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It Was Hot, and I Was Lost

Let me start out by saying that I really do think my sense of direction has gotten better. My plan for today said that I needed to swim 1 2/3 mile and then run 14 miles. It’s my first official tough brick of the season, and I had myself ready to do it. I packed up all of my stuff last night in preparation for an early morning. The alarm went off. I snoozed it once before peeling myself out of bed. Steve didn’t even move a little bit when I told him that I’d see him in a few hours. The swim went OK. I was the first one in the pool this morning. They were resurfacing the parking lot outside, and it was smelling pretty bad of tar in the pool area, but for some miraculous reason, it didn’t seem to bother me (that smell usually chokes me into coughing fits). I hopped out of the pool, rinsed off, threw on my running clothes, ate a Powerbar, and headed out the door.

My plan today was to find my way to a lake that’s a few miles away from my house. I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. The only other time I’ve ever been there was when I took a wrong turn on my bike (really, I don’t get lost THAT often). I figured that I had 14 miles to play with; plenty of room to spare if I didn’t turn on the right street the first time. I call these “exploration runs,” when I can just strap on my GPS and go without knowing exactly where I am or how far I’ve gone. It’s amazing how many really great trails and new ways to get places I’ve found on these runs. Anyway, I headed several miles down the main road and turned on to a street that looked like it would take me to the lake. A couple of miles later, the street came to an end, so I turned onto another street that I thought was heading in the right direction. To make a long story short, I circled around the same 3 dead end streets for a while before finding my way out and heading back. By the time I found the street that I actually needed to be on, I only needed to go another 1 ½ miles before turning around to go home. I never made it to the lake. Maybe next time.

My usual runs are on a stretch where I can stop for water, food and a bathroom every ½ to 1 mile, so I can bring nutrition along, but I never really need to worry about water. I can stop and get it anywhere. I realized today that I take that for granted way too much. At about mile 6, I realized that I should really try to find some water. I kept my eye out, but there were no parks, no stores, and no convenience stations. At about mile 8, I was thinking how stupid I was for not being more prepared, but at mile 8½, I came across a very small gas station. I had my credit card with me, which is usually good enough in my neighborhood, but I had a sinking feeling that this store would require a $10 minimum, and I’d be stuck. I bought a water and a Gatorade, which came to $2.55. “You need another 45 cents,” said the attendant. Exasperated and thirsty beyond belief, I turned to the cooler next to me and asked how much the giant Mr. Freezes were. “I’ll give it to you for 45 cents, no tax,” he replied, so I bought one. I chugged half the Gatorade before he had even rung up my purchase. I ate about 3 bites of the Freeze before throwing it away, and I stashed my water by a bush down the street to get it when I came back. The peanut butter Powerbar and fruit punch Gatorade made for interesting burps for the rest of the run.

I know that this is something that I need to work on. When I’m just running, even during marathons, I don’t have a problem with getting in enough fluid. During the Ironman, though, I’ll have to be much more conscious of what I’m taking in, and I’m still trying to figure that part out. For now, any experimental runs I decide to try need to include bringing along water to go with the Powerbars or gels that I bring along.



Hey SLS - welcome to the scene! I'm so amused by our differences - I'm Mr. OCD out there, insisting on knowing every inch of my course and thwarting surprises, while you're happy to explore. I could use a little of that, I think...good for you.

You might consider a Fuel Belt for your longer runs? Works great for me - throw on some Gatorade and water and some gels in the pocket and I'm rolling.

Good luck with everything!


I'm still not sure if my explorations are a good thing or not. They just keep things interesting. I am usually OK with just carrying a few powerbars or gels and getting water as I need it on my run, but if I keep wandering off my normal course, I may need to look into the belt. Plus, it's a good way for me to practice with the Gatorade since that is what I'll (for the first time) likely be using on the IM course.