Monday, April 23, 2012

More Running/Triathlon Book Reviews

I continue to be on a total inspirational biography kick.  No, I haven't gotten around to the Hunger Games books so I have no idea what the big deal is.  Still haven't read any Harry Potter books (though my son has been devouring them this school year).  Have only seen the Twilight movies (some of them) and never read the books.  But reading about talented athletes and what brought them to the various points in their lives where they made some impact on the history of our sport (and I'd dare say, our world) has me begging for more.

PRE:  I read this one a while ago.  It was pretty quick.  It was the biography of Steve Prefontaine - an incredible runner from Oregon.  Apparently one of the men that sparked the 70's running boom, he is just enough before my time (died just before I turned 3 - when he was 24), that I really didn't know anything about him.  My biggest take away from this book is that people who want to run well, though they are often blessed with natural talent, they also work super duper hard to get to that elite level.  Everyone wants to think that fast people are just born that way.  And while there is some element to genetics, I think this book (and several others) continues to point out to me that it is the people that put in the work that others aren't willing to who get there.  I had a similar feeling after reading Kathryn Switzer

Duel in the Sun: Story about the 1982 Boston Marathon battle between Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar.  Told a lot of the backstory of these two men and their lives before and after this crazy battle against the heat, the course and each other.  Again, this was a little before my time (in grade school) and I again enjoyed the historical aspect of this book and again saw the theme of people working really hard to achieve their dreams.

Iron War: It was interesting to read this book shortly after reading "Duel in the Sun" because the stories had similarities in that they were as much biographies of the two main characters as they were a story about the legendary race.  However, this book was better written on the whole and included some extremely interesting scientific background into endurance sports (though at times this part got a little long winded for me).  I especially liked the line "If you don't want to quit, you aren't doing it right".  I might have to write that on my arm for my next event/race.  This was closer to my time, but still long before I knew anything about triathlon and Ironman.  These guys really are amazing and I really enjoyed this book.  It seemed well researched, but it definitely delved into some personal issues on both sides with some possible conjecture that may have lead to the lawsuits (which originally made me question wanting to read this).

Run!:  Dean Karnazes shares 26 (and change) hilarious and inspirational stories about his life as a runner.  This book was a super easy read and thoroughly enjoyable.  I really enjoyed his book "50/50" (previously reviewed) and now I need to track down "Ultramarathon Man" because I really enjoy reading what this guy has to say.  He is a great author (no ghost writer here) and comes across as a very decent guy who happens to enjoy running long.  The only thing that would have made this book better would for it to be longer. 

Have a pretty good stack of books on my nightstand that I continue to wade through.  When I run out of good running and triathlon books, I'll get around to the Hunger Games.  As I've said before, no one has yet to offer to let me review a book by sending me a free copy (would love to read Chrissie's new book!) - all of these books were obtained from the public library.  All opinions are my own.


  1. Liked "Ironwar", didn't like "Run", never read "Duel In The Sun" and wish I could grow a sweet 'stache like Prefontaine.

  2. PS I did like the other Karnazes books...