Sunday, September 07, 2014

Adventures In Hydrating

The theme of my running in Summer 2014 has been Hydration. As my mileage increased, so did my need for liquid replacement. I finished my first 8-miler with a long, drunken-weaving walk home, because I hadn't pre-hydrated for fear of needing to urinate during my run, or taken any water with me. As I washed the dried salt off my skin in the shower, I thought to myself, "Lesson learned."

So I bought a water bottle.

 And it was good.

And, of course, I asked Matt for advice, which sent me running out again to buy gels and chews and beans and tablets and Gatorade.

I liked my new water bottle.

But as my runs got even longer, I realized it wasn't enough. Pre-hydrating with 16 ounces of half water, half Gatorade, and a little 9-ounce bottle on the road, just wasn't going to cut it.

So I bought a belt.

The belt has two 9-ounce water bottles. When I drink that 16 ounces before a run, and take the belt and some GuChomps (I discovered quite quickly that the gels are...ugh), I can make it through a 10-mile run without a problem.

So today, I set off for my long run, even though I was feeling a little bit tired (I blame Diana Gabaldon and her addictive Outlander book series). I figured if I got about eight miles, that would be good. I dutifully drank my pre-run Gatorade mix, and filled up the bottles for my belt. The run itself kinda sucked--I was slow and sluggish--but I was determined to finish.

About four miles into the run, I noticed a slight feeling of needing to go. Instead of stopping at the golf course restroom at the half-way point, I decided to run on. I've had that niggling feeling before and been fine. The more I sweat, the less I need to pee, etc.

But I wasn't fine. With each mile, my need got a little worse, and by mile 7, I was eyeing some thick shrubbery and thinking, "Who would know?" There weren't too many people out...

I couldn't do it. It would be just my luck that a cop would be nearby, watching me crawl into the bushes while pulling on my leggings, or that I'd wade in there and find myself peeing on a nest of alarmed rattlesnakes.

So I kept running.

I even considered letting little trickles out every so often, figuring by the time I got home, I'd be a little dryer and I could pass it off as sweat before boiling my running leggings in the washing machine.

Hey, runners are gross. Get over it.

In the end, I just couldn't risk public indecency charges, rattlesnake bites on my bum, or ruining my beloved Brooks shoes with urine. So I just kept running. And muttering to myself.

Finally, finally, I reached my finish line. Now, when I finish a run, I have a 1.67-mile walk home (mostly uphill), and as I reached the light pole I always tap as I slow to a walk, I thought, "Hey, I feel okay. I can walk home..." This was followed by a sudden, overwhelming need to go that had me crossing my legs and fighting not to cover my hoo-hah with my hands in the middle of a busy intersection. Obviously, this was getting desperate.

Well, what do I live with my parents for, anyway? I've lost count of the times I've driven them to meet a bus to the airport, or driven all the way to the airport itself to pick them up. I called home on my cell phone. Dad answered quickly.

"Hi. It's me. I...Well, can you come get me at the elementary school? I'm okay, I just really need to go to the bathroom and I won't make it home walking."

Dad, on the edge of laughter, agreed. "Give me five minutes," he said.

I jog-hopped to the elementary school, a few blocks away, and got there in time to see his car coming down the hill. From the school, it's five minutes home in a car, but more like 30 minutes walking (post-run slog, uphill).

Dad was not afraid to let me know he found my situation humorous. We laughed a little as I exclaimed, "I didn't do anything different this morning!"

As we neared home, I put a hand on his arm and said, "Daddy, I so appreciate you."

He just smiled, looking straight ahead, and replied, in that timeless, loving father way, "This is going on Facebook."

And the blog, Daddy. And the blog.

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