Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hydration Nation

I am a runner with a drinking problem. In that I have no idea how much I am actually supposed to be drinking. I used to think I drank plenty of water, but then I made the mistake of going, "Oh, the Plant Nanny iPhone app is free right now, I should download that and do a better job of tracking how much liquid I drink! Cute little anthropomorphic plants will make me feel all guilty if I let them die."


It's not a complicated app. You enter your body weight and an activity level, and you get a target for the day. What's the target of a reasonably active person who weighs 137 pounds (le moi)?

96 ounces.Three quarters of a gallon. I'm pretty sure that's like four dozen bananas in metric or one Super Big Gulp.

I am unsure about this hydration strategy...

In nearly a month, I think I've made goal all of once. Mayyyybe twice. I try to make myself feel slightly better about this by reminding myself that the zillion hydration guides you can find on various running sites say they're a baseline only, let thirst be your guide, and they all attract a militant "Oh my good gravy, I can't believe you Hydration Nazis are still perpetuating this junk hydration science that indicates you need anything more than a thimble of water a month! Gah! You're a menace to society! You're trying to give us all hyponatremia!" commenter crowd. Seriously. I've seen the "dangerous junk science" line thrown at innocuous Runner's World reviews of water bottles that dare to mention how you should sip water throughout the day.

Thing is, I drink until I'm sloshing and spend a good portion of my time frolicking off to the little girl's room and I'm still mildly thirsty. I get my blood sugar tested at least once a year, so I don't think I've got The Diabeetus. 

I think I'm just thirsty because I am an oh so dainty southern lady who sweats like a construction worker while running these days. Once upon a time, I didn't think I was much of a sweater. Now, I go a mile in anything over 60 and it seems like my elbows are dripping. 

Admittedly, I feel markedly better the days I get closer to goal than the days I don't. One of my recent not-so-good days, I found myself battling a headache that seemed to be intent upon tunneling through my sinus cavities with a rusty spork.

I'm trying to be really good about sipping all day long, but this hydration thing is hard, even when I begin my day sweating my behind off in the humid Ohio River valley.

Dehydration, by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Front Of The Middle Of The Pack

I've never exactly been what you would call speedy. A few years ago, I finally got brave and started running outside, mainly because the indoor track in the fitness center on campus, where I work, has a 12-lap-per-mile circumference.  You feel like a Hot Wheels car after a few miles and need one of these to keep up with any run over a mile. 

Yes, tiny adorable child servant included.

Back in 2010, I made the mistake of running a local 5K. It was a memorial 5K run during Mother's Day weekend, the race fees all went to support Backpacks for Kids, a charity that and I was immediately freaking hooked on the metaphorical crack that is the occasional charity runner lifestyle. It's a seamy underworld of free bagels, granola bars and all the free t-shirts and tech shirts you can stand, kids. Don't let them tell you that you can stop after just one. Especially if you work in a college town that seems to have a vibrant and competitive running community that holds at least a 5K once a week from about April through September.
I've done a number of local 5Ks, an annual 10K and this past spring, did my first half marathon. I'm a pretty solidly middle of the pack runner who occasionally hits it lucky and lands in third in my age group. Like most recreational runners, when it comes to a training plan, this was me for most part.

My best 5K time to date (on land, as opposed to the alternate universe of the treadmill) is 28:31. By some miracle, I recently managed a 25:25 on the treadmill at 1.5% incline without actually breaking my spleen. That PR course, which is advertised as "fast and flat", is coming around again on August 10, and I intend to get a new PR.

Then, maybe, just maybe, I'll bother plugging my time into the Runner's World SmartCoach app and see what it spews out for a half training plan. Because I'm thinking of doing another. Even though I pretty much swore I would never do another because of the insane time commitment required for training halfway decently.

Clearly I am insane.