Sunday, April 30, 2006

Running With Jody-Lynn Reicher

On April 27, a few members of my running club and I ran with Jody-Lynn Reicher. Jody-Lynn is a fairly well established elite ultramarathoner, who lives in NJ. Her goal was to run the length of New Jersey, following the route of the annual "Longest Day" bike tour. She wanted to do it in 48 hours. The route runs from Port Jervis, at the northern tip of NJ, to Cape May at the southern tip, about 207 miles. This is a feat that is greater than Dean Karnazes's "Team Dean" run, when he ran "The Relay" in northern California, as he wrote about it in his book Ultramarathon Man. It would also be the longest single run Jody-Lynn would attempt, though she has already finished Badwater a few times, and holds the US distance record for 24 hours of treadmill running.

The first leg companions were John G. and Sherrie. They were supposed to meet with Jody-Lynn at 7 PM. But she was very behind schedule. I was the second-leg companion for about 15 miles. It was after dark, about 9 PM by the time I joined the group. The last person to run with her was John E. He didn't even begin running until about midnight. Running with Jody-Lynn was a real learning experience. I didn't realize how low-key an ultramarathoner runs. She had no problem just stopping to eat, drink, get a quick massage. With my road racing background, I had the tendency to think that we should be walking while eating. It took me a while to relax and enjoy this run. There was a lot of fun conversation. And I discovered that a staple of ultra-running conversation is really bad jokes.

Here is an exerpt of the story of her run, written by Jody-Lynn herself:

"I had so much fun with Sherry, John G. And Gene, we told stories, jokes, talked about nutrition. I had a blast. I almost can't remember a time when I wasn't laughing or at the very least thinking of something funny. Soon enough it was just Gene and I. We talked about IPODs and barefoot running. Both items Gene is into and up on. He was so entertaining. Running on Canal Rd, which is an old Revolutionary canal road it was so serene." [ read the whole story here ]

She actually ran more than the 207 miles, due to going the wrong way, and raised over $4000 for the Mary Therese Rose Fund. Here is a photo of her and I at the end of my 15 mile leg, around midnight. (more photos here)

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