by Mike Vuono
August 14th, 2019
Last week I went for my middle of the week long run, this time the distance was 16 miles around a 5ish mile radius near my house. Despite the relative "localness" of the run, it's a pretty isolating type of activity. I wake up early and hit the streets in darkness to avoid some of the heat, and to reduce the amount of shiny metal deathboxes driving by me while I run on the sidewalk. I'm not a fast runner, 16 miles takes me a while. Being alone with your thoughts doing something that is physically miserable for three hours can take a toll.
I have this like, water bottle and storage pocket combo thing I run with. It's a water bottle that has fabric and shit around it so that it creates a pocket on the outside. It lets me put my keys, credit card, mp3 player, and some gross "nutrition" food-like substance in it for the run. The watter bottle itself holds half a liter of water.
Running for almost 3 hours though, I sweat. A lot. I sweat out somewhere between 2 and 4 liters of water during a long run based on my pre-run and post-run weights. That's a fuck ton of water to sweat out. Everything is drenched by the time I get home. My socks have white streaks going down them from all my sweat running down my body and the salt staining the fabric. I wear a goofy looking hat with a tiny, tiny little bill on it; it's all fabric, no cardboard in the bill and no snapping clasps or anything on it. I do this because I otherwise tear through "normal" hats on these runs. A few weeks ago my neighbor in my building saw me return from one of these long runs and went back into her apartment to grab an umbrella. She legitimately thought it was raining with how drenched I was. No way I could be sweating all that out.
It's important to hydrate before, during, and after a run of this magnitude. With my water bottle only holding half a liter, and my running routes being somewhat scattered around and far apart (to avoid running a 1K loop at a local park and being so bored that I just start fucking barking back at dogs in the nearby dog park,) I sometimes find myself running a little dry. It hasn't been uncommon for me to run 10-12 miles and only drink that one half liter before finally getting to a water fountain somewhere to refill.
This was the case last week.
I had drank a total of 1 liter of water throughout my 16 mile run. I had run the entire time harder than I wanted to, exerting more energy than what was needed, getting hotter, getting sweatier. Legs working too hard. Legs feeling like shit. Breath feeling heavy. My face looking like someone just told me my dog died. This is the shitty way to bang out 16 miles.
I made it home, drank about another liter of water, and then showered and tended to logistic shit. Wring out my shorts. Wring out my shirt. Wring out each sock. Hang them all up to dry (they will be worn again tomorrow, I am a crusty runner.) Clean up the water bottle a bit, charge my mp3 player, export the running data from my watch to my online account, etc. Lots of little things that on a normal day amount to very little effort. But when your legs feel like they are actively being ripped apart from the inside, and you've lost a few pounds of water weight, and you've burnt 1,500 calories and haven't eaten anything yet, everything feels impossible. I am barely a functioning human at this point.
So once I was done with everything I put on the air conditioner and laid in bed. I fell in and out of shitty sleep for about 2 hours. Life didn't suck, but existence itself was sort of up in the air at that moment as I drifted between varying states of consciousness and my body raged from the inside.
Eventually I said to myself, "okay it's time to get up and make some food." I got up and walked approximately 24 feet to a chair in the living room. My body immediately heated up. I started sweating. I peeled my shirt off myself and stood up. I felt light-headed when I arose. Don't fall over and hit your head on something and die you fucking idiot.
Water glass is empty. Walk to kitchen, which is literally like, six fucking feet away. Gonna grab Brita filter from fridge and fill up glass. Feel nauseous. Don't move. Body heats up more. Body is drenched, dripping sweat. I'm gonna barf. Yep, def gonna barf. Lean over the sink and breath heavy. Control your breath. Control. Breath. Turn on the faucet and start splashing face. Rub cold water all over face. Drink some water from hand. Dirty mug sitting inside the sink has filled halfway with water. Grab it and chug it. Take more deep breaths, focus on not barfing.
I stayed in this position for about five minutes. That's a really long time to be in a limbo-barf-pass-out state. Eventually I drank enough water and cooled down enough to walk back to a chair in the living room. I sat down and over the next few hours I drank five liters of water while I watched Avengers: End Game and shifted my legs between three different positions every five minutes, never finding any comfort.
Another successful long run in the books.