Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Once a Runner" Review

I had often heard of this book and wanted to give it a go. But I had also heard it went for $100 on ebay. Luckily it was reprinted this year and my BFF the public library had a copy. Win! You can read a nice synopsis (better than one I could come up with) here. The book is about a fictional college track runner. I have absolutely zero experience in the world of track and field. I am also about as far removed from competitive running as it gets. So a lot of the times for given distances and the types of workouts were pretty foreign or meaningless to me. I could, however, relate to the fundamental desires and challenges of being a runner.

I've been doing some lighter types of reading lately (still waiting on Book 3). This book is written in a style reminiscent of books I was forced to read in high school. I do most of my reading right before falling asleep and this posed a little bit of a problem for my pre-sleep foggy brain. However, it was very well written and I definitely recommend it to everyone.

Some of my favorite excerpts:

"And he tired quickly of the standard party fare that goes: 'You run twenty miles? Without stopping? I couldn't run twenty feet, har har har har ...' He would have to bite his tongue to keep from saying that it had been real humorous the first thousand times he had heard it. He had forgotten what it was like, this thing with the stupid jokes. And too there were the questions: What did he eat? Did he believe in isometrics? Isotonics? Ice and heat? How about aerobics, est, ESP, STP? What did he have to say about yoga, yogurt, Yogi Berra? What was his pulse rate, his blood pressure, his time for the hundred-yard dash? What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared, to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heartrending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials. How could they be expected to understand that?"

"There were two large boxes full of track shoes of every description; there were Adidas Gazelles in varying stages of decomposition, Puma interval trainers, several pairs of Tiger's Cortez, one pair of indoor pin spikes, an old pair of long spikes still dark with petroleum jelly and the mud of Chicago, road racing flats, nylon mesh Tigers for the steeplechase (still brand-new), and beach hack-arounds with no real mileage left in them. He thought: I have measured out my life in worn-out rubber."

I loved how Diana from The Qi Papers coined the pose from the previous Monday Mario, "Bun loaf hatching enlightenment." Ha ha! Here is a shot of Mario in the pose from the front. Please excuse all the straggly hairs which tell me it is time for a grooming session.


DK & The Fluffies said...

Bun Loaf. Now with added disapproval.

FrecklesandDeb said...

Sounds like an interesting book! Perhaps Mario would like to read it after an enlightening session!

d. moll, said...

I think Mario uses his ears to keep his head up, clever boy. Cadbury is on the loose again, if you want to pick him up.

X-Country2 said...

That bunny is too cute. I'm a total sucker for animals on teh internet.

Marlene said...

Sounds like something I would enjoy. Hopefully my library will get a copy! Gotta love free reading. Thanks for the review.

Alisa said...

I heart the library! I read the RW review of this book. I may need to check it out.

Oh Mario!

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks for the review! Someone else had mentioned this book too as their favorite but I'm not much of a reader and would probably not want to buy it. Borrowing it, however, sounds like a good idea.