Good evening, my friends.
A few weeks ago, I promised another post if it took me to type it on my phone… Well, it took a few weeks, but thanks to the technology I love and have grown to depend on, I am now able to finally share another post with you from the comfort of my bed. Partially out of what I think of as laziness, partially because I don’t want to forget prescient points in the time it takes my now four year old computer to finally boot up.
This post is somewhat important to me…
Training has hit another bump in the road… Well, at least the running part has. It isn’t the usual rut I experience around this time of year, though. In fact, I’ve wanted my runs. I’ve craved them. I’ve missed not getting the ones I’ve wanted and needed. I’m finally getting faster. I can go farther than ever before… And I finally have the feeling that I might be close to finally breaking my Half Marathon PR. I attribute that desire for my runs to the increased mileage this year. I have worked for – and am finally beginning to achieve – the level of fitness where 13.1 miles in less than two hours no longer hurts and is finally enjoyable.
I really like it here and I really want to keep this level of fitness, so the time spent on the training is worth it.
Truth is, I have been dehydrated, and that is something that, as an athlete, you have to take seriously. It can happen quickly, but takes a very long time to reverse, and if not corrected, could damage your body and vital organs.
This all started with a 10-miler I did on the last Saturday in August. I did it outside and, ironically for the date, it was actually rather chilly. It was as humid as it could get, but chilly humid. So, I can’t blame heat… I can only blame myself here.
The run itself went great, but I felt exceptionally thirsty afterward. That has happened a few times, and, while I did bring fluid with me, I didn’t deplete it (16 oz) so I wasn’t surprised that I felt thirsty. I finished the rest of the Gatorade and some coffee, some more water, and went about my uber busy day (it was my son’s birthday party day). Considering all the activity if the day, I can honestly say I don’t remember drinking much – if anything – that day.
The next day, I wanted to do a short recovery run, but felt awful so I skipped it… I have not signed up for my next half yet, so I was ok with the extra time off. The following Monday, I did an evening run – but had a blister and really felt off the whole day and ended up with under 3. That hasn’t happened to me in over a year. I tried to shake it off… Tuesday, however, it got worse. I tried for a run and almost threw up in the street and stopped a few times. Because I’m stubborn, I still ended up with over 4 miles.
Since then, all of my runs have, on some level, felt like that Tuesday run. I even had heat sickness on a treadmill, which just plain hurt my feelings. I reached out to a runner friend who suggested that I might have an accumulated dehydration. Of course! That made sense and it was something to which, admittedly, I had not payed close enough attention.
So, now I’m in the position of having to reverse it and, my friends, this is not an easy or quick thing to reverse. It is like reversing a severe drought in the south east: only a hurricane passing through will help and then it just makes it a little less of a drought… Technically, you’re still in a drought. It takes time and lots and lots and lots of tropical systems to reverse it completely.
If you follow my twitter account you may have noticed that I’m swimming more… A lot in fact. I’ve been swapping runs for swims and I have been doubling a run of 30-40 minutes with an equally long swim in lieu of a long run. In a very weird way, this is helping me recover… Not to mention, having so much pool time has meant way better swimming stats – I can finally do 100m intervals without stopping, which is a huge deal to me.
I am recovering, but I am frustrated about the fact that I can’t go as far and as fast. I’m frustrated that I can’t get 20+ miles in a week. I’m frustrated that one bad day of under hydration (like today), and it unravels again… And you get sore muscles. And you’re exhausted. And you can’t concentrate. And your mouth is cotton even after drinking 16 oz of water… As I sip on the next bottle of water this evening.
I will get there and I am trying to be wise about it, but it is quite frustrating.
I used to think those hydration timers were silly.
I don’t any more.
Keep drinking, friends.