Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Figuring out what works for you

A week before the Hapalua Marathon, I wrote about the glorious pains of cramping that was affecting my running and working out. It was getting to me mentally and physically to where I started giving up mentally. However, I still asked around for any tips to prevent cramping because I knew that I was doing everything wrong from nutrition to preparing for the race.

Am I the only one that knows what they should be doing but doesn't apply it until the last minute? Well, since then, I've been in three races, so I'll give you a breakdown of what I noticed in each run until the Spartan Race in August because it's growth (as always).

Hapalua Half-Marathon

I taped up with KT tape, loaded up on the energy gels, bottled water but I also decided to try mustard packets. Unfortunately, I didn't try Oral IV because there is only one distributor on island! However, the mustard packets only worked up to a certain point to where I also ran into one of those ABC stores along Waikiki and bought bananas. Let me just say that although I made it in a little over two hours, the last stretch of the mile, I ran stiffly and slowly because the cramps were slowly seizing my calves. Talk about frustration because I walked a quarter of mile back to my hotel. This meant back to the drawing board of figuring out what I needed to do to prevent cramping for the Makahiki Challenge in May 2014 and Spartan Race (August 2014)

Makahiki Challenge
As you can see, I taped again with KT tape and brought along some mustard packets and Clif Gel Bloks because it was a 5k mud run that I decided to walk with my daughter because she refused to run while everyone else ran along. One thing I love about the obstacle course racing fun mud run events, is that the course is still challenging with hills and the obstacles are optional for beginners like my daughter. Because the hills were challenging, I made use of the mustard packets but it was to a bare minimum. Hydration was a must because it was humid until it started raining in the valley. This helped a lot in keeping cool. However, there was something new that I wanted to try, which was dynamic taping that my sister's physical therapy office used on her calves.
Spartan Race Hawaii Trifecta Weekend

Prior to this race, I was in a funk. I didn't want to train. I didn't even want to run. I actually felt like I burned myself out because I never did sign up for this much races as I did from August 2013 to August 2014. Mentally, I kind of wanted to run but physically I was drained. Partly from work because we are on mandatory overtime but whenever I reached home from work, I didn't want to lace up regardless if my husband tried to encourage me. As the big day was approaching, I started dreading it because I didn't train as should have nor was I eating as I should have! I cursed myself because this was the race that I was to have been training for all year. This was part of my fitness bucket list to earn a trifecta medal because who would have thought that I could? So, back to the drawing board of preparing for a Spartan Race and I needed to be serious about it. Here is a breakdown of what was the same and what was different as well as the outcomes:
Clothing / Taping
  • Under Armour (I didn't change anything except that I used a bikini bottom under my race clothes). I used their heat gear line, which is light and gives me the room of moving around without dragging me down.
  • Vibrams MR Sprydion: This was an "upgrade" from their original line. I was actually looking for different type of shoes to use but there were several that I tried and found that my feet were hurting. I figured since my feet didn't hurt on my trail runs when I used my vibrams, I might as well as use vibrams (if it's not broken, why fix it, right?)
  • Camelbak Rim Runner 22: I bought this because I wanted to at least have something that carried 3L especially because I gauged my finishing times to be over 7 hours for the Beast and 5-6 hours for the Super. Another thing great about this pack is that it had other compartments where you could store your food and other essentials. This pack is recommended for activity that lasts more than 3 hours.
  • Dynamic Tape: Helleeerrr...wish I knew about this tape before KT tape because this tape was amazing. And I have to think it's probably because I had a trained professional tape me up with this tape. I'll brag about this tape by sharing that if you ever decide to use Dynamic Tape instead of KT'll question if you put any effort into your races because considering that I did a race that totaled a marathon distance over mountains and hills AND I was barely training, I would have been dying but nope, I had the expected soreness the next day but by the second day, I had minimal soreness.
Energy / Fuel
  • Peanut butter sandwiches: On the facebook page, Chicked Nation (formerly known as Spartan Chicked), one of the ladies recommended it. Glad I listened to her!)
  • Bananas: Peel these suckers...if you buy apple bananas, it's better especially because it's smaller. I also placed these in ziploc bags
  • Clif Crunchy Peanut Butter Bar: Much needed and highly recommended
  • Granola Bars: If you're carrying clif bars, you won't need to bring these. It's up to you
  • Clif Shot Bloks (strawberry flavored): I was glad I brought these because at one point on the trail on both days, I craved something sweet and kept thinking of shave ice (or snow cones to mainlanders). I popped one in my mouth and it satisfied my craving on the trail.
  • Oral IV: Let me just say that the heavens opened up and the angels started singing as I packed several vials because for ONCE I was actually listening to advice regarding hydration. Let me just say that I didn't cramp at all on BOTH Saturday AND Sunday. Keep in mind that I was on course for about 7 hours for the Beast and about 4 hours for the Super.
I honestly wished that I bought Oral IV for the Hapalua half-marathon because Oral IV worked wonders. I kid you not. I was nervous because I NEVER used this product before and you know how it is a no-no that you don't try anything new on race day but I took a chance! I followed the instructions of taking at least 30 minutes prior to race time and I also took another vial about 3-4 hours into the race because it was an endurance race.
My choice of using Under Armour, I don't think I will sway from it especially because the shorts did not ride up and I did not chaff at all. My vibrams is another that I will not sway from when it comes to obstacle course racing because it gave me the freedom to move through the mud pits and this upgraded line worked pretty well on the obstacles. There was no slipping off like I did with the previous vibrams!
Overall, this blog post is sharing with you what I found worked for me and the fact that I need to listen to the advice given to me especially if they are from other racers who is familiar with what can happen in a race.
I hope this helps you especially if you are aiming to do an obstacle course race or any running event.


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