Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts

May 18, 2016

Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}

Disclosure: In partnership with Women's Health as a WH Action Hero, I received a complimentary Microsoft Band for review purposes. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Now that I’ve made some big fall race decisions and have new fitness aspirations, it’s time to get motivated. I’m always looking for ways to keep living happier and healthier while getting involved in bigger and better things.  As a busy person, I’m also always looking for things that can help me do that.  With the school semester winding down (thank God) and a light summer class load (thank God again), I have more time to get into a really solid routine and focus a little more on getting stronger.  

I was lucky enough to get to try out another new fancy fitness band, this time the new Microsoft Band, thanks to my partnership as a Women’s Health Action Hero. While I’m not a huge numbers person I do find that casually knowing my steps and being reminded to move on more sedentary days can help. Also the sleep trackers on fitness devices is a great reminder of how much my body actually needs more sleep which leads to stronger fitness and better overall productivity. Getting better sleep is pretty much always a work in progress for me, le sigh

Out of the box, the new Microsoft Band was really easy to use and figure out, which is a huge plus. The Microsoft Band itself comes with a USB charging cable and a paper manual and quick start guide.  It's a little bulky but fairly comfortable to wear. 

Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}

Using the Microsoft style of tiles took a little getting used to but merely because I had never used it before on their phone or OS interface.  It was easily to configure what tiles you wanted in what order to display on your band as well as change the settings. You can also customize the home screen color and design;  I chose a blue patterned screen.  You can tap or swipe the home screen to get information. Tapping lets you look at metrics like steps. 
Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}
Home screen with step count
I found the step and floor count comparable to other devices, based on what they usually tell me my average is. I think they are all slightly inaccurate, so I don’t focus on it too much, but I do like to compare my daily averages to each other sometimes. 

Here are my thoughts on some of the Microsoft Band's features: 

Features Overview

Heart Rate Monitor
            I don’t find the HR sensor on the wrist as accurate as the chest band, in general. For basic HR though, this device was fine. It has an optical HR sensor on the inside of the device with two little LED green lights that supposedly read blood-flow in your wrist and determine your heart rate continuously throughout the day. 

  Microsoft Health App
            Their app gives you all the basic health & fitness metrics you want. I accessed this app on my Android™ phone, but it also works with the Windows Phone and iPhone®. The Microsoft Band can also connect to other for those only delivers basic data.   

Run and Exercise Tracking
            Obviously, this was one of the biggest tests for me since I usually use a Garmin watch (and not my phone) to track runs. I also used this to track my heart rate and calorie burn during a Yoga Sculpt class and a couple lifting sessions. During runs, I was surprised how much I liked it. I simply turned on my GPS if I was outside, tapped on the "running man" icon, and pressed the bottom button to start the run. I turned off the screen during runs to save battery, besides periodically checking my distance or pace. 

Live Healthier with the new Microsoft Band {Review}

The Microsoft Band has really nice functionality and statistics for workouts. You can download guided workouts, although I haven't used that feature. 

Phone Stuff
 Like smart watches, you can receive basic information from your phone, such as text messages, calls, emails and calendar, if you set it up. I found it burned the battery more, so I just had text and calls synced with my phone’s Bluetooth. 

GPS and Zzzzs
GPS during runs seemed surprisingly accurate and didn’t take long to connect in the city.It also tracks sleep automatically-without having to turn on it on-which was a big plus.

You can only have a certain number of tiles or apps on the band, which was a little annoying.  The battery lasted about two days which is comparable to my FitBit. I thought it was pretty for solid day-to-day use and a nice alternative to other fitness trackers and smart watches. 

Overall I think the Microsoft Band is a nice mid-range functionality-wise device that I can see myself wearing on a regular basis for daily tracking or workouts.  

Do you use a fitness tracker? What's the most motivating feature for you? 

