Drinking too much water is bad?

I was brought up in the old school thinking that one must drink water as much as possible.  My mother hammered me the adage of drinking more than eight glasses of water a day.  It seemed like sound advice.  Besides, whatever excess water you drink will eventually be expelled once you urinate, so I figured there was no harm in over-hydrating.

It comes out that, during moments of intense exercise, there is a danger of over-hydrating.   The condition is called hyponatremia and it is described as “a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells .”

Sodium is found mostly in the body fluids outside the cells. It is very important for maintaining blood pressure. Sodium is also needed for nerves and muscles to work properly.

When the amount of sodium in fluids outside cells drops, water moves into the cells to balance the levels. This causes the cells to swell with too much water. Although most cells can handle this swelling, brain cells cannot, because the skull bones confine them.  Brain swelling causes most of the symptoms of hyponatremia.

I found more worrisome info courtesy of Runaddicts:

Hyponatremia is a condition where the body over hydrates itself and believe it or not it is more dangerous, and in some cases fatal, than dehydration. Since the fluid intake is more than one has lost during the event, the body is low on sodium level. The symptoms are similar to dehydration, and cause vomiting, perplexity or muscle weakness. Adding more liquids to hyponatremic runners can only worsen the situation. It will dilute the blood salt level further and result in coma and also death

Think this is an exaggeration?  Read the story of Michele Burr.  On July 20, after finishing an ultra-marathon, she was disoriented, did not recognize her husband, was vomiting uncontrollably,  had a seizure, and went into a coma.   Ok, you may think that hyponatremia will only hit ultra-marathoners, but consider that the symptoms hit Michele at mile 18 (or after 29 kilomters).

The last thing I clearly remember is going into the mile 18-aid station. I can’t remember anything at all between miles 18 and 68.

Or how about the story of 28-year-old Cynthia Lucero, who, at the 22-mile mark (or after 35 kilometers) of the 2002 Boston Marathon, she felt nauseous and “told a friend she must be dehydrated.”

Then in the next breath the friend watched as the walk turned to a wobble and she collapsed. Going into seizure, worried spectators called for an ambulance but by the time she arrived at a hospital Cynthia Lucero was in a coma. Two days later she died.

So how do you prevent water-intoxication?  There may be no one answer for all types of people.  Obviously one should not be guzzling liters and liters of water.   Thirst may in fact be the best indicator on whether one should begin drinking water and it may be a myth that one should drink copious amounts to ward off dehydration.  The belief that dehydration begins even before one feels the pangs of thirst may also be just a myth.   And since hyponatremia is a result of excess body water diluting the serum sodium, it may also be adviseable to consume sports drinks during high-intensity runs.  I checked a few brands like Pepsi 100 and Gatorade and these drinks do have sodium.


Thoughts on Earth Run 2011

This 10K run was supposed to be a “tune-up” run.  I ended up feeling competitive and finished with a 57:27 time.  Not bad considering I just came back from the flu and wasn’t able to do any running since Wednesday. Race results–unofficial as of this writing–can be found here.

Some gripes about the way the race was organized:

  • Sound system needs improvement.  Not only was the audio volume barely audible,the audio was fluctuating.  During the warm-up phase prior to the run, the microphone would switch on and off, which was evidently frustrating to both the instructor on the stage and the run participants.
  • No countdown before the gun start.  Just BANG! and the run was on.
  • No kilometer markings.
  • I read in Pinoy Fitness that there was a shortage of marshals at the water stations.  The stations basically became “self-service” stations.

On the bright side, I like it that they supplied a race number belt instead of the usual safety pins.  And the 10K route did not snake around Bonifacio Global City.




Running after a flu . . .

(Photo Credit)

It’s a bummer to get sick.  Flu virus can be nasty.   My joints ached.  My head throbbed.  My body was burning with fever.  I actually thought I had dengue, but a visit to the neighborhood clinic dispelled that fear.   Whew, that was a relief.

Anyway, that flu virus knocked me out for a good part of last week.  As a result, I felt it prudent to drop out of my planned Run United 10K.   Most running gurus advise that its ok to run if the cold is above the neck (i.e., head cold, cough, sniffles) but not ok if it is below (i.e., bronchitis, cough with phlegm, joint pains).  The doctor did advise me to take it easy throughout the weekend, and I was still groggy on Saturday morning.   A run may tax my system, causing me to miss out on more running days.

