“To Be a Runner” is amazing. Truly. By far one of my favorite running books. Actually by far one of my favorite books. Period. Written by Martin Dugard who writes professionally for Runner’s World, Sport Illustrated and Esquire as well as true-life novels. He also coaches cross-country and has a lifetime of his own running experience.
I had apparently read this book before, not remembering that fact until I was deep into the familiar words. I found quotes and bookmarks previously highlighted from my first read through and adding more as I read along. I don’t read many books more than once, and even after a second time, I’ll most likely read this again… and probably again….
What’s great about this book is there is a chapter, page or quote that will apply to every type of runner, at any given point in their running life. Reading it a second time, I am finding the previous quotes I highlighted don’t apply and I’m adding new underlines in places that I can relate to now. I’m willing to bet, on my next read through, I’ll highlight even more quotes, a different part of the book speaking to me.
I’m guessing the first time I read this book was before I was a cross-country coach. Now, reading through Dugald’s coaching experiences, I am finding excellent sources of encouragement I intend to pull out and use with my kiddos like, “excuses limit us and prevent us from being the best possible versions of ourselves.”
I’m also finding words to describe my love of trail running: “On those trails, nagging riddles and problems have a way of uncomplicating themselves, revealing to me in step-by-step detail how they might be resolved.”
As I read on, I find myself completely lost in this book…. smiling, crying, laughing, shaking my head in agreement. I find myself wishing I too could write like this to describe my life and love of running.
One of my favorites quotes comes from the chapter “Run Date” where the author tells about how he and his wife catch up and get away together on runs: “The loneliness of the long-distance runner in overrated. Like all the best things in life, a great run becomes even more wondrous when shared with someone you love.” This quote is a perfect representation of my boyfriend and I.
I don’t remember quite what I got out this book the first time, but this time, I get the feeling that I’m not quite sure what I want from running. I fell like I’m missing something that the author has. I feel lost, but I want to find it again, that passion, so that I can write like this as well. I get the urge to get outside and find it, right now!
I will leave you with one last quote; this quote being pretty close to how I’ve been viewing the current running world and why I feel like an outsider:
“One of the great downfalls of the modern running movement is how anal and joyless some of its leading voices have made it. Think of me as that great voice in the wilderness that says it’s okay to have fun out there.
Throw the logbook away. Stop pausing you watch at stop lights. Go right when you meant to go left.