Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Carry some water! Or not…

Allow me to set the scene.  The San Antonio crew had driven out to Bandera for some rocky miles in the 90 degree heat Saturday.  A nice new girl had joined  us.  We’re all standing in the parking lot loaded down with water in water packs and handhelds.  We notice that Nice New Girl is not carrying any water.  No pack.  No water bottle.  Someone says something to the effect of, “Hey, do you need a water bottle?”

“No, I’m not going all that far.”

I think the plan was for a ten mile loop as a group.  Ten miles at Bandera can take 2 1/2 hours sometimes.  Especially if it’s your first time running there.  Now, I know you can survive without water for 2 1/2 hours.  Even in 90 degree heat and crazy humidity.  But why would you?

A couple of other folks offered her water bottles.

“No, I have one.  I just don’t want to take it.”

And we headed off.  And she was fine.  Though, of course, she did say she wished she’d carried some water.  (And she was very nice and it’d be great to run with her again.)

The whole thing led to a lot of discussion about what responsibility runners have to each other.  Ultimately nobody thought it was a “Take the keys away; she shouldn’t be driving” kind of situation.  But I think it is  a situation that merits the risk of being perceived as overbearing for the sake of safety.  “Hey, 10 miles here could take 2 1/2 hours, and if you twist an ankle on the ba-zillion rocks, it could take a lot longer than that.  And you’ll run better tomorrow if you don’t let yourself get dehydrated on the run today.  AND I’m going to act like a grumpy old lady if you get heat exhaustion and I have to share my water with you.”  Well, maybe that last bit should just be implied.  And, of course, if someone else gets hurt, and you can’t help out with extra water, well, that’s lame. (Wilderness Medicine Instructor and all.)

Part of me is impressed with her self-confidence though.  Surrounded by a group of older, experienced runners all carrying pounds of water, she thought she knew better.  Good for her.  Did I mention she was very nice?

PS. Due to technical difficulties (Asa threw a tantrum — and a booster seat…), there will be no video of the talk last night.  If anyone ever asks me to talk about my running adventures again, I’ll get it taped, — so I can figure out how to do it a bit better.  It wasn’t quite what I’d hoped it would be.  You know, inspiring and life-changing.  ;)

Sleep log: 8 hours

Run log: 13 miles, 2:15 ish hours

Food log:  Totally missed the boat on protein.  Oops.  (Goal 75-90g)

 

 

 

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  • Domingo

    That’s a road runners mentality. Most don’t want to carry water because it is usually easily accessible. Not in Bandera.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Agreed.

  • Steve Wray

    I don’t know. Maybe she just really knows her needs. You see some people running ultras with a hydration pack, gaitors, leg and arm sleeves, extra layers just in case, etc. and others with only a pair of shorts and a bottle. That said, I think running 10 out there without water…not the best decision.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Good points. But are you saying I shouldn’t pack my earmuffs for Western States?

  • http://stevequick.blogspot.com/ SteveQ

    I ran a 50 Miler in 90 degree heat without any water, including what was available at aid stations. It was stupid, but it also resulted in my best time on that course. I was having a medical problem that made it impossible to swallow – had had it before, but not during a race – and I knew I could manage 9 to 11 hours without water, though I’d suffer for it. Of course, I wouldn’t do it again and wouldn’t suggest it to anyone else, but there are people who still introduce me as “the guy who did Voyageur without water.”

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Sounds brutal. That’s a neat introduction though.

    • http://seriouscaseoftheruns.blogspot.com Paige T.

      Whoa, no water at VOYAGEUR?! That’s wild! The 2010 race was just about my personal humidity limit and I can’t imagine running without water for more than a few steps there :) Yowza!

  • Steve Wray

    Earmuffs are permitted only if they have some kind of furry animal on them.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      I was thinking monkey heads — or frogs. Not sure yet.

  • Steve Wray

    Like kiddie earmuffs, not the fur…oops.

  • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

    I figured.

  • http://www.gregsrunningadventures.blogspot.com/ Greg L.

    I do the opposite when I run with my road running club. We we go out for a flat 13 in cool weather and I have my camelbak (2L), fuel belt, gel flasks, bandana, headlamp, gaiters, etc. I feel naked without all my stuff even if I don’t need it. You never know, the 24 hour 7-11 may be closed.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      When I was first learning to climb, I carried 50 pounds of gear up any climb. I never used a quarter of it. I looked ridiculous, I’m sure, but I figured it was good training. I feel the same about water and safety gear on runs in the backcountry. Probably won’t need it, but it’s a little extra training carrying the extra weight. Right? And, honestly, if carrying a handheld water bottle slows you down that much…