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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Book Review "Running on Empty" by Marshall Ulrich


I already know what your thinking, and yes, I actually CAN read. Although there were very few pictures, I managed to muscle my way through it.

The book was actually a surprise birthday present to me from my amazing aunt (whose been running and triathaloning (?) For as long as I can remember and has always been a HUGE inspiration to me) that she picked up while checking out the expo at her last race, the Las Vegas Rock n Roll half marathon,which just so happened to be held on my birthday! The Author, Marshall Ulrich, was there selling and autographing the books. So my Aunt took a look and chatted a while with the guy and told him about my venturing into barefoot ultra marathoning. She then bought am autographed copy, in which Mr. Ulrich had hand written me a personal note saying...

"To Chase, Good luck with your Ultras. My very best always to you. Dream it and do it.

-Marshal Ulrich"


So now on to the book...

Basically Marshall Ulrich is the kind of guy that doesnt really exist except in fantasy world rumors and stories. He holds some insane amount of world records in the world of endurance, and has been "on of the first" if not "the first" for many of his great accomplishments. He has ran all the big marathons and ultra marathons and summited all 7 of the worlds tallest mountains (including Everest). Among his amazing feats are; unassisted Badwater crossing, the first ever quad Badwater crossing covering 540 miles of Death Valley non stop, Pikes Peak marathon, Leadville ultra marathon.

Anywho, the guys a total badass runner, but seems to have been a pretty shitty family man. His first wife died a horriblle death from cancer, and it was during this time he found his love for running. He had 2 unsuccessfull remarriges and then finally found the right woman for him. He has 3 kids that he admits he was never there for, and has very little of a relationship with due to owning his own buisness and rising to the top ranks of the ultra marsthoning world.

The book is focused around his attempt to break the world record for a trans-continental crossing on foot. I believe the record was set by a 28 year old who had averaged somewhere around 65 miles a day to complete it in 54 days if Im not mistaken. To secure funding he adds Charlie Engle to the run since Charlie has connections. Things between Marshall and Charlie turn south, which I saw coming as soon as Charlies name was mentioned. Everythig Ive ever read about Charlie made him come across as a complete and total ass hat, and he deffinatley lived up the that reputation in this book.

Throughout Marshalls journey he goes pretty deep about the psyche of an ultra runner, and what it takes to completely ignore your body telling you to stop. I really liked this aspect of the book. He talks about suffering, and the different levels of suffering. Of course, hes averaging somewhere around 60 miles a day, so he deffinatley understands suffering! He also discusses all of his injuries and physical ailments that he had to push through and endure in order to complete this ordeal. It would seem that running across America, from West coast to the East coast, is a little harder than Forest Gump made it appear to be...

The only thing I did not like about the book was his affixation with his current wife. Look, I love the shit out of my wife, and Im sure he loves his wife just as much, but if I wanted to read a love story I would have picked another book. Thats really what I got out of this book, that he couldnt live life without his wife by his side. Not a page went by that didnt refrence her. Serisouly... I dont doubt that his wife was very instrumental in his trans-contenintal run, but come on!

Anyway, it was a great book with lots of cool and interesting facts about ultra marathoning, both usefull and nonusefull. I would rate it around a 7.5 for a book about running.

posted from Bloggeroid

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