As part of my preparation for Steelhead this year, I flipped through Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook 4th Edition and got a lot of good pointers. At Steelhead I had a PR on the bike and the run. I think a big part of these PR's was related to nutrition, and I really want to focus on this aspect of my training for IM-FL in November. Why spend hours and hours training on the bike, in the pool, or on runs if you're going to DNF over nutrition?
The day before Steelhead was a travel day. I woke up early and drank two cups of coffee on the way to the airport with Cousin Miles. On the airplane, I had the Southwest airlines snacks - a graham cracker/apple thing and a tiny bag of peanuts. I also had 2 screwdrivers - makes flying a lot more fun. For lunch, I ate at Quizno's - large turkey sub with everything, bag of chips, and a Coke. Later in the afternoon at the registration pavilion, I ate spaghetti and breadsticks with marinara and a Sprite. Closer to bedtime, our friends John and Tracy ordered take out Chinese food - couldn't pass that up. I had chicken fried rice with a lot of soy (love soy) and a beer. I drank a bottle of water at bedtime. Definitely carb loaded that day.
Race day - woke up and started eating. I had 2 cups of coffee with sugar and cream. I ate 2 pop tarts (400 calories - wow) on the ride with a bottle of water. While getting my stuff ready in transition I drank a Gatorade. On the walk out to the swim I ate a snickers. I drank 2 or 3 cups of water heading out to the substitute run start.
On my bike I had a water bottle between the aero bars and a Gatorade bottle in a cage below. One Gatorade bottle lasted me the entire bike - I'm not a big fan of sports drinks. I drank mostly water and tried to get my electrolytes from foods like salty pretzels. Foods I had on the bike - pretzel goldfish for salt/sugar (about a cup - kind of hard to get out of the bento box without crashing, a little bit of an aspiration hazard), gummy bears for sugar fixes (maybe a cup and a half - nice because you can swallow them easily half-chewed), 2 half peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (peanut butter first to keep the bread from getting soggy, then a little extra jelly to make it "juicier" to eat - my mouth is dry on the bike), one Clif bar that took me forever to eat but good calories, and 3 Gu's. Every aid station I took a water bottle and filled my bottle on my aero bars. I sipped Gatorade occasionally but drank less than one bottle total on the bike.
Starting the run I felt great. I've never felt great starting the run. I took a few sips of Gatorade and a few sips of water at each aid station. At mile 6 and 9 I took one gel.
Gastrointestinally I felt terrific the whole race and afterwards. No nausea, no sloshing, no feelings of hypoglycemia or muscle fatigue. No starving feeling after the race. I drank a bunch of water after the race. We went out for dinner afterwards at Heston Bar and Grill for post-race refueling. I had fried calamari, beef and vegetable soup, steak, steak fries, and a few beers. I added salt to all my food, and drank several glasses of water.
When I logged Steelhead into Training Peaks it calculated that I had burned 3849 calories. As best I can tell I ate a total of 2560 calories right before and during the event. I guess between my glycogen stores and what I ate, I provided enough energy without overdoing it.
A lot of triathletes I know do nutrition completely different from me. I know some people's stomachs do not tolerate solids at all and have to do liquid-only nutrition. But after a while I can't stand the thought of another Gu or more Gatorade. I'd be really interested to know exactly what others packed on their bike for nutrition. I think on previous half distance races I simply did not eat enough calories to sustain me the whole day - I usually tanked on the run. I'm hoping that I can plan my nutrition for IM-FL and feel as well as I did for Steelhead.