Thursday, April 14, 2011

Running on Empty Book Review and Giveaway

Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America by Marshall Ulrich.

I read it in the bath:

bethinbath

I read it on the pot:

P1090552

I read it fast because it grabbed hold and didn’t let me go until the final pages of appendices when I learned how much diarrhea Ulrich had (not sure of the exact number of episodes, but it started at day 44 probably due to antibiotics for an infected toe), and how many calories he ate per day (8,000-10,000).

Before the book even begins, you know the ending. The statistics are right there on the front cover: 117  Marathons, 52 Days, 52 Years Old.

There is no question - the task was completed and the author has lived to tell the tale.

What is left to uncover are the gory details of  injury, self doubt, unconscionable fatigue and self discovery found within this 295 page memoir. Undoubtedly, no one completes a solo 3,000 plus mile  run across the United States and doesn’t have a few stories to tell of craps taken in corn fields, pre-packaged foods eaten on the run and moments when it all could have, but did not, come to a screeching halt.

What sucked me into Ulrich’s story was surprisingly not that he was able to run the distance. As you get to know the character, “Marsh,” throughout the first few chapters of this book, you recognize that  he is  a force to be reckoned with, someone who would never back down unless he literally ran himself dead into the ground. We also realize early on that Ulrich is running from life in the same moment that he is embracing it. He runs to cope with his grief about his dying wife, he runs to forget that his relationships with his children are failing. He runs sometimes because he does not know what else to do.

Hands down the best part of this book is Ulrich’s no holds bar candidness. As a reader, you go on this transcontinental journey with Ulrich. As a fellow runner you feel his pain as he runs through injury and mentally struggles to merely put one foot in front of the other. He seldom paints the picture of a euphoric runner out on the open road. Conversely, we get to know the Ulrich who grapples with and overcomes the extreme mental challenges that accompany running long distances. His advice and his lessons are universal. One does not have to be running 70 miles per day to benefit from his wisdom. I’m taking this list with me to Boston.

The Marshall Law:

  1. Expect a journey and a battle.
  2. Focus on the present and set intermediate goals.
  3. Don’t dwell on the negative.
  4. Transcend the physical.
  5. Accept your fate.
  6. Have confidence that you will succeed.
  7. Know that there will be an end.
  8. Suffering is okay.
  9. Be kind to yourself.
  10. Quitting is not an option.

Ulrich is honest. He is real. He does not sugar coat. To me, his story of  determination, setbacks and eventual success is analogous to daily life. It is not meant to be easy. You will fail. You will endure incredible hardship. People will let you down. You will let yourself down. These are all inevitable truths. The real living, however, occurs when we learn to move through these challenges with grace and courage. When we fight back against the challenge even when we doubt we have the energy or tenacity to do so.

Ultimately, Ulrich has a good sense of humor. I got this email from him the other day after he somehow found his book listed as one of my “must haves” for the month of March:

marsh

I told him I blame the dog more than the kids. But, sometimes if it’s a real juicy one, I just take credit.

Want a copy of this book? I’ve got one to give away courtesy of Marshall and TLC Book Tours.

To enter, simply leave me a comment about why you want to read the book. What intrigues you? Are you looking to be inspired? Ever crapped in a cornfield?

I’ll pick a winner upon my return home from Boston (on or around April 22). This will not be random. I’d like to pick a winner based on why they want to read the book.

Good luck!

SUAR

Fine print:

  • TLC Book Tours provided the giveaway book as well as the book sent to me. I did not pay any thing for them.
  • The winner will be chosen by me on or around 4/22

143 comments:

  1. I want to read the book because I'm always looking for inspiration and boy howdy does this sound inspiring. Makes my "oh I can't run because my toe hurts" feel like a total cop out. Oh, who are we kidding - I'm a pansy. I need this kick in the pants.

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  2. I want it beacuse I want to know the story!

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  3. Running has become my 'thinking time'. I would love to read this book to 'hear' the internal struggles that another (much more hardcore) runner battles. I am intrigued by those who choose to run across America. I'm interested to see what gets him through the difficult, lonely times...that inner strength that is in all of us...although sometimes we don't realize it.

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  4. I don't need any more books right now until I can get through the huge stack I have...i have a bit of a book problem. But I do want to wish you a good luck and a fun trip to Boston! Not sure when you leave but I'm sure any time now. Excited for you!!

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  5. I would love to read the book because it's always good to have extra inspiration.

    I have not crapped in a cornfield, but I HAVE crapped in a woodsy area right next to a retirement home for nuns. I actually had more interesting poop attacks during my career as a UPS driver. Back then I perfected the art of crapping in a plastic bag.

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  6. I developed a love for running when I started running through a class (Momsontherun.com) last year and I've never stopped/looked back. There's just something about running ... it's undescribable - for those who run, knows! I'm always looking for inspiration and help inspire others as I inspire myself.

    Brenda

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  7. I LOVE LOVED Dean's 50/50 book so this sounds like somthing I would enjoy as well. Plus I am in need of a good runner-read for in the bath and on the pot!

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  8. I want it because I know it would be so inspiring. How can I give up on a long run or a marathon when he has done 116 extra marathons on top of that! AMAZING!

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  9. No crapping in corn fields... yet!
    I love reading about other runner's trials and tribulations. It seems to keep me going. I am always on the look out for a good read!

