Wow what an unbelievable experience! The journey to Ironman surpassed all my expectations, it was greater than I could of ever comprehended.
Now accomplished I thought I would use this time to reflect on my journey towards the race and the race itself and then touch on what is next for me. Similar to my mini series Pre -Ironman I will be releasing a few articles, so stay tuned and let me know if there is something you would want me to cover.
Hitting the Wall
After an amazing swim (55 minutes) and bike (5: hours 25 minutes) hitting my set race targets to achieve sub 10 hours, I felt I was on form leading into the run. In fact I was excited to get to the run, see it as a strength of mine but sadly on the day this where it all went wrong! 4 kms into the marathon (42.2km) is when I realised I had nothing left in the tank and had to consider that I would not hit my sub 10 hour target time. I did not let that bring me down!!! I mean how you could you be upset when you are immersed in such an insanely positive environment.
Time to change the game plan. New focus: Be present and soak up everything that the experience has to offer!
With a permanent smile from ear to ear, I high fived and talked to anyone that would listen. Out of all the races I have now done both nationally and internationally, nothing compared to the energy from supporters on the Ironman run course. By being present on the run course, this memory is so vividly imprinted in my mind.
Why did I hit a wall?
Turns out I made a classic ‘rookie error’… Opps! For the week after the race I was confused as to why it happened until the ‘light-bulb’ moment when talking with a client of mine Megan Arthur, a veteran in the Ironman game. She began to discuss a similar experience and how she was disappointment with her race (even though she won her age group…. A true competitive athlete). She mentioned out of the 13 Ironman races she has done, that she still hasn’t been able to nail a race. This really highlights the intricacies of racing an Ironman. It is a big day out racing and there is so much time for something to go wrong (mentally and physically)!
What did I discover?
It was great talking with Megan because like me she has been following a low carb healthy high fat diet and was fueling her race on wholefoods (one of the very few athletes to join me in doing so). While wholefoods are more nutrient dense, you are sometimes limited by the amount you can carry, you can’t really carry around the whole pantry in your tri-suit. Most other athletes rely on highly concentrated carbohydrate gels, a topic I will discuss in a future article. However, our mistake came from a simple miss -calculation. We were both assuming that one bliss ball was one serving size when in fact one serving size is 3.2 bliss balls leaving us at a deficit of 2/3rds!! OOPPPSS! To put this in perspective on the bike instead of having 10 bliss balls I needed more like 32 bliss balls. 32!! That is a whole new problem for the future, where will I put them??
So knowing this take a guess, what do you think my energy/fuel deficit was overall across the day?
The next blog post I will include my whole race nutrition and outline the full breakdown.