This is the third month of the Taking the Long Way Home Running Book Club. Thanks to Wendy for hosting! Be sure to check out her link up for other thoughts on this book and others.
Even before this came up as a book club assignment, I had this on my to-read list. Really, I think it’s been on my list since Sarah and Dimity announced it initially ages ago. For the last several months, I’ve gotten bits and pieces of the stories in this book as the authors were profiled in the Another Mother Runner podcast (highly recommend you check those out!) and in a regular series on the Another Mother Runner site (here). I really enjoyed both of the previous books from Sarah and Dimity, Run Like a Mother (which I’ve apparently never reviewed but it’s great and I’ve re-read it several times!) and Train Like a Mother (reviewed here). I knew this new book would retain their trademark honesty, humor and realistic, welcoming approach to mother runners of all kinds and it did not disappoint.
The two previous AMR books are largely written by Sarah and Dimity and reflect their unique voices. What I really enjoyed in reading this book (yes, already finished it in 4 days – it’s that easy to read!) is that it incorporates the voices a wide range of mother runners. There are seven chapters:
- Ownership: You are a runner
- Perspective: A mile is a mile
- Support: You can’t go it alone
- Joy: Open heart and light legs (I’ll let you imagine how my foggy eyes misread that one night)
- Strength: You are more badass than you thought
- Ambition: Dream big, step up
- Persistence: Hang on, you’ve got this
Each of these chapters includes a handful of essays from a variety of mother runners, including Kristin Armstrong of Runners World, Adrienne Martini and Bethany Meyer – known to regular AMR readers from their contributions to the site, and Jennifer Graham, who wrote our first book club read Honey, Do You Need a Ride. Scattered amongst these essays are special highlight sessions with brief quotes solicited from the AMR community about TMI episodes, things they love about running, tips and unsolicited advice and OMG one story about a naked run that I cannot even imagine participating in! This book is dedicated “To certified – and aspiring – BAMRs everywhere” and that is truly what this feels like, a love letter to and from this amazing community of runners that they’ve built over the years. *BAMR = badass mother runner
The essays run a wide range from funny (Adrienne Martini is definitely a kindred spirit – I love that she described running as a pensieve! Harry Potter nerds unite!) to raw and heartbreaking, with stories about running and its interactions with depression and angst about life and death and marriage stress. I knew what Dimity’s story was going to be about before I started it and still had to mentally brace before I read it. I ached for her reading it. There are stories that the mother runner in me nods along with because they are so REAL to my life, trying to juggle all of these things and Meredith Atwood’s (SwimBikeMom) essay “I just try really hard” had me wanting to hug and high five her all at once. I know I’ll re-read that one over and over. Sarah’s essay about aging had me laughing along with her and cheering her on as she accepts aging with grace and humor and a sense that the best is still to come. No matter what kind of mother runner you are (and I suspect even if you’re not a mother or a runner), you will find a reflection of yourself in these pages.
This book is an incredibly quick read thanks to its structure and one that it will be easy to dip into over and over again when I have a few minutes to spare. It really did not disappoint (which is saying a lot, given how much I was looking forward to it) and I’m actually looking forward to going back to re-listening to the author profiles on the podcasts. All 3 of these great AMR books would be a wonderful gift for the mother runner in your life and I’d definitely recommend you check them out if you haven’t. Also if they’re coming to a bookstore near you, go say hi! Those book parties sound like so much fun but they haven’t come near enough for me to see one myself yet. Let me experience it vicariously through you, okay? 🙂
What are you reading this month? Do share in the comments or friend me on Goodreads so I can get some new ideas.