Episode 60 - Ultra355 Australia Race Report with TNA athlete Jody Walker

Ultra355 Australia Race Report with TNA Athlete Jody Walker

Ultra355 is a 3-day endurance event not for the faint-hearted. Over three big days, you swim 5km, ride 300km and run 50km.

Recently, Triathlon Nutrition Academy athlete Jody Walker competed and not only finished as the first female overall, but also smashed a bunch of course records in the process.  Woohoo!!

We asked her to jump on the podcast and share her experiences with you.

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Episode Transcription

Episode 60: Ultra355 Australia Race Report with TNA Athlete Jody Walker

Taryn Richardson  00:06

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  00:43

I am back after a pretty epic week away at Byron Bay to open the doors to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program for the last time this year, and I'm so excited to welcome new members inside the program from all over the world. We've got America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK covered! Between now and Christmas, we're working on what we're doing specifically in our day to day nutrition to support triathlon and then come January 2023, we start moving on to what we're doing in our racing nutrition. So I'm so excited for that.

Taryn Richardson  01:19

Today I'm joined on the podcast by a repeat offender, Jody Walker. She's one of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy athletes. She's just done Ultra355 Australia a few weeks ago now, and I wanted to get her on to give you some insight about what it's actually like doing an event like this. If you're not familiar with Ultra355, there is a few events around the world. There's one in Australia, Cozumel, Mexico, and Penticton in Canada, and it's a three day endurance event. You swim 5kms on Day 1 and back that up with a 100km ride. And then Day 2 is a 200km ride. And Day 3 is a 50km run. So a pretty cool format. And nutrition becomes really, really key when we're trying to back up every day and do another endurance event. So I've asked Jody to come back on the podcast to give you a recap of what it was like out there, doing a three day multistage event. So here's Jody. All right, welcome back to the podcast, Jody Walker.

Jody Walker  02:29

Hello, it's good to be back.

Taryn Richardson  02:31

You're like a veteran now - two times on the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. It should be like second nature.

Jody Walker  02:36

I know it feels like second nature, although I hope I don't bore people with the second time round.

Taryn Richardson  02:41

No, never! I got you on today because you've just done Ultra355, which is epic! And happen to cross the line as first female, which is even more epic. But we were talking just offline before. And there's nothing on the internet around what it's like to do events like this, like any tips and strategies. So I thought I'd give people a little bit of a race report about what it's actually like to do a three day multistage event like this.

Jody Walker  03:07

Yeah, I had, as I was telling you before, I had a really big search online for trying to find race reports or interviews or anything from any of the Ultra events - just to get some hints, but there was just absolutely nothing out there. So I felt like I was kind of winging it, but we got through it and little surprised with the result, but I'll take it.

Taryn Richardson  03:27

It's just a testament to how awesome you are as a triathlete.

Jody Walker  03:30

Haha, a lot of hard work went in I must admit, but yeah, as I said, absolutely stoked. I've had a bit of a rough couple of years. So it was nice to actually be able to race and race happy.

Taryn Richardson  03:40

Yeah, awesome. We'll dive into what actually happened on the day. But before we get there, why on earth did you decide to do this type of event?

Jody Walker  03:48

So you're gonna laugh at this! I signed up for Old Trail when I was having to use a wheelie walker, to work. So I'd literally just had an ankle reconstruction on one foot and foot surgery on the other foot to remove some damaged nerves. And I decided I needed something to get back into it to keep me motivated. So while I was still bum pushing on my wheelie walker, I signed up. I had six months to go from wheelie walker to race as well. So I'm like that - I need that motivation. And that ... that was it for me.

Taryn Richardson  04:24

Yeah, girl loves a challenge. You love to throw yourself in the deep end, don't you?

Jody Walker  04:28

I do. And I must say that that that was when I first registered it was for the February 2021 event. So I had a bike accident three weeks out from that event and ended back up in surgery and hospital with reconstructing a wrist and a head injury. So I had to obviously sit that race out and go all the way through that build again.

Taryn Richardson  04:51

Yeah, for it all. So you did the preparation twice. Tell us about what you need to do to prepare for a 3 day event.

Jody Walker  05:01

Yeah, so I think preparation for these types of events are going to be very different for different people and what time that you've got. I have two little kids that I'm running around after. So for me, I think I probably trained maybe less than some of some other athletes that have completed the course before. And it is a testament that you can do these events, and still be able to parent and have a life as well.

