Mr CPK asks: “I know a friend who is a very good marathon runner but ended up in the hospital after his first WS due to rhabdomyolsis. I’m running my first WS this year and wondering what I need to do to keep this from happening to me?”
Hey Mr. CPK,
Congratulations on getting into the Best Event Ever. And kudos also for taking seriously one of the many possible risks of participating in such an event. Without knowing the specifics of your friend, I can try to advise you on how to prevent this dangerous condition.
First, lets review the condition to help you understand. According the the National Institutes of Health
“Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage”. This condition has more than one cause that can occur when participating in a 100 mile race. For the Western Endurance Run, one needs to prepare for heat, electrolyte loss, and downhill running (22,970 feet worth!). Let’s look at each of these variables and address ways to prepare for them.
Heat – it can reach the low 100’s in the canyons of the The Race. Running in the ovens obviously causes dehydration that can be hard to keep up with. Less water running through the kidneys allows the myoglobin to accumlate and cause damage. To train for the heat, run in the hottest part of the day, tracking your weight before and after along with fluids consumed. If you live in a cooler climate, spend some time in the sauna, again weighing before and after, to try to get an idea of your sweat rate. Some folks will set up a bike trainer and workout in the sauna.
Electrolyte loss –
Chubster asks: “I run a bunch of ultras, 100 milers are my favorite. I am usually in the top five, top ten if it is super competitive. Even with all the training, I have elevated love handles. I don’t mean a little elevated, I’m talking waaay higher. What can I do?”
Because you are having body image issues, I assume you are female. From one female runner to another, I would ask that you reflect upon why you want to diminish further the rack that so many female ultra runners (present company included) simply do not have. You probably actually are acknowledged as a woman, something that I rarely experience. While chafe may be your enemy, at least you are getting looks. My advise to you is to embrace your feminine body (not literally), get the best looking job bra possible (I have a Team USA bra that is too big if you want it), and work on those abs. Besides, the extra weight on the chest may help with your down hill momentum. Am I right in assuming you are indeed a fast down hill runner?