Found on Ironman.com
From burgers and fries to mai tai’s, here’s what the pros chow down on after crossing the finish line.
by Marni Sumbal
Triathletes are known to be driven, obsessive and competitive and, more often than not, slightly food obsessed. Because achieving perfect race-week and race-day nutrition may make the difference between a dominating performance and struggling to make it to the finish line (or get out of the port-o-potty), triathletes who have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies intuitively understand the best foods that will support health and their goals.
But how circumstances change after we cross that IRONMAN finish line! Pizza, burgers, wings, fries, beer and donuts are the oft-cited post-race cravings, and the IRONMAN World Championship presented by GoPro last weekend is no exception. The shaved ice shops and restaurants lining Ali’i Drive buzz well into the night, and the pizza delivery lines ring off the hook.
Why do IRONMAN triathletes feel the need to indulge post-race? The most obvious reason is to compensate for the glycogen depletion, dehydration, brain fatigue and the 7,000-plus calories you burned. Despite the gels, sport drinks, cola and bananas that you consumed, your body is still famished. It’s likely that you’ll crave similar foods that were formerly off limits during your training. Whether you indulge on sugary food to replace depleted glycogen stores, quench your thirst through electrolyte-rich fruits and beverages or salivate over calorie-dense fatty options, don’t feel bad about your post-race indulging.
So that you don’t feel alone in your post-race indulging, here’s what you will find the pros chowing down on after they cross the finish line.
Jessie Donovan: “A burger and fries with lots of ketchup. It takes a few hours to work up an appetite, but then I’m starving! (Donovan likes Splasher’s Grill burgers, just a short walk from the finish line.)
Richie Cunningham: “Right after the race, a bit of ‘dirty bird’ (KFC). I haven’t been to Kona before, but I’ve heard everyone talk about Lava Java for the last 10 years, so I guess I’ll have to check that out.”
Jordan Rapp: “Mai tai and pina colada, immediately after the race—like, literally as soon as humanly possible. (You can find me poolside at King Kam.) My other post-IRONMAN treat is beef brisket, made by me, as soon as I get home.”
Ben Hoffman (men’s runner up): “Poke and beer! This is definitely specific to the IRONMAN World Championship, since fresh fish is in abundance. I would normally have something slightly less healthy, but feel like I could eat poke for a couple weeks almost every meal. I will eat this straight after the race and you can find me at Da Poke Shake the next day, and the day after that…”
Paul Ambrose: “I really like to go fast food because it feels good in my stomach. Two cheeseburgers (one is never enough), a six-pack of McNuggets, an ice cream sundae and a soft serve, all from McDonalds. I’m pretty exhausted straight after so I sit for a while to rest and about an hour later, when I’m able to move, that’s when the cravings hit. This is my first year visiting Kona, so everything will be new to me!”
Kim Schwabenbauer: “The eating starts as soon as I’m able after the race with a great meal and drinks, and continues through the night if I’m still hungry. Post-race I enjoy a few drinks (a fruity cocktail, wine or a local brew) and of course, dessert! Kona Brewing is great for their signature pizza and heffeweizen beer, and I can’t pass up the local Acai bowls.”
Michi Weiss: “You can find me at the Kona Brewery. Pizza and beer for dinner, about four hours after crossing the finish line.”
Petr Vabroušek: “After 15 consecutive Kona’s, I enjoy indulging the day after the race at Honaunau Bay with my friends for some beach and swim time with the dolphins. As for food indulging, I enjoy Shimaichi Sushi in downtown Kona.”
Andy Potts: “After any race I crave a burger, a well-deserved reward. I’m not sure what triggers this specific craving but a juicy cheese burger hits the spot every time. I might even throw in some greasy fries, too. As for the day after, I love to hit up Basik Cafe for an acai bowl. There is something very Kona about the place.”
Marni Sumbl is a multiple-time Kona qualifier. Her favorite post-Kona indulgence? “Pizza as soon as I get back to my condo with a glass of milk, and then the next day, a huge veggie burger at Spasher’s Grill with salty fries.”