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Old Dominion Memorial 50M<br>
5/26/07<br><br><br>
I ran this race last year and enjoyed it immensely. I had been looking forward to returning there all year. I also had planned on kicking some ass and getting a good PR on the course. I hit my 50 mile PR halfway thru my 100 mile race in March, but felt like i could do even better. I was really psyching myself up for this race, but as fate would have it, i encountered a knee injury a couple weeks out from the race. At one point i could not even run 1-2 miles without severe pains. I was devastated and did everything in my power to get myself in a good place for the start of the race. I had many many massages and myofascial release treatments, as well as acupuncture, icing, and lots of rest. I was hoping for the best, but all the while not knowing if i would make it past the first big decent of the mountain (12 miles).<br><br>
I arrived in Woodstock, Virginia Friday afternoon and chilled out while waiting for my friend, Derrick, and the prerace briefing at 5pm. Some of my coach's clients and friend were going to be there, so it was great to meet up with them as well. The pre race briefing got off to a late start and the race director is a bit rough around the edges. I saw him drink at least 2-3 beers prior to the briefing (and he was running the next day.) The course was slightly changed from last year, which kind of threw off my planning, but ended up being positive changes. After the briefing, Derrick and I got some food and then returned to the hotel. We discussed coolers and drop bags and parted ways. I got to bed pretty early and slept surprisingly well!<br><br>
Race morning came and as i was getting dressed i realized i had two right socks! I wear "toe socks" by Injinji and there are specific ones for each foot. I had a mild panic session, but had worn old running socks down to VA and just had to wear them and hope for the best.<br><br>
The race started at 5am after a brief prayer session. Even though it was dark out, it was definitely already humid and sticky. Not a good sign. We hit the first aid station around mile 6 and then shortly after hit the base of the mountain. Last year it took me 45 minutes to power hike to the top, but this year i got there in 40. The descent was what i was dreading for weeks. I took it easy and at the bottom felt okay. We hit the 12 mile aid station there. Then we went down and out for 4.2 miles each way. On our way into the loop, we saw Anne Lundblad coming out. She is a super star elite ultrarunner and it was more than obvious that day. It was nice to see other runners on the out and back, and part of this stretch was shaded. At one point we passed some horses and one was very punchy and i was afraid he was wanting to run with us! Those 4.2 miles felt like they were taking forever, but finally we found the aid station/turn around. As we were heading back out on the loop, Derrick said if he saw Anne come back in he would cry. And lo and behold, we did! That woman is a gazelle! He did not cry though!<br><br>
Back at the aid station (mile 20.4) i had some ensure and reloaded on my clif blocks and we headed out for the 5 mile out and back (10 total) to Peterson's farm. The day started to get hot and there was no shade at all on this stretch of the course. Derrick pulled out ahead of me, and i just ran and ran and ran and walked and ran. Last year I had missed the turn around at the farm, but remembered the course pretty well and saw it this year. Derrick had gotten there a few minutes ahead of me. We were promised porta potties there, but there were none, so i hid behind a hay stack to pee. That was the only time i peed the entire race. The rest of the course was on roads and we were instructed not to pee on people's front yards! I drank so much and cannot imagine how i did not have to pee, must have sweat it all out!<br><br>
On our way back to the aid station and the 8.4 mile loop, my knee started to hurt. I was trying very hard not to get down on myself. I took some advil and crossed my fingers. After some mental beating up, i reminded myself that 2 weeks ago i could not even run two miles and that this is a huge accomplishment and getting a PR is not what is important right now.<br><br>
This 5 mile stretch was hot and slow, but even with all the walking we did, we managed to get back in only an hour! My coach's friend, Colleen, was impressed with our pace, and i was very surprised we did that well. Now we were a little over 30 miles into the race. I had some more ensure, put an ice bandana on and we headed back down to the 4.2 mile turn around. It was very hot and we were slowing with the heat of the day. On this stretch we ran with a woman who was very talkative. It kept us occupied and helped pass the time. She was training for Western States and told us all about her and her husband's races over the past year and their experience at the WS100 training camp last year.<br><br>
At the aid station again, 38 miles, i loaded up again with ice, in my shirt, in my hat, in my bra, in my bandana, in my bottle, everywhere!!!!! The aid station volunteers were so nice there and remembered me from last year. Real good people. I thanked them and told them i hoped to see them again next year. Now it was time to go back up and over the mountain. When i got up to the top i really needed to stretch. I told Derrick that this side of the mountain was steeper than the other and i had to take it really easy on the descent and to go ahead of me. I did not want to hold him up. About 3/4 of the way down, i met back up with him. All that downhill pounding was upsetting his stomach and he had stopped to walk it off a bit. After we hit the base, we power hiked it to the aid station, which seemed much farther away than i remembered. At this point it was so darn hot out and we decided that there was no use in pushing ourselves too much.<br><br>
When we finally hit the aid station, we refilled with ice and i ate a bunch of snickers mini bars. I rarely ever eat sugary things during ultras, but at that minute it really hit the spot. I chewed them up and then opened my mouth to show derrick, but i do not think he thought macerated food was very funny at that moment, especially given his stomach situation at that point. The snickers gave me a little boost (or the fact that we were 6 miles from the finish!) so i took off and moved forward. The last few miles seemed to take a long time, and the cruelest part is running by the local swim club. Finally, with 1-2 miles to go, i started to see the 100 milers heading back out for their second loop. They were all slowing down with the heat.<br>
When i hit the finish, in 11:27, all i wanted to do was drink ice water, and lots of it. I drank so much gatorade during the race and it made me so thirsty. Water never tasted so good! I also hit the bathroom, whoohooo!!! And surprisingly, my pee was not all that yellow. I sat in the shade and the volunteers at the finish gave me some watermelon to chow on. They had some thermometers there in the shade and they read 95F!!! It was past 4:30pm at that point. It was crazy hot! I hung out and waited for Derrick and he looked rejuvenated when he crossed the finish line. We then went back to the hotel and soaked our legs in the pool, which felt soooooo good.<br><br>
Overall, i was very happy with just completing the distance and not blowing out my knee and DNFing. I am slightly disappointed that i was not able to PR, but even if i felt 100%, i am not sure with the heat that i would have anyways. I did well with my nutrition and electrolytes. I almost drank my entire bottle of gatorade between every aid station, ate 7 servings of Clif Blocks, misc snackage at the aid stations and a couple Ensures. Not one bit of nausea, even with the heat! I felt fine the next day, except i got very badly sunburned on my shoulders, hand, face and back. I had worn 50spf, but it just was not good enough. My knee felt a little tight when i woke up on Sunday, but was fine with walking and driving. I am just gonna need some more massages this week! Looking forward to going back again next year. It's becoming a Memorial Day tradition for me.
 

