A lesson in hydration

For those of you that aren’t here in California, the last few days have been pretty hot – high 70s / low 80s. It’s been great practice for Wildflower, which is down in central California in early May and is typically quite warm (it was scorching when I did the race a couple years ago.) On Saturday I had a great 30 mile bike ride in the foothills with the team, and aside from a little sunburn I fared pretty well.

Sunday I decided to head out for a run. I went out on my favorite trail at Rancho San Antonio at around 2pm. I have run this trail quite a bit over the past 6 months: it’s basically out-and-back, where the outbound stretch is mostly all uphill, finishing in a really rough set of switchbacks on an exposed part of the hills. I normally do this run without carrying any sports drink because I hate carrying something when I run (besides my iPod.) On Sunday, I actually felt pretty good on the climb, though I knew I was working hard. I went about 4 miles in and then turned around to head back.

I made it about 2 miles back and realized that I was starting to feel a bit funny. I had some weird bright spots in my vision and was “daydreaming” a bit more than I usually do when I run. Pretty strange, I thought, but I kept going. I ran the next mile and reached a farm on the trail where there was some water. I drank a bit and then set off to jog again – and hit a HUGE wall. In the next 10 minutes I went from feeling OK to feeling like I might be horribly sick on the side of the trail. Suffice it to say that I walked that last mile back to the car, and I suspect anyone passing me thought there was something wrong. I haven’t felt that lousy in a long time! I barely felt like I could walk – I was being passed by women pushing strollers as I plodded along.

I got back to my car and drank some Gatorade, which made a huge difference in the span of about 2 minutes. After driving home, I weighed myself just out of curiosity – I had actually lost over 3 pounds on that run (accounting for the Gatorade I drank in the car.) That’s roughly 1 1/2 liters of water via sweat. I basically drank water & Gatorade for the rest of the afternoon and felt a bit lethargic at the end of the day, but felt OK this morning when I woke up.

I’ve never bonked that badly or dealt with severe dehydration – but that was certainly a huge lesson for me! I’ve got to get one of those running bottles for Gatorade from now on… if you’re out there exercising in this heat and you’re not used to it, be careful.  It’s amazing how quickly it can hit you if you’re not used to the heat!

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~ by Nathan on March 12, 2007.

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