Movie and Book Review – “UltraMarathon Man”

First off let me just say that I LOVE Dean Karnazes. He’s probably my favorite running persona and athlete. He’s a great role model and does great things for people through running. I definitely look up to him.

Book_5050I read “UltraMarathon Man” last year. I loved the book, but never got around to making a book review post. I had read Dean’s book “50/50 – Secrets I learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days” previously which is really where my appreciation for the athlete bloomed. You can find my review on that book HERE.

I decided to finally review “UltraMarathon Man,” the book, When my NetFlix delivered the movie to my mailbox. While this movie is more closely related to “50/50,” all the books and the movie tie together.

I  highly recommend reading one or both books and watching this movie if you are like me and in need of a little motivation and inspiration. He has one other book called “Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss” that I plan on picking up soon.

dvd-ummLet’s start with the movie, which was made in 2008. The movie follows Dean, his crew and family as they travel from marathon to marathon through the 50 states. You get to see candid shots of Dean as well as insights on why Dean does what he does.

I really like seeing Dean in action to complement the books I had already read. They also point the camera on other athletes who speak on their own running as well as why they follow Dean.

One of my favorite lines is spoken by another runner, Mike Huckabee, the governor (at the time) of Arkansas at Marathon #4: “I think what Dean is doing is pretty amazing and the inspiration that he is giving to everybody – that if he can run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states, then every american can do at least 50 minutes of exercise three or four times a week and get healthy.”

There’s plenty of inspiration to be found in this movie, and not just from Dean. He tells the stories of other runners he has met along the way, including a then 53-year-old woman who had run 50 marathons in the last three years and beaten cancer all at the same time. WOW!

ultramarathonmanThe book, written in 2006, is everything up to his 50 states challenge. He chronologically explains his running career from high school, to the absence of running for about 14 years, to how he got started again and started running ultramarathons. He follows his passion and took what he loved to find out how to make it part of his life. Now, not only does he get paid for it, but he uses it running to help others in need. And that’s truly inspiring to me. I can only hope that this can happened for me and for others.

This man, this athlete, is an animal! But it’s not just his athletic greatness that inspires others and myself.  He’s down to earth. He’s very motivating if so because he is so charismatic. He’s a genuinely nice guy and always running for a cause. We see in “UltraMarathon Man” the book, that he runs a relay race (meant for a team of 6 to 12) by himself all to raise money and awareness so a little girl could have an organ transplant.

“I always not wanted this to be about me”, Dean says in the movie, “not about one runner trying to prove something to the world. I wanted it to be about inclusion, about bringing people together. About uniting people and celebrating health.”

Yes, it’s true, I did get inspiration to run all 50 states from Dean, but I hope emulate the same inspiration. If I can just inspire one person to start running, not for the sake of running, but for the sake of being healthier, I would be happy. I can only hope to meet him someday and hopefully I’ll mumble something that sounds like “you’re my hero.”

I sit here writing this post while the move plays again in the background thinking to myself how all I want to do is get outside and run (despite the wind) and wondering why my stomach aches and my muscles hurt. Wondering if I should attempt to run right this second or wait to heal up. Nevertheless, I AM truly inspired. Not just to start running again and keep striving for my goals, but also to get healthier and stronger so I can complete and COMPETE for my dreams.

The movie ends with Dean finishing all 50 states and afterwards, what does he do? Runs. Just goes, without a distance goal, without a map and runs with his voiceover: “Follow your heart. Do what you love. The hardest thing for people to do is take that leap of faith.”

“I’m just doin’ what I love” -Dean Karnazes



YOUR TURN: Has anyone else seen this movie or read his books?? More curiously, who is your running idol??

Dean’s Website – All about the athlete from this training to nutrition and all his books and tour dates.

HARRUMPH – Tuesday Newsday 11/13

Dear Blogging world and my lovely followers,

I write to you all today to inform you that I will not be doing my first marathon come this December. I am truly disappointed, but I think it is in my best interest to post-pone my 26.2 miles until a later day, undecided at this time. My career life has taken a sudden and unexpected twist and turn, and to conserve finances, I’ve decided to not do the race. Also, I am battling an injury, the extent to which I am not sure.




