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If the phrase "training run" has ever been part of your vocabulary – whether in reference to you or someone near you – you're bound to get a laugh, cringe, and sigh out of My Year of Running Dangerously. Combining two of my favorite topics, memoirs and running, acclaimed journalist Tom Foreman uses his storytelling skills to recount his monumental return to distance running. His decades-long running hiatus came to an end when his daughter invited him to do a marathon with her, and after shaking some initial hesitation, Foreman went all in. You might worry that his story will run long, but the book is paced so well that you cross the finish line with a euphoric high, ready for more.
Foreman's witty narration of the audiobook had me laughing out loud as I trotted and plodded through training runs of my own. (Hooray for eAudiobooks!) I have a few half marathons under my hydration belt, so in the first section (marathon training) I found myself relating to his doubtful-turned-maniacal attitude toward training for distance races. In the latter section (ultra-marathon training) I was simply in awe, as any story about running 30+ miles comes from a place of deep discipline and lunacy. Along the way he shares anecdotes of his family reacting with a mix of support, shock, sarcasm, frustration and pride. Who could blame them?
You might glean a few lessons from Foreman's tale – plenty of humorous "Do as I say, not as I do" advice, just like a typical runner – but the real takeaway actually has little to do with running at all. His marathon-and-beyond pursuit helped him take a step back from the quicksand of an all-consuming work life that left little room for personal endeavors and family. By carving out time for running and bringing his loved ones along for the journey, he reconnected with some of the people most important to him, and they created a support system for each other. It's a great reminder to focus on the goals and people most important in our lives. With his voice in my ear, Foreman turned out to be a fun and inspirational running buddy.