Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

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9781585424801: Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

In one of his most ambitious physical efforts to date, Dean Karnazes attempted to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days to raise awareness of youth obesity and urge Americans of all fitness levels to "take that next step."

"UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons - 50 States - 50 Days", a Journeyfilm documentary, follows Dean’s incredible step-by-step journey across the country.

Ultrarunning legend Dean Karnazes has run 262 miles-the equivalent of ten marathons-without rest. He has run over mountains, across Death Valley, and to the South Pole-and is probably the first person to eat an entire pizza while running. With an insight, candor, and humor rarely seen in sports memoirs (and written without the aid of a ghostwriter or cowriter), Ultramarathon Man has inspired tens of thousands of people-nonrunners and runners alike-to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and be reminded of "what it feels like to be truly alive," says Sam Fussell, author of Muscle.

Ultramarathon Man answers the questions Karnazes is continually asked:

- Why do you do it?
- How do you do it?
- Are you insane?

And in the new paperback edition, Karnazes answers the two questions he was most asked on his book tour:

- What, exactly, do you eat?
- How do you train to stay in such good shape?

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Review:

Ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes claims "There is magic in misery." While it would be easy to write off his habit of running for 100 miles at a time—or longer—as mere masochism, it's impossible to not admire his tenacity in pushing his body to reach one extreme goal after another. Sure, it's gory to read about how he lost one of his big toenails from shoe friction during the Western States Endurance Run. But what registers more is that here's a guy competing in an event that includes 38,000 feet of elevation change--the equivalent of scaling the Empire State Building 30 times.

Despite his considerable athleticism, "Karno" argues that the first half of any race is run with one's body, and the second half with the mind. Without delving into excessively touchy-feely territory, he explores "the possibilities of self" as he completes an ultra-marathon in 120-degree heat in Death Valley, and later the first-ever marathon at the South Pole. It's an odd combination: a California surfer dude contemplating how, as Socrates said, "Suffering leads to wisdom." But Karnazes's self-motivation is utterly intriguing, and it's impossible to read this memoir without wanting to go out and run a marathon yourself.--Erica Jorgensen

About the Author:

Dean Karnazes, who was named one of the Top 10 Ultimate Athletes by Outside magazine, is president of EnergyWell Natural Foods in San Francisco.

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