October 22, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015: The Big Recap

 So I finally sat down and finished my big ol' Chicago Marathon 2015 recap. I started out writing 2 posts about the expo and race, and now I've shortened it plus included lots of photos! It was a little weird running Chicago after just running it last year. I knew the way things were organized, the course, and what to generally expect.  This year was less fun because I had a really stressful week of school beforehand and had to plan a shorter trip, as well as get some homework done when I was out there. 


I went to the race expo on Friday after getting in late the night before. McCormick Place Convention Center is a hike from where I was on the western part of the city. Once we got there I grabbed my bib and checked out the expo. 


The Chicago Marathon Expo is my favorite so far. It's so well-organized and more importantly, super spread out. It's not super cramped and ridiculously crowded like I felt the Boston Marathon expo or other large expos are.  Nike had a huge booth as a sponsor, but the designs of their race apparel & merchandise were really similar to last year and not super cool, which was disappointing. Although the race shirt I got with my bib is an awesome  red short-sleeved top with a graphic black and white text in the middle. 


Once I was in the expo, the energy of all the runners and excitement for the race really hit me. I instantly became super proud to be among all these runners!  I also couldn't believe the race was in a matter of days. 


Nike had a big sign again that you could autograph and would be on the course. 


I wasn't able to make the official Nuun meetup on Saturday, but I was really happy to stop by and have a chance to chat with Kim who works for Nuun and was one of my Hood to Coast teammates! Getting a little pep talk and encouragement was really nice. 


I also picked up a cool shirt from one of my favorite running brands, Brooks Running, as well as some extra race fuel.  


Advocate Health Centers had a fun little photo booth going on. This sign really speaks to me! 


I didn't get a chance to snag a photo, but I got to say hello to Bart Yasso at the Runner's World booth before he had to scoot off to go give a talk.  

Nike is really great at having awesome photo ops at the expo. 


The rest of the day I spent in the city including grabbing lunch and finally meeting Susie in person which was SO fun. I did too much walking during the day and knew it was bad when my feet were hurting. 

The next day I went back to the expo to spend a little more time persuing and grabbing a few more things like an awesome Bondiband to wear on race day.I even bumped into Angela leaving the race with was SO awesome and random. My calves and hamstrings were feeling really tight which worried me, especially because I couldn't bring my foamroller out to Illinois. I had dinner at Little Goat Diner which included a burger, a side of homefries, and a little bit of apple pie aka all the carbs.  

Race morning I was so anxious that I woke up before my 5 AM alarm multiple times in a panic, which is typical for me before big races. My boyfriend said I was really amped, even before eating and having a little caffeine.  I had a banana and a plain bagel with peanut butter along with some Lemon-Lime Nuun Energy before getting on the train.  

Once we got downtown I was getting really anxious. The weatherman the day before had said it would feel like summer in Chicago for race day, which is no bueno, but it made for a perfect race morning. There had been talk all week about how it would be windy and unusually warm on race day as well as the race bumping up their EAS safety levels from low to moderate. I quickly took my throwaway shirt off when I got downtown. My boyfriend also made my name on my shirt (written on hot pink KT tape) bigger before saying goodbye.    

I wore my Adidas Energy Boosts ESM shoes, Feetures! compression socks, Lululemon pace setter skirt, Under Armour sports bra, Bondiband headband,  and a Lululemon tank along with my Nuun tattoo and some throwaway gloves.  

I anxious because the security line ended up being really long around 6:40 when I got there. I knew Corral C closed at 7:20 so I wasn't sure I would make it through in time. The energy of runners was filled with excitement, nerves, and impatience with the line.  


Eventually I made it through security, jogged to gear check to drop off my bag, and headed to the port-a-potty line before I made it into Corral C with minutes to spare.  I was stuck in the very back of the corral so I wasn't near any pacers. Once the race started there was so much excitement. I heard the elites start and then all of a sudden before I knew it we were running. The beginning of the Chicago Marathon is so special and is PACKED with spectators. It's also flat & fast so I know a bunch of people start out way too fast. I was nervous about my pace and how the weather and wind would be so I kept it slower for the first 13 miles. Looking back I wish I picked up the pace just a little bit, but c'est la vie. Also quick note, my Garmin GPS was all messed up from a tunnel and the buildings so I think I thought I was going faster at times than I actually was. 

