My dad was walking toward me from the end of butterfly alley. He had a fresh sweat towel for me. Boy did I need it! My original one was weighing me down! It was soaking!
I felt like a pro runner, I mean I had my own personal towel guy to meet me on the trail! Dad handed me the towel and walked next to me (I was still ‘running’ but much slower now).
When we made it to the car, I handed all my empty bottles to dad and tried to do a stretch break. I drank every last bit of water he had. I finally had to get back on the trail. Dad asked me if I needed anything else. I just said, “More water.”
“Just plain water?”
“Yeah, just water.”
I took off down the trail. Dad was going to meet me at the next cross street which was only about the length of three large city blocks. I wasn’t sure how he was going to get all the way to the nearest store and back in time. Then I realized how slow I was moving. He’d be back with time to spare!
I couldn’t believe how slow I was now moving. I thought, “I can’t believe how bad this heat is effecting me!”
I reflected back on other times I was cycling or hiking in the heat. I felt different this time. It wasn’t the same. What was different today? Humidity? Yeah. But it wasn’t the usual heat sickness I was feeling.
I thought back to fuel. FUEL!!!! I didn’t fuel!! OMG!!! I was so worried about getting out as early as possible, I didn’t have my usual pre-run breakfast of 300 - 400 calories. I just grabbed my electrolyte mix which is great to counteract the heat. But it will not give your body enough calories to go far. I didn’t bring bars or gels either. What was I thinking??!!??
“Why did I tell Dad I only wanted water?” I thought, “I am an idiot!”
I saw his car come down the road back from the store. I was still several yards from the trail head. I saw Dad jump out of the car and run like a bat out of hell across the four lane road. Two bottles in his hands. He dropped them at the foot of the post at the end of the trail and high tailed it back to his car.
“Why isn’t he waiting?” I thought.
He turned back to me waved and yelled, “Can’t park! Can’t Park!! Meet you later!!”
(My dad and I are spooky like that. We can read each other’s thoughts. I’m not kidding. It’s freaky.)
He jumped in his car and sped off. Damn! I was going to politely ask (and beg if I had to) for him to go back to the store to get me some carb loaded drink. Too late now.
I made it (barely) to the post and bent down to grab the bottles. Holy holy holy!! My dad had left one bottle of water .....and a bottle of carb loaded drink!!
Thank God my dad doesn’t listen to me.
I told you we were freaky!
I didn’t stop because I was worried about getting started again. So I grabbed both bottles and chugged the carbs down in almost one slug! AHHHHHH........I could feel my body just absorbing the carbs like a sponge! Oh thank goodness!
I kept running. I knew I was only about two miles out and I always say, “You can suffer through two miles of anything.” But I was ready to be done!
Dad met me one more time on the trail. He didn’t have any more carb drink. But he had more water. I handed him my empty bottles and kept plugging away.
I was running past landmarks now that I knew was leading up to the last piece. Finally I saw the traffic wizzing by on First St which marked the end of the trail and my run for the day.
I saw my dad walking from his car toward the end of the trail. I was still at least a quarter mile out and I knew dad had always walked down the trail to meet me at our past meeting places. I was so wore out (mentally and physically) that I knew I would stop running where ever I was when he met me. Regardless of if I was at the end or not. I know I was only a quarter mile out. But I always finish the distance to the last foot. It’s a ‘thing’ with me.
I started chanting in my head, “Stay up there. Stay up there.”
Dad stepped onto the trail and walked over to the stop sign on the right side. He turned and faced me from afar, took off his hat, waved it at me and then plopped it on top of the stop sign and waited patiently.
I told you, we hear each other’s thoughts.
I managed to tap the stop sign as the official end to my long run in Iowa. I was spent! Dad held another water bottle out to me and said, “Need some more water Jill?”
“No, thanks. I think I’ll have some later.”
“You look like you need more now!” And with that he squeezed the chilled water bottle and just doused me from head to toe!!! Yeowwwww!!!!
Boy it felt good! What a happy ending to quite an adventure.
However, I didn’t realize at the time, another adventure was brewing and this one was not so happy....