Ghosts and Gatorade

Oy, I’ve been dragging this past week. We don’t have fall color changes here in the  Valley of the Sun (pretty much brown year round) but one of the signs that the season has changed besides Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry cereals appearing on the shelves, is we get sick. Pretty much a certainty, just like when the kids return to school after summer break.

“What did you learn in school today, son?”

“That there’s a case of strep going around.”

Thursday night in the wee hours of the morning, I got a chill. Not a spooky chill like there was a ghost in the room – although I’m pretty sure late uncle Eddie gets his kicks moving my glasses while I’m sleeping – but the chill you get when you’re hot and cold at the same time. Gwen would later tell me I had a fever. I woke up having to pee really badly but I was barely keeping warm under the covers. Laying there in misery for what seemed like an hour, I finally went for it. I thought, I’ll run! Yeah, that didn’t go so well.

The second I stood, I started shivering and banged my shin on the edge of the box frame. Gwen stirred and I whispered, “Shh, it’s just me vacuuming,” thinking that would appease her because she hates to do it. I did the shiver-shuffle to the bathroom groping for the walls afraid I was going to pass out. Wouldn’t she love to find me on the bathroom floor in the morning with my underpants around my ankles and a bruised shin.

As badly as I was shaking, I decided it was better to sit down. If worse came to worst, I would blame the kids.

After another couple hours of sleep, I felt better and went to work where there is a thermostat war raging between the receptionist and the financial executive.

Friday night I wanted to get in six miles so that I could hit a trail on Saturday. I managed to run most of the first three miles, then all of a sudden I felt weak, like my energy reserves had petered out and I got really thirsty. One word popped into my head: sugar. I smacked my lips, boy, a grape soda would be really good right now!

For the next three miles, most of which I walked, I weighed the arguments in my mind: grape soda or Gatorade. Gatorade has the nutrients, electrolytes and carbs my body needs. Grape soda has sugar. Gatorade comes in a bigger bottle but man the carbonation and strong flavor of grape soda would sure be satisfying…  and on it went. I kid you not.

The minute I got home, I grabbed my car keys and told my wife I was going out for a drink. What did I get? Both of them. While slamming the grape soda in the QT parking lot, I thought, I’ll save the Gatorade for my hike in the morning. When I got home, Gwen was in bed so I sat and watched Star Trek (original series episode, yes, I’m a proud Trekkie) and drank the Gatorade.

I sat there, basking in my hydration, rubbing my extended belly. “I think I’ll name you… Graporade,” I told it and belched my kids’ full names.

The next morning, I felt fine and was looking forward to a three mile hike in the brisk desert air. If you read my last blog, you know how the Turnbuckle trail got the best of me last week. So now I was out for revenge. This week I’ll conquer those switchbacks!

Guess I should have known I was in for it when I stood at the trailhead setting my Runkeeper app and a lady with a walking stick said, “You look lost. Do you need help with the trails?”

“No, I’m just testing my Life-Alert button.” I never saw her again.

The difference between this hike and last week’s hike is that last week was a run, or an attempt at it. This week would be a moderately paced hike.

I did well up until the switchbacks. Once I started up those, again my energy reserves gave out and I felt weak, wishing I had brought some fuel. I had my Camelback with ice water (which I finally figured out how to properly use, which is another story), but no snacks. It was just a three miler. Who brings snacks?

I started looking around at the vegetation. Didn’t the Yavapai use that plant for food? Or was it for starting fires? As I continued up, I slowed down and could feel my head starting to swim. Not a good sign. I rested on a rock and began to make my peace with God. “Doug!” I looked up, “Yes, Father. I am ready.”

“It’s Doug Irby! Heeeyy!” Coming down the trail was my buddy, Steve, his family and some other friends waving and yelling. I couldn’t help but smile. Good, a large group. They can distribute my body weight.

“How’s it going?” We chatted for a few minutes and I tried not to complain, always truly happy to see friends. Then he told me he just did 22 push-ups out on the vista point. “That’s nice,” I said.

“Wanna see?” as he pulled out his phone.

“I believe you” and I watched the little high-speed video of him cranking out push-ups like a hyperactive cricket against a gorgeous mountain backdrop. That’s not natural, I thought. There’s something wrong with him. But it was then I decided that the Insanity classes had really done him well and I should find a way to make that work.

The problem is, I am gone eleven hours a day, Monday through Friday, and sit nine hours of it at a desk. It is much too sedentary. I remember an article last year in Runner’s World that cardio exercise loses most of its health benefits when you sit for so long. I do have a stand-up/sit down workstation but movement is what’s needed. Here’s a link to a similar article I found online.

Maybe old uncle Eddie is just doing his part to get me my morning cardio with the daily glasses search.

Here’s to hoping this week is better because Ragnar is closing in. I did just order some nighttime running gear so that’s exciting.

Cool runnings, my friends!


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