Many of you have been following Dr. Corey Priest’s recent triathlons and some of you may not even know that your trusted functional medicine doctor is actually an elite athlete!
We wanted to go a bit behind the scenes with him to get more of his personal journey of this season’s triathlons. The two most recent were Olympic distance races in Omaha and Chicago.
1. What’s your favorite part of race day?
Aside from crossing the finish line with anticipation of knowing how well I did….I would have to say about 10 minutes before the starting horn goes off. I just get so focused and zoned in…adrenaline rushing and ready to go. I guess you could say I am an adrenaline junky. The second favorite part would be exiting the swim and heading to transition to get on the bike. The swim is such a stress for me due to my shoulder instability. Every time I finish a swim a huge surge of relief pours through me knowing I am getting ready to do my strongest event – the bike!
2. What do you eat and supplement with before you begin?
Race morning upon waking (usually around 4:00AM – depending on the race or 3-4 hours before race start) I usually eat 2-3 hard boiled eggs and 3-4 tbsp of Almond Butter and a protein shake which consists of Vital Proteins Whey or Fit Food and an additional scoop of Collagen Peptides plus an additional 8-10 ounces of water. I take my custom multivitamin blend with large dose of magnesium, 2-3 caps Omega Pure 900TG, 1 tbsp of Arthroben, 3-4 caps of Saloxacin. Then about 60-90minutes later or 60 minutes before race start I will probably eat an apple and drink about 16 ounces of water with 1 scoop XymaboliX and NO Synergy along with taking an adrenal supplement (been testing a few different ones out lately). Then just before race time (25 minutes) a UCAN bar to provide a little protein and some time release carbs just before starting the swim. This is usually what I try to do or something close.
3. What do you eat and supplement with after you finish?
Usually after I finish – there is a beer tent everyone flacks too….not me…does not even sound good. Instead I usually consume a bottle or two of water. Usually I am not at all hungry. I may grab a banana, apple or peach if they have it. I then head to transition and get packed up and head out if possible to eat somewhere that I can grab some good protein. My ideal that I usually hunt for is- steak and eggs (typically 4-6 eggs) with about 6-8 ounces of Steak. I usually like to have some sweat potatoes with that and a huge bowl of organic berries if possible. If I can’t get to eat within about an hour – I usually will have some sort of a protein bar to hold me over. The other day post race – before the steak and eggs – I had an organic coconut yogurt with berries and some almond granola…man that was good and I felt really good after. I may try to do something like that more often.
4. How did you feel about your performance in Omaha?
Omaha – this was an interesting race on many fronts. I will write a little summary of this (see blog posting), with there being 2500+ competitors, it was my first National Championship, there was very very long wait for my wave to go off and the bike had a couple hills on it I was not anticipating and did not plan for well, with it being warmer than I anticipated, and the fact I was still feeling very much under the weather with horrible sinus congestion and just extreme fatigue – I felt pretty good about my first National Championship and how I was able to finish strong not feeling well. Lots of mental conversations working thru all that.
5. What are you thinking about during those long stretches of water or concrete?
During the swim (believe it or not) I have to go into robot mode. What I mean is – every single stroke I have to really think about the position of my left shoulder in order to try to prevent the separation because of old injuries. It’s tough at the swim start with all the congestion, and around the turn buoys when they are crowded. Open water swimming is a totally other thing than just swimming laps. Other than that is just me focusing on the shoulder and the mechanics of the swim and just getting thru it.
On the Bike and Run it all comes down to how crowded the field is. If its crowded there is a lot to think about from pacing, to distance from other riders, preventing getting penalized for drafting, if you’re passing someone, passing them quickly enough so you don’t get penalized for blocking, etc, etc.
In Omaha somewhere I had a 2 minute penalty for one of those 2 things, but I have no clue what it was or how it happened. On the bike its all about assessing yourself, the day, and all the elements – but also watching your heart rate and power. I am still learning the fine line between pacing myself enough so I do not burn out on the run – but pushing hard enough to have a strong bike split.
On the run is where you mind starts really playing tricks, especially the longer races of half distance and above. There is a lot of thought process like: Oh my goodness! I hurt; my body is telling me to walk; why do I do this to myself; I am never doing this again, etc. Then to trying to shift my mind off the pain in my legs to the people cheering you on (it is so motivating to have family, friends and family there cheering you on), to the appreciation of what I have been able to get this old body to do over the past couple years having never done any endurance sport of any kind. Then, I try to take in the surrounding of nature (if there are any). I find myself thinking about In2Great and patients (many times my best ideas come during this time) and thinking about just finishing as quickly as I can to see the family and show my kids how with commitment and hard work you can accomplish anything you set your mind too.
The whole triathlon experience is empowering, hard, and the kind of intensity and fun I really enjoy.
Stay tuned for more on the Chicago race and more inside the race commentary when I get a chance to sit down and write.
I am so grateful for our LifeWorks Integrative Health community and your health, your wellness, and your willingness to do hard things is part of what inspires me to keep going, keep pushing, and keep challenging myself.