Dome Arrest, Pain Trains and running 400 miles while injured

This was it, go time in a matter of hours. Jay and I loaded up the car to the petite ice center and get situated. I had done all the training physical and mental for months for this. As much as I felt ready I didn’t. How does anyone really train for An event that is multiple days? The anxious feeling of the unknowns that would occur over the next 144 hours were very familiar to how i felt before we left for the Transcon back in 2017. 6 Days in the Dome was my first legit multi day race, yes I had done a run from Santa Barbara to San Jose in California (350 miles in 7 days and yes my run across America 3,125 miles in 54 ish days ) but the Dome was an actual race ….the clock doesn’t stop. The main goals here are to obtain as many miles as possible, and maybe set a new age group record. This was quite a prestigious event, all the athletes here are legends, holding world and American records. Everyone had a story to tell. Getting to spend the next 6 days with them was a honor.

I Went in with the same mindset that I knew it would be hard as hell, but knew time off my feet is as important as time on. This called for expert support which was why I was so thankful Jay Lee aka El Jefe was there. He knew and always knows exactly what to do. And he’s family to me so That was also very comforting. He was the driver and my support in the road for Sandy Across America so we can say he knows me pretty well and what an athlete attempting this type of endeavor would need. The benefits of the environment seemed to outweigh the concerns ( at the time ) controlled temperature in a controlled environment. A perfect 55 degrees, indoors so no night gear needed here. Elements such as wind, heat, would not be a concern. The Terrain was ideal, flat and smooth, no gravel, rocks, or climbing ( don’t get me wrong some of those things are ok, but I’m a true road runner at heart. Give me a smooth buttery road any day of the week. The track was 12 mm lightly layered over pure cement. The Pettit ice center is more than just an ice arena. Opened in December 1992, the Pettit Center provides free training ice time to high potential speed skaters and was home base for eight 2010 U.S. Winter Olympians, including four medalists. It is also Known as a legacy of Olympic medal winners. Being invited to participate here with these elite runners was quite exciting.

That was it all was almost unloaded, time to get my shoes on and eat some breakfast. We started in 30 min and quick debriefing at 11:30. We made our way over to the start line, Mike Melton was going to review rules, lane etiquette and get us going. We were all required to wear this “timing chip” on our ankle for the entire duration we were here ( hence my sarcastic reference to “Dome Arrest”)

We were told we had to have it on as long as we were on the premises. Sounds like house arrest right ?? It didn’t take long for it to cause me problems as i don’t wear long socks so it was chafing my ankle 4 miles in already. Jay quickly remedied it by wrapping a bandana around my ankle underneath the “ankle bracelet “ otherwise that could have been a big issue if ignored.

The cool temperature was very pleasant ….for the first few days, it became painful to have to rewarm up again after stopping for meals or stretch breaks. The lights from the overhead cast a glare off the ice in the middle of the arena, so wearing sunglasses became a welcomed benefit that soothed my eyes as well as almost everyone else. I can only imagine what our herd must have looked like running around in sunglasses round the clock. Most of the time I had no idea if it was dark or light outside, and in actuality it didn’t really matter. The goal was daily to keep moving for so many hours and then off my feet. I wasn’t expecting to have a bout of tibial tendinitis and if you have had it, you feel my pain and agony. It was around day 3when it reared it’s ugly head. I felt the annoying pain in the front of my ankle. Wait what is that ?? No no no, not now. I was staying on top of my stretching and always Kept my shoes tied loosely. I knew the inevitable was going to happen so I might as well just ride it out as long as I could. You see I’ve had this before a few times and while it is the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with it just comes down to managing the pain, adjusting ice breaks and the painful massaging and the mental strength to tolerate the pain.

I was trying to stay On the inside lane as much as possible because I didn’t want to rack up any Additional steps or miles, but this was also where the sharper curve was. The pain eventually turned into the million knives being stuck in my shins and ankle forcing me to stop. I showed my leg to john who who quickly taped me up, that bought me some more time so off I went. Round and round and round, the cool thing was being able to see the zamboni Smoothing out the ice after the kids has practice. It had also become a part of our daily routine, and a good distraction.

Ouch ..I shuddered again with the shooting pains

I was forced to stop and decided to show Dr. Andrew Lovy. He was head of the medical tent but also a participant. One of the most giving humans who cared more for the runners than his own race We tried several things icing, wrapping and icing while running. It came down to me being able to tolerate what I could. As the next day and a half went on I was able to get a good handle on it. Jay was able to help me get my brace back on it which stabilized it so running was doable and not painful. I took several intermittent breaks to keep the swelling down, stopping and starting was taking a tole, the once thought cool 55 degree had become what I felt was freezing temps. When you stop moving in the dome you get cold and usually need a lap or two to warm up again. Layers came on again off again. By this time too sleep deprivation was kicking in. I could never seem to shake the internal cold I constantly felt.