Jody Walker  05:25

So for the preparation, I think I joke about this, but I put it this way, in that my Monday to Friday training was digging the hole for the grave. And then, because I couldn't go as far on the weekends, because I was away for kids sport, or there was always stuff on and I couldn't do, you know, six hours in the saddle, I would already be dead by that point. So I would then be jumping into said grave. So it was kind of about less long, long stuff and more digging the grave as much as I could during the week and then finalising that kind of thing on the weekend.

Jody Walker  06:01

And also obviously a big part of it, I think the biggest difference between both builds was the first build, I wasn't chatting to you about nutrition, I was kind of winging it, because it was kind of it was a last minute decision. And I was going to be walking some of the run and I didn't take nutrition as seriously. And from that and how terrible I felt in that build, I did learn a lot. And get your professional advice to make sure the next round went a little bit more straightforward.

Taryn Richardson  06:32

So maybe, like I don't want to wish accidents on you, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise that you didn't race that first time. Like it was just a message to say you're not ready.

Jody Walker  06:43

Yeah. 100%, I had this discussion with a couple of my training partners. And we all agree that I mean, it was an awful way for the universe to tell me but I wasn't ready. I wasn't running properly. I was still in a lot of pain. There was mostly walking, it was just going to be an absolute nightmare of a race for me. And as I said, I just didn't feel as good and as strong as I did this time. This time was, you know, I'd say 80% easier on me. And it's the same training. I didn't do much differently. So yeah, it just goes to show I think nutrition was definitely a big part of that - and mindset as well - knowing what to expect.

Taryn Richardson  07:19

Yeah, you're not the person that sort of lays down easily though. You probably needed a really loud message from the universe to say, "Stop, Jody"! It probably gave you those little feather warning signs, but you just didn't listen.

Jody Walker  07:30

Oh - trust me, looking back, I can see all of those little signs. But I'm too pigheaded to listen to them. You know, nothing was going to stop me from getting to that start line. So the bike accident, as crappy as it was, and as stressful as that stage was was the biggest blessing for me.

Taryn Richardson  07:48

Yeah. How many hours of training a week do you do? Or did you do, to prep for Ultra355?

Jody Walker  07:55

Yeah, so my biggest week was 20 to 21 hours. But that was probably one week. The rest of my big week sat around 16 to 18 hours, not heaps. If anything, I think it's probably a lot less than what some of the other athletes do. And as I said that one kind of 20 to 21 hour week was a once off. And yeah, the rest was well under that. So totally do-able. Really.

Taryn Richardson  08:19

Yeah. And a lot of age groupers that just race, like, 70.3 would do that many hours in a week.

Jody Walker  08:24

Yeah, that's right. And that's where I think that if you fatigue yourself right during the week. And you know, my coach did such a superb job with that. As I said, we dug that grave heavily during the week to fatigue myself enough that even though I had to go shorter on the weekends, it didn't matter because I was already tired. So a lot of the training is about having to get up that next day and do it again. And you feel like, you feel terrible, you know, you're just you're looking at your heart rate, you're looking at your watts on the bike, and you're going this is just bad, bad, bad. But it's backing up every day feeling bad, that gets you to that point.

Taryn Richardson  09:03

Are there any particular sessions that you did differently to train for Ultra 355 that are different to a normal triathlon program?

Jody Walker  09:11

Probably two aspects was: there was no intensity, or very little intensity. So you know, there was no efforts on my long rides, it was all time in the legs. It was all you know, low heart rate, just flat riding zone 2. So that's a big difference to what I'm used to with 70.3 training. Secondly, was backing up. So doing, you know, double days or with that limited recovery period, doing a really long ride and then backing it up with a slightly more intense longish ride the next day, is how we kind of worked around it. And we did that with running and swimming as well. It's just layering those layers back to back - fatiguing as much as you can. And then yeah, just different intensities.

Taryn Richardson  09:53

Yeah, and that's a difference between just doing one triathlon event and then getting to rest or, you know, doing a massive day and then having to wake up and do another massive day. And then repeat that again for three days.

Jody Walker  10:05

Yeah, I was  … I was so scared because I haven't even done an Ironman. So, you know, my longest race is a 70.3.  I had no idea how to pace - like, literally, no idea. And I was really scared of what it was going to bring me, you know, to have to back up day in, day out, but, just, I paced well, and it worked in the end.

Taryn Richardson  10:26

So have you ever done a 100km, oh no it was a 200km, ride on Day 2? Have you ever done a 200km ride, in the lead up?