Since I wasn't running with friends this year, my boyfriend made a plan to meet me at 5-6 locations based on his experiences trying to catch me last year. He was fabulous and saw me 4 times during the first half and manged to snag this awesome action shot at mile 3. Notice how happy I look! 


It's hard because now after the race, the miles blur. I loved going through all the different neighborhoods of Chicago. It was also fun because after racing last year and then exploring the city, I recognize different parts a lot better now.  I tried to keep my pace conservative until around mile 16 when I knew I could speed up a bit.  I was SO cautious of going out too fast because it's such a trap, especially in Chicago where the whole course if flat and fast. I sped up to around 8:00 min/mile  and was feeling okay. I was having a salted caramel GU every 6 miles along with salt tabs and honey stinger chews in between when I felt I needed something. 

I made the last minute decision to buy a handheld water bottle at the expo instead of my waist belt that I had been training with. I knew I didn't want to suck down the Nuun in it and then have to toss my belt halfway through the race so I went with the smaller water bottle so I didn't chance the belt annoying me.  My skirt held all my fuel which was great! 

The first half of the course is amazing. It's fast, exciting, and shaded. Once I got about 2 hours and thirty minutes into the race I was feeling overheated. The second half of the race is all mostly in direct sunlight. There was not a cloud in the sky which helped, and I saw from an outdoor thermometer at one point that the temperature had already hit 70 degrees (the high for the day ended up being 78). I was trying to focus on my Paceband and was keeping an eye on the big clocks on course, but didn't know what time after the elites I had started. I knew I was behind my 3:30 race pace but figured a consistent pace was at least good to be. This time in Chicago I tried to soak everything in-the city,the signs, the spectators, and the fellow runners. I gave lots of high-fives, shouted, and always gave at least a fist bump when I heard someone yell my name off my shirt.  So many moments of running happy. 

Now I know I didn't hydrate well enough the days leading up to the race. I drank a bunch of fluids and electrolytes the day before and had lots of Nuun the morning of. I took a few salt tabs and alternated with water and Gatorade at every water stop. Something I've noticed in the last year however is that I just overheat sometimes and that's what happened. 

Besides my legs feeling tight since mile 14, and then generally feeling like lead pipes from mile 20 on, I just felt blah. I was feeling warm and not cooling down, despite a few ice cold sponges I grabbed later in the race from volunteers. Those last 6 miles were so tough. I walked through a couple water stops to try to regain composure because I was getting upset.  I can't explain it by anything except overheating. My head felt heavy and when my boyfriend managed to say hi to me at mile 22 and ran along side me as I took a few swigs of the Gatorade bottle he had bought for me, he said I was just sobbing. I just told him to leave me alone, that I needed to finish the race. I think you can be prepared, but my marathons have never felt like my training runs. 

It was that mental point where I couldn't talk to anyone, I was in pain, and I just needed to get these miles done with.  The super long, straight race course at this point doesn't help mentally either.  Definitely lots of tough moments mentally that come up only in races like this for me. I focused on staying positive and trying to push out those bad thoughts.  There were some tears, but eventually I just had my head hanging back a little  and tried to power through. I was repeating my mantra of "stronger than you" and "breathe" out loud those last 3 miles. Eventually at Mile 26 there is that little hill for the last 0.2 miles, and I gave it everything I had left in the tank.  

That face is a lot more pained than that photo at Mile 3!
I didn't even know what time I crossed the finish line in. When I was done I just needed to be done. I stopped my watch but didn't even look. I ended up finishing in 3:34:48, 5128/46034 overall, and 286 in my age group.  I'm not sure of my overall average race pace but it was probably around an 8:12 min/mile.  It was also a freaking negative split, which I mean, who does that?!

