Ok, so back to this Texas heat. Yes, it's hot. I'm sure that everyone knows that. However, I think that I have learned how important water is at my job. I currently teach Modern Army Combatives at Fort Hood-which is pretty much teaching soldiers hand-to-hand combat with the enemy for three minutes of survival. It's a really fun job however our building gets extremely hot. We always brief our soldiers to keep hydrated during the course because of the intense training. A few weeks ago in the wondefully hot July heat we started a new class and began their training....within an hour we had a soldier who was not looking so good-turns out that they were dehydrated from the weekend and did not drink water when we told them to during their break. The soldier wound up having to drop the course and go to the hospital immediatly to get an IV.
This does not happen often but it still does happen at times. Ah, gotta love the Texas weather!
Ah summer time, even though it is technically nearing fall Texas is seeing no relief to the heat. I have been in Texas since the summer of 2007 and I still can't get used to it. However, I will never stop competing just because of the heat. I have learned my lesson on the importance of hydration. Currently I am part of the Army cycling team and we ride on Thursday afternoons at 4 pm. (Thursday is family day which means that all soldiers much be dismissed by 3 pm to go and spend time with their families.) We have continued these rides even when it is 104 degrees outside. I think that we might have a few screws loose but we are out there to train in the heat. There have been times when I have run out of water and have had to go to some of the on post houses to ask friends for extra water. My husband and I decided a month ago to add to our water supply and to add two more water bottles behind our bike seats. We start off with four water bottles and go through all of them in just an hour and a half at times! It's crazy. However, despite the heat, we still train. When the heat index is 110 we try not to train too hard however, we are still out there training!
What's the most popular accessory for carrying your water and sports drinks when you're out and about? I wish I knew the answer, but I'm hoping to rely on athlete input to help answer the question. The options I could think of include:
Camelbakor the likehydration packs: These backpacks with straws (that's what I call it at least) conveniently draped over the shoulder make hydrating on-the-go almost too easy, especially if you don't want to dig in a bag for a water bottle or search for a water fountain. These are really popular while hiking, and I've seen some people sporting them while running and walking. I find it easy to use while cycling, especially on century rides and lately I've spotted triathletes using them during races (and I thought I was one of the few who used it while racing a few years ago, but earlier in the month I must have seen at least five triathletes wearing them on the 56-mile bike).
Water bottles: This is the option I think I spot the most often. We'll buy them as singles or in 24-packs at the grocery store, grab them from volunteers after a race, tote them to the beach or to work. And they're easy to fill with our favorite combination of fluid whether it be straight-up tap water, PUR-filtered water, a sports drink or even watered-down juice.
Fuel Belt or any other brand of belt with bottles: Popular among runners, especially half marathoners and marathoners, these are great for carrying a sports drink for those long miles where you know you need something besides water from the water fountain (that's me and my Lakefront runs) or you're going out in the middle of nowhere and know you won't be getting fuel unless you bring your own.
Aerobottles like the Aerodrink: They take on different names and looks but these are a step up from a traditional water bottle and fit in between the aerobars and a handy way to stay fueled during a triathlon. Fill them with any combination of water, sports drink, energy fuel (like Hammer Nutrition products, Accelerade or Infinit). Then when you're racing you don't have to reach down or behind you to pick up a water bottle, just bend down a pinch and sip from the straws. Another one of my faves.
Hand-held or waist-wrap bottle carriers: I don't know about you, but it's tough to carry a water bottle as is while on the run because it can easily slip out of your grip. These holders make it a lot easier by either strapping the bottle around your hand or slipping into a holder that wraps like a fanny pack around your waist. Not to go back to triathlons again, but I've seen a lot of people sporting these, especially the hand-held ones, on the run leg so they can hydrate before waiting for a water station to pop up. Some companies making these include RoadRunner Sports, Asics, Brooks, Fuel Belt, Ultimate Direction and Nathan.
