Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Consistency

Of all the traits that I admire in ultrarunners by far the most significant trait is consistency. There is something about this sport that requires it, demands it and, in the end, rewards it.

We see it in so many aspects of the ultrarunners life. The training requires an often mind-numbing regularity. Get up, run, get through the day, eat, sleep, repeat. Over and over. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. The race calendar provides some structure to this pattern and also inspires and motivates us. But, in the end, the desire to succeed in ultrarunning requires an almost machine-like attention to simply getting it done. And, if you think consistency is hard, go check out the September 2001 Ultrarruning Magazine results and see how many runners listed in the results there are still running today.

And all that, my friends, is why I am awed and inspired by Jennifer Pharr-Davis. Less than a week from now, barring a major disaster, Jennifer will establish a new standard for speed on the most storied trail in our country, the Appalachian Trail. Assuming she gets to the southern end of the trail in time (47 days and 13 hours from the start) she will have set the record. And, not just any record, but a record that has been passed between Horton and Thompson, attempted by Meltzer, others, etc...Oh yeah, Jennifer is also a woman! I dare say, this is downright Trasonesque.

Now, I don't know Jennifer (or her husband Brew, what an awesome name!) but I can assure you she is tough. Physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. And, I hope to have the honor of meeting her some day. Her consistency on this journey has been downright scary. Up every morning at 4:30am, on the trail shortly after 5, wrapping up the day around 8:50pm she has clipped off 45-55 mile days like it's nothing. Day after day, mile after mile, she has simply put one foot in front of the other and gotten it done. Faster than anyone else, ever. I would love to be there with her on that last day. I hope she rips off a 100!

Over the next few days I'll be following Jennifer's progress and I urge you to do the same. Doing something well, better, and faster than anyone else ever has, requires something few of us have. Doing it for seven consecutive weeks is uncanny. From my perspective, it's worth celebrating, savoring, and honoring.

14 comments:

Kevin said...

Got a link?

Tim said...

http://jenniferpharrdavis.tumblr.com/

AJW said...

Thanks Kevin. Just added it.

PatrickGarcia said...

Yup. Pretty damn impressive.

Rob said...

Hope she get's it, and I would love to see others take a crack at it. Maybe Karl in 2012? I think Jen's experience (3rd time through-hike), along with her consistency, is a major factor. Go Odyssa!

Unshod Jogger said...

I've been following her progress from the beginning and her resolve is relentless. She battled through painful shinsplints and per her husbands awesome reporting, has not complained a bit along the way.

Rod Bien said...

Simply amazing. To be out there for 15+ hours everyday just blows my mind. I sure hope she gets it. Thanks for the link.

Helen said...

Well said!! I first met Jen at around mile 45 of the Mtn Masochist in 2007 - her hiking skills were stellar back then. It's a huge accomplishment thus far I hope it continues to go well. Thanks Sophie for posting the blog link!!

Charlie said...

Amazing effort from Jennifer!

Our Aussie ultra ledgend Pat Farmer is currently running from the North Pole to the South Pole (he is almost in Mexico now). 80k a day for goodness knows how long.

http://poletopolerun.com/the-run/

There are some amazing people out there for sure.

Jim P. said...

And, don't forget how bloody hot it's been lately. Imagine doing those kind of miles on the unforgiving AT in 90+ degree heat day in and day out. Impresive.

mtnrunner2 said...

All I know about Twitter I learned from following ultras. heh. Very cool.

Olga said...

I've been following Jen for a couple of weeks now, and so hope she gets it. Crazy exciting! She, and Lisa Bliss, who had completed 135M of Badwater totally self-supported (push-pull a cooling cart loaded with ALL needed from the start) in some 70+ hrs and now is on the way to Mt. Whitney.
Women rock.
No disrespect to guys:)

Burt said...

On consistency: Kudos to Mark Godale for a 4th place, 16:46 finish at the Burning River 100 this weekend. Mark has been competing at a very high level, and with great frequency, often on the roads since at least 1994. Held the road US 24-hour record until Jurek got it recenly, made numerous USA National 100 km teams, and races with tenacity every time out. To consistency!

jenifer said...

Great to have you back and glad you made time for the run. As fun as always!
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