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Three Kids, Removal Of Brain Tissue, 22K Feet, No Problem

Diane Van Deren can do a lot of things. She can pull a sled full of gear 420 miles through the freezing Yukon in an endurance race, or run 100 miles at a time, or prep for a speed ascent of South America’s tallest mountain, Aconcagua, a trip that will take her up to 22,000 feet above sea level.

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She cannot use a heart monitor while running, though. She can’t pack for her own trips, and she can’t find her car in parking lots or remember her honeymoon. I can’t do any of these things either, but Van Deren has a really good excuse: the mother of three and ultra-runner had a kiwi-sized lobe of her brain removed in order to stop crippling seizures she suffered from, and that running helped stave off as long as she kept running. (Thus her habit of sometimes running overnight.)

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But sure: you’re too tired to go to the gym today, Mr/Ms “I have a whole brain and no kids.”