I hope your Monday has been a little bit more action-packed than mine. Unless you count sitting on the couch at home working, absorbing heat from your laptop, and eating your body weight in peppermint bark as action-packed—and in that case I have been pro-duc-tive!
It’s alright…Monday tends to be slow and steady for me anyway.
Today, I wanted to talk a bit about a recent addition to my passion for running—one that has not only helped get me out on the roads but has inspired my overall mentality and purpose behind running: Reading about running!
It sounds somewhat simplistic, however I honestly had not thought to read words from other runners until one of my friends ended up shoving a book in my face, proclaiming that I “HAD” to read it.
Now, mind you when I first started reading books about running, I was still very much injured and pretty bitter toward anyone who had the mobility of their legs.
Too much? Yes. At the time, though, I was going through some serious running withdrawls, and I was jealous of anyone who had the capacity to run even one mile without their hip searing in pain (this was me for three months).
However, I wanted to feel like I was still a part of the running community, and the only way to do that was the bit the bullet and keep up with those in the running world.
This is when I discovered Dean Karnazes. Specifically, his book Ultramarathon Man.
Dean has been featured in every media channel possible; magazines, television, movies, newspapers, etc.—they all want to tell a piece of Dean’s story. Those of you who have never heard of him, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of this ultramarathon man:
He’s one of the most incredible athletes in the world, he has inspired thousands of runners and non runners to reach further than they ever thought possible, and he is certifiably and positively NUTS.
This dude has run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days in a row. He has run a marathon to the South Pole, he has done the Badwater ultra multiple times (the hardest footrace on earth), and he has run across the United States stopping only for brief naps along the way. Additionally, he has done every crazy/inhuman running race imaginable, and he continues to come up with new ways in which to challenge the potential of the human body.
And all because of one small, simple fact: He loves to run.
Despite the fame that Dean’s acquired through all of his coverage, it is a genuine love of human endurance that keeps his endeavors alive. Reading his books is addicting; certainly, his stories and adventures defy all logic in terms of athletic accomplishment—but to me the most engaging parts of his writing are just how possible he makes it all sound.
Sure, his resting HR and running form may rank in the superior range, however for the most part he is just an average guy who found something that he loved and went after it. Reading about the feats he takes on, absurd as they may be, he makes the goal of doing a marathon or even a 50k seem, well, do-able.
When I first started reading Dean’s books, I was convinced that I was a half-marathoner through and through, and if I were ever to try and do a full marathon it would be years away and a one-shot type of deal.
After being so inspired by his accomplishments and humble story-telling, I was not only motivated to complete a full marathon, but I actually believed that I could do it. I was done with being an injured, reckless runner who limited herself to only one distance. No, I was going to take the next step, throw my doubts aside, and go for the beast of all races.
And here I am, 5 months after recovery and not only have I completed one marathon, I’m planning my next year around the next marathons I want to do.
Okay, I realize how obnoxiously cocky this all might sound—but I promise I have a point. While my inspiration came from a variety of sources, I really believe that reading about running was and is one of the most effective means to achieving my goals as a runner. These goals can be as big as running a marathon or as small as getting out of bed in the morning for a short run, but I have come to fully appreciate the power of words as a runner.
One of the best things about runners is their unwavering ability to provide their wisdom, experiences, and support to other runners. This is why I believe runners love to read books, magazines, blogs, and even Twitter feeds about running. Running is a sport that forces us to be humble, patient, and smart—but it also yields an intangible amount of glory, peace, and feeling of accomplishment. The dichotomy of these two facets of running makes runners eager and willing to share their experiences with others and also incredibly receptive to hearing stories from others.
There’s a reason why the familiar “runner’s nod” is so genuine no matter where you are.
I love this about running, and frankly I can’t get enough of reading the words of other runners. There is no “right” way to run, and therefore reading about what works for some gives a multidimensional guise to this sport that is so simple in principle.
One of the primary reasons I started my blog was because I became so hooked on reading other blogs about running. I stumbled upon Ali on the Run, a NYC based runner and writer, and from there I found an entire network of females my age who loved all the same things I do—namely, running.
I got enamored with reading all their stories of training, successes, failures, and everything in between that makes up the lives of runners. I loved the idea of combining two of my greatest passions—running and writing—into one single space, and this is how Run Birdie Run was born.
I want to highly encourage anyone in search of some motivation, inspiration, or simply entertainment to try out the stories of runners. We are a group of people who seek nothing from our sport other than personal success and endorphin-induced happiness, and somehow we can’t seem to talk enough about it.
Here are some suggestions (both print and web) I have if you’re interested in some good running reads:
-Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man, Run!, and 50/50
-Kristin Armstrong’s Mile Markers book and blog
-Running blogs. They are all over, and once you find a few you love—you’ll be visiting them daily!
I’m in the midst of acquiring Soul Sisters, Running on Empty, and Chi of Running as my next running-based reads.
What kind of running reading do you do? Suggestions? Does reading about running keep you inspired, or does it overwhelm you?