Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don't Go Chasing Water(falls) - Staying Hydrated In The Dog Days Of Summer

It was late in June when I wrote this piece about running in the heat of the dog days of Summer, but today I am revisiting hydration options and the importance of it at the request of one of my Twitter peeps (Hi Phae!).  When my mind drew a blank today about what to write about, she asked about hydration, so without further adieu!!!

A lot of my favorite bloggers out there have been writing about this since this Summer seems to be much worse than most can remember (I can attest to that!), one of them being RunnerDude's blog so here is his post on heat and hydration if you care to take a gander at that.  And online runners magazines like Running Times and Runners World have excellent articles in addition to the many forums on Runners World where IRL runners are exchanging ideas about the challenges we are facing.

As recently as this past Sunday, my running club was doing their normal Sunday morning run from Memorial Park through River Oaks (10 miles).  Then its customary for everyone to congregate at the stretching deck area for watermelon, beverages and trash talking.  As they were there, right before their eyes, a gentlemen, in his 50's probably was running along and then just dropped to the ground.  Passed the eff out.  Quick on their feet, one started compressions, which another ran to get the defib machine from inside the Tennis Center, which brought him back.  The ambulances arrived and off he went. 

Heat exhaustion (real bad) or heat stroke (worse than real bad).  Not sure, but pretty sure it was one of them.

This actually happens a lot.  Probably at least once a week the ambulances are called to Memorial Park due to 'runner down'.

Here is the thing.  I know a lot of people out there think that they are bad ass and all of that, and thats fine if you dont want to carry a hydration device but personally I think you're not so smaht my amigos.  And I have a lot of runner friends that don't and yes, even though I like them (some more than others), I think they are dumb-dumbs some times...  I see it every single day.  Middle of the day, like now...where the feels like is over 100 and there isnt a cloud in the sky and people are running at the bayou because I can see them out the window.  And never with anything to drink. 

Yes there are water fountains along the bayou (if they are working), but the water is HOT and what if you need water when you arent near a fountain?  Same thing at the park.  There are fountains at the Tennis Center and then there are 3 around MP, all of which are either a mile or more away from each other with 1 stuck in between (which rarely works).

Bottom line is that as much as I hate carrying hydration, I do it in the Summer.  This morning, even though I was only doing 3 miles, when I did it at 5:15am it was already 90deg feels like out.  I was already running before I realized I had forgotten my frozen 10 oz'er and I didnt go back.

I regretted that decision 1.5 miles in.  Anyway, every one has their idea and favorites but I figured I would just post some of the options I use and when (please keep in mind that these are in Summer/hot days only; cooler weather I will RARELY carry fluids if options are available, which generally are (water fountains etc.):

When Running 3-6 Miles

Fuel Belt Handheld - 10 ounces
I could not find this 10 ouncer on their website but here is one place you can find it
BPA Free!

I absolutely love my little 10 ouncer.  It has the little pocket for a key or some money to take along the way.  Important because in case you need to refill along the way.  Also what I do is that I keep this little dude filled at all times and in the freezer (it is BPA Free).  That way I don't have to worry about warm fluids along the way.  Of course until maybe close to the end...your body heat heats this little baby up real fast, and within the first mile its melted enough for you to have a few sips.  And since it melts sorta slowly, at least if I hit a water fountain or something along the way and its warm, there is still a ice in there to cool it off somewhat.  If you do end up with warm fluids, at least its better than no fluids right?!?!

When Running 6 - 10 Miles

Amphipod handheld - 20 ounces
BPA Free!!!
Its rare that I run 6-10 miles on my own in the Summer months but it has happened.  Usually 6 yes, and more often than not I will usually run a 6 mile route that takes me by water fountains so I generally will use the Fuel Belt option above and just refill.  There have been times I will carry this one, and then stick it in a tree or a bush halfway so that its there when I return.  I do the same thing with this Amphipod option as in that I freeze the fluids prior (also BPA Free).  I do not keep this one in the freezer ready to go at all times though.  While this one is good, its just 'big' for me and I hate carrying it.  Well I hate carrying anything...but anyway...
Another option I will generally do for longer distances on my own in the Summer is to break up the route so that I go back by my house and I have something waiting outside for me there, refill and go on about my way for the remainder.

When Running 10+ Miles

CamelBak Womens Charm - 50 ounces

Again its rare that I run 10+ miles on my own in the Summer months but it has happened.  Last year actually when training for Chicago.  When I wore this though it was actually less than 10 miles and I had tried it because I hated the handheld so much.  This puppy was something I had bought when training for tri's and duathlons and I absolutely love it.  When you are on the bike you barely know its there.
This is not the case when running.  Now I read a lot of blogs and I see a lot of locals that run with these and have no issues with it, and honestly I didnt really have that big of an issue with it so much except the weight of it when filled in the first few miles of a run.  I didnt experience any chafing etc. in the shoulder area (though I expected to) and honestly by the time I finished the run I remember blogging about how awesome it was having cold fluids for an entire run and not having to carry anything.  Plus there are plenty of pockets for money, cell phone etc., if your route is going to take you off the beaten path.

