A Little More Each Day

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

TLWH Book Club: The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

on June 13, 2015

This month, the Taking the Long Way Home Running Book Club is highlighting a book I’ve read and reviewed here earlier this year: The Oatmeal’s The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. Thanks to Wendy for hosting!

Running Book Club Badge

I’ve copied my original review here with a couple of updates on the re-readability of the book (spoiler alert – good!).  Be sure to check out Wendy’s link up for other thoughts on this book and others.

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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.

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I’ve found myself dipping back into this book for little pick-me-ups since I first read and reviewed this book, which is one of my favorite things about physical (as opposed to electronic) books! It lives in the stack of reading books by my bed and especially this month as I’m weaning myself for nighttime iPhoning, I find it to be the perfect little bite sized smile before bed.

Next month’s book club read is also one I’ve read and reviewed here before, Running Like a Girl. I plan on re-reading that one because it’s been a while and I’m curious to see how my thoughts on it change now that I’m at a different place in my running journey.

What are you reading right now? Any recommendations?

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7 responses to “TLWH Book Club: The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

  1. I’m so sorry that I keep picking books you’ve already read! Thanks for sticking with me! August’s book will be a new one for everyone, I think.

    Thanks for your review and don’t forget to link up!

  2. I love that Oatmeal thing about long distances. So funny and true! And yes madam, you ARE a runner. 🙂

  3. I love what I’ve read online & in magazines. Sounds like I need to read this book!

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