Once I crossed the finish line I just had to stop, but the amazing volunteers at the race finish wanted to keep people moving. The volunteers were great with checking on people, helping people, getting medical attention, and providing wheelchairs for those who needed them. Shout-out to ALL of the awesome Chicago Marathon volunteers at every part of the race! I felt like death for a minute or so and a lovely volunteer walked with me to make sure I was okay and not dizzy or anything. After chugging a bottle of water and 3 cups of Gatorade I was feeling okay, minus my legs barely being able to walk. 

I hobbled along, grabbed a heat blanket, and got some photos taken. Chicago is so big and organized so  they had a nice line to grab bags of snacks plus bananas, protein bars, and Gatorade protein drinks. They also had bags of ice which felt amazing.  At this point, a few happy tears were shed and maybe a few flexing/biting my medal race photos were taken. 

Goose Island, like last year, was handing out free 312 wheat beers in the finishers area (ones you didn't have to use your beer ticket for) which is what I had before any food. It tasted gloriously.  Eventually I hobbled over to Buckingham Fountain (which is currently being renovated so it wasn't working) and grabbed my gear. 


Next I sat down and looked at my phone which was filled with texts and congratulations. In this moment I finally smiled and realized I did get a PR and a BQ. It's not far enough under 3:35, but still. There were points in the race where I thought it was going to end up being a slower race so this still felt amazing. 



Once I found my boyfriend and a friend, I got to relax in Grant Park. It was a beautiful day if you weren't running! It was awesome to see so many people finishing and to take a few moments to reflect that I just ran my 3rd freaking marathon. Who would have thought 4 years ago that I would be a MARATHONER, PLURAL. Even though I was in horrible pain at the end of the race, I was already thinking of what my next marathon would be. 
It's a sick hobby, isn't it? 


I eventually redeemed my free beer, munched on a protein bar, and then headed out to spend the afternoon grabbing some food and drinking a few beers. 

Snacks from the race bag that I didn't eat until later!
Sometimes post-race it's a burger and fries, but today all I wanted was this personal pizza all to myself. Yes, I like thin crust better than deep dish! YUM. 


Honestly, I can't be sad of achieving my B goal, a PR and  BQ, even if it isn't fast enough to actually get to run Boston. It sucks that I felt like it wasn't even a real Boston time because I know when I apply I'll get cut,especially with how many people applied this year. I just feel the need to qualify saying I have a BQ because when people ask if I'm running Boston I can't say yes. 

Now I've accepted that you know what, it is really freaking awesome and is a Boston Qualifying time so HELL YEAH. I'm chipping away and know that I can train hard and maybe have that magical race day where I can run a little faster. Anyhow, coming away with a PR is a really great feeling. It kinda sucked not having any of my running buddies that I trained with along side me, but I was super grateful for how beautiful Chicago and all the spectators, volunteers, and runners were. Also my boyfriend is a trooper for seeing me on course like 6 times and having some extra fuel for me if I needed it. 

I was so happy to have my custom race mantra on my arm thanks to Momentum because it was the best reminder to repeat it to myself. I am stronger than I know! 


What's your favorite race mantra? How did your big race or event of the season turn out? 

July 3, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015 Kickoff with Momentum Jewelry {Weeks 1 & 2 Recap}

Disclosure: I am a Momentum Jewelry ambassador and receive complimentary products. This blog post contains my affiliate link. As always, all opinions are my own. Momentum is sponsoring my race and supplied complimentary samples of their products. All other items in the giveaway prize were purchased by me.  

Believe it or not, marathon training season is here! It seems like only yesterday I was getting the email that I received entry to the 2015 Chicago Marathon. I ran Chicago last year so I'm familiar with the race and ready to come back and kick butt. What's even freakier is that the Chicago Marathon is only 100 days a way.  October 11 sounds far away, but it's really not because it's already freaking July. HOW?!


