Monday, March 12, 2012

Running Reads

As if it wasn’t enough to spend 3-5 hours of my week running, sometimes I also read about running in my spare time. So I thought I would review a few of the running-related books that I’ve read in the past several months.


Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong

I wanted to like this book more than I did, but at the end of the day, I just can’t relate to Kristin Armstrong that much. I don’t have a gaggle of girlfriends with whom I go gallivanting through the streets of Austin. I don’t have kids, and I’m not nearly as fast. The book is primarily a compilation of Armstrong’s blogposts and writings for Runner’s World organized by topic (“mile marker”). However, that lends itself to being chronologically disjointed and occasionally confusing. I did appreciate how she combines running and her faith and her odes to the support and camaraderie of her running friends, but I had trouble relating.


Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi

It’s actually been almost a year since I’ve read this book, but with Meb’s Olympic Trials success, it would be a good read before this summer. In large part, the book is an answer to the critics who claim that Meb isn’t “really” an American since he immigrated from Eritrea. What is more American, more of an example of what our national mythology holds up than an immigrant coming to American and being able to find success? Additionally, the “real” American argument is pretty thinly veiled racism, but that’s a rant for another time. Meb’s good-guy personality and his hard work shine through this book, even if the writing is pretty second-rate. It’s a quick read for anyone interested in the back story of an Olympic runner. I’ll certainly be cheering for Meb when he runs in London.


Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Just in case I’m not the last runner in the world to read this book, there’s a reason that it’s so popular. I started it with some skepticism due to those militant barefoot runners who take so much inspiration from it, but there was very little barefoot propaganda in the book. The story is marvelously told, weaving in scientific discoveries and history with the main narrative of the “greatest race.” I couldn’t recommend it more highly, even if you’re not that into running. If you are into running, it will make you want to run more. While the book touches on veganism, barefoot running, and more, it isn’t about those movements specifically. At the end of the day, a well-written, fascinating story is really what this book is.