By this time everything was blurring together. What day was it ? I wonder what was going on outside ? Was it sunny ? I had begun coughing quite a bit as it also seemed many of my peers did too. The air in here seemed stuffy and drying. Dome arrest ..hmm maybe I could go outside ? Get some fresh air …I later learned that many of the runners often went outside for breaks so I quickly did too. Wow the sun felt so good. I elevated my legs up against the wall and stared at the sky the small white clouds seemed to be moving fast, I wondered how many laps I had ? I tried to to look at the screens too much and just follow the line. Most of the time I could get into my trance listening to music and just grind it out. The end of day 4 is when the ultimate breakdown happened. The pain was excruciating and forced me to stop my entire leg had started trembling. The pain had turned to shooting pains I could no longer manage. Touching my leg became impossible. I really thought I was going to be done. I just can’t handle it anymore. I layed wrapped in blankets for an hour screaming and crying about the pain. I was freezing and couldn’t stop shivering.

Dr. Lovy made house calls so he stopped by and saw me. Made the recommendation that we needed to get me into a pair of tights or pantyhose. They would act as a an agent to pump up the build up around my ankle and shin. Jay and Roger put me to lay down on my little mattress for a few hours to rest to get ready for the last hours of the race. I was losing hope and feeling defeated. I can’t even run anymore what’s the point ? “You can walk out out you did it before” ( the voice of my guardian who wasn’t there Cinder Wolf played constantly in my head) “You walked out 60 miles on transcon when this happened “ “its ok to walk just walk with a purpose “ ( the other voice I kept hearing those are words from uncle Marsh (Marshall Ulrich) who also was a mentor and adviser as adopted uncle to me ever since the transcon. A lot of these last few hours reminded me of the pain and toughness it took to finish something so hard like a trans con, It’s mental I knew I had to be able to push out the voices telling me all the reasons why I should stop. You see what also has happened here over the course of 6 days was the runners has become family. I wasn’t the only one in the pain cave. We had all bonded and seen each other go through highs and lows. We would create these “ trains “ or as I like to call them “ pain trains “ to have some fun and encourage each other to get on board and keep moving. No runner left behind though that’s pretty impossible to do here going round and round and round …how many laps had I done ??

Moral support came from many runners and friends as I call them now. Soo many to mention. All having a special place. The hours seemed to pass slowly as we got down to the last 24 and I decided to work as hard as I could to make as many miles as I could. It was a push to the end here.

The Sandy power walk went on for hours, 17 to be exact. I decided to adjust back to a shuffle….slowly slowly wait I can run again !!!!!

Taking it a little bit faster now it felt good to adjust my cadence. I had been practicing a different style of running as a suggestion from Jean-Louis who was seeing me in pain struggling has made a suggestion to alleviate the pressure of my shin. I had been implementing it and it felt so much better. I was running again and the hallucinations were in full effect. The track seemed to be moving when I stared at it for too long. I felt like it was a trail with rolling hills,As the hours went on Mark says to me “you can get to 400 but you’re going to have to work for it, 400 is special not obtained without pain and not obtained by many” It was nose to the ground here I had less than 2 hours to get the last 10 miles in. As I pushed harder to keep it going I kept thinking how much it hurt tears welled up, this whole journey has played out not at all how I imagined. I was already so happy I had set a new American age group record a few hours ago, and land a spot on the podium. But to still be able to achieve the 400 mark !!!! I pushed and pushed until the end and managed 400.376 miles, 1,453 loops. It was all very emotional for me

After all that had happened I never would have fathomed being able to get to 400 finishing 3rd female and setting a new record. It seems like a dream still, and there are so many people that made this happen. What I loved the most was the spirit of all the Athletes and crews and the staff. We survived the Dome because we had each other and it is a memory I will have forever along with all the amazing people who have touched my life In some way out there. All the laps shared with so many new friends. Thank you to Tristan

This was it, go time in a matter of hours. Jay and I loaded up the car to the petite ice center and get situated. I had done all the training physical and mental for months for this. As much as I felt ready I didn’t. How does anyone really train for An event that is multiple days? The anxious feeling of the unknowns that would occur over the next 144 hours were very familiar to how i felt before we left for the Transcon back in 2017. 6 Days in the Dome was my first legit multi day race, yes I had done a run from Santa Barbara to San Jose in California (350 miles in 7 days and yes my run across America 3,125 miles in 54 ish days ) but the Dome was an actual race ….the clock doesn’t stop. The main goals here are to obtain as many miles as possible, and maybe set a new age group record. This was quite a prestigious event, all the athletes here are legends, holding world and American records. Everyone had a story to tell. Getting to spend the next 6 days with them was a honor.

