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Cramping at Mile 100

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Cramping at Mile 100

Postby mangumc » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:45 pm

I recently competed in the Vineman IM and did the bike leg of a relay team. The last significant climb of the ride begins at about mile 100 and I cramped, both quads and left hamstring, at the base of the climb. After about 3-4 minutes off the bike I was able to re-mount, complete the ride and finished strong, bettering my time from last year.

My nutrition strategy was a shot of gel 10 minutes before the bike leg, followed by a throw-away, first hour bottle of 1 scoop Heed plus 1 scoop Perp, a 4-hour bottle of Perp and enough gel for a shot every hour and 2 for the last hour. If I consumed it all, which I did not, I would have had about 290 calories/hour. I weigh 180 lbs. I also took 3 Endurolytes, Endurance Amino, Anti-Fatigue and Tissue Rejuvenator at the top of each hour.

I can't figure out why I cramped, but then was able to get back on the bike and ride the last 12 miles strong without problems. Could it be that once the muscles had time for new and adequate blood flow that they sort of "re-set" and had what they needed to go on? I had not stopped during the race until I cramped, and I maintained reasonable hydration during the race, consuming about 20 ounces of water on average per hour.

I have another race coming up this year and would appreciate your comments and advice. I did the same race last year and cramped as I came off the bike. I would prefer to avoid cramping altogether. :)
Chris Mangum
Raleigh, NC
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Re: Cramping at Mile 100

Postby steve-born » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:32 pm

Chris -

I'm not suggesting that this is what caused your cramping, but I would encourage you to cut back your calorie intake from 290/hour to around 250-260/hour... I think that 290 an hour is just a little too high. Also, I would increase your fluid intake slightly, especially if the weather is going to be hotter in your next race (I hear it was in the low 80's at Vineman?). Again, combination of these two things may not have been the reason why you cramped, though it is possible (slightly too many calories, not quite enough fluid).

Also, depending on how well or poorly you were acclimated to the weather, 3 Endurolytes/hour may or may not have been sufficient enough. At 180 lbs, 3 per hour should be sufficient under most conditions most of the time. However, when the pace gets ratcheted up (as it does during a race) and when you're on a course that features a lot of hills, you may need to increase your hourly dose of Endurolytes.

The cramping may also be due to muscular fatigue, which would be a plausible explanation, especially if you were (excuse the pun) hammering the course for "X" number of hours going up and down hills. At the 100-mile mark you started up a significant hill and your leg muscles simply weren't able to accommodate the pace. You taking a bit of time off to stretch and give the muscles a chance to relax ("re-set" as you put it) may have been just what they needed in order to finish the climb and the remainder of the bike course.

Unfortunately, there is no real way of knowing with 10% precision just what caused the cramping, so the above-listed scenarios are just that... possibilities. That said, I think that if you were to lower your calorie intake slightly, increase your fluid intake a bit, and perhaps add another 1-2 capsules of Endurolytes/hour (especially in hot conditions and/or when the terrain is hilly), you will be doing the best thing possible to help prevent cramping from a fueling perspective.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely -

Steve
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Re: Cramping at Mile 100

Postby mangumc » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:28 pm

Thanks, Steve. I appreciate your suggestions. I threw in the bottle of Endurolytes for the trip only to wind up not adding to my pre-race preparations. My bad.

Also, the sun came out from the fog earlier this year than last year, and the temps were a bit higher. I questioned if I was consuming enough water between rest stops. Perhaps not.

I will try your suggestions.

Chris
Chris Mangum
Raleigh, NC
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