Tim asked me to post this here to try to get some more help. I typed this info up to send to a few specialists out of desperation. I know there is a lot of info here, but if you can give any help at all, I would be more than grateful!!! (Note, I am sending this to some people who don’t know what MX or harescrambles are, hence some of the explanations.)
For nearly 2 years now, I’ve been racing harescrambles (endurance dirt bike racing in the woods for those who don’t know) and I’ve had a problem with getting sick and desperately need any advice you can offer. The race is generally about 2hr30min +/-30min. When the race is over, I don’t feel too bad, but about 30 min later, I start with a small cough, get the sweats, the feeling of a bowel movement, shaky, and extremely nauseous. I usually don’t vomit at that time. I just sit and wait it out. After about 15min it seems to ease up and I think I’m in the clear. Then about 15-20min later, it starts all over. This time I usually vomit profusely. Sometimes 10+ times. I have tried so many different things and I don’t know what else to do. For about the first 5-6 races I competed in I didn’t have this problem. Then after that it started happening and becoming more common. Now it is nearly every time I race no matter the weather, conditions, or things I’ve tried (see below). The courses we race on are usually 10-12 mile loops through the woods and to say the trails get extremely rough would be an understatement. My endurance is usually pretty good for about 1hr30min, then I start to fade, sometimes worse than others.
About me: I am 6’2”tall, 188lbs and have no known illnesses, sicknesses, or disease. Prior to March 2011, I considered myself in alright shape (other than using smokeless tobacco which I QUIT on July 1st and haven’t used since), just not good enough for endurance racing. From March 2011 thru May 2011, I was on a online training program with a personal trainer, but the service shut down and I didn’t continue the routines. In June 2011, I bought a road bicycle and started cycling a lot. I would cycle 20-50 miles (approx avg 30 miles) each time I rode about 2-3 times a week until our first born came the end of July, then I didn’t get much chance to cycle much after that. I have now been exercising (with the help of online trainers and programs) 1-2hrs a day, 6-7 days a week for 10 weeks now. I think thats enough info to start, but let me know if you need more info.
Things I have tried and/or done:
-Drinking 16-20oz of plain water per hour during competition from a Camelback.
-Drinking 4-5oz of Cytomax every 15min from Camelback.
-Drinking 4-5oz of Hammer Heed every 15-20min from Camelback.
-Drinking 4-5oz of Hammer Sustained Energy every 15-20min from Camelback.
All the above caused a lot of “sloshing” in my stomach and actually made it worse. Every bump or rock on the course became really painful and it feels like all my guts are slamming into each other hurting. And after the race I would vomit ALL of it back up.
After quite a few races, the most successful thing I found to cure the sloshing and pain DURING the race (but not the vomiting after the race) was to not drink a SINGLE drop of anything during the entire 2+hrs. That is TOUGH. The first time I tried this method (Oct 30, 2011), I came off course, ate half of a ham sandwich slowly, some nuts, and slowly sipped on water. I felt a little quesy but I didn’t get sick that day. The next time I tried this (Jan 29, 2012), I got extremely sick and vomited, so that wasn’t the cure. When I don’t drink close to the race time, or during the race, I don’t get the sloshing pain, but I still get sick about 30 min after the race. My reason for trying no drinking was that I learned that the digestive systems slows down during exercise, some people more than others, but I think possibly mine completely stops.
After the last race (Jan29), when I started getting nauseous, a friend gave me some 7up. I slowly drank half the can, and felt a lot better. About 20-30min later, I started feeling sick again. Drank the other half and felt better. Then 20-30min later, on the drive home, BLAAAAHHHH. Then felt better. Then 20-30min later started feeling a little nauseous, not as bad as before, bought some more 7up, felt better and was able to get some food down. Then I was fine. Was it the carbonation (like when you’re sick and drink it), or maybe the sugar?
-I quit using smokeless tobacco in July 2011 and it made no difference in my stomach problems.
-I eat cereal for breakfast 7 days a week. Usually Special K or Fruit Harvest with 2% milk. On a regular day, I only drink a little of the milk, and on race day I don’t drink any, just in case. So I tried using Almond milk in my cereal for a few days leading up to the race and on race day. Still got sick.
-I eat breakfast 3-4 hrs before the race start. I have a small snack 1.5-2hrs before race, usually a granola bar, Kashi bar, bananna, some trail mix, or some type of nuts (only one of these listed). Still sick.
-I’ve tried drinking no more than 20oz from the time I get up (6am) until race time (11am). Still sick.
-The only thing I drink for the last 9 years is water. Maybe once a month I’ll drink a little Sprite or 7up. No alcohol in 2+ years. Never any caffeine. For the last year especially, I drink 1 gallon a day, and during hotter months about 1.5 gallons a day. During all my cycling I drink Cytomax and sometimes Hammer Heed. During cycling I alternate bottles, one with water, and one with Cytomax or Heed. 20oz total per hour always.
-I have tried using GU energy gel packets, Hammer gel packets during a race. I’ve tried at about 1 hr before I start to fade, and I’ve tried at 1.5hr+ when I have already started to fade. Still sick. (I use gels during cycling with no problems, 1-2 packets per hour).
-I have tried slowly drinking Hammer Recoverite after a race, and it tastes horrible coming back up.
-I’ve tried warming up by cycling for 10-15min before race start then stretching.
-I’ve tried not warming up.
-I’ve tried walking around after a race.
-I’ve tried sitting down and holding perfectly still after a race for 30 min.
-I’ve tried Gas-X the day before and the day of a race.
-I’ve tried drinking Pepto as soon as the race is over followed by small sips of water.
-I use Hammer Endurolytes (both for HS and cycling) before race.
My nutrition has changed considerably (for the better) from 2 races ago (Oct30) until the last race (Jan29), yet I still got sick. Typical day, I eat cereal for breakfast, yogurt and banana for mid morning snack, a Weight Watchers Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine frozen lunch, an apple for afternoon snack, some nuts when I get home, and the wife cooks a halfway healthy dinner. Never any fast food. I take a multivitamin every morning for the last 10-12 years.
Since the 7up helped me feel better, I bought some Gingerale. I think after my next race (Feb12) as soon as I come off course, I am going to sip on some Gingerale and water. ??? Maybe drink some Muscle Milk to start getting something in my system??
Notes on things I’ve noticed:
-Seems like the rougher the course is, the sicker I get.
-Seems like the faster I go (and the better I finish), the sicker I get.
-I’ve never had this happen during any type of racing I’ve done (including 11 years of motocross), so I don’t think its nerves?
I’m so sorry if all this seems kinda of jumbled up. I had it more organized in my mind, but once I started going through all my notes and typing this, it became unorganized.
Any help you could offer would be SOOO greatly appreciated!!!
Special thanks to: GoPro, EVS Sports, Yoshimura, Oneal USA, Risk Racing, Gaerne Boot Co, and B&R Machine and Gear Corp.