I Went in with the same mindset that I knew it would be hard as hell, but knew time off my feet is as important as time on. This called for expert support which was why I was so thankful Jay Lee aka El Jefe was there. He knew and always knows exactly what to do. And he’s family to me so That was also very comforting. He was the driver and my support in the road for Sandy Across America so we can say he knows me pretty well and what an athlete attempting this type of endeavor would need. The benefits of the environment seemed to outweigh the concerns ( at the time ) controlled temperature in a controlled environment. A perfect 55 degrees, indoors so no night gear needed here. Elements such as wind, heat, would not be a concern. The Terrain was ideal, flat and smooth, no gravel, rocks, or climbing ( don’t get me wrong some of those things are ok, but I’m a true road runner at heart. Give me a smooth buttery road any day of the week. The track was 12 mm lightly layered over pure cement. The Pettit ice center is more than just an ice arena. Opened in December 1992, the Pettit Center provides free training ice time to high potential speed skaters and was home base for eight 2010 U.S. Winter Olympians, including four medalists. It is also Known as a legacy of Olympic medal winners. Being invited to participate here with these elite runners was quite exciting.

That was it all was almost unloaded, time to get my shoes on and eat some breakfast. We started in 30 min and quick debriefing at 11:30. We made our way over to the start line, Mike Melton was going to review rules, lane etiquette and get us going. We were all required to wear this “timing chip” on our ankle for the entire duration we were here ( hence my sarcastic reference to “Dome Arrest”)

We were told we had to have it on as long as we were on the premises. Sounds like house arrest right ?? It didn’t take long for it to cause me problems as i don’t wear long socks so it was chafing my ankle 4 miles in already. Jay quickly remedied it by wrapping a bandana around my ankle underneath the “ankle bracelet “ otherwise that could have been a big issue if ignored.

The cool temperature was very pleasant ….for the first few days, it became painful to have to rewarm up again after stopping for meals or stretch breaks. The lights from the overhead cast a glare off the ice in the middle of the arena, so wearing sunglasses became a welcomed benefit that soothed my eyes as well as almost everyone else. I can only imagine what our herd must have looked like running around in sunglasses round the clock. Most of the time I had no idea if it was dark or light outside, and in actuality it didn’t really matter. The goal was daily to keep moving for so many hours and then off my feet. I wasn’t expecting to have a bout of tibial tendinitis and if you have had it, you feel my pain and agony. It was around day 3when it reared it’s ugly head. I felt the annoying pain in the front of my ankle. Wait what is that ?? No no no, not now. I was staying on top of my stretching and always Kept my shoes tied loosely. I knew the inevitable was going to happen so I might as well just ride it out as long as I could. You see I’ve had this before a few times and while it is the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with it just comes down to managing the pain, adjusting ice breaks and the painful massaging and the mental strength to tolerate the pain.

I was trying to stay On the inside lane as much as possible because I didn’t want to rack up any Additional steps or miles, but this was also where the sharper curve was. The pain eventually turned into the million knives being stuck in my shins and ankle forcing me to stop. I showed my leg to john who who quickly taped me up, that bought me some more time so off I went. Round and round and round, the cool thing was being able to see the zamboni Smoothing out the ice after the kids has practice. It had also become a part of our daily routine, and a good distraction.

Ouch ..I shuddered again with the shooting pains

I was forced to stop and decided to show Dr. Andrew Lovy. He was head of the medical tent but also a participant. One of the most giving humans who cared more for the runners than his own race We tried several things icing, wrapping and icing while running. It came down to me being able to tolerate what I could. As the next day and a half went on I was able to get a good handle on it. Jay was able to help me get my brace back on it which stabilized it so running was doable and not painful. I took several intermittent breaks to keep the swelling down, stopping and starting was taking a tole, the once thought cool 55 degree had become what I felt was freezing temps. When you stop moving in the dome you get cold and usually need a lap or two to warm up again. Layers came on again off again. By this time too sleep deprivation was kicking in. I could never seem to shake the internal cold I constantly felt.

By this time everything was blurring together. What day was it ? I wonder what was going on outside ? Was it sunny ? I had begun coughing quite a bit as it also seemed many of my peers did too. The air in here seemed stuffy and drying. Dome arrest ..hmm maybe I could go outside ? Get some fresh air …I later learned that many of the runners often went outside for breaks so I quickly did too. Wow the sun felt so good. I elevated my legs up against the wall and stared at the sky the small white clouds seemed to be moving fast, I wondered how many laps I had ? I tried to to look at the screens too much and just follow the line. Most of the time I could get into my trance listening to music and just grind it out. The end of day 4 is when the ultimate breakdown happened. The pain was excruciating and forced me to stop my entire leg had started trembling. The pain had turned to shooting pains I could no longer manage. Touching my leg became impossible. I really thought I was going to be done. I just can’t handle it anymore. I layed wrapped in blankets for an hour screaming and crying about the pain. I was freezing and couldn’t stop shivering.

Dr. Lovy made house calls so he stopped by and saw me. Made the recommendation that we needed to get me into a pair of tights or pantyhose. They would act as a an agent to pump up the build up around my ankle and shin. Jay and Roger put me to lay down on my little mattress for a few hours to rest to get ready for the last hours of the race. I was losing hope and feeling defeated. I can’t even run anymore what’s the point ? “You can walk out out you did it before” ( the voice of my guardian who wasn’t there Cinder Wolf played constantly in my head) “You walked out 60 miles on transcon when this happened “ “its ok to walk just walk with a purpose “ ( the other voice I kept hearing those are words from uncle Marsh (Marshall Ulrich) who also was a mentor and adviser as adopted uncle to me ever since the transcon. A lot of these last few hours reminded me of the pain and toughness it took to finish something so hard like a trans con, It’s mental I knew I had to be able to push out the voices telling me all the reasons why I should stop. You see what also has happened here over the course of 6 days was the runners has become family. I wasn’t the only one in the pain cave. We had all bonded and seen each other go through highs and lows. We would create these “ trains “ or as I like to call them “ pain trains “ to have some fun and encourage each other to get on board and keep moving. No runner left behind though that’s pretty impossible to do here going round and round and round …how many laps had I done ??

Moral support came from many runners and friends as I call them now. Soo many to mention. All having a special place. The hours seemed to pass slowly as we got down to the last 24 and I decided to work as hard as I could to make as many miles as I could. It was a push to the end here.

The Sandy power walk went on for hours, 17 to be exact. I decided to adjust back to a shuffle….slowly slowly wait I can run again !!!!!

Taking it a little bit faster now it felt good to adjust my cadence. I had been practicing a different style of running as a suggestion from Jean-Louis who was seeing me in pain struggling has made a suggestion to alleviate the pressure of my shin. I had been implementing it and it felt so much better. I was running again and the hallucinations were in full effect. The track seemed to be moving when I stared at it for too long. I felt like it was a trail with rolling hills,As the hours went on Mark says to me “you can get to 400 but you’re going to have to work for it, 400 is special not obtained without pain and not obtained by many” It was nose to the ground here I had less than 2 hours to get the last 10 miles in. As I pushed harder to keep it going I kept thinking how much it hurt tears welled up, this whole journey has played out not at all how I imagined. I was already so happy I had set a new American age group record a few hours ago, and land a spot on the podium. But to still be able to achieve the 400 mark !!!! I pushed and pushed until the end and managed 400.376 miles, 1,453 loops. It was all very emotional for me

After all that had happened I never would have fathomed being able to get to 400 finishing 3rd female and setting a new record. It seems like a dream still, and there are so many people that made this happen. What I loved the most was the spirit of all the Athletes and crews and the staff. We survived the Dome because we had each other and it is a memory I will have forever along with all the amazing people who have touched my life In some way out there. Thank you to Steve Durbin and his staff as well as all the families and crews who cheered us on. My husband and Jay for taking care of me so well. This is an event I will never forget …thank you to Trishul for showing compassion and helping me reset my head with new goals.Thank you to Steve Durbin and his staff as well as all the families and crews who cheered us on. My husband and Jay for taking care of me so well. Thank you Joe Fejes for inviting me, this will be one to never forget.

2 comments

  1. Donna Deeb · September 3, 2019

    Wow, great report! Loved it. I was there for the first few days as a spectator, but had to leave. Congratulations!!

    Like

    • sandraruns52 · September 3, 2019

      Thank you !!!! Still seems surreal I pulled off a podium finish with all that happened and set a record

      Like

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