Prep for post-race Bring a backpack stuffed with towels, a change of clothes, your phone and cash (most events have bag-drop facilities; -otherwise leave it in your car). Put a laminated piece of paper in your shoe or pocket that lists your name, medical insurance deets and an emergency contact. So you suffer a mid-race setback. Here’s how to regroup and forge ahead (or know when to call it quits), with tips from Dr Jordan Metzl, author of The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies You fall off a wall obstacle and get the wind knocked out of you.
Feel along your ribcage. If one area is really, really tender and sore, you might have broken a rib and need to walkaway. If you are more stunned than sore, take a moment to catch your breath. Once you are breathing comfortably, get up and continue. You accidentally swallow mud or get it in your ears, eyes or nose. Chances are, you are fine. Step aside for a moment and wash away the mud with clean water. (If you are not carrying any, seek out the nearest staff tent and ask for fresh H2O.) Make a point of keeping your mouth shut to avoid getting a mouthful in the first place. You can’t feel your hands and feet after swimming through icy water.
It’s unlikely you have developed hypothermia in such a short time. It’s more likely to be anxiety: when you start to panic, your body’s circulation slows, cutting off blood flow to your extremities. Keep moving slowly and breathing deeply to get your blood pumping again. If nothing helps, call it a day and find a quiet place to lie down. You’re on kayfive when you get leg cramps. If you are prone to cramping, carry sealed, waterproof gel sachets with you – low sodium can cause muscle cramping. Or stop running and start stretching (lunges, calf raises). Better yet, ask your race buddy to massage your leg. Then get going.
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