Learning the Hard Way About Hydration

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Water. Drink it

Water. Drink it

All of you out there who think you drink enough water – I bet you don’t. Okay, maybe some of you do, but I thought I was one of those people and turns out…Nope. Or maybe it’s my potassium levels…

So I’ve told you already that I broke the ice and started running for my journey from Couch to 42k with Heather. Well guess what happened after that first run? Probably mere hours after I told you about it. The. worst. muscle. cramps. ever.

I’ve had muscle cramps before. I was an athlete in a former American high school life, and I remember the times when I’d be doing my laps in the pool and suddenly my foot would decide to try curling up into a ball. Then it was out of the pool, bottle of water in one hand, banana in the other, while the physio did things to your foot that felt worse than the cramp in the first place.

I thought that was bad.

So the day of my first run went great. I got up early, jogged around Clissold Park, got home, got ready and jumped on my bike to head to work. Left work and (this may have been the mistake) headed straight to my weekly netball game.

I got home and everything was great. Had some dinner, watched some iPlayer, got ready for an early restful night. All nicely tucked up in bed, straighten my legs out. And it hits me. It starts at the toes. The arches of the foot. My calf, my shins, my….everything. My whole right leg was in one giant muscle spasm. This is a muscle cramp like I didn’t even know existed. Unfortunately in the middle of the night, home alone, with no idea how to just make it stop, I felt pretty helpless as I yelled at nobody in particular while trying my best to stand up on it.

According to the ever helpful WebMD (checked after the fact…) muscle cramps can be caused by:

-Poor circulation (think I’m okay here, I was recently told I had very good blood pressure)

-Over exertion of the calf muscles (Running, cycling and netball in the same day. Hmm….)

-Insufficient stretching (I stretched…for a few seconds…)

-Exercising in the heat (Obviously not)

-Muscle fatigue (Check)

-Dehydration (Check)

-Magnesium or potassium deficiency (Check)

-Calcium deficiency (I love cheese…so no)

-Malfunctioning nerves (think I’m okay here)

-Side effect to medicine (My drug intake is pretty low…)

So at least five of those symptoms are pretty likely to fit my description pretty well. And the worst one? Dehydration. Think about how much water you drink in a day. I mean really think about. I always thought my agua levels were all good. But when I’m jogging a couple of miles, cycling about 8 miles, AND playing netball? I need a LOT more water in this body of mine to keep going.

Anyway, lesson learned. Big time. Please don’t let my mistake be yours. Be all about the agua.

Marianne McPhee
Marianne McPhee was born in London and has been a traveler throughout her life. She spent her summers in France and Spain on a boat, her teenage years living in the USA, and months backpacking through Europe and Morocco. She has spent eight months traveling through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia where she also taught English and then ventured to Australia for more exploration. She is a graduate from Boston University and currently works in the travel industry in London.
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