A few months back I blogged about a really funny running quiz, called "Should I train for a marathon?" that my mom brought to my attention. The quiz is from the book "The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women". I finally got the chance to read the book in its entirety and it does not disappoint! The book basically pokes fun at the absurdities of marathon training, especially for folks who go from non-runners to marathoners (that was me years ago!), as it follows the author's journey from couch potato to marathon runner. It's really funny and definitely worth a quick read. If you enjoy the quiz at the link above, consider reading the whole book. But for now, here are some of my favorite excerpts:
Chapter 3: "The Accessories":
On 'The Water Holder Butt Thingy'- "I'm sure it has a more technical name, but I call it the Water Holder Butt Thingy. And essentially that's what it is: sort of a fanny pack that holds a water bottle......This is quite helpful when you see the water fountain on the horizon, but can't imagine having enough energy to get to it."
On 'GU'- "Vitamin-enriched GU energy gel is a goo-like substance that comes in little pouches.....You aren't going to need GU right away; but you'll need it as the mileage gets longer and you start needing to replenish yourself. Some people call this point 'Your body telling you to stop running'. Runners call it 'Time for GU'."
From Journal Entries:
"Listening to the radio, I inevitably have to listen to....some commercials, because sometimes I just don't have the energy to chance the station."
--This has def happened to me w/ my ipod, too....tired....to....change....song
"As the big race gets ready to start, everyone crams together near the start line as though we're about to be released from a high-security prison or are waiting outside a Krispy Kreme that's handing out free doughnuts."
On being a slow runner:
"When the obnoxiously loud bullhorn goes off, the runners begin to move very, very slowly. I cherish this moment. For this is the only moment in which I'm keeping pace with the seven-minute-mile runners."
On full body fatigue:
"...my fitness routine a month ago [pre-marathon training] consisted entirely of me getting to the bottom of my stairs at home and then realizing I had forgotten something upstairs. I would then have to bitterly climb back up the stairs to retrieve said object. And about 50% of the time I'd just leave the object upstairs, because who really has the energy to climb stairs. Now I have a slightly different routine, which involves me leaving the object upstairs 100% of the time. I've gone out to dinner w/ no purse, no glasses and one shoe. It's just too much to climb those stairs."
Chapter 4: The Training
On finding your pace:
"Everyone finds a pace that allows them to comfortably run for miles and miles when there's no hope of public transportation coming to save them."
Chapter 10: The Mentality
"Inspiring Quotes that Got me Through my Marathon
From Mark Twain: 'Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.'
From my friends: 'Cheer up, things can get worse....and by the next mile, they will!'"
The only critique I want to give about the book is regarding her final "journal" entry about her actual marathon. She had a tough race. An unusually tough race. She was still able to be funny and to focus on the triumph of her finishing the race against many obstacles (beyond the obstacle of moving your body 26.2 miles, of course), but her race was so miserable that I'm afraid non-runners might read it and be afraid. Marathons are tough, they are to be feared, but at least 80% of folks have 'easier, more fun' races than that! Don't be scared. You CAN do it, and you WILL enjoy (at least part) of it!!