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Dying of Thirst

As I was out on my three mile run today in approximately 90 degree heat, I couldn’t help but notice how drained I got as the sun pelted down its rays on me. I wished for shade and wind as the sweat beads desperately formed on my forehead and neck. But the wind was not forthcoming and the shade was sparse.

I carried with me a 16oz water bottle that I sipped on about once every half mile. I wasn’t thirsty, but my body was growing weary. I was about one mile in when I told myself, “Stop.”

I’ve told myself that before when I was running. You have to ignore those messages. Running is almost all mental. Ignore what your body wants and keep on going.

After about my two-mile mark, I took another sip of water. I couldn’t help but think of a story I read on Foxnews a few weeks ago about a man who died of thirst in a Utah desert. This man was two days in on a 28 day journey run by the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. One hundred yards from water, Dave Buschow collapsed dead onto the ground from dehydration. All attempts to revive him failed.

I knew I was about ten minutes or so away from finishing my run. I knew a cold shower and air-conditioning awaited me. So when I told myself “Stop”, I could easily go on for just a little bit more.

As I finished my run, I took my cold shower. I basked in the coolness of my tower fan and air conditioning. I laid my head down for a quick nap.

A three mile run had knocked me out. Would I myself have gone through what Mr. Buschow went through? I wonder what might have happened if Mr. Buschow had actually made it to that water. I ponder this as I sit in my comfortable computer chair sipping on a Diet Coke.

Writer and software engineer Ronald Huereca has been a developer at notable agencies like iThemes and 10up. His varied background has him working with WordPress since 2006, eventually creating his own plugin which, of course, lead to more. He spends quite a bit of his time volunteering with the WordPress project as a core and polyglot contributor. With all of his passions, writing has been the way Ronald expresses himself best. He has written both technical books as well as fiction. Some of his works include Project Mayhem, Mindefusement, and WordPress and Ajax. “You can only delay the inevitable” is his favorite quote. Ronald enjoys reading Stephen King and John Grisham. When he’s not writing, Ronald dreams of building websites filled with cats yawning, disclaimers his strong opinions, sings karaoke, and advocates for empathy surrounding mental health.

5 thoughts on “Dying of Thirst”

  1. We take so many things for granted, don’t we?
    – having a roof above our heads;
    – having electricity 24 hours a day, hot and cold water – all these things considered as luxury items in many countries;
    – being healthy;
    – being employed;
    – being so lucky to have the things we have, doing the things we like, saying the things we think about, living the life we want…

    so fortunate and so ungrateful at times.

  2. It's easy to be ungrateful and take things for granted when things are comfortable. After September 11th, everybody here was frantic and patriotic. Soon people forgot all about it.

  3. Steve Buffinton

    Dave was my friend from the air force. I just learned about this on may 3 2007. I have also been reading some pretty awful things on the net about this situation. I have taken it upon myself to answer back to the critics about my friend. Dave was a good man, he taught me a lot. I have been doing a lot of research on this and I am finding more and more that this school should be responsible for this. Dave and I both were police officers, both had extensive training in different survival situations, especially desert, or hot environments. If Dave would have been out there alone that day, Dave would be alive today. Dave took their instruction (he was at a school) and he took it in good faith. Dave knew how to survive, and there is proof that he had tried and was shut down by the instructors for doing what he knew to be the right thing. I live in California, and anytime I get to Phoenix, I go and enjoy a 3-5 mile run in that beautiful desert heat, I definitely understand your love to run in the heat, I miss it, but I also miss my friend and will defend him vehemently. Thanks for keeping this issue going.

  4. Hi Steve,

    I lived in Phoenix for three years, so I know of the heat you speak of. Not very running friendly.

    I'm glad you are trying to keep Dave's memory alive and telling the other side of the story that is commonly left out by the media. Thank you for visiting and sharing.

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