Hydration stations: OK, this obviously isn't an accessory but at least here in Chicago we're fortunate enough to have a great bunch of volunteers who come out on Saturday mornings at points along the 18 miles of Lakefront Path to set up tables filled with water and Gatorade. It's just like being at a race where you can help yourself and then you don't even have to carry your own fuel.
So with all of these options, how do you stay hydrated?
We've had an up and down summer weather-wise here in Chicago. First spring did not want to leave--and a cold spring at that with me wearing a fleece and being cold in June. Then it would rain or be gray. Or everytime I'd think we'd start to have a nice-weather streak that rain, cold or sun-less sky would return (and more often than not ruin my morning bike ride). But finally come August and we're having a peek at what we hoped June through September would have been all along with sun-filled days, clouds and rain at a minimum, temps that have you wanting to dip in the lake and more. Or at least sometimes during the month (it's been hovering in the 60s for the past few days).
A few weeks ago we had our first taste at 90-degree weather with a heat index in the 100s--something we apparently hadn't seen in Chicago in a couple of years. With that weather comes the reminder to stay hydrated, especially when working out. I'm a heavy sweater so the minute the temps heat up I start losing fluids. And if I don't drink enough I worry about starting to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which often can be sparked by being dehydrated. The simple answer to avoid these maladies is to keep outdoor time at a minimum on these hot days and enjoy the air conditioning, but the last thing I want to do is have the weather messing with my workouts and fun outdoors. I think there are others out there who are thinking the same thing, right?
I let the hot weather get in the way of part of my workout on that hot weekend, but I wasn't going to let it rule out an outdoor workout altogether. When our first heat wave struck, the plan was to ride the Cenar Century out in Barringtonthe date had been set a month before and my Spinning instructor organized the logistics and participantand we were all looking forward to distance, hills and a good challenge. But with rain predicted in the morning then clearing to high winds and high temps, we held off riding until the next day. Unfortunately that didn't sound any better, which had me fearing I'd get heat exhaustion while out on the ride, or would end up sweating off too much weight.
I bailed on that ride for that fear of overheating and having to battle strong winds, but I wasn't letting my choice keep me from doing something outdoors and opted to go mountain biking instead. It started off as a good ideashade from the trees, not having to work quite as hard going at my own pace instead of keeping up with others, maybe even a little cooler without the direct sunlightbut ended up being just as hot. Thank goodness for the water I was carrying with me is all I have to say. I couldn't stop hydrating during rest breaks nor could I stop sweating (which made me want to drink even more). Seeing the sweat was a gentle reminder to continue drinking and then post-ride when my clothes were soaked through I knew I needed even more fluids. Let's just say that water was like my best friend that afternoon: finishing off my Camelbak, refueling at 7-Eleven, drinking glass after glass upon getting home. And then I was still thirsty the next morning! But at least I didn't get those pounding headaches, lightheadedness or even nausea that often comes with heat sickness.
Funny how now I'm thinking about that day and wishing there was another on the horizon--60ish degrees in August is no fun. While I don't have to worry as much about staying hydrated (I'm not losing as many fluids) those warm days are some of my favorites parts of summer.
Last week was a huge week for me in terms of racing. I had my second Triathlon EVER on Wednesday night. It was the final of a series of races at Island Lake State park, and the first in the series was my first ever tri. I was super excited about it, and since it was an evening race, I spent a lot of the day preparing for it. You cannot believe my HORROR when I got about halfway to the race site and realized I had left both of my water bottles that I had prepared with water from my PUR faucet in the refrigerator. I had planned to use these bottles for hydration on the bike. Yikes! Fortunately, I had been hydrating all day, and had an aluminum reusable bottle of water with me that I prepared with flavored PUR water, but it did not have a sport top for biking. Luckily, I had enough friends at the race and was able to borrow a bottle with a sport top for the ride. Since I made sure to go through all the trouble to have water on the bike, I made sure to drink it (which I sometimes forget to do while biking), and it made a huge difference. I am sure some of it was my training, but I was able to take 7 minutes off my 800m swim time, 4 minutes off my 12 mile bike, and 3 minutes off my 3.1 run from my first tri ever, for a total of over 13 minutes improvement in my overall time (my transitions were longer, unfortunately). While I did not place in this race, my finish time had me more in the middle of the pack for my age group instead of being almost last like before.
