Thursday, May 15, 2014

It's alimentary, my dear

This is less a blog post and more an open letter of apology to anyone who sat within earshot of our informal Ironman info session at Long Grain last night.

My dear training buddy Mara and I met with mutual friend and totally sweet badass Sadie, who rocked her first Ironman in Florida last November. We were anxious to get her perspective on the real details of the day. Mara and I both have read a lot about the race, and we're getting great advice from all kinds of experienced and knowledgeable people, but we wanted the real nitty gritty, the street-level view of the day from someone we could relate to.

A fourteen (plus)-hour race presents all kinds of logistical and physiological challenges, the digestive process being primary among them, so though we chatted a bit about clothing, organizing our gear, and getting our wetsuits peeled off by attractive volunteers, most of our conversations were like this one:

"Did you pee on the bike?"
"I tried, but I couldn't."
"I peed on the bike at the Pumpkinman, but I had to throw my shoes away because I could never get the smell out."
"I wanted to in the Timberman, but I couldn't do it either. I'm more worried about puking."
"The guys just pee at the side of the road. You can just stand there and go next to them."
"What about pooping? I'm a wicked pooper when I run."
"I'm gonna have to get up super early to poop before that race."
"Did you read that guy's advice about eating 800 calories 5 hours before the race? Who can do that?"
"Scott could. Don't eat fiber the day before. Maybe a sweet potato. And chicken."
"There's always a line for the portapotties."
"You can just go wherever you want."
"What about all the spectators?"
"The spectators are amazing. So supportive and fun. My favorite one in Florida was the S&M tent. I totally thought of you, Shannon."
"Uh, you thought of me at the S&M tent?"
"They will whip you, if you want."
"Jesus. What I want to know is how come with all the extra body fat I carry around, why am I only losing it from my boobs? My damn thighs remain enormous but my ta-tas are disappearing."
"I know. Mine were only big when I had my babies."
"What the hell is the special needs tent?"
"It's where they hold your extra stuff, like salt tablets, food, extra clothes. You yell out your number as you roll in and they bring it to your bike. I just grabbed a big dollop of chamois butter and shoved it down my shorts and rubbed it around right in front of them. I was like, excuse me, but I really didn't care. You just don't care."
"My crotch this year! I got off the new bike and my crotch--"

Erm, you get the idea.

Seriously, though, nutrition in the race is a big, big deal. Like the biggest deal. Too much food early in the bike, too few calories, too much water without electrolytes, too much solid food, it can all take you out and keep you from finishing. I'm ordering gels and electrolytes and endurance bars and little caffeinated chewy things now, starting to test them out to see what works, what's palatable, what makes me feel the best.

It has to be planned in the finest detail--how many calories you're going to take in, and in what form, and how often; whether you're bringing everything or counting on aid stations; and how you're going to carry it and get it into your body. I have been nervous about figuring all this out, but the research and experimentation is also part of the fun. I am so obsessed with this thing, and such a nerd, that you (dear reader) likely have been, or will soon be, trapped in some corner of the post office for ten minutes after innocently asking "how are you?" while I expound on the virtues of Medjool dates as a direct source of fuel as glucose.

Get a group of triathageeks together and there's no telling what you'll have to listen to, though without a doubt it's going to be about our bodies, or whatever's going in or coming out of them. We're like little kids, enchanted by bodily functions and lacking shame or filters.

So, to the diners next to us with your 3- and 5-year-old children, you were probably already talking about bike rides and pooping and snacks, so you weren't bothered by all this. To the rest of you (including you, behind me, with your lovely date), we'll try to take our next meeting to Chuck E. Cheese.


What I did: 1) Strength training. 2) Swim: warm-up, 2x500' negative split. 16x50 on 1" hard, warm down.
What I ate: Chocolate chia balls, EFS electrolytes, Vega recovery accelerator, spinach salad with red pepper, carrot, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds, dehydrated tofu, Annie's goddess dressing, vega sport protein bar. Snack: hummus and carrot, co-op herbed popcorn, kombucha. Dinner: Improvised messy croquettes (mix Lundberg cooked wild rice mix, mashed cooked garnet yam, diced kale, onion, and red pepper, eggs, and coconut flour. Form into patties, cook in coconut oil in skillet and serve with mango chutney.) Nutritionally complete, packed with protein, and so f*cking good, I can barely stand it.

No comments:

Post a Comment