Running sucks. Most nerdy types are completely aware of this. Until recently, I never got why people ran for “fun.” While Run and Fun may rhyme, I was always of the opinion that the two of them didn’t belong together in a sentence. I’ve always said that I hate running with the firey passion of a thousand dying suns, as only a fat kid can.
Which is why I’ve started making myself do it. 10 months ago, I weighed 247 lbs. I had 47% body fat, and was the least healthy I’ve been in my life. I got tired of being tired, and hating seeing photos of myself, and started working with a trainer (which I can only afford because the company Dustin and I work for covers half the fees, and she gives us a deal to boot). I also got diagnosed and medicated for PCOS. Since then, I’ve become much more aware of nutrition and learned that in addition to having crazy hormonal imbalances from the PCOS, I’ve been eating wrong my whole life. Not only was I eating about half my daily recommended calorie intake causing my body to horde fat like I was getting ready to hibernate, but I was super protein starved. Getting all that under control, combined with making myself run, has resulted in me finally hitting the 200 mark this week for the first time in 2 years. I am now well over halfway to my weight goal, and in the best shape of my life. In fact, tomorrow morning I am running my first 5k. I am so much more excited than I would have thought a year ago, when running a mile for a fitness test left me winded.
The problem I have been “running” into (pun intended completely), is that when I do longer distances (which to me is anything over 2 miles), I get horrible leg cramps. Tuesday, I did 2.67 miles in 40 minutes (spitting distance from my goal to finish the 5k in 40) for the first time, and when I got home I felt GREAT. Then a few hours later, I got hit with the worst Charlie Horse of my life. This cramp was so bad that it left my calf bruised the next day. It was completely my own fault of course. I’d drank way less water than usual before during and after my run, and didn’t stretch. Desperate for advice, I turned to the book of faces, and got some interesting results. One friend suggested injesting more calcium (resulting in me nomming down a handful of Tums while whimpering in pain from the cramp), another said pickle juice. Yet another said scarfing down a mustard packet helps if you get them while running. Interesting. Another friend said electrolytes.
Now, we are poor as shit. Gatorade isn’t exactly something I can justify dropping money on, so I perused the internets looking for diy electrolyte recipes. I couldn’t really find one I liked, so I took my inspiration from several of them and came up with my own brew, which I call Scooterade. (When I was a little girl, my dad started calling me Scooter, because I ran over everything in our house (including dad’s feet) with my little baby walker, scooting around.)
2 qts tea (I used my own personal mint/green tea blend)
3/8t salt (I hear sea salt has more minerals in it, but table salt works just fine)
4T sweetener (honey, agave, etc)
1/4C lemon juice
All you do to make this is combine the ingredients in a big jug and shake it up. It works best while the tea is still warm to melt the honey/agave/etc. Once the sweetener and salt are dissolved, put the whole thing in the fridge and chill it.
I ran another 2 1/2 miles yesterday, and drank a quart of Scooterade in additional to my usual substantial water intake. No cramps for this nerd!
You could easily mix up the flavor of this by combining different teas and juices, so it is easily customized to any taste, without any nasty chemicals or excess sugar. just be warned it doesn’t taste as sweet as the store bought stuff does. Let me know what you think if you make some up by emailing [email protected]