Fav Posts of 2013

With the year winding down, I took a look back at this year’s blog posts and wanted to share my favorites with you.

In the order they appeared…

  1. A Pizza Kind of Weekend – because it’s not always just about running and pizza is one of my favorite foods!

    Fresh out of the oven

    Fresh out of the oven

  2. Running Missteps – even after years of running, it’s good to remember that we can all fall into some rookie mistakes now and then.
  3. Birthday Fun – because it reminds me what a great b-day I had this year.
  4. Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – not only do I LOVE this race, but it was also one of my fastest and most successful races of the year making it a fun recap to relive.

    Smiling after hearing Ian call my name!

    Smiling after hearing Ian call my name!

  5. So Sad – because this was one of the most emotional posts I’ve written, and I still find what happened in Boston hard to believe.
  6. Book Review: Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine – because I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this book and because you should too if you haven’t read it yet!
  7. Race Recap: Such a Rush – the day I ran my first-ever track race and loved every second of it!SprintToTheFinish
  8. Engaged! – because this was my favorite thing about 2013!

    Celebratory Toast at Fireworks

    Celebratory Toast at Fireworks

  9. A Conversation with Bart Yasso – because I got to talk with Bart Yasso. Enough said.
  10. MCM Race Recap: BQ or Bust… Well, Not Exactly – while this race wasn’t at all what I expected I love the emotion that comes through in the recap and the understanding that a bad race isn’t the end of the world.

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Tell me what was your favorite post you wrote in 2013.

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Book Review: PRE The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine

I cannot believe I have never read this book. If you’re a runner or a competitor, you will love it.

Tom Jordan tells the story of Pre’s life from his beginnings in Coos Bay, a mill town on the coast of Oregon through his brilliant, but short career. As a runner, I’ve always known who Pre was and obviously heard the stories about how great he was and how his life was tragically cut short in a car accident. I honestly didn’t know much more than that though and loved every page of this book.

Jordan details Pre’s career from high school through college at the University of Oregon to the Olympics, running overseas and his run-ins with the AAU. He talks about his training, his interaction with teammates and others, and his races. There are brief blurbs throughout from people whose lives Pre touched that give you a fuller picture of who Pre was. His work ethic, drive and intensity were unbelievable and unmatched. What really stood out for me was his connection to “his people” in Oregon.

A few of my favorite excerpts:

Bill Dellinger, University of Oregon assistant cross country and track coach at that time, remembers his first glimpse of Pre at that meet. ‘I was standing on a hill. I had my binoculars, and I was probably a good half-mile or 700 yards away from the start. And I saw this guy that had the start position, but it was the look in his eyes, from a half-mile distance, the intensity in his face as the gun went off. I thought That’s got to be Pre.'”

Training was not always all that much fun, as Pre himself admitted. ‘It really gets grim until the competition begins,’ he once said. ‘You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.'”

‘It seemed,’ said Rick Riley, ‘that those of us running in the meet were only minor performers and that any minute the Star would appear and the crowds would roar to life, athlete and spectator giving and taking whatever it I that each needs and wants. I stood there on the track near the finish but he did not appear. The magic was gone forever.'”

Seriously, read this book – you won’t regret it.

PRE

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift.” -PRE

Book Review: Once A Runner

Once A Runner is written by John L. Parker and was originally published in 1978. Just about every running website or magazine has this book listed as a must-read if you’re a runner, but somehow I’d never gotten around to it until recently. A quote from Runner’s World on the back cover reads, “The best piece of running fiction around. Beg, borrow, or buy a copy, and you’ll never need another motivator.”

Once A Runner

Once A Runner

The story follows collegiate runner Quenton Cassidy as him and his teammates train for cross country, indoor track and the spring track season. It shows the devotion and effort it takes to be a competitive runner, and I think anyone who played sports in high school or college can relate to what it takes – particularly in individual sports.

Cassidy dislikes the cross country races and specializes in the mile. The story turns when he brings a petition from the student athletes complaining about athletic dress code and conduct issues that results in his suspension from the track team. It continues to follow Cassidy as he drops out of school and pursues Olympic goals with an unbelievably strong commitment to training.

I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to get into this book. The beginning came off as dated, (probably because I didn’t live in this era) and I didn’t really see how it related to running. Eventually I would see the tie in though, and as it focused more on Cassidy’s dogged pursuit to get faster climaxing in a one mile race against the fastest miler in the world, I was completely entranced. I couldn’t put it down and could not believe how motivating a fictional book could be.

One of my favorite parts of the book was during an interval workout Cassidy completed that perfectly sums up why runners (at least for me) keep going and keep training no matter how hard it is when they’re working towards a goal. I love this quote:

…just as each repetition made the next seem more and more impossible, he knew that without question he would do it. There was no refuge in injury, his body could not be injured in this way. There was no refuge in mercy, there was nothing to forgive and no one to issue dispensation. And at last he saw: there was no refuge in cowardice, because he was not afraid. There was no alternative, it just had to be done.”

If you like running and are looking for a quick read, this book is interesting, relatable and very motivating. Give it a read.

Book Review: Going Long

You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy this book – just human. Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures compiles the best stories from Runner’s World over the years. Fair warning: have a box of tissues close by, especially when you read the section on inspirations.

David Wiley, editor in chief of Runner’s World and editor of Going Long writes about the stories included in this book: “To land in these pages, they had to go long and deep, transcending running as mere sport in some way, connecting it to larger themes such as fame, faith, family, love, and even life and death.”

Thirty stories are included and are separated into five chapters including inspirations, legends, true originals, the runner’s high, and adventures and investigations. Inspirations is the section I think non-runners will connect with the most. Stories show people recovering from 9-11, amputation and getting crushed by a bus with running. There’s the story of the father-son running and triathlon team where the father pushes his son with cerebral palsy along the way as they complete marathons and Ironman triathlons across the country.

The section on legends talks about the runners who have made running what it is and shows why so many everyday people love to take part in this sport. True originals takes more of a look at some of the colorful characters to have graced the sport of running the runner’s section consists of personal essays from runners themselves about what it takes to be a runner. Finally adventures and investigations looks at going to great lengths to report on running whether looking to find the Tarahumara Indian runners made famous in Born to Run or trying to trace the route Terry Fox made in his attempt to raise cancer awareness by running 5,300 miles across Canada before being cut short by the disease that would soon take his life.

I’ve been reading Runner’s World for a few years now, but all of these stories predated my subscription to the magazine so they were all new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every story. Runners that enjoy the longer stories near the end of each Runner’s World mag will surely love this compilation of the best – even if you have seen a few of them before.

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