Coach Orton is challenging me in a way I've never been athletically challenged before. Each workout I've performed over the past two weeks has incorporated endurance and speed as we prepare my body for what I hope to be my best season of triathlon yet. Prior to the start of the season I told Eric I wanted to go into this season in the best shape I have ever been in, I'm hungry to push myself in this sport, to challenge my body and mind to see what I am truly capable of. I'm curious to see how my blood sugars respond to such a strenuous schedule and I'm dying to see what this means for my transition from a strength to endurance athlete. So far the training has been a blast, I'm getting faster and stronger but need to remember to eat.
Last week I had 14 hours of workouts scheduled. According to my nutrition formulas, for 14 hours of workouts I need 3,700 grams of carbohydrates!!!! By Friday of last week I knew I had screwed up, I was exhausted, my blood sugars could barely get above 80, and in the pool I felt like I was going to fall asleep each time I touched the wall. I had been aggravated that from Thanksgiving to Christmas I put on 6 lbs. and wanted to take that off as soon as possible. On Friday night I saw some friends who I had went to Aspen with and they asked, "um, how much weight have you lost since Aspen?" Whoops, might have been a bit too aggressive on cutting calories over the past couple weeks.
I figured I was in the carb hole for about 2,000 grams. As much fun as it would be to sit on my couch like Jabba the Hut with bikini clad beauties feeding me pancakes and pouring syrup in my mouth I unfortunately have a life to lead (and bikini clad beauties who will hand feed me are tough to find!) So I needed to adjust my plan slightly. Friday night I ate as much pasta and bread as I could hoping that would get me through my hour swim and 70 mile bike on Saturday. 1,000 yards into my swim I knew there was no chance I could finish the workout. Like an engine without oil I had nothing and my muscles began to seize. I headed to Whole Foods to grab some sandwiches, tortilla chips and anything else I could find that was carb dense. After a sandwich, clif bar and an apple I tried to get on my trainer, 37 minutes into the ride I could barely push down on my pedals, at an easy gear the highest I could get my cadence was 70 – the tank was empty.
Since one of my goals this season is to be smarter about training and to enjoy every moment of the ride I decided to retreat for the day, and fuel up so I wouldn't screw up this week as well. Saturday, I ate, and ate, and ate and ate. I ate sandwiches, I ate nachos, I ate pizza, I ate apples, I ate clif bars I ate pasta and I drank juice. Amazingly I was in such a carbohydrate deficit that I had to take in just half the amount of insulin I normally would for such a glutinous feast. Sunday when I woke up my blood sugar was 160 and I was off to train! I had a pumpkin muffin prior to my 45 minute trainer ride, fueled during the ride, took in a gel and was off the bike with a bs of 200 – time for a 2 hour run! 13 miles later I cruised back to my apartment with a blood sugar of 150 – salvaged the most important workout of the week; time to eat some more, oh and watch the Jets win!!!
Although the memories of my 2008 IM journey are still fresh in my mind the details somehow got lost. I forgot about how much food I need to maintain energy and glucose levels to train hard, train smart and train well. I forgot about the snacks I need to eat, that having 7 meals throughout the day is better than having 5 that fruits are my friend and that getting leaner will happen over time and not in one week. One of the hardest things to do is remember that taking insulin isn't a bad thing and it's ok if my daily intake goes up to 50 units per day instead of 30. Triathlon is a 4 legged race; nutrition is probably the most important leg but the easiest one to screw up.