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  10. Love to read, and would love to read a book that someone as inspirational as you thinks is an inspiration! I've never crapped in a corn field but my FIL had to in a wheat field and the poop roller bugs attacked him...that's saying something!

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  11. I started running not quite a year ago through the C25K program and I am hooked. I've got a few 5K's and a 10K under my belt, as well as a few Mud Runs, and am training for my first RAGNAR relay this summer. I'm intrigued by the book b/c he is running for all the reasons I am-to think, to dwell, to find some sort of meaning or rationale in my world. I've read about Marshall in articles online and found him very intersting-I look forward to reading his book.

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  12. I would love to receive a copy of this book..my husband and I are trying for baby #3 and I am scared that I won't have what it takes to continue running through the pregnancy. I would really like to read about someone who has been exhausted, mentally struggles, and is real about it all. I want to run through this pregnancy and would love the encouragement to fight that this book offers. Thanks

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  13. After a minor injury i've been searching for (more) strength and (more) motivation. This book seems like a good tool.

    Have a fantastic time in Boston!

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  14. I would love to read this book, I'm a big reader and will be purchasing my first running book, Kara Goucher's book this week, I'm super excited and as I was browsing the running section I noticed this book also and was interested in it! He seems just amazing!

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  15. I wrote a post once about how we often find motivation in the failure of others. Sounds weird, but it's because these people's struggles show us they are human afterall...something we can relate to. So when you said this book isn't so much about serene stretches of road, and more about struggle, that speaks to me! Plus I've never read a running book that isn't about tips ;)

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  16. Please oh please random number generator gods let me win this book. I will love it and cherish it and learn everything I can from it!

    cjsime007 at gmail dot com

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  17. I would love to read this book. Struggled the past 3 years after lung injury and just now getting "back on my feet" My first goal was to run a 10k. I completed that and my first 5k last year. After a back injury, I walked the 10k with my daughter this spring. Trying to keep up the momentum and trying to get back where I was physically/mentally where I was 3 yrs ago. I really liked "Marshall's Laws" RE: #10. My personal motto is "Failure is not an Option" Made me smile. Would love some inspiration!

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  18. I'm fascinated by personal stories of "ordinary" people doing "extraordinary" things like this. I want to know what made them decide to undertake such an effort, why, how they persevered, whether succeeding, failing, or the mere attempt changed them and their lives, how the people around them were affected. I'd love the read the details of his struggle, can always use inspiration. (I also have an odd curiosity about ultrarunning despite the unlikeliness of me doing it.)

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  19. I already ordered a copy so don't need the giveaway, but am just in awe of what he has been able to do in terms of running.

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  20. I would LOVE to have a copy of this book. It's real-life adventure! And when you think about what makes an adventure story truly exciting and inspiring (be it book or movie), it's always the description of the journey the characters go on to achieve their goal! I am an adventure story nut, and when you mix running in with the adventure, then holy-crap-in-a-corn-field, I am doing back flips of joy, and this book is right up my alley. By the way, I have never crapped in a corn field, but I have crapped in the woods (and a few front yards) more times than I care to count.

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  21. I'd like to read the book for some extra motivation and inspiration when I'm struggling through a tough I-don't-feeling-like running run.

    Have a great time in Boston and savor the moment!

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  22. I'd love to read the book because I'm currently training for my first marathon and I always need an extra little boost. Also, I just did a rough 6 mile hill session this morning and after rough runs like this I need a reminder as to why I continue to (and love to) run!

    GOOD LUCK IN BOSTON! I keep telling my husband we're going one day and that I WILL run it. Fingers crossed I prove that's the case!

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  23. I have just started running (on week 3 of the C25K program). I LOVE it and already I find that I'm looking forward to running. I haven't been out in 2 days and I miss it! I turned 46 last week and I'm finally getting off my arse to get healthy. I found your blog and love your sense of humor and candidness. So, I know I'd love this book. More than the running part of it, I'm seeking out inspiration to make my life into what I want it to be. I'm tired of letting it pass me by; I'm finally taking control of it. And I am not opposed to crapping in a cornfield. Lord knows I've done it in the woods enought times while hiking and camping!

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  24. Just popping in to say THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts on Running on Empty with your readers!! I'm kinda surprised at all the talk of poop but I'm not a runner so I guess when you're out there running long distances with no facilities.. poop happens! Thanks again for being on the tour. We really appreciate it!

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  25. I love reading inspiring running stories and this book fits the bill.

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  26. I was looking forward to your review--I'm doing one tomorrow. I have a bit of a different take on it!

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  27. I fricking loved this book, I tore through it as soon as I received it and now that I've read your review I have no clue how I'm ever going to compete with it. Can I just direct my traffic to your review? LOL! D@mn you.

    See you this weekend woman!!!

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  28. I would love to read this book book because I can't enough of reading running books! This is one I have had my eye on, but have not picked up yet. I find inspiration from reading about other runners who overcome extreme obstacles and pushed their bodies and minds beyond reason. It is simply amazing to me!! I just can't imagine being in that mind frame, and it is completely intriguing to me! I have never crapped in a cornfield, but does in the woods behind a tree count? Loved your review by the way!

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  29. Sounds like a good read...I'm in.

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  30. I want it because I just did my first Ultra recently, and I am a total sucker for reading the experiences of others during their journeys. It helps me to know others have gone before and have done more, and have survived, and it just inspires me to no end.

