You might google this girl. She popped up in RW and it was pretty interesting. The only thing is I could not tell she did much last year...mostly it was 2018 internationally and in China a year or two before that. One picture of her in the mountains that are icy and snowy looking and she's in shorts and a light windbreaker with probably only a t-shirt beneath it. I'd have 14 layers on and would have to withdraw after 2 miles due to dehydration and lack of ability to have a water truck on the trail to replace all the sweated out liquid.
UTMB...French Ultra. One of our friends from church, son, ran in this in 2019. I don't he was any sort of super runner but he finished. It almost seems easier to contemplate a really long trail race versus pounding on the pavement for 26 and being psyched out by how slow you are.
At the same time I rarely can stay injury-free when I start doing 8-10 milers...I seem to break down within 2 months...but I'm still going to shoot for longer runs if things keep progressing as they are.
I've also thought my short choppy stride fit trails more...all I have to do is refer to my mythical and legendary 1974 Pikes Peak 15th place. :)
Personally, I have this ...not "window" but more like "window frame" of optimal racing. Such as it is.
My HR goes super high if I push hard. Just have to live with it. So, I can race a mile and accept that I'll be in bad oxygen debt the last 1/4 or 1/3. But fake my way through it.
Or, I can stay in my comfort zone for a long slowish race (marathon, trail ultra.)
The marathon is appealing bc I am forced to start doing longer runs and consequently get in better shape, lose weight, etc.
And I have had a lifelong goal of finishing a 100 miler (made it 79 miles undertrained in 1992) Time's running out!
Re the Chinese girl... It never ceases to amaze me what people are capable of! I go to this Banff Film Festival every year and watch the films about incredible feats that people accomplish (ie. skiing to the south pole and then climbing a nearly impossible peak, then skiing back.)
You are right about what people can do. I'll be thinking about doing some trail running then I can look at my log and see that 5 miles at 12 min pace is an average workout...10 min pace is like what 6:30 pace used to be and 9 min pace is at least like 6 minutes or slightly better in my youth.
The new challenge is what can I do at this age. First off reality. I will not be defeating age and time at all but it would be nice to do something special even though if a asteroid takes out the world no one will ever know it. At the same time if you sit around eat and become a 600 lb blob what good is that? Once you've experienced something you did it.
One of my greatest strengths is a weakness also. I'm a routine freak. Not necessarily schedule freak..so races, traveling all interrupt things. Even at my peak in the past I did not rest enough because of that. The first Hoghead was one of my most rested races where I felt good going into the rest itself...and that was one of my top 5 races...
Good luck with the marathon/100 mile thing.