Alfreda Gourdine, who was stricken with heatstroke in Sunday's Bonne Bell 10-kilometer run, was released from George Washington University Hospital yesterday and said she felt "fine, just sore, but disappointed that I didn't finish."
Gourdine, 31, from Silver Spring, passed out less than 100 meters from the finish of the 6.2-mile race and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where she first was listed in critical condition. She said she regained consciousness shortly after arriving in the emergency room and left the hospital yesterday at noon.
"The last thing I remember is that I was going around East Potomac Park and heading back to West Potomac Park and I saw the bridge (at the six-mile point)," said Gourdine, an assistant cafeteria manager at Howard University Hospital.
Gourdine said this was her first race and that she had been "running on and off for about three years," running four to seven miles a day for the last three months.
"The problem was that most of the time I run in the evening when it's cool," she said. "The doctor told me to run in the morning to train for the heat."
At the 8 a.m. start, the temperature was moderate and there was a slight breeze, but the humidity, which reached 84 percent, slowed the 2,494 women who started.
"Heatstroke is very serious indeed," said Dr. Richard Kenney, chairman of the department of physiology at George Washington University Medical School for 13 years and an expert on heat-related injuries. "Heatstroke is described as a catastrophic illness and death is not uncommon. The body temperature in some cases goes up to 106 degrees, and, after the sweating stops, the temperature increases quickly. The person becomes unconscious when the blood leaves the brain to go to the rest of the body to keep it cool.
"What kind of people get heatstroke? They are really highly competitive, the ones who drive themselves too hard."
Kenney stressed that runners should drink fluids during a race, "at least a couple of pints, a little at a time, so that they're not uncomfortable."
Gourdine said she drank water, but "not that much, at the first point (2.5 miles) and on the way back (5.5 miles)."