So there you have it!  Those are my little gem products that I like to think save my life every Summer in this Godforsaken place we call Texas.

I have to admit there are days when I still wish I had one of these...

Fuel Belt Classic - back when the sizes were XS, S, M, L, etc.  Now they are OSFA and are adjustable
When I was training for my first half (2006) and my first full (2007), I had just gotten into running and didn't know a soul (let alone about running training groups!), so I bought one of these.

I ran every run from 6 miles to 20 miles with this thing attached to me back then.  I am pretty sure after that last 20 miler before Houston 2007, I never wore it again because I joined Kenyan Way.
I actually just threw it away while packing for my next move for a couple of reasons:  a) I couldnt find the bottles ever since I moved from Downtown in 2009 and b) it was a size Large.

Yeah, that ain't gonna fit me no way no how.  Even at the widest part of my ass am I no longer a large.

By the way, these older Classic versions, we still have a few at Luke's and they are 50% off.  Just sayin'.  We keep them in the back though so you wouldn't know about them unless you went to get some water or go to the bathroom.  :O)

So tell me (and others) about your hydration product choices?  Or are you a bad ass and so hardcore that you scoff at such nonsense!  If not a product do you just plan routes that give you options along the way?  Circle your neighborhood and keep Gatorade in the mailbox??  Or do you just pray on most of the run that you don't pass out?  Who wants me to give away a Fuel Belt 10 ouncer???


Lisa said...

Is there some sort of thing on the labels when you first buy the fuel belts that actually says the bottles can be frozen? Like "user recommendations, like "dishwasher safe" or "can be frozen", etc...
I know it's not good to freeze "regular" plastic water bottles (the plastic breaks down).
I need to do some research on that.

I have the little hand held (my husband uses a lot), a two bottle fuel belt (I LOVE), & the 4 bottle. (rubs me too much)

Great job on the informative blogging, June! Love it!

JunieB said...

I dont believe so Lisa, but I cannot be certain. Everyone I know does it, and I do believe its different than the plastic bottles like water from the gas station or grocer.

Everyone I know has been freezing their hydration bottles for as long as I can remember in the Summer. Even the ones that cyclists use in their bike carriages. You have to here...

I do freeze those (throw aways) as well, only once or twice though for hot yoga, then they are tossed.

That 2 bottle one is the one I keep eyeing at the store!!!

Thanks for the kudos!

JunieB said...

Clarification: FuelBelt products ARE BPA free. So is Amphipod.

Freeze away!!

Tricia said...

I have two handhelds (go lite and nathans) that I love and use (separately) most often filled with nuun. I try to plan a route where I can refill them as needed. I have a double bottle fuel belt I use less often, only when I dont run past fountains.

Anonymous said...

UGH! I should have visited your Luke's. I went to the one in the Woodlands.
Ended up with a 3 bottle Amphipod. It slips off my hips, so I have to wear it high on my waist. It only fits 2 bottles that way and rubs my stomach like crazy plus my elbows hit it! Needless to say, I am unhappy with it.
Maybe I need a 50% off belt instead?

10 oz. giveaway! YEAH!

JunieB said...

Hil, return it to lukes. We take everything back and if the person there gives you grief (which they shouldnt) then have them call me at the W Gray store on Sunday. I will be working.

K said...

I get downright upset when I see people running without hydration! What makes me even more angry...watching the high school cross country teams training with NO WATER. I want to smack some coaches around!
I know that they stop at water fountains, but I have been to several this summer that were not working.
I carry hydration always. Even in the winter. It's just what I do. I run lots of 20 milers in the summer because of the ultras I train for, so here is my list of hydration equipment.

1. Nathan 20 oz bottle or my Ultimate Direction bottle. For a 10 mile run I have three water fountains along the way and I re-fill at each one of them.

2. Nathan hydration vest. 70 oz. I refill this bad boy as well. Yes, it is heavy, so at first I could only fill it with about 40 oz. But now, I can carry the full 70 and I'm fine. I think of it as weight training while I'm running.

Please take this heat seriously folks. Run to be healthy, not sick.

TX Runner Mom said...

As much as I hate carrying and wearing my water, I couldn't live without my hand held bottle (I have that same pink one you posted) or my fuel belt (also in pink). It is just too damn hot not to carry something! When I run at home, I keep a little cooler in the driveway so I can stop every so often and refill (without going into the house and get mobbed by my kids). On longer runs with WF, I am soooo thankful for having water out on the route!