"Keep Your People Humble and Hydrated"
“Crisis occurs when our theories about ourselves in relation to the outside world go fundamentally wrong.” - Carol Osborne I've mentioned that I don't take many trail runners (most ultras are on trails, but I am HERE for the emerging road ultra races!!!!). This is because I cannot get potential clients to take the risks inherent to the sport seriously enough. One minute you are running on a trail, one wrong turn later you are in a wilderness survival situation. We can, and should, hope the worst doesn't happen AND learn some survival basics just in case. I don't care how much time you've spent camping/hiking/trying-out-for-Survivor, if you don't know what to do when the snake bites you, if you don't know how much water to carry on a 90 degree day vs a 75 degree day, if you cannot use a compass...IMHO you have some homework to do before you get on a trail for any reason or any duration.
But I can't convince anyone of this. We have been so brainwashed to believe that 'natural' and 'organic' are tantamount to 'safe' that we forget that poop, e.coli and AIDS are also natural and organic. (spoiler alert: You'll find a lot of the first two in the woods)
Yesterday, I read this article and was inspired to drill my impressions down a bit for the (few!) Trail runners on this list. First though, I shared it on Facebook with a note about heat. Maybe 20 people noticed it.
Then I got a direct message from one of my husband's friends. Holy Sh*t.
Woah, that is REAL. A really good runner, in a top medical school, with biology and earth science degrees, died in the Grand Canyon on a casual run due to poor planning. Read her story here.
I may be screaming into the abyss when I post these cautions, but I'm not going to stop posting them. I cannot stop you from making bad decisions, but I can make sure you know with certainty what your coach considers a bad decision to be. You will not head into the wild talking stupidly about nay-chuuur like a contestant on Naked and Afraid unless you are DETERMINED to do so in spite of me.
This heat advisory will hopefully break soon. Until it does, please take the heat warnings SERIOUSLY.
Imma make you work with a nutritionist if you want to run ultras, because proper nutrition MATTERS. Imma make you learn the basics of wilderness first aid if you wanna run trails. Imma send you to REI and Boy Scout camp to learn the basics of navigating places that don't have cell phone service, because if you take a wrong turn on a trail, you are in the WILDERNESS. Because that's where trails are, yo. I will give you a heads up before this begins so you can find another Coach if a few safety courses are just too much to ask of someone training in the woods 10+ hours per week for 6 months to prep for a, 8+ hour event.
Or, do like me and embrace concrete. Because nothing says, 'Humans wuz HEEERE, yo!' Like concrete. Concrete makes me feel safe. Concrete makes my soul smile...says the girl who grew up in rural TN and never once went into the woods there. Because trespassers that aren't shot on sight will be bitten by ticks, snakes and bears.
You are coached. You are loved. 'Not dying' is the ultimate way to win at life.
MK #stayhumble #coachedandloved Embedded Links Above 1. https://www.irunfar.com/2018/07/trail-first-aid-heat-exhaustion-and-heat-stroke.html 2. https://www.outsideonline.com/2315436/surviving-rattlesnake-bite 3. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/aug/17/news/os-canyondeath17 4. https://www.facebook.com/brooksmk 5. https://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/naked-and-afraid/ I CANNOT recommend this show highly enough. Self-identified 'survival experts' are paired up and sent into various locations to survive for 21 days with absolutely nothing, not even clothing. This doesn't make the show sexy, it makes it complicated. What comes first, sunscreen or shelter? Or finding potable water? When the former marine makes fun of the silly woman who wants to cover her skin, you realize that all the best survival training is only valuable when you can be humble. Hubris never, ever wins in survival situations. 6. For the record, Chris McCandless is an IDIOT. NO WE SHOULD NOT CARE ABOUT HIM. We should learn from his mistakes. ALL OF THEM. You wanna be smarter than him, you need to make better choices than he did.