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Marathon Man

Sometimes I think I’ve become a fitness nut because I never go more than a day without exercising. But then I read about people like this and realize I am only a tiny pistachio in comparison to a Brazil nut. Dean Karnazes recently ran 50 marathons in 50 days in each of the 50 states, and then ran home across the country.

The best part is that on race days he gets to eat about 9000 calories, scarfing down éclairs and scheduling a rendezvous with a pizza delivery man on the race route. If you worked at a pizza place, would you believe that type of order wasn’t a crank call? “Yes, I need an extra-large with the works. Meet me at the corner of 10th and Elm around noonish. I’ll be the sweaty guy in gym shorts blitzing by. Don’t be late!” That sounds about as believable as filling an order for Seymour Butts.

When he gets blisters, he puts superglue on them. My question is, how do you get the superglue off? I’m all for physical fitness, but isn’t there a point where physical fitness becomes physical abuse? It’s inspiring to see people pushing the limits of the human body, but this kind of exertion is never something I would do. However, people can do whatever they want with their bodies, be it pierce their scrotum or run farther than the human body was designed to. So more power to you Dean, but I think I’ll stick to my 5K a day.

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Samiam • December 28, 2006 at 1:51 pm

What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing! I didn’t realize you ran in addition to pilates, if I may ask how did you first start your running program?


Susan • December 28, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for that story – I’ll show it to the next person who says I’m an obssessive exerciser.


Debbi • December 28, 2006 at 1:55 pm

I’ve heard the term “exercise bulimic” attributed to one who works out excessively. This guy might qualify, unless he was doing the 50 in 50 in 50 just to say he’d done it.

Cripes! That’s daunting. I’m sending the link to my son-in-law, who has three full and one half marathon under his belt. So far.


Monica • December 28, 2006 at 2:08 pm

I’ve heard the term “exercise bulimic” attributed to one who works out excessively.

Actually, I think that the term refers to actual bulimics, who instead of throwing up exercise obsessively.

Good story though.


WeightWatchNWoman • December 28, 2006 at 4:06 pm

That is excessive!!!! I wish I could do 1/100 of what he does.

This is my first time to your blog and I have to say, you have TOTALLY INSPIRED ME…I hope you don’t mind my linking you to my blog.

Thanks for this great read!


Heather • December 28, 2006 at 4:21 pm

Dean is impressive. I hope to complete an ultramarathon next year… probably only a 50k, and another marathon.

Up to about 35 miles a week, I think, improvements to health hit… after that, you’re doing more just for the fun, and after about 55-60 mpw, you might technically be hurting yourself (but hey, hobbies have expenses and risks!)


Annie • December 28, 2006 at 6:57 pm

Wow. Even on my best days I look like a laz-about compared to this guy. Thanks for sharing that.


Patty • December 28, 2006 at 10:28 pm

Yeah, I heard about this guy. I was thinking is he nuts!?! And then I was thinking is it actually possible to find a marathon to run for 50 cons. days? One would wonder why he would want to, just for the challenge I suppose!


Julia • December 29, 2006 at 10:46 am

I read his book…now I’ve run a LOT of marathons but he goes way way above and beyond just running for fitness and fun. He dedicates his entire life to it and luckily has a wife AND family that totally support him on this. Though I admire him, I don’t think there is anybody on the entire planet that runs like that, good or bad.

ps – I bet after a few 5kms you’ll get bored and go on to the 10kms :-)


PastaQueen • December 29, 2006 at 12:00 pm

Samiam – I don’t really have a program. When I started losing weight, I walked on the treadmill. As I got more fit that got boring and I’d add in jogging segments. These days I typically do intervals, so many minutes of walking, so many minutes of running, repeat. The length and intensity depends on how my body is feeling. I’d like to run more than I do, but my joints and tendons aren’t as into it as my heart is.

Patty – I think he also does it to generate profit. The article says “The book and the North Face contract generate enough money to support his family.” So, running the 50 marathons in 50 days was probably a way to generate press and sell more books.


Merla • December 29, 2006 at 1:01 pm

You can excericse too much. Fitness overtraining It’s amazing what the body can do.


Samiam • December 29, 2006 at 10:32 pm

cool, thanks for the info!


K • January 2, 2007 at 7:55 am

I’d guess that he just waits for the skin on his feet to renew itself, at which point the Superglue will fall off. I’ve mended painful torn fingernails with Superglue before now – it works pretty well.

Blisters are what hold me back in my running – maybe I should find out how he uses the Superglue…


Kat • September 17, 2008 at 10:18 pm

There’s this marathon in California every year (at least, I think it’s every year) that lasts for 24 hours (meaning, they run for 24 hours) and it covers 60 miles going up the Sierra Nevada mountains and down again. It gets to a point where they are running through snow (in the summer!) because they’re so high up.

My bio prof did a study on the immune systems of these people one year and he and his buddy split the marathon. He said that after 30 miles, he felt like collapsing and couldn’t even imagine having to do another 30. I’m just surprised he made it the first 30 miles!! Anyway, he found that after a certain point (it was like 5 hours) their immune system plummeted in function (almost exponentially).

I believe in strenuous exercise, but stuff like this and what the guy you posted about did is madness!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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