Since I write both a running blog and a book blog, what better way to bring the two together than with a review of Marshall Ulrich's Running on Empty? I was excited to be contacted by Lisa from TLC Book Tours about hosting and giving away a copy of the book.
If you don't already know, Marshall Ulrich is an accomplished ultrarunner. In addition to winning the Badwater Ultramarathon several times, he upped the ante for himself: "Running the Pikes Peak Marathon four times in a row. Doing the Leadville Trail 100 and Pikes Peak Marathon in the same weekend...Completing the Badwater solo [unaided]". In addition to the many ultras he's completed, Ulrich is an accomplished mountaineer and adventure racer. And as if all this wasn't enough, Ulrich decided to run across the country from San Francisco to New York. Oh, yeah...and he was 57 at the time.
Unlike some athletes who are practically born running, Ulrich came to the sport late, using it to treat his stress-induced high blood pressure, to cope with his first wife's battle with cancer, and as an outlet to his pain after her death. Much of his early competition was done in addition to his full-time job. While this is inspiring to those of us who also must squeeze our athletic dreams in between work and family, Ulrich reveals the toll it took on his subsequent marriages and on his relationship with his children.
It was with the reluctant support of his wife Heather that Ulrich set out on the cross-country journey, and her presence was invaluable to him. Most anyone would imagine that such a feat would require incredible physical effort, but this "record-setting run" was demanding in other ways, too. The emotional rigors involved in putting oneself though repeated 60+ mile days, financial concerns of sponsors, and the interpersonal dynamics between crew members are all recounted in Running on Empty.
The cross-country trip wasn't just Ulrich's ultramarathon; it was very demanding of the support staff as well, and probably most of all of Heather Ulrich, who had to bite her lip and watch her husband suffer day in and day out. And suffer he did. Putting that many miles on his feet and legs led to repeated medical issues, most of which he simply powered through. (Granted, he had a doctor on staff and got the kind of attention most of us would never imagine). Marshall Ulrich takes our excuses and throws them to the side. Too old? Not a chance. Too busy? Make time. Too sore? No way.
Definitely an interesting book. TLC has offered me the chance to give a copy away, so if you'd like to read it, here's what you do:
1) Become a follower of this blog - leave a comment and tell me (1 entry)
2) What's the hardest thing you've ever done? (1 entry)