Old Amanda would have just found ways to hide in the air conditioning or in front of a fan all summer, but New Amanda is a runner in marathon training. Without a treadmill, I haven't really had an option to avoid the outdoors, but as a heavy sweater, I struggle even in cooler temperatures to stay properly hydrated. Constant 90-degree forecasts had me a little scared as we headed into summer, but then I made a connection that not only saved my training schedule, it also enhanced the training I was able to do.
Hydrus Peformance Hydration Beverage is a liquid concentrate, to be added to normal water before, during, and after training. Sure, there are tons of electrolyte mixes out there for athletes to choose from, but so far this is the only liquid version I've seen. And it turns out, the liquid delivery form is the secret to the success I've experienced using Hydrus. Basically the electrolytes are stored in little bubbles in the liquid, which absorb much more quickly into the body. Not only does it absorb faster, but those bubbles also pull in even more of that good ol' H2O, leading to increased hydration. When you're running in the scorching hot summer, every last bit of water that can get into your body is essential!
Dehydration has always been an issue for me. Y'know that Old Amanda I mentioned before? She haaaaated drinking water, even during sports seasons. I remember college games in which my team's trainer actually tried to force me to drink water at halftime and threatened to have me taken out of the game if I continued to be "unsafe" - and I STILL refused! Honestly, I do not know why I was so averse to staying hydrated, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I finally started drinking water (right around the time I ditched soda, gosh was that a great idea!). Even now that I'm a water-drinker, though, I still struggle with hydration. I have seen noticeable differences since starting to drink Hydrus. Let's talk about some specific examples.
On several occasions, I could feel how dehydrated I was early in the day. Sluggish, sore, sleepy, with that cottony taste in my mouth. But, I'm marathon training, which means even on hot days when I'm already depleted, I really can't miss a run. I keep a bottle of Hydrus (orange flavor, my preference over the lemon lime) at work with a big bottle; on mid-week run days or days before a morning run, I'll drink at least one bottle worth of prepared water to start the lubrication process early. By the end of the bottle, there's a remarkable difference in how alert I am, how energized I feel, and how ready I am to run. If it's a short run, I'll prep another bottle for when I finish; longer runs, I take small bottles of Hydrus-infused agua with me. A few times, I've forgotten to drink my Hydrus before a run, and I seriously struggled on those outings! Cramping and overheating (even on night runs) hit me after just a couple miles - but if I pulled out the Hydrus as soon as I got home, the negative sensations went away quickly.
Hydrus also seems to be helping with nausea and heartburn issues. One particularly bad run, for which I neglected to pre-hydrate properly, I felt overwhelmingly awful for the entire four miles. I remember Tweeting mid-run to ask other runners what the etiquette is for puking in someone's front yard. I somehow managed to hold down my dinner, but the queasiness made every step agony. The moment I got in the door, I tore into a Hydrus packet and chugged. It only took about two minutes for my nausea to go away! Similarly, a couple times I foolishly decided to run after eating some very spicy Indian food, which gave me some pretty nasty heartburn mid-run. A few swigs of Hydrus had that problem solved neat as you please.
Performance-wise, I've been crushing my times lately! Obviously there's much more going into my training than just Hydrus, but a well-oiled machine is definitely a very large portion of the equation. Long run times are down almost 30 seconds per mile over my spring splits, leading to big PRs at both the Towpath 10-10 and the recent Boy Scout Half, as well as training PRs along the way. I'm also hitting longer distances with surprising ease, including my first 18 miler last Friday night. Recovery is moving along nicely too. Whereas I used to be almost immobile the day after a long run or a tough half race, these days I'm up the next day practically bouncing around (okay, usually it's actually bouncing around) with minimal soreness. Again, there's more to it than just the Hydrus, but hydration is certainly a huge piece of the recovery puzzle as well.
I've actually used Hydrus to make my own energy chews, as well! Good running fuel combines carbs and electrolytes in an easily-consumable serving, so what better way to utilize the best electrolyte mix I've found than to combine it with some sugar and plunk it into a gummy bear mold, right? My first batch didn't come out as well as I'd like thanks to undercooking, but I actually let the overly-runny "chews" sit for a few days and had some usable little gummies that tasted great and seemed to provide adequate fuel mid-run. I'll continue to work on the recipe and post when I have a better outcome, but I believe I'm on to a great alternative use of my favorite hydration product.
Additionally, Hydrus is being used in the medical world as well! The higher absorption rate and reliable electrolyte delivery system is being tested in various ways to enhance the way some diseases and illness are treated. I'll admit I'm not well-versed enough in the technical end to be able to better explain the applications, but from what I DO understand, some medical fields are already benefiting big-time from the Hydrus technology. Cool!
I wouldn't have made it through many of my runs these past few months if it wasn't for Hydrus. Even non-run days when I wasn't feeling well, mixing up a bottle and drinking a little extra made me feel so much better very quickly. I've tried both flavors, and while the lemon lime seems a little sour to me (I either put too much in and it's overwhelming, or not enough and it's a very faint sourness that kinda bugs me), the orange flavor is right on the money for my tastes! Slightly citrusy without being overwhelmingly so, it's refreshing and easily drinkable in any situation. I'd like to try adding it to smoothies too, since it would blend nicely with the fruity flavors. I've also noticed exactly ZERO gut problems with Hydrus, which is a chronic problem for many runners experimenting with different fuel and electrolyte options. Knowing I can chug away at my Hydrus and not have any awkward problems later is great feeling.
By now, you've probably guessed that my plan is to keep myself very well stocked with Hydrus as I continue increasing my training mileage, even as the temperatures cool. Staying consistent is a big part of success, and I have been very much enjoying my many successes of late! I'm hunting down a few more goals for next year beyond just completing my first full marathon - for example, I'm hoping to continue my half-marathon-each-month trend into a full year, and I'll be gunning for a sub-25 5k next spring - and I know I'll need Hydrus by my side to accomplish my increasingly ambitious goals. Of course, I also know that if I DO stick to my training and my reliable gear, those "ambitious" goals are going to be well within my grasp!
What's your go-to hydration solution? Do you struggle with heavy sweating or some other condition that causes increased loss of fluids/electrolytes? What goals are you chasing these days?