I was gratified to receive the welcome email that came in last night.
It said in essence, Please forget my crazy rambling this morning. I'm all right now. I had a heat related illness but the coaches took me to the ER and now I have a clean bill of health. Thank you.
Who would have suspected heat-related problems yesterday morning? It was beautiful for running, cool and overcast with a low dew-point. A remarkable August morning for the nation's capital.
My club's ten-mile training program which I direct is more than half-way over. We ran eight miles on the flat W&OD Trail, a beautiful 40-mile long paved-over railroad bed that marches westward from near the banks of the Potomac to past the bucolic town of Leesburg.
This strong runner had led most of the way but pulled up, fatigued, a half mile from the end. She sat for awhile with the volunteer coach who had been running with her in a shaded glen beside the trail.
Then they returned the rest of the way where there was water, Gatorade and cool pops. It was so cool and breezy that as I stood there in my damp running tanktop after my 72-minute run, I wished I had brought along a sweatshirt.
This runner started talking oddly. She said she was going to ace the club's 15K race next weekend. She became mildly insulting, looking at me and saying, Last year I ran straight 7-minute miles there, although that's not in your league.
Well, straight sevens for multiple miles is known to be beyond my ability, and I knew this runner's bio. While she is strong and fast, she has never run straight sevens in a race.
The runner lay down in the grass and still talking non-stop, reached up and started rhythmically clapping her hands above her head. The volunteer coach kept her engaged in conversation. Soon that coach and another one had coaxed her into a car where they ran the A/C and gave her water. After checking that they had a cell phone, I left. She was in good hands with these two.
Coaches Lauren and Rachel are great boons to the Program. Not only do they commit their time to run with slower runners and endeavor to give them a quality, learning running experience, but they had recognized this runner's slightly erratic behavior and acted. They stayed with her until her situation was resolved, in this case, by a precautionary trip to the ER where she received an IV solution.
A simple run in beautiful conditions can be on the margin of catastrophe, or even tragedy, without anyone noticing.
My lifelong search for heroes? Here are two.