Monday, August 07, 2006

The Extra Mile by Pam Reed

Last Wednesday when I and the boys went to Barnes and Noble I picked up a few books. I purchased The Extra Mile by Pam Reed, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes, Duel in the Sun by Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley and The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb. I know, I should go to the library once in a while. I have a zillion and one books on many bookshelves, but I love to read.

I just finished The Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness by Pam Reed.

I found it phenomenal. I wasn't sure what to expect. When the title was first available at book stores quite a few people on the big ultra list took stabs at her. They made fun of the title saying it "isn't Ultrarunning Greatness a bit much?" they said much worse than that too and I found it all too negative for me and deleted most of the posts without reading.

Once I began the book I could not put it down. Today I finished it for the second time. I found it that good.

I actually met Pam in real life. I was running the Superior 50 mile and she was running the 100 mile. Somehow we ended up running the same section of the race together. I looked at her and was stunned! I didn't even know that Pam Reed was in the race. I knew who she was immediately; I believe she had WON Badwater just a few months prior. She was very kind to me and let me ask her the 101 questions I had as a newbie ultrarunner. I remember all that she told me, too.

Pam begins the book with her life as a child, growing up in the UP of Michigan. She talks much of her battle with anorexia which she still battles. She went to treatment a few times for it and has been hospitalized because of it. She is very frank and honest with the battle.

She talks of her first marriage, the subsequent affair, divorce and remarriage. She speaks of her Ironman finishes before she began the 100's and her family life, she has three sons and two stepsons.

She talks of her relationship with the media and how the so called rival with Dean Karnazes was blown entirerly out of proportion.

She is a normal mom, wife, worker, friend, daughter and one hell of a runner.

I loved that she talked about her training, her races, how she gets into a mindset, how she works the race, looks at the competition and makes her move. It's awesome. It's an inside view of what it might be like to be uber competitive and so talented. She talks of Badwater 1,2,3 and 4; she talks of the San Diego 1 day race, the World Champion 24 and 48 hour races, a London Marathon/Boston Double; how she loves Leadville and Grand Teton 100's. It was fascinating.

I'll probably read it again..after I read Ultramathon Man, which I'll begin tonight.

It's so nice to read about ultrarunners. I guess that is why I enjoy some of the blogs of other ultrarunners out there. I would probably be rather intimidated to introduce myself to at the races; hell, I'm intimated to introduce myself to anyone who just looks lean and fast! I enjoy reading all about them.

I highly recommend the book!

5 comments:

olga said...

I guess I should give it a shot too. I don't like buying new books though - I have a minimalist approach in what' to have in the house:) Like pack and move in a 10 foot U-Haul.
Thanks for the insight, Jul. I ran a part of WS100 in 2005 with her - a climb to Devil's Thumb, and although I didn't ask a gazillion questions, we did talk about our views on racing/running a 100 and she mentioned a world champ. She was very friendly. As was dean when I met him (sparsly). I may have not liked the way the book is written, but have nothing against him as a person and a runner.

Cliff said...

My only beef with library books are that i take too long to read. 3 weeks are not enough.

I have a tendency to start reading multiple books at once. This makes me forever to finish one (or all). Right now I am reading 4 books (not including the Bible) concurrently. One chapter at a time.

Looks like a good read. I found it fascinating about her and her rival being blown out of proporation..i got a feeling media always does that to grab attention..

Sarah said...

Thanks for the review. I have it on hold at the library. I'm really interested in reading her perspective.

How neat that you got to run with her. That's what I love about ultrarunning.

Lora said...

Thx for the recommendation--it's on its way from Amazon!!

Sheila said...

I will pick up Pam's book. I have read a number of books by ultrarunners, because if you are really into endurance stuff (OK, I know IM pales in comparison to 100-milers), you have something in common with all the rest of them. The mindset to keep pushing yourself farther and/or harder is similar in all of us.

I laugh that you would ever be intimidated by anyone. You have worked incredibly hard to be where you are right now, and there is no good in comparing yourself to another person. Being able to marvel at another person's accomplishments and share in their joy, though, that is a great thing.

We are all on very personal journeys. If we perform our hard work with honor and dignity and are grateful for our successes and failures equally, have joy and love in our hearts for ourselves and others, then that is the true measure of being on the path to enlightenment.

Think about it--you are "Pam" to other people. We all have role models that we aspire to, but that is no reason to diminish our own efforts. You are amazing in your own right. Keep at it, and be secure in your own self.