How Drinking Water Almost Killed Me – Part 1 of 5 – Running Background

Everything in life should be done within normal ranges. Apparently also the consumption of water has its limits. I lost my conscience many hours after my first marathon run because of over-hydration and I live to tell the story.

Here is the full story divided into 5 chapters that will be published on a daily basis. They include my background in running, preparations for the marathon, race day, the collapse, a day and half that I don’t remember, the long hospitalization, the ongoing recovery and a few conclusions.

Small note: I’ve neglected this personal blog in the past year or more. This story certainly brings pumps life into the blog. Hopefully I’ll write more. Life in Barcelona supplies quite a few stories (though much less dramatic). I also plan on writing a full Hebrew version, and perhaps a short Spanish one.

Running Background

My love for running began way back in the 90s, when I was in high school. I used to go to the gym and/or run throughout my adult life. About 5 years ago, I participated for the first time in an official race, a 5K night run in Tel Aviv.

The excitement of racing got me to take things a bit more seriously and I began running more often, quickly moving to 10K runs. At some point I picked up a serious training program on the web, that involved running 6 times a week. The local gym in Tel Aviv was too close, and most of the runs were performed there – apart from the longest ~17K runs.


When I moved to Barcelona in March 2011, running on the promenade was a great way to discover the city and see the wide variety of people roaming the streets, but I stuck with short and sporadic runs.

The big change was in August, when I accidentally discovered Meetup, and the Barcelona and the Barcelona Casual Road Runners group. This great collection of people runs 10K twice a week, in a very casual and pleasant atmosphere. Everybody from the organizer to the latest newcomer are great and positive people.

Cursa de la Merce 2011 - Image Credit: Alex

My first official 10K run in the city was a popular race named Cursa de la Mercé. Given the race is so crowded, we took it with a very casual atmosphere indeed: with costumes of sheep. Great fun!

Montserrat on Foot

A bigger challenge came in the middle of November: a run called Pujada a Montserrat: a 30K run from the suburban town of Terrassa to the historical and touristic site of Montserrat. It consisted of around 21 kilometers of a flat and downhill stride, and then around 9 kilometers of a running along the twisted road leading to the site.

This was the longest distance I ever ran until that point, and the last part was a tough uphill struggle. I combined running and walking in the final part, but I was very excited to reach the finish line.

I ate a few energy bars I brought from home and some water along the way. At the end, there was a nice table full of snacks and drinks. I remember the organizer of the running group encouraging me to grab some peanuts, mentioning it’s important for my electrolytes. I ate the peanuts as well as anything I could put my hands on, as I was very hungry and thirsty.

I’m mentioned this seemingly subtle note just to show I had awareness to the importance of salt and electrolytes, though neglecting it at the critical moment.

I felt tired after the run, like every long run. Also my muscles ached, but that’s normal. All in all, I was feeling good, not suffering any knee or back pain and very happy to have competed this hard run along the beautiful landscape.

Pujada a Montserrat
Pujada a Montserrat - Photo credit: Ingmar

The next chapter will be published tomorrow and details the preparations for the race.

All the chapters:

  1. Running Background
  2. Preparing for the Marathon
  3. Race Day – From Euphoria to ER
  4. Losing it and Getting Back
  5. Thanks and Conclusions