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

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Day 9: Tuesday 29th

Found out today several Hardrock veterans are not going to be here this year. I knew Joe Prusaitis had been forced to go home with bad altitude sickness. A reminder of how dangerous the altitude can be. But I also found out that John DeWalt wasn't coming. John is a true living legend, having finished 14 Hardrocks at age 72 (I think). A couple of other regulars missing will be missed but open spaces for those on the wait list.

Today was Handies Peak course marking. Jim Sweat and I decided to go to the top and come back the same way to avoid the 2 hour drive out from the other side. This involved recrossing American Basin and climbing the Grouse-American Pass yet again but always beats that truck ride. Anything beats that truck ride. Starting at close to 10,000ft at the site of the Grouse Gulch Aid Station (bad, bad memories from 2008-see report on side bar for more info) the trail switch-backs steeply up, up, up until we can see the pass high above us. With only a couple of short snowbanks to cross the traveling will be clear by race day. 

We stopped and regrouped at the pass, 13000 feet and had something to eat. The American Basin opened below us and I was surprised how little snow there was. Looming above that was the brooding hulk of Handies Peak, imposing and impressive all at once.

We dropped down into the basin, picking our way through rocky outcrops and streams. Then the long, long climb up Handies. The trail switchbacks continuously before a final steep crumbly ascent. We gathered below the final pitch out of the wind while the stragglers caught up. We sat in the sun and ate with the most spectacular view. You know this is a sport for older runners when the main topic of conversation was everybodies annual colonoscopy. Hmmmm. That and stories of past Hardrock disasters. Jim Sweat always wins those: 9 starts and never finished. 

Finally we were up and climbing the final pitch and on the broad summit. The 360 degree view was worth the effort. Lots of pics and signing the register in the tube and Jim and I headed back down. Marcie and John had hiked over from the other side so joined us on the return. In the short space of time the marmots had already eaten half of the flagging tape off the markers by the time we passed back. Luckily the metal reflectors are to tough for them.

On the final descent the heavens opened and we picked up the pace. 10 miles in 6:45hrs.

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