Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Priceless :)

Be sure to cancel your credit cards before you die.

This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today.

A woman died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge.

The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now was somewhere around $60.00.
A family member placed a call to Citibank.

Here is the exchange:

Family Member: 'I am calling to tell you she died back in January.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges stills apply.'

Family Member: 'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'
Citibank: 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'

Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'
Citibank: 'Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'

Family Member: 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'
Citibank: 'Excuse me?'

Family Member: 'Did you just get what I was telling you - the part about her being dead?'
Citibank: 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone:

Family Member: 'I'm calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member: 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'
Citibank: (Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'

Family Member: 'No, I'm her great nephew.'(Lawyer info was given)
Citibank: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'
Family Member: 'Sure.' (Fax number was given )

After they get the fax:

Citibank: 'Our system just isn't setup for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.'
Family Member: 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won't care.'

Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.' (What is wrong with these people?!?)

Family Member: 'Would you like her new billing address?'
Citibank: 'That might help...'

Family Member: ' Odessa Memorial Cemetery, Highway 129, Plot Number 69.'
Citibank: 'Sir, that's a cemetery!'

Family Member: 'And what do you do with dead people on your planet???

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some running humor

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Balance RX505

I am testing new running shoes right now - something completely different from whatever I ever tried before - New Balance RX505.

RX505 is a minimalist shoe - low on cushioning, super light weight, intended and positioned for sprinting. I find these shoes perfect for business trips and family vacations. When I need to fly somewhere and the space is limited, I need something very light and space-saving, especially if it is all about just a couple of workouts. And this is when RX505 comes handy. The only problem with it - besides obvious issues with lack of cushioning on longer runs - is that my regular shoes feel heavy after a run in RX505.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mountain lions

A couple of my running buddies saw mountain lions in our area. With that in mind I would like to post a quick reminder to be cautious out there in the wilderness.

Mountain lions have a distinctive "M" shaped pad, and their claw marks do not show in the track. Walking, the lion's hind foot steps in his fore track, creating overlapping patterns.

Don’t approach a cougar. Most cougars want to avoid humans. Give a cougar the time and space to steer clear of you.

Avoid hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn, when lions normally do their hunting. Make plenty of noise while you hike so as to reduce the chances of surprising a lion.

Never run past or from a cougar. This may trigger their instinct to chase. Make eye contact. Stand your ground. Pick up small children without, if possible, turning away or bending over.

Never bend over or crouch down. Doing so causes humans to resemble four-legged prey animals. Crouching down or bending over also makes the neck and back of the head vulnerable.

If you encounter a cougar, make yourself appear larger, more aggressive. Open your jacket, raise your arms, throw stones, branches, etc., without turning away. Wave raised arms slowly, and speak slowly, firmly, loudly to disrupt and discourage predatory behavior.

Try to remain standing to protect head and neck and, if attacked, fight back with whatever is at hand (without turning your back)—people have utilized rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, and even bare hands to turn away cougars.

Hike with a good walking stick; this can be useful in warding off a lion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Sorry, this thing has nothing to do with trail running. But I found it so hilarious that could not help not posting it here :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

SD100: my recap from a race I never ran

Pacing Kirk at SD100 this weekend was one of the most memorable moments in my running career. Well, I did not run all of the 50 miles I was initially supposed to. I joined Kirk at the Aid Station (AS) at mile 50 and DNFed with him at the very next AS at mile 56. It took us 1 hour 55 minutes to cover those 6 miles. We mostly walked it and ran just a bit through some flat sections as Kirk was not feeling good.

This was well after the sunset. The trail was going through canyons. We heard a bunch of coyotes and saw one of those looking at us from the curb ahead of us. We saw a couple of kangaroo rats or some other long-tail rodents. We saw a stripped skunk who was running on the trail 5 steps ahead of us for probably 3 minutes before he decided to turn left and give us the way. The trail was well marked with green glowing sticks we could see on the dark mountain slopes well ahead of us. The moon was too young to outshine any of the bright stars that were covering the sky above us. It was one of the most breathtaking pictures I have every seen in my life. Totally magical! I can see it in front of me right now whenever I close my eyes. I wish I could describe what it all looked like but I am no artist.

