Skip to main content

Book 10 of 52: My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon

The timing of this book is right, eh?

The galley (e.g. preview copy) of Bart Yasso's My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon was handed to me by someone who knew I was a journalist at the running expo for last year's Ocean Drive 10 Miler/Marathon (which I blogged about at length). Cool! A book about running! But I never quite found the time to fit it in. And like the last book in this series, it sat on my 'to use' book shelf, just waiting for the call and narrowly escaping the donation bin dozens of times.

I'm going to start training for the 2009 Ocean Drive 10 miler soon, so why not now? It was the perfect book to kick off my efforts (plus I read it quickly).

Bart Yasso is a running icon. He's Runner's World magazine's "Chief Running Officer." As such, he heads up Runner's Worlds efforts at races and, before Lyme's Disease limited his running ability, ran crazy races. I mean stuff I would never dream of doing.

The first races he writes about seem extreme enough -- the Badwater Ultra through the desert, learning how to dodge rhinos in Asia. But it's when he gets to the wacky races that the writing (done with co-writer Kathleen Parrish) shines. I laughed throughout his chapter on the "Bare Buns Fun Run" and then dropped to book because I was laughing too hard when the next chapter started with a picture of Yasso running with a burro (burro runs are popular in Colorado, apparently).

And through it all, his love of running is evident, as is his high tolerance for pain. It almost had me lacing up to run in the sleet today. I mean, if this guy can run with a stubborn burro, I can surely run in a little cold, right? The welt on my rear reminded me that I have a tendency to slip on ice, though, so I spent the rest of the evening finishing this book.

Need inspiration, too? Well, of course you should read the book. But here's some great quotes:

"And when I started running, I started dreaming. It couldn't be helped. The mind works as hard as the body does during exercise."

"What's the difference? Mules are the domesticated offspring of a female horse and a donkey, and a burro is a small donkey. A jackass is a wild donkey or someone who runs a race with a burro."

"The acceptance of all abilities is what differentiates running from every other sport. In football, there are 22 people on the field and 60,000 in the stands. It's the opposite with running. Everyone's on the field and in the fold."

The first quite is why I run. I still believe I'm a much better writer because I run. I picked the second quote because it's funny, and any runner needs humor to get through long boring runs. And I picked the third quote because it's a great statement about the sport. I remember coming home from a 5k and seeing the last people to cross the finish line. Yes, they were slow, but my God were they happy to cross the finish line, and proud. And why not? Crossing any finish line is an accomplishment. It's not the time that matters to me, or to a lot of other people who run, or cycle, or swim. It's all the preparation and, for me, what I learn about myself while out on the road, all the problems and issues that I work through. That's what matters. Crossing the finish line is the icing on the cake (or whipped cream on the strawberry waffles at Dock Mike's in Cape May).

Training starts January 19. And I can't wait.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 12 of 52: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi is an author and graphic novelist who grew up in Iran and, as a tween and teen, lived in the country through  the Iranian Revolution before her parents sent her to Europe for school, and for her safety.  As an adult, she wrote Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood ,  a nonfiction graphic novel, originally in French. I read the English translation, which was published in 2003, three years after the original. It was a critical success, won a slew of awards, and became a movie . I haven't read the sequel, Persepolis 2 , but I hope to (you can also  buy them in a set . I found Persepolis  in a Little Free Library, or I'd have bought them combined).  In the tradition of Art Spiegelman's  Maus , which is about the author's father talking to him about the Holocaust,  Persepolis  is a memoir of trauma told through a mix of images and words that when combined, combust into powerful, beautiful and soul cracking art.  For example, Satrapi portrays the 1978 Cinema R

Book 23 of 52: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

More romance? Of course! The world is on fire, and I can't ingest all the fires all the time. Sometimes I want to turn to genre fiction as an escape, even if an escape is into a patriarchal society where it's SCANDAL that a woman sometimes, when riding a horse, wears pants. Because of Miss Bridgerton is the first book in Julia Quinn's Rokesbys Series , which are prequels to her enormously popular  Bridgerton Series  (and now a  Netflix show ). These books are similar, of course, but instead being set in the Recency era of the 1810s, these books take place at the same time as the American Revolution (though still in England).  Here we meet Sybilla "Bille" Bridergton, who is stuck on the roof of a building because she chased a cat up there. She climbed up herself (scandalous woman!) but also twisted her ankle in the process, which is why she needs help to get down.  That help comes from George Rokesby. Their families are neighbors, and they've known each other

Book 26 of 52: The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown

I'm not going to write a long review of Tina Brown's The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil  for two reasons. First, it's been hashed to death already, as anything about the royals is, by people who are far more invested in this whole thing than I am. And second, I'm in the frantic "do I really need a jean jacket AND a windbreaker" level of packing before a long trip. I can say that I didn't mind listening to this nearly 18 hour audiobook while the rest of the world is on fire, although of course they are not insulated. We can pretend that the Royal Family lives in a bubble, but they are enormously influential; touched by the same issues of race, class and gender; and Queen Elizabeth II is one of most influential politicians of modern times — and she is a politician, no matter what anyone says. Her death will be a global, cultural moment. Same thing with the Pope, on both fronts. I listened to Brown's  The Diana Chro