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  31. I'd love to win this book because I am a relatively new runner, and I am slow! We're done having babies, I've recently lost 65 pounds, and running is what I have fallen in love with as a person basically embracing fitness for the first time. I've got a couple 10k's on the calendar this year, and am hoping a half and full marathon is in my near future. I'd love to soak in the experiences of someone who's on the other side of the running spectrum!

    Good luck in Boston!

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  32. I love running books period. This one sounds pretty good if you can't put it down.

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  33. You gave me just enough info to be intrigued I love stories of determination and guts that give you both the good and bad! Plus it would give me an excuse to post photos of me reading a book in funny places!

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  34. I'm running my first 50 miler this fall and am in need of some good inspirational books to get me through the training. This sounds like a good read!

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  35. I would love a copy of the book. Just lately, I've been reading any book I can get my hands on regarding Ultra runners stories. It's inspiring, the determination and courage found on the pages read so far.

    1. I want a copy of the book because I enjoy reading about the mental strength that keeps runners like Ulrich going.
    2. What intrigues me is how endurance runners get over the hardest, most challenging (mental and physical) parts of their journey.
    3. I'm ALWAYS looking for inspiration ...that's why I read your blog ;)
    4. Never crapped in a cornfield to my recollection but last year, after a big breakfast and 6 cups of coffee, I did take a long pee....in a corn field.

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  36. Haven't crapped in a cornfield...but looking at possibly working towards an Ultra so that is quite possible in future :) I would love to get a copy of the book for some inspiration, motivation and pure absorption of running mojo!!

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  37. I want to read it because you have peaked my interest and I want to know the rest of the story.

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  38. I'd like to give this a read just to get an idea of what makes him tick. After seeing 'My Run', I'm fascinated with these marathon-of-marathon efforts. Very different story here since he clearly knows what he's doing, but similar level of interest for me.

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  39. I've heard nothing but good things about this book. I keep wanting to buy this one and The Long Run but money is a bit tight and I probably shouldn't pick up a fun read until the semester is over anyway. I'd love to get some inspiration and experience from these books too. Have fun in Boston!

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  40. this is my kind of book, a warrior story
    yes please!

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  41. I would love to read this book b/c I've heard such great things about it and it just sounds like an interesting story!

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  42. I would love to read this book as I have completed two half marathons and am running my first full marathon on May 1st of this year. I was the girl in high school who threw a fit about running for 10 minutes. For my running my first marathon is special to me because last year on may 1st I helped my brother and my cousins carry our grandma to her grave. My grandma was one of the most inspiring women I knew, and I will run my marathon in her memory.

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  43. I wouldlove this book because I love being inspired and see what other people go through (that's also why I read blogs).

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  44. I would love to read this because my biggest struggle as a newish runner is mental strength. Anyone who can complete what he did has mental toughness DOWN. I would love to see what I could glean from his experiences...

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  45. I'd like to read this book as a reminder to myself that I need to suck it up when I just don't feel like running.

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  46. I peed on a guardrail once, does that count? does it help that I was literally up to my thighs in snow and couldn't really move from that position so I just dropped trou and did my thing? No? Well, I'll work on the cornfield thing then.

    I'm thinking about getting this book for my mom and I to read as a virtual book club, to inspire us to run a mother/daughter marathon soon. We haven't run together since the Battle Road Run incident of '96, so this is kind of a big deal.

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  47. With as much as you drop Dean Karnazes name, I just HAVE to mention that Marshall Ulrich wants to be my friend on Facebook!

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  48. Would love to read Marshall's book. At nearly the age of when he took this journey, hard to fathom. Would be inspirational.

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  49. I'd love to read that book! I'm signed up for my first marathon in November and I'm in a bit of a running burn out right now and am desperate for inspiration.

    I have serious GI issues, so I have definitely crapped behind a bush on a golf course. No corn fields unfortunately. At least you have makeshift TP there, so a corn field would have been preferrable.

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  50. Hi, I could really use a book like this right now. I got into a car accident recently and feel like I am suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. I could use something to help snap me out of it!

    Oh and best of luck in Boston!!!!

    Thanks!

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  51. I am intrigued. I do not know who the man is, but frankly, I run to be like anyone else, I run for myself and my sanity. Sooooo, that being said, I am intrigued, from what you have written, it sounds a little crazy, a little insane, but then again who of isn't a little bit of both? :) I am looking for another good book to read on running and this sounds very interesting! Pick me! :) (my name is Sharon, had to post as anonymous cuz nothing else worked LOL)

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  52. I would love to read of Marshall's journey & how he dealt with the struggles he encountered.
    Pooped in a hollowed out tree-it was private and had a lovely fresh pine scent.

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  53. I NEED that book. That list has a lot of me in it. I have many lessons still to learn and most of all I have to gain confidence in myself and what I can do. I'm trying to find the courage to not quit

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  54. Hi! All you long distance runners are inspiring to me. I once trained for a marathon only to get sick three weeks before. I am now trying to train for a half 10 years later. I'm now sidelined w/ a sore knee. I will be a runner if it kills me but reading someone else's struggles will help me through mine.

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  55. I'd love to read Marshall's story because I love a good inspirational running theme! Good luck in Boston!

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  56. I want to look that good on the potty reading--will THIS book do that??
    If so, sign.me.up.

    love the tub pic

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  57. I can see your hiney! I have not crapped in a cornfield. I take Immodium for all of my long runs so I don't have the runs...

