Footnotes – A Book Review

Well, well. What to say about this book…. I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess I’ll first just copy and paste the synopsis:

Footnotes – How Running Makes Us Human by Vybarr Cregan-Reid

Running is not just a sport. It reconnects us to our bodies and the places in which we live, breaking down our increasingly structured and demanding lives. It allows us to feel the world beneath our feet, lifts the spirit, lets our minds out to play, and helps us to slip away from the demands of the modern world.

When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to discover why running means so much to so many, he began a journey which would take him out to tread London’s cobbled streets, the boulevards of Paris, and down the crumbling alleyways of Ruskin’s Venice. Footnotes transports you to the deserted shorelines of Seattle, the giant redwood forests of California, and to the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centers. Using debates in literature, philosophy, neuroscience, and biology, this book explores that simple human desire to run.

Liberating and inspiring, Footnotes reminds us why feeling the earth beneath our feet is a necessary and healing part of our lives.

Sounds interesting, huh? I think it was. I did read it. All of it. But I barely can recall what I read.

Okay, okay. It’s not a horrible book. There’s some good pieces in there….if you can find them or haven’t skimmed right over them. The description makes the book sound like a personal journey through running. I think that’s in there… somewhere.

On first impression, this book is dense. The chapters, and paragraphs within them, are long and overwhelming and upon opening it, I didn’t want to begin reading. Then, you start… There’s a TON of info in this book. I mean A LOT… studies, personal opinions, references to fictional literary works, and more.

I started off strong, trying to absorb all the info, but it was tiresome. The long bulky paragraphs feel like a textbook and the topics switch too quickly for me to follow. One minute we’re in the author’s personal story and then next we’re following the research of some scientist or a fictional character from a book the author studied.

Maybe the concept of the book was lost on me but I find that hard to believe because I’m a very science minded individual. Topics range from biomechanics, senses, mindset, to the treadmill and how to (literally) run wild and trespass to find a route.

My favorite chapter was the last one (and not just because it was almost over). It was about running and the creativity and freedom it can bring to one’s life. The author tells the story about their first marathon and how he accidentally finished it and about running through different countries and the social barriers to doing so.

Overall, I give the book a 2 out of 5. In my opinion, it seems to me like the author didn’t really know what they wanted to write about and just threw EVERYTHING they knew about running in to this book. The topics jump fast and I got lost. There’s just too much info to sift through. I found myself skimming a lot to find the personal stories rather than reading through the references.

A couple of quotes I did like:

“My running has become something much deeper than a habit or an exercise routine. Now it is part of who I am. It is a part of my personality. I am unsure which came first, or what came from what: am I more self-reliant because of my running, or am I running because I am more self-reliant? The same goes for resilience: I feel like it has taught me how to be in my own company, and continues in helping me to maintain perspective.”

“Running doesn’t have to exercise. it doesn’t have to done to make you ‘strong’ or ‘fit’. It doesn’t even need to be done as a sport – it can be done entirely for its own sake”

-Vybarr Cregan-Reid


Don’t believe me and the synopsis still interested you? Add it to your Goodreads list or buy it on Amazon:

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Ragnar Trail Relay – Unique to Everyone

 

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For the past three years, I have gotten the opportunity to run the Ragnar Trail Relay in Snowmass, CO. All three years have been with 3W Races. The first year as an ambassador, the second year and both an ambassador and employee, and this year as an employee. 

I am a BIG fan of Ragnar Relays. I have loved and enjoyed every year in different ways. This race is a great event, well put together and good way to combine all the reasons I enjoy running! 

Below is my take on the relay, in a general sense. I plan on following up with this year’s post race recap.

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What is Ragnar Trail Relay?

It all ends when I finally get home, I examine myself, taking note of what I’ve done to my body and mind.

I am very tried, about to fall asleep.

I’m dirty, literally covered, head to toe with dirt.

I smell like a high school locker room.

My muscles are sore.

I have a few blisters spread out on my feet.

There’s chafing in places only my boyfriend sees.

I’m sunburnt in various spots, showing where I can’t reach.

My hair is coated in grease, staying in a pony-tail without a hair-tie.

My eyes are dry, my head hurts, and my ears are plugged.

But I feel accomplished.

It all started at 4am the morning before. In about 28 hours, I ran close to 15 miles between three separate runs. I climbed a total of 2,295 feet up a mountain, only to come back down, three different times. I slept less than 8 hours in total and tried to remember to eat when I needed to.

