Saturday morning I joined a bunch of GRC guys for Dueling Ferries, a repeated 10-mile loop on the towpath and some gravel roads outside of Poolesville, MD. The plan was to take the first 10 miles easy, refresh with some water and then go after it in the second 10. That sounded like a great idea to me, so I was all for it.
I didn't stay out late the night before, but I wasn't in bed by 9. Unwisely, I didn't have a water bottle with me and throughout the evening I got pretty thirsty, and I'm not sure if I ever replaced what I lost.
We started the run either really easily or I was just feeling good, because it didn't seem too stressful. A few people made comments about some of the guys going for the record (2:07 something) early, so they might have a more acute sense of what is pushing it. People stopped for water at about 3.5 miles in, but Sloane and I just slowed down and kept going. Eventually the pack caught back up to us and I stayed at the front, and it quickly started speeding up when we hit the roads. I stayed up there until about nine miles, then dropped back a few seconds. I came through 10.1 miles in low 67 minutes, and had some water, but I wasn't feeling great. I decided I would run to the water pump and back, then add on closer to the cars and water bottles if I was able. Skinny Jesus and Murphy were also game for the out-and-back, and I stuck with Jake as we were amazed at how much farther the pump was on the second loop. We swore it was 20 minutes in, at a reasonable pace, but it took us shy of 26 minutes this time.
I was fading by that point, about 13.5-.75 miles in. I poured some water over my head, but it didn't help. Asish and Ian were waiting and they went with Jake, and I took it a lot slower. After a while, I just stopped and walked. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but I think it's what I needed to do. My body was revolting against me. It happened so fast, I was amazed at how my form and will to continue broke down. My neck was burning up, my limbs were going numb and I just couldn't continue. I got back to the starting point, and immediately doused myself with ice water. It felt good, but I couldn't do it fast enough.
I went home and barely moved for a few hours. I took a nap and had dreams about having miles and miles to go on the towpath. Then on my way to a party near Shaw, my friend Alan and I came across a man who passed out in the street and we attended to him while waiting for an ambulance. He had some kind of heat exhaustion, and it was a powerful cautionary sign for me to take a lot better care of myself. Dickson said it pretty well while we ruminated on the way home- when things go south on a long run, they don't take their time getting worse...