Tuesday, September 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis resident survived fall, now running half marathon

By
From page A1 | March 15, 2013 |

Kathryn Kolesar, a Davis resident and UC Davis graduate student, went from a death-defying fall to reaching new personal goals in the span of just seven months.

The date was Aug. 28, 2012, when the first part of this 28-year-old’s inspirational story occurred. It involved a rock climbing trip to Yosemite with a friend.

“Basically, we just weren’t ready,” said Kolesar, who followed a difficult path along the Snake Dike route on Yosemite’s Half Dome. “We made lots of beginner mistakes.”

Neither of the climbers expected a piece of their equipment to slip out of the rock it was stationed in, which sent her friend — then her — plummeting 20 feet down the side of a ledge.

“Everything happened in slow motion, as everyone says,” Kolesar said. “I remember watching him fall, and thinking, ‘I just watched my friend die.’ That’s when I realized that I was going over, too.

“The next thing I saw was the ground coming at me … I fell head first, but put my hands out instinctively and rolled, and landed on all fours. I think that’s honestly what saved me.”

Another fortunate detail — if fortune can be found in such a grim situation — is that they both fell onto a sandy flat instead of the trail’s many areas of jagged rock.

Kolesar was able to find help, despite having to fight her body’s natural shock response. By chance, there happened to be two men with cell phones and water nearby to call for the park’s search and rescue unit.

“I was anticipating having to make an epic walk, or crawl, out to the main trail,” she said, “but again, we really lucked out. It was traumatic, but I also realized that I wasn’t dead, and it would only get better.”

Within an hour, Kolesar was whisked away by helicopter to the Modesto Trauma Center. There, she was hospitalized for six fractured ribs, a liver laceration, a pneumothorax in the right lung, and a broken neck, wrist, hip socket and pelvis.

Surprisingly, there was no need for surgery to treat the litany of injuries. Her movement, however, was limited for the next four months. Dependence on a walker — and later, a cane — became a constant reminder of her accident.

She recalled feeling restless during this recovery period, eager for the opportunity to return to the outdoors. Her penchant for a natural setting is something she remembers developing early on — at the age of 8:

“My dad took me backpacking and made it a lot of fun. We went on overnight trips, where we had a camp by a stream. He brought all sorts of good food and chocolate. We saw deer, and I think we even saw a bear one time.”

As soon as she could handle it — a prerequisite she met in December 2012 — she began running, skiing, riding bikes and resuming her athletic activities per usual.

Kolesar has even found her rejuvenated self ascending once more to mountaintops, though only the climbing walls found in local gyms for the time being.

“I’m just going to be a lot more patient with it,” she said. “The mountains will be there. I’ll take my time in getting to them.”

She mentioned experiencing some residual pain after too much physical exertion of any type, which for her often indicates “when it’s time to slow down.”

Still, she felt comfortable enough to participate in the annual Davis Stampede 10K last month. Her next dedication is to running her first half-marathon, Sunday’s Shamrock’n Half Marathon in Sacramento.

The local race, which usually draws approximately 6,500 runners, consists of a 13.1-mile run through Sacramento’s Midtown — starting and finishing at Raley Field.

“I think I was delirious when I signed up for this,” joked Sarah Morgan, who has agreed to join and train with her roommate, Kolesar, for the upcoming event.

Besides running being a better way to avoid broken bones than a lot of outdoor activities, for Kolesar it is providing resolution to an experience that has offered important life lessons:

“One is that you need to set goals, and to realize the steps you need to take to get there. The other is being patient about those goals, and realize your own limitations — whether it’s running, climbing or anything else.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
     
    U.S., Arab allies hit Islamists in Syria, Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: These are the tanks we get

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Wind threatens firefighting effort

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Unscheduled landing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Free community yard sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    So you want to be an entomologist?

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

    Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Forum will answer questions about new license law

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Applications open for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Brother’s drinking out of control

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Daughter has her own opinions

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    We must not stand for perpetual war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t cut all the trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A great Day in the Country

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Donors support school matinees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A big Explorit thanks!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Running game powered Devils in first football win

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7