Chicago Marathon 2015 Training Recap

You can follow my training updates with the nifty hashtag #breathedeeplyandrunchi on social media. The first two weeks of training really flew by. I actually just finished tweaking my training plan today. The one thing I did not miss from training which I've noticed since upping my mileage last week is the runger! I'm generally a hungry person but now it's pretty constant. Amanda's post on the subject hit right at home for me.  #foreverhungry


Week 1

This week wasn't really a true week of training.  I got in a couple easy runs, a November Project workout, and then my first long run. I ran 10 miles with a group of my lady runner friends which was lovely because we spent the whole run basically catching up.  I've been running a half marathon every month since March so 10 miles didn't feel too bad.  The humidity made some of my runs really sweaty and uncomfortable.  

Week 2
I've been trying to add more easy runs and get some more miles on my feet this training cycle so I actually hit my highest mileage in a while this week with just over 36 miles. Surprisingly I'm just feel my usual levels of soreness.

 For cross-training I  took a great barre class at Beachfit Baltimore with my fellow Gundalow ambadassador Annie. I got some speed work in at the November Project Sunrise 6K and the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K.   Sunday's long run called for 13 miles so I tacked on an extra 10 easy miles later in the afternoon after the 5K to get it done. BOOM. And then I ate and napped and ate some more!

Post BWC 5K 2015 at the lovely Inner Harbor
One of the things that has made me super excited for marathon training is that I've got Momentum Jewelry to sponsor and support my race. I've been loving their athletic jewelry for over a year since now plus am really happy to be an ambassador for the company. 

Their wrap bracelets and footnotes with motivational sayings on them are my favorite accessories for working out or just going about my day. I was already planning on rocking my wrap bracelets and footnotes with my favorite mantras throughout training anyways, but I love that I can also spread the Momentum message. It also doesn't hurt have a little extra help staying motivated when the going gets tough.  


Check Momentum Jewelry out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

As always you can use my link to save 10% off any order:


Momentum sent me a box with a couple new wrap bracelets footnotes, tech tee, and a bunch of samples to giveaway to spread the love.  You're in luck because I'm including a footnote and wrap bracelet to kickoff your training, for whatever race or event that may be, along with some of my other favorite training products like Nuun & Feetures!.  


You can enter below, and the giveaway ends next Friday, 7/10/15 at 12:00 AM EST, open to US & Canada residents only (sorry-due to my shipping costs!) 

This post was linked up with Tuesdays on the Run

Are you training for a big race? What's your favorite training mantra?

May 21, 2015

A Mile is a Mile is a Mile {Workout Comparisons}

A mile is a mile. It doesn't matter if you are a marathoner, a new runner, or record-setting Deena Kastor. No one's workout is better than someone else's. If you challenged yourself with a two mile run, that doesn't make it worse than someone who ran 12 the same day. While a mile as a distance is the same, everybody's miles are different. Everybody's workouts, bodies, and goals are different too.  

Sorry if this gets a little rant-y as I think out loud, this has just been a topic that has been on my mind recently. I find that it is so easy to play the comparison game with other people.  With a culture of over-sharing and social media it's easy to just see other people's mileage and workouts. Online there are lots of gym selfies, workout recaps on blogs, and #runbrags. 

How many photos of Garmin watch faces and heart rate monitors post-workout are posted online everyday?   

Sometimes that all can be motivating and creates a supportive community.  

However personally sometimes it causes me to doubt myself, especially since I follow so many inspiring athletes, fellow runners, and bloggers.  Stepping away from the fitness and blogger community I realize that many people would think it's crazy awesome just to work out 4-5 days a week like I do. 

I just  am friends with too many kickass people! 

I'll be out for a run at a slower pace than I wanted and feel badly about it. It's easy to get caught up in things like who ran how many miles today and how that person that passed you on your run is running way faster.  Maybe they are faster, more fit, or more experience than you. Then again, maybe you are just having an off day. 