Jody Walker  10:33

Nup. So my longest ride in the lead up was 150km. All the rest sat around 100 - 120km. That was, that was, all I could fit in. As I said, because I was away so much with my kids for sport. There just was no room for long rides. So you know, once again, it was about then all those backing up days that got me over (over) the edge. But 150km - longest ride to that date.

Taryn Richardson  10:55

There you go! Tick! There's a lot of Ironman athletes though that would never ride 180kms before the day, so you don't have to do the distance?

Jody Walker  11:03

No, you don't. And you know, that's  - I knew that from, you know, other athletes that had done Ironman that I, you know, kind of trained with. I know that they'd never ridden that 180km before the events. I knew that was, kind of, part of the parcel. But yeah, it was still confronting.

Taryn Richardson  11:19

Yeah, it's just getting your mindset right, so that you know what you're prepared for and using the unknown and being okay with the unknown - knowing that your body can handle it.

Jody Walker  11:29

Yeah, absolutely.

Taryn Richardson  11:30

So this preparation, what did you do differently with your nutrition?

Jody Walker  11:35

I went a lot harder with it, that's for sure!!

Taryn Richardson  11:39

Harder in a good way, right?

Jody Walker  11:41

Harder in a very good way! So I honestly felt like eating enough during, you know, particularly that peak build time, was almost a full time job for me! Like, you know my struggles with getting enough food in. I just don't have the appetite that other athletes seem to get. I've missed out on that. So I literally felt like I was force feeding myself food half the time. But I knew that I felt better in doing it. So it did make it easier and feeling ... and I think I said to you in one of our one on ones, in the lead up to the event, how I felt in the build this time around ... was just so different to the first time around because I was eating enough to fuel myself.

Jody Walker  12:22

Recovery nutrition, I think that's like the number one thing! I was hitting those targets, flat stick - like there was not one session that I didn't hit that recovery target. So it was, for me, the biggest difference was the food on a daily basis and that recovery nutrition. And then obviously we did a heap of gut training as well to help get me through, it is best that my gut would allow me to.

Taryn Richardson  12:46

Yeah, as a naturopath, you eat really well. Like you have a very high fibre diet. It's full of lots of colors. It's a lot of things that I encourage triathletes to change, but you already have that foundation. And for you it's just understanding the fuel needs that you need when you go in to train for three sports and do triathlon training. But take that up a further notch when you go and do something like Ultra355. The amount of fuel you need to actually absorb that training. And that's like, mentally a struggle I know, but also physically - like digesting and absorbing it. So yeah, I really pushed you to step that up in this lead up. And thank God -because it worked!!

Jody Walker  13:27

Yeah it, honestly, it definitely worked. And I don't even know that I would have made it through the first race with how I was feeling and what I would be able to absorb during the race. I don't know that I would have actually been able to finish it. So it was so funny. I said to my husband on the finish line, and I thought of you on Day 3, all I wanted on Day 3, when I crossed that finish line for the last line was a cold, giant red capsicum and eat it, eat it like an apple -  that's all I wanted. I just, I just, wanted a bowl of veggies and salad.

Taryn Richardson  13:58

Yeah, well, you've done basically three days of carb loading! Oh more than that - what four or five days of carb loading by that point? Which is the most carbohydrate you've probably ever had in your entire life - jammed into five days!

Jody Walker  14:10

And I'll tell you what, by the end of it, I was so over it. It wasn't funny. I was like, I can't even look at risotto or rice! I was just like, "Ogh"!

Taryn Richardson  14:20

Yeah, you did more gut training and really focused on what you're doing on a day to day basis in the lead up. Let's dive into what it was like over those three days because I actually haven't spoken to you about these details. I've only seen what's been on social media. So this is, like, the first time hearing this as well. I want to know details. I want to know all the things. Tell me what it was like in the actual event.

Jody Walker  14:42

Yeah, so Day 1 for me was the hardest day. And I'd love to have a chat to some of the other athletes and get their opinion - but coming from a 5km swim where you're lying flat and you've got a sore back by the end of it and then having to get on a time trial bike for 100km that ... I struggled with that. It was just harder than what I was expecting. But I knew one of the biggest things about my race plan was to pace it in a way that I knew I was well under what I could do, because I wanted to finish strong and I wanted to finish with a smile on my face.

