Running, but it’s very nature is a sweat inducing sport. Running when it’s 90 degrees, with no wind and 80% humidity doesn’t produce just sweat it turns you into a Himalayan salt lick.
Yesterday, Patient 0 and I wanted to log 15(ish) miles in Prince William Forest. Nothing fast. Nothing crazy. Just getting time on our feet. The goal was to finish, and ultimately, not break me before my 50k shakedown cruise (to use Navy terms) in anticipation of #ECSUT. Patient 0 had to tend to some farm chores before we could head out, so we didn’t get a super early start. Not that it would have mattered anyway, it was so hot and miserable.
This was a new place I was running in so it was going to be a bit challenging. We started down the trail with a general idea of the route we wanted to take. I had the app on my phone and had studied the map quite extensively. Unfortunately, we wound up missing our first turn off. Not a big deal, we just decided to run the loop backwards. Which, honestly, turned out to be the absolute best thing.
We started off a smidgen quicker than we should have.
“I’m following your pace,” Patient 0 says.
“I’m following your pace,” I laughed back.
We settled into a nice rhythm and slowly started to chip away at the miles and incredibly thankful/grateful to be in the shade. We would occasionally pop out into a meadow and the sun would just cook us. However, it doesn’t matter how much shade you have when it was at hot and humid as it was. The air was as thick as pea soup. Every time I licked my lips I felt like I licked the top of a salt shaker. (Oh come on, you know you did it as a kid…) I was absolutely thankful that I had put 3 scoops of Tailwind into my hydration pouch. I was also thankful that I was nowhere near any animals I would have been licked to death.
We picked our way down the South Valley Trail over the roots, rocks, and up the hills we went. Sometimes we got the bonus of having all three at once! My heart rate was through the roof sitting around 176. That’s no bueno. I could feel my insides cooking. All I wanted to do was crawl into the creek. I must have made that comment one too many times because as we came around a corner Patient 0 said, “Oh! Look!”
There was the perfect spot in the creek where the water was moving quick and clear. Shallow enough to not be dangerous but deep enough when you sat down in it it covered your legs. We both skipped over the rocks and quickly peeled our socks and shoes off. Our feet hit the water….OH MY GOD……I was torn between misery and ecstasy. I sat down unceremoniously like a toddler in a puddle. The cold water washed over my legs. As I laid down I could feel the salt being swept off my skin. My heart rate went from 176 to 77 in less than a minute. We sat there for a while; cold water rushing over our legs and backs. Worth every single second of time we sat in that creek. Sheepishly we acknowledge that we probably did need to get back to the cars. Reluctantly, we put our socks and shoes on and continued down the trail.
We finally reached the car at 3 hours and 57 minutes with a great deal less salt on us than if we hadn’t stopped for the swim. My lungs hurt. Not in a good way either. We both stretched out in the parking lot before getting into our cars and heading our separate ways. The minute I got home I did a nebulizer treatment. Hey, I may be the crazy asthmatic that runs 15 miles in heat and humidity, but I’m not a stupid asthmatic. At least this time. I’m looking forward to running this loop again. Next time I know that running it counterclock wise is the way to go, especially in the heat!