Let me tell you about my 12-mile training walk yesterday - and the issue that hit me fast and furious.
A friend of mine (who happens to do triathlons, so she's in pretty good shape) offered to join me on my walk yesterday. We planned a route and planned to meet at my house at 7:30. I knew it was late - I would have preferred starting the walk before 7, but since she was joining me, I didn't want to ask too much of her on a Saturday, you know?
Anyway, we got started on our walk at about 8 and I was a little worried - the high for the day was 92 and it was already a bit sticky outside. Plus, I knew the walk would take about 4 hours and that had us ending at noon.
Honestly, the first 11 miles weren't too terrible. In the midst of miles 10 and 11 I started getting a bit cranky because of the heat - the trail we were walking had very little shade. Also, we were running out of water. But otherwise, I was feeling fine. Sore muscles, but no cramps or anything - I felt like I could comfortable finish the 12 miles.
But it was right as we started the 12th mile that things began going terribly wrong. Out of the blue, I was struck with waves of nausea.
As a kid, I was very susceptible to heat stroke. I never drank enough water and lived in Texas. Plus, I was too ashamed to wear shorts in public, so I was always clad in unforgiving jeans during the height of the Texas summers. To say I passed out a few times growing up would be sadly accurate. So, I knew what that queasy feeling meant as I was overcome by it yesterday: Dehydration and potential heat stroke.
We stopped in a bit of shade for a few minutes - painfully close to the trail head and my friend's air conditioned vehicle, but there was still a mile to walk and less than 8 ounces of water in my bottle.
The key to my issue was water. The heat didn't help, but would have been bearable if I had brought enough water. I drank about 5 ounces, keeping the last three in case of a dire emergency. We slowed down the pace and continued on the walk, but I honestly had to stop every tenth of a mile or so to stand in whatever shade I could find.
It was truly a blessing from God when we saw a water fountain at a church that abuts the walking trail. They put it there for the walkers and it saved me, it truly did. I rested on a bench near the fountain and sipped water for about five minutes before we again began hobbling our way to the end of the trail.
A trail head never looked so good, let me tell you!
Since I have a 9-mile walk scheduled today and many more long walks ahead of me, I went to the sporting goods store last night and bought a hydrating backpack. It holds 50 ounces of water and I am really looking forward to testing it out this evening. I overslept today, sadly, and missed my window to start the 9-mile trek this morning. Luckily, the high is only 82 today and I'm planning to walk at the lake where it should feel cooler.