Old Dominion 50 - May 26, 2007 - Woodstock, VA
I ran the Old Dominion 50 on a super hot Memorial Day weekend Saturday in 2007 in the George Washington National Forest in Woodstock, VA. The 5 am start temperature was 60 degrees and very humid. By mile 25, the heat was suffocating and the bright sun was a scorcher.
The course terrain was a combination of ascending and descending climbs on fire roads, gravel roads, and asphalt roads. By mile 42, I was exhausted and walking on a couple of small blisters.
At about mile 25, Jonna massaged me with sunscreen and I got a little relief from a tiny makeshift shower. As I reached mile 44 and saw my family, I just wanted it to be over. I was wiped. I had run out of gas. But the encouraging words of my family – "you are doing amazing, you look so good, your time is excellent, you’re going to beat your time, move, move, come on Mom, pick up your feet"– kept me going. That and lots of ice cold Pepsi and ice cold water. I was sick of Gatorade. Giving me encouragement and scolding me to pick up my feet as he ran backwards and tried to pull me towards him with his smile, Sebastian paced me the last five miles to the finish. Jon and Jonna drove in our minivan filming my struggle in the immense heat.
I was so happy and happier to learn I had run my fastest 50-mile ultra in 11:32:11. I had shaved off one hour and 8 minutes from my JFK 50 time and one hour and 30 minutes from my Vermont 50 time. I am convinced I would have broken 11 hours if it had not been so damn hot. But I discovered that apparently I run faster in heat and I do not spontaneously combust. At the finish,I learned that the temperature reached 100+ and 100% humidity.
At the finish I also noticed tons of red bumps through out my arms, chest, and legs. One of the race directors, a doctor, suggested I visit the emergency room so I did, but it was nothing. Most likely petichiae - tiny blood capillaries leaking into the skin from too much straining in the heat -and common in ultrarunners.