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Monday, May 20, 2013

Struggling with too much sun.

That's a quality problem, right?  Getting too much sun?  "Oh, poor you, you live in Southern California where it's sunny ALL THE TIME!" says everyone I know who I mention this to.  And trust me, I'm not complaining about the fact that we generally have great weather.  I'm complaining about my inability to handle the great weather in large quantities.

Before I began my one lone semester at Arizona State, I had to sit through hours and hours of orientation.  (Remember your college orientation? Remember how FUN that was? Not.)  The only thing I remember - to this day, seriously, the only thing I remember - is the discussion regarding sun exposure, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  To summarize, ASU gets a whole lot of out of state students, and many come from areas of the country where temps don't get crazy hot, and even if they do, its only for like, a day.  Because of that, one of the things they were trying to drill into our heads was to be prepared - to keep water bottles on us at all times; wear loose fitting, light colored clothing; and, if possible, work out during the early morning or evening hours.  My mom heard this and got totally freaked, and bought me 3 cases of water from Costco (which actually was one of the best things ever) and a huge bottle of sunblock.  I can say that in the first two weeks of classes, I would have to change my clothes twice a day because I'd sweat through them (TMI?) and I got some pretty awful sunburns on my feet.  I also melted two pairs of Old Navy flip flops and instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost it.  Despite my difficult transition into 115 degree days, there were many a day where I would walk past the student health building, and the line was out of the door, filled with kids who didn't drink enough water.  Seriously.

That being said, I think I re-acclimated myself to this kind of weather pretty quickly, but the one thing I have yet to conquer is hydrating properly while hiking.  Back during my Team In Training days, I would listen to coaches explain all sorts of strategies on how to fuel and hydrate during long runs.  I learned how beneficial a salt packet is during a marathon (yes, really) and how chocolate milk is one of the best things ever at the end.  But, admittedly, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to how often to hydrate while exerting yourself in any situation, and I should have.  I regret it now because I'm struggling with it on our weekly hikes. 

I haven't gotten sick (yet - knock on wood) but I've come close.  This week's hike was a little longer, and definitely tougher.  Since we only had my one bottle of water, and had to share, I didn't drink as much as I normally do, and didn't prepare with a bottle of water in the car.  My post-hike feeling is normally a headache that takes an hour to kill with rehydrating and usually eating something, but this week was the first time where I felt nauseous enough that I couldn't eat (and the burger I had ordered look SO delicious, too!) and it took me much, much longer to recover.

After doing some research, it seems the general rule of thumb with running is to drink water only when you're thirsty, and with hiking, to drink one liter of water per hour.  With the one liter rule, I'm right on track, but its possible I'm not hydrating enough before hand, or, in cases where its warmer out, I should be drinking more.

My plan of attack for next weekend is to definitely drink more before we leave; bring an extra bottle to leave in the car, plus a bottle of Gatorade (need to get that salt and electrolytes back in!) and maybe even wear a hat (my face gets the hottest the fastest - hopefully this will keep me a bit cooler).  Hopefully this'll get me on the right track to finishing a hike without a headache for once.

How do you hydrate or rehydrate during your workouts?  Any tips you'd recommend?

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