Archive for the ‘Runnin’ & Readin’’ Category

            This is a look into some books that are running related.  The relationship may seem like a stretch at times, but it is there.  That may include tapping into the psyche of running and not just the obvious physical aspect.  But, as most serious runners know, our running is affected in one way or another by everything we perceive.  Reading helps us to broaden that perception.

BOOK:  My Life On The Run, The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon

AUTHOR: Bart Yasso

PUBLISHER: Rodale, 2008

           

            The author, Bart Yasso, is the Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine…Whatever a Chief Running Officer is.  As the dust cover leaf states, Yasso has competed in more than 1000 races, triathlons, biathlons, and eco-challenges over the past 28 years.  He was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions.  He has also been called the “Mayor of Running”…Whatever.

            I met Bart when I was running the 1992 Runner’s World TransAmerica Footrace.  He was sent out west by Runner’s World to quiet the rebellious runners who seemed to think their running was what the race was all about.  After his ranting, raving, and threats, we continued doing things our way with no problems.  Bart was replaced with a more sane liaison.

            But, Bart did write an interesting book about his various running adventures.  Most of these were initiated by Runner’s World sending him to differing races in order to report on them for the magazine.  That sounds pretty sweet, going to races with all expenses paid, and Bart readily recognizes this fact.

            The book is easily read and is entertaining.  It is not just a compilation of races in which he competed.  It gives good descriptions of the background of the races.  Personalities are described when they are important to the character of the events. 

            Bart’s racing adventure takes him to far off places like Antarctica, Africa, and Nepal.  He recommends marathons that should give the reader the best and most enjoyable experiences.  This is intertwined with the stories of his travels to and from the events.

            He, also, relates health problems that hampered his adventures.  This was complicated by his location being out of the USA.  Medical treatment could get suspect when you get away from our medical system.  The reader can appreciate Yasso’s determination in completing assignment under these conditons.

            Just as the reader is immersed in the stories, Yasso changes gears and starts telling the reader the more practical aspects of such runs.  This leads to training program for 5-K’s up to marathons.  The programs tend to be on the easier side of training as typical for the parent publication, Runner’s World Magazine.

            I liked the book, especially the accounts of the races.  The pictures of the sites and of Bart through the years add to the enjoyment of the book.  An overriding message from the book is that each of us can find adventure in our running and races just may be the best source.

            That’s well worth the read.   

  Richard Westbrook

           

“I had taken running for granted or at least put too much emphasis on the wrong things.  I had never won a race of the mythical 26.2-mile distance, and at age 43, I probably never would.  It was time to appreciate the sweaty exertion for what it was – an affirmation of life.”

                                                                                                               Bart Yasso

          This is a look into some books that are running related.  The relationship may seem like a stretch at times, but it is there.  That may include tapping into the psyche of running and not just the obvious physical aspect.  But, as most serious runners know, our running is affected in one way or another by everything we perceive.  Reading helps us to broaden that perception.

BOOK:  Born to Run, A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

AUTHOR: Christopher McDougall

PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009  

          Born to Run is an incredible book.  It doesn’t matter if you are a serious runner or a couch potato.  It doesn’t matter if you like mysteries or adventure.  It doesn’t matter if you as a runner are interested in training or injury prevention or running for fun or fitness.

        This book encompasses all the above and more.  It is one of my favorite books.  I’m an avid reader who reads a lot of different genres.  I like fiction and non-fiction.  I read a lot on running.  I read classics.  I read mysteries.  I read adventure.  I read westerns.  I read philosophy and religion.  I read science.  I read geography.  I read travel. I read biography.  I read history.  I read sports.

          Some of my favorite books are The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour; The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindbergh; Once A Runner by John L. Parker Jr.; Bunion Derby by Charles B. Kastner, and others.  Now, added to that list is Born to RunIt fits nicely into the list ranking very high.

          The book takes us from Colorado to Mexico and some other related sites along the way.  We meet interesting characters.  The characters are so varied that we can see ourselves in there somewhere.  The great thing is that the characters are real, but as we read the book, we would swear that these characters are made-up for the story.

           Therein lays the allure.  Born to Run reads like a novel, one that is both a mystery and adventure story.  It is biographical, historical, and scientific.  The characters engage us.  We want to read the next page to see what happens to them.  It is the story of the land, people, philosophy, and running.  For what more could you ask?

            The author, Christopher McDougall, is a runner himself, so he writes with a sincere interest.  That interest is made evident in the beginning of the book.  In his search for answers on some running problems, he finds out that a lot of conventional wisdom is misplaced.  Through his search, he learns.  We learn along with him.

          The mysterious Caballo Blanco is the catalyst that takes us into the Copper Canyon region of Mexico.  That is where the Tarahumara Indians live and run.  The Tarahumaras are linked with an elite ultrarunner, surfers, and barefoot running.  The story leads to the epochal point of a race in its truest form.

          The race is not one of the glitzy, corporate sponsored events we are familiar with in this country.  It is almost a “secret” event.  You will remember the race and the setting long after you read the account.  You will identify with the runners in the race.  McDougall paints a startling picture in which our mind will be engaged with the vision, smell, and heart-pounding feeling of the sites both there and here.

          The book would go on your bookshelf with the books on ultrarunning.  But, it is so much more.  Delving into lifestyles, it gives the reader a glimpse into differing philosophies.  This ranges from the “why” of running to the importance of life.

          Telling you too much about the specifics of the book and the story would give too much away.  It is better to explore the story like one would explore a new running route.  After starting the book, the runner will want to run more because of learning what can be done and what the human potential can be.

          Read Born to Run, and you will become a better runner.  You will share experiences you never thought possible.  You will understand Kuira-ba…We are all one.

 Richard Westbrook

                                                “The best runner leaves no tracks.”

                                                                                      Tao Te Ching