Ironman WI Race Day Nutrition Report

Since my race reports tend to become very long winded, I’ll focus again on nutrition for this report. I don’t want to put you to sleep!

Going into the race, I did some advance preparation. I planned out my meals and located a Whole  Foods near our rental in Madison. I also packed healthy foods for travel to avoid making poor choices that my body is not accustomed to. 

To avoid being a total recluse, I dined out the day we arrived but stuck to a simple salad with some protein and added my own MCT oil. Since it was a few days before the race, I planned for this to be my last salad. For an Ironman, I cut down on raw veggies to reduce fiber intake 3 days before the race.

Friday was a rest day so I took my shopping list to Whole Foods and picked up the necessities for the next few days. Unfortunately, the kitchen supplies were old and dysfunctional at our rental so things did not turn out as I planned. For dinner on Friday I had a sweet potato with grilled salmon and roasted vegetables. Since Whole Foods cooked it, it was perfect. I sent my boys off to have pizza. I roasted two extra sweet potatoes that I planned to eat on Saturday. Yes, that’s how I “carb load!”

On Saturday I had a small workout so ate my typical greens/maca/collagen mix, along with some eggs and 1/2 sweet potato for breakfast. I also grabbed some Lara Uber bars in case I needed a snack during race check in. After I picked up my bike from Wes, there was an issue with the front derailleur but he fixed it. Talk about service! If you have not used Pro Bike Express, you need to check it out. 

I rode my bike for a very short ride, did a short swim and I checked my bike and gear. Now it was time to relax. I had some veggies along with lunch meat and a sweet potato with pasture butter and chilled on the couch. I was still nervous, as I had been all week, but it was tied to my bike. The most recent issue certainly did not help. I also snacked on some sweet potato chips. Hadn’t had those since my last IM and they tasted pretty darn good! 

I reviewed my race plan, did some visualizing, and wrote cards to those that have supported me along the way and would be cheering for me tomorrow. My traditional pre-race meal is chicken kabobs with sweet potato and sautéed mushrooms in pasture butter. Unfortunately the oven was horrible and the chicken was tough. I only managed to eat a few of chicken pieces but ate the rest of my food. I had a few small pieces of dark chocolate, took some magnesium and headed to bed.

I woke up at 3:45 feeling somewhat rested although I tossed and turned quite a bit. Had my coffee and was actually kind of hungry. That said, I didn’t eat anything and it passed once the nerves took over. I took my usual supplements and prepared my water bottles. If you want to see how I set things up for easy prep on race morning, check out my race preparation video. I mixed vanilla UCAN with protein to drink at the race site. I also brought two bike bottles with 1 scoop of Race Rx in each. I bought a disposable bottle to put on my down tube since I will toss it when I get to the aid station and replace with water from the aid station. 

All went smooth at the race site and I started drinking my UCAN at 5:30.  I finished around 6:00 and all felt good. Amazingly the women’s restroom lines were much shorter than the men! Ha, about time!

I got into line to enter the water. It was warm and felt good against the cooler air. I swam out towards the ski ramp but a bit behind it, since I am not a fast swimmer. The gun went off and it was so easy to just start swimming. It was a gorgeous swim! One of my best… I was able to draft and only got kicked in the ribs twice!  As I exited I saw that I had a swim PR of 1:22. A great way to start the day!

T1 was great! Had a volunteer and the warmth of the ballroom felt wonderful. I decided to just go with arm warmers and it was perfect. The bike area was really congested. As I was entering the fray to exit the bike racks my bike got bumped and fell over. I tried to grab it and then I went down. All seemed okay but I was a little startled.

I took a packet of Vespa right away to help enhance my body's ability to burn fat. The start on the bike path was really congested and it was difficult to pass. I just decided to go with the pace. My bike was in the big chain ring. As I started to shift into smaller gears I noticed that there was a clicking sound, like there was a card in my spokes. I kept working with it, kind of avoiding the gears but I needed the smaller gears for the hills. The first aid station was around mile 16. I asked about mechanical assistance and there were 4 trucks. Most were busy but a new one was just leaving the transition area. That meant it would be 20-30 minutes at best. Ugh… not sure what to do. I decided I had to wait. About 5 minutes later, an aid station worker looked at my bike and noticed that the rear derailleur was bent in towards the spokes. I bent it out more towards the outside. That seemed to work. I felt relieved and carried on. On the first big hill, I shifted into the small ring in front and tried to go down into my smallest gear in the back. The bike locked up and I went down. I got the chain back on and decided to not use that gear. That meant I had to take it easy or the big hills would kill my legs. I kept moving along and just thought about getting a PR on the run. I was behind on my nutrition and started drinking my first bottle with Race Rx around an hour in. It didn’t really concern me that I was behind plan since my calorie needs are low and can easily make up for it without causing GI distress. I was also drinking less water than I did in Boulder but it was not as hot. I was peeing so all seemed good. I took 3 capsules of amino acids along with a salt capsule around 1:15. I got to the hills and my legs felt pretty good, but I had to stand up to keep my legs from burning. I finally saw my husband and son at the top of the last hill. They looked so cute in their matching yellow shirts.

