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A run and a chat with Ultra-marathon man Dean Karnazes

Posted Aug 22 2012 11:54am
IMG-20120818-00234 You can’t ask for a better day on any August 18 in Kansas City.  The high temperatures reached low 80’s and the morning was cool and crisp.  It also brought out Ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City for a fun run to kick off the festivities for the 2nd annual North Face Kansas City Endurance Challenge.
The North Face Store held sales and the North Face Endurance Challenge in Kansas City offered 40% for the brave souls that would try to keep up with Karnazes on the 10k course set up to take off from the store.
Dean Karnazes dived into training, traveling while staying in shape, diet and supplements.
Dean travels.  He travels a lot.  In 2011, Dean reported being away from home for more than 200 days.  That includes all of his racing in addition to his duties with the North Face team.  How does he stay shredded and trained up to run 100 miles in Death Valley?  He runs whenever and wherever he can.  Just that morning he ran the 6 to 7 miles from his hotel to the store and would gobble up 6 more miles on the fun run 10k.  His goal is to get 30 miles in a day, but it does not need to be all at once.
He recommends cross training as the number one tool to stave off injury for ultra-runners.  Running only provides strength in one plain.  Dean utilizes trail running and friendly games of tennis to work the muscle groups that propel you side-to-side.  This allows better flexibility and mobility through a wider range of motion for his body, adding strength and stability while reducing the chance of injuries from running.  Interestingly enough when quizzed about actual strength work, Karnazes declines using true resistance weights and chooses to train using body weight only.  He will incorporate pus-ups, pull ups and lunges along with several other strength moves to keep his strength while avoiding adding bulk.
One look at Dean and you realize he probably eats pretty well.  But, how do you eat well when on the road so much?  There are so many temptations on the road, and especially in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.  Just down the street were the Cheesecake Factory and Coldstone.  How does he leave them alone?  He hits the whole foods markets and keeps groceries in his room.  Sounds like a smart move.  He located a whole foods store to get the best ingredients he can find and lives off those supplies until he heads to his next location.  In doing so, he eliminates the need to venture out for food allowing for the temptations of a juicy fillet to take over.  Dean did assure this Examiner that he would have to try Kansas City Bar-B-Q.  After all, it is Kansas City.  Only Dean truly knows if he really did try it out.
One would think the need to counteract the stress of ultra-running would require a medicine cabinet of supplements like fish oil, amino acids and protein powders.  Not Dean.  Through Dean’s carefully thought out diet plan, he acquires many of the vitamins and minerals his body needs to stay in tip top shape.  Score one for the whole foods stores, again.  Dean powers himself with food, not pills.
After a brief chat with Dean, it was off for a leisurely 10k stroll.  Dean was nice enough to keep the pace at 8:30 minutes per mile, allowing most of the 25 to 30 runners that showed up to keep up with Dean.  It was a great day for a run and an even greater day to chat with one of the world’s largest running icons, Dean Karnazes.

Runfinish Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog , married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans.  Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts  HERE  and he collects race reviews at .  Contact Ryan at: or follow him on  @TriJayhawkRyan .

Follow on twitter @ everymantri  or view latest videos on YouTube .

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