Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lauren & Rachel

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.


DawnB said...

wow that was kind of strange. It was beautiful here as wall. I would never have suspected heat stroke. I'm glad she ok. Kudos to you not over reacting for what she said to you.

Old School Runner said...

That is some scary stuff.

ShirleyPerly said...

Lucky that they recognized the symptoms and were able to get the runner to go to the ER. I don't think I've ever seen that happen personally although I have heard it does happen even when conditions are not overly hot.

CewTwo said...

As always, a great blog!

It may be fun to run, a positive avocation, or a life goal. Like everything else, though, it can have downsides. We need to help each other out and look for that in others (and in ourselves)!

Thanks for sharing!

jeanne said...

whoa. thank god they recognized what was going on. so often people ignore this kind of thing. heroes is right.

David said...

Go figure. That's scary. Makes we wonder about running solo so often.

Sunshine said...

What an interesting account.. from you again! And amazing Loren, Rachel... and of course, Peter.
What a great program you direct!

Thanks for your encouraging comments.

Rainmaker said...

Wow...but great to see that there are such good coaches to not just write it off, but instead take the extra steps and get her to the ER.

Susan said...

WOW. Scary.

Anne said...

Wow, I've never heard of insulting behavior as a part of the symptoms. Usually it's more classic stroke behavior: slurred speech, inability to move properly (I once chewed on the same piece of hamburger for 10 minutes because I'd lost the cognitive ability to swallow); weird pupils. Those two women are angels. You too for reminding us that heat-related illnesses are not dependent on the outdoor temperature. Glad the woman's going to be OK.

Don said...

That's an amazing story. I'm so glad that you told so much of it - who would have thought that put-downs would be one of the symptoms.

And very good to know that she is well and will be able to insult you again soon. :-)

Petraruns said...

Gosh I had no idea that was possible. Thank goodness that the coaches realised what was happening..