Racing sick — Austin Longhorn 70.3

October 26th, 2009

Tri- and duathlete Nicholas Sterghos (West Point, '09) recently competed in the 2009 Longhorn Ironman 70.3 Austin. He finished 1st in the 20-24 Age Group, 6th as an Amateur Athlete and 22nd Overall.

Remember when your mother said, “Eat your vegetables,” and you would either feed them to the dog or hide them in your napkin?

Luckily, that wasn’t me.  I learned at a young age to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and to like them.  Along with my healthy eating habits and my very active lifestyle growing up, I have been able to avert illness, recover quickly from sports practice, workouts and races, and feel refreshed every day.

Not to say that I do not catch colds, but I am always able to fight off “bugs” that could potentially deadline me for days or weeks.  The Longhorn Ironman 70.3 provided a good testament to my habits.

Recovering from a bug I caught a few days before my race, I still was able to finish with a respectable time of 4:11:38.  My swim was not as fast as I would have liked, but I was conservative from the start of the race — I was unsure how my body would react to being sick.

After the swim, I had a better gauge of how my body was responding, allowing me to hammer the bike and run — finishing 1st in the 20-24 Age Group, 6th Amateur Overall, and 22nd Overall when you factor in the Professional athletes.  My bike and run were the fastest yet for an Ironman 70.3 even though I had lung congestion restricting my breathing (causing constant coughing).

Getting those extra naps in during the day, knowing when to back off training, and eating healthily really work.  Such habits separate those who simply wish to do their best and those who work to ensure it.  I could not have recovered as fast as I did for Longhorn without focusing on my diet, among other things.  Eating foods rich in nutrients and low in calories, or nutrient dense foods, helped me pull off a top Age Group finish at the race.

As always, a special thank you to all my sponsors:  Sable WaterOpticssbill swimmingSerottaTGI Healthworks, and Total Immersion Swimming.