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Apparently several runners frm the Illinois marathon complained of muscles cramps yesterday, including yours truly. And as most point out that this can occur because of dehydration. Though I doubted this and sugested HYPONATREMIA. Huh?

Well, thanks to our TNT head coach Maria, I knew what this was and suggested it as a cause.

(Disclaimer - I am not a doctor, I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night - this is just my opinion)

Basically, hyponatremia is an indication of low salt (sodium) levels in your body. The brain cannot handle this and lethargy, disorientation, cramping may occur. Death if it is not treated. 

Per Mayo Clinic - Hyponatremia occurs when the sodium in your blood is diluted by excess water. Hyponatremia may result from medical conditions that impair excretion of water from your body, or by a significant increase in water consumption, such as by athletes competing in marathons and other high-endurance events.

Hyponatremia symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • Seizures
  • Decreased consciousness or coma
Now I know many of you probably already believe that I suffer from confusion or decreased consciousness, but I did get the muscle cramps like many others. One site mentioned that the muscle may tremor or ripple. That is what it felt like to me - you could feel the calf muscle move down my leg, like a ripple.

Since the aid stations were handing out bottles of water, many of us probably drank more than normally during our marathon. And with normal marathon sweating, out goes the salt.

Why bottles of water? Well, FEMA donated them as they were left over from some tragedy and due to expire in June of 2009. Yes, water bottle have expiration dates. 

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TNTcoach Ken said...

Was it that warm during the race? We've been known to carry salt on occasions where this would be a concern.

Running Around Acres said...

It got warm, but not overly. mid 50's by 10 am. But with bottled water being given out, I really believe over hydration was a cause of cramping issues.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...


are you feeling better now?

Marlene said...

BOTTLES of water? Wow, I definitely would have consumed too much water. I always feel so thirsty and overdo it as it is.

I've heard of that condition before. I may try salt pills for my next marathon...

How are the calves now?