I'm going to go ahead and admit that it's probably a good thing for our friendship that none of you actually see me in person or are on my frequent text list (Sorry, Trish, love you!) because it is embarrassing, even to me, how often I bring running up in a conversation. I am slightly obsessed. I think about it nearly as much as I think about books. Which naturally means I must read books about it too, right? I got this one (My Year of Running Dangerously) from NetGalley without even catching the part about the author being a CNN news anchor.
Here's the summary from Goodreads:
CNN correspondent Tom Foreman's remarkable journey from half-hearted couch potato to ultra-marathon runner, with four half-marathons, three marathons, and 2,000 miles of training in between; a poignant and warm-hearted tale of parenting, overcoming the challenges of age, and quiet triumph.
As a journalist whose career spans three decades, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman has reported from the heart of war zones, riots, and natural disasters. He has interviewed serial killers and been in the line of fire. But the most terrifying moment of his life didn't occur on the job--it occurred at home, when his 18-year old daughter asked, "How would you feel about running a marathon with me?"
At the time, Foreman was approaching 51 years old, and his last marathon was almost 30 years behind him. The race was just sixteen weeks away, but Foreman reluctantly agreed. Training with his daughter, who had just started college, would be a great bonding experience, albeit a long and painful one.
My Year of Running Dangerously is Foreman's journey through four half-marathons, three marathons, and one 55-mile race. What started as an innocent request from his daughter quickly turned into a rekindled passion for long-distance running--for the training, the camaraderie, the defeats, and the victories. Told with honesty and humor, Foreman's account captures the universal fears of aging and failure alongside the hard-won moments of triumph, tenacity, and going further than you ever thought possible.
Before Mike and I started running last year, I really had no idea that a marathon (26.2 miles) wasn't really the longest race for non-professional runners. I mean seriously, who would ever WANT to run more than that?? For that matter, who'd want to run 26.2? But the more I (we) run, the more into we get. I don't see myself ever considering a run longer than a marathon, and at a current long run record of 10 miles, 26.2 seems a long long ways off, but it was still incredibly interesting to see how Foreman handled the training.
The book opens with Foreman's college age daughter asking him to run a marathon with her. He goes from zero to marathon in 16 weeks and assume that was it. Training was hard and took up all of his spare time. (Sounds familiar!) But once that one was over, there was this other marathon that looked fun. And then a coworker mentioned ultra marathons, so he read up on them. He circles this decision for a while, and then ultimately commits to a 50 mile run. The training for this is insane. Training runs for an ultra are longer than full marathons. His life became narrowed down to eat, sleep, work, run. He questions himself, repeatedly. This is crazy, what am I doing? What human would choose to run this far?? This training is at times dangerous to his heath. He's out in the dark, in the cold, and in remote places where injury is likely.
Foreman is not alone. Ultra running has become a big deal in running worlds. Scott Jurek recently broke the record for the Appalachian Trail and Mike and I followed it along daily on Facebook. Matthew McConaughey has signed on (requested even!) to play a role in a book to movie adaptation of the ultra running book Born to Run. (Mike and I both read it, but apparently it never occurred to me to blog about it.) My Year of Running Dangerously fits neatly into this category. If you want to read a running account that is easily accessible to runners and non-runners, or you just enjoy this type of stunt memoir, I can easily recommend this one.