Originally Posted by kfb
Have you completed the Kona IM? If so, could you give us a brief idea of what you ate the day of the race (before, and during). I've always wondered how much nutrician (gel packs, etc) would be needed for that kind of distance???
Yes, 2003 (the 25th Anniversary of IM Hawaii) was my last trip to IM Kona and my third Ironman Tri.
During a period of 10-months I did 25+ major races
...starting with IM Hawaii, BQ'd (Boston Qualified) at the Walt Disney World Marathon (just 7-weeks or so later), Boston Marathon, a ton of other races (including 2 other 1/2 IM triathlons, 1-Olympic distance Tri) several events that were Swim Specific and Bike specific, (2) 1/2 marathons and finished with the Pikes Peak Assent and Pikes Peak Marathon (back to back as a doubler), and did this all at the age of 45. In the months leading up to Hawaii I also did Disney Marathon and the Boston Marathon in 2003 and 2004...sorta putting book ends on either side of IM Hawaii. I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment for an "old has been", and it has always been a dream of mine to do both the Boston Marathon and Ironman Hawaii in the same year, but to also add 2-other marathons and one of those being Pikes Peak was the icing on the cake. I have not competed like this (volume wise) since the 1980's when I was much younger.
It's not just about how to fuel for 1-race, but to train/teach your body how to use fuel (and stored energy) through the experience of several races.
In Hawaii, 2-days prior to the race is when they have "carbo loading dinner". Eating and sleeping 2-days prior are more key that the day prior at least for me. The food at the carbo dinner is way better than any marathon, and is quite the feast. "Marathons only" events have the carbo loading dinner the day prior to the race. It is actually running marathons (and I have run 13) where I have learned to carbo load in the correct way. The advantage of 2-days prior you can truly relax and really pig out and have a nice long sleep after.
Ironman Hawaii is the most difficult single day sporting event on the planet and carries the title of the "World Championships" for good reason. Not only is the field of athletes "the best of the best" (due in part to the difficult qualification standards) but the "weather conditions" and "the race course" are like none other. With temps in the 90's, humidity in 90%+ range and the legondary winds on the Qween-K hwy you must race smart and fueling is a key component. Just to give you an idea, I went for an easy 6-mile run one night prior and after just 3-miles I was soaked with sweat. One of the keys to Kona is to arrive at least 1-week prior to acclimatize.
You have a T1 and a T2 bag that gets handed to you in the changing tent where you place the clothing of choice and any fueling you choose. You also have a "special needs bag(s)" that gets handed to you just after the Bike turn around, and in the Marathon at the turn around in the Natural Energy Labs (or OTEC). In the "special needs bags" you can place some comfort foods that you may look forward to - such as gummy bears, that special GU, or whatever has worked for you in your long bricks. I placed "endurolytes" an electrolyte tabs (from e-caps) as well as their "Race Caps" in these bags, Fig Newtons, and a number of other things.
The day prior to the race
I ate pretty light, fruit in the AM like bananas, lots of carbs and focused on hydration. I also loaded with liquid endurance (from e-caps) for several days prior to assist in hydration. I use many supplements and have very special mixtures in my water bottles that help me cope with the heat. I'm also a big fan of Amino Vital.
During the race
You have to know your sweat rate and do your very best to keep up with "taking in" what you are loosing.
Drink 1 full water bottle of my special mixture prior to and after the swim.
On the bike I drank the bottles I started with, + 6-full Gatorade bottles tht are passed out at the support stops (lemon-Lime on the Bike) and some water here and there. I took what was offered on the course (fruit, and other things) and also had several goodies in my bike jersey pockets and I know I ate maybe 2-gu's I had in my jersey. The key is to feast on the bike. In the run they had orange Gatorade (my fav), although after mid way in the Marathon I took pretty much only the defizzed cola.
After the event
Despite feeling awesome, and hanging around for almost 4-hours my finish to cheer on other athletes, drinking a large cola, a full bottle gatorade and some Chicken on a stick and rice from a street vendor.....I still had a 10 lbs loss of body weight when I returned to my condo that night. A little scarry seeing my now noticeably smaller legs and arms due to mostly fluid loss, but also fat as it too is used as a fuel. Worse yet my body didn't function normally until the next afternoon around 2:00PM (some 20+ hours later) when I could use the bathroom for #1.
The night after the race is the "Awards Dinner" where there is a ton of more food - everyone eating a ton to put back what was lost from the event. So screw the Atkins, and South Beach Diet's!! I'm on the Kona Diet
This Diet is the real deal, and you are encouraged to eat as much as you can take in.
The mental aspect is huge
Ironman Hawaii is simply the greatest event on the planet. Ironman for some is part fantasy and fiction, yet for the athletes, it brings you to the point where you face your greatest inner doubts and fear. Ironman is not just a logo on products - it is "a life changing experience". As an Ironman athlete you are part of a very close family and within that family, there is a silent yet very understanding and lifetime bond among the athletes. This also extends to those many spouses and loved ones who offer support during the many months of training and to those who bear witness to the accomplishment.
During the event I am very relaxed, calm and focused on the mission at hand - so the months of training not only prepare your body but your mind as well.
To overcome the 140.6 miles gets you to the finish; but to finish is to struggle between mind and body and the battle is relentless. The struggle is you against you, not the other athletes. This struggle brings you to the point of is truly knowing what you are made of. To finish Ironman Hawaii is to reach down deep and say "I can do this" and really know in your soul - that Anything is Possible!
I wish everyone luck on their journey in this great sport. Dream big, train hard and never never give up on those dreams to become an Ironman.