If you read the fine print, I tortured myself for almost two days straight and I called it FUN.

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I have made new friends and strengthened current ones. I watched the sun set then come back up again, all while sitting besides a giant bonfire. I ran 3.5 miles catching up with a friend of mine, four miles with just the light of my headlamp and the stars above, and 6.8 miles in the heat of the day, all while being distracted by tall, snow-capped peaks.

That is what my Ragnar Trail Relay was.

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Running is different to everyone. Some enjoy the roads and others like the trails. Some get thrills from the long run and others just run a few miles each time. Some appreciate company on the journey while others prefer to chase the miles alone. Most of us are a mix of all of these. No matter what type of runner you are, you can find your place at a Ragnar Relay.

My experience with Ragnar Relay has been three years in the making. Every time I join a team and start hitting the trails with seven other team members, I have a new experience. That’s what makes this race series unique. It may be the same three trails every year, but each year you can create new memories and experiences.

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The first year, I was chased by a sage grouse that I coined “The Velociraptor.” In year two, I desperately searched for some dry clothes to warm up in between runs. This year, my third year, I chased the sun and got to finally see the views from the red loop. I was also the last runner and was joined by my team to run through the arch at the end of my last leg. Each year has been made more and more memories.

The brilliant thing about Ragnar Trail Relay is they provide you with the essentials: Trails, music, good vibes, nutritious food, games, good products, a great host, and a campground. From that, each individual experience is unique; from person to person, team to team and year to year.

So I ask you….

What will your Ragnar Trail Relay be?

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Quote on the back of the medals when you put all eight together:

“We believe that being a Ragnarian is about more than being a runner, that misery loves company, that happiness is “only real when it’s shared”, that there is a badass inside all of us, that everyone deserves to be cheered at the finish line, that dirt in your teeth boosts the immune system, that what happens in the village, stays in the village, that adventure can only be found if you are looking for it, and that a little sleep deprivation is a small price to pay to watch the sun rise with our friends. Together we ran Ragnar trail. Together we can accomplish anything. We are Ragnarians.”

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Ragnar Relays

3W Races

Re-Post – Gear Review: SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt (and giveaway!)

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(I was given a free Dual Pocket Running Belt in exchange for a blog post on my opinion and a gear review. All words and opinions are my own. Giveaway at the bottom.)

Lately I have been having a weird issue with low energy while in the middle of a run. I have started carrying peanut butter packs or a Bobo’s Oat Bar while running, just in case. The desire to carry my phone with me while training (so I can Instagram and tweet…oh yeah, and for safety), combined with the need for something to carry it all in (besides putting it all in my sports bra), left me looking for an accessory to fit my needs.

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So when I got an email to try the Dual Pocket Running Belt by SLS3, I jumped at the opportunity!

I’ve taken the belt out on many runs already and have loved it! The SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt will definitely be a part of the majority of my runs and races from here on out.

It is exactly as it sounds: a running belt with two pockets. Bonus: there are also a bunch of other wonderful features such as it’s water proof, adjustable, and “expandable” (it stretches to fit whatever you need to carry with you). It’s very lightweight and weighs as much as whatever I put in it. I tested the SLS3 Dual Pocket Belt by putting as much stuff in it that I might need in the future (maybe for a long run or a race). It was stuffed with two energy bars, a phone, car keys, and credit cards/ID  (fits my android that’s bigger than an iPhone) and probably could have fit more!

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The only other running belt I have, or even have tried, is a water carrier belt; I couldn’t even tell you what brand. When I run with that fully load with my belongings and water, it bounces around on my butt like crazy, and I can never get it adjusted just right to be comfortable. I end up with some sort of chaffing. This is not the case with this SLS3 belt. It didn’t bounce, ride up or down and stayed exactly where I put it on my waist.

20160123_131211The specifics:

  • Two zippered pockets (making it so I’m not worried stuff will fall out).
  • Fully adjustable waist band that’s easy to adjust (fits sizes 24″ to 32″).
  • Small and compact (1.5″ wide without anything in it).
  • Connects with a plastic buckle.
  • Fully washable.
  • Four colors to choose from: lime, purple, blue, and black. (Blue’s my favorite!)

Why I really liked it:

  • Very comfortable!
  • Didn’t bounce around while running.
  • Water resistant – even the zipper! (That means you can wear it in the rain and snow AND your sweat also doesn’t leak through.)
  • Lightweight – I barely noticed it was there and was only as heavy as the stuff I put in it.
  • Fashionable! It looks good, not like some that stick out when you run and look goofy.
  • Expandable (the pockets look small, but they fit a lot of things I want with me for a run).
Testing out the waterproof-ness in the muddy snow!

