Fueling an Ironman With Autoimmune Disease

Author holding large black Ironman bag against her chest while smiling.
Hugging my own Ironman swag! To cross the finish line, I had to fuel myself carefully. Learn more about designing your own fuel for long-endurance events.

On August 21, 2016 I had the deep pleasure of putting in a long day of triathlon training and crossed the finish line of Ironman Mont-Tremblant. I can now say, “I am an Ironman!”, and not state wistfully, “Well, I hope after all this hard work to become an Ironman.” It’s now official.

Completing an Ironman race, as complex and amazing and difficult and painful and adventurous as it is in itself, is no small feat for the person with autoimmune disease and food “issues.” My Coach has reminded me all throughout the process of training that it’s important to respect the distance. Additionally, completing an Ironman race with autoimmune disease requires another layer of careful strategizing, testing, responding appropriately, and in my case, creating aspects of my training and fueling that are unique to me.

One of those aspects happens to be particularly challenging for the food-sensitive athlete, and that is nutrition and hydration across many hours. Because processed food, gels, and powdered nutrition have ingredients that make me terribly ill (either immediately, or over time), my Ironman journey necessitated my transformation into Food Scientist, Head Chef, Mobile Nutrition Strategist, and Hydration Manager. That’s a lot of hats (and helmets!) to wear!

Want to know how I fueled my Ironman?  Read more… Continue reading