What I’m Reading Wednesday

I like to read and I like to run so joining this book club was a no brainer.


I was lucky to work at the NYS Bar Exam for two days and had nothing to do but READ.

Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home chose the book below:


Here is the summary from Goodreads (in case you are interested…)

This laugh-out-loud comedic memoir of life as an overweight runner moves along at a five-minute-per-mile pace. Jennifer Graham doesn’t run to lose weight—she runs because she loves it. And as much as she runs, her excess poundage never leaves. So she accepts her body type for what it is, and runs for the sheer joy of it. But along the way she must endure not only her self-made exhaustion and lactic acid, but also the bemused stares of neighbors, offers of a car ride from strangers, and disdain from the dominant strain of runner—those long, lean “shirtless wonders.”

The story revolves around her decision to run a serious half-marathon race, and her imaginary coaching relationship with the spirit of Steve Prefontaine. The late, great Oregon distance star gives her advice and encouragement, and doesn’t like excuses. (“Yeah, I know he’s been dead thirty-five years; it’s a minor metaphysical challenge.”) Moreover, the race is one month after Graham’s ex-husband is getting remarried (to a skinny woman), and the emotional rollercoaster heightens the intensity of her running. As she says, “If training for it doesn’t help me get over the pain, at least it will keep me preoccupied.”

Her irreverent, hilarious, and brutally honest story will appeal to runners and non-runners alike, fat or thin.

I downloaded it to my iPad and read the whole thing in ONE day.

I loved it.

And I smiled while reading the whole thing. I might have laughed out loud but I was at an exam where I was require to be silent.

I enjoyed the conversational tone of her writing and I will remember many of her inspirational remarks. I found myself nodding when I read them:

  • When talking about, though 50 lbs overweight, being able to run without stopping – “Maybe the difference between the people who can and who can’t has nothing to do with their bodies. Maybe the difference is what’s in their dreams”
  • When talking about those runners who ran the Boston Marathon in a Nor’easter – “No, we’re not (nuts). We’re addicts. We’re addicted to serenity and joy.”
  • “When I exercise, I feel good. When I don’t exercise, I don’t… I prefer to feel good…”
  • “There are some people who think that runners are snobs. These people are called non-runners. And they’re right, of course.  There is a certain hubris you develop when you do things no one else does.”
  • After running a half marathon – “There is a runner’s high, yes, but no less significant is the runner’s afterglow.  It is the delicious exhaustion of a body used to completion.”
  • After finding a pair of running shorts that don’t ride up – “What’s on my legs, how they feel, is as important as what’s on my feet.”  (I feel this way about running skirts and why I hate shorts.)
  • “In the beginning, I’d been rigid as a lamppost with regular routes, times and distances from which I didn’t deviate.” (Yup.  I took me years to discover those bike paths that I frequent now.)
  • (There’s) a significant communication gap between a runner and a non-running spouse.  The non-runners don’t know the right questions to ask.” (Yes, unfortunately true but not a deal breaker. I am happily married to someone who lacks “speed goggles.”)
  • “If someone is watching me…I tend to straighten my shoulders and lengthen my stride, pick the pace up just a little.” (Always…even if I think they may be looking.)
  • “… jack rabbits are faster. But in a race, I’m on my feet twice as long as they are.  Shouldn’t that count for something?” (Sure, I’ve felt like that especially when running in the pouring rain.)
  • About running a race with an iPod- “…it would take away from the experience. Why run in a group if you’re only going to be present in your head?” (I feel the same way. I never race with music.)
  • …”if I lived without mirrors and I was unable to see my face, I would think I was thirty-three.” (I feel younger than ever.  If if only there weren’t those wrinkles and gray hairs…)
  • “I believe walking has benefits, but running has more.”
  • “I believe everyone who can run, should.” (Yes!!)
  • “The sense of accomplishment is always within.” (Have to remember that!)

I also identified with a lot of the story.

No, I am am not overweight and I do not run to lose weight.  In fact, I have gained weight since I started running.  (I would like to say that it is muscle but my clothes tell me otherwise.)

I remember running my first mile by measuring it with my car odometer. Then I progressed to the Nike sensor in the shoe and syncing it to my iPod.

I remember training for my first half marathon.  I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid that I wouldn’t succeed.

Of course as soon as I crossed that finish line, I realized that I was addicted and wanted to run more.

I also realized that running half marathons was not just for elite super fast serious runners.  Anyone can if they put their mind to it.

This book is a great read for someone who wants to run, but thinks it’s just for skinny or fast runners. Graham makes running seem desirable for everyone, no matter their weight or speed.

If you’re looking for motivation to get started running, she definitely delivers. And if you’re an experienced runner, you will still enjoy the entertaining way she tell her stories.

If you like to read and like to run, why not join this book club too?

Here are Wendy’s instructions:

We’re going to read one book per month and comment or review it collectively on my blog or link to your blog! You don’t have to be a blogger to participate. And you don’t have to read the selection of the month if it doesn’t interest you. Any running or fitness related book is welcome. 

Just a couple of rules:
1. If you do link to my blog, all I ask is that you link back to me via your blog or whatever social media you participate in. Sharing is caring, after all! Plus the more people that participate, the more fun and lively the discussion will be! The link up logo is below and on my facebook page.
2. Please keep your comments friendly. Honesty is welcome, but try to keep it nice. 
3. The book I choose is just a suggestion. I’ll try hard to appeal to everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way. Any fitness/running/nutrition related book is welcome.
4. And if you have a book you want to suggest, please let me know! I’m open to suggestions.
5. I’ll post the book suggestion on my review around the 14th of each month. 
6. The link up will be open on/around the 14th of each month and stay open for 2 weeks. 
7. I’m going to try my best to have authors participate as well, so if you have questions for them, don’t hold back! Now’s your chance to get all your questions answered.
You can also join the Goodreads group that I’ve started. But all the discussions will take place on the blog. It’s just another place to connect! https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/157349-taking-the-long-way-home-running-book-club
Please use the linkup photo above on your review and link back to the blog.
Happy Running! Have you read this book?  If so, what did you think?

9 thoughts on “What I’m Reading Wednesday

  1. I love reading and running so I am glad you posted about this – I am definitely going to join in 🙂 I have been hearing amazing things about this book so I think I start it shortly! Thanks for sharing and informing 🙂


  2. Every statement you wrote I was thinking YES, yes yes!! Inside I feel younger my shell shows the wear (sigh). I like walking but running is better! I love skirts, I love the runners high, sense of accomplishment…yes to all of it 🙂


  3. Love this quote: “When I exercise, I feel good. When I don’t exercise, I don’t… I prefer to feel good…”

    I’ll have to pick up a copy!


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