Book Report: Running The Edge by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano

I’ve been excited about the debut of Running The Edge by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano ever since I stumbled upon their blog. These guys regularly post fun, personal comments on the world of running and share their love of the sport with humor and thoughtfulness. When the book landed in my mailbox, I figured I’d zip through it in one night, and  I was a bit surprised when I didn’t.

This is not the type of read you’d expect from elite runners. Adam doesn’t lay out, lap-by-lap the workouts that helped him qualify for the Olympics in 2000, and Tim doesn’t wax poetic about his speedy days at the University of Colorado. Instead, the message is bigger than that, deeper—it forces you to slow down and think.

Adam and Tim ask you to look at your running and consider whether or not you are being honest (with yourself and the world) about your training and goals. And once you’ve evaluated where you can improve, you’re prodded into considering how that translates to the rest of your life. Are you doing all that you can to be the best runner you can be? Are you doing all that you can to live your best life?

Imagine if we went to the same lengths to improve our life stories as we do going after a new PR, goal time, or qualifying standard. Imagine how much better our lives could become if we applied the same level of commitment, determination, tenacity, and creativity to improving our lives as we do in improving our running. (pg. 188)

Adam and Tim want you to recognize that by improving your sense of initiative, responsibility, determination, adaptability, integrity, and person-ability [sic], you can become your ideal self.

… We run the risk of living passive lives waiting for things to happen. We wait for love, for our big break, for a problem to disappear. We are waiting for our lives to live us, instead of going out and living our lives with purpose and action.  (pg. 84)

You are in charge of creating your best life. You have the ability to be a positive force in the world. These messages are universally appealing, ones that everyone should hear, not only runners. Which is why I think this book could be one in a series: Mothering On The Edge, Accounting On the Edge, Dry Walling On The Edge… (I can only imagine how different the world economy would be now if Investment Banking On the Edge had come out in the late 1980’s.)

Adam and Tim never ask where personal integrity and accountability have gone in today’s society or why we all feel so entitled. Instead, they show us through personal anecdotes how they failed on occasion in their own lives, where they have succeeded, and what they’ve done to improve themselves. And they implore the reader to live their lives—as runners, and as sons, daughters, friends, and neighbors—as close to the edge of greatness as possible.

Their stories lend a personable feel to this call to action, making the book feel more like a conversation with friends than a self-help workbook. The writing itself is clear, ideas aren’t complicated, and the text isn’t sprinkled with psychobabble words that require a dictionary, making it an easy read, though not a quick one. By asking you to reflect on your life and your running, the message begs to be savored.

Well done, Tim and Adam—I’m impressed! And I’m recommending it to all of my running buddies. (Get your copy here.)

My New Four-Legged Friend Isn’t A Runner

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I often use stock images featuring adorable dogs to illustrate my posts. Clearly, I love the pups. This past weekend I took a step toward owning a tail wagger of my own—I became a foster mom to an adorable 8-year-old, German shepherd mix. He’ll be hanging with me for the next three months, which will give me a taste of what it’s like to care for (wo)man’s best friend 24-7.

It’s definitely a full-time job and this sweet creature has already put a cramp in my morning routine. Thanks to his walks, I no longer have time to run in the a.m. Sure I could get out of bed even earlier, but I hate being up before the sun and I get nervous running in the dark alone. Sadly, he can’t run with me—he’s completely out of shape after months of living in a cage at a shelter. (He also has sores on his front legs that he needs to stop licking and scratching—hence his crazy outfit in this photo.)

I packed clothes and sneakers with me today and plan to run home from work (about 7 miles). But running in the evening just isn’t as satisfying for me. I’m curious, how do other pet-loving morning runners fit it all in?

Got any scheduling advice? Do you run with your dog?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.

Are Runners Bland?

I had Indian food for dinner with one of my favorite running buddies yesterday. As we debated which dishes to get, I noticed that we were both gravitating towards the milder options. Neither of us wanted a super spicy meal to mess with our tummies and make the next day’s run unpleasant. It made me think about the foods I eat all the time: Oatmeal, bananas, turkey sandwiches. Pretty boring stuff.

Last night’s feast was the most exciting meal I’ve eaten in a while. But no proper curry fan alive will tell you chicken tikka masala is adventurous.

I find it funny that I’m willing to take on a marathon, sign up for trail races, and do two workouts a day without apprehension, but the thought of eating something that might upset my stomach brings me to my knees. More evidence that the hardcore persona I want to project to the world doesn’t match up with my insides.

What did you have for dinner last night? Do you sacrifice spices to keep your workouts on track too?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.