How did Jennifer do it? Read 46 Days

46daysbookcoverHow did Jennifer Pharr Davis walk the Appalachian Trail in 46 days? In one word, displicine.

But for more nuance and details, read Brew Davis’ 46 Days: Keeping up with Jennifer Pharr Davis on the Appalachian Trail. The thin book is the blog that her husband, Brew Davis, kept while leading the Pit Crew that supported Jennifer on her trek.

Day by day, he describes her mileage and length of her walking day. On average she walked from 5 A.M. to 9 P.M. Now that’s discipline. The average mileage, 46.4 miles, is amazing. Brew describes the logistics of meeting her at road crossings, giving her food and drink, helping her with any problems like icing shin splints – and of course, encouragement.

Just as amazing as her mileage was the food she ate. A moderately active woman should eat between 1,500 and 2,000 calories. Jennifer was supposed to eat 6,000 calories. So much of it came from fried foods – French fries, onion rings, hamburgers and cheap fast food buys. How did her stomach take in all of that?

Brew is amazed by his wife’s feat. He keeps saying that “she’s a freak of nature” and “what a woman”. He was sidelined by a knee injury and couldn’t walk much with her. But many other supporters did walk with her. She didn’t run. I recognized Matt Kirk, a trail runner who set the record for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail last year.

Jennifer felt that she had pushed herself to the limit. So few people take the opportunity to do that. In her epilogue, she knows that someone will beat her record. But for now she is the fastest person on the A.T. I just wished I could see her picture on a Wheaties box.

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