Rhabdo and Emotional Ruin: Joe Grant at Hardrock 100

Joe Grant

The body is a wondrous thing: full of energy and will, able to withstand impressive assaults both physical and ephemeral. It allows ultrarunners the chance to pit themselves against 31 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles or more at a time. If our bodies only focused on the most ideal immediate conditions for long-term survival, sports as we know them might not exist. (Conversely, none of us might be obese or stressed out, either.)

In ultras, and in life, sometimes it is just not your day. You might be under the weather, the weather might be over you, your knees might be revolting, or your digestion throwing a riot.

But some days are beyond that, beyond reasonable comprehension into complete unforeseen meltdown. This happened to Joe Grant at 2013’s Hardrock 100, which you can read in glorious detail on his blog.

I start hyperventilating, tears rolling down my cheeks. I simply cannot control my feelings and am overwhelmed by the weight of my emotions. I miss my grandfather. Why am I processing these feelings now? This is not the time or place to do so. This is not the reason why I race. Or is it?

Vibrant and raw reading aside, it makes me wonder about those emotional symptoms. ┬áDid they emerge as a protective mechanism for the kidneys’ threatened state? Joe seems to think that might have some merit. Regardless, it’s a powerful read, and prompted many comments, including one from a woman named Shelby who said it was a nourishing tale. This led to a comment by me (even if I temporarily could not spell my own name):

andrea's comment on Joe's blog

I stand behind that. Those that do not feel a stirring in their humanity when confronted by another nakedly vunerable human, are of little interest or concern.

How to Move Mountains in Two Easy Steps

san juan flowers

1. Find a mountain.

2. Let the mountain move YOU – it will thusly appear that you have moved the mountain.

This is life as a trail runner, ultrarunner, ultramarathon racer, mountain fanatic. I go into the mountains because I want to experience totality of self, and if I am out for a few hours or more, I usually get that which I seek. It is transient, however, and like any habit or addiction the dose requirements can inch upward over time.

Thusly one must take breaks, sometimes long breaks, to reset the addictive pathways. I am not in a break, but I have recently come off one where I did road races for several years. The trails called and I went back, with newly recalibrated nutrition (paleo, ancestral, gluten-free). That nutrition is a life saver, one which will be the focus of these pages and the source of anecdotes, recipes, and training strategies.

Stay tuned. We shall let ourselves be mountain-moved.

Searching for Antipode

ile amsterdam

When everything in your life seems up in the air, why not dig a tunnel to the other side of the earth and see what things look like from over there? This 2 mile wide island is exactly on the other side of the earth from a podunk rural area in Colorado – and it’s the closest thing to where I live that has anything but ocean on the other side of the globe. Most of the United States is directly across from the massive Indian Ocean, making tunneling not very productive. More on this little island, later.