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Congratulations on another ultra success, meri! Sounds like you really have your nutrition & keeping cool system down.<br><br>
How did your feet do in the different socks?<br><br>
That's great your knee held up, especially driving (that's the worst for me when mine's tight).<br><br>
You'll be back for your PR next year!<br><br><i>I was just dreading a 5 mile run in 75 degrees. I'll shut up now.</i>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
my feet were okay, a couple small blisters, but nothing to write home about. My feet were a little sore during the race, not enough cushioning in my sock i think.
 

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Well done Merigayle.<br><br>
That is truly amazing that people were out running those distances in that heat. This is the time of year when I hate being in Florida since it gets so warm that my run times absoultely suck.<br><br>
Hopefully in a year or 2 I can find the time to train for a 50 miler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
both years i have met runners at the race using it as Badwater 135 training! it is quite obvious why- 100 miles, on the roads, exposed, lots of heat and sun! Those are the only two ultras i can think of on paved roads.
 

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I don't know how you do it meri. 95 degrees and you run 50 miles.<br><br>
Whatever you're doing, keep doing it. You're a real inspiration to some of us...including me.
 

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Congrats meri! I had my fingers crossed that your knee would hold up, and was happy to read that it had. You have a great attitude - 'Personal Record' doesn't have to mean a time record; this time around it sounds like your body maintenance was excellent.<br><br>
And isn't the WS100 pretty hot, too? I'm thinking that if you win the lottery next year, this will have served as a bit of a confidence boost!<br><br>
P.S.: I've been using a sunblock named KINeSYS that I found on zombierunner.com that I really like. A very wise ultra runner recommended that website to me. <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif">
 

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Congratulations once again. I have done a couple of hot marathons and know what it's like, and I would never be able to last beyond 26 miles. You are a running animal!!
 

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Another fantastic run and a great report too!<br><br><i>Almost</i>, and I stress the word almost, makes me want to do an ultra run.<br><br>
I think that it's great how you are adjusting to siuations and conditions that are not optimal.<br><br>
A sign of a seasoned vet.
 

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You never cease to amaze me meri!!!<br><br>
Can't wait to run with you! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Great job, Meri. You did well to talk yourself out of a funk, too. Didn't let anything get you down, you kept going and took care of your health along the way. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif">
 

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<img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><br><br>
I admire people who willing take on those kinds of race conditions. It reminds me how I have to toughen up mentally if I want to achieve my goals.<br><br>
I always learn a lot from your race reports, meri. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Great report and congratulations on a great race. Inspiring as usual<img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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OMFG you have got to be the awesomest woman I know...right around where my mom is. I can't believe how strong and determined you are and how you make everything look so dang easy. I hope that when I develop into a bit longer of a runner I do it in some way representative to you and I think I will be set.<br><br>
Way to go Meri!!!
 

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<img alt="notworthy.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/notworthy.gif"><br><br>
as always, you are da bomb
 

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Congrats Meri!! I hope you are have a well deserved Holiday and REST day! Does the recovery get easier with each 50miler?? Hope the sunburn is healing well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, the recovery does get easier as time goes on. I think it is a combination of experience, proper nutrition, and smarter training. I was surprised how good (in relative terms) i felt after the 100 mile race. My endurance seemed shot for a couple weeks, but my legs recovered otherwise pretty fast. imo
 
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