    I need this book because I have 8 weeks to go before my Steamboat Marathon and feel like I'm breaking apart at the seams. Training solo is such a mental battle. On my 18 miler last Friday the first 6 miles were awful, a true indication that the last 12 would be total hell. To add insult to injury, the MapMyRun route I loaded to my Garmin was not actually 18 miles. After 18.5 I was still 1.5 miles from my car. At that point I burst into tears, pulled my phone out of my camelbak, and starting calling friends for motivation. I'm trying to stay true to the Run Less Run Faster program, which means running closer to marathon pace for the long runs, and that is proving to be completely humiliating. Today I'm stuck somewhere between the little runner on my left shoulder (horns) that says 'Just run slower. You'll get the same medal as the fast runners...' and the little runner on my right shoulder (halo) that says 'Suck it up. You can do this. There is no plan B.'

    Also... I live in Erie, so you can ship the book to me for like a nickel.

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  58. I want this book because, well, he's pretty much a badass and his perseverance to push through all the pain and walls and to keep on going is truly an inspiration. After suffering an injury right before my half marathon last year in August, I've had a hard time pushing myself back into running. I finally did my first 5 mile run on Tuesday since the injury and it was incredible. I think his book would really inspire me to keep pushing (but not for poop!).

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  59. I ran for fun for 20 yrs now I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO RUN TO COPE .. my 16 1/2 yr old son who was a champion swimmer (he was being recruited by top colleges for swimming) has just been diagnosed with FSH MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY an incurable muscle disease... his swimming is gone and so may his walking ability be too later on. I NEED ANY STORY OF INSPIRATION I CAN GET How do people find inner strength and courage? How do people make it through? How do you develope mental toughness????

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  60. I'd love to read this book because I want to be able to read his story. I want to be able to relate with my own running journey.

    PS: Who did you get to take a picture of you on the crapper?

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  61. Jana -my husband of course. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, right?

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  62. I LOVE to read others' tales of triumphing over hardships. It inspires me to bitch a little less about my own challenges and dig a little deeper to channel my own inner bad ass. In turn then maybe I can learn to inspire others. BTW, no crapping in corn fields YET, but I DID cop a squat outside a locked bathroom hut one minute before race time when someone locked the door from the inside and no one could find a key. A fellow runner (who I'd known for only 30 seconds prior) kept a look out. Good times!

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  63. Okay I coined the term CFEs "corn field emergencies"! I'd looove to read that book. At times I feel like the only crazy person out there, it's book like this that help remind me that there are other people who don't think it's crazy to do what few others are doing.

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  64. I love books about running. They capture me in ways no other books do! Maybe because I can relate, or maybe because I can't, but I want to.

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  65. I want a copy of the book because it sounds like what I need to get over my mental hurdle. I am incredibly competitive, and in my regular, daily life I am completely confident in my abilities. I'm a lawyer for god's sake, I have to be full of myself!!! But when it comes to race day, my brain starts shutting down, I doubt myself, I let my inner whiny kid win, and all my goals and all my training are killed by my overwhelming negativity and desire to give up. I NEED to learn how to overcome my mental demons, and it sounds like Ulrich could really teach me a lot about pushing through and (figuratively) teach me how to grow a set, Shut Up And RUN!

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  66. I would love to read this book...I have not found a running book that I haven't liked...they all intrigue me and have a different story to tell. This one looks inspiring, informative and real so I would love to have a chance to read it :)

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  67. I could use some inspiration and also I forgot what a book actually looks like. Is it that thing with the pages?

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  68. did you use that razor prior to this photo shoot?

    do you really need a whole "spare" roll of TP by the toilet just in case?!

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  69. I have crapped in a cornfield...more than once but not more than once on the same run.

    I would love this book because I'm injured, in a rut and need to be inspired.

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  70. I eat, live, and breathe the motto "go big or go home". I'd love to read this book because I am a big fan of putting yourself out there for an almost unreachable challenge and proving to yourself that you can actually do it. I demonstrated this myself by signing up for a full Ironman before I even owned a bike or knew how to ride it.

    I am blessed with a steel stomach that never gives me issues, so I can't say I've ever taken a duke in the cornfields. And unfortunately I have such stage fright that I've never been able to pee on the bike or during the swim, even when I thought I was going to burst.

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  71. I grew up with an outhouse, so I have crapped in the woods more times than most people have BEEN in the woods.

    I want to read it because you make it sound AWESOME. And maybe I can force it on my husband and make him understand why runners run, despite the awfulness.

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  72. I want to read his book! You know everyone has a lot of shit they go through in their lives and they can work it out over the years or face it dead on. I'm a dead on person and reading other people do it so hard core just makes my version feel easier and accompanied. Hook me up with the giveaway! Random number generator pick me!

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  73. I SO want to read it. Enduring has been a theme for me lately. I've never crapped in a corn field but, I've crapped trail-side more times than I care to recall.

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  74. It sounds like a good read and as a beginner runner it sounds like it would be very inspirational

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  75. I want the book because I crave golden carrots. I REALLY am in need of inspiration - right now my life and running life: both suck as of late.

    Yes, I have used a cornfield for such a purpose; including a bean field, hay field and a boat ramp....dont judge! Emergencies are emergencies. Well, most of them were.

