With Umstead 100-Miler this coming weekend and me in full-on taper mode, complete with 743 thoughts per second rushing through my brain, now seems a solid time to reach for my all-time list of most-telling endurance quotes.
Here's hoping at least a few of these strike home for you.
Thinking of the above runner studying the [Badwater] course at home, perhaps planning pace and strategy for these climbs, I am put in mind of a statement of Malcom Campbell in the middle of a 6-day. "You know," he said, "this was so much easier at home with my #2 pencil." – as told by Marv Skagerberg on The Ultra List
“To finish Hardrock you have to look deep within yourself and find something powerful that motivates you. You need to find a true connection with the mountains, the thin air, the rushing streams, the icy cold nights with their crystal, star-lit skies. You need to touch the softness that hides in those dark cliffs and deep chasms. Leave your self images behind and surrender yourself to what is. The race clock is ticking. But, time is an illusion. All that exists is the present moment. We can experience neither the past nor future directly, only the present is real. Yet, we try to dwell in either the past, through our memories, or the future, through our hopes and dreams. By looking to the past and future we constantly reject the present, which is reality. As Ram Dass said, "Be here now." – Peter Bawkin, 2006 Double Hardrock finisher
Seriously, Armstrong has been tested so often that I bet he can urinate into a salt shaker without splashing a drop, and he has always come up clean. As he said in that old Nike promo: "Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?"
"Amy has dropped at mile 41, so now it is the four of us, wondering if it was really only today that we had gone insane, or if it happened years ago and we can only tell at moments like this." – Andrea Feucht describing her 2002 Lake City 50 Miler experience
"Still waiting for my high to occur today, or hell, I’ll settle just for a medium. Anything out of the basement would feel great." – Mike Campbell more than halfway through 2002 VT 100.
"I have heard it said that preparing for a 100 miler is like training to be hit by a truck. There is only so much that you can do. Regardless of how smart you train or how hard you race, there are no guarantees. The only sure thing is that it's going to hurt and something bad is going to happen. It is not a question of ‘Will something go wrong?’ The real question is ‘How will you respond when things get bad, really bad?’ How bad do you want it?” -- Luis Escobar
Christopher Rampacek, a personal trainer and lifestyle manager from Houston, began doing serious long-distance running after his orthopedic surgeon replaced his hip 10 years ago and told him he would never run again. That was 50 marathons ago. This is his fourth Badwater. Last year, he recalls vividly hallucinating throughout the mountain stretch. What did he see? "A swimming pool," he says. "Oh, and the animals were cheering for me." – Washington Post story on the 2006 Badwater 135
“Just means The Ring will be hanging around your neck like some nuclear-waste-deformed albatross for yet another year... Lucky you.” – Chris Scott, cajoling me into running the Massanutten Ring Trail 71-Miler, which I finished in 2005
And perhaps my personal fave, from my brother Fred “Doom” Dummar, asked why he does ultras …
“I just love kicking my own ass.”