So quite a lot has happened in the past three weeks. I've now done two half ironmans, I've done an ironman seaswim, we've had Christmas, been away camping twice for five days, started a new year, and now I'm back to work. Seems a lot since my last post was stating I was just starting my triathlon season...
So the main purpose of the two half ironmans I've just done, Taupo (mid December), and Tauranga (the weekend just gone), was as a participant of a sports nutrition supplement study that Massey university is doing. Apparently the largest of its kind during a race (field testing), with over 70 participants.
The research is titled 'Effect of multiple (2:1 glucose/maltodextrin:fructose) versus single transportable (glucose/maltodextrin-only) carbohydrate ingestion in differing food formats on half Ironman triathlon performance'.
Taupo was a well controlled steady race. I didn't have a very good training lead up so I was very nervous about pushing the pace at all. The supplement intake was consistent as per study protocol, as was my energy throughout and I finished the race in reasonable condition and happy enough with all three legs, without being amazing in any of them. The biggest challenge of the day was not drafting on course with seven hundreds other people and coming out of the water around the hundred mark. I was riding with another Nelson athlete in the study, and he made a remark to me at once stage when we couldn't break free from a largish group that 'if we swum faster, we wouldn't be back here with these muppets. Training starts Monday, see you at the pool for our first smashing...' Im not confessing to drafting but it was hard to totally avoid it with people that were content on smashing themselves to roll past you and others to find some space, then sit up, consequently slow down, and have a chug of water, like they were bunch racing, which only caused a concertina effect for those behind. I felt that if I could replicate this controlled pacing in Tauranga, albeit with a few extra weeks training, that I could go a bit faster, especially the run where I have lacked long runs in recent 3 months due to a broken toe and some calf niggles.
Post race, I took it very easy with nothing more than an hour for five days. My Christmas holidays then started, and so I commenced a solid eight day training block that included two long runs and two long rides all around the region and Abel Tasman. I was feeling waaaay stronger and ready for a better hit out in Tauranga, known to be NZ's fastest course with the fastest athletes there.
I duplicated my five day Taupo taper as per study instructions, then off to Tauranga we went. .
Fortunately I had good legs and a far better consistent lead-in with training prior to Tauranga, but unfortunately my stomach and energy metabolism just wasn't playing happily this day. It started with our study bar and drink at breakfast with a few little burps and a little stomach discomfort and as the day progressed I experienced an increase in nausea. By the time I started the run, I felt like I had a hangover and was about to spew for all twenty one kilometers. I managed to get through to ten kilometers of the run at a marginally faster pace than Taupo and legs feeling quite strong and comfortable, planning to get as far on the run as possible before the inevitable nausea overcame me. But I couldn't maintain it due to feeling really sick each time I consumed the supplement and by our final study feed station at fifteen kilometers I was about to book a flight home. I confess I nearly bailed at this point feeling that bad, so I had to take a three kilometer walk to get through it, but did managed to jog (basically a shuffle) the final two kilometers though the finish crowd so not to embarrass myself completely. I was at the point of dehydration and desperately needed water, but I had to wait another ten minutes and get through the study formalities such as post event toilet, wipe down, weigh in, then complete a three page post race questionnaire on the supplement and my race. My first word was spew and they were lucky I didn't provide them with a sample on the questionnaire at this stage...
It took all my mental power to get from the ten kilometer mark to the finish line, and although I never want to experience that again, I hope it stands me in good stead to manage things my way for the better of my performance during my first full Ironman in March. I do not blame the study for this as we were briefed this will probably happen during one of the races, albeit, we would all have differing side effects and handle it in various ways too. It was a huge learning curve for me to be a participant, so Im very glad I did.
I have now started back at work this week, while taking it easy for a few days before I commence my Full ironman training. More on that next post.
Onwards with a fitter 2014, Nige