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  76. I have been injured for 6 months and would love an inspirational book to put me back in a good frame of mind in regards to running.

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  77. What appeals to me about running is how it's a single activity that can encapsulate and intensify (million-fold) life's emotions, ups and downs, adventures, etc. 52 days of running is equivalent to 5.2 lifetimes of experiences (yes, that's an exact formula I devised). More than anything I think this book'll help me get through the valleys (physically, mentally, emotionally). Having the guts to crawl-run through difficulty is way more satisfying than simply flying past the finish line but I need a reminder. Plus, I LOVE reading. Period.

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  78. Books like this inspire me beyond belief. I started running when I was 50 years old. People told me "I couldn't, I shouldn't", blah, blah, blah. I told myself "I couldn't, I shouldn't", but I have continued. I'm by no means fast and will never BQ, but I love to run and to read of others triumphs and trials, goals and inspirations. That's why I love, love to read your blog daily!! And you are hilarious too!! (btw, good luck in Boston!!)

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  79. It sounds like an amazing story. I, like Ulrich, seems to have a pattern of finding unlikely places to take a crap while running. Does it say anything about him packing toilet paper?

    I use a lesson in getting past things. Getting to the challenge is the easy part of course.

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  80. I would like to read the book because I want to know if for him in the end putting up with all this pain has helped him develop a coping mechanism. There are so many reasons to run, there are so many reasons why I run. When you wrote that Marshall is also running away, that really struck a chord with me. I want to know his story to better understand my own.

    Oh, and while I had to dive into the bushes a few times, there have not been any outrageous place the urge to take a dump struck me.

    Last, but not least, I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing so much of you in such a charming way. Stopping by here always brightens my day.

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  81. I am intrigued.

    But more than intrigued I like crying while passing a good poo.

    Sounds like this book will help with that!

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  82. Sounds like a good read, plus it comes with the SUAR seal of approval, which is good enough for me!

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  83. I gained and lost 100-130 pounds 3 times with 3 pregnancys. Major suck ass. I went from a HS sprinter to a mid thirties distance runner. WTF? I ran a half and really wanted more. More challenge, more distance, more time to ponder damn near everything in the universe without my 3 little dudes yammering at me. So I just put in for my first marathon and now I am plauged by self doubt. By fear. And the feeling that maybe I am in over my head. To read this book where this dude IS in over his head and does it anyway-well it might just be what this momma needs to believe. Plus it would be an excellent bath time/park time/cartoon time/ you are sucking the life out of me playgroup time distraction. (<;Thanks SUAR.

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  84. I want to read this book because at 44 years old I'm a beginning runner and a beginning buddhist practitioner, and it seems like the lessons learned from both of these have a LOT of overlap! I'm really looking forward to making running part of my overall meditative practices. I want to get better at accepting what the road of life brings, and I think this book could really help me do that.

    Thanks so much for your good humor and persistence and fortitude, and for sharing it with all of us via this blog! All the best in Boston!

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  85. I would really like to read this book, because we all go through the tough times no matter if we are a recreational runner or an elite, running can be hard and painful but it is always rewarding. This book seems to speak of that in the extreme and that is always inspirational.

    Have fun in Boston!

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  86. I would really like to have this book-not the least because I write notes ALL OVER books I read! The library really frowns on that. I really want to run. I REALLY do. It is in my blood. My dad and his twin brother are marathoners and I loved riding my bkie as a kid on their training runs. I always thought it would be such a personal victory to do this. Me, I have huge mental blocks when it comes to running. It's like, "Why can't I be alone with myself in my head when I'm running?" I am very interested in how Ulrich deals with the mental aspect of distance running. Thanks SUAR!

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  87. I think I'd like it because it's not sugar coated. Running sure gives us euphoria and joy, but it's sure not like that all of the time. And I need help understanding how that pain translates into accomplishment and joy because sometimes it just seems overwhelming and the desire to quit is hard to conquer.
    Good luck at Boston. You've got a great comeback story.
    And I loved your reasons why you run. It makes me a better mom too. I don't quite want to lock them in their rooms for hours on end when I've had my daily running therapy.

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  88. I want to read the book for several reasons. Its about running-and well, I am kinda obsessed. But really, I am intrigued to read about what he is running from. I have felt that running is my therapy and I have used it to “run away” or escape my problems and I think hearing another persons story and reasons is very interesting. I also want to see how far he pushed himself and what he went through. I sometimes wonder if my injuries are minor and If I can just push through them--someone who runs 117 marathons in 52 days is obviously pushing through--can’t we all do that? I think I will need a little inspiration after Big Sur. It would be a perfect post-marathon-keep-the-training-up read.

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  89. hey Beth,
    I would love to read this book since I am on IR right now and the only thing I can do is spin. I'm learning that I put my body through too much and expecting it to run, lift weights and play a tennis match all in the same day without taking care of it properly (stretching and resting in between). I'm now learning that it's going to take more time to heal than I expected. I like Marsall law #1 (expect a battle) I thought my battle was over when I lost the weight, I'm now finding that the more active I get the more careful I need to be with my body so it will last.
    oh, and i like to read!

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  90. Please don't include me in the giveaway (I already have my copy)

    I wish I would have thought to take a picture of myself in the bath reading this book.... darn!! now I know how to get readers :)

    Good luck and enjoy Boston!!

