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Ultramarathon Man

BOOK: Ultramarathon Man
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Table of Contents
Worldwide Acclaim for Dean Karnazes and
Ultramarathon Man
“The perfect escapist fantasy for couch potatoes and weekend warriors alike.”—
Kirkus Reviews
“Dean's masochism is a reader's pleasure.”—
Publishers Weekly
“Makes the extraordinary look easy.”—
“Iron man Dean Karnazes is no mere mortal.”—
“There is clearly something Nietzschean in Karnazes' makeup . . . that whatever doesn't kill you makes you strong.”
Los Angeles Times
Sports Illustrated
“Full of euphoric highs.”—
The New York Times
“Jaw-dropping.”—Sam Fussell, author of
“Buzz book.”—
“The indefatigable man.”—
San Francisco Chronicle
“Karnazes is revolutionizing [ultrarunning], inspiring many weekend warriors to take it up a notch. . . . Money and fame aside, Karnazes [is] motivated by primal need more than anything else.”—
“Eye-popping.”—The Associated Press
“Run, Karnazes, run!”—
“[Dean is] like a comic-book superhero who remains undercover by day, every bit the unremarkable family man.”
The London Daily Telegraph
“A real-life Forrest Gump. . . . [Karnazes] has pushed his body to limits that are beyond masochistic. They're inhuman.”
The Boston Globe
The Oregonian
Gazzetta dello Sport Week
“Ultrarunning legend.”—
Men's Journal
“The ultimate ultrarunning specimen.”—
Runner's World
“One of the sexiest men in sports.”—
Sports Illustrated Women
“The undisputed king of the ultras, who has not only pushed the envelope but blasted it to bits.”—
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A ‘short' run with Dean could land you far from home.”
The Washington Post
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario
M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd,
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green,
Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250
Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia
Group Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads,
Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg
2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First trade paperback edition 2006
Copyright © 2005, 2006 by Dean Karnazes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or
distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please
do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in
violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Published simultaneously in Canada
Most Tarcher/Penguin books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchase for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, and educational needs. Special books or book excerpts also can be created to fit specific needs. For details, write Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-440-68493-7
While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

This book is dedicated
to my sister, Pary,
who always encouraged
me to follow my heart.
Part One
Chapter 1
The Long Road to Santa Cruz
Sleep is for wimps.
—Christopher Gaylord,
underground ultra-endurance legend
Napa Valley, California Friday evening, September 29, 2000
It was approaching midnight
as I wove up the deserted road, wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts and a sleeveless vest, a cell phone tucked in a pocket of my pack. It had been hours since I'd last had contact with humanity, and the night air was silent and warm. By the light of the full moon, I could see grapevines along my path and hear them rustle in the breeze. But I wasn't fully appreciating the view; I kept thinking about food. I was famished. Earlier tonight, I'd eaten a bowl of macaroni and cheese, a large bag of pretzels, two bananas, a PowerBar, and a chocolate éclair. But that was more than three hours ago. On big occasions like this one, I needed more food. And I needed it
My body fat is less than 5 percent, so there's not a whole lot of reserve to draw upon. My diet is strict—high protein, good fats, no refined sugar, only slowly metabolized carbs—but tonight I had to be reckless. Without massive caloric binges—burgers, french fries, ice cream, pies and cakes—my metabolism would come to a screeching halt and I'd be unable to accomplish my mission.
Right now, it craved a big, greasy pizza.
The problem was, I hadn't had access to food in the past few hours. I was heading west through the remote outskirts of Sonoma, well off the beaten path, no food in sight. Proceeding farther from civilization, I'd watched the signal indicator on my cell phone diminish to the point of no reception, severing my contact with the outside world. Midnight was nearing, and I was ravaged.
The night air was dry and fresh, and, despite my hunger, I was able to enjoy the tranquillity of the surroundings. It was a rare moment of serenity in an otherwise frenetic life. At times I found myself mesmerized by the full moon illuminating the hillsides.
At others all I could think about was finding the next 7-Eleven.
When I left
the office early today, I received backslaps and hoots of encouragement from several co-workers, most of whom are aware of my
life. One minute I was all business, discussing revenue forecasts and corporate strategy in my neatly pressed Friday casuals. The next I was jamming out the door like a wired teenager, psyched about the upcoming weekend festivities. I'd learned to switch from work mode to play mode in the span of several paces. I liked my job plenty, but I
what I was about to do.
At 5:00 P.M., I pushed a button on my stopwatch and the mission was afoot, so to speak. It started in the bucolic little town of Calistoga at the northern reaches of the Napa Valley. The afternoon was warm and cloudless as the townsfolk milled about stoically. One guy tipped his hat and said “Howdy” as I passed, and a lady sweeping the sidewalk with a reed broom stopped and smiled. They were friendly enough, though judging from the peculiar looks I received it was clear I was being sized up:
We know he's not here to cause trouble, but what, exactly, is he doing?
Alongside me in our VW campervan (aka the Mother Ship) was my family: my parents, my wife, Julie, and our two kids, Alexandria and Nicholas. The Mother Ship would be our operational “brain center” for the next three days. That, however, implies a level of sleekness that didn't exist. The Mother Ship was more like a roaming funhouse, cluttered with maps, toys, travel magazines, binoculars, and homemade bug-catching jars. Between the seats were pieces of Fig Newtons and stale Goldfish dusted with beach sand. It was the perfect anti-feng shui environment, and we loved it.
Macaroni and cheese from a box was easy to cook on the Mother Ship's small stove, and that's what we'd had for dinner tonight. Because of my two lives, we didn't eat together as a family as often as I liked, so I treasured this meal—dehydrated cheese or not.
We were like any other happy family having dinner together, only we were sitting on the guardrail on the side of a highway. The kids didn't seem to find it strange—they didn't know any different, really—and my parents had grown accustomed to sipping wine from a paper cup while balancing on the narrow railing as cars whizzed by. There wasn't too much traffic on the road tonight, so we engaged in pleasant dinner conversation.
I had seconds and thirds, and then I finished the rest of my wife's meal. Dessert followed: two bananas, a PowerBar, and a chocolate éclair.
“I hate to dine and ditch,” I said, not pausing long enough to sit down, “but I've got to be moving along.”
“Daddy, are you going to be gone all night again?” my daughter Alexandria asked. Her big brown eyes filled with enthusiastic curiosity, as if trying to understand why her daddy had this odd yearning that wasn't shared by many other daddies.
“Yes, sweetie, I am. But we'll have breakfast together tomorrow morning.”
BOOK: Ultramarathon Man
4.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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