Book Review & Giveaway: Running on Empty

May 515

I love to read, but often have a hard time finding the time or attention span to get through a book.  Usually a book has to really be able to pull me in to get me to read it, otherwise I just fall asleep or succumb to the many distractions around my house.  This book I knew I should finish since I was reviewing it and all, so I hoped I could make it through.

I was sent an advanced copy of Running on Empty a couple months ago.  It took me a while before I opened it up, but finally in my post-Boston laziness, I decided it was time to read.

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The book starts off giving an account of who Marshall Ulrich is, all the amazing things he has accomplished, and why he started running. 

Incase you don’t know who he is (I didn’t!) he is an extremely accomplished ultra-marathoner, as well as accomplisher of many other crazy adventure sports.  He has won Badwater 4 times, run more than 120 ultra-marathons, and has made it to the peak of Mount Everest just to name a few because the list goes on and on.

I always say that during a marathon a lot can happen over 26.2 miles.  Imagine that 117 times over 52 days.  And at 57 years old.  For some reason I never truly grasped the enormity of what a transcontinental run really was until I started reading this book. 

60+ miles a day.  Everyday.  For 52 days. 

You think a lot can happen over one marathon… that’s nothing.

Marshall encounters drama, injuries, pain, exhaustion, emotion, and things I don’t believe a lot of us will really ever be able to grasp.  He pushed himself to limits that are beyond anything I have ever encountered.  

I don’t like to go into too much detail about books because I think you should just go get one and find out yourself, but what I will say is it’s worth the read.  I didn’t have to force myself to get through this one, I wanted to read it and looked forward to opening the book every night, which says a lot coming from me lately. 

Ulrich writes a real, raw, emotional, painful account of his very long journey across the United States and his very long journey through life and finding himself.  He brings you with him on every step and you can feel that pain and his glory too.

Want to find out more about Marshall?  Here are some links:

Running on Empty on Amazon.com 
Marshall’s website 
Marshall’s blog 
Marshall on Facebook
Twitter: @marshallulrich

Now to the good part.  Do you want your own copy?  I am giving one away!

To enter:  Leave a comment telling me what your craziest athletic/physical dream is.

Mine would be a 100 mile race – Great Western States anyone?  Not that it will ever necessarily happen, but that would be the craziest thing I would ever think of doing.

The contest will stay open until next Tuesday, May 31st at midnight California time and I will announce a winner on Wednesday, June 1st.

Speaking of announcing winners, I have one to announce from the See Jane Run race entry giveaway last week!  I tried to get a little more creative with picking the winner this time and enlisted the cats help, but they ended up not being very helpful and I had to pick the winner myself.

May 529 May 522 

May 526 May 535

The winner is: Katie from In Oak Park!!

She said:

I run to stay healthy, mentally and physically. I had a crazy year with lots of health issues and enough medical procedures to keep me doing my best to stay as healthy as possible without the doctor! Running helps me get there!

Congrats Katie!  Email me at runnersrambles@gmail.com and I will get you the info you need.

***I was given a copy of Running on Empty at no cost to me in exchange for my review.  TLC Book Tours also is providing the copy to giveaway at no cost to me.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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66 Responses to Book Review & Giveaway: Running on Empty

  1. eliza May 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Run a marathon – may not sound crazy to peeps like you, but I’ve only run/walked a half. Plus a few advanced yoga dream poses!

  2. Freya May 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Oh I SO want that book! And June 1st is my last EVER exam for uni (then I graduate!) so it’d be so awesome if I won that day lol!
    My dream is a sub-4hr marathon, but my crazy dream is…probably sub 3.30hrs! OR an Ultra – just 50miles or so would be fine :-D

  3. Matt May 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Ever since Runner’s World ran a story on the Western States 100 a few years back, it’s been my dream to do an ultra marathon. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I gave it a shot. I started doing some hard core training…up to 30 miles per weekend plus week day runs. I had a 50 mile qualifier lined up, and was ready to tackle the Vermont 100. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned.

    That same winter I started training, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. As I spent more time with family, my training began to fall off. A few weeks out from the 50 I realized I would not be able to safely compete, and as such, my dreams for the 100 died off. Later that year (this past summer), my father passed away after an 8 month battle with cancer. One month later, I married the love of my life, sadly without my dad there to watch.