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  91. I would like to read it. I am training for my first marathon that will be May 1st in Oklahoma City. I have had a couple of really bad running days leading up to this, and I'd like to be inspired by someone who has had the good and the bad when it comes to running.

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  92. The book seems interesting for many reasons. It sounds like an intriguing story, motivational. Also, who could resist a story about someone using a corn field as a restroom!!

    You'd think that being an Iowa girl, born and raised....now living in Nebraska...that I'd have crapped in a corn field or two in my life.

    Sadly, I can't say that I have. :-)

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  93. Thanks for the review. I've read a few ultrarunning books and your review landed this one next on my list.
    I'm interested in reading this book because I'm most drawn to writing that is raw and brutally honest. I think that trumps feats of physical endurance every time.
    About halfway through every ultra I've run, I think "I don't remember it being this hard last time." The truth is no matter how in shape I am it is always going to be hard. And if it weren't I'd lose interest, I think. Well, after I won a whole bunch of races and prize money. :)

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  94. Pick me! I wanna read the book b/c I've already read all the running books our local library has and do not have the budget to buy one. Good reason, right? oh and also because i wanna know about pooing in cornfields and all that. Never had the outdoor nature experience...must read all about it! ;-)

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  95. Thanks posting the great review - I definitely want to read this book! If I won the give-away though, I would have to give the book to my mama. She has severe arthritis and struggles through pain just to get through her daily routine. She has been trying to exercise more (yoga & walking) for her health, and I think this story could inspire her to stay motivated. And of course, I would steal it back from her to read it when she's done!

    As for crapping in a cornfield - not so much. But I have farted in yoga (how have you, of all people, avoided that?!).

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  96. This book sounds incredible!! I ran the Chicago marathon last year, and ended up needing hip surgery after tearing the cartilage and needing my hip bones restructured. I haven't been able to find the inspiration I used to feel when running since my surgery. I've been trying to remind myself that whether I'm running 26 miles, or 3 miles, I CAN still run, and that's most important. Sounds like this book might have the inspiration I need :)

    Oh and I saw you're a social worker...I'm getting my MSW right now..go social work! :)

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  97. I would love to win and read this book because I love reading about running, I love reading the craziness of runners, I love reading about people's personal stories and memoirs, and I love when all of this is combined into one book!! :)

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  98. Now I want to know..did he crap in a cornfield?? lol always good to be inspired (not inspired to crap in a cornfield though)

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  99. Reading about other's running is so interesting to me - how it becomes a part of thier life and existance. I recently read Unbroken and was so humbled.
    And I CANNOT do public/outdoor poop. Its so weird, but the minute I see a porta potty or bathroom when I am done get out of the way, its crowning.

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  100. I would love to read it because I read about him in a friend's father's book about Badwater (To the Edge, by Kirk Johnson) and have been intrigued ever since. Plus, I'm nosy and really enjoy reading about others' perspectives/adventures/trials and tribulations.

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  101. I could definitely use this book right now! I am really struggling at the moment. And,although I do not run anywhere near the mileage that you all do, what I do run is tough and I appreciate every mile. Also, I really, really want to be like you :)

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  102. I want this book because I am inspired by others' stories!
    And because I reallllyyy need a relaxing and interesting book to read besides all my annoying text books and journals I have to read in grad school!

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  103. Here goes:
    1) What intrigues you? . . I had insomnia last night, and in my paranoid-insomniac-half-asleep-mode I started looking up "toenail issues" w/ runners. I came across a NY Times story about Marshall Ulrich getting all of his toenails removed!!! So, to answer your question, I'm intrigued by a person who runs so hard he no longer feels the need of toenails.

    2)Are you looking to be inspired? HELL YEAH SISTA!!! I'm spread so thin I'm breakable. Like a bee's wing.

    3)Ever crapped in a cornfield? . .No, but I've crapped corn.

    HAVE A GREAT TIME IN BOSTON!!! Godspeed!

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  105. I am an endurance junkie... I cannot get enough. I have finished many half marathons and even a full.. however, I am trying GOOFY next January. For 39.3 miles in two days I will need more than my normal inspiration... I will need something to say "Suck it up, Sweet Pea... Others have had it worse." Especially at mile 15.5 in the back streets of Disney when you hit the Water Reclamation area and it smells like sweaty @$$. It is unfortunate that Disney picks the 14 mile marker to hand you bananas (thinking the lead into Animal Kingdom fits with the fruit). It makes for a not so pretty port-a-poti experience... HELP!!!

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  106. As a new runner I am constantly seeking inspiration. It usually comes in the form of my dog bouncing up and down in front of me, but when that just isn't enough, I need to hear these stories. Learning about how someone else struggled through incredible hardships makes my life look peachy. It makes me realize that waking up at 4am to run with the dogs is a gift and I should 'shut up and run!!'

    Good luck in Boston!! Have a blast!!

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  107. I would LOVE to read this book. I am a stay at home mom who runs for sanity. It's that moment when I'm on the road, rocking to my tunes and I hit a complete zen moment. It's euphoric. Too bad I'm struggling with constant injuries that are keeping me from running. Constant injuries that are keeping me from euphoria. Constant injuries that will someday (soon) place me huddled behind the laundry room door, in the fetus position, clutching a bottle of wine, rocking back and forth saying, "I need to run, I need to run, I need to run".

