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VINE VOICEon August 4, 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed Ultramarathon man, so when I heard he was writing another book about his Endurance 50 Challenge I couldn't wait. Karnazes account of his experience running 50 marathons in 50 states has some very good information in it. He, of course, went over the running he'd done to that point, as well the type of running that he had wanted to do, which led to the Endurance 50 challenge. This was right up my alley because I have become a huge fan of running as many marathons as possible. My body tends to recover easily so the urge to run more often has only grown with time.

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.

5 stars.
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on August 28, 2008
Dean's first book was excellent and I recommend it to all sorts of folks, both runners and non-runners alike, as an interesting story of a guy who does truly amazing things. I must admit to being a big Dean fan and I even ran four marathons with him during his Endurance 50 tour. That said, this book is pretty weak compared with UltraMarathon Man. Anybody who has run a couple marathons should be able to give you the advice from this book. If you're a runner you should still read this book as it does have some interesting anecdotes and Dean's such a nice guy, but his first book was much better.
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I didn't enjoy this book as much as Ultramarathon Man, but it's still a good read. This book is about the Endurance 50, when Dean Karnazes took on 50 marathons in 50 states over 50 days. Unlike Dean's first book, this is probably 50% sports auto-biography and 50% running guide with tips on topics like nutrition, training regimes, shoe election and stretching. The inclusion of so much advice seems a bit odd, but presumably these are the sorts of things that Dean gets asked about on a regular basis.

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.
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on August 23, 2008
I will never be a ultramarathon racer because I am a bit tall, a bit overweight but Dean's book makes me want to be a better me in all that I do in my life. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of this book at a book signing in Costa Mesa last weekend and met Dean. He is a great guy. He is humble, funny and stresses that he is no superhero. He was so positive and I was inspired! I loved his first book and this one is even more interesting.I am more of a long distance walker but after reading this book I want to walk a bit further and maybe aim for a 5k (which for me might as well be a ultramarathon) and I think Dean would be just fine with that!!!!
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on November 17, 2012
I'm a fan of Dean Karnazes. I've read - and enjoyed - Run! and Ultramarathon Man and found them both fascinating books, giving an insight into the world of the extreme endurance runners.

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.
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on September 8, 2008
And by "Incarnate" I mean "In Karno." If you're into running, adventure, logistics, being inspired, getting motivation, losing weight, getting fit, or life, you have to read this book. Dean Karnazes is a legend, a hero, and an icon, and if you haven't read his first book, you must.
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on September 1, 2012
I wanted to like this book; I really did. There is nothing I like better than a great athlete inspiring me to get off the couch, hit my goals, and stop feeling sorry for myself. (OK, maybe a great spiritual journey, but you get the idea). For frame of reference, I'm a "Through My Eyes," "Quiet Strength" fan. But this book read more like a "what I did on my summer vacation" narrative than it did a compelling, motivating, "how to win" tome. It dutifully goes thru the What and Where, but almost nothing about the Why and How. Maybe there just isn't that much profound that K can verbalize--like trying to explain great art or music, it loses something in the translation. But then, why write the book? $$$
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on September 11, 2011
I just finished reading Ultramarathon Man one or two weeks ago, and it was the most inspirational and motivating book for runners (and non runners) to read. So, I wanted more of Dean's work. Basically, 50/50 is a day to day account of each marathon that he ran in his 50 marathons in 50 days challenge. It was a great book, but it repeats a lot of info he put in Ultramarathon Man. Also, you kind of notice that he's starting to go from running as a passion to running as a career. He's starting to head down the "oh i'm so awesome" path of athletes. This book isn't horrible, but Karnazes isn't getting any better. It's not a bad buy.
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on January 7, 2010
As always, Karnazes inspires and motivates me. He seems to have it all together mentally as well as physically, as the well-roundedness of his character and his happy demeanor is written across every page. What a pleasant experience; reading one of his books. As a therapist, I always prescribe good nutrition and exercise to my clients., and cite the importance of positive physicality. To me, vigorous exercise is not only the cure but self-enhancement tool for many individuals suffering from depression and anxiety. I wish that Karnazes could speak directly to all of these folks..He's probably "fix" most of them..
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on February 24, 2012
This book was absolutely terrible. He spends the whole book telling you how amazing he is, how self sacrificing he is, how all he ever wants to do is please others and support them and not let them down....but the whole time, he just wants you to think he's amazing. It's a self serving book that has very little to do with acutal running techniques, tips, advice, etc. After reading Born To Run by Chris McDougall (a 5 star book that I HIGHLY recommend), I was interested in learning about ultramarathoners. All this book did for me was leave a bad taste in my mouth. This man is searching for fame and fortune, thats it. If you are looking for a great book about running, skip this all together and buy Born To Run, you wont be dissapointed!
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