Monday, July 06, 2009

Currently Reading: The Extra Mile

Title: The Extra Mile
Subtitle: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultra-Running Greatness
Author: Pam Reed

Pam Reed is a two time Badwater Ultramarathon winner, a multiple ultramarathon record holder including the 300 mi and 24 hr track, the Tucson Marathon Director as well as a mom and wife. Although she's achieved a lot and certainly an athletic hero, her book is less than inspirational. This may not have been the point of it however (in her defence).
It's basically an autobiography, written as if she's speaking to you. But the voice of the author is very choppy, skipping around from thought to thought and topic to topic. She talks about how energetic she is and that characteristic comes through in her writing as very scattered.
If her life other than her athletic background was exciting and full of unique, captivating stories, this book might have been a great idea. However, it feels like a public diary full of mistakes and selfishness. She even adds quotes from her children about family dynamics and her lack of maternal instinct which made me cringe.
Some amazon reviewers hinted about these negatives points and I still bought the book thinking maybe people were just uptight. I was really interested in hearing about the process and drive of an ultramarathoner. I was curious about her training and about her future goals. But, the book is about her over-idolizing some Olympic gymnast from the 70s as a child, the dissolution of her first marriage, how she is cold emotionally, has difficulty communicating her feelings, how much she and her current husband clash and how hard it is to direct a marathon. Nothing uplifting or inspirational.
I am a little more than halfway through and will finish it just because I paid money for it. If I come across anything worth more than I've described, I will update my review!

Update on my Nathan pack from my 12 mile run today (will review soon): I loved it. I didn't notice any of the previous problems except the bite valve issue. But I read a trick online that you need to twist it as you pull it out and that did seem to help. I also played with it a lot, pulling it in and out before running with it again to loosen it up. I guess you want a tight valve so you don't have leaking but, both times I've ran with it, it's leaked onto my shirt. I always end up with a huge circle of water near my waist. This has been OK since I'm sweating so much anyway, but in the winter time that would suck. Also, if I had any colored beverage like Powerade Zero in there - it could stain clothes. I'm currently thinking about getting a Camelbak Omega reservoir. Everyone seems to say that combo of the excellent Nathan pack and that bladder is the best of two worlds. The only issue there is that you have to rig the reservoir to your pack since it's got different hooks to hold the bladder down. I need to read more about this...

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