There has been a pleasing rise in the number of good storytellers that have started to grace the sport of ultra running. I don't know what came first in a chicken and egg sense, did people who like telling stories pick ultra running cos there are loads of stories within or do ultra runners just become story tellers because their head explodes with excitement?
Anyway, I'm babbling incoherently here unlike any point in this excellent book by Ira Rainey who is a very accomplished writer (he writes comedy) and has taken that to ultra running. He basically was inspired to run an ultra marathon after discovering a close friend had cancer. This caused him to really grab hold of his own life and do something special.
I write lots of advice about how someone should go about their first ultra, everyone is so different in their approach and motivation that the task seems impossible. However I think the most effective way to really gleam info on the subject is to read stories of those who have done it before and written about it honestly as Ira has done here.
I quite like re-living some of my own pre-ultra anxieties through this book. There are times when you do feel bionic, that you are like Neo or Anakin and you fell as though to can bend the world to your will while on a run. Then for no apparent reason the following week you feel like this.
So many things are covered here, the back to back training runs, the speed work (I was actually a bit intmidated by how fast he can knock out a 5k), the nutrition and weight loss and dealing with injury and recovery. He discovered that he was not bionic but overall he was very capable of running long distances and recalling the tales very vividly.
The story does not end with the ultra though, I don't want to spoil anything but there is a clear and well documented insight as to what ultra running can do to a person. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes running and moreso to anyone who might feel like giving one of these a go. I think Ira has produced quite a nice template as to what to expect.
Obviously it will never work out the same as that or as you predict, that's why we love it so much.
Thanks Ira :) Looking forward to meeting you soon.
Buy the book here;