Saturday, July 9, 2011

Race Tips - Inflammation

I think I responded to everyone who asked me for information or an application for this year's race but if you did not get a return email, please email again.  There were a lot this year so I may have overlooked someone. 

Inflammation plays a key role in the race.  Ankles and feet always take the worst of the race and you’ll need to reduce the inflammation if you want to finish the race.  I strongly advise against using NSAID anti-inflammatories.  These are the non-steroidal over the counter type of pharmacy products like ibuprofen and Motrin that you should avoid like the plague.  NSAID’s place an extra load on your kidneys and liver at a time when your body is already going to be extremely stressed.  Combining NSAID’s and exercise is always a bad idea but this is particularly true on the Classic where you will be constantly dehydrated for several days in a row.  You can cause serious and permanent organ damage if you take too many NSAID’s while dehydrated. 

You will need some sort of anti-inflammatory agent to help you through to the finish line.  Some people resort to prescription anti-inflammatories or a prescription steroid to reduce the inflammation.  You can also try herbals such as Cat’s Claw but herbal remedies take a lot of personal testing to see what works for you specifically.  Vitamin C and Vitamin D have anti-inflammatory properties and also function as anti-oxidants so you should take both of these but they may not be strong enough for the purposes of the Classic. 

What you shouldn’t do is start the race without any anti-inflammatory in your pack.  If you don’t have anything else, take enough ibuprofen so you can take two every four hours of the race.  After you calculate how many that will be, add another two full day’s worth of doses.  So if you think you can finish the race in four days, you should pack enough ibuprofen so you can to two every four hours for six full days.  There’s nothing worse than having too few and besides it can be dangerous if your ankles are so swollen that you can’t walk. 

One of the best things you can do during the race to reduce inflammation is to drink water.  This will reduce the edema and flush your kidneys.  You’ll also feel better overall and stay warmer.  Speaking of water, drink it where you can find it.  Moving, silty, glacial water is probably the best because harmful bacteria don’t grow very well in it.  This is handy because you can just dip your water bottle into the river as you float down it in your packraft.  Drink enough so that your pee is clear and so you have to pee about once every hour or so.  You won’t waste time stopping to pee because you should master the art of walking while you pee.  All these tips should be second nature to you if you’re running the Classic but they are still good reminders. Be proactive with inflammation to keep it under control.  

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