When we reached AS at the mile 56 Kirk sat down on a chair and, well, I would say collapsed for the lack of a better term. He was just sitting there trembling with his head bent down to his knees. I put on an additional sweat shirt on him, and volunteers wrapped him up in two blankets, helped him to get into a trailer and gave him some hot coffee. None of it really helped. He could not hold a half-full cup not spilling it up all over. Gabor was sitting in front of us in the same trailer. He had had a lot of doubts about whether he should have continued back then at mile 50. He tried and had to DNF at the same AS as us. Gabor told us that when someone gets exhausted like this, body fails to regulate its temperature anymore (is this what they call hypothermia?) and the only way out is to put that person in a car and max out the heater. We did exactly that and it eventually helped.

Well, DNF's are a part of ultra-running. They do not happen only to those that do not run at all. The course was challenging. Everyone seemed suffering a lot. Out of 81 starters only 43 runners managed to finish the race, while 38 had to DNF: 47% DNF rate! It is not Barkley's rate, but is still pretty remarkable considering the fact most of the participants are seasoned ultra-runners!

I met a bunch of people there starting from Lorraine Gersitz, whom I had a pleasure to share the ride to San Diego with, Charlie, who was feeling pretty good and looked fresh probably because he DNSed SD100 this year, Chris, whom I had run with at PCT50 until she lost me having got sick of my running crappiness, Paul Schmidt, who is an amazing ultra-runner with about 100 of hundred milers under his belt and a terrific RD as well, Andy and Catra, who seemed totally relaxed at mile-50 AS as if they were running a local 10K fun race, Vinnie, who was determined to the end and finished the race no matter what, George, whom I could barely recognize as he ran there alone without Leigh this time. There were a bunch of folks whom I unfortunately missed there like Greg, Marisa, Robert and a few others. Congratulations to all participants both to those who victoriously finished this brutal thing, and to those who wisely DNFed it to run another day!

Several photos I made at the mile-42 AS:


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Snakes in Modjeska Canyon

This was taken in the burn area in Modjeska Canyon - one reason to stay off closed trails:

Both of these photos were posted by Greg on SCTH website this morning.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Caspers run with Kirk and Mike

We ran 14 miles at Caspers today with Kirk and Mike K. One of my goals for the run was to discuss with Kirk our “strategery” for San Diego 100, where I will pace him for the second half of the race.

We started off on East Ridge trail, turned onto Oso trail, then turned right and ran to the Hot Springs. We ran back to the fork along Ortega highway, where we finally got back onto San Juan Creek trail.

East Ridge: Mike is jumping like a five-year-old anticipating a sighting of a mountain lion. The idea kinda grew on him. He got obsessed with “how cool it would be if we saw a mountain lion from a distance!”

Oso trail: we passed a beehive – luckily empty as it turned out Kirk is allergic to bees. After 2 hours of intense negotiations Kirk promises Mike to become more responsible and carry on his long runs and races some remedy (Benadryl?) just in case he gets stung by a bee.

Hot Springs trail: The trail got largely overgrown since I saw it last time a year ago with Linda and Andy. Mike K admits he is scared to continue as he is afraid of ticks “like a calf”. Never heard calf being that afraid of ticks but Mike knows better. Kirk is afraid of ticks too. Mike and Kirk are running behind me, whining and cursing me constantly for leading them to this overgrown trail. I am getting a strange feeling I am running with two road runners that never left the streets of Manhattan before. In 5 minutes it got worse: Kirk and Mike evidently decided to kill me and are negotiating who gets what after my death.

Mike and Kirk are checking each other out for the ticks. Each of them found two ticks on each other. They remove ticks so quickly I did not have a chance to see them – not sure they are not just full of it. I did not find any ticks on me. I hear Mike’s scream behind. We run back to him. He found a tiny green caterpillar on his shoulder. Mike calls it a “worm” and kicks the poor thing out before I can get a camera to take a picture. Hard to believe these guys belong to a trail running club. I guess they never left track before and trail running never went beyond a loop in the Central Park for them.

Mike and Kirk are showing off legs to each other discussing the rash each one got while running this trail.

