Running Outside the Comfort Zone

An Explorer's Guide to the Edges of Running

By Susan Lacke


Sports writer Susan Lacke takes on running’s weirdest and wackiest events to rekindle her love for the sport.

In stock


Running offers much more than road racing!

After a decade of writing about running, sports columnist Susan Lacke found herself in a serious running rut. The runners around her seemed to be thriving, setting goals, and having fun, but her own interest in running was lackluster.

Seeking to reengage with the sport she once loved, Lacke spends a year exploring running in its many shapes and forms, taking on running challenges that scare her, push her, and downright embarrass her. From races with giant cheese wheels to a regional wife-carrying competition, a naked 5K to climbing the dark stairwells of the Empire State Building, Lacke’s brave forays and misadventures are chronicled in wondrous and funny stories.

Running Outside the Comfort Zone uncovers the brash, bold, and very human sides of running, and along the way Susan rekindles her own crush on America’s favorite all-comers sport.

Read a chapter and see more on the races in Susan’s book.

Running Outside the Comfort Zone: An Explorer’s Guide to the Edges of Running
Susan Lacke
Paperback with black-and-white photographs throughout.
5 1/8″ x 8″, 256 pp., $18.95, 9781937715847

Running Outside the Comfort Zone: An Explorer's Guide to the Edges of Running

Susan Lacke

Paperback Black-and-white photographs throughout.

Shipping Dimensions: 6in x 9in x .5625in 256pp $18.95, Inventory 9781937715847, Shipping .5625lbs


Introduction: What’s the Password?

1 In Defense of 3:00 a.m. Registrations

2 It’s All Uphill from Here

3 Davy Crockett, Dust Storms, and a Bag Full of Poop

4 How Did I Get Here? And Where Are My Shoes?

5 Uphill, Both Ways, in Jorts

6 A Helluva Race in a Helluva Town

7 Grandpa’s in the Tuff Shed

8 That’s a Horrible Idea. What Time?

9 Feels Like Home

10 One Mile at a Time

11 Lay It All Bare

12 Back Story

13 Stay Weird, San Francisco

14 And Jill Came Tumbling After

15 Thank Hell for Little Girls

16 Get Off My Back

17 The Ultimate Human Race

Epilogue: Open Sesame

Author’s Note


About the Author



Huntsville Marathon (#1) | Huntsville, UT

Red Bull 400 | Park City, UT


Pony Express Trail 50 | Faust, UT


Across the Years | Phoenix, AZ


La Farola Run | Havana, Cuba


Empire State Building Run-Up | New York City, NY


Coffin Race | Nederland, CO

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Run | Flagstaff, AZ


Salt Lake City Marathon | Salt Lake City, UT

Grand Blue Mile | Des Moines, IA


Caliente Bare Dare 5K | Land O’ Lakes, FL

USA Network’s Storytellers Project | Phoenix, AZ

Bay to Breakers | San Francisco, CA

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll | Gloucester, England


Girls on the Run Camp | Salt Lake City, UT

Midwest Wife Carrying Championship | Frederick, SD

Comrades Marathon | Durban, South Africa


Huntsville Marathon (#2) | Huntsville, UT

Preview book.

Praise for Running Outside the Comfort Zone

“Read Running Outside the Comfort Zone for a fascinating look into the ‘edges of running.’ Susan rekindles her own crush on the sport of running and just might challenge readers to seek out their own exciting running challenges.” Women’s Running

“Each chapter of Running Outside the Comfort Zone is a self-contained adventure, written in a witty, often hilariously understated style that reveals, in a no-holds-barred fashion, the author’s self-examination of her weaknesses, foibles, and strengths.” — American Trail Running Association (ATRA)

“In Running Outside the Comfort Zone, some races are straight up ridiculous asshattery; some are literally life-changing. And at every event, Susan remains on the lookout—for her love of running to return, for her limits to be tested, and for the secret password that would let her join the ranks of ‘real runners.’” Fit Bottomed Girls

“If you love running, you’ll love this romp through the weird and wacky side of the sport.” — No Meat Athlete

”Susan Lacke is super relatable and an awesome storyteller….I flew through this book and didn’t want it to end.” — Carlee McDot, run blogger

Running Outside the Comfort Zone is both funny and entertaining, but I realized within the first few pages that it was about so much more. This is the story of a runner who has battled alcoholism and asthma, has challenged the labels society places on people with disabilities, and has struggled with her own identity as a runner. I couldn’t help but feel as though I had made a new friend and experienced my own mini running revival when I finished this book.” — Maggie Morehart, Incurable blog

Praise for Susan Lacke’s debut book, Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow

“Susan Lacke is not only a great writer but also one of the most hilarious people around…And her book? It’s all that and more…It’s poignant. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. It’s inspiring. It’s funny. It’s deeply personal and reflective. It’s the kind of story that makes you look within…that makes you want to call up your best friend in the middle of the night and say ‘thank you from the bottom of my heart’. It’s the kind of read that makes you want to write a bucket list and start checking things off of it now… This book is SO F*CKING beautiful.” — Fit Bottomed Girls

“With humor and brutal honesty, Lacke draws you in to a touching story that’s refreshingly free of affected ‘inspirational crap.’ It made me laugh, gave me pause to reflect on my own fallable inner voice, and to rejoice over relationships strengthened through sport. Brilliant!” — Heather Wurtele, professional triathlete

“I really loved Susan Lacke’s book. Her friendship with Carlos made me laugh and cry. More than anything, Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is a reminder that sport is so much more than fitness: Sports are about friendship and the power to change the course of our lives.” — Rachel Joyce, professional triathlete

“A witty and honest story of an endearing friendship. Susan always keeps it real.” — Kelly Williamson, professional triathlete

“A relatively quick read about running, triathlon and friendship that will make you laugh, cry and reflect on what’s really important in your own life. Susan Lacke might not be a household name (yet, anyway) but she’s a hell of a writer and has a knack for using humor to tell stories that resonate on a deeply personal level… I can’t recommend [her book] enough.” — Mario Fraioli, The Morning Shakeout

“I was captivated and inspired by Susan’s story of the profound transformative powers of friendship and sport. To see the progression and improvement in her life reminds us all of the value these human relationships and athletic endeavors have, and of the tremendous capacity for change and growth that lies in each person.” — Ben Hoffman, professional triathlete

Life’s Too Short…cements Lacke’s reputation as the storyteller of endurance sports.” — Salt Lake magazine

“A book you just can’t put down…Susan Lacke shows the reader that we, too, can take Carlos’ passion and love and ‘go the distance’ in whatever we set out to do.” — A Triathlete’s Diary

Life’s Too Short… gave me all the feels. Inspiring and funny, just like Susan.” — Rebecca Warren, Women’s Running

“This story is inspiring and touching….If you remember your early days of triathlon training, you will relate to Lacke’s athletic development, the mistakes, injuries, and huge learning curve to become skilled at three sports.” — Triathlon Magazine Canada

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