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Leslie Battle is changing perceptions of Athena athletes.
Leslie A.E. Battle, 48
Location: Warwick, R.I.
Occupation: Corporate attorney
Six-time USAT Athena National Champion: Olympic distance five times, sprint distance once. (USAT allows women weighing 165 pounds or more to race in the Athena division, while males weighing at least 220 can race as Clydesdales.) First female and first overall at 2012 Escape the Cape; Team USA in standard duathlon (2015) and aquathlon (2017)
Leslie Battle jumped into triathlon after a friend raced Ironman 70.3 Providence. She raced her first local sprint tri in 2008 with several friends who were turning 40, but she was the only one of the group who “got the tri bug.” Now 310 multisport and road races and 5,299 miles (and counting) later—and more than 100 pounds lighter—she has six over-40 USAT Athena national champion titles in triathlon. And this year she’ll be representing the U.S. in aquathlon in Penticton, B.C., Canada, at the ITU Multisport World Championship Festival.
Looking back over her years of racing, one of the highlights was the 2012 Escape the Cape triathlon, in which she earned the first overall title. “This race plays over in my head, most especially how the race director questioned my results before awards because ‘Athena athletes don’t win the overall,’” she says. “Garmin said otherwise.”
In 2016, she completed her goal of encouraging other Athenas to have the courage and confidence to bid for Team USA in Penticton; there are at least nine Athena athletes competing in Penticton across the various multisport races. “I’m proud to have been able to make positive contributions to the perception of Athena triathletes on a national level,” she says, “not just as ‘completers’ but as serious competition.”
How She Fuels
Pre-race breakfast: I like Bob’s Red Mill whole rolled oats with cinnamon and a bit of Intek whey protein isolate. Or egg white and banana pancakes. … If it’s a longer race, I might add a sweet potato, which I like to top with low-fat yogurt ranch dressing, or, alternatively, a bowl of brown rice. Maybe a banana or unsweetened applesauce when setting up T1.
My general nutrition philosophy above all is to eat real food and keep it simple, predictable. Eat enough to fuel what you love to do, your training, your recovery.
My pre-race dinner is no different from any other day because when I’m training, I’m training to race. I might have some Intek whey protein (cookies and cream flavor), egg whites with fresh pico de gallo, Friendship low-fat cottage cheese on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin, maybe Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt, or a tofu- or soy-based dish, as well as a vegetable, like spinach or broccoli with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Add to that a small serving of rice, and I’m good to go.
I have been using Honey Stinger Gold* gels in races and just plain water, maybe with a bit of salt in the bottle, if it will be hot. I like Honey Stinger because they are mostly natural honey; I don’t use flavors or caffeine. I also use Hotshot for potential cramps.
Post-race I take a protein shake for recovery. I use Intek cookies and cream flavor. Or, I will have a Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr. One pointer: Pack in your own food for after the race. Most events have donated food that may not be the best choice for your needs, and it can be a long, hungry ride home.
*Battle is now part of Honey Stinger’s Hive elite ambassador program.