Monday, October 30, 2006

Dean Karnazes

Over the past week or two I’ve been reading quite a bit about an incredible man named Dean Karnazes. I first heard about this guy in Runner’s World magazine, which, even if you are just a moderate runner, you would enjoy. He was on the cover of the October issue and I think he was in the August and September issues too. Anyway, Dean is nearing the end of a crazy challenge he created for himself. He’s running 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 U.S. states. It's called the Endurance 50. Today he is running race 44 of 50.


Dean has written a book called Ultra Marathon Man, Confessions of an all-night runner. I couldn’t put it down. The guy seems totally nuts but totally grounded at the same time. I highly recommend it. Not just to runners or athletes either. Dean ran as a kid then stopped at age 15. For the next 15 years he just climbed the ladder at work and got caught up in the grind of the everyday and not being happy with who he was. It’s a book about a guy who actually decided to get up and do something about his life. Here’s a quote from Dean that I think is a great summary of who he is.

“To me, life is about struggle. If I’m not pushing myself, then I’m not happy. People think if we had every damn comfort available to us – if we removed all the struggle – we’d be happy. I think there’s a lot of miserable people out there, and one of the reasons is, there’s no struggle. They’re taken care of every day. But I think there’s a lot of happiness in suffering.”

After reading his book I learned a lot about pain & suffering. During his really long runs he would talk about how it would come and go in waves. Sometimes a really big wave but it would always go. And if he just focussed on taking the next few steps or sometimes even just the next single step he would eventually get through it. What a great metaphor for living. Not like it hasn’t been used before but to see it so obviously during Dean’s runs was really great.

Dean has run many 50 mile races as well as 100 mile, and 150 mile races. He’s done a run of 262 miles, which is ten marathons in a row! And now, I think his longest run to date is 81 hours, 350 miles straight running! If you’re feeling like you could use some inspiration (not just for running) check out Dean’s book or read his blog. You can’t learn about this guy without wanting to do something different in your life.



Kathryn 10/30/2006 2:23 PM  

he's got a real fire in his belly from the sounds of it. . I like his thoughts about suffering. right away i recalled the story of a butterfly cocoon that someone opened to 'help' the emerging butterfly, who upon being removed without that struggle was not properly strengthened by the struggle of emergence - and quickly faded and died.

running for over 81 hours?! oh, my gosh!!!! 50 marathons in a row? did you say he's a man or a machine?! or maybe he's a man/machine!! any 'bionic' body parts?! lol!

Tracy 10/30/2006 3:04 PM  

He's Forrest Gump in real life!

Krista Lavender 11/01/2006 1:41 PM  

After having completed just ONE marathon, I have a pretty good understanding of his philosophy on life - life is about struggle. Giving yourself goals to accomplish, no matter how hard they might be, makes you feel so much more alive. Since finishing the marathon I sort of feel like something is missing - perhaps it's the struggle?

I checked out his blog, and the man is so well-written too. I'll have to pick up a copy of his book!


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