Live this day as if it was your last. The past is gone and over.

Per Wikipedia: Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid breakdown (lysis) of skeletal muscle (rhabdomyo) due to injury to muscle tissue. The muscle damage may be caused by physical (e.g., crush injury), chemical, or biological factors. The destruction of the muscle leads to the release of the breakdown products of damaged muscle cells into the bloodstream; some of these, such as myoglobinn (a protein), are harmful to the kidney and may lead to acute kidney failure. Treatment is with intravenous fluids, and dialysis or hemofiltration if necessary.

Several days after I returned from Arizona, I just wasn’t feeling right. Seemed like anything I put into my body just wouldn’t process and sat like a lump in my stomach. I was sick and tired all the time. And the thing that was the strangest was that the muscles that weren’t sore after my race, suddenly increased in their soreness, even towards the end of the week. I finally went to the doctor who officially diagnosed me with rhabdo. I knew this condition to be typical of new CrossFitters… people who hadn’t worked out in a while that suddenly jumped into a routine and pushed beyond their limits in an extreme way. I knew it could happen to an ultrarunner too, but just like most people, didn’t think it could happen to me. Fortunately, my friend Lisa Bliss, an accomplished ultrarunner and doctor, heard about my condition and talked me through it.
For two weeks I did literally nothing. I always wondered what would happen to me if I had an ultra go south in an extreme way, something that threatened my physical healthy beyond the norm. Now I knew. And I was scared. Even running around the block or working a new skill in CrossFit made me scared. But I let myself feel that way. And soon, it did pass.
One night when I got home from work, Carl and I sat down to watch a movie about a famous ultramarathon called The Bear. Watching the event itself made me sad. I wanted to be one of those people that had fought through till the end, tackling adversities as they approached. At the start line of the race, I recognized someone! A man named Earl ‘The Rocket’ Jones. I loved The Rocket!! Such a great ultrarunner and person in general. I had met him at the Vermont 100 and we had run into each other again at Western States this year. The Rocket had numerous Bear finishes. As I watched the race begin, the interviews with The Rocket just stopped. I assumed he was much farther ahead than the people they were following. When they videoed the finish line, with the first runner, there was The Rocket, fully dressed. Someone came up to him. “What happened?” He responded “What didn’t happen? It just wasn’t my year.” That was enough for me. It reminded me once again that in this sport, sometimes the best of us don’t always have good days. And no matter how you train, something can always go wrong that keeps you from reaching that finish line. In a sick sort of way, that is part of the appeal.
I laced on my running shoes the next morning and planned for a short jog. Unfortunately, my left foot had other plans for me. It had hurt me a little after the race, but after less than a 200 meter run, it swelled up and became painful to walk on. My body said ‘not yet.’ I said ‘ok.’ At least I had my mind back, in terms of running… but there was one more thing I needed to face.
The next day, I got an email from Coach LeClair “Thank you for volunteering for the Boot Brew…” Wait, had I volunteered for that? I smiled to myself. Probably not. But it was what I needed and somehow he knew that.
I showed up yesterday morning not quite knowing what to expect, but even people that had done this in the past were in the same boat. Teams of 1 – 5 were sent out on a ’5k’ around Monrovia, at least it was a 5k if you didn’t get lost. The race started with everyone drinking a beer or the alternative of 15 burpees. From there they ran to their first checkpoint, where there was a challenge. There was change all over the bottom of the pool and someone from each team had to retrieve exactly 83 cents from it. After that they would earn their map for the other three checkpoints, all with different challenges, and of course, more beer to drink. It was one of the funnest events I had ever been a part of. Eric paired me up with Johnny, an aspiring ultrarunner who just had to pull out of his first ultra due to an injury. It was fun spending the day with him, talking about the different events he could do instead of Ridgecrest.
On December 5th, the lottery for Western States will be held. 1687 people applied and 127 people have been pre selected. Meaning there are 263 open spots for the rest of us, assuming they take 400. My chances are low. I would give just about anything to be at that start line in June. And even more incredible would be if Dmitry and I were standing there together. That is my hope. That race means so much to both of us and I KNOW if we were both there, pushing each other through, somehow we would cross that finish line in Auburn.
This was a rough year for me for ultrarunning… but just like an ultra itself, the rough times pass and the good times come again. I have high hopes for 2010. And looking back, I wouldn’t trade that 5:17 50k for anything. A lot of things physically weren’t working in my body this year but I’m going to let myself 100% heal this time and come back strong. I can’t look at the photos above and not smile, regardless of the results of that race. I see two people who love what they do, and who have a lot to look forward to.

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