Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss
2 journalers for this copy...
I like Dean K's anthologies rather than his straight stories. I can't find my GoodReads' review of this, will update when I do as Id on't feel like retyping it
Dean Karnazes – “Run!”
(04 November 2017 BookCrossing via Cari)
Cari and I have a decade-and-a-half long transatlantic book swapping habit that has now become a running book swapping habit. Parcels make their way across the sea, and sometimes we enjoy the difference of the alternative editions (in this, the US edition of the book, Karnazes is shirtless on the front cover; in the UK edition, he’s firmly t-shirted).
To that audience, first. Dean seems to think his readers can be defined thus:
My suspicion is that, like me, most of you reading these pages are drawn to extremes. Moderation bores you. You seek challenges and adventures that dwell on the outer edges. The path of least resistance is not a route often traveled. (p. 161)
My edges are obviously not that far out there: as mentioned above, I’m a determined non-risk-taker, careful and conservative in my running. Oh …
He also describes a running buddy’s journey into ultras as:
His running had become obsessive, fanatical and reckless. In other words … perfect. (p. 80)
Oh, again. But only perfect in one way, right. And we are talking those kind of races in this book that push you right to the limits – ultramarathons in Death Valley and the like. My limits happen to be 26 (maybe 31) miles on a nice firm surface with water stations and perhaps cakes liberally sprinkled along the way. We’re all different, and Karnazes does inspire people: such runners are contrasted in other books, but there is much mention of runners helping each other out in the field, and that’s the running I really do recognise.
He also talks about how people find their real selves in a marathon or ultra, and I can relate to that: even if finding your true self means finding you don’t like to push yourself too hard and are very conservative with your energy! I really did find out about myself in my last marathon that I value self-preservation over competition, even to the extent of risking missing a cut-off in order not to be flat on my back on the floor at the end. I mean, I also found grit and determination and all that, but that was the biggest learning point.
Anyway, the book, in 26.2 chapters, is broken up into some loosely linked and some separate stories about his adventures in ultrarunning (though his most emotional is a 10k with his daughter, which is a very sweet read). It’s good to read in little chunks because of the format, and he does cover all areas of his life so you get an idea of the person as well as the runner.
He covers all sorts of races including ones he suffers in (I liked the one where he’s found wandering clutching a bouquet of wild flowers he’s apparently picked). I really enjoyed his story of carrying the torch in the Beijing Olympic relay in San Francisco.
I enjoyed the chapters interviewing his wife and kids and the one written by Topher, his ex-support crew and runner in own right. He enjoys Topher blowing up in his first race (“A sympathetic man would have offered his condolences. However, I am not a sympathetic man” (p. 74). In fact, Topher gets his own back at the end of the book doing some kind of event around Mount Blanc and knowing what to do with his running poles:
He was a running machine. I, on the other hand, was a stumbling buffoon. (p. 251)
reminding us that Karnazes is never afraid to show his own weaknesses: it’s quite sweet that he’s so proud of his protegé, who is now the one waiting for him on the finish line.
An interesting book for those who like reading about extreme running, even if you’re not an extreme runner (and that’s of course fine).
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