Dina's post Half-Ironman race nutrition report

As many of you know, last weekend was my first half ironman race. My previous blog detailed my nutrition plan for the race, but now I want to give you the post-race report (I know many of you want to hear the follow-up!).

Here is my original plan with comments in red:

- 3:45a Wake up. Begin hydration plan.

- 4:15a Leave house (I live 90 minutes away from the Aurora Reservoir). Sleep in car if my husband will drive me. Got in 30 minute extra snooze from 5-5:30a thanks to my dear husband for driving me to the Reservoir!

- 5:00a Coffee - it’s my usual morning routine. Actual coffee consumption started at 5:30a.

- 5:30a Start SaltSticks, my electrolyte of choice (and using acute sodium loading protocol per Bob’s e-book). Took in half the SaltSticks I had originally planned prior to race and forgot to carry SaltSticks with me on bike. I’ll attribute this to “newbie-ness”, oversight, and distraction.

  • 6:30a 1 chocolate UCAN mixed with 1/2 scoop 1stEndurance PreRace powder. ✔ Drank within 5-10 minutes.
  • 7:30a My wave start. Actual wave start was about 7:50a.
  • Bike mile 5: start sipping bottle of 1 chocolate UCAN mix mixed with 1 cran-raz UCAN. Aim to consume 1/2 bottle by mile 15. Drink only water after mile 15; grab extra bottle at mile 30 (aid station). ✔ sort of. I grabbed an extra bottle at the last aid station but only took a few sips of it before I decided to drop it. So, I consumed only one 24 oz water bottle for the entire ride.
  • Bike mile 32: start sipping the rest of the UCAN bottle. Aim to finish by mile 40 after which the course starts its “rollers” again. I did start sipping at mile 32, but didn’t finish until about mile 50.
  • Sip from gel flask containing cran-raz UCAN during miles 2 through 5 on run. Drink water at aid stations. Decided to change flavors to the lemonade the night before and made 5 oz flask. Consumed 2oz from miles 2 through 5. Drank water at all aid stations. I admit...I had one gulp of gatorade at mile 9 or so... because I wanted something cold aside from water.

Race results:

I was able to take 4th place in my age group and 20th out of all women with a finish time of 5:34:55, which was a pleasant surprise for my first go at this distance. I had great energy on the swim and bike, but my run time was slower than I had hoped by about 30 seconds per mile average. I felt a slight energy drop, but I had no muscle cramping, stomach or GI issues on the run.

Nutrition results:

  • Before race: 200 calories from UCAN, 200mg caffeine from 1stEndurance PreRace powder, plus caffeine from my 8 oz coffee.
  • During race:
    310 calories from UCAN on bike, 100mg caffeine from PreRace
    44 calories from 2 oz UCAN on run

15 calories from Gatorade on run

= ~370 total calories or ~66 calories per hour for my race time

Additional comments and observations:

I am happy to have my first 70.3 under my belt and to have been able to finish without GI problems like so many first-timers experience. However, I also think my lack of adequate brick training (no fault but my own) and heat training contributed to a slower run than what I anticipated. I’m sure muscular fatigue slowed me down. I don’t believe that the extra calories on the run would have significantly improved my run time, but I do know that my sodium loading and electrolyte consumption was not to my plan.

Overall, I believe my level of metabolic efficiency nutrition training did help power me through the race without the need to consume the standard gels and energy bars. I saw so many triathletes fiddling with their wrappers and heard quite a few unpleasant sounds out there on the run course... not from me, I assure you! I have learned valuable lessons to take forward for the next race so watch out for next season. For now, it is time for me to get my running shoes back on and jump back into marathon training for NYC in November... and to continue my journey with metabolic efficiency training!

Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD