So I met up with Miss Andrea and we high tailed it over to this fabulous restaurant called Salsa Brava in Highlands Ranch that serves gluten free Mexican food. wow. I could die it was so good. It probably doesn’t help that I could totally live on Mexican food. It is my all time favorite. If I never ate Italian again I’d die happy. But Mexican? I want it for breakfast. Miss Andrea was on the last three days of the Whole30 diet (can you believe that? She is amazing) so she needed something fairly restricting also. She said her salad was so amazing we can’t wait to go back. It’s our new favorite place.
After that we raced down the street to get to the Highlands Ranch Library so we could attend “An Evening with Diane Van Deren”. She’s an ultrarunner who has epilepsy. She had a lobectomy in 1997 and this effectively ended her seizures but now she has trouble judging time passing, she has a small blind spot on her left side, and she has almost no sense of direction (except for the blind spot, I could have had the same surgery based on those symptoms). She can run for days on end in extreme temperatures and in fact, this is where she is the most at peace.
Diane was born in Nebraska but raised here in our own Littleton, Colorado. After realizing at a young age she was clearly meant to excel at all sports, she focused early on tennis and became a tennis professional. When she transitioned to running it became apparent the more extreme it was, the more at peace she felt. She won the Canadian Yukon in 2008 spending almost 8 days pulling a 50 pound sled 300 miles across the arctic tundra. She said when she got there the temperature was -42*.
On a side note I have to say the temperature in the library was so bitter freezing cold I got a migraine sitting there. I felt horrible even saying anything because of the subject matter!~ the irony…
Listening to her incredible running experiences that cover 100 miles + and are frequently in negative temperatures is so intimidating. Most fascinating story ever. She says she’s going to write a book and I will be so in line to buy it. After all those ultra running experiences…the one that was the hardest was the 1000 mile Mountain to Sea Trail in North Carolina. The first six days were run on the trail during a tropical storm. Within hours her feet were blistered and trashed. And she still had 16 days to go. Insane. This is the story she wants to tell the most and she says it was her last epic. She’ll still run marathons, 50 and 100 ultras but epics are done. She needs to focus on her family now.
Most people build up to ultras. Diane Van Deren works her way down to marathons.
You can listen to her on Radio lab here
You can read her Runners World story here
You can read the local Denver Post story about her 100 mile Mountain to Sea trail run in North Carolina here
Runners…run on and be inspired today. And be thankful.