Friday, June 18, 2010

Old Dominion 100...The Injury Report

In the early years of my life, I had a recurrent nightmare in which I got elephantitis in one of my legs! (It’s a horrifying disease where you’re infected by the Brugia malayi, a parasite carried by mosquitoes. Then your legs swell out to elephantine proportions.) Anyway, in my dream, my right leg gets elephantitis, and the first thing I think about is, “How the heck will I run now?” I attach a skateboard to my leg and can thereafter only run on pavement, pulling it along. No big deal. And I still have friends.

I guess that’s how I feel right now. USELESS, elephantine(?) leg [foot]. How the heck will I run now?

Answer: I cannot.

For a short period of time, I am resting. Rest is a good thing. I am starting to see that it is—Sabbath is a vital part of training life. Do you know what is interesting? Our cells have Sabbaths. I could not make this up. If you look at the life cycle of a cell, there is a “quiescent” phase, known as G0, in which it rests. It just sits there. No RNA is produced, and it quits dividing. There is a metabolic interlude. Why? The authority of God is written into the structure of the cosmos. Just sayin’. Rest is a Biblical mandate. So…I’ve heard a lot of athletes say they don’t need to rest. Well, yes, they do. The average human body contains somewhere between 50 to 75 trillion cells. Each cell takes a Sabbath. I disagree with those athletes because their constituent cellular components are modeling a wellness rule that would benefit them in life. Ohhhh you don’t rest? Hmm. It seems like ALL OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS DO. Got you there.

During the Old Dominion 100, I broke my foot and tore part of a tendon. I actually walked (limped?) away from the doctor feeling relieved because the diagnosis validated the pain. I’ve never cried so hard during a race before. I thought I was a big wimp.

And don’t think that it’s what I should expect for being an ultrarunner. All sports have some level of risk. I broke my nose playing softball. I broke my finger playing basketball. I scarred my chin swimming. I broke my nose playing piƱata.

I also love going to the doctor! The dentist is my favorite, but any doctor is fun.
1—I like to fill out forms about my name and all the numbers (SS#, height, insurance ID) associated with my life.
2—I love the brief exposure to diseases in waiting rooms. (It preps your immune system for later battle.)
3—I love to speed-read through all of their magazines. I once read 12 magazines before being seen.

When I go to a new doctor, I never tell them I ultrarun when I first arrive. I wait until they check my pulse and are taken aback by how low it is. Then I tell them. I don’t really look like a serious athlete. It’s my secret identity. I’m like Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. The best of both worlds.

Do you know what amoebas do? Their actin and myosin microfilaments slide over each other as they extend pseudopodia (false feet). That’s how they move. Their feet are only present briefly, until they suck them in and shoot out new ones. Say what you want about amoebas, but they got it right. I would like new feet right now.

The last time I broke my leg, I was standing around with the German foreign exchange student (who had a broken arm). She was smack-talking me about her comparative agility, so I challenged her to a jump roping competition. I beat her on one leg. Arms don’t affect that sort of thing.

So I am broken, but I’m okay! And I have other hobbies. I cannot currently ultrarun, but I can do other things for long periods of time. I’m going to ultra-sit and ultra-read and ultra-play-the-viola. Probably I’ll ultra-color. Ultra-talk on the phone. Ultra-learn-some-neuroscience. Ultra-make-some-friends.

I love my fracture boot. Velcro goes with EVERYTHING.


  1. Good stuff! How often does the cell cycle, anyway?

  2. you are amazing and so funny!

  3. miraculously healed in 11 days? musta been by Jesus.

  4. Hey Sabrina. I ran Old Dominion too... well, at least tried to. I injured my hamstring, but wasn't as badass as you, and I dropped at Four Points #2.

    I've been struggling with the recovery, but after reading about your ultra-sit, ultra-read and ultra-viola playing skills, it helped me realize there are other ultra-things I can be doing.

    Thanks for sharing.