Jody Walker  15:16

And the second part of my race plan was nailing the nutrition on the first two days knowing that Day 3 was just going to be hell in some respect. So you know, that Day 1, it physically probably felt hardest - my heart rate sat probably the highest on Day 1 than it did that whole time. But it was about nailing that nutrition, from the get go. I had a laugh because the race plan that you gave me, like, with the Promite sandwich stacks it was ... (Taryn: ssh - don't tell people (about) my secret stack) ...with the sangers, let's say with the sangers. It was you know, "Eat one every however often. Don't worry if you don't finish it". And to me, that was a challenge. I'm like "Taryn, challenge accepted - every single piece of that is going down my throat, every day".

Taryn Richardson  16:03

I know how you work. I know how your mind ticks.

Jody Walker  16:06

And then I thought afterwards, this was some reverse psychology there. So yeah, it was about nailing everything on that Day 1. And Day 1, as I said, it was the hardest day. And physically afterwards, I probably felt the worst after that day, but I got through it with a ripper swim, the bike was kept well under control, I managed to kind of get my lead on Day 1, a decent lead. And that set me up for the rest of the couple of days.

Jody Walker  16:32

Day 2 was very much again about nutrition for me. I didn't care how fast I was going on that bike as long as I was eating. And again, that was to set me up for Day 3. So again, I nailed every single bit of that nutrition - challenge accepted -(Taryn: not competitive at all). Not at all. I'm like "I'll show her" Don't have to eat at all?! Yeah, I'm gonna eat it all. So I did nail that.

Jody Walker  16:56

Unfortunately, Day 2, I ...on the first lap, so it was 2 x 100km bike laps and we started off in a time trial situation. So it's the slowest rider at the start, starting every 30 seconds back to the fastest rider. So I was stuck at the back with the boys and all of their big fancy rigs and felt like real fish out of water - just randomly back there with all their fancy bikes. But I, as you know me, I'm competitive. I respond well to chasing (Taryn: Yeah, you're chasing a rabbit.) Oh, was great. I was just picking off those carrots. And I was just like, literally loving my life. So that was really fun.

Jody Walker  17:34

So at first that was great. It was funny because I did ... I was feeling really good coming back into town. I'd just given myself a pat on the back because I'd nailed my nutrition on the first lap. And I got a flat tyre. And people who know me know that I don't change flat tyres. I've never in my life changed my own flat. I know it's ridiculous. I've half changed a tyre. I'm kind of scared of the gas canisters. So honestly, one of my proudest moments of the race was changing a tyre by myself. I can hand to heart say that!

Jody Walker  18:03

Absolutely did not nail it! Took me two gas cylinders to get some gas in the actual tyre itself. But it was really cool because a lot of the guys that came back to overtake me while I was stopped on the side of the road? You know, they eased up. "Do you need a hand"? You know? I didn't say yes, it's a bit embarrassing to ask for help changing a tyre in an event like that. So "No, mate, you're alright. Keep going." (Taryn: "Just don't ride on way too far so I can catch you up again"). Like, I'm gonna ... you're my carrot again, though. So yeah, that was probably about 10km before going into transition. So it just made transition just stressful.

Jody Walker  18:40

Like I'd planned to go to the toilet and you know, have some ... have a quick bite while I was doing my bits, but it just ... (I) smashed my bike on the rack, I got the pump, refilled the tyre, just jammed things in the front of my jersey and just ... just go. So lap two was a bit more hectic.  I, again, the competitive nature in me, was not going to let the carrots go. So I had a ripper second lap though, because I felt amazing. You know, I took the first lap beautifully. I'd done my nutrition and I had plenty of energy. So it was really nice to be able to finish that second lap a heck of a lot faster and felt stronger. And I crossed the finish line and honestly could have felt like I could have done another 50km. So nailed the nutrition (Taryn: that's great). Yeah, and I joked in my race report (that you would have read) I treated it like a fat kid at a P & O buffet - it was just like shoving food in my face.

Taryn Richardson  19:34

Which is so different from 'previous Jody'. Like that is a huge change and huge shift in you. So maybe we just need to stretch you with events to make you be a little bit scared enough to actually take on board the nutrition that you need.

Jody Walker  19:50

Yep, and I think too, 70.3s are - they're more intense. Don't get me wrong. You know they are a more intense event but I'm too busy chasing and racing and head down to remember to eat. Whereas, as I said, this scared me enough that I was like that ... that is my primary focus - is pacing and nutrition. Otherwise, you're not going to make it those three days and we didn't do all of that work, and come all of this way to not finish and to not enjoy yourself as well. So yeah, the one thing I haven't told you - I'd nailed the nutrition on Day 2, but just could not keep anything down that afternoon. I ... try as I might ... yeah, I struggled. Like I felt - my gut felt great on the bike but as soon as I had that afternoon meal, it was like, "Oh, God, Yep, here we go".

