Dawn to Dusk to Dawn (D3) 24 Hour Track Ultra
May 11 - 12, 2019 Sharon Hill, PA
There are three Dawn to Dusk to Dawn track ultra events: 50K, 12 hour, and 24 hour. I had been trying to get in the D3 24 hour track ultra for a couple of years. When I'd go to sign up, registration was closed or there was a wait list. One day while riding in the car with my husband to our son Sebastian's wedding in New Hampshire in early October 2018, I searched again, and voila!
I signed up on my iPnone. I had a new goal to train for - my 7th 24 hour ultra but my first track ultra. And it would be my first 24 hour ultra close to home across state lines. And it would be on Mother's Day. This grandma was happy!
I began training in January at the high school track in town. I'd run to the track from home through the trail and log my track miles.
I looked forward to training my mind and enduring the monotony of running circles on a 400 meter track, and running on flat terrain. Unlike road and trail ultras, a track has no elevation, is a smooth surface, has no tree roots and rocks to trip over and tumble through, and no flooded creeks to splash through.
Before training for the D3, I had never stepped foot or run on a track. The excitement of a new ultrarunning challenge helped me to train well. Plus, I was joining a new group of ultrarunners who like to run in circles.
Unlike running trail and road ultras, where sometimes there is no one running in front of you, behind you, or next to you, running a track ultra never gets lonely. Runners run side by side, in front and in back of each other. We never lose sight of each other. We feed off each other. We energize each other.
Changing track directions every four hours at the command of the race director and time keeper, along with blaring music to keep us moving, was filled with reinvigorating laughter.
In my first track ultra, we ran in sun and heat, and the cold rain and wind the last 11 hours. Every lap was a victory lap. I look forward to returning to D3 next year.
It's a great ultra event with great race directors, volunteers, food, crew, runners, time keeper, and swag.
The night before the race, I attended the speaker part of the dinner where Phil McCarthy, on my right, and Pete Kostelnick, on my left, shared dtheir inspiring ultrarunning adventures.
We set up tent as the sun began to rise over the track at Academy Park High School.
Runners gathered with great anticipation at the start. The weather was a little cool and in the high 70s.
Running counter-clockwise with ordinary runners and extraordinary runners like Gene Dykes behind my left shoulder in the pink shirt. Check out my interview with Gene after his unofficial world marathon record in his age group.
Time to pose with co-RD Bill Schultz during my walking break. He kept us on our toes, and me in line.
Starting to get hot! Time for bare arms and shoulders, sunscreen, and zinc oxide on my nose.
Refueling at mile 27.5 with a bite of a hamburger and constant hydration with Nuun. I'm a Nuun ambassador.
An old callous resurfaced with a blister underneath. A quick drain and DuctTape to the rescue.
At about mile 50 I was on pace for 100 miles. But that all changed. It started to drizzle around 8 pm. It rained for the last 11 hours of the event. Heavy at times and with wind.
Dragging my soaked feet and body but staying strong in the rain, I passed the leader board. I had completed 322 laps and 80.0326 miles so far.
The day after, while my husband Jon was having major cancer surgery, I waited 7 hours in the family surgical waiting room, I wrote this piece for Medium about how I trained for my first 24 hour track ultra and logged 81 miles. Click here to read it.
The event banner should really read - Another Day; Lots and Lots of Miles!
The obligatory selfie with my husband Jon at the start of every utlra.
The gun, literally, went off at 7 am and so did runners. I set my Gym Boss, clipped to my running pouch, to 3 minute walk/10 minute run intervals.
And running with fellow runners I've run with in other ultras. One of the great things about the ultrarunning community - reuniting at races.
Trying to keep up with Pete Kostelnick. He's probably 10 or more laps ahead of me.
We switched track direction every 4 hours. Running clockwise with Phil McCarthy.
Somewhere around mile 40, Peter Morgan stopped by to cheer on all the runners. Peter ran the 2016 48 hour Sole Challenge and placed first male. I ran the 24 hour event and placed second female. I interviewed Peter for my blog. Check out the interview.
Our biggest cheerleader was volunteer Chris from Valley Forge Military Academy. He cheered on all the runners for about 20 of the 24 hours with the greatest smile. He smiled with endurance!
For self-preservation and to reduce the weight of my rain soaked layers of clothes, I walked a few laps on the outside lanes with my umbrella. It helped a little when the wind wasn't blowing.
On my last rainy and windy lap before the clock runs out. I complete 326 laps and 81.0264 miles. I place 6th female and 19/50 overall. I was so happy!
Great swag - long sleeve shirt, blanket, and mug!
My husband made this short video at the end of the D3 on a cold rainy Mother's Day morning.
2019 Dawn to Dusk to Dawn Results