Hot Springs: The water is hot but if you sniff your hand after you put it in the water, it is pretty stinky. Kirk suggests Mike should have used wipes during his quick #2 stop earlier at East Ridge.

Ortega highway: Kirk and Mike refuse to run back same way we came to the Hot Springs. Well, and me too... They cannot stand ticks and rashes. I cannot stand two big dudes whining about ticks and rashes. We dive under the gate near the Hot Springs. Mike gets stuck – I guess it would have helped if he took of his camel back before he got under it.

Shoulders do not exist on some sections of Ortega highway. We are scaring cars and bikers. I guess we have a higher chance to be hit by a car there than getting a lime disease from a tick on those trails. Kirk and Mike lay on the highway for fun. Mike is trying to cuddle with Kirk. Kirk does not seem to be hugely excited about it.

San Juan Creek trail: Mike is trying to bore us down with different pacer-runner scenarios to get Kirk and I prepared for San Diego. He goes through different what-if scenarios that might potentially require a runner to take care of his pacer. What if Dmitri breaks his leg? What if Dmitri runs out of water? What if Dmitri runs out of fuel? What if Dmitri breaks his neck? At this point I draw my knife I carry for the sake of eventual mountain lions and annoying running buddies. To our relief Mike changes the subject right after that.

We ran 14 miles at a very relaxed pace. The weather was fabulous: neither hot nor cold. I had a 20oz hand bottle and two more 20oz bottle in my backpack - 60oz all together – and a bunch of gels too. I carried it all with me on the run but did not drink a drop of water and did not eat my gels either – just for the sake of experiment. I could feel some energy drop by the very end of our run, but it was not very significant. I felt all right. I will try to do something like that in a warmer weather one day just to see how my body handles that.

More pictures from our run:

Caspers June 1, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008


Yesterday a couple of brave SCTH members – Chaz, Greg, Keira, and Kirk – decided to challenge mountain lions running through Coto de Caza and Caspers at night.

The run was supposed to be around 30 miles long and start from Charlie’s home in Ladera. I totally love night runs with a flash light and was anticipating this one for a while. But when I woke up on Saturday I had a cold and sore throat. Bummer! I still ran up to Charlie’s place, which is slightly over a mile from my home, and after that ran through O’Neill park with the rest of the gang for about an hour.

I have not been to O’Neill for a while – due to all the rains we had this year the streams widened. We had to cross a bunch of them and sure enough we got wet.
I ended up with 14 miles.

Here is Greg’s recap of their night run:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Running brain-dead at PCT50

PCT50 Trail Run:
Distance: 50 miles / 80.5 km
Gun time: 11:59:42
Bib number: 99
Date: May 10, 2008

Getting there

PCT50 race took place just 3 weeks after my first 50 miler at Leona Divide.
After getting about 2.5 hours of sleep that night I woke up at 2AM and I carpooled to the race start with Marisa. I expected to catch another hour or two of sleep in the car but that plan never materialized. We talked with Marisa all the way to the Boulder Oaks campground.

When we arrived there at 4:55, it was still dark. We parked at a curb and got out of the car to pick up our packets. The next thing I remember I was in the dust by the car in the push-up position. There was a hole on the side of the road where we parked at, and I got into it. I fell now at then during the trail races, but this time I overdid myself – I managed to fall and scratch my knee and palm to blood an hour before the race began :)

And off we went

It was chilly at the start – 37F as far as I remember – who would know that the temperature will climb up to mid eighties just several hours later! It was great to see a lot of familiar faces at the start: Kevin, Jerry, Robo, Robert S, iMichielle, Keira, Jenn, Eric K, Eric Lumba, Charlie, Pam, Greg, Chris, Gabor and others.

We started off at 6AM. The first stretch – probably 0.5 mile – was pretty flat. After that we hit PCT and began our 6-mile long climb to the first aid station. The mountains around us were spectacular! At some point we saw a small river in the valley below. The river looked like a glacier in the rays of the morning sun.

Some of the rock formations looked like a bunch of huge 100ft-high tree trunks bound together. We did not have a lot of chances though to enjoy the view. I could not take my eyes of the trail even for a moment without a risk of falling on my face again. The trail was fairly technical with a lot of rocks on it.

