September Slipped Away

September was a cool month. On the 10th I ran a half marathon (2:10:16), was able to get to Monhegan (and introduce the island to some new people), and get to a lot of reading:

  1. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
  2. Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
  3. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  4. Consul’s Wife by W.T. Tyler
  5. Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (AB)
  6. Life and Death of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser
  7. Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
  8. Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
  9. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  10. Which Side Are You On? by Elaine Harger (ER)
  11. Which Side Are You On? by George Ella Lyon (for fun)

AB = Audio book
ER = Early review

Where the Road Ends

Hicks, Meghan M. and Bryon Powell. Where the Road Ends: a Guide to Trail Running. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2016.

Reason read: for the Early Review program for LibraryThing. Perfect, isn’t it?

The first time I laid eyes on the cover of Where the Road Ends I instantly thought “cheesy” and when I glanced through the pages I was reminded a little of a middle/grade school textbook, all glossy and full of pictures. But, that is where the fluff ends. As far as content goes, Where the Road Ends is chock full of great information. Most of it might be second nature to the more experience ultra runner but for beginners this book is a perfect must-have. The layout of information chapter by chapter is intuitive, starting with just learning and ending with full-out racing. In between is a plethora of everything you need to know: how trail running differs from the road, how to navigate the terrain, what equipment to use, how to stay fueled and hydrated (especially on the long desert runs), and so on and so on. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover (or lack thereof). This is a well organized informative book.

Smoothies for Runners Book

Andersen, Lars. The Smoothies for Runners Book. Atlanta: Nordic Standard Publishing, 2012.

I am super glad I didn’t pay a lot for this book (okay, I got it for free). Where do I begin? First of all, it’s supposed to be an e-book. Right in the very beginning, the “How to Use This Book” section it talks about “clickable Table of Content.” Not with print you can’t.

I was also disappointed with the contradictory nutrition information. Andersen writes, “sugar comes in many forms…fruit juices should be consumed in post-run smoothies only” and yet three different pre-run smoothies feature fruit juices (apple, orange and pineapple). Another editing issue was the misinformation about a smoothie on page 49. Andersen talks about the importance of peanut butter as a protein but the smoothie (in the “green” section) doesn’t include peanut butter.
The organization of the recipes is a little wonky. While the smoothies are in three different categories: carbohydrate, multivitamin and green, the pre and post run smoothies are jumbled together. It would have been great to have further organization of all the pre-run smoothies grouped together before the post-run smoothies.
Last complaint – all the recipes come with a black and white photo of the smoothie. That tells me nothing. I’m wondering if the e-book version was in color?

Because Andersen mentioned his other books twice I got the feeling Smoothies for Runners was just a vehicle for promoting his other work. This one just felt cheap.

There are only 36 smoothies in the book and I’ve tried a handful. The “apple, grape, apple juice and honey” smoothie was refreshing but I don’t think it energized my 13 mile run any more than a Gu.

Runner’s World Cookbook

Golub, Joanna Sayago and Deena Kastor. Runner’s World Cookbook: 150 Ultimate Recipes for Fueling Up and Slimming Down – While Enjoying Every Bite. Rodale Books, 2013.

Can I tell you how much I loved this cookbook? When it was due back at the owning library I didn’t want to give it up! It took everything I had not to renew it again and again. Everything about the book was gorgeous, from the food to the photography. This is one book I am definitely going to buy for myself had to buy for myself.

As someone who is starting to take running a little more seriously (as in serious enough to train for something longer than a 13.1 miler), I needed a little help with the other parts of (ahem) training. Stuff like strength training and yoga was the start (and oh so helpful), but I needed even more than that and that’s where nutrition came in. I had heard a great deal about the Runner’s World cookbook thanks to magazines like Running for Women. Finally, I borrowed it from a library and was not disappointed. The recipes are yummy and I have lost 12 pounds. So get out there and eat!

Marathon: the Ultimate Training Guide

Higdon, Hal. Marathon: the Ultimate Training Guide. New York: Rodale, 2011.

Reason read: In a word, Vegas!

I’ll be honest – I read this in sporadic fits. I didn’t sit down and read huge chapters all at once, but rather only a few pages at a time. Yes, Hal Higdon is a master at the marathon. Yes, he has run hundreds of races all over the world. Yes, he deserves all the accolades showered on him. But, but. But! It’s a little off-putting when he’s the one tooting his own horn. In the beginning his statistics on how many visitors his website gets, how many people download his marathon plans, and on and on got a little wearisome. His stories of besting other runners left a bad taste in my mouth (one incident in particular – a runner passed him during a marathon and was really excited to have “beaten” the great Higdon. Higdon couldn’t let the runner bask in this feat and instead assured the man he wasn’t racing this marathon but simply running it.) Having said all that, this is not a book that should be ignored. By all means, if you are planning to run a marathon, read this book. I’ll say it again, read this book. It’s a wealth of important information. Everything from nutrition to cross training is there (all the typical information)…and even some advice you might not expect, like a training plan for women designed to work around that time of the month. Yes ladies, there is a plan for your period. So, hubris aside, this is a great resource for every kind of runner.

Runner’s Diet

Fernstrom, Madeyln. The Runner’s Diet: the Ultimate Eating Plan That Will Make Every Runner (and Walker) Leaner, Faster and Fitter. New York: Rodale, 2005.

Reason : yup. Still on the running kick.

Author fact: Dr. Fernstrom is the founder of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Book trivia: don’t expect recipes.

The Runner’s Diet is chock full of information, both about running and nutrition. While a great deal of the information is pretty standard stuff, I took it as necessary reminders (keep your head up when you run and be diligent about portion control, for example). Despite the basic hand-holding I think I was looking for more structured information, maybe even specific diet plans. I know that comes from not having the imagination to come up with menus of my own.

Tales From Another Mother Runner

Tales From Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Tips, and Tricks From the Road: a Collection for Badass Mother Runners. McDowell, Dimitry and Sarah Bowen Shea, editors. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015.

Reason read: for the title alone. I’m not a mother but I love a book with a great title.

Dimitry starts the introduction and right away you can tell what kind of person runner she is. Even with a bad stress fracture she “needed to go the distance” not as a spectator but as a runner at the Nike Women’s Marathon. Sounds like someone else I know.
I had to wait three months before getting this book from a library almost 200 miles away. It was worth the wait. Tales From Another Mother Runner isn’t just for running mothers. I should know I’m definitely not a mother and, with only two halves under my belt, I’m barely a runner. This book is for anyone who has to juggle running with other parts of their lives (and not just kids, too). Husbands, jobs, injuries, fears, you name it. These tales cover every aspect of running from first steps to last miles and features every kind of female runner from the speedies to the barely jogging (but just don’t call it jogging). Like the art of running there are highs and lows, funny stories mixed with sad ones. I identified with dealing with depression as well as the more lighthearted nuisances like trying to find a anti-chafe remedy for all areas (and I do mean, ahem, all areas). I enjoyed Tales from Another Mother Runner so much I’m going to look for McDowell and Shea’s other books.