Part 1 here. Here's a brief synopsis: dark swim, windy ride, painful run, took forever.
This will focus on my nutrition plan for the race, since this was my first long race without sugars and grains.
Pre-race: I had booked a room that had a kitchenette since I wanted to be sure to stay on track with my eating plan. I packed full-fat greek yogurt, grass-fed steak cut into cubes, kerrygold cheddar, hard boiled eggs, bacon, baby spinach, tomatoes, grapes, peaches, cocoa nibs, and nuts. I went out to eat only twice the entire long weekend I was there.
The day before the race I mixed two packets of Generation UCan with frozen berries using an immersion blender. I filled three 6-oz flasks plus one 16-oz container to drink before the race. I put the flasks in the freezer overnight. I describe my first experience with Ucan here. Basically it tastes like chalk but works wonders -- I didn't know if I would be able to tolerate it on race day. I knew from training I could def handle it pre-race, cold. I was hoping that freezing it would work during the race (it did).
I mixed up nuts for the bike. I used roasted & salted pecans, macadamias and cashews -- my top three favorite nuts. I added a few unsweetened dried cherries to the mix. I made two bags, one for my bento box and one for my special needs bag.
On the run I brought two dates in my race belt in case I bonked and two peanut butter packets. I finally found a good use for those Gu packet holders!
I had both caffeinated and decaffeinated salt caps for both bike and run. I put a Raw Revolution bar in both special needs bags, just in case. And Motrin for the run.
Race morning: I stuck an ice pack and a frozen UCan flask in a paper lunch bag. I made up three of these: for after the swim and for both special needs bags. In the special needs cold bags I added two string cheeses too.
Breakfast: three hard boiled eggs, two pieces of bacon, 7 oz greek yogurt, and coffee with cream at 4:00 am.
I took Imodium and two salt caps at 5:30 before leaving for the race. I brought the 16oz container of Ucan to drink while at the site race morning (5:30 - 6:30).
Swim-to-bike: I put a flask of UCan in my jersey pocket. On the bike I did my best to keep eating a few nuts here and there. The UCan went down fine -- much to my surprise. I found myself looking forward to special needs where I could get more of it. During training I would leave with a bottle of UCan and come home with the same (full) bottle. I think freezing it helped tremendously.
At the specials needs stop on the bike (mile 50) I had two cheese sticks, swapped for fresh nuts (although I had not finished bag one), and grabbed the Ucan. The back half of the bike I finished the Ucan but slowed down on the nuts. I was hydrating well, taking one or two plain bottles of water at every exchange. I took one salt cap every hour, and two caffeinated salt caps every four hours.
On the run I had 1/3 of a banana from an aid station with a peanut butter packet in the first hour. At special needs (mile 13) I picked up my last flask of UCan and had one cheese sick. The UCan was still cold and good. I wished I had more, actually. I kept the same salt timing (about one/hour). I switched to chicken broth when it got dark. Otherwise I was just taking water at the aid stations.
The back half of the run was a huge sufferfest thanks to my ankle. My stomach felt fine but eventually after being out there all day and into the night I had to go to the bathroom. This is the only downside to a low carb ironman. If I could have finished in 13 hours or so I probably could have made it. In the last few hours I stopped briefly several times at a port-o. In the last 5k I had 4 oz of flat Coke to get me to the finish. I never ate my second PB packet. And I never needed my "just in case" bonk supplies.
Here is a complete list of what I took in at the race:
- 2 packets of UCan blended with berries and water
- 8 oz of mixed nuts
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries
- 3 cheese sticks
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/3 banana
- 4 oz Coca-Cola
- 10 regular salt caps, 6 caffeinated salt caps
- chicken broth (maybe 16 oz total?)
- Lots of water
Thanks to my ankle I was on the course for 1.5 hours longer than I had planned. However, I was never hungry, never felt my energy level drop, and had no upset stomach. I call this a huge success.
If I had it to do over again I would bring more UCan. Perhaps one more packet (freezing three more flasks). I was always sad when it was gone. I think freezing it and keeping it cold with the ice packs made a huge difference. Otherwise I would not change a thing.
part 3, what happened post-race: here.
part 3, what happened post-race: here.