Taryn Richardson  20:35

Did you vomit?

Jody Walker  20:36

I did after the third day, but not that day. I didn't have that want to vomit and my gut felt okay. But it was that physically eating food I just put in. So I ended up ... that's where the plan changed for me a little bit. And, you know, I've got the tools now from all the work I've done with you to adapt that plan. So it was all just liquids. It was you know, using my recovery shake, it was drinking some Powerade, it was having some lemonade, ginger ale, whatever it was, just to still try and get that carbohydrate in without my body having to work too hard for it. Because I didn't eat dinner that night. There's … there was just no way I was having dinner. I just didn't. Yeah, so I was a bit stressed at that point. I was kind of like, "Oh, how's this going to play out tomorrow?" You know,"Is this going to affect me tomorrow?". But my gut was fine when I woke up. I was able to keep breakfast down because, you know, I'd practiced that - I'd practiced every single day that you gave me from my race plan-  I'd practiced it for weeks in the lead up on my long weekends. So my body just did it, thankfully. And yeah, then we were able to start Day 3 with a reasonably clean gut slate.

Taryn Richardson  21:46

Day 3 was the day I was the most worried about for you. And I didn't say that to you pre race. I'm telling you now. But you know, 50km run is one, like, the longest run you've ever done. And two, your gut just shuts down so much more by the end of three days of racing plus running, we're kind of at our biggest challenge when it comes to you absorbing your nutrition. So it was the day I was definitely the most worried about. But what are... like, how did it go? What did your... how did your nutrition go? What were the things that allowed you to run 50kms after doing two massive days, and not vomit your guts up the whole run, like you would usually do?

Jody Walker  22:28

Yeah, that is just ...it's just my kryptonite, isn't it? Every time, every race. Don't worry, I'm worrying about the same thing. It's that bloody run. Nailing ... my nailing those first few days with the nutrition was the most important thing I had to do, particularly that race nutrition. And that's why I concentrated so hard on it. And look, I knew that Day 3, that there would be a point where I'd have to stop taking nutrition on. Like ... I just didn't get enough gut training, I didn't get those longer runs in. So I knew there was going to be issues.

Jody Walker  22:59

But I think the key difference with it was that the issues didn't occur until a lot later than they would normally have. So stoked with that. And secondly, I didn't, I did get to the point where I probably could have vomited right at the end there. But I kept it down. That didn't happen. And we got back to the room and I went and had a shower and it just all came up. And Adam's never seen me ... he doesn't... he very rarely comes to my events. So he'd never seen me and how I get. So I'm in the shower, just bringing up everything. And he was like, "Are you dying? Are you okay"? I was like, "No, this is just ...this is normal". And it's just literally all of that accumulation of beautiful nutrition that has gone nowhere, but sit in my stomach. So there was probably around 15km where I didn't have anything. And you know, that makes the back end of a 50km pretty tough.

Taryn Richardson  23:54

Yeah, it's still there. It's just not absorbing properly or it's slowed down. And so you're not getting the amount of carbohydrate into your bloodstream that you need to keep running.

Jody Walker  24:04

Yeah, that's it and, and one of those strategies, knowing that that was probably going to happen was to, even though I felt like I could have gone faster, not like I wouldn't have pushed it much faster. But I certainly felt extremely comfortable. And I was told that more than once by other participants that I made it look easy. But that was because I didn't want to burn myself out. I knew that there would be a point where I would be getting pretty depleted with carbs. So I had to do that. And doing that was the best thing because it just meant that I could enjoy it. So even though I did feel that discomfort that I get and I felt pretty awful for that last, you know, 15km I could still smile and I could still high five people you know. I'm normally totally tuned out by that point - not making eye contact with anyone, just wishing my life was over. So, you know, to be able to enjoy the back end of that race, finish strong, have a really decent solid run and you know, keep my pace up until that point where I started bonking - I could not have ... it couldn't have gone better. It went a lot better than what I was expecting. That's for sure.

Taryn Richardson  25:13

At what point did you start to bonk - how many kms?

Jody Walker  25:16

So yeah, it was probably around the 18km that I stopped taking on stuff. It was kind of a quarter of a way through the last lap - that, around, 12k laps. So I was looking at my watch going, "Oh, it's just getting slower and slower". And, you know, you feel like you haven't slowed down. But your watch is kind of saying "You're dying a very slow death". So it was a bit of a death march at the end there. But in saying that the average pace for the whole run, I was still absolutely stoked with considering you know, your including stops and special needs and all of that type of thing as well. So...

