A Conference Was Called: A Story about Transition 

A Conference Was Called: A Story about Transition  May 5, 2024

A Conference Was Called to Undermine My Race:  

A Story About Transition 

The infamous SOB hill. If you are from Central Pa, you know.


Life is all about transition 

Long COVID is annoying and it is making me rethink my acceptance of and transition to a life with it.

This is a follow-up from a previous article I wrote.  I had a race a few weeks ago, the Hyner View 25k. I have two other finishes at this event, a 50k (32ish miles) back in 2015 in 09:54 and a 25k (16ish miles) in 2016 in 04:39. This year, I was able to pull off the 25k in 04:50.  

Hyner is a special race. In 17 miles, one covers a total of 4,646 feet (about half the height of Mount St. Helens) of climb. To put this in perspective, I have done plenty of 50k’s with this much climb. Situated outside of Lockhaven, Hyner State Park is in the Central Mountains of Pennsylvania. The surrounding area is as beautiful as it is rugged. Over here, we know this part of Pennsylvania as Rocksylvania.  

I arrived on site, Friday, April 19 to a huge camper city and a party vibe that cannot be beaten. Hyner is perhaps the funnest race I have ever attended. The fun ended when I believed my eyes took in the surrounding area. Running this event before, I knew what was before me, but I think my body had other plans. My body called a conference meeting on how all the systems were going to handle this year’s run.  

Long Covid 

After getting the second shot and eventually having COVID itself, I developed some long-term symptoms, namely post-exertional malaise. Consider this discussion from an article written in the journal Nature (Appelman, Charlton, Goulding, et al, 2024): 

“Patients with long COVID displayed a markedly lower exercise capacity, which related to skeletal muscle metabolic alterations and a shift towards more fast-fatigable fibers. The pathophysiology of post-exertional malaise includes an acute exercise-induced reduction in skeletal muscle mitochondrial enzyme activity, an increased accumulation of amyloid-containing deposits in skeletal muscle, signs of severe muscle tissue damage, together with a blunted exercise-induced T-cell response in skeletal muscle. Collectively, these findings help to decipher the underlying physiology of fatigue and a limited exercise capacity from the development of post-exertional malaise in patients with long COVID.”

This article presents many of the problems I have exhibited since the second shot. After having COVID, I found what I thought to be my tidal volume to be diminished, but this cleared up after a specific training protocol. What lingered was a persistent fatigue that seemed to show up around the 2-hour mark of any endurance training. Where I could do a 13-mile run with no problems, now I need a significant nap. 13-hour training weeks are all but impossible.  

As I mentioned, my body conspired against me for Hyner. I have had a pulmonary function test and it showed that everything was fine, but what I have found is that along with post-exertional malaise, is a reliance on an inhaler when my lungs are asked to work at max capacity. When this happens, and I do not use my inhaler, I cannot seem to get enough oxygen in my system and my legs get heavy. Repeat this for over 2 hours when the malaise starts setting in and I get on the struggle bus. The last 5 miles of Hyner were brutal.  This acceptance to the transition away from ultra running is going to be tough. 

An Awareness of Change 

You never know who/what you will find on the trail.

The practice of acceptance and transition in this case is a spiritual practice of you. I have been aware of this change for some time. At first, I tried to deny it, avoid it, even train harder to build up an immunity to it. For 2024, I even stacked my year with the most ambitious event tempo since before the pandemic. I had to cancel a 50k in September and am accepting that the big bike events I planned are not going to happen as I had planned. 

And I am ok with this. Consider these quotes by Marcus Aurelius: 

Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them. 
Keep constantly in mind in how many things you yourself have witnessed changes already. The universe is chang, life is understanding. 

Later, Nietzsche would stress that life is all a process of becoming. The spiritual practice of you sometimes is working with the changes in your life and affirming what life is asking you to become.  

In my running career, I have completed somewhere in the range of twenty-twenty-five 50k or longer foot races lots of 25k’s, many half marathons and countless 10 and 5k’s. Then there is the biking, I have done lots of that too. I still have the desire to run the JFK 50 miler, the granddaddy of ultra races in America for my 50th.  

If you are struggling with a change in your life, then stop. We suffer because we cling. When we can let our senses settle, we can begin to adopt the postures we need to accept the changes that out of our control.  


Appelman, B., Charlton, B.T., Goulding, R.P. et al. Muscle abnormalities worsen after post-exertional malaise in long COVID. Nat Commun 15, 17 (2024)

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