Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book club review and linkup: My Life on the Road: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon by Bart Yasso


After meeting Bart Yasso at the Chicago Marathon expo, I was anxious to dive into his book. After all, he's a running icon, right? I didn't know much about him before I read his book, and I wanted to know what made him so special!

I had no idea. But I was soon to learn. 

This guy is a living legend. Have you read my interview? Check it out here.

source: facebook.com/bart-yasso
#FlatBart
Bart starts off the book sharing his trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, and his medical escapade that followed. And yet, like any one of us would do, he ran a race-- actually, he paced a marathon--while still battling the sequelae of Lyme disease. And he didn't back down. Finished that thing in--well, you'll have to read the book, but let's just say he led his pace group to their goal finish time. Then ended up in the hospital...

That story sets the tone for his book. As you will read, Bart doesn't back down from a challenge or an adventure.

Like so many of us, Bart didn't start off as a runner. He was a troubled teen with a love for mind-altering substances and an antagonistic relationship with his father. After a brush with the law, Bart cleaned up his act and began running. His brother, who was a star athlete, challenged him, supported him, and pushed him to greatness. With his continued success at road races, his dad stopped calling him Alice (after Alice Cooper) and started coming to his races. 

Bart's running skills caught the attention of upstart magazine Runner's World. The editors approached him to sign up runners for subscriptions. He started attending race expos, meeting runners...and the rest is history.

Badwater Bart
www.facebook.com/bart-yasso
As part of his job for Runner's World, he traveled all over the world. Bart didn't just run marathons, he ran Badwater, the infamous 146 mile run across Death Valley. He ran the Antarctica Marathon as well as the Arctic Marathon. He also rode a bike across the country and participated in a burro race. The stories behind these adventures are funny and entertaining.

He also ran a nude marathon. This chapter is filled with hilarity and double-entendres. I'm still trying to get my head around this one. First of all no. I don't want to see all that stuff standing still, and I sure as hell don't want to see it jiggling down the road. Second of all, I can't stand running if my sports bra is less than supportive. Let's just say the girls start crying out for mercy. So while I have zero desire to run a nude marathon, much less spectate one, I was able to experience it through Bart's very vivid race report. 

Seems like Bart was up for anything that came his way. As he wrote in my book when I met him at the expo: 
"Never limit where running can take you"
Bart is a living example of that. He participated in events that we runners could only dream of and he did things that we don't want to do, but might be curious about. 

We all have that one friend who is up for anything. Runners have Bart.

Bart is also the brainchild of the Yasso 800s. Most of us who train for distance races do some kind of speedwork. Luckily my coach is not a runner, so I've never done Yasso 800s. But plenty of my running friends have done them, and most likely have taken Bart's name in vain. Bart discusses how he developed his iconic workout, and why it is so effective. There's no science to it. 
"It's so simple. The time it takes you to run 800 meters in minutes and seconds works out to be your marathon time in hours and minutes. I tested it and it's true..." said by a runner to Bart Yasso regarding the Yasso 800s.
"I never put the numbers to a Fibonacci test, like in The DaVinci Code, but they worked for me, and that was good enough."-Bart Yasso regarding the Yasso 800s.
"They should be called 'asshole 800s'" one red-faced runner told Bart after he did the workout incorrectly.
While most of the book chronicles so many of Bart's adventures on and off the road, the book finishes up with training plans for a variety of distances. Bart also lists must-do races, including one I have coming up in April, The Big Sur International Marathon. As he says, "I always tell people this is the one race they have to do once in their lives." I can't wait.

Plus I'll get to see Bart again!

The iconic mile marker at mile 24
facebook.com/bart-yasso
Throughout the book, Bart talks about how lucky he has been to be able to mingle with so many runners, from amateurs to elites.  He says that it's been an "honor" to meet every single one of them and that he loves hearing their stories. No doubt.  That was my experience meeting him. In the book, he says everyone's stories have an impact on him, and shares the stories of several runners who have truly been inspirational, calling them his "personal heroes". He also shares his reflections as he was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions in 2007. No doubt, there are very few runners who come to mind who have had such an impact on the sport for the everyday runner as much as that of Bart Yasso. No wonder he's called "The Mayor of Running".
"That's the beauty of the sport. Everyone is welcome to participate. All you have to do is put on a pair of running shoes. At some races, you don't even have to wear running clothes." -Bart Yasso
If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. It's a fun, quick read, and makes me want to push myself to do more. Except for nude races.

You only get one trip around this life, and you may as well make the most of it! I love that Bart did all these things. And he still stays involved by encouraging others to do the same.

I received so many "barties" that I wanted to share a few more in this post! Thanks to everyone who sent me one. 
Bart and Colleen
www.livefreeandrun.com
Michelle Schwartz and friends with Bart
instagram.com/SWTshell6
Shannon and Bart
www.girlsgotsole.com

Bart and Sue
www.thismamarunsforcupcakes.com
Debbie and Bart
www.debruns.com
Presley, friend, and Bart
www.runprettyblog.com
Tina, friends, and Bart
Don't forget to linkup or post your comments below! If you haven't read the book, it's not too late! And if you want to link up another running related book, feel free! The linkup stays open for 2 weeks, but the comments stay open forever. Thanks so much to everyone who shared their pictures with me, and to everyone who read the book!


Remember the rules: sharing is caring! Grab the photo above. Don't forget to link back to this post. Be sure to comment on any of the other reviews. And don't miss out on next month's book: 

Runner's World The Runner's Brain: How to think Smarter to Run Better
I'm really looking forward to reading this one! I've chronicled my struggles with mental training here on the blog. This book is loaded with race strategies and sports psychology to help you run your best race ever. And who doesn't want to do that? After all, the experts say running is 90% mental....