    I’m finally adjusted to married life, and am finally getting back to some serious training. Right now I’m training for the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon, followed by the Philadelphia Marathon (full) in November. Could an ultra be in the distance after that? Only time will tell, though my wife will tell you no way!

    Run on friends!

  4. becca May 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    My pipe dream is simple – the Disney Coast 2 Coast Challenge! I know its not a ultra-marathon, or a marathon in every state, but I ran Disney Princess and want to go back for more!

    Side note: I’ve recently gotten into reading a lot of running related books and have loved them. They’ve held my attention way more than other book so if you’re looking for books to grab your attention, I highly recommend it!

  5. Lauren May 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Funny that you ask about a dream! My favorite quote is Never Underestimate the Power of a Dream! And it’s the name of my blog :)

    This past year I dreamt of my finish times for the Hyannis Half Marathon and Boston. Although not exact, they were pretty damn close!

    http://never-underestimate-power-of-a-dream.blogspot.com/

  6. Karyn May 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    marathon on Antarctica. crazy because i effing hate the cold!

  7. Stephanie May 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    I would love to do a tri…which I guess may not seem too terribly crazy, but just the thought of open-water swimming (and swimming in general) makes me shudder, so it would be a HUGE accomplishment!

  8. Lauren May 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I’m with eliza…I would just love to be able to run a marathon! I have run 2 halfs and I would really love to be able to accomplish running a full. I mean, 2 halfs make a whole, right?! I’d love to read this book because it sounds very inspiring and motivating!

  9. Erin May 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I’m running my first marathon this year so I have dreams of qualifying for Boston..by a wide margin. :)

  10. Jaime May 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Something crazy – an ironman. I’ve always want to complete one. But, since I don’t currently incorporate swimming or cycling into my workouts and I’ve never even completed a sprint tri – this is crazy!!!

  11. Kelsey May 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I have two: The, somewhat attainable maybe possibly someday miracles can happen one, is to qualify for Boston. The magical dream one is also to run a 100 mile race!

  12. Beth @ Boston2Berkeley May 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    My two crazy athletic goals are to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and to complete an ironman triathlon. I would need to cut 90 minutes off my marathon time to qualify, and I can’t swim more than 50yds without sputtering, gasping, and searching about desperately for a wall to cling to, so these are definitely crazy dreams!

  13. Abby's Road May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    An unattainable crazy dream? Ironman

    More attainable? Full marathon.

    PS- Have you looked into Born to Run? It was a good read, too!

  14. Kerry May 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    A race on every continent would be cool!! I’ve wanted to do an international race sooo bad!

  15. Jeni @ stepping out May 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I have so many crazy dreams…if I had to puck one I would say completing a triathlon of any kind. I really can’t swim…really.

  16. Lisa May 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I never even dreamed I could be a runner, it kind of happened by accident. I always thought running a marathon was impossible something reserved for elite athletes training allof their lives or actors and actresses with the money and tome to hire nutritionists, coaches, and trainers. Right now I am living my impossible athletic dream. Everytime I run, for me, for fun.

  17. Marilynn May 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    An IronMan would be amazing, mainly because I don’t know any swim strokes.

  18. Nelly May 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Matt’s comment above is intense, I wish him the best with everything.

    Craziest athletic dream would be to qualify for Boston Marathon. Right now I don’t think I can qualify because my age is the lowest time category and I’m totally new to marathons. Though if I keep at marathon training for like 3-5 years and gradually ramp up my mileage I think I might have a shot at it, we shall see!

  19. Lia May 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    my craziest athletic dream: to run the chicago marathon.. with my dad.
    he had the hardest time motivating me to go running with him when i was younger, and i think it’s time i made up for lost time and stepped up my game. marathons = crazy athletic dream, even though for youuu it’s just another race ;)

  20. Val May 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I have a lot of goals that may sound crazy, but I think they are all (eventually, we’re talking 20 year plan here) attainable. I want to qualify for Boston (3 year plan), do an Ironman (5 year plan), do the Antarctica marathon (10 year plan) and run a marathon in all 50 states (20 year plan). I second the comment about Born to Run. Interesting at the very least. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  21. Shortskirts May 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    That book sounds awesome. Craziest athletic thing i can think of doing, qualifying for Boston. I just started running December have my first half in June, and am toying with the idea of my first marathon in march. I’m totally addicted to running right now, but am not naturally speedy, so completing a marathon and getting into Boston BQ shape seems kind of crazy to me now.