It warmed up and I took off my gloves and long-sleeve shirt at the first aid station. I saw Pam and Greg there. Before I reached the second aid station (another long climb) I tripped and ran several yards bend down to the ground wondering if I ever manage to restore my balance or not. Eventually I fell and scratched my arm and knee. The nipple of my hand bottle was full of dirt too. So I had some rest there, washed and disinfected my scratches.

Todd’s Cabin

On my way to Todd’s Cabin I met Ben Stegner, who happened to be from our running club as well, and we spent the next hour talking about running, kids, work and other stuff.

Todd’s Cabin is the most unique and extreme aid station I ever saw. You need to turn from the trail and run downhill some 100 or 200 vertical feet to reach it. Oh, and to get back to the trail you need to run all the way up.

At Todd’s Cabin we caught up Chris, who is responsible from bringing Ben into the trail running. Chris is an 11-times Ironman finisher and a very strong runner too. When they run with Ben, they use code names instead of the real ones – John and Jennifer. They tried to explain me the reason. It had something to do with secret services and X-files. But my brain was already malfunctioning by then and I did not get the point.

I managed to keep up with these guys almost all the way to Penny Pines.

Penny Pines

The trail heading to Penny Pines goes high above the desert with a bunch of most awesome viewpoints. I guess this particular part of PCT is also called Desert View Trail.

This is when we saw the first of the head runners going back already. I recall Kevin, Jerry, Michelle and Keira, as well as several less familiar faces.

Penny Pines is the 4th and 5th aid station at the same time. You get there and run another 2+ miles to the turn-around point, and then run back to the same aid station again. I met Erik K there. He looked strong but announced he is about to DNF as he was peeing blood. Definitely a very wise decision, but we all felt sorry for Eric anyways.

Back at the Dale’s Kitchen

My run back to the Dale’s Kitchen was uneventful. I was tired, overheated and dehydrated. At the Dale’s Kitchen I met Kirk, Gabor and … someone else, but I do not remember whom (was it Paul?). I was neither lucid nor responsive. People had to ask me every question twice. One of the volunteers at aid station said that I was “brain-dead”. And it was not too far from the truth.

Gabor noticed my head is full of salt crystals. I did not eat any salt tablets – usually I suffice with PowerBar Gels – and ran out of electrolytes. They made me eat 3 tablets right at the aid station and 3 more tablets in 30 minutes after that.

Road to hell

As we left Dale’s Kitchen, I tried to keep up with Kirk and Gabor, but they lost me within the next mile after it. I was going for another mile at my own pace, but it did not take me long to realize that I am done. I could not stand this heat and this trail anymore. I could not stand running another hundred yards even downhill, and I was sick and tired of myself. I wanted to DNF immediately. The only problem with that was I still had almost 6 miles to go to the next aid station, while returning back to Dale’s Kitchen did not even occur to be an option for me.

I walked most of those 6 miles, even flat and downhill sections. It took me about 1:30 to get to Fred Canyon Road.

I felt like crap and had a bunch of flies circling around me, who either fully shared my opinion or took me for a corpse. The flies were very annoying. I could not just sit down on a boulder and have a rest without them landing on my face. I became angry, started to curse them aloud and smashed at least 3 of them on my cheeks and forehead.

But my own whining was a way worse than the flies! Why cannot I DNF right here? Why a hell the aid stations are so far apart on this bloody course? When will I get there already?

I had enough time to come up with the list of the reasons for my DNF and my performance issues. I already mentally wrote an explanation for my fellow club members in my blog and rehearsed how I am going to explain it to my wife and daughter that were waiting for me at the finish line.

To take my mind off it all, I switched from whatever music I was listening at the moment to an audio book I had with me: “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” (by Al Ries and Jack Trout). And the battle for my mind it was!

Last aid station

I entered the last aid station with the words: “Number 99 is down!”
- How do you feel?
- I am dead! I am quitting!

It was great to see Michelle M, Alexa and Sue who volunteered at that aid station. They sat me down, gave me some water. Someone tried to convince me I have only 6 more miles to go – mostly downhill – and plenty of time to cover them. But I already set my mind of quitting and did not want to listen another word about running any further.

