A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Book Review: The terrible & wonderful reasons why I run long distances

on February 5, 2015

I’ve linked the Oatmeal comics here before in my Friday Favorites, so I was excited to get the new Oatmeal book, The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances, as a Christmas gift.  It’s a quick, easy, fun read and would definitely give the runner in your life a lot of smiles. I read it for the first time (and have dipped into again since then for a laugh) on my flight to California for the Rebel Challenge and actually ended up writing the info down for another passenger, who wanted to get it for her daughter. Side note: That passenger saw what I was reading and asked “”Are you a runner?” and I only hesitated a second. 🙂

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There is so much in here that is just so inappropriate and yet so perfectly true (like the idea of crunches being a kind of self-flagellation). I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re prudish, but I found myself laughing and identifying with so much of what the author, Matthew Inman, says. He has personified the thing he is running from as “the Blerch”, an embodiment of everything that makes him feel apathetic and gluttonous.

In the back of the book, there's even a Blerch sticker for your car!

In the back of the book, there’s even a Blerch sticker for your car!

My Blerch that I’m outrunning is my binge eating, my perfectionism, my impatience, lots of things. I think we all have our own Blerch and I’ve always appreciated Matt giving us a personification of the beast. Most importantly, I love that he reminds us that is something we can outrun, not some immoveable force.

Several of the sections in the book are things I’ve seen online, but they really didn’t lose their joy in the re-reading (like the awesome, random story about the run in Japan). One of my favorite bits, which I hadn’t seen before, was the totally and disturbingly true cartoon highlighting the fact that running is a much more socially acceptable way to lose weight than dieting. Think about – you tell someone you’re starting they diet, most of the time they’ll tell you don’t need to lose weight and ultimately offer you food. You don’t really get the same reaction if you say you’re taking up running (although they may rightfully, but privately, wonder if you’re nuts).

I think the reason I enjoy the Oatmeal online so much, and this book as well, is that so many of things he talks about things that the average runner understands, including that weird tipping point where it becomes more uncomfortable NOT to run that it is to run, because something in us “breaks” and we NEED to run. If you’ve never seen the online comic strip, definitely check it out – always funny and not just about running – and be sure to add this book to your list of gift ideas for the runners in your life.

Funny note: I got two copies of this book as Christmas gifts and intended to give the second away on the blog with this review, but I think I accidentally mailed it back to Amazon in a box with some other returns? Since there wasn’t a refund paper attached to it, I won’t even get the refund! If I ever find the book in my house, I promise I’ll give it away here. 🙂

Second, random, book recommendation: I love to read about food. Really, I love to think about food, to eat food, watch movies about food – pretty much the only thing I don’t love about food is the weight and guilt that sometimes comes with it. One of my goals for this year was to get back to reading more for pleasure. I love to read, but because I’ve had so much science to read for work in the last 6 months, I haven’t made as much time to read for pleasure. Thus, I set a goal to read one book for pleasure each month. This month, I read the Oatmeal’s book and a series of essays on food and cooking by Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen. It’s an older book, first published back in the 1990s (if not earlier!).  It’s cozy, funny and a great relaxing read if you’re a food lover like me.

Go check this out at your library!

Go check this out at your library!

Next month, I’m reading the Princess Bride book by Cary Elwes, As You Wish, about the making of the movie and finally getting around to reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. What are you reading right now? Any recommendations?

**As an extra special note, which makes this post perfectly timed, it is World Nutella Day. Hug your Nutella jar today! (Nutella was at the aid stations on the Blerch half marathon.)

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4 responses to “Book Review: The terrible & wonderful reasons why I run long distances

  1. I’m dying to get this book! It’s been on my amazon wish list for months now.

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