Magnification - From Team Type 1 SANOFI's Run Across America

Magnification by Marcus Grimm

Caption: Brian Foster takes his turn in the Recovery Pump
As Team Type 1 SANOFI nears Flagstaff, Arizona, Van B’s Chris Zenker observes that everything the runners do is intensely magnified.

“Every decision we make reaps a result,” he says. “A great choice in anything leads to great running and recovery, but the opposite has an equally negative effect.”

Like their teammates, the runners first had to deal with ratcheting down their insulin requirements. Failure to do so results in low blood sugars. CGM alarms and the intuition of your teammates prevent the athletes from being in danger, but a runner with a low blood sugar is also a slower runner, and despite this being the most ultra of runs, speed is somewhat of the essence.

And as the miles pile up, how the runners prevent injuries is equally important to Zenker’s magnification theory. Indeed, if you don’t do everything you can to keep healthy, you, your teammates and the entire journey are put at risk.

Sleep helps and as the team enters their third day on the road, the routine is now allowing them to sleep when they must and their bodies soak up the recovery like water into a sponge.

“It’s amazing how exhausted you are and then five or six hours later, we’re ready to go,” says Eric Tozer, the youngest of the runners. Ironically, Tozer’s biggest complaints thus far are chapped lips and a sore wrist.

But most of the runners’ complaints are coming from their lower extremities, and so the Recovery Pump has become a favorite of nearly every runner. Despite their comical appearance (picture inflatable balloon legs that cover your own), the compression effect that comes from the Recovery Pump improves the circulation for the runners, aiding the recovery they will so desperately need.

Ultra specialist Jon Obst agrees, “The Recovery Pump has been awesome. My Newtons are my best friends when I’m on the road and the Recovery Pump is my best friend when the shift ends.”

Van B is also working together to ensure each runners’ healthy. Realizing that the first leg of their shift is always the toughest, the squad has shortened that pull to be only a few miles, to ensure the runners don’t strain their groggy muscles. In addition, they’re responding to how each of them reacts on the terrain.

“Last night, Chris had some shin pain on the downhills,” said Jon Obst, “So I relieved him. We’re finding what everyone can do to be successful out here and making sure we take advantages of each of our individual strengths.”

Zenker agrees.

“I’m learning more and more every day – both about diabetes and about running really far. The trick is to see what you learn and apply it right away. Mistakes get punished out here, but the right moves get rewarded immediately, too.”


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