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What happened? Scary on a long run

I did a long run Saturday with my running group, with a goal of 12 miles. I was staying pretty consistent the whole time, stopped for water at 4, 7 and 10 miles (they have water out for us). Miles 1-10 were great, Mile 11 felt really hard, then at the start of mile 12 (both 11 and 12 at an incline), I became so lightheaded I had to sit down. It was like when you stand up too fast and you can't see anything at all, and my hands looked swollen. It was warm but not hot at all, I had breakfast (maybe a little less than normal). I did not feel dehydrated. I slept okay the night before. I stopped for a few minutes then just walked down the final hill (where I usually make up a few seconds!). 

At the end of the route, I ate a few orange slices and felt much better. What happened? The only time anything like this has happened was running in 90 degree temps during the summer.  I usually run at least 10 miles every weekend, ran my last half 4 weeks ago (and have another one in 3 weeks), and I want to do well and not hurt myself. Could this just be a fluke?

[IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/ab19id.jpg[/IMG]

Re: What happened? Scary on a long run

  • Were you fueling during the run?  I can get lightheaded on long runs if I'm only taking water. I usually need Gu or Gatorade for anything 7+ miles.

    ETA: I just saw the hands swelling thing.  That could be because you had some sort of salt/electrolyte issue.  Again, Gatorade would probably help.

    image
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  • It could be a fluke, but i would think it might be electrolytes. Have you tried fueling on your runs? Or even some gatorade at one of the water stops?
    ExerciseMilestone
  • That's happened to me before, except for the hands swelling thing.  I finally chalked it up to getting my heart rate up too fast too quickly, but it doesn't seem like that would happen after 11 miles.  Hmmm... maybe electrolytes like the others suggested.  Hope it was just a fluke!
  • My first guess: Electrolyte imbalance, low sugar. Drinking only water would just make it worse.

    Do you fuel at all along the way?

  • image GRKaters:

    My first guess: Electrolyte imbalance, low sugar. Drinking only water would just make it worse.

    Do you fuel at all along the way?

    My first thought was sugar as well. 

  • Yes, I fuel. I had powerbar gels with me, and I think I had 2-3 gels on the run, which is about normal, sometimes I have a little more when it's warmer (like it was yesterday). 

     I will see about adding gatorade, but since I don't usually carry it, I just drink the water they have out for us, I'll have to figure something else out. Races usually have gatorade or something similar, and I usually have that.

    Would you eat more salt before? During?  How would you go about adding salt? Salt sounds very plausible, as I tend to have pretty low blood pressure already. And I did feel significantly worse after the last water stop. 

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/ab19id.jpg[/IMG]
  • Add salt to homecooked meals, you can use salt tabs or just plain table salt during your run. I'll put salt in a baggie, lick my finger, put it in the bag and then just lick my finger again.
  • Like others have said, it sounds like you need electrolytes. I used margarita flavored Cliff shot blocks during marathon training.  They have extra salt as well as other electrolytes.  It might be worth looking into if you don't want to carry Gatorade.
  • One of my friends swears by salt tabs along the way; another one takes fast food packets of salt with her. If I were to up my salt, I'd probably start with pre-run snacks and meals, or tuck some mini pretzels into my pocket with a Gu.
  • My hands always swell up when I run - I've never actually thought about it before though.  I did an internet search and the Livestrong website says this is a common occurrence among runners because your blood is circulating faster when you run, and the veins in your arms and hands are small and process the blood flow more slowly.  Your question really made me think - thank you!

     Here's the link:

     http://www.livestrong.com/article/211317-why-do-my-fingers-swell-when-i-run/

  • image jdbmjm:

    Would you eat more salt before? During?  How would you go about adding salt? Salt sounds very plausible, as I tend to have pretty low blood pressure already. And I did feel significantly worse after the last water stop. 

    I also have low blood pressure and have to be VERY generous with the salt shaker during meals. I never used to salt my food so it took some getting used to. I have to be extra generous when I have just come back from a long run. I also drink a lot of v8 veggie juice because it is loaded with sodium and helps after a very tough workout - especially in the summer.

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