Sadly sometimes true. 

Or you look at someone's workout recaps or post-run Instagram and see that they ran double the miles you did, fit in my workouts, burned more calories, or lifted more than you did.  It's so easy to get caught up in the numbers game and compare weekly mileage, paces, weights, and calorie burns.  

It's not all online either. Maybe a friend said they were feeling a little tired or sore so they were taking it easy on your run together. Meanwhile your breathing is getting heavier as you struggle to keep up so now you feel like you must be out of shape or not as good of a runner. 

Then I just remember that my run is not the same as your run. Just like my race isn't the same as someone else's, even if we are running the exact same miles, course and distance-wise. Everybody is on their own journey.    

Your run or workout is different because you are different. Your sleep,your fitness, your eats, your mood, and what's going on in your life are all different and all differently affect your runs or workouts. 

Just because someone who is also training for the same race runs more miles than you doesn't mean that their training is better. Everybody's training can be different to fit your own needs. Just because someone worked out more days a week than you doesn't mean they are stronger or faster. 

It's important to remember that even if you ran the same race as someone, they did not have the same experience. You don't know how they were feeling, their thoughts, or what's going on in their lives that affected those miles. 

So guess what, getting your sweat on counts no matter what. 

Running 2 miles is better than no miles. Doing a 20 minute body-weight circuit in your living room because that's all you could fit in today is awesome. Deciding to start running and feeling accomplished when you can run a mile straight through is awesome. 

It's okay to get motivated by scrolling through your Instagram feed or following fitness blogs. It's okay to post your accomplishments or post-workout selfies when you are proud of yourself. Just remember that you don't need to prove anything to anyone. 

Your workouts are for you. 


Anybody else get caught up in the comparison game?  Do you find motivation from social media? 

This post was linked up to the Fit & Fashionable Friday Link-Up

May 11, 2015

5 Tips For Getting Back into A Routine

My mojo has been missing lately, and I'm over it! I haven't been following a running training plan or scheduling out my weeks. Lots of missed workouts, shorter runs, and not enough stretching & yoga.  Also I've been really slacking on my greens and water intake (as I try to to drink a Gundalow green juice after an indulgent wedding weekend).  Side note, the Tone it Up ladies posted a great list of how to bounce back eating-wise after an indulgent weekend. 

I like being flexible with my schedule and being comfortable with getting in what I can when things come up throughout the week #wycwyc).  It's the only way I stay sane. That meant when I woke up feeling under the weather on Saturday and had to travel to a wedding later, I did 4 miles instead of the 8 I had planned. That meant eating out for dinner many times this week due to birthday celebrations.  

With being busy at work, vacation, social events, and my birthday, I've gotten off track. Before the start of a new week and as the spring/summer only proves to be busier, I want to get things in line again. 

Being organized keeps me happy, less anxious, and more productive!

Getting my life re-organized is easier said than done. 
Here's 5 ways I'm setting myself up for this week:


1. Drink more water. 

With the warmer weather I have definitely been noticing  that I am more dehydrated and really need to step up my water intake, especially when outdoor are in the mix.  You here this advice so often because it's so important! More water makes your body happy & balanced, gives you clearer skin, and gets rid of bloat. I'm aiming for half my body weight in ounces in water each day based. I use a 32 oz. water bottle so I only have to drink 2 bottles a day which makes it easier for me.  

 2. Go to bed at a reasonable time.

This is probably the hardest one for me. I'm a night owl, but have been in this awful pattern for months and months now of staying up late, sleeping in later because I need sleep, and repeat. If I go to bed earlier I can workout before work and not feel completely like death all morning.  This will definitely help me to fit in all my workouts. The less I need to do after work the better, especially with a full calendar these days.  

March 31, 2015

Momentum Jewelry Ambassador Discount and Wish Wraps

Disclosure: I am a Momentum Jewelry ambassador and receive complimentary products. This blog post contains my affiliate link. As always, all opinions are my own. 

