Sunday, October 9, 2011

Celiac Awareness, The Virgil Crest Ultra Marathon, and Dedication

Some of you may remember me periodically blogging about gluten free blogger, Pete Bronski.  Mr. Bronski is a writer.  He's written a handful of books about adventure sports.  I read Hunting Nature's Fury, which he co-wrote with storm chaser Roger Hill.  I was unable to ever get the one I really wanted to read, At the Mercy of the Mountains, since no libraries in the statewide network have it.  Drat!  It's that mountain thing, again.  One can't drive back and forth over Washington's Cascade Mountains all one's early years without absorbing a bit of fascination with the majesty and awe of mountains.

Mr. Bronski also does freelance writing for magazines of similar vein.  And he engages in various extreme sporting events and includes reports on such activities in his blog.

I know of Pete because I follow his blog, No Gluten, No Problem.  I am a frequently commenter.  I periodically write to ask him questions about celiac related topics.  So throughout the years we've developed one of those strange virtual acquaintance things.

Pete and his wife, Kelli, have authored two cook books.  I own, Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking.    You can find more information at the link.

I hope to get their second, Gluten Free Cupcakes, soon.  I thought I had reviewed it when we had it from the library, but I see I haven't reviewed any books since June.  (Yikes, am I ever behind!)  You'll have to follow the Amazon link for the reviews there, but I really liked this book.  I don't bake cupcakes often, (like, never?) but during the weeks we had this book from the library, Louisa just went to town.  We had a different artistically invented variety of cupcakes every night for a while.  I am in awe of the ways the Bronskis incorporated such a variety of ideas in to beautiful, artfully presented recipes.

A week ago, Pete ran his second Virgil Crest Ultra 50 mile marathon.  Besides running for his own adventure, Pete also uses his races to raise money and awareness for Celiac disease.  Last year, he ran in spite of a gluten reaction, and finished in 11 hours and 34 minutes.

This year Pete's challenges were different.  Instead of a mere gluten reaction with which to contend, the mountains and hills were saturated and slippery with mud.  But on top of that, Pete had spent the previous ten days dealing with a mysterious illness. In his own words, written the Wednesday before the September 24, race, "So to recap: since just this past Thursday, I've seen my primary doctor, an ER doctor, a dermatologist, an opthalmologist, and an infectious disease specialist. Those five doctors have variously diagnosed me with: a staph infection (not it), Lyme disease (also not it), contact dermatitis from poison oak (doesn't explain my systemic symptoms, and which, by the way, doesn't grow in New York!), a bad spider bite with systemic reaction (it's not a spider bite, trust me), and a contact dermatitis allergic reaction and bad drug side effects/allergy (possible, though I'm still skeptical)."

In spite of all, Pete finished the race.  Again, I'll use his words, "I crossed the finish line in 12 hours 15 minutes. I had finished. Not only that, but I was only 30 minutes behind last year's time. Given both a) the muddy conditions and b) my recent illness, I was more than thrilled. It was the most difficult day of racing, and the most painful and hard-earned finish, I've ever had. By a long shot. And it felt good. (That sounds crazy, doesn't it?)"

Great job, Pete!  What an achievement.  But yes, it does sound a bit crazy.  To get the full impact of his physical condition, the condition of the trails, and his race day, You'll have to follow the links I included above.  Wow!  That's some dedication!  Or just plain crazy.

I believe you can still give money to celiac research via Pete's First Giving page.  Check it out to support celiac awareness and research.

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