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  108. I would love to get this book! Our local libraries do not carry it for some reason! I need to know how to prepare myself for the urge to crap while running in the middle of nowhere. There must be a lot to learn from the bad-ass Badwater veretan!

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  109. I am reviewing this book on Tues I think (i need to check) and was planning on doing some ridiculous photos too. You have set the bar. (and I'll link people to these)

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  110. I want to read it because my library doesn't have it. Murphy's law or something.

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  111. I want to read this book because I have been crapping next to the local cranberry bogs and want to broaden my horizon with a corn field or two.

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  112. i want to read it because i'm toying with the idea of an ultra. and to find out if he crapped in a cornfield. way to leave us hanging like that

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  113. I want to read the book because I'm recovering from bursitis of the knee and haven't been able to run in almost 2 months. I was supposed to run in a half marathon this weekend and can't. I need motivation to get back on track as soon as I can.

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  114. You had me at "running 70 miles a day" and dying wife. I got it instantly; and it was an immediate eye opener in terms of my own self-reflection. I run for myself, for my own internal escape, to control my own demons, and I GET wanting to free my mind from the bigger life and death issues that I've been facing since my first child was born 6 years ago. When you're living life always wondering about the cusp of death your child escaped, sometimes it helps to have a hobby like running. It frees your mind. It lets you forget what you went through, what others sacrificed, and what lofty goals you have to aspire to in the future to justify the second chance you've been given.

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  115. i need inspiration as my mojo is in california! ;-)

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  116. I read a TON and I've been trying to find a really solid memoir about ultramarathoning for a while (am currently reading both Running Hot and The Extra Mile; so far they're both more - I don't know how to put this - interesting than intense). I'm not sure that I'm cut out to be an ultramarathoner, but a writer who knows what he or she is talking about makes me want to be one, natural talent be damned.

    It's hard to find books that marry knowledge on the subject to real skill with words - on that front, Born to Run has been the best so far, and... well, McDougall was a great read, but I'm still looking for something more...personal, I guess. (Not sure that's the right word. Visceral? I want to see the road in front of me, feel the blisters, stumble along in the heat, wonder where the nearest ultra is...)

    I love running, but the thing about ultramarathoners is that at some point it has to be about so much more than just running - grit, determination, stick-with-it-ness, attitude. I read these books, or articles, and think I want to BE him/her one day.

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  117. I'm a new runner (who got bad shin splints just a month in), so I would LOVE this book so that I could get some good inspiration! I'm itchin' to start running again and need to get on it!

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  118. I want this book!! I love to read, especially things that are inspiring, but mostly I am fascinated by people like Dean and enjoy learning what makes them tick. This is also why I enjoy your blog - a thrill seeker myself with a self proclaimed fitness obsession I enjoy reading of your running and life adventures - farts and all. The book will still be on my wish list but it would be fun to win it from you.

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  119. Why do I want to read the book? I have asked myself this question repeatedly since I read this post and believe I have the answer to this question FINALLY.

    I could say things like....I'm a runner so I enjoy reading how other runner's cope with issues. True, but not the reason.

    I could say something along the lines of....I ran before, during and after my divorce and no time was it easy but I did take it for granted and I want to learn how to not take it for granted.

    I could mention that I found my wife through running so I know how terrific the sport could be in how it gives back.

    I could say that running provides me peace of mind and knowing how it affects others is intriguing.

    All of these things could be said and they would be true but in reality I want to read this book because I'm interested. I don't care that he is a runner. I care that he battled day in and day out. He fought the good fight and used running as a tool in that battle.

    I want to know what makes other people stronger so that I can apply that to my life. Running is just one of the many ways that we learn to cope, celebrate, cry, smile, laugh and question. For me this is not about running but about life and that is why I want to read this book.

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  120. Why do I want to read the book...I love reading any book about running! I recently failed at a 50 miler so I'm looking for a little inspiration to try again. Have I crapped in a cornfield??? I'm from Indiana...of course! There is a wonderful weed (not that weed) called Velvetleaf, affectionately called "ass-wipe" in this region, that is a really good alternative when there is no TP handy. :)

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  121. About a year and a half ago I was visiting family in Virginia. I was training for my first marathon at the time so I would get up at an ungodly hour to run long and not interfere with a full day of vacation plans. My family lives in what looks like Pleasantville - a perfect little community in the middle of nowhere. As soon as you leave the complex, there is only bush.

    Because I was away from home and because the food wasn't what I was used to and because I was running at a different time than normal, my bowels were confused for a few days. And then it happened - I really had to go. Bad. And I was in the middle of nowhere.

    I dove into some nearby bushes, squatted, and did my thing. I cleaned up with leaves. It wasn't a cornfield, but it was a rite of passage. Since that day, I've been a real runner.

    In less than one month I will be running my first ultra marathon - a 6hr race in New York. I want the book not to be inspired - I already feel inspired when I look at the distance that I've come and the progress that I've made. I want it not because I idolize the author - I feel that all runners are heroes, including me.

    I want it simply because I love to read about my passion, and my passion is ultra marathons. Not 10 milers, not halves, not marathons. There's something about the ultra marathon specifically that excites me.

    I want to catch a glimpse into what the human body is actually capable of, because I know that I haven't even come close to reaching my own potential. I want it so that the next time I take a crap in the woods - I'll know I'm in good company.