I tried to cruise through the downhills and the first loop seemed to go pretty fast. I took ½ Vespa packet around 2:15 and another amino/salt combo at 3:00. At the beginning of the second loop I decided to try to get in the smallest gear. I had to tell a guy behind me (there was a ton of drafting!) to back off or go around as I may go down. It went into the gear without issue so I decided to use it on the hills but shift very gently. I finished one bottle of Race Rx around mile 70 or 80. I took ½ an X2 Performance at mile 75. It has caffeine and it did give me a little pep. I started to feel pretty good and was now passing people. I took a few drinks of the second bottle of Race Rx and the second half of the X2 around mile 100. I noticed that I started to burp something up around mile 90. I thought to myself... what is that taste and realized it was the UCAN with protein that I drank before the race. I will be looking at other options for next year but it was not uncomfortable and passed pretty quickly.

I was so happy to get to T2 and be done with bike. It was definitely NOT a PR, but I was happy that I finished without any additional issues. I was 30 minutes slower than Boulder.  I know it’s a harder course, but I expected faster and that would have happened without the mechanical issues. As I stood up from my bike I noticed that my back was really locked up. I just decided to suck it up since the run was going to be my moment. As I exited, I saw the race clock at 8:01. I thought to myself that if I could run the marathon under 4 hours, I could still break 12 hours. I didn’t really think that was possible though so thought I would just focus on a PR, which meant less than 12:14. That was doable if I kept moving. In the end I did a 4:10 marathon so who knows what is possible!

I took some BCQ (my natural alternative to Advil) and it definitely helped with my back. I also took some more aminos and salt. I walked through the aid stations for water but otherwise just kept moving along. I was feeling good and keeping a good pace. Around mile 10, I took in about 1/3 bottle of X2 Performance. Around mile 12, I started to suck on a Werthers candy and that tasted amazing! That was just what I needed to give my body a slow release of glucose so I could still burn my body fat. I hit the turnaround and thought – halfway there! I saw SN and grabbed more BCQ. I took another 1/3 of the X2 around mile 15. I took the last 1/3 between miles 18 and 20.  At mile 22 I started to take a small amount of coke in my mouth and spit it out. I didn’t want to swallow yet, in case it bothered my stomach, but, surprisingly, I liked the taste. Even a swish of it gives the body a boost from the caffeine and sugar. I thought of my cousin Ryan often during the run.  He has cancer and is undergoing some pretty painful treatments and yet remains so strong.  I saw my family coming onto the last section of State Street and that gave me a huge boost. Roar by Katy Perry was blasting, which was a perfect song. I swallowed the coke at miles 24 and 25. It tasted and felt good. I didn’t take much but it was enough to keep me moving. I thought of Magnus as I headed uphill towards the capital. He ran over the hill twice the day before in the Ironkids race, so I am not going to slow down!

I kept with it and then saw the finishing chute. I thought about jumping but I have no idea how people can do that! I did lift my arms in victory. I had a PR on the run and PR overall. I saw my coach and we were both happy with my result. After hugging and kissing my family I headed to the food line and grabbed pizza, chips, grapes and a cookie. I knew my son would want some snacks and I would see what I could get down. I had a few bites of the pizza and some chips but that was it. My stomach didn’t feel bad and I had no inkling of GI issues during the race but I was not hungry. I was cold and ready for a warm shower. 

We took Magnus to WI Dells after the race for some kid time. Man, those roller coasters really reminded of the which muscles worked so hard the day before!

I had some treats to celebrate over the next few day and gave my body the carbohydrates it needed to replenish my spent muscles. Dinner was lobster with Brussels sprouts. A perfect way to celebrate a great race with the support of my family. I  could not do what I do without their never ending support.

Total Race Nutrition:

Bike / swim = 280 calories or 35 calories per hour

Run = 90 calories or 21 calories per hour

Overall race = 370 calories or 30 calories per hour