Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review -- Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

Those of you who know me know how busy life keeps me, from work, to my two daughters to my little cookie business, etc… People think I’m joking when I say I haven’t read an entire book since I had my oldest daughter (turning 8 in February.) 2 years ago I bought Marathon Woman at the Chicago Marathon expo, first book out of the box that running royalty K.V. Switzer was unpacking as she set up her expo booth. She even wrote something to me:

Yeah. I have NO idea what that word is just before Chicago or what it could actually be. (shrug) You?

Anyway, if you’re a woman. Or a runner. Or you’ve been taking random curve balls in life…you should read this book! What really struck me is all that I’ve taken for granted in women’s running. All of the things that are just “here” because of Kathrine Switzer’s pioneering efforts and those of her colleagues. I was able to play in sports from as early as the 3rd grade. I remember the 1984 Olympics. I’ve participated in race after race, 5K to the marathon, and I’ve never been able to put a finger on why my favorite race has always been the Fleet Feet Women’s 5K/10K Festival in Chicago (ok…or maybe the Shamrock Shuffle, but whatever.) It’s somewhat strange reading this story and realizing that in that even in her lifetime, someone else like me has taken women’s running for granted. And maybe that’s the truest sign of success—of “having come a long way, baby”…like maybe how I hope the notion of an African American or woman president will be so second nature to my children that they will take it for granted, too. In addition to women’s running, it was very, very cool to read about other things that are also a given these days, like cute t-shirts (most of the time anyway), sponsorship, race circuits, etc... Incidentally, we may have rounded the curve on that one. Goodie bags have gotten really WACK over the past few years.

So if you have a water bottle (reusable, preferably) in your hand or some other drink, raise your glass to a toast. “I thank you profusely, K.V. Switzer #261, for your tireless dedication to women and to the sport of running, and for the encouragement to keep on going, whether it’s in life or when training doesn’t seem to make sense any more—especially for a slow runner (jogger!) like myself. (the knee strengthening tip is a gem, too!)”

If you haven’t read this book, GET ONE. I even checked to see if this book was available on audio books and it doesn’t appear to be the case. How awesome would it be to listen to this on a series of long runs, or even driving to and from work each day.



Kathrine Switzer said...

Lindy, I'm delighted to read your book review of Marathon Woman--I'm glad it continues to inspire you, and YES! we are making strides to get it on audio. By the way, the word you can't figure out is 1st--FIRST--in honor of your FIRST Chicago Marathon. You must have been first in line and if it was the first book out of the box, I must have been signing in a hurry! How did you do in the race? Cheers, Kathrine Switzer

Lindy said...

(OH MY GAWSH!!!! PURE AWESOMENESS. The highlight of my blogging "career" for sure!!!)

1st! a-HA! And now when I read it, of course it's 1st. Sadly, that particular race just went ok--but I finished. My running (and way of thinking in general) has grown in leaps and bounds, in part due to learning/inspiration from people like you.

Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the blogosphere! What a treat!