I’m not normally a promoter of fast food joints. But every now-and-then, like when I finish a 5 hour run in intense heat and run out of water, I have to make an exception.
It all started with what I thought was a brilliant strategy. Rob M and I running Serrano Creek trail up Santiago Truck trail to Old Camp. Not a big deal, some 23 miles, but this trail gets really hot and I started (on purpose) with no water. My plan was to load up at the water fountain 3 miles into the run. The grand strategy was built around one objective: not to have to carry water for 30 minute of a 5 hour run. Ok...I’m starting to realize what I'm saying here. A five hour run. 30 minutes. No water. Where are my priorities?
We arrived at the water fountain. But why wasn’t it working?
Plan B was pretty simple. “How much water are you carrying Rob?” Three bottles! Ok, give me one. We can make it and if we get in trouble, we’ll bum some from other runners or mountain bikers.”
Rob and I agreed. This wouldn’t be a hard run. Unlike 99.9% of the runs we do together, we wouldn’t push it. How could we? Instead, we vowed to do as many rollers as possible (rollers being the launching of large roundish rocks spotted on the trail above steep mountain slopes). We delivered on our agreement. I’m estimating a dozen rollers were launched.
But launching rollers don’t make up for shrunken kidneys and withering electrolytes. We (I) pushed too hard up the final climb into old camp. Something akin to reckless abandon filled my veins. As I pushed into the final climb, I realized my water well was running dry.
Water, or lack of it, changes everything. One minute you’re feeling you can run forever, the next minute you feel everything coming apart. The power you felt at one moment, is simply gone the next. Just another element in the periodic table of ultra running.
We arrived at Jack in the Box in exactly 5 hours and 11 minutes after the start. Order? Two 42 oz cups filled with 460 calories of Minute Maid Lemonade. Not a bad reward for a failed strategy.