We all know this one chick. She says, “Oh, I’m so fat today!” as she walks off wearing her size 4 jeans and climbs into her cute little car with her cute little butt on her way to go buy cute little running skirts.
I hate her.
Jennifer Graham, though, knows a little more about what it really means to be fat. Not “a little heavy” or “pudgy”, but the kind of fat that makes life miserable. She wrote this ^^ book for me, and I’ll tell you why you should read it, too, even if you’re the “fat” chick in size 4 jeans. (also, I hate you)
Because she is a Runner, Jennifer knows the ups and downs and chafing spots of the sport. The clothing, the weather, the sweat. She shprekenzee the leengahlee. She talks about belonging to a tribe of athletes who choose to embrace the suck of pain and snow and blood. She also talks about owning the type of body that others do not recognize as having the appearance of a runner: flab and stretch marks and cellulite and age. She talks about being ignored, laughed at, insulted because of her body. She runs miles and miles a week and finishes races and no one takes her seriously.
She’s talking about me. She may even be talking about you.
Her book is normal. She doesn’t try to pump us up with a bunch of crap about how we should all try to weigh 2 pounds per inch and how we’re not supposed to laugh when we hear “fartlek”. (every time I hear that, my brain reverts back to 4th grade. I can’t help it.) She gripes about gaining weight while training for a half-marathon and her donkeys escaping and her marriage and she’s just so normal, I could hug her. I would hug her if I could find her without looking like a creepy stalker.
Also, Jennifer talks about two of my favorite dead white guys: Steve Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman, both of Nike/Oregon fame. I have a t-shirt (handmade, but still) that says “The House that Bowerman Built”. Meaning me. I want to be the house that Bowerman built. Sadly, right now, I am the plywood tree house in that back yard that gets all droopy in the rain and smells like cats, but someday I’ll be the proper sort of house that has an attic and a hot tub. And Prefontaine? aka Pre? aka Everything I Own says “Go Pre! Go ME!” and “Pre Lives!” …and i mean everything. I have shoes and jewelry and jackets and bags and shirts and shorts. I for reals ironed “Coos Bay” on some running shorts a few years ago. Even my eMail address is Pre related.
I am so glad that there is at least one other soul out there who is as inspired and insane about Pre as I am. Like me, Jennifer is a stay at home mom (she has 4 kids, I have 3) who isn’t a fast Runner. She uses Pre as her coach, her motivator…she, like me, imagines Pre’s voice as she runs…his slightly annoyed stance (arms crossed, frowning) if she tries to wimp out. I’ve done that. I’ve heard Pre say, “I don’t care how big your ass is, just move it up that hill before I kick it.” I am guilty of sacrificing The Gift.
Anyway, if you aren’t a fat Runner or a slow Runner, you should read this book, too because you need to understand that for some of us, just getting dressed for a run is a work out. (how many times did my roommate and I have to help the other with an ornery and ill-fitting sports bra? “Yerttle!! Help! I’m STUCK!”) You need to understand that just because we don’t look like a Runner doesn’t mean that we haven’t logged the miles and paid our bloody, sweaty dues. You should also read this book so that you understand how to not be a douche bag to us.
So there it is. My book review and suggestion: Read the book. Go for a run. Be Runner, not a non-waving douche bag. Be a Runner no matter the size of your thighs or boobs or wrinkles… just run.
I’ve signed up for another half-marathon to benefit Team Fisher House. The link to my page can be found over in the side bar under “give ’em your money”. I’ll make you a deal: for every $10 you donate on my page, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a Goodie Bag. Inside the Goodie Bag will be a brand new copy of the book, some Gu, and a batch of homemade brownies. (because, honestly, who doesn’t love brownies and a book?)
Donate some moolah to Fisher House, possibly win a book and chocolate, go for a run, and be awesome.
Just Do It.
…no, seriously. Go do it now. I need to raise $300.