Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nutrition and Hydration at Ironman Texas

I've been working specifically on nutrition for 18 months now.  After a nutrition disaster at Ironman Austin in October of 2011, where I had to abandon my plan and rely on flat coke and water to finish the race, I needed a change.

So, I turned to Infinit.  I'd heard about them, and at this point, was up for anything.  Eighteen months later, it's been successful.  But it did take some work.

At Ironman Galveston in April of 2012, I nearly bonked on the bike.  We discovered that my heart rate runs too high for me to make use of the protein that was in my bike mix.  We switched the mix to higher carbs/lower protein, and raised the calories a bit.

When Ironman Texas came in May of 2012, it went like a dream.  After that, I kept the calories the same, and made tweaks to my hydration system.

At first, I was using multiple water bottles, which I really didn't like.  Some time last summer, however, I found FlexrSports, and their remote water bottle kit.  Basically?  A water bottle with a really long straw.  I went through several variations of the remote kit setup on my bike.  Finally this year, I settled on this:

There are two 28 oz bottles behind the seat, and one long flexible straw that connects the two then comes up along the top tube to the aero bars.  I recently overhauled my bike, and when I put it back together, I wasn't really happy with the way the bottle cages sit - so I changed that too and wound up with this:

You'll notice the bottle cages sit upright, and there's a water bottle on the aerobars.  Right now I use a bungee cord to hold that bottle on, because that bungee is pretty damn useful for lots of things - including keeping the straw in place.

So, my nutrition plan (trained, tested and proved) goes something like this:

Breakfast is coffee and oatmeal about two hours before the race starts

About an 30-60 minutes before both half iron and iron distance races I start sipping 12 ounces of water mixed with a 1 hour serving of my bike mix - I finish this about ten minutes before race start.

I start drinking my Infinit bike mix right out of T1.  For half iron distance races I mix an hour and a half in each bottle, and for iron distance races, I mix three hours in each bottle.  I know exactly how much to sip every 15 minutes to get exactly the right amount of calories for however long I'm on the bike course.  I take water bottles from the aid stations and rest them on the aerobars with the help of that bungee cord.  Depending on how hot the day is, I'll drink a minimum of 20 oz per hour.  Ironman Texas 2013 was a whopping 40 oz per hour!

Once I get back to T2, I have a flask set up with Infinit's Napalm.  I drink one ounce every 20 minutes.  This year at Ironman Texas, I had an empty plastic water bottle that I reused for my special needs bag.  I put six extra ounces of Napalm in that bottle. I take water and ice from all the aid stations if it's pretty hot, otherwise, I drink to thirst.

One other thing that I do - I carry an extra hour of my bike mix on me in a plastic baggie, and I pick up a bag of gu chomps from an aid station and put them in my pocket - just in case.

As far as nutrition goes - after breakfast - I don't have anything solid until after the race is over.   And I don't notice getting hungry at all.

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