Taryn Richardson  25:50

Like, you didn't vomit, which is a massive win for you - huge! And you got further than you've ever got before, before you've actually hit that wall.

Jody Walker  25:59

Yep, that's right. And it really did make me excited for future races because I've steered clear from long course for 12 months, because after Cairns and Hervey Bay last year, I was just like, I can't do this to my body. I'm sick for days after. So I'm in so much pain and discomfort and so nauseous for so long after that, it was just, it just, it's in my mind it wasn't worth it. But after being able to do that, at Hervey Bay, I realised that if I continue on that gut training, you know ... I probably won't ever be perfect with it, it's ... I'm never going to be like other, you know, people with guts of steel that can absorb copious amounts of carb. But I can certainly still see that there's a lot of room for me to be able to improve. And it was nice to know that but I just didn't have to give up on long course now, which is what I was going to do.

Taryn Richardson  26:49

No, it's just nutrition, but it's just getting your mind around what you need to do. And now you've seen that work for you. You know that there is no ceiling at this point. You know, you haven't kind of reached that full potential of what you can do with your nutrition in long course events yet.

Jody Walker  27:05

Yeah. And I'm super excited. I've got Hervey ... I've got the hundy coming up. So Hervey Bay 100. And even though you know, I'm still a little fatigued, I'm not feeling fabulous training at the moment. But I'm excited (Taryn: nor should you be. Come on!). I know. Typical me - "Alright, let's go. We've had a few weeks, we need to, you know, be back to square one again". I'm excited to see what happens on that race with my gut, considering it's ... it is a different type of race. But I think it's going to be a lot better than previous distances like that.

Taryn Richardson  27:39

You'll have to do a bit more gut training over the next few weeks. So to get back to Ultra level. Like if you've dropped it, you don't maintain it. It's like use it or lose it. So you're going to have to refocus on building that back up again in your session, so that Hervey Bay 100, which is going to be way hotter, our gut shuts down more in the heat, so you'll need to just ... this is my you know, gentle shove ... to get back into that, if you want to survive Hervey Bay 100.

Jody Walker  28:07

Yeah, absolutely. I,you know, I listened to your advice. You know, you told me before, before Ultra that, you know, those next two weeks are so important to keep that carbohydrate intake up after the event.

Taryn Richardson  28:19

Yeah, because you go straight to like, I'm just going to eat green vegetables now. And that's it. I'm like, "No, Jody!". 1. You're gonna get sick. 2. You're gonna get injured, if you don't kind of refill and repair which is going to take you a little while.

Jody Walker  28:31

Hopefully not too much longer. But I did heed your advice. I got a bit slack on week two, because I had two full weeks off training. So first week (Taryn: but that's ok, you know?). Yeah, absolutely. But the appetite drops even more when you're … when you're not training. So, you know, the first week, I was nailing it. The second week, it dropped out, you know, I introduced way too much fibre. And I felt the effects of that by the end of the week, even though I wasn't training, I was like, "Yeah, I really need to get back on that bandwagon again". So definitely getting back into the gut training as of this week, because this is the fourth week. So I've had two full weeks off, a week fairly easy - this week I'm building back again, and reintroducing all of those original habits that I was doing before Ultra.

Taryn Richardson  29:16

Good. All of this has been so different for you. It's so cool to see the change.

Jody Walker  29:21

Yeah, huge changes! Like, I can feel it. You can see it. I've grown up, I think!

Taryn Richardson  29:29

You realise your potential, when you actually follow my advice.

Jody Walker  29:36

Correct. To do, honestly, to do a multistage event and to feel stronger on the last day than you did the first day - that to me speaks volumes from the nutrition. I mean, yes, the coaching and the training was obviously massive. But you know, that's nutrition. You can't back up on a multistage event like that, if you're not eating properly. It just ... you can't! So that for me was like, it's like, "Right, I really do need to focus on this more and more moving forward as well".

Taryn Richardson  30:05

And so I wrote you a plan for each of those days, like leading in plus the three days specifically because I know that you will wander, but I basically recarb loaded you again. And it was specific, and foods that you liked to make sure that you could recover, fill up your glycogen fuel tank again to back up and go next day. Which is something that you haven't probably had that structure before either.