One of volunteers asked me a bunch of questions about what I had to eat and drink for the last couple of hours. They gave me water, cold Coke, more water, salted potato, and Coke again.

People were trying to convince me to continue. Adam – Alexa’s boy-friend – even threatened me with a knife he used there to cut oranges. But I was pretty stubborn in my decision…

.. and then Michelle put a red bandana soaked in ice water around my neck. It was like magic – I started to feel life is coming back to me. So 7 more minutes and 2 ice-cold bandanas later I was running again.

The Finish

Thanks to Michelle, Alexa, Sue, and other volunteers who revived me at the last aid station, I did manage finish, and even break 12 hours (by mere 18 seconds though)! It took me an hour to I cover the last 6 miles and I even passed 8 runners doing that (that’s why ear buds are illegal at some races, especially when you max out the volume on Metallica and Anthrax).

I got my medal from John “El Cubano” Martinez, the RD of the PCT50, and got hugs from my wife and daughter. It felt so great to be finally done with this thing!

Besides shaking hands with everyone, there were two more things I wanted to do before leaving: try the famous Cuban roasted pork and watch Kirk to finish the race: I owed Kirk some stuff from my first aid kit. Kirk’s knee was covered with blood but he refused having it taken care of before the finish.

Kirk looked strong when he was running the last yards to the finish line. But after he crossed it, he could not stand, could not sit and could not talk for a while. A bunch of folks picked him up and dragged his body to a chair (there is no better way to say it). If I saw it before Leona, I doubt I would dare to run a 50M race this year. I was not sure back then if we should dial 911.

However now the picture of poor Kirk after finish feels more inspiring to me than anything else at PCT! I feel ashamed I wanted to DNF at the last aid station so badly! By the end of the race I seemed to be in a pretty good physical form compared to Kirk. And if Kirk did not DNF despite all his struggle, what freaking excuse did I have to do it? I did not have any problems with knees or feet (legs hurt, but nothing extraordinary), I did not have any significant blisters, I did not pee blood, I did not have any stomach issues, I did not even puke. Yup, I was short on electrolytes (my head was covered with salt), and was dehydrated too. But who freaking was not?

Anyways, they say that ultrarunning is 70% psychological and 30% physical. (Not sure about percentages, do not quote me on that.) If I could handle psychological component of it as well as our I-will-never-quit-iron-man Kirk, I would be a much better runner, and a much better person too!

More photos from the race:
PCT50 '2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Very belated recap from El Moro

On I did my last long run before the PCT50 race at El Moro. I met there Pete and two of his friends from his triathlete club – Lisa and Julie – both IronMan finishers.

We did a short but nevertheless hilly loop of just 9 miles. We ran down to Laguna Canyon, crossed Laguna Canyon Road and climbed the infamous Stairs trail in Aliso Canyon, and then just ran all the way back.

When climbing the Stairs, I had a lot of flashbacks from those long climbs at Leona and Mt.Dis, climbs that go on and on and on, and all you want is to get to the end and look in the eyes of that sadistic RD that included that stretch of the trail into the race course.

It is like in that Russian anecdote:
Imagine Russian farmers market. People sell grains, vegetables, chickens, cattle and stuff. And there is a big very gloomy man making his way through the crowd and dragging a huge bear on a chain after him. People stop him asking if he sells bear or something. – No, I just want to find that man, who sold this bear to me last year as a hamster.

A lot of those courses remind me that hamster (when you register for a race and check the course profile from home) that all of a sudden turns out to be a huge bear when you eventually get there.

Here are some more photos from our run:

El Moro: May 4, 2008

P.S. I am still working on my recap from PCT50 race and will paste it here shortly.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rattler in the heat

We were planning on running Los Pinos today, but I had to opt out as we had friends from another state staying over with us for a couple of days and I could not sneak out this morning. After they left I went for a shorter run at around 10AM.

Not sure about the temperature – something in 90s. As I was making my way through the hills that trim Ladera from the east, I felt pretty close to what BBQ chicken should feel on a grill. There was no wind on those hills and the heat was coming both from sun above and from heated fire road under my feet. I doubt I would survive Los Pinos if I joined Kirk, Marisa and Chris today.

