They Told Me Not to Eat It

When I did my first Ironman in Busselton, Australia, I thought quite a lot about what to put in my special needs bags.

You know, the bags you get to pick up halfway through the ride and run.

Some people put extra gels, sunscreen, band-aids, pain killers or other practical things in them.

I, however, opted for a food that wasn’t quite ideal for a race fuel, tempeh.

An emotional performance food is just as valid as a physical one

Tempeh is high in protein and fat and isn’t really the best thing to be eating while on the bike, especially when you still have 90 more km to do and a marathon after that.

And when I told this to some friends, they said it was a bad idea, and I should just stick to normal gels and my standard Hammer concoction.

But it was (and still is) one of my favorite foods, especially when cooked by my wife.

So, a day or two after we landed in Australia, she went to the supermarket and bought the ingredients to cook it.

This included the tempeh, a coconut, tamarind, and more.

Back at our rental property, as she struggled to crack open the coconut, I realized how much trouble making this favorite of mine was.

That’s when I knew I wanted it in my special needs bag. Although it may not have been the ideal performance fuel, I was sure the psychological or emotional lift it would give me would be significant, an even bigger boost than the nutritional value of some expensive performance fuel.

So maybe optimizing your nutrition doesn’t purely mean shooting for physical performance.

A sense of the familiar, someone who loves you, and something from home may just be the boost you need to endure the rest of the race.

2 thoughts on “They Told Me Not to Eat It”

  1. I love the psychological part of it and mental fortitude plays a huge part in endurance race. If one feels good, chances are one will perform better or at the very least hold out better in tough times.

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