Ultrarunner fighting Atrial Fibrilation (AF)

This blog has pretty much always been about running ultras, mostly Hardrock. It still is but now it is also about running after AFib. I was forced to miss Hardrock in 2011 due to the onset of AF but my long term goal was to get back to running milers. And hopefully help any other runners with AF who stumble upon this site. I never made it into Hardrock in 2012, or 2013, or 2014. I didn't have a qualifier for 2015. I ran Fatdog in Canada instead. That was tough. I finished my 4th Hardrock in 2016 and now I'm back to try for the magical number 5.

If you want the history of my AF the heart problems all started back on May 25 2011: http://howmanysleeps.blogspot.com/2011/05/out-of-hardrock.html

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coast to Kosci DNF 12-13 December 2008

When is enough enough? And when is it too much? I found out somewhere along the lonely road out of Dalgety. The full moon periodically punched through the ominous black clouds sending a surreal light across the featureless landscape. I looked over the paddocks and saw the weirdest arc across the clouds. It was so symmetrical in an otherwise random sky. Was my sleep-deprived mind playing tricks on me? And then it dawned: it was a moon-rainbow. I stopped and stared in pure wonderment. All the pain and misery that racked my tired body melted away. The clouds closed across the moon and as suddenly my moon-rainbow was gone. The wonderment was over. And so was my race.

I had had a good day, running with the Bunny, Hermie and Marie, and then Lisa Spinks for a while. For a long stretch before Big Jack I pulled ahead and was surprised to pass Brick and Trout. My partner in crime and sharer of crew, Tim had been with me on and off all day and most of the night, keeping me entertained. Our magnificent crew (for the second year in a row) Vegie and Balri had kept me well fuelled and hydrated. I never contemplated not finishing. Not even when my ITB started flaring somewhere around Cathcart in the afternoon. I could still jog/run. And when it got too sore to run I held a solid power walk that kept me in touch with Tim. This went on through the afternoon and half the night. We were still well ahead of last years pace. Then out of the night zoomed massage therapist extraordinaire, Graham, Marie’s husband and crew. Next thing I found myself face down in the middle of the road at 2:30am with him pulverising my ITB into submission. Truly above and beyond the call of crewing duties and greatly appreciated, even if the pained response at the time didn’t adequately reflect this. Spoonman and Tim looked on. Bizarre spectator sport this. This got me running again but out of nowhere a pain ripped across the top of my foot. I had experienced this before and knew it was a bad thing. It would only get worse. I loosened and retied my shoe to alleviate the pressure but I limped painfully into Dalgety.

Tim was having a strong patch so pulled ahead and Blair came to discuss my options. I decided to see if I could run and chased after Tim. The 100mile mark became my next goal. The running simply made my foot worse and soon I was dragging it along behind me. And then my moon rainbow appeared. And I felt rewarded for persevering. But the pain was so bad I could now barely walk. Enough was enough. I thought of sitting on the road and waiting for the next crew car when out of nowhere there was our tiny Corolla parked off the side. Just short of 100 miles in a little over 22 hours. Done.

There was to be no mammoth spanking for me. But I did get to run along the Towamba Valley with my ipod blaring and me playing air-guitar to the Angels, using my gel flask as a plectrum and singing at the top of my voice. And I did get to spend lots of time with all my favourite people. And I did get to walk Tim into the finish in the most horrendous conditions after we dragged Vegie into the car to thaw out. And I got to see some fantastic country and experience just a bit of this amazing race. That makes me versus the mountain: 1 all. Thank-you Blair and Vegie for making that possible. Thank-you Tim for sharing yet again. And especially thank-you Paul and Di for doing what you do.