OGRE Dru suffering from a cramp in the run at IM Choo 70.3
Just one look at the above, and you can understand why nutrition matters. This is what happens when you do not fuel your body on the bike and hit the run without enough fuel to keep the body from cramping up. Once you get to this point, you can’t recover while still racing. This is why we work on nutrition plans during training days too.
The story behind this, and the tale of woe that I hope you can learn from my mistake. You see, I had trained my nutrition plan. Thought I had it wired. Infinit Go Far in one bottle. Nuun in the other. Gu Gel at 45 minutes on the bike, Bonk Breaker bar at 90 minutes on the bike, Gu Gel at 135 minutes on the bike, another Bonk Breaker before run transition, then Gu Roctane Gels on the run, with water and gatorade provided on course. All of this augmented with electrolyte capsules at a rate of 1 per hour.
In training, this went great. Race day however did not play well. You see, it rained on the bike course. Lesson to take away, Bonk Breakers are messy and difficult to consume in the rain, so I didn’t consume them as planned. I think you see where this is going already don’t you? Yeah, me too. I didn’t eat the solid nutrition, and the gels just aren’t enough to keep this engine going, so when I hit mile 6 of the run, and the quad started cramping to the point of locking up the knee, I knew that my 2 hour run was now an impossible goal. I could finish, but the last half of the run was going to be a long cycle of run slow, cramp, walk it out, repeat to the finish line. It took almost twice as long to cover the last 7 miles as it took to cover the first 6. Crossing the finish line, I had already had a while to stew on what I did wrong.
The hammer that drove it home? After a good meal, and a couple hours of walking around the city as a tourist post race, the cramping was gone, and there was no soreness or weakness in the area. Lesson learned. Eat, and more importantly, prepare for the conditions. What I would do differently is to portion my Bonk Breakers into bite sized portions that are easier to consume in inclement conditions. I won’t repeat that mistake again. Instead, I am sure I will find entirely new mistakes to make.