The Right Stuff

When I race or run long in the summer I often get a post-run headache. I’ve long thought it’s caffeine related and have tried to remedy that by drinking soda or coffee after an event. But now I’m beginning to think it’s a sodium deficiency.

Yesterday morning I got up early and did a 90 minute spin with coach and training partners before taking my kids to see a screening of Rango in DC. By the time we left the movie at 1:30pm, I had a splitting headache. Even Excedrin Migraine could not get rid of this one.

I recently received a sample of a supplement called “The Right Stuff,” a formula apparently developed for astronauts, who suffer from severe dehydration when they come back to earth from space. The Right Stuff has no carbs or sugars but does contain 1780 mg sodium…70% of RDA. Whoa! I thought, when I looked at it, that’s a lot of sodium! As someone who doesn’t salt her food (no wonder my husband hates my cooking!) and checks sodium contents on food packaging, this is waaay more than I usually ingest. I was skeptical of the product and put it aside, thinking I would try it out on a long run in the summer, when I sweat more.

But then I started thinking (happens from time to time). Maybe I am sodium deficient. Maybe the headaches are not from caffeine withdrawal but rather sodium depletion. So I tried one of the supplements. It’s in a little vial which you pour into water. Flavors are berry or orange. I tried orange. I took a sip. Ewww. Tasted like salt. I added more water. Still tasted like salt. I drank the entire glass. Slowly the fog began to clear and my headache went away. OK, I’m thinking, could have been coincidence.

I had to test it out again, so today, before my 20 mile run, which started at 10:00am when the temperature was already in the mid-40s and promising a rapid hike into the 60s, I put one of the vials into my Camelbak. Mixed with almost 70oz water it tasted only slightly salty, and I’m pleased to report that I was headache-free for the entire day! Oh, and the run was a good one, too – avg. 8:28 pace!

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