Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Mile Markers

You’ve been looking at the cover art for this book on my blog for quite some time now. I know. I actually finished it a few weekends ago but I haven’t gotten around to posting about it until now. And, truthfully, it took me a while to get through. After coming off the amazingly beautiful The Help, this one didn’t keep my attention like that one did.

I was excited to read this book because I know Kristin Armstrong writes a blog for RunnersWorld.com, is an author several times over and a runner herself. I also knew this book was to be stories about the ups and downs of running. I had been warned that the book could get a little “church-y” so I went cautiously into this one. I’m not big on Church, I’m sure to the disappointment of many of my family members, and I do not make it a habit to read religious themed books. But, this book is about running. But it is not a running “how-to” book.

I found many of the stories to be relatable and was often in awe of her training schedule, running adventures, and close knit group of running friends. There were points in the book when I got a little tired of her talking about what a great mom and friend she is, but at the same time I realized that if I were be a mom, I would want to be a mom like her. I love seeing families being active together, so this passage spoke to me right away “When we run we are showing our children, teaching without words, that we value ourselves, our hearts, our fitness, our health, our friendships, our clarity, and our balance.”

I tend to gravitate and appreciate books, movies, stories that follow a clear timeline. Unless it’s fully explained that there are going to be huge time shifts, moving from winter to summer and one state to another as quickly as a paragraph break, I have this problem with getting confused about what’s going on and putting the puzzle together. It took me a while to figure out what was going on in this book when one minute Armstrong was talking about Mother’s Day and then the next thing I knew it was the start of a school year. Or she’d be running in a cold winter rain of Austin and then enjoying the ocean with her kids. I finally figured out she spends the school year in Austin and summers in California (granted, I would have known this if I had read the “About the Author” section before I read the book, but I was reading on my kindle). I also found it somewhat laughable that she refers to herself as a slow runner. I would be elated to have her speed. However, that’s a personal issue and compared to some runners, including apparently, her training partners, she is slower.

Now, I don’t want to be a downer on this book. It was definitely interesting to read about her life as a runner, mother, author and speaker. (This may be connected to my love for people watching and wondering what the lives are like of other people). Sometimes we forget that people who seem to be totally pulled together and confident, also have insecurities like us. A few quotes have stuck with me that might also resonate with you -

We want to be able to endure. When life throws us some difficult miles, we want to know that we can suck it up and prevail.

It doesn’t always feel good in the moment, but ultimately you are a better person for it.

No, I don’t have to. I want to. I get to. I get to charge up this hill. I get to wake up early and run. I get to hit the gym after work.

I train because I want to be someone better than I would be if I didn’t train.

Mile Markers

Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong

  • Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
  • How do you feel about books that don’t follow a clear timeline?
  • What is one of the best lessons you’ve learned from being a runner?

*************

Today’s workout -

  • 45min elliptical
  • 100 ab exercises
  • 2x20 seated row
  • 2x15 squats
  • 2x20 back extensions
  • stretching

4 comments:

Raquelita said...

I had some similar thoughts about that book. I enjoy her writing style and much of what she said about friendships and why she runs resonated with me. However, I don't have kids, I'm not heteronormative, and I'm not religious, so there were times when I got annoyed or bored. I also did not care for the jumping around. I'm a historian. I prefer a chronological structure.

Kelly said...

I really, really liked this book. At first I thought I might not because I don't like books that have more than one "story", but this one resonated wtih me. I just find her so relatable and loved all of her stories.

Callie said...

I'm so glad you wrote this! I've been contemplating reading it and just wasn't sure if it would capture my attention as much I as like books to do...ie. Born to Run. I've been on the prowl for another running book similar to it. Any ideas? It sounds like the "Mile Markers" book is probably a good casual reading book that inspires you to workout and see that other women do balance it all, and it gives you someone to aspire to be. But that's why I love reading healthy lifestyle blogs :)

KT80 (Running Like a Girl) said...

I read it too and I did enjoy it, for the most part. I also found her tone to be self-depreciating, and it annoyed me. She tried to sound like any old slow poke runner, and she definitely is not! Here is my review on my blog: http://traininglikeagirl.blogspot.com/2011/07/running-relationships.html