Read with Me: 50/50 by Dean Karnazes

Accelerade 24-Hour Endurance Run
Accelerade 24-Hour Endurance Run (Photo credit: warsze)

My son and I were having a conversation yesterday about books. He is in his senior year and is frustrated that every book he reads for English must be analyzed, it can’t be read for pure enjoyment. That’s true, I didn’t like that part of English 30 either. I liked the novel choices even less. I remember my English teacher saying things like “poor tragic Catherine” From Wuthering Heights or her hands making the motion for “out out damn spot” from MacBeth. For me it was the fact that I HAD to read the book. I confess to buying the Coles notes version of both books and it wasn’t until much later that I read Wuthering Heights for – gulp – fun.  My son gets to read Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Poor old tragic Willy Loman. I remember reading it and can’t remember why or for which class. I remember think Biff was an ungrateful slug, but now that years have changed me, I think a little differently. It takes courage to pursue your own dream and not the dream of your parents. I will look forward to that discussing with my son, although we already had a version of that topic. The big “What should I take in university?” question. We sorted that out and came to the decision that school is an opportunity to learn more than you knew the day before. Take courses that interest you and if you are lucky, you can follow a career path in that direction. Too many people get caught up in something because they perceive they are making their parents happy, then they turn 43 and go back to school to take something that interests them instead.  The pursuit of the dream is a powerful thing. If you have never done it I highly recommend it.

I read Dean Karnazes 50/50 and I rate it 3.5 out of 5. In case you don’t know, Karnazes is an amazing athlete who discovered during a midlife crisis that he is indeed a runner. Not just a 5km runner, he is the kind of fellow who packs his credit card and goes, often without a plan and 31 miles later, calls for pizza take out to be delivered to some street corner so he can eat on the run. This guy is an amazing human specimen. As with many runners, he had a dream. He wanted to run a marathon in every state with his family driving a RV and meeting  up with him at various destinations.

book-50-50I have to admit, this idea intrigues me. I love destination races, I love the variety of new routes and I love the concept of having a’crew’ to take care of things so the athlete can just run. It takes some real influential conversation to convince someone that driving behind them at 8 miles/hour will be fun. It also takes some convincing that living in a RV for 50 days driving from race to race will also be fun. The crew worries about food, first aid – have you ever seen a runners foot? At best it is ugly, at worse the skin hangs like rags from blisters gone bad. It isn’t pleasant ever. Then there is the moaning and groaning of muscles that seize up, not to mention the amount of food that needs to be consumed so the runner doesn’t lose so much weight that they can’t hold their body upright. Convincing someone to be the crew is a big deal. Particularly when you want to run a marathon every day for the summer.

Karnazes’ wife Julie, was on it. She supports him in all his adventure so she was planning this trip. He went to find sponsors to help fund it. He was already sponsored by NorthFace and thought they would help him out. That was when the planning went sideways. NorthFace planed a 50/50 tour. 50 consecutive marathons in 50 States. First off, the travel is nuts, second, there isn’t time for proper muscle recovery, third, his family couldn’t come. His point was not so much the 50 marathons, but the holiday with his family.

He goes on to explain details from every single race that include the good, the bad and the hideous. Karnazes appears super human. I enjoyed the beginning of the books and loved some of the details but his advice for beginning runners when starting out made me laugh. Run 18 minutes to start? HA! Listen pal, that is assuming new runners have a level of fitness that allows the to do that. most new runners are 40 and are getting in shape for the first time in their life. Is diet tips are kooky too. But the man understands the beauty of the Ultra.  This reason alone is worth the read. He is simply amazing in his athletic ability. The guy ran 24 hours on a treadmill and didn’t slit his wrists! That alone is amazing!

This 50/50 provided me with some much needed inspiration and concept ideas for a project I am working on.

But I will talk about that later….

Happy Reading!

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6 thoughts on “Read with Me: 50/50 by Dean Karnazes

  1. That’s so true that when you have to read a book, it never seems to be as good. I hated The Grapes of Wrath in high school, but now it’s one of my all-time favorites. I don’t know why I even tried reading it again, but I’m glad I did.

      1. Glad to hear that! I loved it mostly for the writing style and the history. It can be on the depressing side, but it will make anyone stop and think. Those are usually the kinds of books I love – the ones that make me think. 🙂

  2. My daughter also hated her senior english books. I read along through her years and school and there were some I couldn’t make it through with her, however I did enjoy Wuthering Heights because I was never forced to read it. That totally makes a difference. The 50/50 book looks good. Maybe I will check it out for inspiration.

    1. I expected to find Karnazes cocky and arrogant and wanted to hate him…but I didn’t. I think it is a testament to the way the running community really is. I am going to look for his other books now. As for books you have to read but don’t enjoy – Coles notes is the way to go 🙂

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