Starships (Part 1)

Pre-Race

8:30 came and went. Standing around chit-chatting, the air felt warm and slightly humid. I was getting anxious, rearing to go like horses corralled in cages. Every muscle was waiting for that door to open. 8:45 3, 2, 1, GO!

We were told that if we wanted to get a fast start on the trail, we would need to use our speed to pass on the gravel track leading to the trail, as large portions of it were single-track. I didn’t want to gun it and run out of steam. Plus, I haven’t completed a single speed-work session since my IT injury.

The Sutalle 10 mile trail race was the equivalent of a tempo training run for me, as I was signed up for the Deep South 15k trail race the weekend after. Two weeks ago, I spent every fiber in my muscles on the Twisted Ankle Trail half, beating my pre-preggo time and coming in 6th AG AND  17th overall in the women’s division.

Shutter, I suddenly became of aware of the fact that I was cold. Cold? It’s friggin’ hot as hades out here! How can I be cold? I didn’t need to look at my arms.  I could feel the Goosebumps on every pore. I glanced at my watch, 5.36 miles.

I didn’t gun it on the gravel track. My plan was to stick to my tempo pace and overtake others, as they ran out of steam. It worked. I zoomed through the first 5 miles with not a single hitch, passing runners along the way, some passing me as well. No hesitating at the ditch jumps, no halting at the log hops, or faltering along the large, marble rocks. I side-winded my way down steep declines, confident in my steps, my PureGrits holding tight onto the loose dirt. Sailing around curves, I didn’t blink at the sudden drops along the sides of the single-track trail. Oops, was that poison ivy? Great…

“Starships were meant to fly,

Hands up and touch the sky,

Can’t stop, ‘cause we’re so high…”-Nicki Minaj

Too much light. The trail seemed flooded with fuzzy sunlight, but I kept going. You’re imagining things, Isabel. Focus on the trail. This isn’t the time to let your mind wander.

I pulled some  hearty sips from my pack. I craved water, just plain water. Cold, plain water. The electrolyte mix in my pack felt tepid, and I should have added some ice cubes prior to the run. Sigh. I saw runners slowing at the aid station, the last one on the trail. I grabbed a cup of water and was barely able to bring it to my mouth, the shaking causing precious drops to slosh over the edges. A volunteer eyeballed me, and I gave a thumbs up.

Little did I know, but I was already exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion.

“Symptoms of heat exhaustion include fatigue; goose bumps; weaknessheadache; dizziness; nausea; vomiting; decreased coordination; possible fainting; and skin that is cool, moist, pale, or flushed.” –About.com

The ones bolded are the symptoms I felt between 5.5 and 7. I attributed them to my lack of concentration and increased pace. Leaving the last aid station, there were still a little over 3 miles. Only 30 minutes, I told myself.  Let’s go. 

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