Amelia Boone –
Fans called her the Queen of Pain, the Michael Jordan of obstacle sequence racing. She lugged 90-pound backpacks for over 72 hours straight and sat in freezing rivers in the dead of winter. amassed four steeplechase world titles and over 50 podiums in five years—all while working full-time as an attorney, currently at Apple. She had just set her wonders on ultrarunning. But beneath her grim exterior, Amelia Boone harbored secret fears, and when life offered great physical reward, she eventually had to face the one obstacle she could never escape.
I. Hard Break
I was in a strange room. From 2011 to 2016, I was the leading force in steeplechasing: a four-time world champion, seemingly unbeatable. It sounds conceited – but I won, and badly [see footnote A]. I’ve never missed a podium in my entire career and the focus has always been: What’s the next race I can win? To an stranger it must have seemed like everything was perfectly in place, but internally I was struggling. I was eager to break away from Steeplechase and hungry to find a new challenge. I found it in the ultra run.
At my second ultra, the 2016 Sean O’Brien 100K in Malibu, California, I secured a gold ticket to run in the Western States – the Super Bowl of ultramarathons [B]. I rode the altitude. Then the bottom fell out. I didn’t grow up as a runner, and I’d never really tracked mileage. didn’t know how to structure the training, so I looked at what other ultrarunners were doing and thought, This should work for me. myself I didn’t think I ran that much – to be honest, I just didn’t get the concept that you need “rest” every now and then. I thought rest days were for weenies.
On a long run in April 2016, catching some sharp descents, searing pain suddenly started radiating out my quad. I thought my leg would break in half. I limped it in and prayed it was muscular. The next morning, as I got out of bed, my leg buckled under me, sending me crashing to the floor. I ran so much and so hard that I broke my femur. As someone who continually preaches “Prehab! Strengthening! Balance!” to then crack the sturdiest bone in her body, I was gripped by feelings of shame and embarrassment [C]. I was angry, defiant: I swore to and fro that I had done everything right.
But when the outrage subsided , she gave way to an even worse feeling – guilt. I bought a 24-hour pass for the self-flagellation carousel. You should have had some inclination, you should have known better.
you have no one to blame but yourself I felt embarrassed to explain it to people, especially other athletes who might be judging (“Didn’t you feel it coming?” “Who runs enough to break their femur?”).
amelia boone injury
A bone injury is particularly annoying if you’re a woman — you can’t escape the stigma that you must have “done something wrong.” Random strangers on the internet pounced on me. “Gosh, what’s your bone density?” “Are you getting your period?” It got me thinking: just wait. To prove to everyone that I’m not a statistic, that I’m not broken, I would come back quickly. So I trained like hell and vowed to come back triumphant by the end of the season. The day after my diagnosis.
I swam with a buoy between my legs for as long as my bored mind could take, staring at the line on the pool floor through tears in my goggles. got on an Assault exercise bike and worked my arms and one leg, and then I got on the SkiErg – it’s brutal [D] – and used it sitting down, sometimes for more than an hour every day.
Also, I did pull-ups to failure and push-ups on one leg. At one point I had the brilliant idea that crutches could be a form of exercise. In Western States I crawled around eight miles with a crutch. Eight miles! People said, “You should set the Guinness World Record for running a marathon!” I was secretly proud of not request for help at the blisters that were forming on my hands. But I couldn’t appreciate the incredible toll this was taking on my body. Now when I see people who are hurt and using crutches as a form of exercise, I want to scream, “STOP. Please, it’s not worth it.”
Some Achievements Of Boone
[A] Boone gained the Spartan Race World Championships in 2013 and the World’s Toughest Mudder – a 24-hour non-stop steeplechase – in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
[B] The oldest 100-mile trail race in the world is also one of the toughest: runners must climb more than 5,000m, descend almost 7,000m and negotiate the icy Middle Fork of the American River.
[C] “The femur is the largest and strongest bone in the body. To suffer a stress fracture here.
you ignore the symptoms of pain and push through,” says exercise medicine physician and author of Running Strong, Jordan Metzl, M.D.
[E] Crutching isn’t functional training, and it gives you little health benefit, says Metzl.