I'm reading his book, Ultramarathon Man, for some inspiration with the marathon training. He describes almost mile-by-mile his experience doing the Western States Endurance Run for the first time, how his toenails fell out, he went temporarily blind, and he crawled part of the last few miles on his hands and knees.
I was curious about whether / how many women participate in the WS100. Turns out that this year, a woman named Beverley Anderson-Abbs from Red Bluff, a town 30 miles north of here, finished in 9th place overall. 9th out of 210 finishers, in 20 hours 10 minutes 36 seconds. She is 42. In 2005 she finished the WS100 just an hour behind ol' Ultramarathon Man himself. A week ago she finished 26 minutes behind him in the Vermont 100 to take second place overall. Reportedly, horses compete in the Vermont race as well, and she beat all of the horses too. Not bad.
I was thinking about the ultra subject this morning on my fine little 6 mile jog, thinking that if I ever reached the end of a marathon and thought to myself, 'hey, I'd like to just keep on running another 24 miles,' then maybe I would consider the American River 50 miler. I think I'm safe for the time being. But on the other hand, I'm awake in the middle of the night writing about ultramarathon runners so maybe I share more of their pathology than I realize. It just seems like everything starts to seize up and / or fall apart around miles 17 - 20. Hard to imagine that stage being the beginning or even middle of a race rather than the final third. Seems a lot more sensible to cross the continent on a bicycle instead. You can sleep at night, and eat in restaurants along the way, and maybe keep all your toenails intact. The sheer luxury of it.
Dean Karnazes quotes Lily Tomlin in his book--her statement merits a stint as the official Hamartia & Cheese Sandwiches subtitle.