Jody Walker  30:30

I loved the structure of it. And as I said, I did also love that, because of that background knowledge that I've got from you, I can also, when things went to shit, for example, on the end of that Day 2, I knew I could focus on liquid nutrition. And I knew I could use that recovery formula. And I knew you know what that carb target was to try and make sure I still get it from other means. And it was so nice not to have to think about it. Like people say to me, you're a naturopath, you've just ... and I have just done sports nutrition as part of my postgrad. But I don't want to think about that for myself. I've got a gut that just doesn't want to play the game. And I need to, kind of, outsource that to someone you know - that's what you do. That is what you do and what you do well. And you need someone to guide you through that no matter what your previous knowledge is. So the structure of it was just amazing. Like that whole thing you did up, I was just like "This is great!" - it was the best thing. And I've got, like, little ... I'll have to show you... and I've got like little scribbles where I was like, "Okay, if this doesn't work, this is what we can do instead". So Adam had the plan. And he knew that if something went wrong here, this is ...this is the backup plan. So I was very organised. I'm meal prepped as well. So the week before I was making all the food, I froze..., measured it all out, put it in the freezer, took the car fridge away, so it was - I followed it to a tee. You'd be very proud.

Taryn Richardson  31:51

I'm so proud. It also for you, like, because your knowledge - like, you know how to eat well, you probably would have got in your own way, in a way - if you weren't kind of told “Go and do this, because you'll overthink it”. And think you're doing, like, you're questioning yourself, think you might be doing the wrong thing or the right thing. And really just taking that whole thought away is probably the best thing for you because you are good with a plan. As long as you know what you're doing. And you've got the skills to adapt your plan now. But it's just like, "Go. Go follow this. Go do it. Don't think it. Jjust get off your feet and go and have a sleep".

Jody Walker  31:57

Yeah. And that's, and that's all - and you need that for those events. You literally come back, you're getting some food in and you're trying to rest. The last thing you want to think about and be, as you said, double guessing yourself about is, "Am I having enough? Is this the right thing to be eating?" Well, I had it there - all in front of me. And so did my support crew. So you know, we had all the backups ready to go. It was just, it just, it made it so less stressful. Just reduced the stress significantly for me.

Taryn Richardson  32:53

Yeah, amazing. So if somebody's listening, and they're thinking, I really want to do this event, what advice do you have for them?

Jody Walker  33:00

Do it!! Because, you know, you think about a lot, you're out there for hours on end, particularly on the bike, and I was kind of thinking about people that I trained with and thinking, you know, a lot of the girls that I train with could do this - seriously. If you've done an Ironman you're going to be able to do Ultra, for sure. It's totally do-able. As long as you work it in with your life and not let it run your life. I think that's the biggest thing is if you can have the right mindset around training, and reduce your expectations of what you think you need to do, then, mums - totally do-able.

Jody Walker  33:35

You know, mum of two kids running around with their sport - like it was peak time for representative sport for us. I was away nearly every weekend. Still managed to get that training in, even though it wasn't ideal. But yeah, highly recommend it. It was a beautiful event. I met some amazing humans as well. So the athletes that I've met that I'll definitely be, you know, friends with forever. The camaraderie from the event as well was just amazing. Everyone's so supportive. And triathlon in general is like that. But I found that because it was a smaller event, it's something that some really cool friendships came about.

Taryn Richardson  34:13

So you've done Ultra355. You've got Hervey Bay 100 coming up soon. What's next on the cards? Do you want to go longer? Do you want to do another 355? Do you want to do an Ironman? Where are you thinking?

Jody Walker  34:24

The big goal is Ultraman. That I would absolutely love to do that one day. That's something that the family has to be on board with. And the husband ... I was hoping after this race, he would be a little bit more open to it. And he is - so we had a chat in the car on the way home and I said "Look, I loved that. I would really love to do Ultraman". And we had a bit of a discussion. And we've agreed that it's a good idea for me to do it but he's just not keen on me doing it soon. So one day that's the ultimate goal. But as I said, even with 355 training you do need your family to be on board because there was a lot of stuff that I missed with sport. And I did need Adam, my husband to pull some more weight around the house. So you do need to have that support crew and that, all that, family on board.

Jody Walker  34:55

So that's something I will do in the future. Absolutely. That's the number one goal. I would definitely do Ultra355 again. Next year is going to be, I guess, a little bit different in that I'll be trying to qualify for Townsville for ITU long course. So a lot of my racing will be stuck around that 70.3 distance and prioritising that. So I don't ... don't know that I'll get to 355 next year, because of those kind of racing commitments. No plan to do an Ironman - doesn't interest me at all. I can't tell you why. It's ... it's just not something that I've ever really wanted to do. And I'll stick to that 70.3. And then above that.

