Thursday, November 3, 2011

To Be a Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place) by Martin Dugard

With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, instruction, and humor, best-selling author—and lifelong runner—Martin Dugard takes a journey through the world of running to illustrate how the sport helps us fulfill that universal desire to be the best possible version of ourselves each and every time we lace up our shoes.

To Be a Runner represents a new way to write about running by bridging the chasm between the two categories of running books: how-to and personal narrative. Spinning colorful yarns of his running and racing adventures on six continents—from competing in the infamous Raid Gauloises to coaching his son's high school cross-country team—Dugard considers what it means to truly integrate the activity into one's life. For example, how the simple act of buying a new pair of running shoes can be a source of meaning and hope. As entertaining as it is provocative, To Be a Runner is about far more than running: It is about life, and how we should live it.

My thoughts:
Over the weekend I completed my third 5K.  Running is still relatively new to me so I've been signing up for a 5K a month to keep myself working towards a goal.  There are two libraries I regularly visit and somehow at the one location I seem to always find running books.  This is the book I read on Sunday night when we were without power.  It was nice to have few distractions, but it would have been nicer to have more light.  I think I  need a better book light!

The book is a collection of essays about running that run in a pretty much chronological order for Martin Dugard from how he first tried running when his parents ran laps in a gym, to being a runner in high school and college, to stopping and getting heavy, returning and then stopping again and getting heavy.  Now he is a writer and a high school coach and the excitement he feels for his runners is so motivating.  One thing I've found in my limited experience with the running community is that so many people are so encouraging.  Very few people criticize if your time is slow or you aren't overly confident, and he seems like he is a very motivated and understanding coach who pushes his runners to do their best and believes in them.  I wish at some point I had tried running as part of a team.

One thing he comes back to over and over again is how running, and he does mostly trail running, helps him put things in perspective and break out of a bad mood.  He runs almost daily as a break in his writing and a lot of it really is getting your shoes on and getting out the door.  Once you start you are so much less likely to stop or quit than if you never get yourself up to do it in the first place (like lots of things in life I guess).
•Pub. Date: May 2011
•Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
•Format: Hardcover , 256pp
•ISBN-13: 9781609611088
•ISBN: 160961108X

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on starting running and finishing 3 5K's - that is great! I used to run (stopped due to knee injury but want to get back to it) and can attest to the author's claim about running's ability to put things in perspective. I would have an almost meditative experience while I ran and worked through lots of problems out on the road.