Interested in hearing what goes on in the mind of a life coach/aerobics instructor? While it can be a bizarre place, it's always entertaining...mostly at my expense. Witness my struggle/dance/frustration/celebration with change as I stray out of my comfort zone and encounter other brave and interesting souls along the way.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Odyssey--Thirst Aid

The crowd started to spread out around Mile 2 and finally there was some room to run. Race day conditions were fantastic. Running legend, Alberto Salazar, would later say that these were the best conditions he had ever seen for this race. The temperatures were in the high 60s and the humidity was relatively low for Hawaii. This had been a major concern of mine--how to keep from getting dehydrated during the 4 hours of running? Back in California's winter I had learned to carry water with me and had even invested in a nerdy, but necessary, runner's belt which held a water bottle and a gel bottle. But I knew that Hawaiian winters were very different and that when the sun rose around 6:45am, the heat would rise and take its toll.

At Mile 3 I noticed people suddenly veering to either the left or the right. And for the first time I saw one of the Aid Stations that would sustain me for the next few hours. A rulebook had advised moving to the last table of the aid stations to get water and to keep moving. This was easier said than done as it was still dark and bodies moved in a random fashion. Discarded paper cups littered the ground along with a considerable amount of spilt water. (The women's defending champion would fall navigating through an aid station and finish the race in second place, bloody and bruised.)

I got in and out of the first station rather awkwardly but safe and felt a boost of energy from the cold water. These stations popped up every 2 miles or so and I began to search for them on the horizon just so I could have an excuse to walk a few yards while sipping water or the Japanese sports drink they handed out, Amino Value. Later stations also had my favorite ammenity: huge sponges soaked in trashcans filled with ice water. What a blessing those were! I also saw dip sticks with a glob of Vaseline at some stations for those experiencing the chafing that comes from too many hours spent doing such a repetitive motion.

Literally 1000s of volunteers stood along the route at these aid stations and they always had an encouraging word. The race could not happen without them.


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