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Health Issues, Goals, and the Rocky Mountain Slam

by Alan on May 11, 2012

First, let’s get the painful stats out of the way. My monthly mileage for 2012 so far:

January – 54 miles
February – 51 miles
March – 36 miles
April – 74 miles
May – 29 miles as of the 23rd

Back in December, when I found out I finally won the Hardrock 100 lottery, I decided that I needed to do something a little different to shake things up in 2012, and to help motivate myself to run. So I decided to go for the Rocky Mountain Slam. To complete the Rocky Mountain Slam, all one has to do is complete the Bighorn Trail 100, the Hard Rock 100, your choice of the Leadville Trail 100 or the Wasatch Front 100, and then finally the Bear 100. I have attempted the LT100 every year since 2006, so it was the natural choice, especially since Wasatch has a lottery.

I also set some other goals, such as gaining 5 lbs of muscle before Bighorn, which would put me right about 140 lbs. Easy, right? You know what they say – if you want to make God laugh, just tell him about your plans. I started off lifting weights, and trying to eat more, which has always been a challenge to me with my shaky digestive system. I even started getting up at 5 am to go swim with Lori whenever I could. We completed our first production run of Vi Fuel in Mid-January and had our launch parties, and then found out the packets were not sealed correctly and we recalled them all. Over the next several weeks, between dealing with the issues we were having with Vi Fuel and life in general, I spent a lot of time overstressed and not a lot of time running to deal with it better. Finally, on March 8th, I was hiking up to Lake Haiyaha to spend a night in an igloo with a group of friends when I found myself with diarrhea. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, and went ahead and spent the night in the igloo.

The problem was, the diarrhea didn’t go away. In fact, it got worse, to the point that I was missing some work and was almost unable to run at all. I received a diagnosis of Lymphocytic Colitis on April 24th, and was given a prescription for a medication that costs me (after insurance) $750/month (ouch). I started taking the medication that next day and could immediately tell that things were better. Yeah! There was only one problem though. A nagging pain I have had in my backside started getting progressively worse each day, until it got to the point it was nearly unbearable. Another round of antibiotics cleared it up, but it came right back when they ran out. So – I ended up having emergency surgery on May 16th to deal with an abscess, and the resulting fistula that has been making me so sick. I weighed 118 lbs the day of the surgery. The crazy thing is that I have been living with the abscess since Feb 1st, 2011, thinking that it was tendonitis or something. This probably explains most of the general decline in my health over the last year or so.

So, obviously, I’ve had to give up the goal of weighing 140 lbs by Bighorn. But – I haven’t given up on the Rocky Mountain Slam. Far from it, in fact. Though I may be deceiving myself, I think I have a pretty good shot at finishing Bighorn, and I will do everything in my power to make it. Thankfully, the 34 hour time limit is very forgiving, and I learned a lot of lessons from the race last year. No matter how it turns out, it should be quite an adventure!

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