Karnazes, Dean. Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss. New York: Rodale, 2011.

Reason read: Toronto half marathon.

I think Dean summed it up best when he said in his forward (called ‘Warmup’, “There is magic in misery” (p xi). Every time I came back from a run with chafing in odd places my husband would shake his head. Why would anyone subject themselves to such pain just for the fun of it? I’m really not sure, but Dean is right: there is magic in misery.

Within the pages of Run! there are 26.2 stories all related to running in one way or another, one for every mile of a marathon. Sometimes a chapter was simply to express the joy of running. Sometimes it allowed Karnazes’s wife or friends try to explain what makes him tick. Other times it was just to tell a funny story if only to reiterate Karnazes is human and can fail from time to time. There is a wicked sense of humor threaded through every mile/story.

My favorite element of the book was the idea Karnazes talked into a tape recorder while running; essentially telling the tales while doing what he does best – running for miles and miles and miles. My second favorite element of the Run! was the curiosity it sparked in me. I immediately needed to research the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei and the art of “vanduzzi” or cupping.

Best quotes, “Running has a way of possessing your soul, infiltrating your psyche, and quietly becoming your central life force” (42). Amen to that. Here’s another good quote, “Adventure happens within” (p 115).