So remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote that whole blog on fueling yourself for endurance post WLS?  Well I did the things I said I was going to do- er…most of them.

I had a 6+ mile race on August third– a fricken AWESOME race at an absolutely gorgeous location with fun and challenging terrain and obstacles.  It was a race I had been looking forward to for months- Mud and Music Mayhem, which until that day, when I actually read the logo on the t-shirt, I had been calling Mud, Music and Mayhem– oops!  Though, I actually think I like my name better, put an emphasis on “mayhem”, right?  (Marketing Genius!) Anyway, I went to this race expecting to kick it’s ass but instead it pretty much kicked mine.  Actually, that’s not even true, I kicked my own ass and not in a good way.


About a tenth of a mile in, on the second obstacle, my left calf completely seized up.  It was not cool.  I had just climbed over a 12 foot pile of logs and as I stepped down onto the ground there was an instant cramp like nothing I’d experienced before.  I was already feeling like I was working at half of what I’m usually working with at races– I was tired, it was the last day of my period, and I drove three hours to get to the venue that morning- so I SAT on my butt for THREE hours before running.  Not good. So when the cramp happened only a tenth of a mile in– so close that I could still see the start line, I seriously considered turning back.  Fortunately, I’m stubborn AND I didn’t want to waste the $60 I’d paid to register plus the gas money spent to get there so I decided to walk it off.  It took about another tenth of a mile to feel some relief but it did eventually go away, so yay.  Sort of. 

Like I said, it was a six mile race.  I had my camelback filled with water and some energy gels and weird jelly bean type things that had electrolytes and b12 vitamins so I felt prepared to finish the six miles without any problems.  Unfortunately my body had other plans.

After the whole calf cramp crap (a little alliteration for you!) I felt much better until I got about three miles in– the halfway point.

The first three miles were full of a great combination of fun and extremely challenging obstacles.  It’s hands-down my favorite OBSTACLE race to date for those two reasons.  I got to try new obstacles that I’d never seen before including hanging upside down from a rope that was hung over a swamp while pulling myself across without falling in.  I was absolutely speechless when I got to the other side and realized what I had been able to do.  There were shaky balance beams over muddy pits, a log carry, corn maze, hurdles, VERY dark teeny tiny tunnels (ooh!  more alliteration!) LOTS and LOTS of creek crossings and more!  There was also this bitch of a slope that I got in a major argument with.  It was basically a 10 or 12 foot muddy-ass slope that had ropes tied at the top that you were supposed to use to help you up.  The problem?  One, it was slippery as hell and two I COULDN’T REACH THE FRICKEN ROPES BECAUSE I’M A FRICKEN SHRIMP!

I tried for 15 minutes to get up that damn thing.  I was cussing up a storm; called that slope every name in the book.  I was angry and tired and I just wanted to cry but I didn’t because that would have been ridiculous.  A few people asked if I wanted help but I was stubborn and determined, convinced that if I just tried hard enough I’d be able to do it. I’m not sure what I was thinking, it’s not like I was going to grow a couple inches while standing there being pissed off– eventually a couple of guys convinced me to let them help me and I gave in.  Looking back I realize that I wasted more time and energy fighting with that inanimate object and if I had just let someone help me 15 minutes prior I would have finished faster and stronger than I did… ce la vie!

Anyway, the point of this blog is supposed to be about fueling so here’s what happened:

At about 3 miles in, approximately 15-20 minutes after that stupid slope, my quads (the upper front part of my thighs) started aching.  The aching got worse and worse as time and distance went on.  I couldn’t run and walking was painful.  I stopped and stretched several times.  I drank water from my hydration pack.  I even did some yoga in the middle of the trail– that got some funny looks and questions of concern.  Unfortunately nothing seemed to help.  It was awful!

By the time I got to the last few obstacles I was moving at a snail’s pace.  There’s even video of me trying to get over some 6 foot mounds of mud and it looks like I’m moving in slow motion.

Um…okay, make those four foot mounds of mud.

It took every ounce of everything I had in me to get across that finish line–

This is not something I’m proud of, it’s a lesson learned.  I feel certain that the reason I cramped up so badly is because I hadn’t done a good job of hydrating PRIOR to the race.  Yes I had had my period and that may have played a role in my exhaustion, but the cramping was almost certainly due to being dehydrated.

So from now on, I need to remember what I know, what I’ve heard a bajillion times and drink some damn water during the days leading UP TO my races.

I’ve actually had three races since then and have heeded that advice and am happy to report that I have not had any cramping issues at all!

Moral of the story:  Drink some damned water!  Better yet, drink water mixed with a sport drink with electrolytes in the days prior to and on the the day of any race to help you get and stay hydrated to avoid unnecessary cramping and fatigue.  When you’ve had Gastric Bypass or any other weight loss surgery (WLS) you only have so much room in your altered tummy for fluids.  Waiting to drink water on race day will NOT be enough.  Even for non-surgery athletes it’s important to hydrate well BEFORE a race but for those of us who have had our guts rearranged it’s that much more important.

Doing so will help you to avoid looking and feeling like this after a race…

What’s your favorite way to hydrate for an endurance activity?


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