This week’s lesson, boys and girls, was that you can still get heat exhaustion when it’s 70-some degrees outside if you’ve been moving continuously for nearly 3 hours, didn’t bring any electrolyte replacements (and find that chocolate doesn’t work in a pinch), and only had about 16 oz. of Nuun water. At 8 miles I had a huge hill and that was the killer for me, just knocked out every reserve I had. I fought to hold on to 11 miles, but headed home at a little after 10, knowing I wasn’t going to finish the last mile (though I did make it to 10.8). I knew I was in trouble when I nearly passed out as I was trying to cross the street to get to my house. I must have looked bad because I had cars stopping to let me cross on Cedar Hills Blvd and that just doesn’t happen.
I’ve reviewed what happened. I drank plenty of water on Friday; I normally do well with this during the week. Getting enough water is never a problem for me. I like to drink it. I drank plenty of water before I left. I had a full serving of oatmeal (the old-fashioned kind), with about 1/4 c chopped walnuts, 1/4 c dried dates and 2 tbs brown sugar. I had a cup of coffee. I realized I didn’t have the honey gummies I’ve been using, and stuck a couple squares of Dove dark chocolates in my pouch, hoping they’d do. I filled up my water bottle, added the Nuun tablet, and away I went. I had to stop within the first 15 minutes to pee, which is normal. I had to stop again about 30 minutes later. That made me think I was doing okay, actually. I knew it was way hotter than normal, and while I’ve spent a fair portion of the last two weekends running in the woods, it was all on concrete this weekend. I think that was a bad combination with the heat and sun. Add in that hill at 8 miles. Shake with a bit of chills at about 9 miles, and a serious feeling of exhaustion combined with tunnel-y vision whenever I stopped walking.
I’m trying to figure out how much more water I need and can reasonably carry when I’m out. I have a bottle that fits in my belt, and I don’t know if I can fit anything bigger in it. I had a camelpak once and maybe I need to revisit that. I won’t go out without the gummies again, and I’ll follow my friend Heather’s cues and start eating a pack every half hour after mile 6. I’m wondering if I need to go with scrambled egg whites and salsa in place of my oatmeal, maybe with some good, dense whole grain toast. I’m also wondering if I should be eating differently the night before. I had pizza this week. Think I’ll pass on doing that again. And I think I’ll go back to doing large portions in the woods.
And the second part of the story was the serious self-talk I had to do to fight through Saturday. I switched between berating myself for not thinking ahead to cheering myself through wanting to quit. I really am both my own worst enemy and best champion. I had a crazy-ass week at work, lots of travel, lots of being “Super Me” and I didn’t work out all week, other than Monday. That was part of the berating – I can’t do Saturdays only. So I’m going to try getting up in the morning instead of evening workouts. That’s going to require some serious self-coaching. I hate mornings. Really hate them. If I had my druthers I would never be out of bed before 9 AM. And I think I’m gonna have to pick up a 5 AM wake-up to do this. But if I can stick with this for so long – and do the other things I’ve done in the past few years, I can do this, right? I sure hope so. And I hope long distance walks and runs are rarely like the one I had this past weekend. That pretty much sucked.