05 January 2009

Book Report: Ultramarathon Man

I have recently developed an obsession for human endurance and a fascination for endurance sports, starting with running. In an attempt to feed this obsession I have been reading books and doing a lot of YouTube searching.

Luckily, I received a gift card from my mother in law for Barnes and Noble this Christmas. I walked into the store and went directly to the sports section. I found about two hundred dollars worth of books that I wanted but narrowed the search down to a few, two of which were memoirs by Dean Karnazes. Ultramarathon Man and 50/50. Even with a gift card I can be a penny pincher so I picked the first since it was in paperback.

I did not know much about Dean Karnazes before getting this book, but I knew enough to know I wanted to know more. Follow me?

There are sections that kept me glued to the pages. Such as his high school career. His return to running on his thirtieth birthday. Running the Western States Endurance Run.

Dean shows just how strong the human machine is and how it can endure some of the harshest and most extreme running conditions. I can barely hope to have a fraction of his strength when it comes to running. I do not plan on wanting to run 100+ miles in a race (anytime soon at least), but he sure makes me think about it. For now I will just try to get through 26.2.

There are parts of the book that get a little repetitive. He really does paint a good picture of how much it hurts to run like he does. Sometimes you feel it as you read, but as you get deeper into the book you feel like you are having deja vu with the descriptions.

I did connect with Dean though. He was thirty when he rediscovered running. He felt that something was missing, and began to wonder if he was going through an early midlife crisis. I finally fell in love with running in August. I was 29 and my 30th birthday was last week.

Running has given me more motivation and dedication in the last four months than I have had in the last 30 years. I have a lot of things in my life to be grateful for. God has blessed me with a beautiful family, a gorgeous wife, and the ability to run, among other things. Running has completed something for me. I feel so good while running and even better after a run. It gives me time to pray and think. It gives me affirmation that I am alive.

So what is my obsession with human endurance all of a sudden?

Well, the human machine is a fascinating thing and it can be pushed to incredible limits. I have been sitting in front of the television and getting overweight for the last ten years, when I could have been pushing limits and going farther. Like Dean says in his book, people have come to think life is meant to be comfortable, when in reality, the hurt and feeling you get when you take the hard route is what makes you alive.

So check out the book. And if anyone has a copy of 50/50 that they may want to trade... let me know. I have a lot of books sitting around and would be willing to send a couple in return.


Pat said...

I've read both books. It's amazing what you get out of a book. I was fasinated with eating a whole pizza while you run and peeing while you run. I can do the first, not so sure about the second.

If you want a loaner copy of 50/50 here's where to go - http://seetedrun.blogspot.com/

You'll have to find the specific post about it, but you'll love the ideal.

My favorite place to get books? The library. Can't beat the price.

Progman2000 said...

Yeah, Ultra Marathon Man is a classic. I have learned to take a lot of what Dean says with a grain of salt though. All of those ultra events and he says he has never had a running injury. Clearly on a different level if that is true.

50/50 is a good one too. I was the first one to get Ted's copy, it was a great read. I like the fact that he actually included some training tips in that one.

Marcy said...

Go to Ted!! That baby has been around the block LOL

I've read both. Dean is the shiznit. I don't think he's human though LMAO!

Sonia said...

I'm reading 50/50 right now but will have to read that one! I love this guy! He made me cry and laugh so far. I'm loving it. I would gladly exchange with you but I got the book from another blogger and it has this little story about it. Check my blog often in the next 2 weeks.. it will be on the move again once I am done!!