Friday, October 12, 2012

Hydration - KIS works

I just finished running the Grindstone 100 in Swope Virginia last weekend.  It was the hardest run I have ever done, by far.  It has 23,200 ft of elevation gain, very similar to Wasatch and Tahoe and much lower elevation.  So why was Grindstone so tough.  Simple, the most difficult trails and steepest climbs I have ever encountered in race.  Many of the sections near the ridgeline appeared that someone piled "plate" type rocks from the size of you fist to the size of a trashcan lid on top of each other for miles.  I thought we had some bad trails here in Alabama.  Nothing like this.  But the point of this post is not the race, but what I learned in the race.  (I will have the race report ready in a day or two.)

In past years I have tried several types of electrolyte supplements in 100 mile races.  The first were Enlyten Strips.  They worked great in the Pinhoti 100 and Leadville 100, but there is a problem with them.  You place one strip between you cheek and gums and let it dissolve.  As soon as one is gone put in another.  By the end of both races, the inside of my mouth where I had been putting the strips was burned to shreds.  It didn't hurt but you could pull small pieces of tissue out for days.  That makes me nervous so I no longer use them.  I will say one thing in their favor and I plan to buy more for this use, they are great for settling  you stomach.  Start feeling sick at you stomach, eat a couple of strips like candy and in 5 minutes you are fine.

At Tahoe, I switched to NUUN tablets.  I did fine with them an training runs, but in the race they proved to be a disaster.  You just cant keep the water/electrolyte balance right.  I got them off twice in the race, the first in the afternoon, but I figured out what I had done pretty quickly and resolved the balance by dumping all my water out and starting over at the next aid station.  That night was another story.  I ended up walking for several hours because I was so sick at my stomach.  Finally, about 5:00 AM I figured out what I had done, again, and dumped all my water out again and started from scratch.  In 45 minutes I was getting back to normal.  The problem was I was getting the electrolyte balance too strong.

At Rocky Raccoon, in February of 2012 I just used electrolyte capsules.  I never got sick the entire race so I decided to use the same thing at Grindstone.  I took Thermolyte Metasalt capsules and in the 35 hours it took me to finish Grindstone, I only felt mildly sick twice and one ginger chew cured that each time.  I never had to slow my effort once.  I took one capsule just before the 6:00 PM race start and one each hour thereafter.  It really doesn't get any simpler than that.  Most running stores don't sell these caps so I usually order them from a biking or tri store.  Here is a link Tri Sports where I occasionally purchase tri supplies.

There is another real plus to using electrolyte caps.  They are cheep compared to other supplements.  One hundred capsules for $20.00 seems to be the average.  I have tried Salt Sticks and a few others, but I really like these.  Give them a try on a few training runs.  This is one of the few products I will recommend.

By the way, I ran in my new Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes and Swiftwick socks.  (This is my third pair of Pure Grits.)I wore my "shake skin" pattern Dirty Girl Gaiters over them and in the entire 101.8 miles I never removed either shoe.  Give Swiftwick socks a try too.  I am assuming you already have a pair of the gaiters.

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