Sun Fatigue

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Sunblock will never block the fatigue of being in the sun for hours on end. When the trail driver is driving a team that is going to be physically baking in the sun all day on a road, there are some unique tools that the trail driver will need to bring. 

Hail the beach sarong! 

The power of a women’s beach cover-up. If you’ve ever traveled to the tropics you will know what a giant beach sarong looks like. It’s a very thin cotton square that’s almost the size of a mini blanket and is sold on every beach across the globe.  Women tie them around their waist to look like a skirt, or they will tie them around their neck to make it look like a dress. You also see them being used as a beach blanket for an entire family. They dry nearly instantly when they are wet. 

Depending on the size of your team you will want one of these to help reduce the sun stress on your athletes either while they’re resting or if they are running on the trail they can wrap themselves in it on the trail. 

The point is to give as much of the body a rest from being in the sun while also giving the body a chance to have cooling air next to it

For a runner if there is even a whiff of wind it will be like the heavens above sending a personal fan.  Some trail drivers choose to have these be wet.  I prefer to hand them out dry to wick off moisture. 

If you are serving a team that is moving with some sort of mechanical device they are also helpful to just shade their machinery from the direct sun while they are at a pit stop.  Most of the time the only shade you get in an area like this is whatever can be attached to the vehicle. 

Trail well.

Two Stray Dogs Saved by Runners in the Middle of the Desert

This is why I love athletes! Here’s the story of two dogs, both now named Cuba.

This last week we were at an extreme running event in Cuba, NM. Many of the participants had camped out the night before because of the early start time. A young dog about 8 months old was roaming around the campsite and no one could quite tell if it belonged to a camper or if it was lost.

A second little pup was across the way alone in the desert peeking out at the calamity across the street. The group of runners/campers knew that the dogs were VERY, VERY hungry.

One runner went to the emaciated pup in the desert. The little dog was skin and bones, very dirty, and had part of its tail bitten off. Skittish and shy, the little pup was successfully lured out of the desert with food.

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The larger dog looked more well fed but had no social skills at all. After we talked to the Park Patrol they let us know that that dogs had been around for days. They were strays and the Patrol just couldn’t catch the little pup because he was hiding in the desert and the huskier dog was like a shadow. You just never saw it.

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The next morning the older dog was at the start line bright and early with his tail wagging. During the night the dog had decided who his owner should be, and when he went to the start line the dog did not want to lose sight of him so he just followed him on the run.

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The dog ran with that runner for NINE miles until the next aid station!

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The runner parked the dog with the volunteer team to keep it safe and make sure it had water until the runner could finish his race (that’s where I took these pics).

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Apparently the dog knew where it should go because when they came back for him he was ready to get in the car. When I asked what they were going to name the dog they informed me that they were going to call it Cuba (Cuba1) in honor of the town that made them friends. 

When I got back to camp at the end of the race I saw that the runner who had picked up the little pup was also in the process of nursing him back to health, and that he was also going to adopt the pup. That young man had lost his own dog just a few months earlier, and this little pup looked very similar to the one that had passed. On the dog there are two white spots on either side of the shoulder blade which are called Angel Wings.

When the young runner saw that the pup had the angel wings he said “It was a sign, as soon as I saw that dog in the desert I knew he was supposed to come home with me.” He decided to continue the dog theme and named the pup Cuba (Cuba2) also.  He had even gone out to buy a dog the week before and it was sold. The pup was tired and not used to people picking him up and holding him.

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I am a dog parent and I LOVE happy stories. These folks were called to become the care givers to two very special dogs. No one goes to a sporting event in the middle of the desert with the intention to find a dog. But these two pups now have a very fine homes and are getting along well.

I want to say “Thank You” to those runners who went out of their way to become dog parents as well as race finishers all in one day. It is an honor to watch good things unfold.

Cuba1 has been reported to be just following his new owner around the house. Cuba2, the little pup is also right at home with his new owner and getting LOTS of hugs.

Feel free to share this story with your runner friends and with dog parents alike.

Trail well.

Scratches and Brush Bites

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If your team is moving through a terrain that has a lot of vegetation you will sometimes have to manage brush bites. 

That is when the vegetation itself sticks to or bites the athlete themselves. I see this a lot when an athlete is in a hurry to go to the restroom and gets a little too focused on relieving themselves, ignoring or being oblivious to their real surroundings.

Brush bites can be from anything, they can be poisonous, they can bleed and swell, they can also be a gourmet invitation for every biting fly known to mankind. 

As soon as I see that there is going to be biting brush on a terrain I will remind people of the importance of not letting vegetation touch them. Falling or getting scraped up from the terrain in an area where there are flies can make for a miserable existence when the trail is going slow. 

Your basic first aid will be extremely helpful for brush bites, look to see if anything has punctured or entered the skin and remove it, washing the area, covering it from further exposure. If there’s no cover available for the scrape then a topical ointment with petroleum base may be your only bandage (Neosporin, Vaseline).

Continue to check brush bites for swelling and itching. That will let you know if you’re going to need to use some Benadryl. 

If itching is going to make that athlete crazy you will want to give them a tool to divert their thoughts away from the itching. A simple mind tool where they focus on something else will help make the itch go away.  

So far I have seen no one who has thrown their time or had to quit from a brush bite but it sure has annoyed them. 

Trail well.