I have a subscription to Runner’s World, which means I’m also on their email spam list. I usually open up the email, scan it for anything remotely interesting, and then delete it.
This morning, I noticed a blurb talking about swollen hands when running. My whole life, ever since I was a kid– I can remember being 6 or 8 and playing in the yard and coming in crying to my grandma about my hands being swollen and painful– I have had this problem. Sometimes its just annoying, sometimes its actually painful and makes it difficult for me to concentrate on anything else.
My parents– oh, I love this– said it was because I was fat and fat people get sweaty and swollen from exercise but I should keep at it until I wasn’t fat anymore and the swelling would go away.
Here’s the thing: I drink water 98% of the time. I don’t like sodas, I never have. Okay, everyone who fainted to the floor can get up now, its totally true. Its not a diet thing. Even as a kid I didn’t much care for sodas, even though my parents were Diet Coke addicts and the entire cupboard could be bare, but there’d be Diet Coke. Every once in while I’ll have a root beer because I do like the taste of that, or a vodka with Diet Sprite (great summer time drink) when I’m slummin’ it and have no tonic water and fresh limes handy. I love iced tea and will drink it, oh, once or twice a month when I’m eating out. I drink water when I run and exercise; I’ve tried sports drinks but they seem too sweet, and make my mouth feel sticky and my saliva feel thick.
I’ve had a few problems with consuming foods and experiencing nausea while on long runs, so in general, I just “suck it up” and don’t consume anything other than water. Once, I successfully ate some Jelly Belly sport beans, but seriously, I’ve had horrible reactions to things like Gu and so forth– reactions involving brightly colored vomit on bushes.
I am also not a big salty-foods snacker. I don’t like potato chips and am indifferent to french fries; if I’m eating during a non-mealtime, its usually something sweet like fruit or something naughtier (food does not have moral values!) along the lines of a dessert. I do have a weakness for restaurant-made tortilla chips and cheese dip or guacamole, but that’s a very occasional treat.
I am also in the habit of drinking LOTS of water, lots when I doing nothing all day, lots more when I am running or exercising. Generally, that means a 20-oz bottle whenever I exercise from 30 – 60 minutes, and about 48 oz (I have a huge 32-oz Nalgene bottle at work) just sitting at my desk. I drink more at home in the evenings, but that varies alot. And sometimes involves more wine than water.
Holy sausage fingers, Batman! My hands don’t swell because I’m fat and wicked disgusting, they swell (it seems pretty likely) because I have a sodium/water imbalance! Something I can fix a lot easier than 80 lbs of extra fat! Something I might even have in common with thin runners and fitness-y types, no less. I am determined, now, to do some more experimenting with sports drinks, see if I can find one that isn’t disgustingly sweet and doesn’t make my mouth all gummy. Maybe I’ll even try pretzels on a long run. I have a six-miler on Saturday.