I picked this book because it's summer and I thought, since we're all so busy, what better book to read than a graphic comic about running? It's a quick, easy read that took me all of one hour to get through. But I'll go back to it again and again, because it really hits home for me. Most of it, anyways! I've always loved the Oatmeal comics--Inman has a kind of snarky sense of humor, much like me, and the comics I'd seen previously from this book were funny and poignant.
In the introduction to the book, Inman gives a little background. He started running 10 years ago to lose weight. He says he was an overweight kid. Since he started running, he's run all the distances, including ultras. The inspiration for his comics come while he is running. Even though he's run far and admittedly fast (his half marathon PR is 1:30), he waxes poetic on the pain and challenge that running poses.
|from the terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances by Matthew Inman|
Like me, Inman has a strong dislike for the treadmill. He likens the treadmill to a cyborg.
"It is like being taunted by a cyborg. A cyborg never tires. A cyborg does not know fatigue. A cyborg only know ones and zeros. Cyborgs are dicks."I've never thought about my treadmill as a dick, but it does throw random pieces of plastic at me, so there's that.
One of my favorite sections of the book is "The Dos and Do Nots of running your first Marathon". I'd seen this comic prior to reading the book, and it never fails to entertain me. His tips could actually apply to running any race distance. And yes, gels do taste like "boob milk from a cyborg". I'm not sure what that would taste like, but I imagine that gels would just about cover it. Ugh....
|I know this voice well. Image from the terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances by Matthew Inman|
The only section of the book that I take issue with is his description of running a race. He says:
"The closest comparison I can think of is if ten thousand pregnant ladies all met in the street and started firing infants out of their hoo-haws in a massive game of amniotic paintball. It would be a messy ordeal. There would be sweat. There would be tears. there would be police cars and barricades. But in the end, an army of countless baby-people would emerge, all feasting on orange slices and high-fiving one another for a job well done."Ok, I have compared running a marathon to giving birth. A painful ordeal, but oh, so rewarding in the end. And you do get amnesia, a bit, for the whole process, and sign up to do it again. But really, firing infants out of women's hoo-haws? I get your analogy, Mr Inman, but it's a little gross the way you describe it. Anyways, you are right, it is an "exuberant payoff" to months of tedium.
And one other thing, I don't listen to music to distract myself from the pain and tedium of running. I don't believe that listening to music "waters down the core of what it takes to be a distance runner". I don't agree with him on this point AT ALL. Trust me, I still feel the pain.
|image from the terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances by Matthew Inman|
"I run to seek a void."We run to shut out the world.
"Demons are forgotten. Krakens are slain. Blerches are silenced."That's why I run.
How about you?
What did you think? Did you enjoy the book? Do you have a blerch?
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And by the way, there won't be an author interview this month. I tried to reach out to Inman, and never heard back from him. Then I saw a message on his website that basically said, "don't email me". And I found this comic of his:
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