With a marathon taper in full force, I have come into a lot more free time. I enjoy reading, which is a perfect thing to do to occupy time during a taper. It’s relaxing, motivating, and gets you off your feet! I decided to read a couple of marathon books in the last two weeks. The first one, which I read in a little over 24 hours, was “Run to Overcome” – the biography of Meb Keflezighi. Meb is a multiple time NCAA Champion, US Champion, Olympic Silver Medalist, and NYC Marathon Champion. Meb’s book profiles his life from his early days in Eritrea, growing up in San Diego, college at UCLA, and his professional running career. The book is a “must read” for all marathoners out there. I do not want to give away too much information about the book or too many stories, but there were some amazing stories that stood out. I think my favorite one is in Eritrea they needed nutrients so they dug in the soil to where it was moist and dark and ate dirt for the nutrients. Not only was this story in itself an inspiration, but the way the story is told is remarkable. Most importantly from this book you learn about having a great support system, ALWAYS thanking the people around you, and family is always the most important. Of course, there are stories of workouts and training, but this is the first book I’ve read on a professional runner that really profiled a great man beyond the workouts. I have to thank Meb for sharing his story and inspiring me!
The second book I read was “A Cold Clear Day: The Athletic Biography of Buddy Edelen.” This book profiles one of the toughest, hardest working distance runners in American history. He, and his coach Fred Wilt, believed in both high intensity and high mileage. He worked as a school teacher in England and would generally run to and from school each day (4.5miles) with workouts in the afternoon. The paces he ran everyday were astonishing. A week would consist of generally a 22-23 miler in 2:02, a session of dozens of 55-200m sprints, 10.5-11 miles in 55-58 minutes, and at least one, if not two, sessions of 20-30×400 in 68s or faster. His mileage was up to 135-150 miles a week with all of it quality. He was at one point the world record holder in the marathon with a time under 2:15. He would race cross country meets in Europe multiple times in a month. What’s really cool is that he did all of this because he loved competing, trying to become the best he could be, and establishing USA as a distance running powerhouse. He feared nobody and raced the marathon – never time-trialing.
These two athletes and books are inspirational, motivating, and very entertaining. If I wasn’t tapering and Jay would let me run twice today instead of one easy run, I’d probably be out running the Boulder Creek Path right now at a pace way too fast. Only 5 more days until I toe the line in my first marathon. I’m fit. I’m excited. And I’m ready. Thank you all for your support! One more blog post before the race!