We're in Arizona visiting my parents. I spoke with Dad a few weeks ago...
"I have a 15-mile training run scheduled for the first Saturday we're in Scottsdale. I'd like to run on trails if possible. Anything close to your house?"
"We have some GREAT trails two or three miles from the house! I'll send you a map."
The map arrived in the mail. I studied it and was concerned about the topography and elevation gain. I was hoping for relatively flat trails. I called Dad.
"I'm looking at this map. Looks kind of technical, Dad."
"You'll be fine. Those are GREAT trails!"
We arrived in Scottsdale after ten hours in the car with our three boys and the dog on Friday. I had one beer, swam, ate some dinner and was in bed by 9:30 PM. The alarm beeped at 4:00 AM, I got up, drank a cup of coffee, and ate half a peanut butter sandwich. I loaded my water belt, and drove to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The Death March Time Line
5:05 AM - I began running on the trail marked "easy". The trail was not easy. It turned left, then right, then left, then left, then right every 5-10 feet, was very rocky and I was already climbing steadily. I determined it would be very important to pay attention to the trail so I wouldn't trip and fall.
5:40 AM - A Gila Monster was sitting in the middle of the trail 15 feet in front of me. I stopped but the lizard didn't move. Did Gila Monsters move lightning-fast or sloth-like slow? I decided to run around the creature. As I passed, it rapidly stomped it's feet and hissed like a cat. Scared me to death. I screamed and my adrenalin surged for the next three miles as paranoia now joined me on the run.
7:05 AM - Still running, hot, hungry [even though I was consuming gels] and feeling less paranoid because I finally saw a few people on the trails and assumed they would save me from venomous animals.
8:00ish - Still running, unbelievably hot, but almost finished. I had fallen twice, my left knee was bleeding and I was dusty and salty. I was unable to run many sections of the "GREAT" trail so I was out longer than I wanted to be. I'd forgotten how intense the Arizona sun is in July.
??? - I don't know exactly what time I finished, but I ran all 15 miles. I drank lots of water and thought I'd properly recovered. I called Mom to let her know I was okay and I was going to visit Dad at the golf course where he has a part-time job.
9:00 AM - I visited Dad. We drove around in a golf cart and I met all his buddies. I felt fine. A little tired, but fine. Dad suggested I visit Mamaw on the way home. I said, "But I'm gross." He shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head, indicating it didn't matter.
9:45 AM - I arrived at Mamaw's group home. Sadly, she didn't recognize me...
"Mamaw. It's me, Chrisy."
She smiled but I could tell she didn't know it was me.
"I'm gross, Mamaw. I've been running... and I have braces now. See?" I showed her my teeth.
"Who are you running from?"
"No one. I'm training for a marathon."
We visited for about 20 minutes and she finally knew who I was. She commented many times on my braces. "My, you have a mouthful," shaking her head.
10:15 AM - I told Mamaw I would return a few more times over the next week with Chris and the boys. She seemed pleased. We kissed good-bye and I was on my way to my parents' house.
10:25 AM - Something went very wrong. I felt disoriented and dizzy while driving. I felt like I was going to vomit or have diarrhea or both. I pulled over and called Chris.
"Hey, I'm not well. I'm not sure where I am and I think I might faint."
Chris and Mom arrived 15 minutes later. Chris drove me home and helped me into the house. I told him I just wanted to lay on the tile floor.
After resting for an hour on the floor and drinking Gatorade, I began feeling better. I've experienced heat exhaustion before, but never three hours after a workout. I think I was salt and potassium deficient. I actually felt a little embarrassed because I know how to avoid these situations.
As I was laying on the floor shivering with chills, Mom brought me a pillow and a blanket.
I said, "Thanks for coming to get me Mom. I feel like an idiot. I'm sorry for the drama..."
"That's okay. It's your job."