October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month! Please consider a donation to Dysautonomiainternational.org. I'm grateful I can run, because 25% of those struggling with POTS are significantly impared by their illness, and I'm in the 50% that still is struggling more than 4 years after being diagnosed. I'm seeing improvements, but many people struggle the rest of their lives.
It was a temperate Thursday afternoon on September 4 th, as I pulled into Sugarhouse park like I have in years past. Here it was again, the prerace briefing of the Wasatch 100, one of the toughest 100 mile races in the Rocky Mountains.
Think back to 2010, my first attempt at Wasatch 100, just 3 months after being diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). That year my body was in peril and I was in trouble with my hydration by the time I hit Francis Peak aid station at mile 18.4, just 20 minutes before the cut off. DNFing that year was the right thing to do, my body just wasn't functioning properly enough, and I had had some trips to the ER and many days in bed unable to move.
The second attempt occurred in 2012, this time still not fully working and a months after a hystorectomy I made it not even all the way to Francis peak 1 full hour after the cut off.
Discouraged and defeated I decided not to start in 2013 and instead helped run aid at Pole Haven, and decided that I would train much harder for 2014, and work with Lisa Smith-Batchen on improving my running prognosis. Starting in January I finished a snowshoe 50K, and then 62 miles of Buffalo 100 in March, and then Squaw Peak 50 miler (which I had not been able to finish since 2010), and then Deseret News Marathon, 38 of Kat'cina Mosa 100k, and finally Wasatch 100 came.
I knew that the first 18 would be tough for me because of POTS, my heart rate goes up too much on hill climbs, and it slows me down, but I kept a slow and steady pace and reached Francis Peak aid Station at mile 11:41, 19 minutes before the cut off. Feeling good, and moving on I continued to Swallow Rocks at mile 35, and made the decision to drop when it was 7pm, and I still had 4.5 miles to Big Mountain and would not make it before the cuttoff at 7:30pm, my decision to drop at Swallow Rocks was of courtesy to the aid workers to not have to wait for me when I was going to time out anyway, and because I'm running another 100miler, Yellowstone/Teton 100 on September 20-21.
I feel very good after Wasatch and recovered quickly, and am feeling confident about a finish for YT100, because I am much faster on road, and not as many steep hill climbs.
I'm hoping to return to Wasatch in 2015, and with another good year of training have a finish!
One thing that has been helping lately is I started taking q96, and have noticed: better tolerance to heat, my heart rate is more stable, I have a lot more energy overall, and I have stopped taking 2 of the medications I was on to control my POTS symptoms.
All in all, I feel hopeful because I doubled my distance at Wasatch this year , and am on my way to finishing it!