Race Smart Featured Athlete

Jeff Gaura

Just a few years ago, I was overweight. I looked back from the comforts of a recliner at my days as a Himalayan mountaineer during the 1980s and thought, “One day, I’ll get back to that level of physical achievement.”

After being invited to “try” a Duathlon, I decided to give multisport a chance. I was amazed at how hard that little race was, and it motivated me to get serious about preparing not just for these events but for the rest of my life. I got smart about eating and training. I began eating clean food and gave up junk. I put down the sodas and drank more water. I did another Duathlon and got 2nd in my age group.

I overcame injury and worked hard on all 4 aspects of Duathlon: Running, Cycling, Nutrition and Strength Training. I did well enough at the National Championship to earn a slot on Team USA. To prepare, I included Pilates and yoga, and I hired a USAT coach to help with focused workouts. But there was a hole in my training: I didn’t have any strategy for race-day nutrition.

During a practice event in Greensboro, I met Susan. She and I were competing in the same event, and she handed me her business card. Over the course of a phone call and several emails, I began learning about the importance of sodium, carbohydrates, water, and all the science that goes into race-day preparation. I implemented her strategies for my next race. I greatly exceeded my own expectations for the event and felt no fatigue afterward. This was a new experience: my post-race experience was often debilitating and usually made me question whether or not I was even having fun. Susan helped me get my ratios of sodium, carbohydrates, and water properly balanced.

Susan is a part of Team Jeff, and I can’t imagine competing without running my game-day nutrition plan by her for adjustment or approval. She has a combination of multisport experience and training that I haven’t found anywhere else. If you are serious about your racing, put consulting her on your to-do list. She is cheaper than a pair of cycling shoes or a helmet, and her input will make you go faster and more enjoyably than either of those items.

Read more from Jeff on his blog.