Ok, we all know (or should if you’ve been reading my blog for a while) that I love me some John Bingham books. “No Need For Speed”, “The Accidental Athlete”, all good – funny and touching and relatable for the most part. (I say “for the most part” for me as there are definitely differences, but overall, I get what he’s saying.)
And then somehow (I honestly cannot remember, but if someone recommended it, I wish I could remember who to give them a big hug) I recently stumbled upon “Honey, Do You Need A Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner” by Jennifer Graham, and even without reading a word I just knew. I’d found a book by one of my tribe.
My tribe being those of us, particularly women (though it also applies to men, it’s nice to have something from a women’s perspective), who don’t look like the typical image people have of “runners”. Who could qualify (whether we register as such or not) for the Athena division in races that offer such divisions (usually for women over 150 pounds, though the line varies some depending on the race when it’s offered). Who are by no means “shirtless wonders” (oh how apt that description is for so many like that I’ve met – though there are definite exceptions, Josh in particular being a huge exception to the “fast and front of the pack = ‘shirtless wonder'” rule). But who love running.
Runners who relate to this quote from the book: “The spirit cries ‘gazelle’. But the shadow yells ‘walrus’.”
I flew through this book, loving every word of it. It’s the kind of book that made me one of “those” people on the subway – laughing out loud at some things, and bawling my eyes out at others (notably the chapter “I Believe”).
Graham isn’t fast (though she is faster than me), but like me, she just loves running. Even when she hates it, she keeps going. In many ways, it can be said running’s saved her – just as I can say it’s saved me. And like me, she’s not tiny (as I write this, I’ve just polished off some Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch…ahem), but she gets out there and moves her butt, no matter what.
See? One of my tribe! And if you know me at all, you know I’m not reaching when I say that.
I’m not a shirtless wonder (yes, females can be those too…though their shirtlessness means sports bra only – oh, and by the way, shirtless wonders can on occasion wear shirts…it’s more about attitude than clothing) and never will be. But I want to improve and be the best me – and the best me runner – I can be and will push myself to get there. To wit I now have a new goal for the half (gonna go for it at the Country Music Half in Nashville).
(And yes, I know that’s a huge reach given my current PRs. But hey…I ought to have something to reach for, right?)
But back to the book… Seriously, even if you’re not really part of our tribe, check it out. If you’re not a runner, maybe it will inspire you. Or at least help you understand the runner(s) in your life. If you are a runner, I definitely think you’ll find something in Jennifer’s story that you can relate to.
Even if you’re a shirtless wonder.