Then, just a few days later, on Saturday, I competed in the Maybury Time Trial, an approximately 10 mile cross country mountain bike race. I had been looking forward to this race for a long time, and had purchased a new bike at the beginning of the season with this race in mind, so I really wanted to do well. Peer pressure had gotten the best of me this week, as far as doing the tri, because I would have not planned another race so close to this one which was so important to me. My husband started first, and my 3 year old daughter had her first race EVER, and I started last! We were there pretty much all day, and hydration was very important. We brought TONS of water bottles from home filled with PUR filtered water to keep us hydrated througout the day, and used our camelbacks on our races. My husband and I both finished 3rd in our respective age groups and classes, and my daughter finished her .1 mile ride on her tiny bike! Being a time trial, everyone had their own start time. I was first in my class to start, based on the alphabet. I had to make sure to just go as fast as physically possible, because I did not have any other riders near me to judge how I was doing, except for being passed by the two ladies that finished ahead of me. Fortunately, my time held up and the only two ladies faster than me were those I saw. It was a great day.
I was thrilled to receive the PUR Welcome Kit and since then, I've shared PUR water and products with friends and family. I set-up the PUR pitcher as soon as I took it out of the box and hoped that the manual would be easy to decipher which it was! I inserted the Raspberry Flavor option and put it into the fridge so I would have cold PUR water within a few hours. Once the pitcher chilled, I demoed it and I liked the fact that you can control how much flavoring you add to your glass of PUR water. I prefer to have a light flavor taste and really like the one push of a button on the pitcher and presto - I had flavored raspberry water! I tend to drink just plain water and I can certainly say that I can taste the difference with PUR. My husband can also. We both taste tested the water and felt that the water tasted clean and that it almost a hint of sweetness since it filtered out the contaminants that was in our tap water.
We were so excited to receive the PUR faucet filter also. It also looks great with our sink. We've been using it daily for our regular glasses of water, my husband's coffee, to cook with and most importantly, I've been using it in combination with a sports drink to fill-up my bike bottles and belt bottles for my races. I've participated in several triathlons in the past few weeks and I have one again (final one of the season) this weekend. As part of my hydration routine, I like to incorporate the PUR water in my race bottles. With it being so hot Atlanta and during my races, it's so important that I stay hydrated.
This past week I gave a PUR pitcher to my niece who was heading off to college for her sophomore year. She was moving off campus and didn't have any fun or green household items for her new house. I thought the pitcher would be a great house warming gift for her and her roommates which she loved! It was great to hear from a college student that she preferred to drink filtered water!
I work out at GA Tech and they had a big Welcome Back event this past week for the students. I contributed some PUR lunch coolers and PUR Flavor Options coupons and the students were thrilled with the PUR giveaways. I'll be participating on the GA Tech Team for the upcoming Kaiser 5k Corporate Challenge which is the largest office event in Atlanta in September. There will be 15,000 participants representing more than 400 local companies and organizations at the event. The PUR lunch coolers and coupons will be great to distribute at this event!
Check back to read about our home brews made with PUR filtered water that my husband will be making in the next few weeks - they should be quite tasty!
This past weekend I was rubbing elbows with the man himself, Mr. Lance Armstrong. The event was the Leadville 100 which is also known as "The Race Across the Sky." What a race it was and a true testament to what it takes to be successful as an endurance athlete. This was my first 100 mile mountain bike race and a lot of training and preparation was required.
