Do as I say, not as I do: Lesson learned about hydration

My transition to bicycling from running and walking as my main form of exercise has been mostly smooth … except for one thing. I am a bit less spent after a long bike ride than I ever was after a long run, so I haven’t been hydrating as well.

Bad idea. I need to hydrate as well or better after bicycling as I did after running, whether I feel like it or not.

I learned this painful lesson after I landed in the hospital last week.

I won’t go into gory detail. But after a semi-challenging but manageable 23-mile ride around Mercer Island and along Newport Shores on Sunday, April 15, I neglected to hydrate properly. My post-race snack consisted of a sizable bag of almonds and a Diet Coke. Never again will I do this.

I ate dinner later and washed it down with milk; still neglecting my needed water or juices.

Stomach pains began occurring overnight, and the next day I suffered a partial blockage that was seriously painful. I was admitted to Swedish Hospital in Issaquah on Monday afternoon, where I stayed for approximately 24 hours. At the hospital, they determined that I didn’t need surgery. Whew!

Instead, they hooked me up to an IV machine, and allowed me no food or water until the very end of that 24 hours, when they gave me liquids only. By that time, the partial blockage appeared to be history. So they let me go home.

I still was in pain for several more days, and even went back to the doctor on Friday. I had no appetite, ate very little, had no energy, and was weak. After the doctor told me to just hang on and deal with the pain, I started to come out of it. By doing more liquids and not eating much, everything ended up working itself out, and I slowly got back to normalcy.

I did a 6.2-mile walk that Saturday, and on Sunday, April 22, I took another bike ride around Mercer Island and Newport Shores. After the ride, this time, I drank an entire bottle of Powerade, plus a post-ride snack of water, mashed potatoes, and some chicken and vegetables. Much better.

I’m back to normal this week. Lesson learned. Hydrating is important.

Now to get back on track for the 7 Hills of Kirkland bicycle ride coming up on May 28 …

About monteenbysk

I am not an elite runner or bicyclist, though I am friends with many. I run, walk, and bike for fun and the health benefits. I can get you to the finish but probably not to the Boston Marathon (and especially not to the Tour de France).
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2 Responses to Do as I say, not as I do: Lesson learned about hydration

  1. Bill Chance says:

    Wow, that’s scary. You can wick a lot of water out riding on a warm day. Be careful about electrolytes too. A friend of mine that is very fit went for a mountain bike ride on a very hot day. He was careful about hydration and drank a ton of water. He kept getting thirstier though, and would drink more and more water, but it wouldn’t help. He rode back to his truck and started home but felt himself passing out. Luckily, he had the presence of mind to pull into a fire station before he staggered out and collapsed.

    At the hospital they said his electrolytes were all out of whack and the more water he drank, the worse it would get. So now he carries a bottle of water and a bottle of electrolyte and drinks what he feels like (his body will tell him which he needs).

    Nice post, thanks for sharing.

    • monteenbysk says:

      Thanks, Bill! I used to strictly do sports drink during and after marathons, to avoid something like this. Sports drink helped me recover faster.

      Best wishes!

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