Monday, April 28, 2014

My Hydration Problem

I was supposed to do a 20 mile trail run on Thursday that I had to cut short (17) due to water depletion. I took an Ultraspire pack that held 70oz and a fuel belt that held another 32oz. My Strava, music and background apps ate my entire phone battery at the ten mile point in the run. By then, I had already climbed almost 3600 feet and was conserving the last several sips of water to make it back to my car. I cut my run short and guzzled from the drinking fountain at the trail head for several minutes. I got done at 7:30 PM and headed off to a church meeting that started at 8:00 PM. As soon as I got home, it was back to sucking down as much water as possible.

I started out running from the gun range then up dry canyon. Here is a view looking back down.

My electrolyte content was perfect and my legs felt remarkably good considering the mileage, elevation gain and dehydration. I need to find a solution if I am going to survive long trail runs. I cannot just carry more water. There is not space or strength. Here are a few images from the run.

Sure beats running on the road.

As I see it, I have three choices. I can use my MSR Miox purifier, iodine tablets, or an in line filter. 

MSR Miox

The Miox is light weight and fairly easy to use. It requires 2 uncommon batteries and rock salt. Basically, it separates the sodium from the chloride in the salt through an electrical process. The resulting solution will bleach clothes and kill any bugs in the water. The intensity of the solution depends on how much you are purifying. I own one of these and have used on for backpacking for years. It would be no trouble to fit into a hydration pack. It's downside is that it is the heaviest of the three options and is useless if your batteries die or you run out of salt (thinking out loud here, I could do a Bear Grylls and scrape the salt residue from my clothes from dried sweat and see if that works. That would be gross, but cool). 

I should mention that this purifier also comes with test strips that I never use. I have had giardia before, the most common bug in the outdoors, and though it is inconvenient, with a prescription and a week, I am as good as new. If my water is a little less than pure, it isn't the end of the world or that run.

Geigerrig In-line Filter

The Geigerrig in-line filter costs $28 and comes with a 30 day return. It will filter up to 50 gallons of water (this really means nothing. One really dirty stream and you may clog it after one use.). It is convenient in that you can fill a bladder reservoir with stream water and drink purified water at your bite valve. My concern with this filter is what happens to it near the end of its life. I imagine it is really hard to pull anything through it. 

Iodine Tablets

These are inexpensive, light weight and do the trick. The side effects are unknown. It is banned in Europe as a purification source, but I am not too worried about it. To be safe, I would not consume more than it would take to purify 4L of water in a single day. 

If you have another solution that works, please tell me. I will be trying all three on future runs. 

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