What if there was a surgical procedure that would make it possible for you to run 100-mile races? What if that surgery also erased part of your memory and a portion of your organizational skills?
This is reality for Diane Van Deren, a former professional tennis player who had part of her brain removed in 1997 as a treatment for epilepsy. The lobectomy was a double-edged sword: Her inability to gauge how much time and distance has passed has helped her become one of the greatest ultramarathoners on the globe, but she has no memories of family vacations and little sense of direction.
The New York Times brings us the full story:
She used to run away from epileptic seizures. Since brain surgery, she just runs, uninhibited by the drudgery of time and distance, undeterred by an inability to remember exactly where she is going or how to get back. “It used to be, call for help if Mom’s not back in five hours,” Van Deren said. She laughed. “That rule has been stretched. I’ve got a 24-hour window now. Isn’t that sad?”
Van Deren, 49,… has become one of the world’s great ultra-runners, competing in races of attrition measuring 100 miles or more. She won last year’s Yukon Arctic Ultra 300, a trek against frigid cold, deep snow and loneliness, and was the first woman to complete the 430-mile version this year….