Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: Nowhere Near First by Cory Reese

Cory Reese never met a doughnut he didn't like. He likes Hostess Products too. Cory especially likes Hostess raspberry-filled donuts, which he says are "delivered straight from heaven on the wings of angels."

Of course, since he runs 100 mile races on a whim, he can do that, right? If you haven't heard of him, Cory Reese is an ultramarathoner. You know, one of those runners who doesn't think running a marathon is nearly far enough. "Shorter" distances, like the marathon, were just the gateway drugs to ultrarunning. In his book, Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The PackCory Reese shares his journey from mere mortal to a runner of distances that most of us can't or don't want to fathom.

Even if you are not an ultrarunner or even a distance runner, Cory's book is full of humor and inspiration. He's one of us, a regular runner. Sort of...



Reading Cory's story, I wasn't as much awed by his accomplishments (although they are substantial) as I was by his seemingly never ending positivity and optimism. Don't get me wrong, when he's sharing his race recaps--and they are epic--he lets it all hang out. As I like to say, he shares the good, the bad, and the ugly. But for the most part, Cory is a really happy guy.

Maybe it is because, at age 14, he witnessed his father's downward spiral and suicide. His father suffered from brittle diabetes. Through this experience, Cory learned how to be strong, brave, and compassionate. He says that when he's out on the trails, sometimes he feels his dad with him. And he believes that's what makes him an ultrarunner.

Maybe it is because of his job. Cory is a social worker. As he puts it, every day at work, he is surrounded by people who "drowning in unintentional suffering". He theorizes that he's drawn to ultrarunning because it is "intentional suffering".
"Even when I am most miserable--when my legs are cramping like crazy, or when I'm dehydrated and sick, or when I'm so exhausted that I start talking to Smurfs--one thought keeps me going: I chose this! Nobody is making me do this. It is my choice."
Oh, and about those Smurfs. Apparently hallucinating is a thing in the ultramarathoning world. Reason #233 for me not to run an ultra! In the chapter titled "Don't Talk to the Care Bears", Cory offers advice when you realize your partners are CareBears, leprechauns, or unicorns. Don't talk to them. This chapter also offers some solid advice about mastering the mental side of ultrarunning, which is advice any of us could take to the road.

Actually, one of the things I liked most about this book is how relatable Cory is. He talks about getting a DNF and how the F does not stand for failure. He talks about fast and slow, and how one person's slow would be his fast. Like many of us, he makes as his ultimate goal having "an obscene amount of fun". How he hit the wall (at mile 95! of the Javelina Jundred) and started crying, ok sobbing, because he had had enough. And how he hoped that the coyote along the trail would eat him and he wouldn't have to finish that race.

Cory Reese is well known for his jumping pictures. He shares that he got his inspiration from Steve Harvey, of all people. On a You Tube video, Harvey shared his philosophy of life with the audience of Family Feud. "You're gonna have to jump!" Harvey said. "The only way for you to soar, is you've got to jump!"
"The combination of life experiences with my father, working with chronically ill patients, and lessons I've all learned from running have all inspired my desire to jump. I fear living a life similar to the movie 'Groundhog Day'...I don't want to look back on my year and see nothing but a long string of 8-5s. I want to jump!'
He's worked hard to get those jump shots and continues to take them. He takes them to show how much fun running can be.
"Our sport isn't all about suffering and pushing the limit and going hard. If you're going to stick with running for life, it better be fun. It's impossible to be unhappy while taking a jumping picture!"
photo courtesy of Cory Reese. It put a huge smile on my face when it arrived in my email!
I couldn't have said it any better. You all know I love a good jumping picture. Running is fun. What a great read! Cory's love for running shines through every page of this book. I loved every minute of Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The Pack. You will too.  No matter what distance you like to run, this is a book for every runner.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from fellow Tailwind Trailblazer Cory Reese in exchange for my honest review. We both know that we fuel with the best. The book review was easy peasy. This was one of the most enjoyable running books I've ever read. 

This post contains affiliate links.

If you want to read more about Cory Reese, here's some links to check out:
www.coryreese.com
http://www.fastcory.com
https://www.facebook.com/fastcory
https://www.instagram.com/coryreese

Have you ever hallucinated on a run? Who/what did you see? What kind of donuts do you like? Jumping or no? Why do you run?


Ok, guys, here's the link up badge! Remember that the link up stays open for 2 weeks, which gives you plenty of time to read and review this month's book. Or any other running or fitness related book, for that matter! Sharing is caring! Remember to link back to this post. Comments stay live forever, so if you miss the link up, it isn't too late to join in. Try to read and comment on everyone's review. Thanks so much for reading and supporting our authors as well as the book club!


Next month's book is hot off the press! Matt Fitzgerald, epic endurance coach, has another great book for us to read: The Endurance Diet: Discover the 5 Core Habits of the World’s Greatest Athletes to Look, Feel, and Perform Better. I'm really interested in what he has to say!





57 comments :

  1. This makes me so excited to listen to his podcast episode with Denny!

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  2. I don't think I've hallucinated ... but how would I know! I need to work on my jumping skillz.

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    1. Cory has set the bar pretty high for jumping!

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  3. I have totally hallucinated on a run. Once I could have sworn I saw a black bear standing on hind legs. Upon closer inspection it was a tree trunk...

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    1. Haha! I have done that very same thing! Except, no bears here in suburban Chicago.

