Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review: Running

Though I've been running for a few years now, and racing for just as many, I feel like I really took off as a runner this year. Between training and running another marathon to PRing my half time again to convincing Doug to participate in my shenanigans, I feel like this year was just a whole different game when it came to my fitness and running life.

18 Half Marathons
Yeah, you read that right. Before you get all 'don't do too many or you'll burn out', it's important to note that almost half of them were raced I paced, so were at times that are super comfy-casual for me even on my worst day. I got to race a few, pace some more, and truly just had a freaking blast.

I PRed my half marathon time by just about six minutes at Fontana in June. This was pretty unreal and totally unexpected and a fantastic way to wrap up racing before heading into summer.

I ran with Doug at his first half in January at New Year's Race and then watched him get totally caught up in the competition and accomplishment, so he went on to finish two more this year (OC and Long Beach), and is going to finish his Beach Cities Challenge at Surf City in February. He says he's retiring in February... I think he'll hang on for a few more. I am way proud of him and though I know he blames me for this, I think deep down he enjoys it. Just a little.

1 Marathon
One was enough this year. LA was the best distraction possible during my unemployment stint and IERC and training certainly got me through some terrible, terrible months. Though my time didn't turn out to be what I wanted, race day always has other plans in mind. Sometimes, I'm still angry but deep down I know that I have those goals (4:20) ahead of me. Maybe 2016 is it.

Pacing was a new venture I took on this year, with West Hills being the first race I've paced officially. Aside from pacing Monica to a PR at Long Beach in 2014, I'd never paced anyone to anything! All the races I've paced this year, with the exception of one (OC), are with Beast Pacing, an incredible company started up by an amazing ultra runner. I've had such a blast and am so grateful for the opportunities - pacing has allowed me to become a better runner, but I love getting to see folks finish their first half or knock out a 10-minute PR and then come up to you to thank you! Hey, sometimes I'm just out for a morning stroll, I just happen to do it with a stick in my hand and a medal at the end! Pacing really has allowed me to give back to the running community and runners everywhere.
Pacing at Surfers Point. November.
I paced 8 races this year, 7 of them half marathons and one 15K. I've already got quite a few lined up for 2016 and am stoked to check out some new races to boot! Thanks, Beast!

2 New States
One of my goals for 2015 was to get two half marathon states crossed off my list. Many thanks to two ambassadorships, I was able to do just that! I wish I had gotten to do more, but between unemployment and then jumping head-first into a new gig, I am so lucky I even got to make these two!

Brooklyn and Portland were part of my #30halfsfor30years shenanigans, with Portland being #30 and Brooklyn and Long Beach just follow-ups for fun - so yes, three halfs in 8 days. Portland gave me Oregon for state #8 and New York for state #9 just a week later. How lucky am I? So, so lucky.

This was my first back-to-back weekend ever, Brooklyn on Saturday and Long Beach on Sunday. It was tiring, to say the least. But I'm looking forward to more double weekends in the future to knock out some more states. Who wants to travel with me?

1,000 Miles
I did it. Yesterday morning I busted out a 9.4 mile run to knock out the very last of my mileage needed for #1000orbust. My only goal was to not be finishing my miles on New Year's Eve, and with December giving me a heck of a time between a pulled back muscle and a nasty cold, I ended up a few days behind and needing to make up for it. Lots of high mileage in the last week - but no complaints! I did it! 

Major goal for the year completed. This is super ups from just 757 in 2014, and even less the two years prior so to say I am elated is just an understatement. A minor one at that. ;)

My year would really not have been as fun, nor rewarding, as some of the amazing races and companies I was beyond forunate enough to represent this year! I got to continue my love affair with Sparkly Soul and continue wearing all these sparkly from coast to coast.

Playing around at Star Wars weekend for Sparkly Soul!
I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Rock 'n Blogger for the Rock 'n Roll race series, an ambassador for the Lexus Lace Up series, Portland MarathonLong Beach and Holiday Half races, and represent Beast Pacing at a slew of others across Southern California. These race folks and incredible teams put on amazing races and events and I feel so honored that I was able to represent them and what they stand for this year. Thank you to all of you!

2015 Long Beach & Holiday Half ambassador team. <3
It's hard to choose medal favorites, but I've pulled out some of my favorite medals from this year. Some are solely because the medal is super awesome (let's be real, half the reason we do this craziness are for super fun medals, no?), but also because of what the races meant for me. A post on this next week as I reflect on 2015 and look forward to racing in 2016!

An amazing year. I am so grateful and proud of what I've done this year. PRs in all distances (my 5K twice!), I've had two amazing race-cations, #30halfsfor30years accomplished, a blast pacing and check out all kinds of new races all over Southern California. Races in two new states, but runs in even more states! I am beyond lucky, and ready for what 2016 has to offer!

