Running on Empty review, giveaway + a streak

I mentioned in the May recap that I read Running on Empty this month.  I couldn’t put it down! Marshall Ulrich tells his story of becoming an endurance athlete (including ultra-running and ascending the Seven Summits), and documents his final personal challenge: a 52 day run across America.

He writes with a touching humility and openness about his personal struggles and shortcomings, which brings a human face to his otherwise “super-human” achievements.

Marshall began running after the tragic loss of his wife to cancer soon after their daughter was born.  As he grieved, he pushed himself farther and faster, away from the pain while embracing a new pain.  I love the quote he shared from James Thurber, “All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”

His drive, determination and pain tolerance set him apart as he pushed his body to it’s limit in the run across the country. Most days, he was running from 7 or 8am until 1 or 2am, adding sleep deprivation to his many challenges.  Despite thinking him extreme and crazy at times, I am inspired by what the human body is capable of!

Through all sorts of obstacles and injuries, Marshall completes his journey from California to New York, running an average of 60 miles per day! You can read more about this book on his website.

Although I can’t relate to such an extreme physical journey, I appreciate the analogies within his story for life’s challenges: finding our way, persevering in trials, having the determination to keep going when everything else is telling you to give up.  His mantra for life and running: Keep going, no matter what, one foot in front of the other, millions of times.

A week after finishing this book, Runner’s World posted a streaking challenge in which participants would run at least one mile per day from Memorial day to the Fourth of July. I’ve never run more than 4-5 days a week, but with no strict training plan or races on the calendar, I decided to sign up!

It doesn’t begin to compare to the 60+ miles a day that Marshall ran! But it’s an appropriate challenge for me, and I’m playing it conservatively, with only one easy mile on my usual spinning or rest days.  I’m one week in, and so far, so good.

Would you like to read Running on Empty? You can win a copy for yourself!

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me why this book appeals to you, or let me know if you’re participating in the RW streak

For additional entries:

  • Leave a separate comment for each, letting me know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did!

The giveaway will run through Sunday, June 10th at midnight and the winner will be drawn through random.org and announced on Monday, June 11th.  I was provided with a book but was not compensated for this review.  The opinions are my own.

92 thoughts on “Running on Empty review, giveaway + a streak

  1. I have a copy from last year, so don’t enter me, but I had to weigh on on the book! I found it fascinating, but I also found him a bit out of balance in life. I think he recognizes this in hindsight also, which was good. Great read!
    misszippy recently posted..Monday MiscellanyMy Profile

  2. I’m doing the RW Run Streak just so that I can say that I did it, and to feel the accomplishment of running at least a mile for all of those days!

  3. I’m also doing the RW Run Streak! The book sounds amazing… if I don’t win I might have to buy one anyways!

  4. this book sounds awesome! i love to read and i love to run, so it totally appeals to me 🙂
    aaand, i’m not gonna do the RW challenge. i get overuse injuries often, so i have to be careful with rest days and cross training. (even though just doing ONE mile probably wouldn’t hurt…)
    Amanda K. recently posted..Attention Attention: Adoption Yard SaleMy Profile

  5. I’m a new runner. My longest run is 10 miles. Somedays it’s easy to feel like I’m not good enough or fast enough. Can I even call myself a runner?

    Finding inspiration through books like this or through other moms who blog about their running journey has been inspiring and has helped me push through the pain that accompanies new runners.

    Thanks for the chance!
    Shoni recently posted..Busy, Busy LifeMy Profile

  6. I’d like to read the book as a new runner training for my first half-marathon. It would certainly put any challenges I have in perspective!

  7. I would love to read the book because of the inspiration and story I’ve heard so much about. I debated whether or not to join RW’s challenge along with a few other challenges. I decided not to over commit and went with the Another Mother Runner Challenge instead of trying to do both. Good luck with the streak!
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Month In Review || May 2012My Profile

  8. I would love to read this book. I’m training for my first 100-miler!

  9. I follow you on Twitter. I like your FB page. I retweeted your giveaway tweet.

  10. The quote “All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” – just gave me the chills. There has always been a heavy emotional component to running for me – I am intrigued to hear about this part of Ulrich’s journey. I love a good “running” story!
    Ilene recently posted..My Photo Scandal on FacebookMy Profile

  11. I’d love to read this book as I am a sucker for inspirational non-fiction…I love reading about other people’s spectacular journeys and gleaning any helpful lessons or info that I can! I would say it’s one of my favorite genres of books actually.
    Carrie recently posted..Trail Run: Marin HeadlandsMy Profile

  12. Wow! Amazing! That is quite the achievement. Ever since I became a mom, i feel like I’m always running on empty. Even though my accomplishments are nothing compared to this guy, I can relate to that feeling of having nothing left in the tank, and still getting out there for a run. I’d love to read more about his adventures, and it sounds like a perfect summer read 🙂

    good luck with the streaking!
    runner26 recently posted..Off Road WorkoutsMy Profile

  13. Great review, Laura! I love the Thurber quote, too, and also your sensible approach to the RW streak challenge. I’m not in the streak because of my back issue, but I would love to read this book for all the reasons you mention. It’s been on my list for a while. People who were broken and have put themselves back together appeal to me, much more than those who claim to be running from nothing.
    Terzah recently posted..Book Review: Running With the KenyansMy Profile

  14. The book sounds great! I am just a fan of running/ endurance books in general, and try and read whatever I can.

    No streak for me. I try really hard to be good and take my one day off running, even if I don’t always want to.

  15. This book sounds amazing. Running is definitely my favourite form of therapy. And I have used running for years to help me come to terms with my genetic shortcoming and struggles. I think I can definitely relate. Plus I am training for my 1st full marathon, so I would love to read for that extra push during training!
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..Local Love – Produce Box 1My Profile

  16. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while – after your review, I want to read it NOW! I’m reading Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run right now, but this is next! I’ve just started dabbling in ultras (ran my 2nd 50K on Saturday, pretty disastrous…) and cannot get enough of reading about them! Congrats to you on entering the streaking challenge – that’s a big deal and one I certainly couldn’t commit to!
    Alison @ racingtales recently posted..The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K OR Mud, mud, and yes, more mudMy Profile

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  19. I just started really running over the past year or so, and ran my first 5K last month! It certainly is a bit addicting – but in the best possible way. 🙂 Lately, I seem to be eating up anything running related in trying to learn new tips and to psych myself up, in general!
    MassachusEATS recently posted..WIAW #18My Profile

  20. Hey….thanks for the review of Marshall’s book. You don’t need to add me to the giveaway (as Marshall’s wife, I have an “in” to get my own copy ;-} but wanted to let you know that we appreciate your review. Best of luck on your streak!!! Hope you ENJOY it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Heather! I was happy to have the opportunity to read and review it. Kudos to you for the tremendous support you were to Marshall- I don’t know if I could have done what you did! 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Two peanut sauces and wiawMy Profile

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