So, here’s the scoop:

I lost my job last week. Although, I don’t think the word “lost” is quite appropriate. I did, indeed, quit. However, not unjustly so. I witnessed the worst display of veterinary care and medicine I had every seen on top of horrible business ethics and moral code.  I was lied to about the position I accepted and after working more shifts in a row, I saw the worst veterinary care I have ever seen and felt completely bombarded by it. To explain the whole story would be an incredibly long post, and to be honest, a depressing one. I was left scarred from the veterinary world. Basically, it was a new business, and the more clients and patients we started seeing, the more I saw of how the veterinarian performed. The last night I was there, was so bad, I left the clinic bawling. I had clients bringing me tissues, when it is supposed to be the other way around.

Sometimes, to pay bills, you must make money. And sometimes, you’ve got to just suck it up, and do what’s asked of you. But sometimes, you do not agree with the business practice what-so-ever. I could not suck it up, so to speak, when things that I thought were unethical and not quality care of animals. So, I quit. The things I witnessed were so awful I’m looking into ways to report them. I got really angry at first, because, not only did she (the vet) essentially abuse animals, she lied to me about hours and pay, thus affecting my life finically. This was super stressful because I had JUST burned my last bridge and quit my last job thinking this place was supposed to better for me both job title wise and financially. (Given, I already had a few issues with those people as well). I felt really pressured to take this new job and was under the impression is should have been better – but I could not have been more wrong, and anger overcame me. With the help of my family and friends they told me I made the right decision to leave, and have helped me tremendously with my job search.

I have to decided to just straight up switch careers. A complete 180. I think it’s time to put into action the things that I’m good at. I mean, I was good at being a vet tech, but I’m really passionate about fitness and running, and why not get paid for it!? Here’s my idea: To become a personal trainer (I’m currently researching different certificates and schools and programs), and then, down the road, thinking about getting my masters in nutrition or something related. I think this would give me a well rounded education in the fitness and health world as well as give me a career when I become physically unable to be a personal trainer (aka: when I get old…ick). I took a job (yes, I already found a new job – less than a week later) as a “running specialist” at Dick’s sporting goods. Basically I will be selling running shoes and apparel! I think it sounds fun!

Switching jobs has left me with a shaky financial situation, which has aided in my decision to not do the marathon, but also, since I am taking a new job right as the christmas season is starting, there’s no way they would let me off less than a month after starting…marathon dreams buh-bye.

Also, there’s the whole foot thing….

The story with my injury:

I wrote to you all for help with motivation and training advice after experiencing a set back in my training plan as well has a new pain in my right foot. Your advice was wonderful and helpful. I did an 18 miler last weekend, and couldn’t have been more proud of myself! However, my injury is not subsiding. My foot pain had disappeared and his has reappeared without much running, which really worries me. With the termination of my job, and the stress that has incurred, I haven’t gone for many runs. Two sundays ago was the 18 miler, and I didn’t get back on the streets until friday when I ran with one of my best friends, her dog and ATTEMPTED to run with the boy’s dog.

“Oh she’s so good on the leash” I was told, but she really wanted to catch up to Shay’s dog and pulled and tugged me which probably didn’t help my injury at all. I dropped the excitable dog back off at the house and continued for a total of three HORRIBLE miles. My right foot was hurting, then my left foot, then my knees…it was like a circle of pain.

Still, off and on, my right foot, on top of the carpal bones, hurts. It’s a sharp pain too. But not all the time. I can walk barefoot with no pain. I can wear flats with no pain. Sometimes, just the act of having shoes on my feet hurts. Sometimes, when I’m just sitting on the coach, I can feel a small throb of pain. I went for a 3 mile walk with my dog and mom yesterday and the first half of the walk killed my foot, then the pain just disappeared, as if I walked it off. So, who knows what’s going on with that. I know I should go to the doctor, but I don’t have health insurance.