Taryn Richardson  35:53

There's no stepping stone. It's just like 70.3. And then ...

Jody Walker  35:56

Ultraman. I did, I had a chat to some of the athletes that were at 355 that had done Ultraman before. And, you know, as a lot of them said, it's not double what you've already had to do. It's extending those longer kind of weekends out a little bit more. So it's trying to work that in with the kids, and not ... making sure I'm not taking away from their sport and their opportunities as well. So it will come. I'll just have to be patient.

Taryn Richardson  36:24

What year do you think you're aiming for? It's not 2024. Maybe a bit longer?

Jody Walker  36:28

Next year would have been perfect. Honestly, just to build from now into May next year would have been absolutely superb. But 2024 is the year of Taupo. So I'm still meant to be going to Worlds for 70.3, for Taupo. So that's going to be five years after I qualified - five years!! Yeah, and I'm in a whole new Age Group by that point as well. How ridiculous is that? So that's in 2024. And then obviously, hopefully, Townsville if I make the cut for that as well. That puts Ultra to 2025, I would say - will be that goal year for that.

Taryn Richardson  37:05

Okay, cool. We'll get you back when you do Ultraman.

Jody Walker  37:07

Yeah. Can't wait.

Taryn Richardson  37:11

Oh, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. You know, I watched you on Instagram, Adam did a terrible job of keeping up with the socials so we could see what was going on. But thankfully, there was a tracker.

Jody Walker  37:21

Yeah, he's awful on socials, so apologies for that.

Taryn Richardson  37:24

That's okay. But thanks for sharing your experience. I know that there's people that have thought about it, or even just ruled it out that it's not possible for them. So where can people reach you if they do want to pick your brain and ask you some of the, like, the nitty gritties of, like, the logistics and what it was actually like?

Jody Walker  37:40

Yeah, and I love sharing that information and helping other people. So like, reach out on Instagram. Jody Lee Smith, is my instagram handle. So like, shoot me a DM if you've got any questions, because I wish that was something that I had - someone that I could kind of hit up for information. Even if it's just to put your mind at ease, and to get some honest feedback, you know, on the event and around the training. But as I said to you before, it's definitely ... it's not out of reach for a lot of people. If you've done an Ironman or even a 70.3, you're halfway there. So why not just, you know, take it up a notch. Why not? Why not?

Taryn Richardson  38:19

And to finish first female - like amazing, Jody!! Congratulations.

Jody Walker  38:22

Yeah, thank you. As you know, that was definitely not part of the plan - at all. Nowhere near my brain was even coming on the podium. It was all about those two goals - pacing and nutrition and finishing with a smile on my face. That's all I wanted. So I got my time goal. And I beat that by over an hour, which I was really stoked with. I somehow managed course record as well. God only knows how!! With a flat tyre and you know, it just, it just ... And they didn't tell me. You know, during the event, I had no idea what was going on. And it wasn't until presentations that they told me the records that I'd broken. I'm like, "What!?? You're kidding?" So yeah, I was just mind blown. Honestly, just the whole thing just blew my mind. And you know, a lot of triathletes underestimate themselves a little bit, and I certainly did going into this race, but yeah, very thankful for good coaching and good nutrition. That's for sure.

Jody Walker  38:22

Yeah, tick and tick. So somebody might break your record next year, if you don't do it, and then you'll be like, "Going back to claim it again".

Jody Walker  39:23

Adam did say that to me. He's like, "So if someone breaks that record next year, will you go back?" I was like, "Mate, of course I'll go back. (Taryn: Stupid question!) It's broken. I'm going back to reclaim it now". (Taryn: Totally!!) Lord, help me.

Taryn Richardson  39:38

I've created a monster.

Jody Walker  39:41

Yeah, we've been married a long time. So he's used to it now.

Taryn Richardson  39:44

Yeah. Not competitive at all.

Jody Walker  39:46

No, not at all.

Taryn Richardson  39:49

Well, thank you so much for joining me, Jody and sharing your experiences. I will link your Insta in the show notes. If anyone who does want to, you know, follow you, stalk you or reach out in any way. But yeah, thanks so much. It's nice to get some, you know, insider knowledge about what the actual day is like and then some of the aspects that you had to do with your nutrition to get you there.

Jody Walker  40:08

Yes, huge thank you, Taryn for getting me across that finish line. That's for sure.

Taryn Richardson  40:13

You're welcome. You did the hard work. 

Taryn Richardson  40:18

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected] You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to www.dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 

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