PERSONAL RECORD: A Love Affair with Running

Posted: March 9, 2015 by smrtnsasy in Runnin' & Readin'
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This book is not the normal tome about running that we see so much of to the degree that they all look alike. And, the subtitle, “A Love Affair with Running” can seem a little girly. But, when you get into the guts of this small book of 163 pages, you will appreciate its unique characteristic.

The first thing that strikes the reader is the complete honesty by the author, Rachel Toor. She opens up from the beginning and keeps it that way to the end. Sometimes, it seems a little contradictory, but when you think about it, it all seems very real…just the way people are.

In the induction which is titled “Toeing the Line,” Toor explains that the book is formatted like a marathon. It has twenty-seven chapters with the last one numbered .2, and the preceding ones numbered 1 through 26. You could look at it as a collection of essays on running with each one characterized by the author’s point of view. Of course, the topical relationship leans toward marathons and ultramarathons.

Through each mile marker (chapters), Toor opens up about herself. Through the book, she tells her story from a couch potato to runner. Along the way, she brings the reader into her world infused with her training, racing, relationships, and jobs. Her writing is clear and interesting.

Chapters such as The Body; Reasons Not to Run; The Routes; One Runner’s Beginnings; The Closet; The Coach; The Magazine Rack; Ride and Ties; Weekend Mornings; The First Marathon; Speed Goggles; The Fast Young Man; Boston; Becoming a Marathoner; Racing; The Western State; Injuries; Ultras; The Watch; The Coach (different from the first one); On The Road; The Hospital; Pacing; The Break-Up; The Curtain Rod; and Getting to the Finish. These titles drew my attention, and made me want to read them, especially Reasons Not to Run; Speed Goggles; Ultras; and The Watch. Most of these chapter titles were obvious in their relation to running. Some of the others required some thought as to their relationships. But, as one reads the often humorous accounts, they too become obvious.

Rachel Toor is an experienced writer, and her writing in this book is easy to read and follow as she tells us how she became an experienced runner. Through it all, we can see that she thoroughly enjoys her running both in training and racing. She shares her thoughts while involved in each. The reader can relate to the author because these thoughts are shared. Toor writes to the experienced and beginner.

After reading this book, one can feel a friendship with the author. Her writing tends to get to the base level of the sport. She writes of things that the runner will find interesting and of value. The reader will be eager to read more from the author after reading this book.

Richard Westbrook

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