Food For Fuel, How I Conquered 70.3!

I am Wendy! I'm currently on my third season of triathlons and started training this past year with Madison Multisport.  



This year my big goal was to compete in my first half Ironman, Steelhead, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. I knew that in order to achieve this goal I was going to be spending a lot more hours running and biking, especially on the weekends. With the training I had received so far I knew that there's no time like the present to get going. 


Fast forward to Saturday, July 1, which was one of my long ride days. From what I recall there was nothing unusual about the ride, other than maybe being a bit hot outside. I was following the training plan, doing intervals, feeling pretty good. The next thing I knew I was on the ground coming to in a dreamlike state with people standing around me telling me that I had been in an accident. I had ran my bike into the back of a parked car. I had no recollection of why it had happened, I wasn't sure if a car had gotten too close or if I made some mistake while riding. I probably will never know but that day I ended up in an ambulance and was taken to the emergency room. Thankfully there was nothing serious, just a badly sprained wrist, a banged up face, and diagnosed with a concussion. 



Over the next couple of weeks it really bothered me that I didn't remember what had happened to cause the accident. As I was sharing my story with a clinician at work she mentioned that some of the details I was providing could be linked to dehydration. Up until that point I honestly didn't pay very much attention to what I was eating or drinking even though my coaches talked about it frequently. Even if it wasn't the cause of my accident the wheels started to spin and I knew I needed to start taking nutrient more serious.


The morning of my accident what I can tell you is that I probably didn't start out with enough calories or liquid in my system to accommodate the workout I was about to do. I was running on empty pretty quickly into the ride and the couple of gel packs I had and the calorie free water were never going to catch me up to what I really needed. The possibility that I blacked out while on my bike, on a busy road, scared the crap out of me. If that was what happened I am pretty lucky that getting banged up and totaling my bike was all that happened.  



Being overweight my whole life and being on numerous diets throughout my lifetime had gotten me in a mindset that eating less was better. I had recently lost 95 pounds, so the thought of increasing my food intake was pretty scary to me. After doing some research and at the recommendation of my coach I scheduled an appointment with a dietitian. I kept track of my food and liquid intake in addition to my workouts for several days.  Within a couple minutes of reviewing my journey the dietitian asked me how I was typically feeling during my workouts. I let her know that I generally could make it through most of my workouts but that I typically felt pretty drained by the middle of the workout on most days, running days were the hardest. From there she started going over the journal entries with me and based on that information alone she told me that I wasn't even taking in enough calories to sustain someone who doesn't work out at all, let alone someone like me that was working out on a daily basis, especially several hours on the weekend.  With my half Ironman just over 3 weeks away we immediately worked on a menu plan that was easy for me to follow to make sure I was taking in what I needed. We more than doubled my calorie intake, mainly through protein in the weeks leading up to my race.

Since implement I can tell the positive difference these changes are making. I'm feeling more energy during workouts, I'm not coming home completely exhausted. I competed in the Ironman 70.3 triathlon the second week in August and was amazed at how much stronger I felt especially during the run which is my least favorite part. This I competed in my second sprint triathlon of the season and I was able to take about 7 minutes off my time, more importantly I didn’t need to walk during the run.

I'm really excited to see how I perform next year seeing that I will be training more fully charged than I was before the beginning of this year.