Tony holds the time record for this race, finishing all 100 miles at an average pace of 9:45 per mile (at an average elevation of 9K - 12K feet with over 15,000 feet of elevation change). It's a brutal 100 mile run, as if any 100 mile run would be anything less than brutal.
So, again, the guy's my hero. Not just because he is so physically accomplished, but because his attitude toward running is so much more philosophical than technical. He seems to grasp the intrinsic fact that running brings us to a very primal state of being. One, as he puts it, that we tend to be "divorced" from in this modern age.
I was sad to see he didn't blow his own amazing record out of the water this year. But I learned a hell of a lot more about running by reading his post about having to withdraw. This monster ran seventy-eight freakin' miles battling giardia, for God's sake. And while, on some level, it make me feel a little silly for making such a big deal out of my struggles with 26.2 miles, it makes me realize that we all fight adversity. Obviously.
And while some adversity is certainly greater than other, judging it on a scale of 1-10 doesn't do any good. Applying a scientific metric to what is a physical, spiritual, and emotional experience sort of misses the point. It's what we learn from that challenge that enriches us and allows us to grow.
After all, Tony is one of the top 5 ultramarathoners in the world. In the standard marathon, I'm slower than Oprah. It's all about perspective, dude.