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Rescued O.C. runner will return for more

September 25, 2009 2:47:24 PM PDT
Gina Armenta is still in the hospital recovering, but she is now strong enough to talk about her ordeal of being trapped and lost in the Cleveland National Forest after going on what was supposed to be a fun trail run.For three days she battled the elements with no food, no water and with temperatures climbing near 100 degrees. Before her rescue, Armenta started to think she wasn't going to make it.

"I had been seeing helicopters behind me and in front of me and to the right of me, but never near to where they could see me, and that's when I started thinking that they were not going to find me," recalls Armenta.

Search crews had trouble spotting her because Armenta was in a steep ravine of the Cleveland National Forest.

Speaking with "Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo, Armenta explained how she became lost during a trail run with her long-time running partner, Fidel Diaz. The two became separated, and Armenta found herself in the rugged canyon too weak to get out.

"I knew that someone might just find me there, and the only way that they'd find me alive is by definitely saving energy and remaining calm and not doing any crazier than I had already done," she describes.

Diaz helped direct search efforts from the ground, but it was a helicopter that finally spotted the 36-year-old. Gina says it was her family that kept her going.

"I just love my family, and I couldn't do that to them," she says.

Armenta is going to be okay, and she says she will never forget the ordeal, but she also admits when she is back on her feet, she plans to get back on the trails.

"Of course I do!" says Armenta enthusiastically.

After three days in the wilderness, Armenta was suffering from dehydration, along with cuts and bruises. Doctors say she should make a full recovery.

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