I sit here not really knowing where to start. I feel like I need to address the fact that I did not finish my last triathlon. I feel like I need to address that I have taken some time off from running and I feel like I need to address on how nutrition affects my daily life. I’ve always thought it was very important but it becomes more and more apparent to me over time.
The days leading up to my triathlon last month were not the best days. I typically take the three or four days before a race and rest as much as possible, get a good amount of sleep, hydrate well and fuel right. Before a race of that magnitude, an athlete would begin tapering about 10 to 14 days before the race. Tapering is when you start reducing your training before race day, no real long workouts. This is the time when your body gets good any recovered from the previous weeks (or months) of training. I probably only tapered for a week or so this time. My nutrition and hydration was on point up until the day before the race, which is the most critical. I tend to get very nervous before a race, typically a distance I’ve never done before. So nervous that I get sick to my stomach. This time was no exception. The nerves started getting a hold of me by Friday morning. This nervousness made made me lose my appetite. I did eat, but I couldn’t eat that much. Along with this, I did not hydrate well at all.
The nights leading up to race were not very restful either. I was getting about five hours of sleep. The night before was even less. My wife had worked that day, so I had to get the kids to grandparents’ and relatives’ houses, to where they were spending the night. I managed to leave around 9PM. And arriving to my hotel around 11:30 PM. I managed to be asleep by 1AM and was back up at 5AM. I should’ve known then that I was setting myself up for failure.
I felt good in the water. The anxiety of swimming in open water was not a factor. I swam 1.2 miles in the pool nonstop but was much different in open water. That 1.2 miles in open water seemed never ending. It took me a good fifteen to twenty minutes longer than it did in training but I was just happy to get it over with. About fifteen miles into the bike leg, I started feeling sick, like I needed to use the bathroom. I was drinking water, but not nearly enough and it was getting to the point that I felt like I couldn’t stomach anything. My water was warm at that point and the bars that I had to eat on me were more like mush in their wrappers. The miles passed slower and slower. By the the time I got to the 40 Mile mark, I had nothing left. I threw my bike down into the ditch and hunched over, heaving into the ditch. The people from the aid station came over to wait with me until help came to pick me up. I actually laid on the side of the road, somewhat unaware of where I was, in and out of consciousness. Temps were almost at 100 degrees and I was overheated.
Could I have trained more??? Definitely, but I felt like I was physically ready. This is a classic example of how rest and nutrition has a big impact on what I do. There have been so many times where I didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t eat quite right but still managed to push through a race and finish. I managed to get by in those one to two hour races. This 70.3 was unforgiving.
Just this past week, I was in the gym with my trainer when about half way through, I started feeling sick again. I went outside to get some fresh air and I look down at my arm and it’s trembling uncontrollably. I realized that, once again, I have not fueled right throughout the day. I had only taken in about 1,500 calories and it was already going on 9pm. So, I cut it short and came home to eat.
As I mentioned before, I have taken some time off from running but I think I better save it for another post. I eat the optimal diet for the things that I do. I need to take it seriously and listen to my body. If nerves get to me again, I know that I still need to eat and fuel right. I’m looking to redeem myself because I feel like I have a huge DNF (did not finish) hanging over my head. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. The past few weeks have really taught me a lot in way of nutrition. It goes to show that you’ll always be a student. I do know one thing, my diet has never failed me, I have failed my diet.
Accidentally skinny. Purposefully healthy.