In getting back on my feet, I am deeply indebted to Dean Karnazes and his new book 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days. When I received a copy of the audiobook to review, I had no idea how much I needed motivation to get through the painful first steps of recovery. Dean an unusual ultrarunner in that he is both drawn to the isolation the sport demands and also serves as an extremely charming, informed, and inspiring voice for all runners. Therein lies the strength of this book: it's ability to make even the most daunting extremes of running seem human and possible. Even though I know there is no way I will ever run a 50/50, every extra mile I tack onto my long runs now feels that much easier.
In 50/50, Dean provides a day-by-day journal of the marathons he ran and the people he met. Along the way, he uses the various obstacles and inspirations he encounters to present a number of running tips. I've heard nearly all his running tips before. If you've read Runner's World for an entire year, you probably know them, too. What you get from Dean that you won't get from your beloved magazine subscription is context. He presents the tips when the moment is right. While you're following him on a marathon in Alaska and someone offers him pizza, he takes the time to talk a little about his diet. When he meets a mother who joins him on marathon (her first) only to run back to the car and hurry off to her kid's birthday party, he can talk about how to fit running into a busy schedule. He's able to draw on real life examples from his experience and those around him in the 50/50 event to give the rest of us a better clue about:
- Marathon Race Day Preparation
- Jet Lag
- Strength Training
- The Wider Running Community
All these things aside, Dean has a extremely positive outlook on running and life that will have you finishing a chapter with a smile on your face and a few good reasons to lace up your shoes. At the end of the day, that's what all runners need.