Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ultramarathon Man - a book review

I just finished reading this book and I want to pick it up and read it all over again!  Dean Karnazes is one amazing runner. In this book he describes how he got started in ultramarathon running, his progression in the sport over the years and ultimately reflects on why he does it.  Reading the details of, among other things his first ever 100 mile run is not for the squeamish. He chronicles in detail how his body and mind broke down the more he pushed them. But despite reading about toe nails dropping off, going temporarily blind and falling asleep while running and subsequently narrowly missing being run over by a truck; I found the book inspiring and it made me want to run more!

Ok so maybe I don't want to run quite as much as Dean Karnazes, but it made me want to get out more and live life, use my body to it's full potential and not waste another moment.

Dean is an engaging writer, using just enough background description to set the scenes, humour as he talks about the tough parts and sincerity in his emotions and feelings. 
The pace of the book is comfortable and I found myself not wanting to put it down. Perhaps the fact that he wrote the book while running (using a digital recorder) makes it feel like he is just having a chat telling you his story.

My favourite words

I found the book packed full of great words of wisdom to motivate, my favourite being:

"Pain is the body's way of ridding itself of weakness" 

I think I liked this as it helped me understand how he managed to push through all those painful times as his body adapted to running such long distances. He certainly experienced far more pain than I experience on any of my runs - and so this is something I shall tell myself in the future, hopefully helping to push myself more!

Throughout the book I liked Dean's honesty about both the good and the bad parts of his runs. The times when he felt he'd failed, and the times when he wanted to just be at home sitting on the couch, beer in hand, channel surfing on the TV!
  Reading about the feats he has accomplished kind of makes you feel like he's superhuman, but to know he too has days when he doesn't feel like training and has the same struggles and doubts as the rest of us helps you to relate to his journey, even though the scale of it is so much bigger than most of us will ever achieve.

The follow up to this book is Run, which I actually read last year and also loved. Again, I think I'd like to re-read this book again, for more inspiring stories. The style of both books make them as much a motivational read as a story, and you can never have too much motivation!

I would definitely recommend this book to others.
It is a truly amazing story of endurance, self belief and inspiration.
And yes, it does make me want to run an day!

Disclosure: The link to this book takes you to Book Depository where I am an affiliate. I do get a commission for books purchased through this link, but all opinions expressed are my own. I  myself purchased this book through Book Depository last year - this is where I buy all my books!