Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.

June 2011
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Book recommendation

LizaLiza

Have you all read Marshall Ulrich’s book Running on Empty?  It describes his 3000+ mile run across the United States (averaging 60 miles a day) and the journey’s impact on him physically, psychologically, and spiritually.  I downloaded it for the plane ride home yesterday and I didn’t stop reading until Eliot pulled up in the car outside of baggage claim.  Here are the lines I highlighted:

“Somebody once said that adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it, and that’s certainly been true for me, for better and worse.”

Speaking of Ted Corbitt: “He stood for a kind of sportsmanship that seemed to be waning, one marked by ethics, doing what you say you’ll do, and setting an example for the up-and-comers.” 

“After years and years of thinking about it, I believe that such suffering offers a unique gift, allowing me to profoundly appreciate living, to pay attention to little things, like the comfort of sitting in a chair or enjoying a meal on a  plate with a fork and a spoon.”

“Surrender — an acceptance of the fate you’ve chosen — provides you with the ability to endure more suffering, and the more times you do it, the higher the pain threshold rises and the more finely tuned your ability to endure becomes.”

“In the darkest times, no amount of schmaltzy platitudes will get you through it.  When it counts, when you have to pull through, what you need is grit.  You wrestle that bear to the ground, chasing it out of your psyche.  You remind yourself that it’s easy to quit but hard to live with it afterward — it can turn into a virus that spreads and becomes an uncontrollable urge.”

On that note, I’ve got a core workout and some lunges to complete.  My biggest challenge is sticking to my training schedule at the end of a long hot summer day — well, at the end of most days.  That virus analogy resonates.

Comments 10
  • Tim Smith
    Posted on

    Tim Smith Tim Smith

    Reply Author

    Kindle? Laptop? Either way, thanks. Just finished runners worlds’ Going Long and Don Allison’s Ultra Running compilation.

    Snagged some of those Marathon Talk podcasts you mentioned as well, should be set for a couple weeks.


    • lizahoward
      Posted on

      lizahoward lizahoward

      Reply Author

      Kindle App on the iPhone. I will be saving up for a full sized Kindle though. I want to take it and its month-long battery life on course with me. I want to read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami next.


      • Paige D.
        Posted on

        Paige D. Paige D.

        Reply Author

        Ooo, I really liked Murakami’s book! I was surprised by how much I liked it, actually. I hope you enjoy it! I need to pick up Marshall’s book now; I like those quotes you posted.


        • lizahoward
          Posted on

          lizahoward lizahoward

          Reply Author

          I read a sample of Murakami’s book and I was surprised how much I liked it too. I’d put off reading it for a while for some reason.


  • footfeathers
    Posted on

    footfeathers footfeathers

    Reply Author

    I met Marshall when he was in Boulder and had him sign my copy. He has mastered the ability to endure… anything.
    I thought a lot about that book and him when I ran San Diego a couple weeks ago. Need to thank him for helping me push through that.


    • lizahoward
      Posted on

      lizahoward lizahoward

      Reply Author

      I’m jealous. I’m guessing San Antonio is not on his book tour. And a very belated congratulations on San Diego!! Can’t wait to hear about Hardrock. I worked in the San Juans for Outward Bound. Someday I’ll get back there.


  • olga
    Posted on

    olga olga

    Reply Author

    Awesome quotes to live by.


  • Shane Thread
    Posted on

    Shane Thread Shane Thread

    Reply Author

    I second your motion – This is a must read for all of us, endurance athletes or not. This is the kind of book that will eventually get dog-eared from reflective readings.


  • lizahoward
    Posted on

    lizahoward lizahoward

    Reply Author

    Agreed my grit-filled friend. :)


  • lizahoward
    Posted on

    lizahoward lizahoward

    Reply Author

    It’s quite a tribute to his wife too. I need to get a hard copy so I can dog-ear it and spare the iPhone. I already made Eliot listen to the forward last night when he got home from a meeting at 11pm last night.