Dean Karnazes

Have you heard of him?











Dean Karnazes is arguably the most famous athlete of his sport, and his sport is ultra-marathoning. Ultra-marathoning is what is sounds like: a super long marathon. Ultra-marathoners race long distance races, anywhere from fifty miles to three-hundred miles. Often the runs will award special prizes to runners who can finish under a certain time-frame, which makes these endurance runs feel similar to races. In distances like centuries, which are one hundred miles, racing strategy dictates a combination of non-stop running, with small breaks to eat, drink, cool down, and go to the bathroom.

I guess technically, anything longer than 26.2 miles would be considered an ultra-marathon, but there are certainly prestigious ultras. The Badlands Ultra-Marathon is one of the most famous, because the runners run through Death Valley. In June. For 108 miles. Contestants are injured every single race, and only pros are allowed to compete in it.

The Badlands is a magnification of the mindset that these runners have. They have run half and full marathons, and they want the next big thing. But after fifty miles, sixty isn’t too different. After seventy-five, why not try 100? After 100, what’s 150?

Dean’s first book is “Ultra Marathon Man,” and it is responsible for a lot of his fame. His book inspired a lot of people to take to ultra-marathoning, and has fueled his ascent into stardom. He was recently on Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” right after George Clooney and before Oprah. He has partnered with Michelle Obama to help advocate a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise

However, while he advocates plenty of exercise, Dean cannot advocate healthy eating shamelessly. One thing Karnazes is most famous for is what he eats during his runs. Because he (and other ultra-marathoners) burn so many calories during their runs, they eat a smorgasbord of calorie-intense food; and not only are they downing whole pizzas, burritos, milk shakes, hamburgers, and pure butter, but they’re eating them on the run! I didn’t think anything in the world would make a milk shake sound unappetizing to me, but drinking it from a camel-back while running through the desert?

The reason I am writing about him is because Hayleigh bought me his second book, “RUN!” She gave it to me as a gift yesterday, and I am on page 160 as I type. The book is written in a very engaging manner, and it really makes the reader want to go and run sixty miles at two in the morning. Karnazes says in the prologue that he dictated the entire book to his IPhone as he ran, because he doesn’t believe in inaction, or sitting around. I don’t think the man could do anything more to legitimize his ethos than to write a book while running.

The book is very interesting and is proving to be a quick read, so you can ask to borrow it from me if you would like to read it. I am probably going to read his first book after this one, because I’m mildly interested in ultra-marathoning, and no one makes it seem as easy or inviting as Dean does.

The beautiful irony behind all of this is that my knee is still very hurt. I am seeing a doctor on Tuesday, well not any doctor, my knee doctor. I have a history of knee problems and have had two knee surgeries already in my left knee. I have a congenital disease called Osteochondritis dissecans. It means that the cartilage in my knee joint is deteriorating, and so occasionally if my knee is jarred enough, parts of bone will flake off from my knee joint. When that happens, those particles are either absorbed and unproblematic, or they need to be removed surgically. I went for a long walk this morning and my knee felt pretty good, and the swelling is down. I’m trying not to be optimistic though, because my pain does fit all the criteria for a bone splinter. Regardless, hopefully I will know more on Tuesday. In the meantime, I run through Dean!

Dean Karnazes

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