Living here in Denver requires me to drink lots and lots of fluids in order to combat the dry climate and also the altitude. My folks flew in from Boston and I had them drinking their fluids before arriving to ensure some level of confidence at high altitude. So for the Leadville 100 you are probably wondering what I did for hydration. Well, hydration is imperative for a successful race and that does not just go for drinking on race day. The entire week leading up to the race I upped my water intake from my PUR filter in the office and at home. Co-workers definitely thought it was funny to see me running to the bathroom almost every 40 minutes.
So once race day came I believe I was full on ready to take on 100 miles and 14,000 vertical feet of Colorado's high alpine terrain. During the race I was drinking a full 24 ounce bottle every 30-40 minutes and that proved to be the sweet spot for me personally. The result for me was a finishing time of 9:19 and placing 165th overall out of nearly 1,500 starters. I was extremely happy about my result and my preparation as well as nutrition practices paid off! So will I race Leadville again? We'll have to see...I'm still tired today from the race!
I did an Olympic distance race in Folsom, CA this past Sunday and it was HOT! I knew it would be hot .. so leading up to the race I made sure that I hydrated properly with my PUR water and electrolytes.
As expected race day was very toasty! I felt great in the heat though - confident that I had properly hydrated leading up to the race and on race morning.
After the race was over, driving back to Sunnyvale ... I looked forward my grape flavored PUR water waiting for me in the cool fridge!
My faucet mounted PUR filter came today, and it was SUPER easy and fast to install. I letting the water run for 5 minutes to activate the filter took longer than the actual installation process. It is very attractive and easy to switch between filtered and unfiltered water. It is perfect for someone like me who was always "the bad roommate" in college and always forgot to refil the pitcher, even though that is super easy to do as well.
Also, this past weekend, I went on a brief trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan. When we arrived, there was a sign at the ranger station warning us that the dune hike was extremely strenuous, and would take 3-4 hours to reach Lake Michigan and back, and that adequate hydration and sunscreen were a must. Since we had 2 small children with us, we opted to not go all the way to the lake, just far enough to see it. I was so glad that I had packed my PUR reusable water bottle full of fresh clean water for myself, and sippies for both kids. It was so refreshing on such a warm sunny day. The views of the lake were amazing.
I am having trouble uploading images directly to the blog, so I have attached a couple in the file section to check out. I am sorry the photo quality isn't the greatest, they were taken on my cell phone. I managed to pack all the water, but failed to grab the camera! Oops. That just means I have to go back!
I am having a lot of fun serving up PUR water (esp with flavor) to friends and guests who come over for a meal or after a workout. The filtration is awesome and the taste is fantastic. Everyone loves the clever pitcher design too! I like showing it off ...
Last weekend was a great weekend. It was the weekend of the Tree Farm Relay, in Novi, MI, at Lakeshore Park. We had a bit more water than we wanted- we had more coming from the sky that neccessary for mountain biking, but overall we had a great time. The day started with lots of rain, and it dried out nicely for the start of the sport category, although the trail was quite messy for the start and end of the race. I had a team of 4 women and my husband had a team of 4 men. We had a great turnout from our family and friends. I started the race with a LeMans style start. My team was the Tu N Tu Bella's, and it was formed of 3 former Team Stayput members and my college roommate. Wearing tutus was a tradition my girlfriends started doing Dances With Dirt, a 50 mile trail running relay, and we wanted to keep it alive with the mountain bike relay. We spent the whole day outside, so being well hydrated was extremely important. I was glad we had a tent for our team complete with cooler of fluids.
I was also really excited to receive my welcome kit from PUR. I love having the pitcher in our refrigerator to have fresh, cold, purified water for myself and my family. It is great to give to my children in their sippy cups, put in my camelback, and to take with me everywhere. I enjoy being able to use resusable water containers for myself and my family, and this has really enabled me to have much better, cleaner water with me.