What was your biggest running accomplishment for the year? 

For this post, I'm linking up with Smitha and Dani for their #YearInReviewLinkUp!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Race Report: San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

December 27, 2015 | San Diego, CA 

I ran this race at the super last minute last year, had a blast, and was excited to be able to get picked up as a pacer for this one to run it again! Sidenote: I was supposed to pace 2:10 and then we were supposed to be up in the mountains for Christmas so I cancelled, and then plans changed again two weeks later so then I got to jump back in for team 2:45. Still a win and a good, long slow run in the books for a beautiful Sunday morning run.

My sister decided that she wanted to come down and watch (who knows why?) so she convinced Doug to come along too. He was my spectator last year so at least he knew the course and places to hang out and catch me along the way! We left the house at 5 and were down to the start line right about 6:30 in time for our pacers' meeting with Beast Pacing.

The entire pacing team!
With a start time of 7:30, we headed into corrals at 7:15 to get lined up. While we were told there would be signage to split folks up by pace, the corrals were only marked and people only knew what corral they were in by their bib number which apparently corresponded with what they put as their finish time. *shrug* But I had no clue, so I just plopped myself in and we figured it out from there!

The course is super PR-friendly, with one good hill in the first 1.5 miles and one slight incline in the mile 6 zone, but otherwise is a pretty good net downhill (700 feet or so). Being point to point, it's also super spectator friendly, so your fam and friends can find multiple points to stop and cheer you on - if you're a super speedy, that's a little more difficult, but at my slow pace yesterday, Doug and Andi were able to see me twice on the course and be at the finish well ahead of time, too. 

Naturally, my Garmin died again in the corrals, so thankfully my partner Robin had hers and we just followed my printed pace band to stay on track. We were definitely banking time so in the second half we definitely had some good stretches to walk in - still had fun, helped people keep track knowing that we had an x-minute lead and giving people the confidence that they'd finish in a time they were stoked with. Nearly everyone who started with/around us finished pretty ahead of us once we realized we could walk nearly the entire last mile. That's fun! I love pacing and helping people meet their goals. :) 

This race certainly seemed more organized than last year and with the new start line at the Doubletree Golf Resort rather than across the street in the Albertsons parking lot, there was a lot smoother start, announced and organized (minus this apparent missing signage). 

It was a perfectly gorgeous morning (though freeeeezing at the start) and by the time I finished, I was plenty warm in my 2XU Hyoptik tights and long sleeves. A few fun photos on the water (which, by the way, the water is higher than I've ever seen here) and we were on our way to breakfast and back home... 
Thank you, Southern California, for the prettiest racing weather ever. All. Year. Long.

Last race of 2015 in the books! Look forward to my racing year in review later this week!

What was your last race of 2015? 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays! I am off to spend the day with my family, Doug's family, for lots of wine, laughs and cheers!

Enjoy your holiday. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Favorites #8: Fitness Stocking Stuffers

All week I've had some super stellar gift guides from varoius ambassador friends all around the interwebz, so I thought I'd wrap up the week with some of MY favorites, too! It is a Friday Favorite day, after all!

In case you missed their posts:
Runner Essentials (Tam)
Runner Accessories & Fun (Kristen)
Yogi Essentials (Kasey)
Runner Books

I've loved having a whole bunch of guests and I hope you've loved what they've shared! But on to my personal faves... and things that the runner and fitness fan in your life would LOVE to have. Trust me.

1. Sparkly Soul Inc. 
Yes, I'm an ambassador so yes, I like promoting them. But here's the thing. They work. They're awesome. And they sparkle. I've been wearing them long before I ever got to be an ambassador and I just love promoting the sparkly goodness. Better yet, they're releasing all kinds of amazing new colors and patterns, and I can't even keep up! Make sure you visit them on social media (IG | Twitter) to find out what's going on! You can also check out the #25daysofsparklysoul for daily deals all the way up until Christmas!
New seashell green pretties! $17 (wide) / $15 (thin)

2. Pro Compression 
Though you'll see runners everywhere rocking these, they're good for recovery for anyone, not just runners! Compression socks are great for recovery and I use them both during long runs but also for afterwards to help blood circulation and muscle fatigue. I swear by them and with all their fun designs, colors, and patterns, what's not to love?
Pro Compression White and Black Marathon Sock, $50. 

