You Gotta Nail the Nutrition

10 Oct

IMTX 2013 was my wake up call that I might need help with nutrition.  I knew I made mistakes by using new products during that race but will never know if the original plan would have worked.  I was blindly following a few articles I had read about race nutrition and hydration and just assumed they were accurate.

eve and i
Eve and I at Hotter N Hell 100

A friend, Gary, had raved about the nutrition help Eve had provided him so I decided to work with her.  I scheduled our first appointment in mid June.  I told her about the IMTX mistakes I made and the shortness of breath I was had at IMTX and the other hot half Ironman races.  I told her my goal was to get down to 165 lbs and when she asked what my goal IM race time was I said 10:30 ( I had put no thought in this and upon further review wish I hadn’t said that).  She thought I could still have decent performance at the same weight because my body fat percentage was well in range for a 50 year old.  She put together a daily plan based on the calories per day I was burning while training and spaced the calorie intake evenly throughout the day.  It was really hard for me to eat so much at breakfast and lunch but when I understood the food is fuel and needed thru the day and not to fuel sleep I got it a little.  The daily caloric intake was set to maintain weight.  I must have trained a little harder as my weight dropped to 166 lbs just before the race.

We had another meeting to discuss race nutrition and hydration.  I had since re-evaluated where I was fitness wise and told her my goal was an 11:00 Ironman.  I thought a 1:30 Swim, 5:30 ride, and 4:00 marathon were conservative and my transitions would fill in that time.  This was of course before I knew the swim would be downstream and the bike course would be 4 miles longer than normal.  She set a goal for me to take in 300 calories per hour on the bike based on my weight.  And after doing several sweat tests I was supposed to take in 2 bottles of water per hour on the bike.  This was way more than I had ever done before.  I tested this plan on every long bike ride I did.  I made slight modifications in the type of calories I took in (solids vs liquids) and when I did it during the ride but I always took in 300 calories per hour.  Drinking that much water proved to be difficult at the start but eventually it became habit.

After one particular ride with Wade and Michelle we were running a few very hilly miles after the ride.   Wade had beat me up the final hill has usual and I followed,  Michelle had slowed to a walk.  From the top of the hill I yelled back to her to stop slacking and run up the hill (Yes I’ve been told I need sensitivity training).     Once she reached the top of the hill her response was not pleasant towards me.  Later after the nerves had calmed I told her we had to work on her hydration because what she was doing wasn’t going to work at Chattanooga.  We texted back and forth about what she was doing and what I was doing.  We each weighed before and after our rides to make sure we were getting in enough fluids.  On subsequent runs after long rides I was more sensitive to what I said and she seemed to be getting her hydration down much better which meant no more screaming at me.  Seeing her dial it in also confirmed to me the plan was working.

After each ride I provided feedback to Eve and she would suggest modifications.  The plan became habit during my long training rides.  I was feeling pretty good running after riding 100 miles..  When we got close to the Ironman date and looked at the weather forecast she suggested I knock down my water per hour to 40 ozs.  I was feeling pretty confident my eating and drinking plan would be successful.