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OKC Memorial Marathon: What color is your pee?


Saturday afternoon, I was sitting in the media work room at Gallagher-Iba Arena working on my column after Oklahoma State’s big win against Kansas when my phone buzzed.

It was a text message from Amy Downs, my voice of reason and experience as I train for the half at the Memorial Marathon.

I nearly fell out of my chair when I popped open the message.

“What color is your pee?”

(Have I mentioned how much I love Amy?)

You might remember that last week, I asked Amy about hydration. I’m bad about drinking water, so I had her share her thoughts on hydration before, during and after runs as well as on off days. She said that she drinks at least 60 ounces of water a day, and to make sure she gets enough, she has little tricks. She has to drink 20 ounces before she eats in the morning. She sets alarms on her phone. Things like that.

I told her that being better hydrated was one of my early goals.

And I have been really good about it. Even as I type, I have a water bottle sitting on my desk. It’s nearly empty because I just finished it off. As soon as I finish this blog, I’ll go fill it up and start over.

So, what color is my pee?

“My pee is actually very pale yellow,” I texted Amy on Saturday afternoon. “Very, very pale. I am drinking so much water, I’m peeing like a pregnant lady.”

Amy: “Great, but don’t let it get clear. That means too much washing out the electrolytes.”

Jenni: “I had no idea! Yellow, good. Clear, bad. Got it!”

Amy: “Straw is actually the color you want. Light straw.”

Jenni: “You know this is all going on my blog, right?!?”

Amy: “Ha! Every runner talks about pee. Then there is the whole issue of timing coffee and pee before the run. And then planning a route by Starbucks because they have the best pee stop.”

What I told Amy on Saturday is absolutely true — I had no idea that you could drink too much water. I mean, I figured if you downed a couple gallons over the course of the morning that you might be in trouble, but I had no idea about the electrolytes.

And as Amy told me the other day, managing hydration can be serious business.

“Several years ago,” she said, “I was grocery shopping the day after an event in which I didn't drink enough and almost passed out. I made it to the nearest ER and had to be given several bags of fluids. I sweat a lot, so I can lose 5 pounds on a short run in the summer time.

“Weigh before you run and then after to get an idea of how much you lose. Even in the winter time, I can lose a couple of pounds after a long run.

“If you don't like the taste of water, there are tons of flavor mix ins you can choose from to make the water taste better. Also, experiment with different temperature water. I found I don't like cold water and that I drink more if it’s lukewarm.

“Remember that caffeine and alcohol tend to dehydrate the body so you don't get to count those liquids toward your hydration.”

Are you drinking enough water? Are you drinking too much?

It’s a delicate balance, but it’s absolutely necessary to get it right.

We've put together a calendar with some options. To give it a look, click here.

Red Coyote has a training program for the marathon and half marathon. Contact the store at 405.840.0033 or go to for information about how you might get involved.

Want your training group included on our calendar, please email and we’ll get you added.



Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›