I think I want to kind of start from scratch. I want to take some time off from serious running and go back to strength training.  Basically, start with the basics. I want to work on my ankle and knee strength and then resume marathon training, or start over. I’ll still run for fitness sake, but I think switching jobs and schedules will give me a chance to just start from scratch. Although, if I do find a marathon I want to do 2 or 3 months out, I think, i’ll take it and just start a training plan in the middle (and I’ll remember to count correctly this time! lol) since I was already up to 18 miles.

But I’m not QUITTING, I don’t want to think of it as quitting my marathon, for my own sake…because I don’t like that idea. I’m merely just postponing it. I WILL complete a marathon, and it WONT be that far away.

I feel like this post was very diplomatic and serious. I need something quirky to leave you all with….

Tuesday Newsdays – October 16th

Happy Tuesday! Here’s how last week’s training went; I have completed week 8!

Monday (rest): It’s a good thing, because I wasn’t feeling that well this day…

Tuesday (4 miles): I had a good 4 mile run in the chilly fall weather. Although, I keep wondering why I choose to do a marathon in the winter….cause running in the snow and freezing weather seems really daunting and unpleasant….we’ll see.

Wednesday (7 miles): Well, I picked up a second job. And I might turned this new job into my only job….anyway, I worked an 11 hour shift and had to push my 7 miles til the next day.

Thursday (4 miles -> 7 miles) actually, I ran 10.. and a hard 10 at that! BUT to top that,  I actually had a running buddy! It’s nice to have a running buddy every once in awhile. Especially someone who is just as good or better than you. My guy friend Shay (there’s also a girl you hear me talk about sometimes) invited me on a trail run out of Golden (just outside of Denver). If I recall correctly, it was called the Chimney Gulch/Lookout Mountain trail. I took my phone with me to map the trial but it died at the top, so I could only record half the run. 5 miles to the top, 5 miles down. My friend said he hadn’t ran the trail in awhile, but he was powering up it. I had to walk a little bit on the super steep parts, other than that, I pretty much ran the entire thing. It’s too bad winter is fast approaching, because I’m really getting into trail running.  However, I’m also glad winter is approaching quickly, because SNOWBOARDING SEASON BEGINS SOON!!!! I finally purchase my season pass with a large chunk of cash (yikes!) but it’s completely worth it in the end…it pays for itself quickly, and I have all my own gear!

Friday (rest day -> 4 miles from Thurs): After running errands and working and before planned dinner with a friend, I only managed to get in 3 miles and I had to run them at the gym. Blah. But I figured I had run extra on Thursday, so it was ok to skimp on the one last mile.

Saturday (I moved my long run to Sunday, so rest): I worked until early afternoon, ordered chinese food, got some beers at the worst bar in the world (thanks to my friends who seem to love the Electric Cowboy….I don’t get it) all to carb load for my long run on Sunday.

Sunday (15 miles): 15 miles complete. Non-stop might I add! Thanks to all that lo mein and beer the  night before, I was able to head 7.5 miles down the road and back. This is the longer/farthest I have ever run, EVER! My previous distance record was only 13.1 for a half marathon. I’ve done that distance 4 times. I ran the Crazy Horse half two weekends ago and missed last week’s 14 miler step up run, so I made quite the jump! But I just trudged through it. I finished it in 2 hours and 27 minutes; and after looking back at my mile times, I kept an average pace around 9:50, which I don’t think is bad at all! It’s a funny feeling as I start to run longer and longer distances, to then actually visualize how far 15 miles really is. Even 7 and a half miles to my turn around point….I passed the street on my way home from work and couldn’t believe I had gone that far! I made it half way to my work (which takes me 20 min to drive in the morning!). Every long run from here on out with be the farthest I have ever run and I’ll probably get just as excited every time!

Needless to say, after my longest run ever, I was a wee bit sore. Mostly in my knees – in fact, my knees were in so much pain that I had trouble sleeping. My shoulders were pretty tight the next day because I ran with my camelpak, and even though I only filled it halfway and it was negligible weight on my back, I think I sub consciously held up my shoulders as I ran, thinking I had to keep it on my back.

