Before I changed careers from software consulting to the dietitian world, I had my share of nutrition confusion trying to figure out fueling for my marathons.
It was long ago, friends. [Settle in for a couple minutes…grab a beverage and snack if you need it.]
I got into distance running in my 20s for fitness and fun. After I moved to Colorado, I decided it was time to move from 10km races and take a stab at a marathon race while fundraising for a charity. I followed the written (non-customized) training and nutrition plan with supplemental advice from Runner’s World magazine.
That marathon was all “fine” and the 20-mile Hit the Wall banner on the race course was a rite of passage for my new marathoner self. “Ohhhh, THIS is what I heard about…” as my legs turned to stone and I reached for the umpteenth energy gel that I didn’t want to take.
I decided I liked the challenge of the marathon distance, so I eventually hired a coach to see how to improve my performance. He was amazing and took my physical (and mental) abilities to new levels for me as a recreational runner. He was also helping me out with fueling advice for my training, although I kept my Runner’s World subscription. ‘Cuz ya know… that was the other main resource.
I honestly had no idea about Dietitians or Sport Dietitians. Who? And why? I got this here runnin’ thang under control and I’m alright with what I’m doing.
Or so I thought.
A few years later, I was indeed a faster runner. Coach planted the seed about trying for a Boston-qualifying (BQ) time so that I could experience the bucket list Boston Marathon race. Ohhh yeahhhh, bring it.
The longish-story-longish is that despite my months of hard training for a BQ, I suffered enough uncomfortable (really, miserable) GI distress (aka gut blowups) during the marathon that I failed to meet my Boston-qualifying time goal. What the heck?
I was depressed and frankly, pissed off. I started digging into more sports nutrition books and resources to try and figure out what I did wrong, what I needed to fix, and how.
The confusion mounted with mixed advice on how big of a bagel I was supposed to eat pre-run, how many gels to take per hour, which gels were superior, and how much sports drink I should take.
What the $@#* ?!?
And a new chapter of my life began shortly thereafter.
Quit my software job.
Went to graduate school for a master of science degree in nutrition and food science.
Completed the lengthy dietetic internship and requirements to become a Registered Dietitian.
Studied and completed requirements to become a Board Certified Sports Dietitian.
Mentored under one of the top Sport Dietitians in the country and worked diligently to understand the ins and outs of sport nutrition science, particularly for the endurance athlete.
Got the BQ.
Ran the Boston Marathon with my fastest finish. No energy bonks, gut blow ups, or fueling disasters.
In hindsight, the fueling and gut disasters got me to where I am now, professionally and as a lover of running without nutrition getting in my way.
My dream goal is to reach more endurance athletes before they experience what I went through so we can minimize wasted time and the GBG (gut bomb galore).
However, I’ll be here when you decide you need a helping hand. Even if it takes you a lot of gut bombs before you feel you’re ready to figure it out.
There won’t be any judgment. Just an eager Sport Dietitian wanting to make it all better… and your performance rock solid.
Thanks for reading,
Your Nutrition Mechanic