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Posts Tagged ‘endurance runners’

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So when I wrote my Priorities blog post on Monday, I wasn’t being completely honest.  I didn’t lie mind you – I have been studying my butt off all week and will continue to do so until I get my certification.  I just wasn’t being completely honest about why #AutismStreaks was going on the shelf for a while…

It comes down to some very basic chemistry – in order to create an exothermic chemical reaction, one needs two things: a fuel and an oxidant – for endurance runners (really for any runner running over 400 meters…see?  I’m studying!) that means glucose and oxygen.  You take one of those two things away and it doesn’t matter how well trained an athlete is, s/he is going nowhere fast.

For the past several (about 3) weeks I have been having some breathing issues.  Don’t panic…my doctor doesn’t seem too worried at the moment so I’m not either.  BUT it has made running extremely difficult – toward the end of last week, even running 1 mile was an exhausting task.

More than anything I am frustrated.  I have almost always run through injuries; my general feeling being that I could usually run an injury back to health – whether it was my foot or my back or my hip or my knee, unless the pain was acute, I usually would run through injury and within a day or two that injury would be gone.  I have even used the same method with illness – whenever I would feel a cold or flu coming on, I would run; run hard to create an internal body environment that would be unpleasant for any virus that was considering setting up shop.  Again, this would usually work and I would be well within 12 hours.

This has been different.

My breathing is shallow; deep breathing takes concentrated, uncomfortable effort.

If I can’t breath, I can’t run – it’s simple chemistry.

I’m hoping my doctor’s sense of non-urgency is warranted and that this goes away as mysteriously as it appeared and I can get back to running at least semi-regularly.

Keep your fingers crossed!

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So the TARC 100 is now 11 days away.  This past Saturday, with my very first 100-miler rapidly approaching, I figured I should collect some data as I tried to get my logistics in order.  One of the aspects of running that we as endurance runners can control to some degree is our hydration level.  Hydration is one of the factors that can determine whether you can actually even finish a race.  Dehydration can lead to a breakdown in your ability to run and in extreme cases shut you down completely.  What many of us often forget is that over-hydration can have just as devastating of an effect on our bodies and our ability to continue as dehydration.  So how does one determine how much water and electrolytes to take in?

Well, you have to have data, and one of the easiest ways to determine how much water you are losing while running is to take a sweat test.  Before going out for a 60 to 90 minutes run, you strip down to nothing and weigh yourself.  Then while on your run you do not take in anything – no hydration, no food, nothing.  Upon returning home or to the gym, you once again strip down to nothing and hop on the scale.  Subtracting your post-run weight from your pre-run weight tells you just how much water you have lost with each pound representing approximately 16 ounces of water.  You then divide the number of ounces by the minutes you ran and then multiply by 60 and that is your hourly sweat rate in ounces per hour.

And that is what I did – I ran 7 miles in 59.7 minutes outdoors in the heat.

My pre-run weight was 176.8 pounds.

My post-run weight was 172.6 pounds.

I did the math.  I checked it twice.

And then I panicked.

excessive-sweating

Just under 68 ounces of water per hour.

Granted I was running about 3 1/2 minutes per mile faster than I plan to at the TARC 100; granted it was 91° outside; but 68 ounces per hour???  That’s over a 1/2 gallon of water I am sweating out!  That was nearly 2.4% of my body weight in an hour.  Race officials don’t like that.

Now obviously I will not be running the TARC 100 without hydration, however, from what I understand, it is difficult for our bodies to comfortably consume more than about 28 ounces of liquid per hour.  That leaves me with a 40 ounce hourly deficit.  Multiply that by the 24 hours I hope to complete the race in and you get a 960 ounce deficit, better known as 60 pounds.

60 POUNDS???

Obviously I can’t lose 60 pounds in a race, but the numbers do have me concerned when it comes to my ability to replace what is lost over the course of 100 miles.

If any of my ultra-running friends (Steve? Maddy? Goji? Jeremy D? et al) have any words of advice or wisdom, I would greatly appreciate them right about now, because I am sitting here sweating…sweating because I’m in a panic about sweating too much!

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