper sick of that flavor.

I will be carrying a fuel belt with 2 bottles one of Infinit and one of water. Each Infinite bottle lasts one hour so I'll remix as needed using water from the aid stations. So I'll start with one mixed bottle and 4 pouches of powder. Perhaps I'll have some pouches in special needs instead of carrying them the whole race. I will also have gu chomps and even caffeinated gels for extra calories. Also in special needs will be wipes and pepto bismal tablets to chew on if my stomach is upset. In France I enjoyed the crackers on the run and also cola.

So the run plan isn't as rigid as the bike plan. I have more options because I'm moving slower. Also, this is a different run nutrition strategy than I have used in the past. Staying away from gels going with chomps which hit my stomach slower and sticking with liquid calories for the most part. I remember feeling very tired in the run in France but not horrible energy-wise. So, I'm hoping that holds true in Chattanooga. As with any marathon my plan is to keep moving forward at all times.

Uninvited Pool Guests
Last but not least I leave you with my favorite photo of the week. This is from a masters class earlier this week here in Florida. Ponta Vedra - not Miami. Can you imagine? He was about 3.5 feet long which is long enough and while the swimmers waited for animal control to get there he apparently climbed onto the swim deck causing them to dash away. That's an exciting swim workout. I have not yet seen a gator in a pool and I hope to keep it that way.

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