Saturday, June 29, 2013
Lesson learned about drinking lots of fluids while exercising
Yesterday, I rode my recumbent bike with some friends on the Silver Comet Trail. It was VERY humid. I sipped water during the 30 mile ride. For the last 15 miles we rode hard, and the harder I pushed, I became preoccupied with speed, and forgot to drink. At the end of the ride I, and my buddies, were quite tired. When I got home I ate lunch, and feeling very spent, I took a nap. I slept deeply for a couple of hours. Little did I know I was building up dehydration in my body.
Today, I had scheduled a century (100 mile) ride in Cartersville. I didn't sleep well last night and woke this morning feeling tired and unmotivated to ride. Nevertheless, I showed up at the ride at 6:30 am feeling unprepared to go 100 miles, even though I have trained extensively doing 7 centuries so far this year. This one should be a 'piece of cake' except this ride is very hilly.
I started about 7:00 am, and after about 20 miles, decided to do a shorter ride and skip the full century. It was again very humid today with temps in the high 80s. I struggled through a 60 mile ride. At the end, I was very tired, more so than normal for this length ride.
When I returned home, I ate lunch and took another nap, but felt lousy upon waking. My lack of a good night's sleep was part of the problem, but finally diagnosed the problem as dehydration. Yesterday, I drank inadequate amounts of fluid on the ride, given the weather conditions. Last evening, I did not adequately replace the fluids that I had lost during the ride. This, I think, led to my bad mood, and trouble sleeping. I woke this morning dehydrated and tired, never making up for the lost fluids. During the ride today, I drank, but, again, inadequately for a hot humid day.
This evening I finally figured out why I felt so bad before, during and after today's ride. Over the past couple of days I had built up a serious case of dehydration. After I drank LOTS of water this evening, I immediately felt much better. The problem was that I was used to drinking a certain amount of water during my rides, but failed to adjust to the hotter, humid weather. The dehydration affected my mood, and my performance during today's ride. From now on I will drink lots of water before, during, and after my rides.
Dehydration is a health issue for all of us, whether we are athletes or not. Keeping well hydrated will have a positive impact on our moods, performance and overall health. Valuable lesson learned!