Review and linkup will go live Monday, December 14.








51 comments :

  1. I never heard of a "nude" marathon. Can't say I would ever try this or witness it either. Too much motion for me! :)

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  2. I love that book! And Bart!! The nude marathon is certainly a memorable one- although also not for me. I would like to do the one in Antarctica though!

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    1. Last year, I entered a contest for a trip for 2 to the Antarctic marathon. I didn't win, but dreamers can dream, right?

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  3. Thank you for sharing. I got an autographed copy of his book at the Shamrock Half a few years ago. Great stories and inspirational how he has battled Lyme. My cousin and several of my friends have been struggling with Lyme so it is good to see someone that was able to maintain (for the most part) the lifestyle the wanted even after the diagnosis.

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    1. I had no idea that he had chronic Lyme until I read the book. He certainly doesn't let it slow him down--altho now I know why he's no longer racing.

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  4. I seriously need an extra six hours in my day, so I can curl up with an actual book in hand. Most of my reading these days is at the computer (blogging, etc.), not necessarily a bad thing, but I do need a bit more balance. Thanks for the great review....I'm with you on the nude race thing. (#gagchokepuke)

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    1. I need more balance too! Less work would be nice...

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  5. I love this book. Bart is surely more extreme than I ever desire to be, one tough, determined, relentless character. but he comes across as a great guy. Yeah, I'll pass on nude running or even spectating. Not on my Bucket List! I love his democratic outlook; there's room for everybody in his running world.
    Thanks for this one, Wendy.

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    1. Yep, he's that one friend we all have who is up for anything! Fun to live vicariously through him, isn't it?

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  6. What a great review. I love reading runner's autobiographies. This would make a great Christmas gift!

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  7. Very cool, and love your overview of the book! I've always wondered what's the big deal about Bart to be honest...now I'm starting to get it! :)

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  8. This is so cool. I see that Bart gets around. ;-)

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    1. Yes he does! Funny thing is, I didn't get any barties from any guys!

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  9. Truly inspiring. At 61 I have had to give up running and I appreciate the opportunity to be reminded of the spirit that runners share. That is still within me.

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    1. I don't think it's something we will every lose.I'm sorry that you had to give up running. I know that day will come for me too.

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  10. I love all your book reviews! I've added so many to my list - and this one is going on, too!

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    1. Thank you! It's really a labor of love! I can't seem to get people on board with the "club".

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  11. How cool!!! I've never gotten to meet Bart! Maybe someday!!! And I love this book, it's a great read.

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    1. I hope you get to meet him...altho if you're like me, you'll be rendered speechless...

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  12. I always say this...I need to read that, but I really need to this book!
    I have seen a nude 5K advertised here and thought I just don't want to see THAT! LOL stuff should not be bouncing around like that untamed.
    Bart Yasso really was blessed by Runner's World :) He has become a staple at every big race. What a great way to live.

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    1. I have to agree with you--he has had a great life!

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  13. What an inspiration!

    I can't wrap my head around a nude marathon! I have also heard of the nude 5K (it's actually not too far from here), but a whole 26.2 miles of that? Wow. I also can't wrap my head around Badwater, but that's another story LOL!

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    1. Bart did a lot of stuff that is way out of my comfort zone! But it was so fun to read about it! He suffered so we don't have to...

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  14. I'm putting the book on my "To Read" list! He seems like someone I would love to hangout with & I would have a blast doing it.

    BTW, love the redecoration of the blog! Looks really clean and streamline. Well done!

    And Big Sur in April, hah. :)

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    1. And I think you would probably be the one person I know who would do all the things!

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  15. I am always so inspired by runners like this. It helps me to see that I can be running long into the future! Great review.

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    1. So inspiring and such a nice guy to boot! I hope you get to meet him someday!

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  16. Sounds like a great book! I am putting it on my reading list!! Thanks for sharing your review! I've heard a lot about yasso 800's might have to give them a shot when I train for my first full marathon!

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    1. I'm kind of glad that I haven't had to do them but now I have FOMO!

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  17. I knew he was a legend but had no idea of his interesting past and history. Seems like everyone has a pic with him too!

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  18. awesome! i've seen bart and given him hi fives in a number of races and it always pumps me up! i think i'll add his book to my reading list for over the holidays! :)

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  19. I forgot to send you my pic. Ugh! Bart is such an inspiring runner and business man.

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  20. I'm definitely adding Bart's book to my reading wishlist. Thanks for sharing such a great overview of his book!

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  21. He sounds like such an amazing person!

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  22. I'm not sure how my lady bits would like a nude marathon haha

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  23. I've added Bart and his book to my holiday reading list! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Even tho you aren't running anymore, his is a great story!

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  24. I loved your interview with Bart and also this book recap! The nude marathon, ummm no I won't be doing any of those. I think seeing the cheeks of some people is quite enough in a regular race!

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    1. I was running behind a woman in some very short shorts at Chicago. Let's just say there was more to see than I wanted to.

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  25. I just bought the book! Can't wait to read it. I've heard him speak several times and love hearing him tell his stories!

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  26. you know, considering how everywhere he is I have never met him in person!! Geez, gotta get on that. Seems like a great read.

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  27. I love all of the pics :) I found myself laughing out loud at a lot of the stories in this book, which was occasionally awkward when I was reading on my phone in line at Disney.

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