I've spent the past few days on my couch with my son on top of me, reading while he watched "Dinosaur Land" and "Cars". Yes, we've been sick. Our house is layered with snot, and the sound of our communal coughs is shaking the walls. My husband, who somehow escaped this superpotent bug, is considering buying earplugs! I say, add glasses and a mask, too! We are, unfortunately, not done!
So yes, not much running over here. I really don't miss it at all and am not worried about losing fitness (weird, I know). I look at this as being great timing. I am not training for anything really, and I rarely get sick (last time I was this sick I was like 10 years old or something), so this awful week should buy me a dozen or so years of feeling well (at least this is my plan!). Go positive thinking:)
So running I did not do, but reading about running I did...a lot. I finished 2 books. I don't remember when was the last time I had the luxury to read 2 books in 4 days (not for work), probably highschool. Nothing like just sitting on the couch, all day long.
The extra mile; One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultra-Running Greatness.
This is the story of Pam Reed, one of the most accomplished women ultrarunners. The book is inspirational, for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that success can come out of mental illness. Pam had pretty serious anorexia from an early age. She is blunt about it and does not make excuses. She agrees that she still struggles with it, yet it seems to me that she successfully incorporated it into her lifestyle, by finding a way to use her disorder to excel in running. The years of dieting have lowered her metabolism so much that she does not need much fuel, yet she is able to run 50 miles on nothing. Her body temperature is so low that it gives her an advantage in hot races like Badwater. She also has the energy of 10 people, which is likely a product of her low calorie diet. This is fascinating to me in light of all the research on aging and low calorie diets. It is also fascinating because while to the outsiders Pam can seem really sick - she is actually living a happy life, with family, kids, friends, and career, while channeling her demons into productive accomplishments. I am not saying that anorexia nervosa or athletica are desirable and that we should all eat coffee and a muffin in the morning, sour candy during the day and maybe dinner in the evening, while running 4X6 miles/day. But I think we are so ready to judge others on being "too skinny" (which Pam actually does not appear to be), perhaps because of some inner jealousy that we are never going to be that way. Anorexia is a serious disorder, and finding a way to come to terms with it is a huge accomplishment, even when one's eating is not "fitting" the norms. The other reason I like this book is that it does speak to the inequality between man and women is sports, when it comes to media coverage and reimbursements.
Second wind. The rise of the ageless athlete.
This book is a compilation of 18 stories about athletes with unbelievable achievements in their later years. Don McNeilly ran over 150 marathons AFTER age 80. Clarence Bass in his 70s has the body of a 20 year old. You get the idea. These people challenge the idea of what aging is supposed to be. The only issue I had with the book was that all athletes portrait here either picked up their sport in later years, or took a break from it and returned stronger in their later years. I wish the book made this point, because one can be mislead into thinking that, for example, a person who started running in their 20s can get better and better with age, though all the evidence shows that is not the case. However, it seems that when one takes a break, improvement becomes possible (at least in some sports). I don't think this has to do (fully) with the fact that the body gets an extended rest. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that the mind gets a rest from training and pushing through, and other areas of life are worked on (family, career, etc). Also, older athletes coming back seem to be fearless and much more mentally strong that their younger selves.
I fully recommend these books if you, like me, are into reading anything that has the word "running" in it. Now I have to find myself another book to read, since this bug seems to be here to stay a little longer. Any suggestions?
Building a clock
8 months ago