I am really excited to announce that I'm a new ambassador for Momentum Jewelry! I love getting to a part of the teams of brands I love so it is exciting to support an athletic jewelry company that I've been a big fan of since I reviewed their products last year. 

I am completely obsessed with good vibes, positive thinking, and inspirational mantras. Having a reminder on my wrist or shoes while I'm working, running, or going about my day really helps me focus. 

Momentum's motivate wrap bracelets are my favorite with their cozy, tee shirt-like wrap material and great choice of mantras.  You can pretty much always find one on my wrist! 


If you use my ambassador link, you can save 10% off any order from Momentum!

I totally had positive energy during my awesome race at the Love Run Philadelphia half marathon this past Sunday and loved having that reminder on my wrist to glance during those tougher miles. 


You will be hearing and seeing more from me about Momentum Jewelry, but right now they are having an amazing sale to debut their new WISH wraps.  These beautiful leather wrap bracelets with little rhinestone studs are chic and inspiring.  They are available in brown or black leather with an assortment of sayings.  


I chose one that says "dream big" as a reminder to always reach for big goals and remember that I have the power to achieve anything that I want. I chose the brown leather and love how great it looks on my wrist, especially now that the weather is warming up and I'm able to show off my stacks when I'm wearing short sleeves. 

If you purchase a wish wrap through me as an ambassador you can save 25% (so they are only $30 instead of $40) through April 20th at midnight.  

Just click on my link, and click on suede & leather at the top of the website, and then click on wish wrap to order. 

These make a great gift, especially with Mother's Day around the corner!


Check out Momentum Jewelry on FacebookTwitterInstagram or online.

Do you have a favorite inspirational saying or mantra? 

February 2, 2015

Book Review: Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes

I'm participating in Sarah Ohm's Blogger Book Club 2015 because I love books and participating in this link up will hopefully help motivate me to reach one of my New Year's goals to read one book a month for fun.  This month I decided to read Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. Actually I read the whole book one day during jury duty last week. High five to me for being productive.   

I have read about Dean Karnazes, one of the most famous ultrarunners, and even met him a couple years ago at a running store event. He was so genuine, enthusiastic, and positive in person.


I finally picked up his autobiographical book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner published in 2006. It seemed like a great pick for the motivation theme of this month's book club. No, I've never run an ultramarathon, although I'm toying with the idea of trying a 50K one of these days. I am however a runner and fascinated by ultramarathons.  I give lots of respect to the different type of running and physical stamina those events take. The ultrarunning culture, fuel, and community is interesting to me.  

I also like how even though Dean eats super healthy, during ultras he does things like gets an entire pizza delivered to him on a run and eats the entire thing himself. 
True story, it happens in this book. Pizza is clearly the way to my heart. 


I'd say you don't have to be a runner to like this book though. It's more about inspiration and following your dreams, no matter how crazy they seem.  Clearly that lines up with my "run happy, dream big" mantra as well. 

The book Ultra Marathon Man is about Dean from the very beginning of his running career until the end of a 199 mile relay race he ran solo in California in 2000. 

He ran mostly cross country in high school and fell in love with running but later is sister Pary was killed in a car crash.  Her death and how it affected Dean is a theme throughout the book. What I think is surprising is how Dean  not only held a corporate job in San Francisco when he started running but throughout his career.  One of the motivating quotes in his life and of the book is how a former favorite high school coach told him "If it felt good, you didn't push hard enough. It's supposed to hurt like hell.After a hiatus from running, he rediscovers his love of it on his 30th birthday and enters the world of ultramarathoning.  

I'm not going to give the whole book away (you should read!) but it talks about his journey towards chasing the toughest events in the world form his first Western States, to Badwater, to the first marathon on Antarctica, and then finally the relay in California.  He doesn't just run ultramarathons but ridiculously difficult events like Badwater which takes place in Death Valley for 135 miles with temperatures in 120 °F. Seriously. Oh and he won it in 2004.