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Ouch that was a hard ride - and hurt: side stitches(9 posts)

Ouch that was a hard ride - and hurt: side stitchesnoveread
Jun 13, 2003 11:41 AM
Last night was the weekly thursday hammer fest. I hadn't been feeling all that great during the afternoon (read as becomeing dehydrated quickly) so wasn't sure how I was going to do. A guy named "Mark" shows up for the second time. On his first visit, we suspected he was holding back, not wanting to really humble the group on his first visit. I don't think he held much back last night! (he'd be really, really scarry if he were race fit). Learned that another on the ride is a father of former junior world champion.

There were about 11 of us last night, one of our biggest groups. The three strongest threw down the gauntlet early when they took the 24-25mph paceline up to 29-30 (5mph tailwind), then laid in an attack. I was fourth wheel and dying when third wheel let the gap open and I closed it down. Really dying.

Bottom line, legs didn't have it and was the 5th person dropped. I rode alone for a little bit while the four behind caught up. Rode with them, 5 became three. 3 of us ended with 30 miles at 21.5mph.

But my old nemesis the side stitch reared it's ugly head last night in a big way. I'm much more fit this year and don't get them nearly to the extent I did last year but I got them bad last night! At the end of the ride, when our group of three was back with the lead pack (due to the lead pack making a slight course error) I was reduced to hyperventilating because they were so bad. And my side is actually SORE today where the side stitches were. Argh, frustrating. Granted, I wasn't up to snuff last night for these other guys but it wasn't legs or lungs that was the first limiting factor on the ride, it was side stitiches, and that is frustrating. And I'm fit. My endurance is great. It's not like I'm trying to do too much intensity on a body that's not ready for it. I just hope part of the problem yesterday was due to the state of my intestines!


I feel your pain, and what causes those buggers?mdehner
Jun 13, 2003 12:23 PM
Are side stitches basically muscle cramps? I have never been able to correlate them to fitness level, nutrition, hydration, etc.
I feel your pain, and what causes those buggers?noveread
Jun 13, 2003 12:48 PM
It has to deal with your diaphram I believe, something about the work being requested exceeding its capacity!!!

Basically it's a muscle in that it may not be up to the task, but in my case, as I said, it's not as though I'm not fit. And heck, I played trumpet semi-professionally for 6 years so you know it can't be in bad shape!

It was a hard ride. My HR was ABOVE 170 for an 1hr 15min! I think my LT is ~172!!! And my HR was above 180 seemingly whenever I looked down. Heck, it was 192 once while we were on the flats!

Like Greg LeMond said: "It never gets easier, you go faster..."

Off dayfiltersweep
Jun 13, 2003 12:24 PM
I think it happens to everyone. A week or so ago, the "fast guy" on our ride was dropped... he apparently hobbled back to the start and said his legs felt like concrete.

Did you eat too soon before the race (I mean ride ;) )
I hope so!noveread
Jun 13, 2003 12:52 PM
This is my first year trying to be a racer dude! Thing is, my legs didn't _feel_ that bad. No, I DEFINITELY did not eat too soon before the ride! After all the time I had spent in the bathroom that afternoon I didn't DARE put any food in me!

Thing is, those guys were really haulin' last night. Even if I had felt great I might not have kept up. If I had just been a little smarter and not been so eager I might not have been dropped either! Then again, last year, I wouldn't have lasted a mile at that pace!

re: Ouch that was a hard ride - and hurt: side stitchesflying
Jun 13, 2003 5:49 PM
Here is some info.
I use to get these years ago on super hard climbs at all out efforts. The pushing your finger in there does work too.

A "side stitch" is a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage that occurs while running. It most often happens to "unconditioned" runners, but it is sometimes experienced by veterans. There are a number of theories for the cause of this condition, including a cramp in the diaphragm or air trapped in the lung.

The diaphragm is the large muscle separating the abdomen from the chest cavity. It moves up on the exhale and down on the inhale. Either having some trapped air/gas or over-exercising the diaphragm may bring on the cramp causing the pain. The cramps occur more often under the right side ribs. It is possible that this is associated with the liver and its larger right side lobe.

How do you cure the problem?

As with any muscle cramp, the best immediate treatment is to stretch the cramping muscle as much as possible. To stretch the diaphragm, one needs to alter their breathing pattern. This can be accomplished by breathing in as hard and as deep as possible. Suck in as much air as possible, trying to force the diaphragm down. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds and then forcibly exhale through pursed lips to restrict the outward air flow.

Work, bending forward if necessary, to get as much air out of the lungs as possible. This will force the diaphragm upward adding to the stretching action. It may take three or four of these "in and outs" to get rid of the cramp. It is possible to do this while running--you may have to slow down, but if in a race you may not want to stop.

Some athletes have had some degree of success by running the fingers into the abdomen and forcing them up under the ribcage and into the cramping muscle thereby stretching it.

Neither of these methods are guaranteed to work, but they do have a pretty high success rate. Hope that you never have the problem, but if you do, try one or both of them.
side stitches - I get 'em sometimes toolonefrontranger
Jun 13, 2003 8:48 PM
These can stem from a number of sources. Mine are not gas cramping or acid reflux (GI) related as some riders' are, but actually in the obliques and rib muscles, just like a stitch from running. Putting my arm over my head on the side the stitch occurs helps stop the pain.

Doing lots of ab & oblique work on the Swiss ball over winter / spring gym season has stopped the stitches. I had some really nasty ones in crits last year but haven't had a single one yet this year. Last Sunday our crit (driven by a number of pro chicks) averaged 26.3mph, and if that didn't give me a side stitch, I don't think much will. I saw satellites, UFOs and Elvis and both hands went numb, but I didn't cramp.
What exercises?noveread
Jun 14, 2003 5:08 AM
LFR, what exercises did you do? I have neglected ab work (and I know it) but didn't put a link between the two. Duh. I'd be interested to know what exercises you were doing.


crunches, many, many, cruncheslonefrontranger
Jun 14, 2003 7:50 PM
Done on the "swiss" or yoga ball, these work the entire core. The trick to crunches is to lie all the way back on the ball in a "decline" position, and do them very, very *slowly*. Most people cheat by sitting inclined on the ball and doing a quick crunch that only works about a 1" square section of ab. All the gym rats seem to be convinced that the faster, the better with any type of crunch, when in fact the opposite is true. The best way to really get those muscles screaming (and build great muscular endurance in any region) is to do both concentric (up) and eccentric (down) phases super slow. With abs, I find they're super effective if you really fight for the eccentric motion, and don't just flop down. I challenge you to do just ten of these "the hard way" the first try. I can do up to 60 in 3 sets of 20, but it just about kills me. Another good one is the yoga pose called the "plank". This seems simple on the outset: just support yourself on your toes and elbows with your body _perfectly_ horizontal. Your butt (hips) must be perfectly level with your shoulders, don't stick it up in the air. If this is too hard, use your knees first instead of toes (like pushups). Seems innocuous enough, you say. If you can hold this pose for thirty seconds (time yourself) on the first try, I'll be shocked.