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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 3 Wednesday 23rd

Finally got some decent sleep. Well rested I headed out early onto the last section of the course: Silverton to Giants-Little Dives Pass. Being a clockwise year I was going against the grain but would retrace my steps as per the race finish. The start/finish this year is at the Ski Hut on the edge of town and climbing the open ski hill above it I was feeling the altitude already. The trail then undulates through spruce forest interspersed with some grassy openings and the famous beaver ponds. Crossing several small streams I was surprised how dry the track was, managing to keep my feet dry for the entire day. Very unusual at Hardrock. After a couple of miles the trail breaks from the single track and climbs steeply first up a jeep road, then up a rough track following a water pipe. 

After crossing the main Arrastra Creek on some convenient logs, I looked up the valley to the pass high above me. No way, that doesn't look passable. It took me a few minutes to realise we don't come down that valley but wind around to the next one. The hard-packed jeep road climbed steeply for a couple of miles until I reached the lower mine site then wound back around to the higher mine site above that. The adjacent lake was usually still frozen at this time of year but it was already thawed and presented as the most brilliant azure pool. 

I climbed above it onto single track, now well above tree-line and the view to the pass clear ahead of me. There were patches of snow but only one narrow bank to cross. Finally I was scrambling across the final steep scree slope that leads to the trail onto the pass. Wow, what a view. The sky was vivid blue punctuated only by the thin white streak of icy jetstream as a plane cut through the upper atmosphere. Craggy snow-capped peaks in every direction to the horizon. 13,000ft and the air was crisp. The breeze coming up from Cunningham Gulch on the other side was almost warm. I sat in the sun and ate a snickers bar and soaked in the endless views. Totally content.

Enough rest and I was plummeting back down the trail, sliding down the scree slope, flitting over rocks, slipping on the loose gravel. Hitting the jeep road and I settled into a rhythm that found me back at the river crossing in no time. Back into the forest and my preferred single track and I was in trail nirvana.

5.5 hours for 16 miles. 

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