Friday, September 9, 2011

Star Struck- The Marshall Ulrich Experience

I lived in Malibu for four year.  I saw a lot of stars.  At the grocery store, Starbucks, walking around in bathrobes (seriously), running the stairs at school, ordering me around when I worked at Malibu Yo.  After awhile it's like, big whoop you're famous, so is everyone else around here.  You would think after all that I wouldn't get star struck anymore....but I kind of did last night.  I will admit it, I thought it was pretty cool to meet Marshall Ulrich.  I know this is not helping my "I'm not obsessed with Marshall Ulrich" case!

The Runner's Roost in Lakewood was hosting a run, talk, and book signing.  Here's the breakdown of a totally awesome birthday night!

The Run:  Lost.  That is the word I would use to sum up the run experience.  When I got to Runner's Roost I was told that the run would actually start across the street in the Belmar shopping center.  I was given directions and, I mean, it was just across the street.  Who gets lost going across the street??  Me.  I drove around and around and around.  I could not for the life of me find the street or the parking lot where the run was suppose to start.  Oh my gosh, I was going to miss out on running with Marshall Ulrich because I can't follow directions!!  I was beginning to lose hope when I saw the runners!  I flew into the parking lot, screeched into the parking spot, hopped out of the car, and started running!

After a few minutes the front of the pack (with Marshall) started getting farther away and the back of the pack was getting farther away in the other direction.  Pretty soon I was running all alone.  Apparently nobody runs at my pace.  Not fast, not slow, but lonely!!!  The path started taking lots of turns and the speedy group was no longer in sight.  Whenever I got to a fork in the road I would just ask people, "did a lot of runner just go by?"  I hung on for awhile, but eventually it was obvious to me that I was not in the right place.  I decided that I could (maybe?) find my way back to the car.  I found the car (I think divine intervention was involved) and drove back to the Runner's Roost a bit bummed, but glad that I would not miss the rest of the evening because I was roaming the streets of Lakewood (Which by the way is where I used to live!  Seriously, what is wrong with me?). 

The Talk: I know I am not alone in this confession, but before I read this book, this was my impression of running across America.
Yup, served him at Malibu Yogurt.
Forrest and Marshall both started running because of painful emotional experiences. . . and that is where the similarities end.  Marshall's book and lecture give you a lot of insight into what it actually takes to go across the country by foot.  You need an incredible support crew, 9,000 calories a day, a lot of shoes, and sometimes a private patch of a cornfield! 

Marshall told a lot of stories that were in the book, but it was really neat to hear it from him.  Plus, he told stories that were not in the book.  I also got to ask him why he started from San Francisco instead of LA.  I took particular offense to that part of the book because I am a Southern Californian.  Just kidding, but I was curious because I have driven the California to Colorado route both ways and I always preferred the southern route.  Of course, I was in a car....with air conditioning.  It surprised me when he said that he loved running hills and wanted to run over the Sierras.  Okay, I will live with you giving Southern Cali the shaft.

Some of my favorite things he said:
*Most of the things he did were because of bets.  Like, "I bet you can't do that" and he would go prove them wrong.
*You are capable of so much more than you think.
*You are never too old.  Especially appropriate for my birthday!
*Diversify and don't be afraid to try new things.

Book Signing:  I already had a copy of Running on Empty....on my Kindle.  Love the Kindle but you can't exactly get it signed.  So I kinda went back and forth over whether I would buy one for him to sign.  The practical, need to make sure the kids have food and electricity side of me was saying to go home and forget the book signing.  The not practical, I want a picture with Marshall Ulrich! side of me was saying to bust out the plastic!  There was never really a question.  I bought the book and stood in line.  I got my book signed and a got him to pose for a picture (he was a great sport about both!).  Is there a greater present for a runner to get on her bday? 

Overall:  It was great and I highly recommend going to a book signing if Marshall Ulrich is in your neck of the woods.  I was officially inspired to run a marathon.  If, at 57, Marshall can run across the entire United States, I think know I can go 26.2 miles!  Check out the book and get inspired!


  1. I feel for your "lost" portion of your post. I was born with no internal compass, so am always getting lost.

    What a great experience for you!!

  2. So glad you caught up with (ha! pun intended) Marshall at Runner's Roost. Loved your post...well done!

  3. Katie, you nailed it - the LA to NYC route is indeed a bit shorter and is the choice for many transcons. However, it is HOTTER, and Marshall's breadbasket is elevation, so that's how he rolled.

    Very much enjoyed both your Marshall posts. He would like nothing better than to have you review Running on Empty on

    Cheers, Steve Shepard (Marshall's "Roadie")

  4. Thanks Heather and Steve!! I will definitely review the book on amazon.