2007-08-11 - Hypotensive Bonk

16+ miles @ 14+ min/mi

"Hi Mark!" On Friday afternoon Pete Darmody catches me by surprise on the Metro. I don't recognize him since he's not wearing a singlet and shorts. Pete is a fast runner, to my misfortune in the same age/sex cohort as I am this year. We chat about road racing, local architectural history, and trains (he's a self-confessed reformed "foamer"). Pete grew up in the neighborhood near Northwest Branch, and the conversation reminds me that I haven't jogged along that trail for many a day.

So mid-morning Saturday as the temperature warms from the 70's into the lower 80's I set out to run a big loop: from home via Forest Glen Rd. to Sligo Creek Trail (~15 min), upstream through Wheaton Regional Park to the horse stables (~55 min), down the west-bank Northwest Branch Trail to Colesville Rd. (~45 min), and continuing along the stream to Piney Branch Rd. (~50 min). At that point I suddenly feel exhausted — "bonked", in distance-running slang — and decide to head home. Thereafter I mostly walk. I trek to Sligo Creek Trail via Piney Branch (~20 min) and follow SCT to Colesville, and thence Dale Dr. to home (~50 min).

My extreme fatigue for the final five miles is probably due to dehydration, even though I've been drinking steadily. Two miles from home as I refill my water bottle (for the third time during the journey) I belatedly remember that I'm carrying Succeed! electrolyte capsules. I take one, and start to feel slightly more chipper as I arrive home. My weight is down ~3 lbs., however, and my blood pressure an hour afterwards is in a dangerously low 70/55 zone.

Only one fall interrupts the trip, near the halfway point as I trip over a big rock while reading a sign that offers information about side trails. I tumble like a house of cards, but suffer only minor scrapes on left hand, right forearm, and right calf. I almost take the Lockwood Dr. shortcut home there and then, but remember that part of today's mission is to look at the underside of the high Beltway Bridge over Northwest Branch. It's a steel bridge of the same design as the one that collapsed in Minnesota last week. (cf. HighBridge, 12 Aug 2007)