Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Knot Fun

I’m struggling to find the silver lining in Sunday’s race result.

The obvious is that I PR’d.

However, the only reason I PR’d is that unlike Mississauga when “Time Didn’t Matter” I had a functional watch this time around. I could see each minute slipping away. It’s also somewhat easy to judge where you are on the course by watching the pace groups pass you. I tried to use the 4:15 group to get me up University but couldn’t sustain any sort of running rhythm without running the risk of cramping up so totally and completely that I’d run the risk of a DNF.

Picking apart the race from the beginning the first thing I noticed was some tightness in my lower back and glutes. I didn’t pay too much attention to it as whenever you run something is going to hurt eventually. The tightness wasn’t anything beyond what I’ve encountered in training and considering the amount of downhill running there is in the first 15km I didn’t know if that’s all I was feeling. The second half of the route is virtually flat, at the time it didn’t factor in.

The first sign of trouble is a pulsating tightness. From what I’m reading in my research this is the calf muscle beginning to spasm. When I begin to spasm, I have to change my stride. It becomes shorter and I can no longer roll through on my stride to push off.

The most bothersome part of the situation is that I’ve never gone in to spasm on a training run. In training I hydrate less and gel less often. My preference is not to do walking breaks although I do change up my pacing be it either traffic lights or water stops. Our water stops are on average 10km apart, so I’m hard pressed to by off on hydration as being a contributing factor to my cramping.

In Mississauga, the most logical explanation for my cramping was salt depletion. This entire training cycle, I prepared myself.

In addition to my Omega3 supplements I added Calmag, potassium and vitamin D.

I revisited my hydration plan by switching from Amino Vital to eLoad Endurance Formula. I perfer the Amino Vital for post run recovery.

I also switched my gels from eLoad Energy gels to Powerbar Carbohydrate Electrolyte Blend Gel.  There are 200mg of sodium per gel.  That’s four times the amount of most other gels.  I scheduled a gel every 8km (less than 45 minutes).
I carried an additional four salt packets in my fuel belt just in case.
The extra salt did nothing for me on the course once the cramping started. The longer I ran, the worse it became. Since pacing was no longer a factor, I stopped at every water stop for water or Gatorade or both. I maintained my gel plan and since there were Powerbar gels on the course I added a couple.
There has to be some other explanation.
As I’m recovering, I’m researching. I’m soliciting opinions. I’m trying not to be grasping at straws. Life isn’t that complicated.
My calves are unbelievably painful. The knots have knots. So far no bruising, I’m icing, spinning and walking. My best friends have been my Zensah compression socks. The kids are giving me no end of grief over the shorts with argyle look I’ve been submitting them to the past couple days but I have no fashion sense at the best of times.
I’ve ordered a pair of Zensah calf/shin splint sleeves.  When I resume training it will be wearing these.  First because I’m sure that I’ll need the additional support during my recovery from this race since I’ve got to be ready for the Disney Goofy Challenge in ten weeks. Secondly, it’s an option that’s rather simple to implement while I continue to investigate what’s going on with my body.

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