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An Awesome Encounter on 16 Miles of Dehydration

I was on my long run this Sunday as I usually am.  I found out afterwards that my training plan said 12 miles but I had already chosen to run 16.  I wanted to get out and run for close to three hours and clear my head in the mild weather.  It was about 32 degrees with no wind and no rain.  All was going okay till a point.

Previously, in the week there had been some frozen precipitation that has melted and refrozen.  This had caused sheets of ice that we almost undetectable and made for some treacherous motivation.  I had gone on to the Metroparks and decided that I would give the multipurpose path a try and run till I couldn’t or 16 miles which ever came first.  I got to my starting point and downed an e-gel and gulped some water from my tour de France bottle and I set off with my MP3 player blasting.  I found that the ice on the path was that kind of white crunchy ice that afforded some sort of traction.  This held up for about a mile.   There were patches of no white crunchy stuff where I quickly found out were just sheets of black ice.  Well, that lesson was learned and I stuck to the crunchy stuff.  All was good and got better when I turned to the Bedford Reservation and found an almost dry path free from even the crunch ice.  Fantastic.  I was feeling real good about this.  The bulk of my run was to be in the Bedford Reservation and if it was all like this then I was golden. 

It is amazing how things change.  I made it about three miles and then the path turned behind some trees and the ice was in sheets again.  These were at least sporadic at that point.  Another mile and the path was almost impassable.  I must have been a site.  I was switching strides like I was a Fremen on Dune trying not to attract a Worm.  I started off shuffling across some ice with short controlled steps.  Then at another point I kind of planted one foot and pushed with the other to slide across some ice.  Then there were the down and side slopes.  It was awesome.  At one point I actually slipped and just about pulled a bicep keeping my balance.  I have never hurt so much in my upper-body with out actually falling.  It was about that time I decided that I would just run on the road of the Metroparks instead of the path.  I had seen others doing it and for once I thought that was the better idea. 

I am glad I did.  For one thing I am alive to tell this tale which I am unsure I would be if I had not abandoned the path.  The other is that I crossed this fellow runner going the opposite direction at about 6.5 miles.  We saw each other and nodded in acknowledgment.  Then he asked me how far.  I removed my ear bud for clarification and the replied 16 miles.  He nodded and wished me luck.  I did the same and I went on my merry way.  I had another 1.5 before I turned around.  I had thought nothing more of it.  It was just another pleasant interaction with another runner.  Well, there was one more ice encounter of note where I was running across a sheet in one direction to my left and ended up on the right side of the path.  At the turn around I had popped another e-gel and got back on the run.  BTW, I love the Cherry Bomb is the best flavor ever.  Lets say it is the Bomb. 

All is relatively uneventful. I stick the road for the next four miles and almost get run over by one old jerk that doesn’t know that pedestrians have the right of way on all roads throughout the Unites States.  Either way I hit the clear path and keep trucking.  Then up in the distance I see that I am coming up on another runner.  I was trudging up the hill when I caught up the the gentlemen I had conversed with ever so briefly a few miles back in crossing.  It was the crest of the hill and he had stopped to grab a drink from his bottle when I approached from behind and commented on how beautiful the day was for running.  That was when he asked something like “How do you do it?”  My confused look was enough for him explain further.  He wanted to know how I could run 16 miles without hydration.  I really did not have an answer for him. I just kind of patted my belly and said I have a lot stored up.  I had already started to get dehydrated a mile or two back when my palms went dry.  I had told him that I tend not to run with water that much in the winter.  I know it was probably a bad idea but it was just the way I ran.  He asked what I was training for.  Of course the Flying Pig in May and the Catch a Leprechaun 30k in March.  He was training for a 50k in March and Boston.  We stood there for a minute or two discussing running.  He hydrates every mile with 4oz of a sports drink of sort and the bottles were marked lines denoting those 4 ounces.  He has run the past 10 Marine Corps marathon and I explained that I had run last years Marine as well and that my father had run it in 83 and that was my inspiration for running as well.  We chatted some more about the training and races and of course hydration.  I even got a 4oz slug of his drink.  Well thanks went and greetings and I was off.  I was probably 200 meters out front when I realized that I did not even catch his name.  It was a most pleasant experience and only two miles from my finish.  I really regret not getting his name.

I finished my run and quickly downed all the water in my car and considered tapping the radiator if it weren’t full of ethylene glycol.  My banana was fantastic and all was well.  I had a fantastic run with some adventure and I met a fantastic runner along the way.  I hope to cross paths with him again.  I am more fulfilled by the experience and am glad to be part of the community that is running.  Either-way, thanks Dude for the juice and the fantastic camaraderie.  I am going to reconsider my hydration in the future. 


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