Friday, September 14, 2012

Newly Published Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Lightning Injuries

Those who have been following my blog for a while already know about how I came too close to lightning during my second running of the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Run four years ago (when I could better keep up with my blogging):  "Sweltering, Scared, Soaked, but Spared--Surviving the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Run from Hell (and My First Title Loss Ever)"

This link below gets you to one of the best summary articles (actually guidelines) I've come across on lightning, very recently published by the Wilderness Medical Society. (Thanks, WMS!)  Some of the treatment stuff is probably too technical medical; you can skim it or ask a friend working in health care to interpret it.

But there is practical straightforward stuff that ultrarunners can use (and if trying to make some buckle cutoff, maybe ignore, but at least it would be informed risk-taking.)  Such as:
if one can hear thunder, then there is a risk of lightning strikes and one should seek shelter immediately. As substantial shelter is rarely available in the wilderness, hearing thunder in this setting should trigger an individual to immediately avoid or leave areas that are high risk for lightning strikes, such as ridgelines or summits, and to avoid tall objects such as ski lifts, cell phone towers, or isolated trees.
Additional bonus learning point /editorial is in Table 1 "ACCP classification scheme for grading evidence and recommendations in clinical guidelines."  In medicine, workup and treatment guidelines are rarely clear cut / black and white.  Recommendations are graded; by the quality of supporting evidence.  Often what gets done for patients (or asked by patients of their doctors) is low on that table.  Aside from the impracticality of going in to the emergency department (or at least mine) demanding an MRI for your sprained ankle...

If nothing else  please take a look at and try to memorize their photo of the position you are supposed to assume if lightning strike seems imminent :  crouch on your toes and hear no evil.  There are more subtle things you should try to do, details in article.

copyright by the Wilderness Medical Society, 2012
didn't ask for permission, but hopefully they'll will forgive, since I'm trying to maybe save your life!

Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Volume 23, Issue 3, Pages 260-269, September 2012
published online 02 August 2012.  Davis, Chris, et al,  "Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Lightning Injuries"

Stay safe! Stay alive!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Forgetting Your Finishing Times

During the last half of Wasatch (100 Mile Endurance Run) this past weekend, my goal was to finish under 30 hours.  This wasn't just an arbitrary goal involving the tens-place minute digit of my finishing time, but backed tangibly by a buckle with a different design.

actually NOT what I was shooting for-- out of my reach,
but I don't have my sub-30 hour buckle yet and couldn't find a photo on the web
In between short conversations with other runners and their pacers, thoughts only half coherent due to fatigue and hypoxia, and nonverbal appreciation of the fantastic scenery, I tried to remember my finishing times of my other races this year.  I realized that none of my times stuck, especially my three earlier 100 mile runs.  Perhaps because it took me so much longer to finish than I had expected.  Or maybe I have now completed so many ultras (I think I am over 120 now, depending on how you count) that I don't really fixate over my times so much.

If someone asked me how long it took me to finish Bighorn (100 mile) this past June, and I answered "I think 27-something, pretty slow" when it actually took me almost 29 hours, probably an excusable factual error.  Plus with appropriate accompanying self-deprecation.

But saying your best time in a marathon (and the only marathon you've ever run in your life at that) was under 3 when it was actually over 4?  And then to pat yourself on the back publicly for being so fast?  Despicable!  This pathological liar wants to be our vice-president.

Paul Ryan, self-touted sub-3 marathoner and vice presidential candidate
I almost missed all this while I was camping and without good web access.

August 22, 2012, The Hugh Hewitt Show:

Hewitt: Are you still running?

Ryan: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or less.

Hewitt: But you did run marathons at some point?

Ryan: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.

Hewitt: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?

Ryan: Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.

Hewitt: Holy smokes. All right, now you go down to Miami University….

Ryan: I was fast when I was younger, yeah.

Ludicrous!  If I made a similar PR (double meaning intended) "oversight," I would answer, "I think I finished just under two hours.  Yeah, I was faster than the world's fastest."  Note he even lied about running more than one marathon by his use of plural/habitual.  He is reeking!

Whatever respect I can muster for his right to hold his conservative political views, I can't hear such a blatant lie without a deep-seated feeling of revulsion arise from the pit of my stomach.  There is a large pit in running hell for people who lie about their athletic accomplishments.  This dude is a self-aggrandizing, untrustworthy liar.  He is not to be trusted.  If he becomes my country's vice-president, I will be really pissed off.  Consider moving to Canada.  (Would be quite inconvenient, but great trail running there!)

If I ever saw him running, I might accidentally trip him.

Enough of my ranting, better to make fun.  This is hilarious, in case you haven't seen it yet.

Stephen Colbert's coverage of Ryan's one-hour post-race sort of course-cutting

God Bless America and Stephen Colbert!

And just saw this one:

The Original Paul Ryan Time Calculator