So everything moved by a week.  A real bummer.  I haven’t run a 10K for months and I wanted to see if I can still finish in less than an hour.   Anyway, I was able to signup for another 10K run—the 2nd Aveneue Earth Run on August 28.  That would be a hectic day—run 10K in the morning, followed by UAAP basketball with Ateneo – La Salle!

Treadmill running

Photo courtesy of normanack in Flickr.

Because of last week’s inclement weather, I was forced to do my running on a treadmill.  I figured that any training is better than no training.

There was a time in my life when I thought that running on a treadmill can serve as a substitute for real road running.  I would log hours upon hours of treadmill running.   I didn’t want to do any road running.  My typical excuses were car pollution, fatigue from work, late-night dinners, parties.  I was lazy to wake up in the morning and I was tired when I got home.  So my typical routine would be to do my workouts at the gym during lunch hour.

But then, when I did find the time to do some road running, I discovered that running on a treadmill did not translate to running on the road.  My ankles hurt.  My knees hurt.  My legs were heavy like cement.  It didn’t feel right.  After just a few hundreds of meters I was breathing heavily and my heart was pounding like a jack-hammer.  How could that be?  I was capable of running 10K on a moving belt!  Shouldn’t the bio-mechanics be the same?

Well, it comes out that it isn’t the same.   I am no expert in anatomy or kinesiology, but I know how road running feels.  And there is one fundamental difference between road running and treadmill running.  When you do real-world road running, your legs push yourself forward.   So as you propel yourself forward, imagine what muscles come into play.  Your legs push your body not vertically but at a forward angle. You feel the strain on your calves.  You accelerate forward then you feel the impact on your quads and on your knees.  You decelerate as your hamstrings pull your legs back.   Then you accelerate again.

Now imagine a treadmill run.  There’s no forward propulsion.  It’s the “ground” underneath that moves so all you have to do is propel yourself vertically and then to stabilize yourself to prepare for the backward motion of the treadmill belt.  There’s no acceleration-deceleration cycle.  So there are muscles used in road running that aren’t used in treadmill running.  Naturally, these are the muscles that would fatigue.

Anyway, that was years and years ago.  I had to break out of that treadmill routine.  What use is pounding your body and training your muscles if it can’t be applied in a real-world scenario?  Not to say that treadmill running is a bad thing.  As I said above, in cases of stormy weather, treadmill running may be the only alternative.  The storm would not let up and I faced the possibility of being idle for a week.  And there are other uses for treadmill running—you can do interval runs, simulate hills,  run at a faster pace, vary the incline, and so forth.   So I won’t write-off treadmill running as a bad training regiment.  You need to subject your body to a variety of situations because that will force your body to adapt and strengthen itself.   I just have to make sure that I still do my road running.

Kai Running Sandals: How to order

So fascinated was I about the “huarache”-like Kai Running Sandals that I fired an email asking how to order.  I figured that, as a worst case scenario, I could still use it as walking sandals.

I got this reply:

Our first model was the KAI Classic which was priced at P500.

The next model KAI Namid is priced at P700 which used a different type of premium leather which was softer and stronger.

The KAI Classic has been discontinued because of unavailability of the leather so only Namid is available.

With the Namid, you have a choice between:
– Namid with Phil. made rubber sole (4mm thick) = P700
– namid with Vibram Cherry rubber sole (also 4mm thick) = P1,400

Vibram Cherry is manufactured abroad by known rubber soling company Vibram and is very flexible and durable. It can last at least 5x more than the Phil. made rubber sole.  With it, the mileage of the sandals can reach up to 1,000km or more.

To order, just download and print this template: http://bit.ly/KAI_Template.  It is a blank sheet of paper with scaling information on the side.

Print 2 copies for both left and right foot.

Then follow the instructions here in tracing the foot.  http://www.facebook.com/kairunning?v=wall#!/kairunning?sk=app_4949752878

Please don’t forget to mark the one between the toes.
The holes at the sides can be approximated but the one between the toes is very important to have a good fit.

With the payment, just add P165 for LBC one-day shipping with tracking number.

Payment methods:

Banco de oro – Mandaue Branch
Account Name: Jacob Ong
Account No: 850043069


Chinabank – Mandaue Centro Branch
Account Name: OBRO Systems Inc.
Account No: 184-080131-6

I’ve received payments from international customers thru paypal but I haven’t tried it with customers from the Philippines but I’m sure it would be ok.  My paypal address is ongjacob@gmail.com