I met a pretty sizable rattlesnake at the Ladera Ranch reservoir. Someone met this snake before I did, and it did not end any good for the snake. I will not beat around the bush: I hate snakes and feel much better when they are dead or caged. So I did not feel especially sorry about this guy…

I had time for only 7.5 miles today. I enjoyed the scenery but running itself was painful in the heat. Bottom line: I should find time to run in the heat more often. Otherwise the only time I run in conditions like this is a race, and it quickly wears me out…

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Leona Divide 50

Distance: 50 miles / 80.5 km
Gun time: 10 hours 45 min
Bib number: 29

I got about 3 hours of sleep, woke up at 2am – I had really been worrying I would just ignore my four alarm clocks and miss the race – and left home at 3am.

I reached the start area at 5:20am and saw a bunch of familiar faces there before the race. The SoCal ultra-running community seems to be pretty tight: after just a couple of races I recognized at least 25 people – well, quite a few of were from our SoCal Trail Headz club (formerly known as OC Trail Runners) – but a lot of folks were the runners I remember from Unknown, Orange Curtain, Ridgecrest and Mt.Disappointment.

We ran first 13 miles on fire road and I was feeling great. But after we hit the single-track trail with those endless ups and downs I started to struggle. It was a mental thing – I guess I just freaked out about the fact that it is 50 miles and my legs were soar already, and I was out-of-breath on the up-hills. By mile 17 negative self-talk reached the point when I started to question why a hell I am doing ultras at all and whether I should just DNF. Luckily I ran next 15 miles after that with Pete from Bakersfield – conversing with him took my mind off all the negativity.

Aid station #6/8 was a lot of fun: they organized Hawaiian beach party there – men were wearing bras made of coconut halves, which looked pretty much the same as Charlie’s and Greg’s bra-style camelbacks, by the way :)

After the turn-around point at mile 35.5 I felt completely broken. My feet, legs, knees were in pain. My stomach went south. I felt pretty miserable and could only walk.

After the long downhill to the aid station #5/9 I felt better again as we had just slightly more than 7 miles to the finish. I power-walked most of the ascent to aid station #4/10 and even started passing other runners.

On the final 3-mile descent I maxed out volume of Metallica and Anthrax in my headsets and squeezed all the remaining juices I still had left in me. I really wanted to break 11 hours and was not sure how many miles I needed to run to the finish. I ended up sprinting downhill and crossed the finish line with a gun time of 10 h 45 min. This was one of the strongest finishes ever - I guess my pace for the last 200-300 yards was around 7min/mile.

After I finished I just felt sick... I did not drink much for the last 6 miles of the race and could not drink after it either. Neither could I eat. The hunger caught me two hours later and I had to stop at an In-n-Out drive-through on my way home were I devoured two double-double burgers with grilled onion and no cheese :)

Right now when I am closing my eyes I see this never-ending trail running under my feet. And I have to open my eyes each time: Damn! Is not it supposed to be over yet? Has not I finished this thing yet?

P.S. Somewhere close to the aid station #6 I met this little guy on the trail. I never saw anything like that before and thought it was a dead lizard someone had stepped on. I carefully removed him from the trail to make sure he would survive Leona Divide race. Do you know what it can be?

Here are some more photos from the race:
LD50M 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4620 miles, 111 days, 120 degrees and 3 men

Just read a pretty cool article about 3 guys who ran across Sahara Desert, having covered 4620 miles in 111 days:

It almost sounds like running Badwater or MDS everyday for almost 4 months in a row.

...At 5 a.m. the vehicles would rev up and the three runners would begin their journey. For the first 20 minutes, they would walk in an effort to shake off the rust. "By 5:30 we'd be running," Engle says. "Our support vehicle would go 10-K ahead, we'd catch up, have something to drink, then let it go another 10-K ahead. We repeated that process all day." Come noon the trio would take a break to eat lunch, stretch tightened muscles, and nap. "It'd often be 120 degrees in the sun," says Engle. "It was like sleeping in a sauna." From 2:30 until 9:30, the trek would continue. "Dinner was the worst," says Engle, who lost 35 pounds in the first 35 days. "Couscous and goat, couscous and goat, couscous and goat. If I ever see either again I might go into convulsions..."