10 Days, Lots of Liquid

Why yes, I did feel like I was underwater. Image by Jacob Walti via Unsplash.

Why yes, I did feel like I was underwater.
Image by Jacob Walti via Unsplash.

It seems like there’s been a lot of talk about hydration lately. I don’t really track my daily consumption, but I was pretty sure that I was operating below the recommended 8 glasses or 64 ounces per day. I’ve also read in several places that we should all be drinking 1 gallon (128 ounces, 3.8 liters) per day. I can handle that, I thought. No big deal.

I was so wrong.

Day 1

To track my consumption, I filled two half-gallon milk bottles with water, and used them to refill my glass throughout the day.

Here’s the first thing you notice when your body isn’t accustomed to that much liquid: you can’t even make it through an hour-long conference call without fantasizing about having a break. You can’t go for walk or bike ride without a pitstop. The water passes through you as if you are a sieve.

I made it through half of my goal (half gallon/1.9 liters) before abandoning ship because I was going to have limited restroom accessibility for the remainder of the day.

I can’t say that I felt more hydrated, but I probably earned extra Fitbit steps by running to the restroom.

Final result: 64 ounces of water, 16 ounces of iced tea.

Day 2

I started the day by chugging a massive glass of water, and then keeping a Starbucks cup at my side throughout the day. By lunchtime I had almost finished the half gallon/1.9 liters. And then I remembered that I had an afternoon meeting and had to leave the house. Uh-oh.

The progress stalled as I went from meeting to school pickup to soccer practice at a field without restrooms.

Final result: 64 ounces of water.

Day 3

Saturday. My long run began at 7:00 AM from a park where the restrooms don’t open until 8:00. There would be no early morning water chugging on that day. I had 16 ounces in my water bottle, 16 ounces in a post-run iced tea, three large glasses of ice water at lunch (18-20 ounces each: assuming 50+ ounces?), 12-ounce can of seltzer and another 16-ounce glass of water.

Evidently the trick to not being a slave to your bladder is to run long, get dehydrated to start with, and then begin drinking heavily after the fact.

Final result: 94 ounces of water/seltzer, 16 ounces of iced tea.

Day 4

Dieters think about nothing but food and planning their days around what they can eat. I plan my days around restroom availability. I feel sloshy, waterlogged and strangely preoccupied. I still can’t even come close to 128 ounces. How do people do this? I’m not even remotely thirsty. Every chug is forced. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, I thought to myself. It seems benign enough, but this is ridiculous.

Day 5

96 ounces, a personal best.

My bladder came damned close to exploding on the ride home from my meeting. A new low.

Day 6

There is no way on earth that I will ever make it to 128 ounces. This is lunacy. I hit 90 ounces and couldn’t drink another drop.

Day 7

I’m starting to become obsessive about this. I don’t want to think about water as much as I am. Isn’t my skin supposed to look more radiant? I look tired because I have to get up in the middle of the night.

I got to 84 ounces. Not my best effort.

Day 8

The day started with conference calls and was go-go-go all day. At lunchtime I realized that I hadn’t yet had a single thing to drink. I actually felt thirsty for the first time in a week.

By bedtime, I had managed 78 ounces. Not great, but not bad, considering where I started.

Day 9

The day before a long run, I am determined to hydrate thoroughly. I max out at 108 ounces. I can’t understand how people can do this regularly. I’m never doing this again.

Image courtesy Shutterstock

Image courtesy Shutterstock

Day 10

My long run day. I cut 29 seconds per mile off my usual pace, which is a pretty big deal over an 11-mile run. This has never happened before. Is this what happens when I’m hydrated? Maybe I should keep doing this.

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