Thursday, August 30, 2007

Never underestimate the power of the electrolyte

I am exhausted. It's different from the "it's Thursday and there is one more day of the week and I'm sick of work" exhaustion. It's the kind of exhaustion that settles on every limb and cell of my body because I have run more than 16 miles in the past 2 days in training for our race. Normally, this would be no big deal, but I have failed to accomodate the loss of electrolytes in my body.

Sure, sure, you say. Sports drinks are always touting that they are infused with electrolytes, and it sounds like a sales gimmick. I know because I never really thought there was much to sports drinks other than sugar. But over the past 5 years, I have discovered how beneficial these little electrolytes are. Electrolytes (salts) are found in body fluids, especially blood and plasma. They have a high concentration of sodium chloride. When you have an intense workout and you sweat a lot, you sweat out a lot of the electrolytes, which depletes your body's store. Your kidney's work hard to keep electrolyte levels equalized, but when you don't replace them... your energy stores and body composition suffers. Thus, the lethargy of today. I didn't drink any Gatorade, and now I am paying for it.

I didn't believe the relation of electrolytes and sports drinks with my exhaustion and lethargy until I was training for the New York and Boston Marathons. I rarely had Gatorade around when I would finish long runs, so I would just drink water. As the day wore on, I could hardly get myself to do anything. All I wanted to do was lay around or go to sleep. So my dad told me I needed to start replacing my electrolytes. Once I started doing that, things brightened up almost immediately.

Well, no Gatorade = sleepy useless Nikki. And work is slow this week with the upcoming holiday, so there isn't much going on, which makes the day twice as long as it should be. It's only 11 am, and I feel like I have already worked a full day, gone home, made dinner, run errands and am ready to go to bed. Yikes. It's going to be a rough day.


Nicole Cave said...

That is one thing that we always have in our fridge. Ashton hates not having gatorade. Especially the fact that he works outside!!

BryAsh said...

Hey Nikki- I just read your gatorade discovery. I was a four starter, NCAA DI ranked wrestler in college (long time ago it feels)- I always feel embarrassed talking about it. Well, our sports trainers would always talk about electrolytes and balanced meals. I had the same discovery a couple of years ago. My wife did too when she began exercising more intensely. good luck with the marathons. I love running, but can only do it moderately due to a sustained knee injury.


Doug and Dawn Hardy said...

I am glad you discovered that so you can regain the much needed energy for your training. Which race are you doing this time? Good luck with it.

Marci & Daniel said...

Hello! Glad our blogs found each other. Although not a Gatorade fan (I'm a Propel gal), I truly admire your athleticism! Best of luck training.

Mary said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I've seriously been on the computer for over an hour reading everything you've been up to. You are a such a beautiful person and I'm so happy I have the pleasure of knowing you!
--Mary Brown

Rachel said...

so what happens if you never work out but your favorite drink is lemon lime gatorade? I am huge walking electrolyte. When's the ironman?

Nikki said...

No Ironman in my future... been there and done that. I think it's probably ok that you like lemon lime gatorade as long as you always brush your teeth after... it has been known to cause cavities - Gatorade in general.