Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dehydration.....and then some!

I learned a lesson the other day....preventing dehydration isn't just about drinking water DURING training walks, but you need to be hydrated BEFORE you start! This lesson was learned the hard way.... I suffered through it! Last Saturday, I walked 13 (well, 12.75 ish, but I'm rounding) miles with a training walk. I got home, took a shower, took a nap, and woke up suffering symptoms of dehydration. At first, I thought I had gotten the flu or something, but my research has me thinking more and more that I was dehydrated.

During the week leading up to the training, I failed to consume my daily goal of 72 ounces of water. I set this goal a few weeks prior and had been drinking the 72 ounces in addition to my normal routine of a morning cup of tea, an afternoon drink (unsweet tea or soda), and a drink with dinner (milk, wine, or water). But, I couldn't find my favorite water bottle (a fancy one that counts the refills) all week. Without the water bottle, I neglected to drink more than 48 ounces of liquid on any day - mostly tea, coffee & soda - in the week leading up to the walk. During the walk itself, I drank 24 ounces of water every 5 miles, and then immediately following the walk, I drank 32 ounces of G2. I thought (stupidly) that I was drinking PLENTY of fluids.

Yet, my research shows - I did not drink nearly enough......At the Shoe Clinic at the Big Peach, the shoe guy called us "Endurance Athletes" - which at the time I thought was ridiculous, but as the training has increased, I see his point. After Saturday, I am a believer - we are endurance athletes. Here's how endurance athletes are a "special risk" for dehydration:

"- Endurance athletes. Anyone who exercises can become dehydrated, especially in hot, humid conditions or at high altitudes. But athletes who train for and participate in ultramarathons, triathlons, mountain climbing expeditions and cycling tournaments are at particularly high risk. That's because the longer you exercise, the more difficult it is to stay hydrated. During exercise, your body can absorb about 24 to 32 ounces of water an hour, but you may lose twice that amount in hot weather. With every hour, your fluid debt increases. Dehydration is also cumulative over a period of days, which means you can become dehydrated with even a moderate exercise routine if you don't drink enough to replace what you lose on a daily basis."

So, by having a goal of drinking 72 ounces of water daily had been my prevention for previous walks because I was overly hydrated prior to the walks. But by neglecting this goal, I was losing more fluids than I was taking in during the ENTIRE week leading up to walk and the cumulative lack of fluids caused my dehydration on Saturday. Let me tell you, suffering from vomiting, dry heaves, dizziness, and sinus issues is not fun, especially when you want nothing more than to participate in "Pirates Night Out!" I missed a fundraiser due to dehydration, so I learned my lesson and then some!

Here are some additional tips from the Mayo Clinic for prevention:

"Prevention - By Mayo Clinic staff

To prevent dehydration, consume plenty of fluids and foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables. According to the Institute of Medicine, letting thirst be your guide is an adequate daily guideline for most healthy people. Fluids can be obtained not just from water but also from other beverages and foods. But, if you're exercising, don't wait for thirst to keep up with your fluids."

I'm taking this seriously now, and I am uping my intake of daily water!!!!

Thanks for reading! ~ Deanna