And just like that, I found the answers I was searching for in my last blog post.
Just not where I expected to find them.
This past weekend Geoff and I joined about 40 of our friends for a weekend of camping on the Deerfield River in Western Massachusetts. The weekend involved a tubing trip down the Deerfield, timed around the whitewater dam release, and thus, allowing us 5+ hours of us floating through a bunch of class II & III rapids. (Yes, on tubes, much to the amusement of the white water rafters and kayakers. Don’t worry, I wore a PFD). The weather was absolutely perfect, the water, a bit chilly (58 degrees, according to my extensive google search), and truth be told, I should have known what was about to happen.
|This picture of a friend makes me laugh so hard. The intensity of the rafters vs. the simplicity of the tube.
When worlds collide. (I promise you, the river wasn’t THAT intense).
I should have known that despite everyone else in their bathing suits, shorts, and t-shirts, that I should have shown up in a full wetsuit (maybe even a hood, booties, and gloves). I should have known that 58 degrees and sitting still for 5 hours is a far cry to the constant paddling in 80+ degree water during the hours spent surfing I used to endure down South. I should have remembered that my body has a horrible time at maintaining it’s core temperature when cold, never mind when cold AND wet.
But instead, I simply froze.
|I don’t remember this picture being taken.
But clearly, I’m not having fun.
It was a textbook case of the three stages of hypothermia (fortunately, I never made it to stage 3). Starting with the discomfort, shivering, and copious amounts of complaining (sorry, Geoff). Eventually came the violent shivering, following by the cessation of shivering, cessation of talking (that’s a big one for me, I typically never shut my trap) and completely irrational thought processes (like when some friends suggested I take off my wet clothes I had on over my bathing suit to get warm, I absolutely refused. I also refused to switch my white tube for someone’s black, warm tube, because…I have no idea). I refused to eat or drink anything, because it took too much effort. Next came tunnel vision, then I don’t remember much after that…except for completely being unable to walk when they finally got me out of the river.
Thankfully, a warm, dry hoodie, some body heat in the form of hugs from friends, and a package of goldfish crackers (you take what you can get) snapped me out of the danger zone pretty quickly (though it would be another 48 hours before I felt completely normal again). And once the color to my skin, feeling to my extremities, and normal Heather chatter returned, the first thing out of my mouth was:
“I’m so NOT doing the Ultra Beast”.
Rumor from the course designer is that this year’s course consists of a considerable amount of swimming, far more than last year. The water on and around Killington mountain is COLD (last year, reportedly around 40 degrees), and let’s not forget the spring fed freezing water they shoot at you from the snow making guns. Sure, there is always a chance that it’s 90 degrees on race day come late September, but I know Vermont, and chances are even better that it will be significantly cooler, if not half that.
And what it boils down to is that my body simply sucks at maintaining body heat. Proof alone is this weekend, where EVERYONE ELSE was enjoying their time on the river, in nothing more than swimsuits, and meanwhile my body was beginning to shut down because I couldn’t stay warm. I wish I knew why it happened (and it always does). The first suggestion ALWAYS thrown out by others is that I “need body fat”. Well kids, the truth is, I’m currently hovering around 23%. Well in the healthy zone, and actually HIGHER than the “athletic” zone.
I’m at a loss.
Because it is one thing to suck up discomfort and keep pushing forward. It’s another when your body simply takes over.
So, much to my chagrin (and much to Geoff’s relief), we are going to do the Beast, and skip the Ultra Beast. I’ve been back and forth on this decision (as you all well know) for months now. But this weekend’s (scary) reality was the slap in the face that made the decision for me. One 13+ mile loop will have to be enough.
So Deerfield River…thanks, I guess.
|View from our campsite.|
How do you deal with colder temps? Short of wearing a wetsuit to climb Killington (not gonna happen, talk about chaffing), do you have any suggestions for dealing with the cold?