March 30, 2012

Floored by dehydration - I think

After Tuesday's rest day, i.e. a day without running that was the first after 1,267K in 71 daily sessions (and the second rest day after 1,473K in the 87 days of 2012), I was looking forward to Wednesday's session. On the schedule was a 19K run including 6 X 1K at 5K race pace.

I decided to run the intervals on the track and use the 12K distance to get there as a warm-up. Tim generously agreed to pick me up afterward. I left home at about 2:45pm in a downpour. Within 2K, though, the weather cleared; it ended up staying dry until I finished my workout.

Enjoying the warm-up as I ran from the south of Squamish to the north, I was glad about my decision to take the previous day off. My legs felt a lot better.

For some reason, I hadn't bothered to bring water for this run, a decision I would regret the next day.

Since it had been raining for much of the past 24 hours, the track which is a combination of dirt and gravel was soggy. There were a few puddles on the inside lane. Some required running around them. Using the Garmin, I marked a start and finish point on either side of the track.

Based on my 5K race pace, I needed to hit 3:45 for each of the six repeats of one kilometre. A VO2max (maximum oxygen consumption) workout. A kilometre is 2-1/2 laps around the track, so each repeat consisted of two 400-metre laps of 90 seconds each, followed by half a lap of 200 metres at 45 seconds.

I ran 3:48, 3:46, 3:45, 3:44, 3:44 and 3:45, taking breaks of between 2:03 and 3:07. It was a challenging session for sure.

As promised, Tim picked me up. Once home, I showered, stretched, had a drink, a little food and made dinner, pasta. Sitting on the coach, I debated whether to attend the monthly Squamish Writers Group meeting which started at 7pm. I felt OK, just tired.

In the end, I decided to go; can't sit on the couch every night. As usual, it was a good meeting. We read the pieces we wrote for this month's assignment (it had been my turn to provide one) and then did an on-the-spot writing challenge, and read each other the short results.

I still felt fine by the time I went to sleep that night. I slept well but when I woke up and turned to my left side, the room started spinning. Woah! It took a while to subside. I fell back to sleep. By the time it was 8am, I was still in bed and knew something wasn't right. I was dizzy and weak.

Dragging myself out of bed, I had to steady myself going down the stairs. I felt awful and told Tim, who took one look at me and recommended I go back to bed. And that's where I spent the rest of the day. Since I wasn't hot or cold, or had any other flu-like symptoms, Tim and I both suspected I might be dehydrated and overtired. Other than feeling dizzy and very weak, I didn't notice anything else.

Tim thought my electrolytes were out of whack, so he made me a gastrolyte with water and orange juice. The gastrolyte solution "consists of salt, water, and sugar, which replenish fluids and electrolytes that have been lost from the body. It also helps the intestines absorb water to prevent further dehydration," according to the package.

At 10am or so Tim brought me a small breakfast (Alpen cereal with milk). I ate it and went back to sleep. By midday I made a coffee but only drank half a mug; I love coffee so when it doesn't taste right, I know something is off. I still felt best lying down and had to be careful turning over as the room would start spinning again. Back to sleep I went, and was glad Luka was keeping me company.

By 1pm, Tim brought me lunch (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich). My appetite was fine and I had no trouble eating it. But I still felt dizzy and weak. So I slept some more. In the meantime, I had drunk some water. At about 3pm I got up and made a 750ml bottle with water, a scoop of Accelerade, mixing in another sachet of gastrolyte.

I went back to bed but felt good enough by late afternoon to read a little; Run to Overcome by US marathoner Meb Keflezighi is a fantastic book and turned out to be the perfect read on the day. 
By evening I moved to the couch; Tim had made us a pasta dinner. I had another gastrolyte solution mixed with Happy Planet's Extreme Green. Later I had a couple of peppermint teas and went to bed feeling much better, though still not quite 100%.

Even after sleeping for most of the past 24 hours, I had no problem sleeping another long night.

This morning I was feeling better again, though I am taking another day of rest. I am pretty sure it was a case of dehydration so plenty of good fluids are on the menu for me today. Hopefully I'll be back in shape do the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon on Sunday, as planned at marathon goal race pace.

It's a good reminder that when you are pushing your body, you cannot slack off on something as crucial as hydration. I know I didn't drink enough after the 10K race I did on Saturday, which was a relatively warm day, and that I didn't drink the right things after Sunday's 29K.

I also hadn't brought water or other fluids along for Wednesday's 19-20K effort and, as usual, had drunk more coffee and black tea than water or other hydrating drinks during the day.

I am pretty annoyed with myself, but am also glad this reminder has come five weeks before marathon race day, as it will allow me to change my bad habits in time.

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