Monday, May 4, 2015

What's on my bookshelf

Let's get the disclaimers out of the way, I'm old enough to appreciate paper. By that I mean I still enjoy holding a book, newspaper or magazine in my hand. Yes I do have a Kobo reader, and it is great, but at the end of the day, I will still possess and take a product made out of paper with me to read and enjoy.

There, I said it, I am officially old I suppose by making that claim.

I thought about the resources we do have out there and how they can make an impact with our training in whatever activity we want to do and enjoy. Certainly the Internet has a plethora of material out there which will make you a better runner. From training plans, to discussion on injuries, and the avoidance of the same, it is there online. Plus you can always find the right wallpaper that is a running motivation wallpaper. Something good. As well, online, there is a place for discussion and dialogue. I should say for the most part, the running community is very supportive, rarely will you encounter attitude. You can have a very slow time and there will be people cheering you on. Thank goodness for that, because for some reason, running brings out the worst in non-runners. Just recently in one of the US papers, the columnist told us runners to shut up. The writer was not impressed with our tone or our topic of discussions. It's really like television, if you don't like what we talk about, then simply ignore us, we won't mind. In fact, I would say we are happy to be ignored by people who can only find fault. I realize we can be boring at times, but at the same time, we are excited to hear about the work of others.

While this is entitled "What's on my Bookshelf", I want to mention the magazines I have. Yes I still have subscriptions for magazine, I know they are available on tablets and readers, but I'm not impressed with how they turn out. I know I should try again, but the form factor just doesn't seem right. The first magazine is Canadian Running. This magazine fills the need of giving news about the Canadian running community. There are articles on the history of running in Canada, and some of the figures that have been a part of the scene. Discussions on meals, nutrition, and fitness fill the pages. Reading running magazines got me doing even more planks. There are the columnists with their insight and there are the reviews of running apparel and what runners should consider. Yes there are reviews of running shoes, I mean it is the most important part of our overall gear. I have to say, I've learned through reading magazines that I should get rid of the cotton tee's and stick with technical material. Living in Southern Ontario will make this lesson abundantly important, especially on a summer's day. Want to put on 10 pounds? Wear a cotton tee and run for a couple of miles, yes cotton has great absorbing and keeping powers. I should point out that Canadian Running has reached 50 issues, so congratulations.

Before I forget, two more, they will highlight a running club and give a discussion of what they have done for the community, and they will always have a city. They will present in their article, at least three different routes for the visiting runner to try, a short, a medium and long run and some of the best parts of the city, such as running stores and restaurants/pubs. They also go beyond Canada, they will have international locations; a recent issue featured Reykjavik. As you might have read in an earlier blog, last year, I spent 10 days visiting Iceland. Had a great time and I also brought my runners along, so I got a few runs in. I wrote a letter to the editor and gave a few more insights I had received while visiting. I want to say again, if you visit, bring your running gear, think about it, a pair of shorts, a couple pair of socks and tee's, plus the runners and you are good to go. Doesn't take any room in the suitcase, but will give you hours of fun, plus what a better way to learn about a place then by running. Of course, the caveat is, be aware and be safe. I suggested in my letter, the author didn't mention the true Icelandic meal, which is hotdogs, seriously. It is. So if you want to know what is happening in the Canadian running community, plus give you prices in Canadian funds, it's a good one to have. Also visit the website.

Of course, the magazine when it comes to running is, Runner's World. While Canadian Running comes out 6 times a year, 7 including the Trail Running Special. Runner's world comes out 11 times a year. It's also one of the oldest magazines out there. What's it got? Practically everything. There are notable columnists, lots of learning and technique articles, fitness, injury prevention, training plans, interviews, and fun stuff. Their orientation is American, but running is universal. One of the better columists is Peter Sagal, of "Wait, Wait, don't tell me", fame. You know, the NPR quiz show. Yes you do, I'm not the only one who listens to it. You do too. Admit it. He can be witty and can have very serious columns. The most recent issue, he talks with a woman runner and what she has to deal with in the way of catcalls, comments and the danger of physical violence. There are some great articles for beginners, usually the April or May issue will deal with beginners. Some good stuff, in fact worth reading if you've been running for years. Also cover stories on interesting events and people. Also cover stories of marathons, half-marathons, 5k's and 10k's. Always something to read. Plus reviews of equipment, athletic wear and of course runners. Lots of runners. Some very good reading. Plus it is the source of running in all things, more later.

The third magazine that I've read, but don't have it right now, is iRun, the Official Magazine of iRunNation. The "IRun" concept is the mastermind of Mark Sutcliffe, the author of the book "Why I Run", which is a very enjoyable read. The book give the stories of ordinary runners. People who answer the question 'why I run', in fact it's the starting of many of the simple statements, "I Run..." because, this leads to the stories. Since the vast majority of us are ordinary runners, it's a good source of motivation, people who wear our shoes and have gone through the same experiences we have. I read this book on the Kobo, I know, 'gasp' and no I'm not contradicting myself. It's easier at time to find a book, download book and pay for book. Here's a link to learn more of Mark and the book. I got a subscription by entering the Army Run, and since I'm signed up again, I wonder if the same will happen, I should really subscribe. Probably will. One of the columnists is Krista DuChene. I mentioned in an earlier blog, I ran in the same race as Krista last year, I was passed by her, she is an amazing runner. I also want to stop and congratulate her on reaching Olympic qualifying time in the Rotterdam Marathon. She got the time she needed to qualify, according to Athletics Canada, so we might have a woman Marathoner next year in Rio. Way to go Krista!

As for books, well the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote: "But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body". First of all, yes the writing of books is endless, because human creativity is endless, however the devotion of books is never wearying. Perhaps if Solomon had read a few more books instead of collecting all those wives and concubines, he might have enjoyed life a bit more. Just saying. To that end, there are a lot of running books out there. There are also a lot of good books. Overall, some of the best come from Rodale Press, which is the same publishing company that produces Runner's World. So you know the information and writers will be good. They have a lot of practical books. If you buy a book from Rodale you will not regret the purchase. There are always advertisements on the various books in the pages of Runner's World.

A book I just received is an older one, it's "Jim Fixx's Second Book of Running. As I just received it today, I've got no review. I read his first book, which was fascinating. He is considered one of the leaders of the first wave of running. While it's over 30 years old, it is still worth the effort to find and read.

A good source of books is either the public library or Amazon. What I like about the latter is the marketplace, for very good prices, you can get one of those books. I purchased Jim's book from Amazon. For a penny, you can't go wrong.

Good books will always be practical. Plans to get you started and keep you going if you have a specific race you're interested in running. As I said, there are a lot of books out there, and if you do some searching, you can find what you need.

A book that truly fascinated me was not a practical one, but a historic one. It's "The Dirtiest Race in History". The book looks at the individuals involved in the infamous Seoul Olympics 100m race. It was the one that put Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis in front of the world. As you might know from your history, practically everyone tested dirty after the race. Of course, Ben Johnson, who run the race, tested positive and was stripped of his gold medal. It led to a lot of hand wringing in Canada and a very large examination through a crown inquiry.

I'm looking for a few more books, and so I will probably write a few reviews.

So that is what's on my bookshelf.

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