Don’t Drink the Water!

Apparently, this is not advice to Americans visiting the Third World, as advice to marathon runners to limit fluid intake to avoid possible hyponatremia (abnormally low blod sodium)… advice announced seeing as next Monday is the Boston Marathon.
Interesting to me, for a variety of reasons. For one, I handled a legal case involving a patient who, unfortunately, during a gynecological procedure, was infused liters and liters of fluid, and died from… hyponatremia. A most unpleasant condition– it leads directly to brain damage, and quite possibly, death.
For another, I’ve finished seven marathons (with an eighth one scheduled for this Sunday morning…) Different races feature different protocols; New York City, of which I’ve completed the last four, dispenses water and/or gatorade at every mile (after the second or so)… other races dispense less often.
The fact is, different racing conditions (i.e. temperature and humidity) change the need for fluid intake… common sense (ha! who running over 26 miles has any common sense?) would dictate that a runner should “listen to their own body”… I find that as I do more of these, I personally learn more of the ropes… one simply gets a better idea of their intake needs after a while. Of course, a gung ho first timer told to “hydrate hydrate hydrate…” Well…
Still, yet another area where conventional wisdom is not only wrong, but far more likely to be fatal than is ignoring it. CW is not merely a disaster in politics, folks… I’ll continue to strive to give you the opposite of conventional wisdom at every turn… ignore it… at your peril…