31 July 2011


So July -- counting yesterday -- looks to be a 140km month.  (Bleck.)  Some of that is a sinus isssue, thankfully responding to treatment; some of that is a couple weeks where exercise outside would have been a "do you want to die?" issue (Humidex of 48 C. Gah.) and some of it is this whole count-the-commute-and-it's-a-50-hour-week thing, which leads to getting home falling over tired when it's hot enough that sleep tends to be fragmented.  (I am starting to think that in another 25 years, people will still cycle 3 seasons in Toronto, but the season they don't cycle in will be the summer.)

So, anyway, yesterday.  55.86 km per the GPS; throw in the round-the-block seat height test and the crawl up to the streetcar stop and it's somewhere a bit ove 56 km.

And it was, so far as I can tell, a really good ride up to the point I blew up; a hot but relatively dry day, nice breeze, having noticed the seat post crawling down I had the seat post back where it should be and everything worked every so much better (except the shoe cleat I'd adjusted *before* noticing the post was down, on the theory that the cleat had crept; I will presumably get it back to the right place eventually...) and no one even tried to squash me.  (A member of a gaggle of Japanese students tried to use me as a way to kill himself in Ashbridges Bay Park, but I'm sensible enough to ride that path at ~15kph with both hands on their respective brake levers, and he failed.)  So, anyway, hit 55 km, legs went from "this is sometimes work" to "I shall scream", and I had (what I thought was) a fit of sense and took the streetcar home from there. (Obviously auspicious; I got on a streetcar that never had more than 12 people total on it, which isn't actually miraculous on a Saturday afternoon but certainly felt that way.)

Get home, eat dinner (had ~20 g maple hard candy, ~150g mixed nuts and dried cranberries, ~300g fries on ride, reheated beef and tortilla chips as dinner once home), drink lots (1.2 L water, ~2 L Nuun electrolyte replacement, .5 L iced tea on ride, .5 L lime-and-ribenna + .5 L water around dinner), regular vitamins (taken at breakfast and "lunch") include ~330 mg potassium supplements, ~1.4 g CA/.7 g Mg, go lie down for a bit.  Get up an hour later and both legs cramped badly enough that I made noises that distressed the cat and dry-swallowed ibuprofen, which fortunately mostly worked.

This is becoming a consistent pattern; really bad muscle cramping from rides that don't feel like I'm pushing anything at the time.  (For example, this morning, my left knee, victimized by the cleat misalignment, was mildly sore; from the way it felt yesterday, as I kept stopping and fidling with the cleat alignment, I could expect that.  Same with the sore-if-I-think-about-it stomach muscles; that felt like progress at the time, that I was starting to get ride effort getting up into core muscles.)

Nothing about the actual effort of pedaling felt like it was execessive or enough or "yeah, that's it" until about 55 km, where I (thought I was being) sensible and got on a streetcar in response to strongly twingy pre-cramp sorts of feelings. (and I was being sensible, becuase the cramps would only have been worse if I'd kept going.)

This was not a hard ride; rolling average of 17.2 kph, 607/651 metres elevation gain/loss, total time 277 minutes, 194 minutes moving.  (many stoplights, several pauses.)

But I'm clearly doing something wrong.   Too much distance after a week off?  Not enough carbs?  Some kind of electrolyte balance issue?


tumblehome said...

Hey. I get leg cramps quite a lot. Unfortunately, the get-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-walk-about kind. I value my sleep.

I have learned it is often caused by a magnesium/calcium deficiency which I first developed while breast-feeding. Heather says this makes sense because MG/Ca are opposing chemicals in muscle contraction and relaxation ... I can't tell you which does which.

Hope this gives some useful insight! TTFN.

Janice in GA said...

I've also read that calcium/magnesium being deficient or out of balance can cause leg cramps too. Also, are you getting enough salt? I sweat like a field hand when I ride in GA in the summer. I need extra salt.

a home remedy for nighttime leg cramps: eat a spoonful of mustard. Or a drink a swig of pickle juice. Works for me when I get wakened by leg cramps. I really hate turning over/stretching in bed at night and having to leap out of bed to stretch the cramp out of a leg. Hate it.

Genevieve la flechiere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Genevieve la flechiere said...

There's no powder Gatorade in these lands, so I use squash concentrate with extra salt.

Hard runs: lots of squash, less water. Longer slower endurance runs: less squash, lots of water.

I've never thought of myself as an athlete who might need extra salt, but I noticed a significant difference in overall tiredness and recovery after fencing or running, esp in heat, when I drank said salty squash.

Recent studies here have shown that reports of deaths may increase after as little as two days of heat back to back. It doesn't take a lot to unbalance people enough to risk their lives.

Take care!

Graydon said...

Advice appreciated!

Mg/Ca seems unlikely, since I supplement -- no dairy, plus emphatic direction from my doctor -- calcium with carefully balanced Ca/Mg capsules. I've upped the supplementation amount anyway, and I'll have to see if that helps.

Salt tastes really bitter, so I'm pretty sure I am getting enough. (if I'm not getting enough, it's not bitter.)

(also, summer consumption of pickled onions and (when I can find them) bread-and-butter pickles, plus olives, which are probably not technically pickles, is quite high.)

Fluid intake was just a bit over my normal "yeah, it's hot" 60ml/km.

And today both legs are doing the comprehensive-ache-from-overstrain thing, so I'm moving to the view that I just plain over did it, then gave my legs time to stiffen up, then moved. (It being the moving that goes wrong...)

Which is at least a consistent theory. :)