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  4. I've never heard of Corey but he sounds very entertaining and inspirational. I probably have not run long enough to hallucinate but I have day dreamed for sure. Sounds like a fun read

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  5. What a great review that leaves me wanting more! I too am inspired by his positivity, and optimism. Time to add another book to my list ;) I love his jumping pics too they are EPIC! I'm currently not a runner, but it is a 2017 fitness goal for me.

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    1. I'm not an ultrarunner but who doesn't love his story!

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  6. SOunds like a good book! Although I think if I saw Care Bears I would have to talk to them. :-)

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  7. Adding this book to my ever growing list!

    I have not hallucinated during a run! I love coconut donuts from this local store, they are big, plum fresh donuts, with sugar glaze and shaved coconut on top. So delicious!

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    1. I'm glad I'm eating right now! Your comment made me hungry!

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  8. This sounds like a great book. Smurfs and leprechauNS would throw me off for sure, though I have no plans for an Ultra.

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    1. Oh me either! I wouldn't mind seeing a unicorn, tho!

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  9. This looks like a great read :) I want that chocolate peanut butter thing I had in Florida lol best donut ever...
    I have a friend I follow who is an ultra runner and he had to drop out of a 100 mile race at mile 95. He was heart broken at first but then he woke up a few days later and remembered he ran 95 miles lol and it is pretty darn awesome he is capable :) Your review reminded me of his posts!

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    1. Mile 95? Can you imagine dropping out with just 5 miles to go? That's like dropping out of a marathon at mile 25, at least I think it would be...

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  10. "Drowning in unintentional suffering." Great description! I'm looking forward to listening to the podcast episode. I hallucinated once while training for my ultra. It was raining, and I cam across a kleenex in a puddle and thought it was a jellyfish.

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    1. What did you do? Did you try to pick it up?

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    1. I really enjoyed this one! He's so entertaining.

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  12. What an inspiring story. His book would make an awesome stocking stuffer for a runner who is looking for a source of motivation.

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  13. I love a book written by NOT the first, fastest runner - I can relate to Cory more...although not in that "run 100 miles" thing, LOL. Great review!

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  14. Corey and I were both in an ambassador group together and it was definitely his jumping pictures that made me take notice to him! They are amazing aren't they?

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  15. Oh I think I might have to read that now!

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  16. Cool! I didn't know Cory had written a book!

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    1. It's a great read for runners of all levels!

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  17. I've never heard of Cory, but this sounds like a great read!

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    1. I really enjoyed this one. It was a great book with which to cap off my year!

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  18. This guy sounds awesome. I feel like I read the book after reading your post! I think his point about suffering is a big one and sometimes misunderstood. Suffering is life is guaranteed - we'll all go through some kind of $!#% eventually. But for the (ultra) runner, I feel like going through some intentional suffering that you can control helps us learn how to deal with the other stuff better.

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    1. I've thought about that a lot since being diagnosed with RA--hoping that my skills I've honed through running, with regards to enduring pain and suffering (even if it is intentional) will serve me well as I cope with the disease process.

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  19. Gosh....this sounds like must-read! I love a writer (especially when they're also a runner) with a sense of humor. Those jump shots look epic....I'd probably land in the splits and not be able to stand (or walk) for days.

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  20. This sounds like a great story! I especially like how he described running as intentional suffering. I will need to keep this in mind to read- maybe over the holidays!

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    1. It's a quick read too, and the way the chapters are organized (and so short) you can pick it up, read a few, and save for later.

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  21. This sounds right up my alley. Of course, if I started going for ultra, I think my husband might have something to say about it - he thinks I'm crazy enough as it is.

    I don't think I've ever hallucinated on a run, but I swear I heard voices during Ragnar. It was pretty creepy, but also comforting.

    Favorite donut is... cream from the bakery by my childhood house. I've just never had anything like it anywhere else. But all donuts are pretty good.

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    1. My favorite donut would have to be the chocolate iced cake donuts from the bakery in my hometown. Nothing better.

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  22. Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! He sounds like an interesting guy! and who does not like a good donut?

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  23. Every time I peruse my kindle recommended books, I see Cory's book -- I guess now i have to buy it! And I LOVE Matt Fitzgerald's books.

    The chocolate PB donut in PCB was epic. And I'm not even really a donut person!

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    1. This was just such a good read. His positivity is infectious!

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  24. oooh! This sounds like a great read! I paced my friend at the end of a 100 miler and she was definitely hallucinating. He sounds like a such a positive person and anyone who loves donuts that much is awesome in my book!

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    1. That could have been humorous and/or frightening!

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  25. The only hallucination I have had is to think, "I can totally do a marathon!" after my first half-marathon in 2014 (still haven't run a full-I've since come to my senses about just how far it is)! I love chocolate cake donuts.....mmmmm... I've never taken a jumping picture, but I may have to remedy that soon. I don't take many running pictures. I'm more about getting it done when running solo or chatting about the week with my BRF, so it doesn't really cross my mind. I love to see other people's photos, though!

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  26. Ok- I need to read this book! Off to download now :)

    Jen
    jpabstfitness.com

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  27. I now am pretty sure I will never do an ultra....I have not hallucinated while running and its not really a goal. I will def check out the book though.

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  28. You always have such great running book recs...now I just need to find the time to read!

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  29. Another book to add to my ever growing TBR pile. Thanks for the rec.

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