Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Ultimate Runner

Do you ever wonder why people are running? We all have our own reasons and sometimes when I am running by a person I think about asking them. I then think "What if I ask them and they had just found their groove and now I'm ruining it for them..."  Instead of asking them, I just politely say "good morning" or a friendly wave and move on all the time wondering if they are wondering why I am running. Maybe one time I'll just blurt out as I run by a person "Because when I don't run my family tells me that I'm grouchy.." If that doesn't break the ice, nothing will.

Why am I talking about this? Because Amy Hunold-VanGundy and Tom Green from the Runners' Lounge did just that very thing. No, they didn't go around screaming at least they didn't mention that, so we'll assume they were very polite. They asked people why they run and then they took the stories, put them in a book called The Ultimate Runner and are now living in the lap of luxury. I've really got to break out of my anti-social runningness.

Tom and Amy sent me a copy several weeks ago to review. The first thing that struck me when I started reading the book was that every person who is in the book has their own personal reason why they run. There were the typical weight loss/exercise running stories, but those too were unique—some talked about how running saved their life. Many stories however went deeper than this and delved into the "why" they run.

The book is very well organized into several categories so it is easy to find an area of interest. One area that struck my attention was the section called "Must-Know Info." There was topics on stretching (which  I have mixed feelings on), nutrition (with charts and some math involved), injury prevention and more. Each of these articles are full of good information in a short concise format.

The articles carry the style of each writer so that the books feels more personal—as if the author is talking right to the reader.

The book also has photos. On the left page there is a photo of boys running through what looks like an Equestrian course. They are running with very intense looks on their face. On the right page there is a photo of the London Marathon where the lead guy has a London Pride Beer costume on. The runner bottle guy has a very pained and concerned look on his face. The runners behind him have very large smiles almost as if they have decided that getting the bottle is more important than the race. This is a great photo. When I put the two photos side by side I decided that the boys are running so that when they grow up they can be adults and chase a man dressed as a beer bottle too.

I do have one suggestion for Tom and Amy and their publisher—get another copy editor to go through the book. I found more than one typo in the articles I read. It didn't distract me from the overall feel of the book, but because I get a lot of flak when I misspell words I tend to find them often.

In the end, the book The Ultimate Runner is a good read and have around. I did do an informal scientific study of my own with the book. I didn't run for a few days, but I did read about people who did. The plan was to see if the actual running made me less "grouchy" or if it could be solved by "thinking about running." After a few days my kids told me to "stop talking about running and actually go running." I guess we know how that study turned out.

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