Saturday, June 29, 2013

Let the Mind Control the Body, not the Other Way Around...

Today was just a routine run, but a run of importance.  Ever since my dehydration incident (see previous blog for the story if you didn't hear about it), I have been a little shell shocked to run for long distances on my own.  Well I guess I'm over it.  Had a great run today in very hot weather.  I decided to run close to home for my long run rather than running at the lake with a group due to I had errands to run afterward.  I originally was going to run four 4-mile loops from my home and keep a fueling station in my truck.  Too boring.  Then I planned to run from the local recreation center and do two 8-mile loops, however I had ran that course twice earlier in the week and was looking for something new.  So instead, I did run from my house and in my head I proposed one loop which would take me throughout the City of Carrollton.  I never mapped it out, but visualized it in my head. 
Newly discovered Blue Trail, Carrollton, Tx. 4 miles of  greatness
 It is so funny how when you become a runner, you have a great sense of distance.  The route ended up being 16 miles, which was my target. I didn't know that it would come out to 16 miles until I actually ran it.  I engineered this route around where I knew water stations were because I woke up kind of late and I knew that by the time I got late into my run, it would be much warmer outside than I was used to running in.  I could not have constructed a more perfect route.  The water fountains ended up at mile 5 and mile 8 and the trail I ran on passed by a Walgreens drugstore at mile 10 which also has a water fountain.  The Rosemeade Recreation center was at mile 13 which was the last water stop.  So I had plenty hydration.  I have had a few folks suggest I start taking electrolyte supplements or salt tabs, I may look into that later.  The salt tabs scare me now, as I found out recently you are only supposed to consume those when you are fully hydrated.  During my "crash" at Northshore Trails two weeks ago I was given salt tabs, and I'm almost sure that accelerated my dehydration and I remembered that when I crashed and dehydrated at the Dallas Marathon, someone gave me a bunch of salt tabs there too which I think lead to the same result.  So no more salt tabs or electrolyte supplements until I learn how to use them.  
Mile 5 water stop in Castle Hills
I don't think that is the issue now so much as I just sweat a darn lot and just need to hydrate way more than the average Joe.  I was gushing sweat every time I stopped for a break.  When I was running, there were a couple instances where it appeared I wasn't sweating and I freaked out, still paranoid.  I started off with Gatorade, used pickle juice and mustard as I have been doing and it worked well.  Drank lots of water along the way.  Plus I hydrated well all week long and also included a lot of fruits and melons in my diet which carry natural electrolytes. What was alarming is how much liquid I took in during the whole run. I'm estimating that I probably consumed about 130 oz of liquid.  And I'm still drinking now as I sit here and type.  The hotter it got, the more I slowed my pace.  I was an 11 minute man by the time I got to the last couple miles.  The temps were well into the upper 80's or even 90's then.  But it's all good because it's not about pace, its about beating my body up now so that when fall comes around, things will come easier.  My fall marathon is the Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  148 days to go.  I'm hoping my mind can now start helping take my body to places I want it to go


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Flirting with Disaster

Northshore Trails Debacle

So here it is, the story of my 3rd major dehydration event. Yes 3rd. Thank goodness I wasn't by myself.

