Monday, December 3, 2012

I Run Therefore I Am Still Nuts: Dispatches on the Strange Tribe of Runners

We runners are a strange tribe, no doubt about that.  Author Bob Schwartz captures this strangeness in an entertaining way in his new book I Run Therefore I Am Still Nuts which takes a humorous look at the peculiarities and obsessions of runners and pokes fun at their idiosyncrasies.   As someone who's been running for over 32 years, I can certainly relate when Schwartz writes, “We wear black toenails as medals of distinction, use more Vaseline in a week than quintuplets with diaper rash and chapped lips, and try to convince ourselves that a horrifically painful muscle pull that prevents us from even walking is really nothing more than a temporary cramp."   

As with all good books of this genre, it garners its biggest laughs through its human insights. Of courese, it help that runners willingly, often with great joy, engage in activities that other sensible people would avoid at all costs.  And the book also succeeds in describing "fish out of water" situations, such as my favorite chapter in which the author attends his first yoga class, despite admitting he has the flexibility of concrete.

The book is the sequel to I Run Therefore I Am Nuts!, which Schwartz wrote ten years ago.  Schwartz is the author of five books and a freelance writer whose popular articles have been published in more than 40 national and international running magazines and regional magazines, including Runner’s World and Running Fitness.  He's been running for over 40 years, and maintains the website Running Laughs.

Describing his desire to explore the humorous side of his running passion, Schwartz explains, "I’ve continued to enjoy the pleasures of running and the sometimes humbling nature of it as well.  I can now share those laughs with you from topics that include what occurs when your favorite training shoe is abruptly discontinued, the inability to admit that an injury is truly a big one, the issue of competition and aging, the inherent simplicity of running, running alone versus with others, the concept of schadenfreude, running logs, runner’s high, excuses, barefoot running, and the many peculiar talents runners possess.”
Proceeds from will the book will help fund running programs for individuals with physical and mental disabilities, recess running programs for elementary school students, and middle school cross country programs.

(A copy of this book was provided by Human Kinetics for the purposes of this review.)

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