Asthma How I Hate Thee
I have late onset exercise-induced asthma. This means I tend to get an annoying cough and a bit of a wheeze usually hours-six or seven hours-into an ultra. In the winter, I also don my “Hannibal Lechter” face mask, to keep the air a little bit warmer going into my lungs. I did not use the inhaler until 530 pm.
As the night progressed, my breathing grew worse. I got into Veach Gap about the worst possible time for the cold and the body-about 430 am. The coldest time of the day, and when your body temperature starts to drop. As I start up the climb from Veach, I have to stop. My breathing is into a pant and my heart rate is very elevated. I use the inhaler, which gives me no relief. Now I start to get a bit scared, which is upsetting my breathing further. I’m frustrated because I feel good physically, except for the breathing! I stay put until I can get the breathing under control.
All climbs after this are, literally, walk ten steps, stop, and slow down the breathing. The flats and downhill are okay, I can keep moving continually. I’m so frustrated, because I have no idea when I will finish this Ring (I don’t want to look at my watch and get further demotivated.)
I finally see the sign for Elizabeth Furnace-two miles. I look at my watch. To my dumbfounded amazement, it’s 703 am. I am on track to still meet my goal for an 8am finish at Signal Knob!
After getting turned around in Elizabeth Furnace, I cross the road to see the last uphill-the parking lot to Signal Knob! Ugh!! I make it to the parking lot, and try to enter, and am shouted back to finish the ORANGE Trail. I get back on the last part of the MMT Trail, and get to finish the Reverse Ring, on the Orange, at the proper exit.
Thanks to Virginia Happy Trail Runners Club for another great event, and all the generous volunteers who gave up their day-and night-to support us runners. Quatro and Bur, you guys did a great job!