I was to meet the TREX (Trail Running EXperience) group at 7am for our usual Sunday morning trail run. We had rerouted from running the Rowlett Creek trail in Rowlett, which is just east of Dallas because we knew it was probably overly muddy from rain the morning before. Instead we decided to run at Northshore Trails in Grapevine. My alarm clock sounded off at 6am as scheduled. I usually put all of my running stuff out the night before, but I dozed off a little early Saturday so I wasn't as organized as I usually am before a run. I got up, turned on ESPN, watched a little bit of sportscenter while glancing over at the stove clock which said 6:15. I still have a little bit of time, Northshore is only about 15 minutes away from my house. I planned on leaving at 6:30 and making it out there in time to chat with the group a little bit before the run. So I start getting stuff together, get dressed, 6:30 comes around, per the clock on the oven. I look at my phone and it says 6:43. Oh shit, the clock on the oven is wrong! So I immediately grab my gym bag, which would usually have extra stuff in it like my GU packets, energy bars, a change of clothes and other supplies and take off but since I didn't load it up the night before, I basically have an empty bag of nothing. I also grab a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade out of the fridge and a banana on the counter and my half gallon Igloo thermos which I had just filled up with ice water. The only thing I was concerned with was I had my phone- left my Garmin behind on purpose because I'm never concerned with speed on the trails, just distance. So I didn't have time to think about what the weather would be like, what I should be consuming before I got there or what I did the day before. My mentality was that since we were in the trails, all of the vegetation around would keep it cool. And it did, but did nothing about the humidity. I had run that 8.8 mile loop at least a dozen times with no problem. All I was thinking about was getting there before everyone left down the trail without me. On the way there I found a bag of trail mix in one of the pockets of my gym bag. So I eat a hand full of it along with the banana on the way. I drink nothing at all. I pulled into Murrell Park at Northshore at 7:01 am and I see runner buddies Steve, Kristin, Mark, Claudia and Dave. Thankfully everyone is still there. I put my ice thermos in the back of my truck when I get out. Claudia asked me if I'm ready so I hurried up and opened the Gatorade bottle and take a small sip and take off with them down the trail. It was a beautiful morning, Steve was leading at just the right pace, and it was very comfortable. It was a very quiet crew surprisingly no one was really saying anything, about a couple miles into the run Kristin and I get into conversations about eyeglasses and contacts and other things. Probably the most I have ever talked during a trail run. We also got into the subject of sweating, which later would be a major focus for me. I mentioned that I sweat a lot and I would not disappoint that day. We got to the 4.4 mile point, Rockledge park and I was sweating buckets (first red flag). We stopped there for a quick break and I felt a little nauseous (2nd red flag). I had felt that way on runs before and usually it was because I was running too fast. Or at least I think that was what it was now. I figured it couldn't be that though, because we weren't running fast at all, it must be because I didn't eat enough. But that didn't make sense either because I have done 15 mile road runs without eating anything at all beforehand and felt fine. The group took off for an extra few miles beyond Rockledge and Kristen told me if I waited, I could catch them on the rebound and run back with them. Great idea, it would give me time to recover. So I did that, finished off my bottle of Gatorade while sitting there sweating profusely like never before and about 10-15 min later here they come, I figure I'm refreshed and take off with them back toward MurrellPark. About 1.5 miles on the way back, I started feeling weak, losing energy (3rd red flag). I'm thinking I knew I should have stopped and got a powerbar or remembered to get my GU. So I let the group go on, I figured I would walk-run it back. I wasn't in a hurry, I actually enjoy walking though the trails and just soaking up nature anyway. I walked maybe a quarter of a mile and there's Steve and Dave there waiting on me to make sure I was good. Steve hands me some extra hydration knowing that I'm out, I didn't think I really needed it but I chugged it down it and we take off. We probably ran a couple of more miles, I feel weak again and I tell them to go ahead I'll just meet them back at Murrell. Dave then gave me instructions on how I can cut the route short if I needed to. Only about 1.5 miles to go, should be no problem. There were a lot of bikers on the trail that morning. And thank goodness there were. I start my trek northward and a lady from Finlandwhom we passed on the way to Rockledge catches up with me, we exchange a couple words about the humidity that morning and she passed me and moved on. I looked to my right and I can see where I can take a short cut through the trees to where the trail winds back around which would probably cut out about 100 feet of the trail. I start to climb up an incline to that point and my right calf cramped and seized up (warning). Oh no, not again. I stop, sit down next to the trail and stretch it out with success. I’m thinking, okay I need to get back to my truck and my hydration ASAP. I really did not know the seriousness of my situation, but I figured the cramps would come back eventually because they always do. I continued to walk very gingerly and after another 100 feet both of my calves cramp completely up and I go down. Only a few moments go by and a biker rolls by, sees me screaming in agony and offers assistance. After helping me stretch out the cramps and providing me with additional hydration and having a little bit of marathon talk with me, he directs me to where the paved road back to Murrell Park is, and takes off down the trail. I continue to walk too, not knowing exactly how far I am from Murrell Park. About a quarter mile later I see a paved road, so I take it to the right where I’m thinking Murrell Parkshould be close by. I walk another quarter mile and this was probably a bad idea because the paved road is in direct sunlight. And it was hot. Steve then calls me to find out where I am and at that moment I knew I was toast. I could feel both legs seizing up. So I decide to head straight for the shade under a tree out of the sun, lay down and let them find me. I had no idea how far away I was from them, I told Steve I see a stop sign and I think I’m near the guard shack. Before I even lay down I see he and Claudia come around the corner. Thank goodness. They give me hydration and try to work out my cramps by massaging, but it wasn’t working. After a minute or so the park ranger came by to see what’s up because we were in a restricted area. They eventually load me on the back of the truck and take me back to the parking area at Murrell Park.