3. Training Journal 
I just won my first training jounral and am way excited to dive into for 2016. While blogging is a great way to keep up with transparency in a training plan and to hold myself accountable (because I can't put it on the internet if it didn't happen, right?), sometimes there's nothing like putting it down on paper and getting back to your roots. With a few fulls on the schedule for 2016, I hope to use this to actually see my progress. And hey! Just because your fitness fan doesn't run, doesn't mean there's not a place for them, too. Gone for a Run has a ton of journals to choose from here!
Love the Run journal, $29.99

4. Spi Belt 
SpiBelt is great for holding all your stuff when you just don't want to - or, for runners, for holding your Gus, keys, phone, headphones, and all that other random stuff that you never knew you needed while you were out on a run. But seriously, my SpiBelt comes with me on all my long runs and races so I never have to worry about missing out on something I ended up needing. I also had the brilliant idea earlier this week that for days where I don't want to carry my wallet/backpack/purse, why not take the thing to Disneyland? Hands-free, all day? Count me in.
Original SpiBelt, $19.99
5. Runners World Subscription 
Runners World has become my monthly running bible and advice guide. I love the stories, the human pieces, and even the tips and recommendations on races, places to go, and how to tackle the winter running blues. A subscription isn't expensive either and makes a great gift that lasts all year!
RW subscription, $19.97

These are just some of my faves and quick, easy things to use as stocking stuffers or quick birthday presents in the holiday season!

What are some of your running favorites?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Yogi Essentials

I pestered my favorite yogi, Kasey, to put together a gift guide for the yogi in your life - her favorites, must-haves and yoga essentials. Some runners are also avid yoga enthusiasts and while that's certainly not my area of expertise, there's some great things in here! Enjoy!

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Yogi in Your Life

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be sharing with you my list of holiday gift ideas for the yogi in your life. As a dedicated yoga practitioner and teacher, I’ve found a number of the items below to have been fun additions to my practice. This is by all means not an extensive list, nor a list meant for everyone, but keep in mind that at the holidays it truly is the thought that counts. So, here goes…

1.       Jade Travel Yoga Mat - $59.95

Every dedicated yogi has their favorite yoga mat, and my favorite brand is Jade Yoga. Jade Yoga is committed to making eco-friendly yoga products and their mats are made sustainably with natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, a renewable resource, and unlike other mats contains no PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber. The thing I love most about their mats is the incredible grip they have. As a sweaty-betty I found with most mats, the most minimal amount of sweat caused my mat to become a slip and slide. I wouldn’t call Jade mats “sticky” per se, like other mats out there, but they really do work well. They come in a few different lengths and colors, and the best part is the variety of thicknesses. I personally have a Jade Fusion Mat, which is their thickest, for my every day practice. However, what I’ve always wanted was one of Jade’s Travel Mats – their thinnest and lightest yoga mat – great for someone who travels a lot. PLUS, each mat purchase = a charitable donation too!

2.       Yogitoes Skidless Mat Towel - $68.00
I will again mention my sweating habits… I SWEAT A LOT. Literally, get me into a class and within 10 min I am dripping. While my Jade Yoga mat does a pretty great job at keeping me from slipping all over, I discovered mat towels. Most mat towels are made of a sort of absorbent microfiber fabric and some are what you could term “skidless”, and they have rubber nubs on the bottom that help you get an even better grip on your mat. The skidless towels have definitely become a favorite of mine, and the best ones I’ve found are Yogitoas Skidless Towels from Manduka. These towels are awesome and a lot of them have a super fun design (LOTS of tie-dye going on). The other great thing about these towels is each one is made from no fewer than eight discarded plastic bottles that are woven into 50% poly yarn.

3.       doTERRA Essential Oils – price varies
Yoga used to be synonymous with incense, but now you’re finding more and more practitioners are incorporating essential oils into their practices. There are a number of ways to use essential oils – during class (especially during savasana), infusing them with sprays, etc. They’re seriously the best. One of my most favorite things during a class is when a teacher comes around during pigeon pose or savasana. In addition to yoga, essential oils are being incorporated more and more into holistic health management. I used to probably be the first to denounce oils as just another wacky hippie thing, but now, I’m totally one of the first people to think about taking a peppermint oil bead to clear a stuffy nose before turning to some Nyquil. One thing to note about oils is everyone reacts differently to them – lavender for one person could be totally calming, but for the next it could be super agitating.  My favorite oils are doTERRA essential oils. doTERRA sells individual therapeutic grade oils and also has some awesome proprietary blends. Maybe start the yogi in your life off with a little sampler pack of oils or a giftcard so they can pick the scents that work best for them.

