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The Summit Seeker, Vanessa Runs, ultra running, ultra marathon, trail running, book review

Y’all. I found my trail running soul sister, and her name is Vanessa.

Vanessa blogs at VanessaRuns.com and recently wrote a book about her trail running adventures called The Summit Seeker. When she asked me to review her book, I of course said yes. A book about ultra running? No-brainer!

Vanessa had a difficult childhood and learned to use running as an escape. She started by tackling small distances, then methodically moving up until she planned two 100-milers within a few weeks of each other. Bad.Ass. Reading about her experiences and everything she’s overcome was such an inspiration. Vanessa has a wonderful outlook on life—do what you love, be with whom you love, and the rest will fall in place. She genuinely seems to enjoy life and all the experiences that come along with it, both positive and negative. We all need to be like that.

Vanessa writes about being a back-of-the-packer, and while I think she’s actually pretty damn fast, I could relate to a lot of her thoughts. Ultra running is about embracing every moment, even when you’re miserable and ready to quit. Reading about the range of emotions she experienced in her first 100 made me want to get out there and do it myself, because she made it sound so life-changing.

Vanessa has a way with words that really resonated with me. From the first page, I found myself saying, “Yes! I get you!” to so many of her thoughts. It’s like we’re kindred spirits. I want to be her best friend. Her writing is so descriptive yet simple—reading the book felt like we were having a conversation. Vanessa breaks her experiences into small, easily-digestable chunks so that each “chapter” is short, yet impactful. I finished the book in two nights, and immediately wanted to read her entire blog from the beginning so that her stories wouldn’t end.

The Summit Seeker, Vanessa Runs, ultra running, ultra marathon, trail running, book review

I never underline or mark up books. Ever. But there were just too many good points to not bust out the pen.

Here are some of my favorite quotations from the book:

On running in Toronto

The entire city was my playground.

On pushing yourself 

I know my strength will come back, and it’s ok to exhaust it sometimes.

On trail runners 

They don’t care who you are, and they’ll look out for you.

On climbing trees mid-run 

Much like sprinting through a dewy meadow or rolling down a hill, it’s impossible to climb a tree without laughing or grinning.

On why we run 

…we need people to run 100 miles just as we need people who can sing above an orchestra, or who can paint a masterpiece. It proves to us the wonder and versatility of humanity, and reminds us as a species we are capable of extraordinary feats. And so we need an army of runners who can move swiftly with no purpose. Who seek out trails that lead to nowhere. Who scale mountains just to see the other side. More importantly, we need things in our life that we don’t have to rationalize. Things we can just love recklessly. And we need to stop asking why.

Vanessa is wonderful and is letting me give away a copy of her book. Even if you’re not a big reader, you’ll love it. Pinky promise.

To enter:

Leave a comment below describing why you started running trails (or roads, if you’re not a trail runner).

Bonus entries (leave a separate comment for each so that I can count them):

The contest will end December 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. I’ll choose a winner using Random.org.