  22. Christina May 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    My crazy dream would be running a marathon … the Big Sur … to be exact. :)

  23. Sue May 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I’m currently pursuing my crazy athletic dream, which is to complete the Goofy Challenge in 2012. Marathon weekend in Disney World I will run “the Donald” half marathon on Saturday and then get up the next day and run “The Mickey” Full Marathon. Talk about GOOFY!

    Oh, and I’ve not yet run a full marathon!

  24. Stacy May 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    I’d like to place in my age group. Not an amazing feat for many, but its been since my teens that I’ve experienced this. For me it will take a consistent effort and dedication, some weight loss and reintroducing speed work into my routine. The combination of all this will make it something to truly celebrate!

  25. tmart May 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Certainly completing an 100 miler! I have plans to do my first 50 miler in the next year or so, and right now it seems ‘crazy’ to do 100 miles, but I know it is just a matter of time before I go to the dark side with that…… lol!

  26. stoppingfordaisies May 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    I totally want a copy of that book! My craziest dream is currently to run a marathon in general, maybe the Chicago marathon I think. Sigh….

  27. ~K~ May 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    for me, it would be running a half marathon! The one time i started training for one, i hurt my foot which scared me enough to stick with shorter distances.

  28. Kelly May 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    that looks like a great book! Running related, I would love to complete a 50 or 60K trail race someday! Not running related, I would LOVE to be able to re-learn some of my old gymnastics moves from back in the day when I was a hardcore competitive gymnast and take adult classes (without injurying or killing myself…) :)

  29. jeri May 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    a half ironman is a long ways out in my athletic goals, but it’s still terrifying to think about! what a fun giveaway. :)

  30. Hannah May 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    A few months ago running anything over 4 miles seemed crazy and then signing up and actually running my first half marathon felt really crazy! I’m still proud of it, it just doesn’t seem as crazy now. However the full still seems a little daunting to me. Thats me next goal on the list! But after that I’m sure it will just get crazier! ;)

  31. Sabrina May 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    I desperately want a copy of that book! I’m so glad you reviewed it because I had been looking at it on Amazon. It got GREAT reviews. Even from non-runners.

    Please don’t enter me for the drawing. I am expecting a bonus at work (WOO-HOO!) and plan to treat myself to the Kindle version. I know! $12.99 may not sound like a huge gift, but with family and mortgage and kids and blah, blah, blah…. Having an extra couple dollars to spend on myself is a BIG deal and I can’t wait to get it!

    Thanks again for the post and for sharing all you great experiences!!! Love you blog!

  32. Bruce May 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Considering I weighed 325 two years ago, running a marathon is a crazy dream of mine. I ran a half last year and am gearing up for another. I need to drop some more weight in order to run a marathon. I am 115 lbs lighter, but need to lose some more to run the distance.

  33. Jeff May 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    crazy – ironman for me. It’s on my bucket list. Hoping I win. I really want to read this book!

  34. Bonnie May 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Interesting book! My goal/dream: to run a marathon, and hopefully this year! I seem to run half marathon distances quite easily, but I’m just getting to the point where I’d LOVE to train for and run a marathon. Hoping to make this the year! I’ve also thought a lot about ultras too…that would be an amazing experience. Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Nicole May 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    IRONMAN! I plan to do Wisconsin Ironman 2012…so (hopefully) my biggest goal will come true in a little over a year!

  36. ellen May 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    watching the ironman on tv gives me chills and gets me a little misty. i’d say that would be the crazy long shot. although, at one time it was watching the nyc marathon that had that effect on me… now i’m going to run my second :) so who knows…

  37. Kelsey May 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    As cliche as it may sound, my ultimate physical dream would be to qualify for Boston. While that is definitely at the top of my to-do list for athletic endeavors, I also hope to one day do a half ironman. Then I would truly be satisfied both physially and mentally!

  38. Marie @ Chocolate & Wine May 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Run a Boston Marathon or high-fly tissue dance with Cirque du Soleil. Those are both pretty crazy dreams but hey, I couldn’t run a 5K 10 weeks ago either. =)

    xo – Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  39. BFB May 18, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Completely unrealistically, I’d love to do an Ironman someday. I’m so inspired by people who can do these intense endurance sports. I’ve just gotten into biking not that long ago, and on a more cycling-centric, and hence more realistically I would love to do the life cycle ride. It’s a 7 day (I believe) ride averaging somewhere 70 some miles a day. It’s on my bucket list.

