Saturday, July 18, 2009

My own little Badwater

I thought it might not be a very good idea. By the time I was done, I was QUITE SURE it was not a good idea. But I survived, and am, as far as I can tell, none the worse for the experience.

What I am referring to is my plan to go for a late morning run in the Eastern Washington summer desert heat. With the outdoor temperature approaching 100 degrees. (I don't know exactly how hot it was, but it was definitely over 90.) (But it's a dry heat.)

We left Everett around 6:30 this morning and arrived at Rimrock a little past 10. I was already proactively dressed in running clothes, but by the time we got unpacked, and I put on running shoes, more sunscreen, and all my other gear, it was 11 a.m.

I took off with no small amount of fear about what I could face. I decided to go first to the clubhouse, and if I felt okay, I would do a loop that would give me about 5 or 6 miles. I was also determined to run as SLOW as I needed to. Under no circumstances did I want to cause my body excess stress.

Slow was no problem, as I started out going uphill. I was surprised, though, that once I got going, I wasn't as slow as I'd thought I'd be. I expected 12 minute miles, but mostly I was doing 10:30, even sub 10 on downhills.

I stopped at the clubhouse bathroom after 2 miles, where I refilled my water bottle and doused my shirt with more water. (This led to a later concern, that I would sunburn through my white shirt. Luckily, I didn't.

I really only had one bad moment about 4 miles into the run. That was when I got off on the wrong road and hit a dead end. I was crying a little as I imagined retracing all 4 miles if I didn't find my way! Luckily, I got back on the real road soon.

Around that time I also thought I was sweating less, which made me worry about dehydration. What I think happened was the hot dry wind was making the sweat evaporate quickly. (I certainly had a lot left after I finished, puddles in fact!)

I began telling myself, "at mile 5, something good will happen." That was my mantra. And, in fact, soon after I hit 5 miles, I joined up with the main road. This meant I was close to being almost done! (Yes, I meant to say that.)

Rather unfortunately, I also faced a steep, curving hill. There was no debating what I was going to do. I was walking up that hill.

Happily, it was only about a quarter of a mile long and at the top was the turn that meant I only had a half a mile to go!

I actually ended up going more than half a mile, since I was so close and I wanted to boost my total mileage a little. I thought I would make 7 miles... But at 6.75 I had enough. I was done.
And still alive! With no heat stroke, heat exhaustion or sunburn. And my sweating resumed, as I discovered after finding a puddle underneath the chair I sat in to rest for a while.

But tomorrow I'm running at 6 a.m.
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