Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Report: My life on the run / Bart Yasso

First things first, I must confess that I love Bart Yasso. When I see him at races I scream his name like he's a rock start. I've even had him sign my training guides and race bibs like some kind of teenage fangirl. He pretty much has the COOLEST job in the world and the few times that I've heard him speak his self-deprecating humour and Yankee accent make me swoon. So I know that it was imperative I read his autobiography "My Life on the Run: the wit, wisdom and insights of a road racing icon". Hoping for a little motivation I waited until I was mid-training schedule to open my copy. And say what you will about his writing abilities, the man knows how to tell a good story. And his life is full of them, so much so that it blew my mind.

I'm the kind of runner who puts off runs when the wind is too strong or if there isn't enough cloud cover - this man has run in conditions that make me doubt his sanity. Up and up mountains for days, on roads so hot that his shoes melt, away from gnashing wild animals and even in his birthday suit - the man is definitely a rock star of the running world.

Yet aside from all his bravado (look at how badass I can run!) he definitely shows a softer and more emotional side when it comes to discussing his family and how they helped him find his calling. I found it fascinating to learn that he's a former alcoholic and that he didn't start running until he was well into his twenties - there's hope for me after all!

I was glad that he ended the book with a series of different training programs and was really interested in his 10-day training plans. He very much endorses the types of plans that give you plenty of recovery time and allow you to get in your mileage without overtaxing your body. And he's definitely a guy who knows overtaxing up close. It was sad to hear about how his own running career was slowing down due to an advanced and chronic case of lyme disease - although it seems like lately he's been tweeting about being out and running several races, so hopefully he's gone into another period of remission.

I just learned that he'll be attending the Toronto International Marathon again this year (he thanks Jay Glassman in the intro, so I guess they're buds?) but I'm hoping to rub elbows with him at the New York City Marathon in November.

And yes, I'll still be the one screaming like a teenager.

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