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 Pack, Cory 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:
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!