Last summer I discovered that drinking water wasn’t enough to keep me hydrated when exercising in the heat and humidity. I would fight dehydration after each and every long run or hard workout. That telltale headache would start to creep in and the rest of my day would be spent fighting to rehydrate myself. Once I started to drink Gatorade during every run and then continue to do so after, I noticed a big change. The headaches were gone for the most part. I learned that hydration for summer exercise is a 24/7 job and for me, it was vital to drink Gatorade daily, running or not.
Yesterday I headed out for my run later than I intended to due to a morning appointment. It was 75ish when I headed out and warmed up to 80 by the time I finished. The sun was out and there wasn’t really any shade, but that didn’t seem to bother me at the time. In fact, I felt really strong during my run, even mentioned so in my workout log, and kept my HR average in high zone 2. I refueled with a protein shake, showered, ate lunch and went about my day like I normally do.
When I was at the studio training my afternoon clients, I noticed a headache creeping in. Not just “a” headache, “the” headache. I thought it was odd at the time because I had already had 32 oz. of Gatorade. I had my bottle of water, so I kept on drinking. On the way home from work my headache intensified. It was 5:30ish, so I grabbed a Larabar ALT bar from my purse and hoped that would help. Nope. I still felt really crappy by the time I got home, so I took some Tylenol and grabbed another bottle of Gatorade. It was at this point that I realized that something wasn’t right.
It is rare nowadays for me to have a headache like this. If I do get a headache, I can usually get rid of it by drinking extra Gatorade and popping a couple of Tylenol. As the evening went on, I was feeling worse and worse. The pain in my head was intensifying and making me nauseous. After vomiting, I told Aaron that I was going to go to the ER because I suspected I was dehydrated and the pain in my head was getting worse. Fortunately we only live a few minutes away from OhioHealth Westerville Medical Center ER.
I arrived at the ER and promptly vomited, which quickly resulted in this:
The next few hours included more vomiting, a couple of bags of fluid, blood work, a couple doses of Zofran, Toradol and a CT scan. Bottom line? Dehydration. I kept thinking (and saying to the doctor and nurse) that I know better. I talk about hydration (and how to prevent dehydration) until I am blue in the face to my clients and MIT participants. The ER doctor said I did everything right, but it was hot outside and we have had cooler weather over the past couple of weeks, which meant my body wasn’t used to the heat. She gave me a prescription for Zofran to take home and discharged me. They actually fill the script right there in the ER now! What a wonderful service. Last thing I wanted to do at 10:30 last night was find a 24-hour pharmacy.
By midnight – 1:00 AM, I was feeling much better. Headache gone, nausea gone, just thirsty. I ate some ice chips, sipped some Gatorade and finally fell asleep after 2:00 AM. This morning I am working on bland food and more hydration. Needless to say, I won’t be going for a run today. Now, drink up!!