Racing an Ironman without food

If you’d have asked me six months ago if it was humanly possible to race a 10 to 14 hour endurance race without fuel, specifically carbohydrates, only consuming water, I’d say it might be impossible.

Yet that is what I will do this November when I race the 140.6 mile Ironman Arizona. An Ironman consists of swimming 2.4 miles, followed by a 112 mile bike race and then the final leg running a 26.2 mile marathon. To be an official finisher I have to complete the total in 17 hours or less. The pros run in about 8 hours. My fastest time ever was 13:51 at this race in 2010.

I’ve discovered that I can actually race this long without the need to consume any carbohydrate while I race. At my pace intensity

Carrot Raisin Muffins; Endurance Athletes Love Them!

muffinsThese muffins are tasty from the oven and even better on the second day after the flavors have blended. The recipe is versatile too. You can create a fat free muffin by replacing the canola oil with 1/3 cup (76 g) applesauce, and use 6 egg whites instead of whole eggs.



1 cup (140 g) whole-wheat flour
1 cup (140 g) white flour
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar (you can reduce the amount of sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (I prefer sea salt because it has more minerals)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs (or substitute) or 6 eggs whites
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 tsp vinegar and left to stand for 5 minutes)
1/3 cup (80 ml) oil, preferably canola or extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (220 g) finely shredded carrot
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup (80 g) raisins
1/2 cup (60 g) chopped nuts



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (180 ºC). Prepare 12 muffin tins with papers or cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; then the carrots, apple, raisins, and nuts Add to the flour mixture, and stir just until blended.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake about 23-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 12 muffins

NUTRITION INFORMATION: 2,750 total calories; 230 calories per muffin; 37 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein, 7 g fat.


Turkey Meatballs and Fettuccine

spagittSpaghetti and meatballs; it’s a classic endurance sports meal and for good reason. Complex carbs will fuel you up for tomorrow while the protein will help you recover from today. (From USA Triathlon)

Servings: 8
1 hour

2 pounds 99 percent lean ground turkey breast
1/3 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
4 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce from a jar
1 pinch of salt
1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine

Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic, onion flakes, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Roll meat mixture into 40 2-inch balls and place a single layer in the skillet. (They usually have to be cooked in two batches.) Brown over medium heat, using tongs or a wooden spoon to turn the meatballs so the outsides cook evenly. Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan and pour in the tomato-basil sauce. Cover and simmer over a low flame for 40 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, fill a large saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add fettuccine. Cook 12–14 minutes or as directed on the package. Pour into a colander to drain.

Add about 3/4 cup cooked fettuccine to each plate and top with meatballs and sauce.

Per serving: 400 calories, 5 grams fat, 55 grams total carbohydrate, 8 grams dietary fiber, 38 grams protein

TIP: You can purchase a commercial brand of whole-wheat bread crumbs, such as 4C, or make your own with bread you have on hand.