I was not a runner growing up, barring the times when I ran in other sports. Sure I was a member of a ridiculously good track team my senior year (our closest dual meet was 101-49—suck on that Franklin, Pa.!) but I was, at best, a decent runner. I wouldn’t say that running consumes my life at this point but it is about 100-fold more important than it was a decade ago. In fact, I was so excited about the 2008 Olympic Marathon that the excitement was only increased by the fact that just four years earlier, I could not have cared less about watching the same race in the Athens marathon. As such, in order to equal how much running meant to me now, I had a great deal of catching up to do.
In writing my second book, I am giving a brief history of the marathon in one of the chapters. But I am also touching on how enjoyable it is to run different distances as well. Fortunately, since that whole not caring thing just a few years ago, I have become rather intense in catching up on what many other runners have taken years to learn. I found the best way to catch up on all that I either missed, or simply did not care about, was by reading. In fact, I have read more running books in the past few years than anyone who is not writing reviews of running books should do in their spare time. My most recent read was Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear.
Chronicling the 1998 season of the Colorado Buffaloes cross-country team, which was the senior season of Adam Goucher (otherwise known as Mr. Kara Goucher), the book has been on my “should read soon list” a while. I was mostly curious if a book about both:
- a distance I have never really enjoyed (mostly the 5k-10k range) with
- people who are so ridiculously fast to me that I couldn’t comprehend if a 14:50 for 5K was supposed to make them happy or sad
would be an enjoyable read. It ends up that it is. Why?
Well, besides the fact that these runners are faster than I could ever hope to be, we share the same worries and trepidations (excluding Goucher, who was so phenomenal that it is a wonder if he ever really worried at all about anyone.) This book captures many of those feelings—hoping to best a rival, dealing with the unexplained injury, coping with life when it intervenes in dramatic and crushing fashion.