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  122. I do so want to read this book! It's been a terribly hard year and the past couple of weeks particularly worrisome with multiple serious family illnesses and most recently the unexpected shocking death of my grandmother 2 days ago. I need a break :(

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  123. I want to read this book! If it gets me in a bath to relax and people leave me alone it's totally worth it! :) I love to read about pain and suffering and coming out better for it.

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  124. Reading running stories helps inspire me. And I finished my last bathroom book. 8-)

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  125. I would love to read this book because at 37 and 1/2 weeks pregnant, it feels like I'll never be in marathon shape again, yet if this man more than twice my age can manage 3,000 miles consecutively, I should hopefully be inspired to get out the door amidst still-wide baby hips, 3am feedings, and my out-of-shape-lungs, one mile at a time.

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  126. Why could I use a book like that? Hello!?!?!? :)
    Would really enjoy reading it...maybe it'd give me hope!

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  127. I'm on the fence about running a 50k on New Year's Day (as in thinking about it, but haven't told anyone yet) and I'd love to be inspired as well as read more about ultras.

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  128. Thank you so much for taking the time to read (in the tub and on the pot) Running on Empty to write and post your review. Thanks to all of the folks that commented too. Wow! We continued to be amazed and grateful for so much help and support from so many!
    Heather (Vose) Ulrich

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  129. I need to read this book, in hopes that it will stop my negative thoughts as I approach my second marathon. I ran Chicago last October and hit the wall so hard that it took me over 3 hours to finish the last half. As I am in my taper weeks for my next marathon, those negative thoughts are entering my mind. I cannot stop thinking about what if I hit the wall again, even though I followed my training program. Thanks for making me laugh so much with your blog and good luck in Boston!
    Lynne Stacey

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  130. I am intrigued by the book and would like to give it a read...

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  131. I would love to check this read out as my Marshall Law is slightly different...Murtagh Law: pack a heap load of toilet paper, apologize to all friends/family for grouchiness during taper via sappy emails the night prior to race day, cry like a big f#$%ing baby at the start line, flip people off who pass you...there's more. Good luck at Boston, can't wait to cheer you on. I'll be at the CO Runners Hall of Fame Tuesday night and will share your stories with others...Kick ass, Taryn

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  132. I want to read this book because I'm about to run Marathon #3 and I've only ever read one running book--Once a Runner.
    Because it's Boston weekend and we have Dropkick Murphy's on repeat in my house.
    Because your review makes it sound like a great read!

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  133. I'm fascinated by your review. I want to read RoE because I identify with running (or swimming or biking) when I don't know what else to do... and because it is always so helpful and insightful to me to see how other athletes work through the difficult parts of life. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

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  135. I started running a few years ago in 2008. It all started with my neighbor, Sarah (aka.Daisiegrl-and soon to be best friend and running buddy) and I sitting around a neighborhood bonfire. I mentioned that I was really interested in running a 5k before I turned 30...well the planner that she was had the couch to 5k all planned out by the next day. We became the best of friends through running and I ended up running my first race which was a 5 mile trail run. It was awesome!!! I was hooked. The next year-2009, we ran a race a month (along with many miles inbetween)and ended the year with a half marathon together.

    In January 2010, Sarah, my running buddy and best friend was tragically killed. She was my motivator and inspiration. We kept each other going during races and she continues to motivate me, I started a charity run in our area called Sarah's Daisy Dash and in our first year we had 350 runners participate and 90 kids in the kids run. We are currently planning our second annual race for this year.

    Running brings me so much joy and it soothes my soul. I absolutely love to stay active and running is by far my favorite way.

    I love to learn what inspires people to run. I have seen so many people come from many walks of life and there is always that first step. The story that brought people to wear they are today. It would be a great read.

    Although, I have never crapped in a corn field. I let the thunder roll (fart) when I am running.

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  136. I want to read this book because I think it's really interesting to know why people run. Not just the semi-superficial reasons of fitness or weight loss, but the emotional reasons.

    I had a trainer once ask me to set 3 goals and my first 2 were superficial blah blah goals... weigh X number of pounds, whatever. But after some thought and struggling to come up with SOMETHING so we could move on to the workout, I came up with my third goal- to feel like I looked good in the tiny little shorts that the hot chicks wear at the gym. I practically got teary over that silly little goal. But that trainer explained to me that my third goal was my most meaningful goal because I had an emotional tie to it. (I reached my goals and probably could wear the little booty shorts but I don't because I don't want to worry about my ass hanging out while I'm working out)

    I have my emotional reasons for running and that's what makes me love it.

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  137. I love to read, and I love to read about runners.

    I'm a runner, not a fast runner, but I run and I love it. I love to spread that love around and would like to read this book and then pass it on to more runners who also love to read.

    As I'm writing this you are probably still running Boston, so I hope you are kicking ass!

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  138. i want to read it for inspiration for my may marathon!

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  140. I'm a mother of identical twin girls. I ran my 1st half marathon pregnant with the twins and ran my 2nd one a year later. I juggle life like anyone else with kids, but still MAKE time to do me time, which is not only my love of running, but my wellness. My newest adventure is the sport of triathlons and I'm loving it. My first tri is June 4th and I WANT THIS BOOK for more motivation and inspiration. I'll need it as a reminder when I'm SWIMMING IN LAKES with the potential THAT actual FECES could fly in my face! (Thought you might enjoy reading that last part!)

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