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Rev3 Half Iron Race report (spectator version) - part II

Posted Nov 02 2012 1:07pm

One of the greatest outcomes of being an experienced athlete is learning from mistakes. I fully believe that as athletes, we are all going to make mistakes and wish we could have a do-over. I remember a few years ago when I was not training smart and not wanting to taper for a 10K, I continued lifting on race week in addition to not tapering because I didn't want to lose fitness. After struggling with super tight hamstrings all race week, I realized that this interfered with not only my physical performance on race day but also my mindset leading up to the race. Rather than keeping my energy bottled for race day, I was spending all my energy worrying about my hamstrings and telling myself that I really regretted by decision to not taper for a race. Since then, I learned and no matter what race, I respect my body before and after races. Karel comes from a different background and with cycling, he is use to racing weekend after weekend so he is looking forward to learning as he goes.....Of course, we are a team and he asks for advice but sometimes we can't plan for everything. Thankfully, a massage, epson salt bath, stretching and a few non weight bearing workouts on race week helped him feel a bit more normal by race day.

With only tailwind for the first 16 miles, Karel battled with inner thigh (adductor) cramps on one leg for the last third of the bike. He even joked that he got "chicked" because he was trying to stretch at an aid station. Oh, but don't worry - he made sure to tell me that he passed the female pro a little later in the bike portion. Karel always has the best play-by-plays post-race.

What I love the most about Karel as an athlete is that he is competitive and smart as an athlete. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to race this race like he wanted because his leg was screaming at him during the last 3rd of the bike. He was really looking forward to putting his cycling skills to the test by riding in the wind but despite trying to keep his competition in his sights, he wasn't able to respond with the other guys. We aren't excuses type of athletes so Karel is thankful for finishing the ride but is anxious to figure out his long-term race-day only cramping issue (since he was a young kid and racing as a cyclist) so that it isn't a limiter in triathlons.

Many would blame sodium but I rarely address "sodium" with my athletes (or Karel) when someone tells me they cramp. I have worked with many athletes who suffer from cramping and before I make recommendations, I make sure I understand the athletes training plan, racing plan, diet and sport nutrition regime. Then I ask the two most common questions "Do you stretch enough and do you strength train?

Other focal points for dealing with cramping-not enough magnesium in the diet, too much calcium in the diet
-not warming up enough or actively/cooling down before training/racing
-nutrient timing for the daily diet
-nutrient timing for sport nutrition (before and after training) or lack of sport nutrition during training
-type of sport nutrition
-training periodization, taper and race day pacing (intensity)
-recovery nutrition
-too much processed food, not enough real food
-epson salt baths and flex power cream/massage/physical therapy
-muscular or nerve related?
Split 1: 16.8 miles - average 27.39 mph
Split 2: 19.2 miles - average 25.27 mph
Split 3: 20 miles - average 20.66 mph

Karel looked strong when I saw him but he told me he was cramping really bad. I got a little nervous because Karel has dealt with cramping in cycling races and when he cramps, he can't dig deep. Karel loves to dig deep and suffer so I knew this run may not be really pretty. In cycling races, if you can't keep up, your day is done and you don't finish. In triathlons, certainly it is an individualized sport so we all have the opportunity to get our own body to the finish line. Having only quit one race in my life (Miami marathon in 2008) due to extreme heel pain (which started during the race which was odd, but it was pouring rain before and during the race so maybe I did something too it - I guess I need to re-read my race report) I just hoped Karel would find a way to finish (albeit slower than he would like) and would walk/run if needed to not make things worse or he would have the strength to stop and DNF so that he wouldn't hurt himself long-term. Either way, I wanted Karel to race smart.

Split 1: .8 miles - 6:27 min/mile pace
Split 2: 2.95 miles - 6:59 min/mile pace
Split 3: 3.28 miles - 6:50 min/mile pace
Around 7 miles, we saw Karel and Campy gave his biggest bark to cheer for his daddy.

His last two splits3 miles - 6:58 min/mile
3 miles - 7:14 min/mile
Total for 56 mile bike + 13.1 mile run = 3:53
RESULTS: 5th age group (out of 45). 16th male (out of 305)

I recently read my friend (and mental coach) Gloria's race report from Austin 70.3. She (and her hubby) had their own obstacles overcome in the race so I wanted to share a very strong quote that she posted in her blog
"My, the amazing wonders of the body and mind! The mind always wants to protect the body and will diminish pain perception so that it can continue to function in the manner that it needs.NEEDS, however, is subjective because we triathletes choose to put our bodies under such stress. At the same time, we live and learn, and then move on to try to be better versions of ourselves each day, each race, and hopefully each living moment. Sometimes we don't know how far we are willing to go until we are pushed to our limits...."

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