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Ironman Oceanside 70.3: Two Athlete’s Finish Cramp-Free

A few fun facts about Ironman 70.3 Oceanside: The California triathlon, which began in 2000, runs through some of the most historic paths of the state. Athletes swim in the protected Oceanside Harbor, cycle through Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton and run across Oceanside Pier, one of the longest on the West Coast. The beautiful scenery can transcend anyone out of his or her element, but when a debilitating muscle cramp kicks in during a steep ascension, not even a picturesque coastline can fully distract you. Christina Blaisdell and David Lee, both seasoned athletes and experienced triathletes with tendencies to cramp, shared how they put #ITSTHENERVE to the test and made it to the finish line.

CHRISTINA BLAISDELL: Two 70.3s on back-to-back days on a tough course in 90-degree heat is no joke.
I’ve always been a runner, but in 2013, I changed things up and started training for triathlon and Ironman races. While my body was already used to running, I began to notice issues with muscle cramping, specifically on longer courses with intense climbs. The repeated use of similar muscle groups at a high intensity over time can really take a toll on your body, no matter how conditioned you are for the course.

I first used #ITSTHENERVE at Ironman 70.3 Boulder in 2015. I was nervous entering the race since it was a new course, but it gave me the courage to go harder and not hold back even with a 4-mile climb at 8% elevation. I have continued to use it on really tough training days on Mount Diablo or Lake Tahoe, as well as on race days with a lot of climbing and altitude. It has helped me approach the hilly courses of Boulder and Lake Tahoe with confidence that I can execute and meet them at the appropriate intensity.

I also used #ITSTHENERVE for a unique circumstance that really tried my strength last August in Austria. I had already planned to race the event’s Saturday Ironman 70.3 Zell am See-Kaprun. I ended up qualifying for the World Championship race that was set to take place on the same course— the next day!  Two 70.3s on back-to-back days on a tough course in 90-degree heat is no joke. I really relied on #ITSTHENERVE for that double header! This race was my last huge training weekend before Ironman Lake Tahoe, which was certainly another occasion that required #ITSTHENERVE. With two trips up Brockway Summit — a 4-mile climb at 8% grade — before the marathon, it really runs your body through the wringer.

I am looking forward to using #ITSTHENERVE again at the Auburn Triathlon in California — known as the “World’s Toughest Half” this upcoming May. Being the Endurance Capital of the World, the Auburn Triathlon is one of the toughest long distance running races in America. With a hilly bike course and a run set on the Western States 100 trails, I know I’m prepared for a strong race with # ITSTHENERVE on hand.

DAVID LEE: “I am a true convert and firm believer now.”
As a strong runner (I’ve completed 20 marathons), I always want to push myself further, and I am able to do that by competing in triathlons. I did my first Ironman thinking it would be “one and done,” but four years later I’m ramping up training to attempt my fourth Ironman distance!

Historically, I’ve had cramping problems on the run, even in standalone run races. I tend to push myself hard on the run. The past few marathons I’ve run have been disasters with major cramping problems. I tend to cramp less on the run during triathlons because I scale back the intensity. Since I only cramp during races, I know I’m pushing my body past the limit of what I’ve trained for. In the past, I’ve tried salt tablets in addition to heavier electrolyte-based drinks. They worked with moderate success, but I have definitely had some races completed derailed by cramping. After hearing about #ITSTHENERVE, I was looking forward to giving it a try!

I knew my Oceanside race would be the perfect test for my muscle cramping problems. Coming off an injury, I wasn’t able to run until two months before the race. With limited training and a new race environment, I knew I would be pushing myself past what I trained for. Sure enough, my day started with some cramps earlier than usual. Whether it was the cold waters or something else, I came out feeling the onset of muscle cramps. Fearing that this was the beginning of a long day of discomfort, I downed my first bottle of #ITSTHENERVE just before jumping on my bike. I made it through the entire ride feeling great and pushing a strong intensity. Pretty happy with the result of my first bottle, I got off my bike and got ready for the run — which was a leap of faith since the longest distance I had trained for was 10 miles due to the shortened training time. With another #ITSTHENERVE at transition, I headed out to see what would happen. I started off at a conservative pace, but by mile four I felt good enough to start pushing the pace. Luckily, this was right at the #ITSTHENERVE tent along the course. I started to push but I knew I didn’t have the legs to push hard. I was able to gingerly continue the run and ended up finishing within my goal run time of two hours. 

I am a true convert and firm believer now. While #ITSTHENERVE couldn’t make up for lack of proper training, I am convinced it helped salvage the day and make the race more enjoyable. Overall, I am looking forward to training with #ITSTHENERVE and give it a real test during my full distance course as well as my next standalone marathon. 

 

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