serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Posts Tagged ‘book’

Running on Empty Trail Running Book Review

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

running_on_emptyRunning on Empty” is due out today, April 14th and I was able to get a first read, it isn’t a risky investment, it’s well worth the price.  If you want a good read, motivating tale, and dreams of running farther and longer than you ever have before, then this is the book for you.  It’s one of the most inspiring running books I’ve read in a long time and includes a lot of twist and turns.  The focus is on the Run Across America, but the story is all Marshall Ulrich.

In 2008, at age 57, Marshall Ulrich set out to break the Guinness Book of World Record of running across the United States.  The task is to run from San Francisco City Hall to New York City Hall, using any route, in the fastest time possible.  Even though Marshall has a impressive resume he admits that this endeavor was, “…the biggest thing I’d ever done, the hardest, the longest, with the most potential for both injury and enlightenment, my magnum opus.”  Here’s a list of Marshall’s previous accomplishments to put that statement into perspective:

  • “The Last Great Race” – completed all six hundred-mile trail races in one season, finished in the top ten in five of them, first person to do so
  • Badwater 146 – many times, four wins and course records, current record holder for the summit of Mount Whitney
  • Pikes Peak Quad – one of the first, and only person to do it twice
  • Run across Colorado – three times, current record holder
  • Leadville Trail 100 and Pikes Peak Marathon in the same year – only person to do it
  • Eco-Challenges – one of only three people to compete in all nine
  • Badwater solo, unaided and self-contained crossing – first and only person to do it
  • Badwater Quad – first person to do it
  • Summit Mount Everest – reached the top of all Seven Summits on first attempts

So as you can see, Marshall was no rookie to running long distances before embarking on this journey, but he wasn’t always a runner.  When Marshall’s wife Jean was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 80s, the stress he suffered caused hypertensions and a doctor recommend he try running.  Marshall found he had a body built for running long distances and began pushing himself harder and harder.  And pushing away his relationships…

Running on Empty” isn’t just Running Across America with Marshall.  It’s about him running away from his life.  It’s about what it means to be an ultrarunner.  Like Marshall says when referring to his surgically removed toenails done for performance, “Look, the toenails are the least of it.  The kind of sacrifices you make when you’re running hundreds of miles are considerably more profound than whether you’ll ever get a proper pedicure again.”  He goes on to say, “The real sacrifices?  Family relationships often suffer in the ultrarunning community; clearly, mine are no exception.”  During the run his personal revelations turned his world upside down.  Maybe reading this book will give you some perspective and personal revelations…without having to run all the way across America…

If you’re looking for your next good book and some inspiration to push your body further and further on your runs then pick up a copy of “Running on Empty.”  But you don’t have to take my word for it…

Running on Faith Book Review

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

jason-lester-running-on-faithI was sent the book Running on Faith, written by Jason Lester and Tim Vandehey, so I gave it a read.  It’s a good book whether you are a trail runner, road runner, or participate in triathlons, it is always motivating to read a story of someone who has overcome worldly obstacles to reach their fitness goals.  We all push our bodies and minds, but sometimes you want to quit.  You won’t want to quit again after reading this book.  As I sat in jury duty I got so inspired reading this book that I went on a quick run during our hour break.  Maybe the fact that I was dripping in sweat was the reason I wasn’t selected to be on the jury….

Jason Lester is a physically challenged extreme athlete.  When he was twelve years old, a speeding car ran a red light, sending him into the hospital with twenty broken bones and paralyzed arm.  Jason and his father had always planned on him becoming a professional baseball player, now that dream was gone.  But Jason refused to let his injury impede his goal of becoming a professional athlete.  He went through more trials and tribulations in his life and always found solace in sports.  He began running and participating in duathlons in High School.  After college he moved to Los Angeles and fell into the typical partying Hollywood lifestyle.

After more negative life experiences, Jason started decided to start training for the Ironman in 2004, and has since competed in numerous extreme races.  In 2008, Jason became the first disabled athlete to complete the Ultraman (320 miles of biking, swimming, and running), and in 2009, he won an ESPY award for Best Disabled Male Athlete.  He is the founder of the Never Stop Foundation, and organization dedicated to bettering the lives of children and adults through athletics.

One thing interesting about Jason is that he calls his condo “the lab” and gives instructions on how to build your own lab.  The lab is your custom-created training environment.  It’s your lifestyle while training.  However, Jason takes this to the extreme, putting his complete focus, twenty-four hours a day on getting himself physically and mentally ready for the race.  He says, “it’s the environment where your needs come first.”  At some points in the book I felt that Jason sounded a bit selfish in his training; only participating in activities and hanging out with people who were helping him achieve his goal.  He even admits he missed out on time he could have spent with his daughter instead of training.  Training can become addictive.

I think we all need to keep focus on our work-life-training balance.  While most of us don’t need this type of intensity in training to achieve our race goals, the idea is the same, you do have to give up some things in order to be successful, but don’t let your goals get in the way of helping others.  While Jason is very appreciative of all the people who helped him during his journey, he may have missed out on helping those who needed him during that time.  Other than being an inspiring and exciting story, I think the book is really about helping others being like giving to God.

Maybe Running on Faith will inspire you to do something great, like helping others.  There is a study guide for you to share the story with your groups for discussion.  If you want to be inspired for your race goals there are some helpful appendices to help in your training for how to cook tasty organic food and a sample training schedule.  Overall, good book to get you inspired for your next endurance goal.