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Good Books

Ultramarathon Man By Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes provides what we all need once in awhile: a nice slap in the face.

His book, "Ultramarathon Man, Confessions of an All-Night Runner," is basically devoted to shattering our preconceived notions about limits.

After a few successful races in high school, Dean Karnazes stopped running after clashing with his track coach.

Absorbed in climbing the corporate ladder and making money, he didn't run again for 15 years, but awakening on the morning of his 30th birthday, Karnazes knew something wasn't right. Despite having a good job and a loving wife, he felt dead inside.

Dean Karnazes Ultramarathon ManAfter a hard night of drinking with friends he couldn't bring himself to return home, and instead stripped down to his boxers, found an old pair of sneakers, and started pounding the pavement.

Weaving through the streets of San Francisco, he ran for mile after mile, straining underused muscles and ligaments. Finally he broke through the city's famous fog line after about 30 miles.

"For the first time this evening- hell, for the first time in years- I felt like this spot was precisely where I belonged," Dean Karnazes wrote. "...never mind that I was half naked, in the middle of nowhere, and nearly incapable of taking another step forward. That was inconsequential. I was happy - entirely content just to stand there. I had listened to my heart, and this is where it had lead me."

Just The Start

And that was just the beginning. Running became his life, and one by one he conquered the most grueling endurance events humanity has put together. He's run 135 miles across Death valley in 120 degrees and a marathon at the south pole, but Dean Karnazes problem is that he keeps getting better.

Eventually he had to start inventing his own endurance events because there was nothing left to do.

He "modified" the Porvidian Saturn Relay - in which 12-member teams race relay style 199 miles from Calistoga to Santa Cruz - by running the entire thing himself in two days without stopping. In 2006 he ran 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive day.

In short, Dean Karnazes is an animal, and a highly inspirational one at that.

We so often stop short in life, thinking we're bumping up against out limits, when in reality we're bumping against our own conceptions of what is possible.

Besides reminding me why I love to run so much, Ultra Marathonman, also reminds me that I need to keep pushing. There is always room to grow.

Not only is his tale inspirational, but Karnazes has a simple, enjoyable writing style and a good wit that will have you chuckling at his experiences.

I only wish I could get the guy onto a healthy fruit-based raw food diet. Humble runner that I am I've noticed a world of difference. A guy like Karnazes could take it even farther.

I highly suggest you check out the book.

You can get a copy of Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes here.

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