Monday, December 8, 2014

Training log - Week ending 12/7/2014

This week was 19 miles of running, 10 "miles" of pool-running and 5000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

I started some gentle jogging on Thursday, so 10 days post-marathon.  At that point, the quads were still somewhat sore, but there does seem to be something to "hair of the dog" as a cure.  Or maybe it was the massage I got this week, with instructions to dig into the quads hard.

Whatever it was, I'm happy to report that the quads have finally stopped hurting, except for some twinges when going down stairs.  Took them long enough - it wasn't until Saturday of this week that I was able to jog mostly pain-free (so, just about two weeks).  But I really shouldn't complain too much - the pain was, after all, self-inflicted.

While on the topic of self-inflicted pain, I'll also note that I went in for another follow-up with my PRP/prolotherapy doctor on Tuesday.  We discussed getting a follow-up prolotherapy injection in my right SI joint at some point (previously we did the left, but now that's much better, and the right is weak by comparison).  I decided I wanted to go ahead and get it done; he then offered to try to squeeze me in that same day, so I didn't have to schedule an appointment and come back.  I went ahead and did it, so that was an unscheduled rest day on Wednesday.  Perfect timing since I'm still in marathon recovery anyway.  So woo.


I also went in to see a nutritionist this week (I cashed in some use-or-lose vacation time this week, so it was easy to find the time). 

I had two questions for her: 1) I wanted to go over my nutrition/hydration before/during the Philly Marathon, to see if I had made any mistakes; 2) I was dealing with a recurrence of the nausea/lightheadness/digestive issues I experienced during my taper, and wanted to see if she had any thoughts about that.  If she didn't, the next step for #2 (har-de-har-har) was the GI doctor - and I didn't want to go there.  GI doctor appointments generally result in unpleasant procedures requiring consumption of nasty stuff.

As it turned out, the answers to questions 1 and 2 were the same, and annoyingly simple. 

The short answer: woefully low salt intake.  The longer write up?  It's below.


As background, I used to have major salt cravings and was never without a salt shaker.  I literally caked it on everything, and felt crappy if I didn't.  I also had low blood pressure.  Then I went on calcium channel blockers this spring, which had the happy and completely unexpected consequences of raising my blood pressure to normal and eliminating the salt cravings.  Woo.  I stopped caking everything with salt and embraced normality.

Fast forward to my taper for Philly.  During the training cycle, I ate about 90% healthy, but also indulged in tortilla chips/salsa and gluten free cookies- my weakness.  For the taper, though, I decided to cut out the junk food, and just eat quality food.  I don't eat processed foods, with the exception of the aforementioned junk food, so my diet was basically eggs, chicken and buffalo, potatoes, rice, and veggies, all flavored with a small amount of butter or olive oil.  Plus hydrating with water mixed with Ultima - my preferred electrolyte mix.

Ultima has no salt.  And the foods I was eating had very little salt included in them, since they weren't processed and I wasn't adding salt.  And I had cut out my chips and salsa and cookies, which were how I was getting my salt while training.

No salt is bad.  The body likes to keep a balance, so when I wasn't getting in enough salt, my body just dumped water like crazy to keep the balance and avoid hyponaetremia (which is both trendy to reference and hard to spell).  The ironic result was that I actually was dehydrated despite peeing clear and often.  It was all just going through me.  And I was dealing with nausea and shakiness and problems concentrating, but attributed it all to taper and marathon nerves.

So the marathon happened and I crashed and burned in a way that appeared to be hydration related, even though I drank a ton and it was a cool day, because I didn't include ALL the necessary electrolytes.

And after the marathon, I hit the salty junk food through Thanksgiving, but then cut it out.  I knew my body was really beaten up, so I decided that I needed to prioritize quality food to promote repair until the quads stopped feeling like hamburger meat.  And...sure enough, I started feeling nauseous and sloshy stomach and dizzy again.  But I didn't make the connection.

I was so used to being the person that caked salt on everything - it never occurred to me that I might now be salting too little.  Especially since I was using the Ultima, and never realized that it didn't include salt, because it had never been an issue before.

So, I've added salt back in, and the nausea and lightheadedness has drastically improved.  Ridiculous.

Obvious question #1 - But weren't you craving salt massively?

Yes, but I thought I was craving junk food, and resisted.  Everyone loves chips and salsa and cookies, right?  And because my past heavy use of salt had approached cliche, it never occurred to me that I might be too low on it now.  As for the lightheadedness and nausea?  I thought it was just nerves/taper paranoia.

Obvious question #2 - And don't you feel really really stupid now?  And a bit embarrassed (and yet perversely compelled to blog about it?)



Monday:   Yoga in the morning; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  6 "miles" of pool-running in the morning plus some injury prevention/upper body weights.  Prolotherapy in the afternoon.

Wednesday:  Massage - heavily quad focused.

Thursday:   3 miles easy running (9:01 pace) and yoga, plus some injury prevention/upper body weights.   Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  4.5 miles easy running (8:54) and 2500 yards easy swimming, plus a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   4 miles easy running and 4 miles pool-running.  Yoga in the afternoon, plus some foam rolling.

Sunday:  7.5 miles easy running, including casually running a holiday 5K with some friends.  Followed with 2500 yards easy swimming and some injury prevention work.  Yoga and foam rolling at night.


  1. Oh yes, that "question #1" - many is the time that I think to myself, "Why do you want pretzels? You aren't even hungry" only to realize later that all I REALLY wanted was to lick the pretzels clean!

  2. Thanks for posting, you have no idea how much you have helped me out. Since I've started 10k training (I also live in Australia and right now the weather is very hot and humid) I've suffered from low blood pressure, dizzy spells, etc. most noticibly when I "clean up" my eating. After reading this I think I may be suffering from low salt intake too. I'll be focusing on my salt intake this week to see if it helps.

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