So I think I’m all good, I have a half gallon of ice water in my thermos and the crew to help me get rid of this darn cramps. I eventually was able to transfer myself from the back of the Park Police’s truck to the bed of my truck where Steve, Claudia, Dave and Kristin all begin to work on me. They forced me to drink a bottle of Gatorade, lots of water a full can of coconut water, salt tablets and a banana. I’m thinking ok something as got to give. I was just trying to get to the point where I could drive home without my leg cramping up. Kristin comes over and gives me some sort of power bar, I bite into it and my neck and jaw cramps up. That is when Steve says “OK, you have two choices, either we take you home or you are going to the ER.” At that moment I knew this was way more than serious. Steve would tell me later that I opted to go home, which I don’t remember but I do remember right after I was presented with those choices, my whole body seizing up, Steve calling 911 and the only thing I wanted to do is lay there until the ambulance arrived. EVERYTHING hurt. So here I am laying there, feeling like a freaking pretzel wondering when the ambulance would get there. Since putting hydration in me wasn’t working, I suggested pouring it on me instead to cool me off. I didn’t feel hot but I figured I probably was and probably wasn’t sweating. I could hear both Steve and Claudia trying to calm me and tell me that I would be OK. Maybe for a split second I thought I may die right there in Murrell Park, but then I realized I was in a lot of pain and still conscious. I figured as long as I was alert and everything was still hurting like hell and I knew where I was then I was still OK. My main concern was that the ambulance wouldn’t find us and delay getting there, then I would be in deep doo doo because time was everything. It probably only took the ambulance 5-10 minutes to get there but it felt like an hour. The paramedics finally get there, ask me a few dumb questions, probably just to see if I was cognizant of what was going on, load me onto the gurney and on into the ambulance. I knew I was safe then. I could hear Steve calling my wife, I was more so wondering what was going through her mind. On the way to the hospital while starting my I.V. the paramedic asked me about the series of events leading up to just before they got there. He asked me about what I did the day before. I admitted to him I didn’t hydrate as much as I should have. He tells me what I already know about hydrating the day before and how he has to do the same for his job since they have to deal with being in the heat as well.

All was well when I got to the hospital, most of the cramping had stopped but I still had some cramping in my foot and toes. In all I took in a couple bags of saline intravenously. I was so dehydrated that after taking in all of that I.V. and liquids, I could not even produce a pee sample until maybe 45 minutes later. My buds showed up and then my wife and aunt. We joked about what had just happened, but we all know that was some serious stuff out there.

So what the heck caused all of this chaos? One could simply say I didn’t hydrate enough. But it was much more than that. Lets go back 24 hours. I backtracked everything I consumed up until the trail run:

Not replacing fluids and electrolytes. After the 16 miler Saturday, I took in some liquids, but I have no idea how much I need to take in. The first thing I am going to do is determine my sweat rate so I know how much I need to replace after a run.

Alcohol. I had 2 ½ beers the evening before, but only took in a half gallon of water afterward. Beer is only about 5 percent alcohol and 95 percent water. I found that when you drink a beer it causes you to urinate an extra 120 liters of urine on top of your normal urine output. Here is a good article that I found on how and why alcohol dehydrates you.

Extreme humidity. There were rains every other day leading up to that morning, making the trails into just short of a rainforest. All of the moisture should have had the humidity really high.

This is the 3rd major incident I have had with dehydration. Each time it happens you are more prone for it to happen again something I was sort of aware of but am really paying attention to now and am extremely paranoid.

Basically all of the planets lined up perfectly and collapsed with me in between them. So from now on, the 3rd week of June I'm declaring as "Hydration Awareness Week".

So like the Notorious B.I.G. says: "If you didn't know, now you know.."

All week long I have been teased about what happened, but I know its all with love lol. I have received a lot of advise all week, most of which I know already. But let me share anyway.

Happy Hydration Awareness Week

Heat exhaustion is an acute reaction to a hot, humid environment. The person will display the following: profuse sweating, dizziness, nausea, headache, and profound fatigue as the result of excess fluid loss from the body. If untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.

The person should be removed from the hot, humid environment to a cooler, well-ventilated location (e.g, indoors, under a shade tree) and placed in a head-low position. Clothing should be loosened and the person's body cooled by placing cold packs in the arm pits, on the neck, groin, and behind the knees. Fluids, in the form of water or electrolyte drinks, should be given to conscious runners. In some cases, IV fluids are necessary.

A good way to know how hydrated you are is by the color of your urine.  See below how to pass the "pee test"

Receiving treatment from Claudia and Dave.  I can't remember all of what I drank and consumed within that 30 minute period, but it was a lot