Testing out the waterproof-ness in the muddy snow!

Cons:

  • I can’t really think of any except the fact that it doesn’t have a place for water. Then again, if I needed a water belt, I would try SLS3’s Hydration Running Belt.

This running belt has been added to my running gear collection as a staple. I haven’t raced with it yet, but I look forward to having a secure, comfortable place to put my car key and phone for the next race I run!

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Right now SLS3 is running a limited time introductory price. The belt retails at $29.90 but their Amazon store has it listed for $16.90 (43% Off). Click HERE to look at it and get one for yourself!

Also, save 40% off the SLS3 Website with coupon code: BLOG40

GIVEAWAY: Enter to win your own! Click HERE to enter the raffle!

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Greetings from Washington, state that is. (+Updates)

Hello from Ellensburg – er….now I’m in Seattle. The Sea/Tac Airport to be exact. And I’m on my way home.

I have been in Ellensburg, WA for the past 4ish days visiting with some family. As much as the travel bug has been biting me lately, this was not on the list. Not to say it’s bad – just unplanned.

You see, my Grandparents live in Ellensburg which is about 1.5-2 hours east of Seattle. Over the last couple of years, my grandfather’s health has been declining, as what happens in life, but after a recent trip to the hospital, my mom and I decided to just make the trip out to see him.

So, last Monday, we bought tickets and on Friday we packed our bags and headed to the airport. Well, I’m sure my Mom packed her bags within reasonable time. I, being a professional procrastinator, packed the hour before leaving. No joke.

As much as I was looking forward to camping and a 14er hike with the boyfriend’s family, I am glad we finally got out to see my Grandpa because that is more important. I hadn’t been out this way for 6 or 7 years, although I did see my Grandparents at my Mom’s wedding a couple of years ago.

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It was a good, relaxing break from work. There wasn’t even WIFI (gasp!) so I spent a lot of time reading, watching football with Grandpa, coloring and watching the Disney channel with my cousins and hanging out with my Mom, Aunt and Grandma in the kitchen.

I even got in a run with my some special running buddies!

My Mom and two cousins!

My Mom and two cousins!

(Follow me on Instagram to see more pictures from my travels.)

Updates:

Since my last post from Oregon (geez, I need to get better at this blogging thing), I have been keeping busy as always.

-The day after I got back, I organized another one of my Brew Runs.

-I ran road Ragnar the weekend after returning from Oregon.

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-Went on a lovely date with the boyfriend to the Melting Pot….mmmmm…

-Volunteered at the Splash and Dash, a kid’s Triathlon.

-STARTED COACHING CROSS COUNTY AT GOLDEN HIGH SCHOOL! This deserves all caps because A) I have been wanting to coach here for a while, for many reasons but also B) Because this is quite a refreshing coaching job!

These kids are super motivated, really respectful to the coaches and each other, and just all around good kids!

If you’ve been following Racing the States for a bit, you would know that I have been coaching Cross Country at Arvada High School for the last two years (my alma mater). This year, the head coach left, leaving the spot open, but the athletic director filled it with a non-runner-teacher without posting the job. For gosh sakes the guy didn’t even know my name or realize he had another coach on his staff! Don’t even get me started on that guy/school….

Anyway, I was pretty bummed that I didn’t get the job, nor the opportunity to apply for it, but accepted the fact that I wasn’t coaching that season. However, on my friends coaches at Golden High School, which is conveniently in the city I live, and said there was a spot open…without hesitation, I say “DUH!” and started coaching the following week. IT’S BEEN AMAZING!

And yes, I still will be coaching track at Green Mountain High School in the Spring. Besides, Golden does already have a Jump’s coach.

Back to my updates….

-I went on my first backpacking trip to Conundrum Hot Springs in Colorado.

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-Went to a Cross Country meet that we did REALLY well at (the boy’s team took first and individually we had a 1st, 3rd and 7th place boys and a 1st place girl)!

The smiling faces of the Golden HS Cross Country Team!

The smiling faces of the Golden HS Cross Country Team!

-That brings us to last week, I had another Brew Tour run and got on a plane to Washington.

All the while I have been working my normal job, marketing at 3W Races, and at the recreation center in Golden. Hopefully it wont be nearly as long till my next post and I’ll be getting some race recaps finished up!