50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days Hardcover – Aug 18 2008
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"His new book appeals to a potentially broader audience [than his last]. It is packed with practical advice, from how to avoid getting sick during a race, to what to look for in shoes. Included are marathon-training plans for beginners and veterans." -Orange County Register
"Perhaps the most interesting aspect of 50/50, though, is that rare peek into the mindset and motivation of an extreme athlete... and wondering, along with him, what's next." -Bookpage --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"Perhaps the most interesting aspect of 50/50, though, is that rare peek into the mindset and motivation of an extreme athlete... and wondering, along with him, what's next." -Bookpage --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
So when I got a chance to review 50/50, I jumped at the chance. By some standards, Dean Karnazes is a little abnormal. I say so, mostly because of his ability to endure 50 days of traveling, running a marathon, being interviewed, and then traveling again before getting only a few hours sleep. Just keeping the body going at that pace would be difficult enough. Add in some jet lag, a cold, and a scary fall. It's pretty amazing.
What I liked most about this story is that this man seemed like a real person. He's definitely more athletic and driven than most people but all of us have the ability to make better choices and push ourselves just a bit more than we thought possible. Absolutely inspiring.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So it amazes me to follow Karnazes trek from state to state with a marathon every day. He offers some gems of knowledge on various aspects, such as eating, hydration, recovery, pacing, conditions and on and on. With 50 marathons in a row there is plenty of fuel for the fire.
For the most part the chapters correspond to some aspect of running and how it related to that day's marathon, or sometimes two to three marathons a chapter. As would be expected, this couldn't go on for every chapter. Some chapters would reference that days marathon and the chapter would not mention more than a sentence or two, sometimes none, of the actual marathon, instead going off on a tangent about something entirely different.
What was amazing was to find in the appendix a doctor's evaluation of Karnazes' health from running all 50 marathons, and came to the basic conclusion that running that many all in a row had no adverse effects and that he indeed seemed to be getting stronger as each marathon went on. In fact his last of the 50 marathons in New York was his fastest, coming in at a little bit after 3 hours!
I whole heartedly recommend all runner's to get a hold of a copy and read this extraordinary account. Fascinating read.
Dean starts the book by telling us that he is just an ordinary man with no superpowers or amazing genetic make-up. I don't know how he figures that unless the fact that he hangs out with so many other ultramarathon runners has severely skewed his perspective. He ran the 50 consecutive marathons on an average of 4.5 hours sleep a night, with a headcold and severe blisters - and he had no ill effects whatsoever. Although he claims that he wrote the book to explain how he did this, I have to admit that I finished it none the wiser. The man is amazing.
Having said that I was very interested in the sections of the book where he talks about the techniques he uses to motivate himself when he doesn't feel like running or the ways that he finds the strength to keep running when he feels like he can't manage another step because it all hurts too much.
And get this: when Dean finishes his 50th run in New York, he realizes that no one has booked a flight home for him to California. So he loads his gear into a baby stroller and starts running. He sleeps in parks and eats on the go, ending up in Missouri several weeks and some 1500 miles later. Then in true Forrest Gump style, he stops abruptly and decides that he misses his family and its time to go home. (All I could think when I was reading this is "your poor wife - she's been managing the family on her own for weeks and you're not going home to help out?!") The man is most definitely not average - but that's what makes his books so fascinating. I can't wait to see what he gets up to next.
I found this book rather frustrating though. To me, it just couldn't decide what it wanted to do. On the one hand it wanted to be a chronicle of the 50 Marathons. On the other it wanted to offer you insights and tips into how you can join this super elite brand of runners. It failed on both counts.
As the chronicle of the marathons, it just didn't strike a good balance. Some marathons barely got a mention (every one was listed so Dean could note his time, calories burned, number of participants etc). Others got a varying number of pages, but never really anything in sufficient detail. I should say I'm not surprised. It must be difficult trying to find something noteworthy to say about every race and I could forgive that - but at least on the notable ones give us a bit more?
The insights and tips part was equally disappointing. Sprinkled throughout the book randomly were Deans "insights". In reality, if you've been running for more than a few months, you'll likely already know 90% of what's offered. Personally I've ran for 10 years up to half-marathon distance and I picked up perhaps a few small tips for marathon distance. Not that I was figuring the book was going to provide a massive insight - I figure it's part genetics for this small band of ultra marathoners.
So although I wanted to like the book (I do like/admire Dean), it was disappointing. It was shallow. Thin on content and tips. Like it was rushed out to capitalize on the event. Perhaps he tried to hard to be all things to all people. I don't know, I just found I couldn't finish it fast enough to move on to a better book.