The next day though, I had to work, so I Laser-ed my knees and I’m telling you…PAIN FREE! I’m swearing by this magical laser I’ve been talking about!

How was everyone else’s week!? So many of you are marathon training, tell me what week you’re on!  Is anyone having to run long distances in the winter months??

“50/50 – Secrets I Learned Running…” By Dean Karnazes – Book Review

I finished reading “50/50: Secrets I learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days – and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!” by Dean Karnazes a loooooong time ago but haven’t had a chance to write my review on it. I actually finished it quite fast but I thought it would take me a lot longer because I’m always reading about 5 books at once. Seriously. However, I put down “Pride  and Prejudice and Zombies” (which I did end up finishing later as well – I love that it’s about Zombies, but it’s kind of a hard read, in case you wanted to know) because I got really into this book.

I highly recommend this book for running enthusiasts – especially those of you (and I know there’s a lot) that have similar goals as mine to run a race in every state. I chose to read it, of course, because I’m a huge Dean Karnazes (the ultra marathon man is super awesome! I really want to meet him some day; from what I’ve seen online and heard, he seems like a super nice guy and total mingles with the non-super athletes). Also because it is about the Endurance 50, which is the title of his 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days challenge. The book follows him and his crew across the country on their bus and recounts each state and the challenges he met along the way. It’s about the people he meets. Intertwined between everything, it’s about running in general and offers inspirational quotes, quick tips and insightful info for the people lacing up their shoe laces for the first time, or for the people who have already run 50 marathons.

The book is broken down by 50 chapters, one for each marathon. When I first started reading, I was wondering how he actually did this because most races are on saturdays or sundays. He actually only had a few “Live” marathons (where he participated in the real event) and the rest were official recreations; usually only allowing about 50 additional people to run with him. He got city permits and recreated the official race course with official timing and official start and finish lines. In each city and every event, he would always hang out a bit and chat with fans at the expos before hopping on the bus to head toward the next city. Averaging only a few hours of sleep a night, he powered through 50 marathons in 50 days facing adverse weather, minimal injuries and going through a lot of socks!

It’s pretty inspirational to me because sometimes I get stuck in the thought of how I’m actually going to complete all the states. I know that I do not have a 50 day time limit, or even a year, but thinking about all the logistics of my goal gets daunting. Not to mention the actual physical fitness effort on my part – and I’m not even doing a race a day! Then I get lost in thought and start thinking about after it all – what do I do THEN! What if I live somewhere else? What if I don’t get all the states around Colorado before I move!? WHAT IF, WHAT IF…. OH MAN! Yes, this is how my brain works.

Some of my favorite parts of this book is the quick tips Dean offers. Something I never knew before was that eating Raw ginger can help with minor upset stomachs. Or how about, he offers advise on various topics including how to recover after a marathon (his advice starts with LOTS of water, a hearty meal, ice baths, sleep and yes, run the next day). I think my favorite piece of advice is “Aid Station Etiquette.” I feel like I am pretty decent at aid station etiquette, but a lot of people can learn a thing or too and listen when Dean says “try not to stop or slow down in the flow of runners…” This is one of my biggest pet peeves race day!!

The quote that stood out to me the most is in a chapter called “The Running Clinic.” He writes about the Boulder Backroads Marathon (honestly, just a coincidence that it’s the Colorado chapter). In this sections, he talks about how running is a participatory sport, it’s not for fans. Who likes WATCHING running anyway…not me.  I only like watching the finish line. There’s a lot of emotion and spirit at a finish line. Here he answers questions on how he trains, what he eats, and how he actually DOES this! At the end of this chapter he writes, “we are all teachers and we are all students in this sport.” I love this line! It is so true! I learn something everyday about the sport of running, and I would like to hope or think that others have learned from me as well.

This book closes with fun facts about the Endurance 50 as well as training plans for completing a marathon for beginners and advanced runners. Overall, a good read for the running enthusiast! I highly recommend putting this on your summer reading list.