K11 — March 2010 — Extreme Endurance Athlete
Intro: Think about what it takes to run a marathon. Months of training and preparation. Now imagine running a marathon every single day. That's what extreme athlete Diane VanDeren does to prepare for her races – unbelievable distances of 100 to 435 miles. She's teamed up with doctors at Mayo Clinic to help them learn more about what makes elite athletes able to accomplish such feats. Especially for an athlete like Diane who overcame a debilitating illness to become the world's most elite female endurance runner.
"ALL I NEED TO THINK ABOUT WHEN I'M OUT THERE IS STAY IN THE MOMENT."
DIANE VANDEREN IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST ELITE FEMALE RUNNERS. SHE RUNS MORE EVERY DAY THAN MOST PEOPLE DRIVE. UP TO 24 MILES A DAY. SHE'S RUN 100, 300 AND 400-MILE RACES. ALL WITHOUT INJURING HERSELF. EVER. BUT HOW SHE CAME TO BE THE BEST FEMALE ENDURANCE ATHLETE IN THE WORLD IS AN AMAZING RACE IN ITSELF. SHE WAS RUNNING AWAY FROM EPILEPSY.
"I HAD 10 YEARS OF UNCOLTROLLED SEIZURES. THEONLY THING THAT WORKED TO CONTROL MY SEIZURES WAS MY RUNNING. AND I'D RUN FOR HOURS. THAT'S WHEN I STARTED TO RUN 100 MILE RACES."
AND SHE HASN'T STOPPED. TWELVE YEARS AGO DIANE HAD BRAIN SURGERY TO REMOVE THE SPOT THAT CAUSED HER SEIZURES. NOW SHE'S ONE OF THE BEST. DOCTORS AT MAYO CLINIC ARE STUDYING WHAT MAKES PEOPLE LIKE HER TICK. "[BLOW] SQUEEZE AND PUSH, SQUEEZE AND PUSH..." WHAT MAKES THEM SUCCEDE.
"WE'LL TEST HER HERE AT MAYO IN WAYS THAT GO BEYOND NORMAL TESTING AND THEN TEST HER AGAIN IN THE FIELD."
"WE'RE ALSO INTERESTED IN WHAT WE CAN LEARN UNDER EXTREME CONDITIONS THAT WE CAN TAKE BACK TO CLINICAL POPULATIONS."
BECAUSE LEARNING HOW DIANE'S MIND AND BODY CAN ENDURE DAYS OF CONSTANT EXERTION MAY OFFER CLUES AS TO HOW TO HELP PATIENTS AS THEY ENDURE AND COPE WITH THE STRESS OF DISEASE. DIANE SAYS HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO FURTHER MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE IS PART OF WHAT KEEPS HER GOING. THE OTHER PART IS THAT SHE LOVES RUNNING.
"HERE I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE RUNNING THESE BEAUTIFUL SCENIC AREAS. I'M GRATEFUL."
FOR MEDICAL EDGE, I'M VIVIEN WILLIAMS.
Diane says giving back is also part of what keeps her motivated. She regularly speaks about epilepsy and uses her success to help raise money and awareness about the disease.
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