  40. Patricia D. May 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    i would love to climb mt. everest! i read john krakauer’s “into thin air” and even though it recounts a tragic event on the mountain, the way he described the experience just made me want to experience it for myself!

  41. Connie May 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    I know it’s cliche, but my dream is to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon! I was training to run a full this spring and got injured. I’m healed up now and hoping to get back on to training, slow and steady…for now :)

  42. Morgan @ Endorphaholic May 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    My absolute dream is to qualify for the Kona World Championship for Ironman!

  43. J May 19, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    I think the craziest thing I may do is run a marathon! It may or may not happen but we will see. Otherwise my real craziest thing would be to run all night like Dean Karnazas. I think it would be awesome because I love the calm and quiet of the night!

  44. Susan - Nurse on the Run May 19, 2011 at 5:32 am #

    I would love to do an ultra one day…Western States is SO nuts! I don’t really like tris, but calling myself an Ironman would be crazy…

    Actually, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE to run a sub-3 marathon.

  45. Laura May 19, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    My dream is to finish a marathon feeling like a ‘marathoner’. I have done 3 and still don’t consider myself a runner in this sense.
    Doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying….

  46. Amanda @ There Are 2 Sides May 19, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    I ran my first half marathon in April with only 8.5 weeks prep and I loved it, so I am signed up for tons more this year…but I think that I would love to complete a tri someday~

  47. Lisa Munley May 19, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    Great review! I’m glad the book held your interest and that you enjoyed it! It’s so interesting to read everyone’s comments about their dreams.. you runners are a different breed, that’s for sure!! Thanks so much for being on the tour.

  48. Katie May 19, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Just wanted to make sure you got my email! My husband thinks I’m crazy to run another 1/2 marathon so soon (we just ran one last weekend), but I think he’s just jealous.

  49. Lisa May 19, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    This is the first time I’ve ever expressed this outside of tossing it around in my head… my crazy dream is to complete an Ironman. I think I can do it someday with a lot of hard work and commitment. The first step is to take swimming lessons!

  50. Bonnie May 19, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    My dream is to do an ironman (but I need to work on the half ironman first!)

  51. Katherine May 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I dream of one day running a half marathon and breaking 1:30

  52. Nicole W. May 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    My crazy dream is to compete in Ironman World Championships in Kona and complete the Marathon des Sables. Yes, it is true, I am slightly insane and masochistic.

  53. Anna May 20, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    I want to run a sub 23 minute 5k. Not crazy outlandish, but my current time is 27:30 and I HATE speedwork :)

  54. Sarah @ The Pajama Chef May 20, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    a marathon on every continent!

  55. Heather May 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I don’t know how crazy it would sound to anyone else, but I’m infatuated with the idea of doing a triathlon. This despite my profound lack of experience with swimming more than a few feet at a time. But one day!

  56. RoadBunner May 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I dislike Tri’s but definitely IRONMAN :)

    Sorry the kitties didn’t cooperate. I think a food bribe was needed.

  57. Kamaile May 21, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Someday I’d like to do an ultra!

  58. Flor May 22, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    At the moment, I would say that running 10 k. (the most i’ve run since today is 28 min. non-stop :))

  59. Joy May 22, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    I think the craziest thing for me would be a trail marathon – I walk/hike frequently and it wears me out!!!!

  60. summerslowrunner May 24, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    My athletic goal is to qualify for Boston. I’ve got a LONG way to go considering my pace hovers between 10 and 11 minute miles…ouch. But hey, gotta have a destination – otherwise you’re just idling. ;)

  61. Lauren May 24, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    My goal is to complete a marathon! I’ve done a few halfs so far, and I’m ready for the full challenge.

    • Jay S. May 26, 2011 at 6:31 am #

      My crazy dream would be to do a trail 50K. I’m currently working up to doing a full marathon, but there’s just something about a 50K on a trail course that excites me.

  62. Stacie May 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    My dream would be to accomplish a 50 or 100 miler. I’m not picky. It would be great to run the Dublin Marathon.

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