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Marathon Madness

27/03/2011

 On chilly days like this, it's hard to imagine that spring is around the corner and that  the National Capital Race weekend is only a couple of months away. ThisMarathon Challenge is quite a big event in the running world, as the marathon, which takes place on the Sunday morning, is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon. My goal is more modest - I will be running in the 10k race on the Saturday -  but I have been enjoying reading and watching various resources that the library has on marathon running. 

Marathon Challenge, originally produced as an episode of the television series Nova, follows 13 non-athletes over a period of nine months as they train for the Boston Marathon. Along the way, we learn about different methods of measuring fitness and the effects of exercise on the body. We also learn a bit about the individuals involved and their reasons for taking on this challenge, but at 54 minutes in length, there is hardly time to delve too deeply into personal stories. This is, after all, a science program, not a reality-T.V. series.

The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women Misery loves company. For those seeking someone who understands the pain of marathon training, Dawn Dais's The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women may be just the ticket. In this book, Dais, a self-confessed couch potato and loather of running, describes her experiences training for a marathon in just a few months' time. This guide contains useful tips for the newbie runner, amusing observations of running culture, and sarcastic comments about the pain involved in training. I particularly enjoyed the last section of the book, where Dais describes in often hilarious detail the trials and tribulations of the marthon itself. I was feeling a little tired when I read this part, which perhaps helped me to appreciate Dais's fatigue, and it made her comments seem all the funnier.

Mud, Sweat, and Gears If running 42 kilometres isn't sufficiently challenging for you, how about biking across Canada with a young family in tow? Joe Kurmaskie did just that with his wife and three sons (one only a year old) and has lived to tell the tale in Mud, Sweat, and Gears . There is much in this book to amuse and entertain, including tales of  frustration and triumph, encounters with wildlife, interactions with strangers, and reflections on parenthood and modern society.  Interspersed throughout Kurmaskie's narrative are many footnotes in which his wife, Beth, has added her comments, many of which humorously contradict her husband's. Adding a further element of drama (and romance!) is a chapter in the middle of the book in which the author describes how he and his wife first met. This is a book that may appeal to many readers, whether they're cycling addicts or not.