Yesterday, I finished reading "Strides: Running Through History with an Unlikely Athlete" by Benjamin Cheever. The part memoir, part running history has been out for over a year, so I'm late to the party but I wanted to share some thoughts because I enjoyed this book. It was an easy-breezy read, full of some interesting facts along with Cheever's personal running story.
This guy loves to run and "Strides" is certainly a paean to running. That's probably why I enjoyed it. That and Cheever's peppy writing style. And it is peppy. I didn't expect peppy from a 60 (or so) year old guy. But, that's what he is. And it worked for me: I plan to pick up some of his other (fiction) books and check him out.
Anyway, there was one passage in the book that stood out. Cheever writes about the transformational power of running -- how it can help you lose weight, kick bad habits, etc., etc. And he says that what runners know is that running can change you in deeper ways, in essence, making your life better.
What I want is to be a better person, and running seems to be one clear way to move toward this goal. Moral advances are hard to measure. Without measurement, they're hard to believe in. But you can get faster. Or maybe just try. I hate it when people say, "All we want is for you to do your best." I never do my best. Maybe the last 100 yards of a 10-K, but I have no kick, and so my best is nothing to write home about. But sometimes I do try. I try hard enough so that I'm gasping for air. And having tried that hard, then other qualities may fall into place.I get that. I understand that from my own running and it is something that is often a little hard to communicate to others: That by getting out there and trying, really pushing yourself in your running, you're improving the rest of your life. I don't know if it makes sense to people who don't run -- maybe it does, I can't say -- but it makes sense to me.
If you haven't read the book, I recommend heading to your local library and checking it out.