Life Lessons on the Run

There are times when you realize that no matter how prepared you can be for a situation, you still aren’t prepared enough. Today was one of those days. It’s very clear to me that my body has not yet acclimated to weather that climbs the thermometer quickly with 99% humidity and a high dew point.

I had prepared for today’s run with an insulated water bottle, packed with ice, 2/3 Gatorade, and 1/3 water, two packs of shot bloks, several salt tabs, and my “lucky” inhaler.  The route I had picked out had shade, water fountains, and bathroom stops.  It still wasn’t enough to combat the heat and humidity and the way my body handled it today. I took a salt tab before I left for the run.  I drank a full glass of water before I even left home. I ate shot bloks and salt tabs at regular intervals. I still had to stop and use my inhaler between miles 4 and 5 because the density of the air made it nearly impossible to breathe.  I try not to rely on  it, but today I am glad I did. I realized how little I was breathing once I used it.

I am thankful for my running buddy, Tracy, who toughed it out with me today.  I don’t know that I would have made it as far as I did without her encouragement and company. I was really struggling with heat exhaustion today.  I am pretty sure that the intensity of my two other training runs this week (bridge repeats and a barefoot run on the beach) only intensified the tiredness in my legs from the beginning of today’s run.

To add to all of this, I miscalculated how far our run would actually be.  The intended 16 turned into 18, and my intended pace flew out the window after the first 6 miles when the heat exhaustion hit me. Being overheated is not something to take lightly.  Walk breaks, running water over your wrists and face, and staying in the shade are some of the ways I was able to combat the overheated feeling I had.

I am super thankful for my teammates and friends from the J&A training team for waiting around at Murphy’s until I was done, for cheering for me as I finished the last block, and for taking care of me as I sat down and the heat exhaustion turned to visible shakes and a pasty white complexion.  They got me quickly taken care of with orange slices, ice water, an ice pack, Gatorade, an extra Gu, a drink with magnesium, and finding ways to regulate my body temperature after completing all 18 miles.  I knew my salt and sugar levels in my blood stream were low when I sat down and started shivering. I consumed what I could handle, laid the ice pack on my neck, and soaked in the feeling of sitting  after being on my feet for over 3 hours.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve dealt with heat exhaustion this bad, but this is exactly why I bring it up.  It’s good to know your body, to know what you can handle, and to listen instead of pushing through and ending up worse off.  While I completed my miles today, I knew there would be consequences at the end that I could handle and friends to help me get through it. In this weather, it’s always good to let someone know where you are going, be as prepared as you can be, and listen to your body along the way.

Training is important, being smart about it is even more so.  Thank you to Tracy, Kim, John, Justin, and Steve for looking out for me today. It means the world to me!

Grandma’s Marathon is in 22 days!!! After today, I think I can handle a race in cooler weather, around a lake, and with less humidity!!!

Live. Love. Run. Passionately!

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