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When running, run like your life depends on it

By Kathleen Duncan
March 27, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Updated March 26, 2013 at 10:27 p.m.


It was 45 degrees and blustery cold wind was whipping across our mostly bare arms and legs. We were, unfortunately, not dressed correctly for a run in such conditions.

Despite that, we lined up, knowing there was no going back, only powering through.

When Dianna Wray and I decided to run the Alamo half marathon, we were worried about it being too hot (it IS Texas after all) but then a cold snap rolled in, and we ended up shivering with numb fingers, stinging faces and cold legs through the first few miles.

Then, as the sun rose and we thawed out, I began to really enjoy the run. Any runner will tell you that the more you run, the more fun it is. It becomes relaxing, stress relieving and, of course, an accomplishment we'll never forget.

A lot of runners have competitive personalities for a reason. We want to prove that we can, in fact, cross that finish line. But we are also a very tight-knit community, depending on the advice and support of each other to get us where we want to go.

In preparation for the half, I did a lot of running, planning and talking, but I also read some great books.

"Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness" by Scott Jurek is inspiring enough to make anyone want to run and run far.

It's also unbelievable enough to make you feel kind of lazy no matter how much you run. Ultramarathoners like Jurek run more than 50 miles at a time. Compared to that, we can run a measly 13.1 or 26.2, right?

Jurek not only describes how he prepared for runs like the McKenzie River 50k, the Minnesota Voyageur 50-Miler and the Angeles Crest 100 but also the scariest and most daunting run I've ever read about.

Jurek ran the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile endurance race through Death Valley in 120 degree heat. At one point, he had to curl his whole body into a large chest of ice just to cool down to a safer temperature.

"Eat & Run" also includes recipes for aspiring runners. Among them are a meatless but protein-filled winter chili, a delicious apple-cinnamon granola and a healthy popcorn snack. Every recipe is geared toward those who only want to put healthy, natural fuel into their bodies.

Even if you don't run or cook, this book is worth picking up. It doesn't just provide tasty recipes and incredible stories.

Jurek emphasizes how essential it is to be a good person. To Jurek, running is a core human experience. He speaks of running as a way to connect with people and be a part of a something greater.

Jurek sits at the finish line of every race, no matter how injured or tired or far ahead he is, to cheer on every runner that crosses that finish line behind him. To him, running is something we do together, not against each other.

In "Eat and Run" Jurek shows over and over how accomplishing something we strive for, while supporting and helping each other is what is really important. Not being last, or even being first.

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