Friday, June 11, 2010
Walking (or rather, Running), In Memphis
Back to that initial run…..I was steaming along for about a mile before I realized I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew. I planned my post-landing jaunt as a five mile out-and-back along the river promenade, which would bring me though a battery of sprinklers which, I hoped, would cool me down on the way back just as they had on the way out. I had a bottle of water with me whose temperature changed from that of iced tea to that of steamed espresso over the next two miles. Rather than drinking it, I ended up pouring most of it over my head in a futile attempt to cool down. Along the run I observed old fashioned riverboats plying the Mississippi, two other runners lurching by in the opposite direction who looked like escapees from a mental asylum, and an amorous couple having sweaty sex along the “multi-use” path behind the retaining wall of a large apartment building.
As I hit the turn-around point I stopped to gather some energy for the way back. Big mistake. What little breeze I was generating by moving forward died away and I was left standing in a pool of my own (diminishing) sweat, roasting under the hot Tennessee sun. I started to feel dizzy, then nauseous, which I recognized as the classic symptoms of heat exhaustion. My choices at that moment were fairly limited. I was in a field, with no shade about three miles from my hotel. I had no money and had no idea how to get back other than by the way I came. I decided that I would take off my shirt, dump the rest of my water over my head and make a bee-line for the sprinklers about 1.5 miles back. With the shirt off and a bit of a headwind, I made it without dropping dead, but when I got there, the sprinklers had been turned off. I tossed in the towel and walked the rest of the way. It took about 15 minutes for my heart rate to come down to normal, despite the frigid AC and cold towels I scarfed from the hotel gym. Lesson learned.