In one of my previous posts, I mentioned my eye issues. I said I’ll explain later.
It’s been over 2 years since I got diagnosed with type II diabetes. At the time when I found out, I was biking / running 3-4 times a week.
I went through a diabetes eye test a bit later and there were no issues at all. 18 months later, I had a severe *stye attack*, I had to go to an ophthalmologist. She decided it is a good time to do another diabetes eye test and …. wait for it….
I have diabetic retinopathy! Yay!
The only thing worse is if I have to stop running because of this.
Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults. ~National Eye Institute
I am going through laser coagulation treatment now. Hopefully that will contain the leaks and stabilize it. If not, I am moving to Oregon, you know!
On day 4 of Fire & Ice, after running about 80 miles altogether, I had severe pain on the lower part of my left shin. I ignored it and continued for at least another 30 miles in the next couple of days. I will step forward with my right but I had to drag my left to keep moving. When the race director said he’s not gonna let me go on the last day, it was heartbreaking. He said if I went, I will be by myself, without any support if I needed it. So I pooled in my resources to discuss my options. I talked to Shan, Ellen, Cat, and Matthew (I just met him at this race) and they helped me make the decision to not race the last day (I still went, without my pack for a few miles). Amy (from OK) also chimed in on fb asking me not to do anything stupid and to stop, citing her own bad experience. I came back home and decided to wait for a few days to see if the swelling and the pain will go away. After all it is just a muscle strain, right?
An MRI showed I have severe stress reaction on my left tibia. A stress reaction one teeny tiny step before a stress fracture. Had I raced the last day, I would have come home with a full on tibia fracture. My initial reaction is how thankful I am to those who walked me through the decision making process that night. Special mention to Amy (from OK) for posting the right words, in the right order on that comment on fb and Cat (my dietitian) for calling me back, realizing that I am in crisis mode.
I have 2 races, a full and a half, on the last 2 Sundays of October. I have been ordered by my doctor and my podiatrist friend to not run at all and go through this rehab routine for the next few weeks. I told them I’d rather kill myself.
I started training for this race in mid January of this year. It’s been a roller coaster ride until after the race. It was really cool to have something to focus on, something that is so demanding. Now, I’m completely lost. Historically, I put on a lot of weight soon after a big race. This time, I’m hoping, with the help of Cat (my awesome dietitian) I can maintain the (lost)weight.
I have been eating super healthy (for the most part) during my training. Now I can’t eat super oily (read super delicious) fried awesomeness anymore, it is messing up my stomach! I can’t drink wine either, in fact the only things I can drink without fear of hurling is whiskey and beer. Is that a positive thing? I can’t decide.
What next, you ask?
I wanna go back to Iceland and complete the race without DNFing any stages and earn that medal. When? Not sure now, will have to plan that. I also want to do more multi-stage, multi-terrain ultras. Because I am a glutton for pain and misery. Hehe… For the time being I have plans to run a full and 2 half marathons for the rest of the year. I wonder if I will be able to run without a heavy pack on my back. 😛
What else? I sent my thank you notes already, before the race. And I will miss hanging / working out with George!
Check me out wearing a shirt that I bought 8 months back but could never get in to because it was too small. While you are at it, take a close look at me kickass kicks too!
Stand by for pictures of Ellen and I (with a couple of puffins) digging into the Icelandic alcohol loot this weekend. 😀
What happened in Iceland, does not stay in Iceland.
What I mean is, 10 days later, I’m still limping around, haven’t gone out on a run etc. BUT, I’m limping around on cloud 9, you know, that one. Every time I retell my race story, it feels like I’m making it up! Even in the worst possible moments, I was able to come up with something that helped me go on! Whenever I thought I couldn’t dig any deeper, I did! It was only my physiological limitations that stopped me. I’ve cherished even the darkest moments.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
I was screaming (more like rawr-ing, very primal) at the top of the my pitch, in the middle of the nowhere, for no one to hear, many times, many days. It is liberating, I totally recommend it.
When I landed in Iceland, I was very scared, struggling to focus on the upcoming (humongous)task, I failed to notice anything and everything. After getting back to civilization, post race, I noticed that Icelandic women are just gorgeous! And soooo friendly! I wanna go back to Iceland to explore more of …. you know… the scenery! 😉
What happened in Iceland is slowly sinking In and I am beginning to believe it actually happened! I wrote up about the race based on what I remember. I regret not taking more, strategic pictures.
Day 1 – Monday August 29, 2016
Bright and shiny outside, totally freaking out inside! Completed the day which included a humongous hill but mostly OK terrain. Lake, lots of volcanic ash and lava. My pack was too heavy, over 32 lbs and my left shoulder took the brunt of it. Get patched by the med team in the evening. The same camp as last night, by Askja the volcano.
My home for 6 days…
Miles and miles of lava rock terrain. Was it a mistake, or did they mean it be the course! There were some beautiful mountains along the way. The highlight of the day being seeing Herðubreið, the “queen” of Icelandic mountains. A lil bit of rain towards the end of the day didn’t hurt much. But it was cold.
Glad I am not going up THAT mountain!
The sky is kissing the mountain
Hypothermia. DNF. 35 degree, rain all day, 2 glacier river crossings (about 50ft wide each, about knee deep water). That was the day. The camp was at the most expensive camp site in the world, inside a broken volcano! Saw some Northern lights. The whiskey flask I was carrying with me with some 15 yr old Glenfiddich made my tent mates happy!
Sunny and beautiful day. Severe shin issues as a result of walking through some super unfriendly terrains, limped my way to the camp for about 15 miles off the total of 30 miles. Walking on volcanic ash is like walking on a beach! There was this beautiful waterfall (it is the most powerful one in the northern hemisphere) with a rainbow framing it where I spent some time just admiring it. Saw more, brighter, bigger Northern Lights!
Roll down this one?
Ugh… another mf ing hill…
So happy that the worst is over!
My shoes are under there somewhere
The most powerful waterfall in northern hemisphere
How do I even….
Does this ever end
Can I live here?
Toughest terrain, the first (almost)12 miles were through Heathland vegetation. My already injured left leg was completely mad at em for doign this! At the first checkpoint, I decided enough is enough, time to stop for the day. Not an easy decision but I had to. The truck drove me straight to the natural hot bath thigies, right next to the camp! Dipping in that spring was one of the best experience ever! After that, where I was sitting, the wind kept bringing steam out of the springs.
Yay hot springs!
Awesome doctors, Jenny and Helen!
This makes it totally worth it
Steam, brought to you by breeze
Ugh… another mf ing hill…
Can I live here?
The race director would not allow me to race today, citing my injury. So I went on a limping run / walk for 10+ miles on my own, without the pack, just a bottle of water and a bag of roasted chick peas (I regretted not taking my phone with me when I walked past “boiling mud” pits!). It was fun, why couldn’t I do that the whole time! 🙂
Beautiful morning sky
About to go an a 10 mile limping trip
Early morning hot springs
Coming up, more Iceland shit, with pictures. Stay tuned…..
Fire & Ice Ultra, Iceland’s toughest foot race, is done! In the end, I ran / walked 130ish miles in 5 days. Came short of my goal but the amazing memories that I will cherish, forever… This race, and the preparation leading up to it, which started in January 2016, changed me as a man, forever. I don’t even know where to start, to talk about all of it. All the amazing people that came into my life because of this is a huge plus. In the next few days, I will try to breakdown the little details of the whole trip to Iceland. And more heartfelt thank you notes to follow. Can’t wait to get home and be with my boys, Tango and Foxtrot!