4.       Music Service Membership (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) – typically $9.99 monthly
Music is a big deal in yoga today, whether you’re teaching a class or practicing at home on your own. While traditional yoga like Astanga is practiced sans-beats, mainstream vinyasa is usually accompanied by all types of music – not just the stereotypical zen-inducing tunes. I know teachers whose playlists incorporate hip hop and R&B, EDM, and even some country. What better way for the yogi in your life to deepen their practice by exploring music that makes them feel alive and want to go with the flow? Up until about a month ago, I used a service called rdio, but it was just purchased by Pandora. I now use Spotify, which seems to be pretty standard for us yoga-folk. The best thing is being able to follow fellow yogis and teachers to see what they’re playing during class and being able to collaborate on playlists with friends.

5.       Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf - $58.00

If you know me, you know my #1 addiction – Lululemon. Yes, it’s pricy. Yes, it’s pretty basic. But dude, it lasts for-freaking-ever. If you’re like me and already have a full Lulu wardrobe, you don’t necessarily need another pair of wunder-unders or another cool racerback tank. Instead, why not treat your yogi to a Lulu Vinyasa Scarf? These things are super cool. On either end, there are snaps so in an instant you can take your scarf from Infinity to flat! And because of this, you can wear it done up, undone, wrapped, unwrapped… really however you want. PLUS, these things come in tons of patterns and colors. HOW FUN.

6.       Spiritual Gangster Pullover – $72.00-$88.00

Since its winter and all, and most of us love a cozy pullover, my favorites come from Spiritual Gangster – a yoga-inspired clothing line. All their clothes are made from super soft fabric and the pullovers are super comfy. They have designs to fit anyone’s likes, and pretty much if you show up in one of these puppies, everyone will be super jelly. Spiritual Gangster also is another socially conscious company that donates a meal to a person in need for every item sold.

7.       WerkShop Leggings – $88.00-$98.00 

So as much as I admit that I am addicted to Lululemon, another fun trend in yoga fashion is printed leggings. One of the coolest companies I’ve found is Eagle Rock WERKSHOP®, based out of Eagle Rock, CA. This company started as a kickstarter nearly 2 years ago, and now they’re killing it. All their leggings are made from Olympic-Quality compression fabric and feature incredibly vivid photo-real digital printing and limited edition and/or exclusive art. And they are perfect for any sport. I love these things and they are SO fun to practice in. Check out their Instagram for some SUPER awesome photography! 


Thanks Kasey! I hope y'all found this way helpful and now know how to spoil your yoga-loving bestie. 

Make sure you follow Kasey on Insta for her badass yoga poses in all kinds of places and her shenanigans around Phoenix. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Runner Accessories & Fun

I love tapping my Sweat Pink sisters to share their holiday must-haves and favorites. Today, it's Kristen who blogs at Run Away With Me from way up north - but I'll let her tell you all the fun stuff!

Holiday Gift Guide for Runners - Accessories & Fun

Hello!  I’m Kristen, and I blog over at Run Away With Me.  I’m a runner and hiker from Anchorage, Alaska!  I’ve been a runner for the past 3 years, and I have to admit that when I first started running I thought that it was the cheapest sport ever.  I mean, all you need is a good pair of shoes, right?  But with time I’ve learned that runners always “need” a little something extra! 

We are always looking for the best accessories to make a run as fun and stress-free as possible.  Over the past few years I’ve received some great running accessories as gifts, and these are my favorites!  Make sure to include these on your holiday gift list this year!

1.      A good headlamp:  It’s dark all winter long here in Alaska, so I knew I needed a headlamp to make it through outdoor winter running.  Last year, my big Christmas present was this Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp (insert this link:!  I agonized over the different headlamp companies and options forever, but I settled on that one and I’m really glad I did.  It’s super bright and I love the features it has – like a locking feature for when you travel so it won’t accidently turn on and lose battery.

2.      A perfect headband: I feel like no matter what the weather is, I’m constantly trying to keep the hair out of my face.  Plus it doesn’t hurt if a headband is cute and colorful!  For warmer or indoor runs, I like to run with Sweaty Bands, A Rose So Sweet, or BAMR Bands!  If it’s cold out, I recommend anything by the C9 Collection at Target.

3.      A place to store your stuff:  When I run, I like to drive to a safe and busy location where I can start and end my run in a populated area.  That means I’ve got my car keys with me, as well as my cell phone.  An easy way to store these things out of the way is with my Nathan Mirage Pack (insert this link:  It doesn’t bounce at all, and it’s big enough to hold my keys and my phone.  And it’s so slim that it actually fits underneath most of my running shirts and no one even knows I’ve got it on – unless I want to rock that '80s look! :)

4.      A way to keep warm:  My favorite cold weather running and hiking accessories are my running “scarves”!  I’ve got a few different kinds that work in different types of weather.  My favorite one to use when it’s above 15 degrees is this trail scarf from Run Pretty Far (insert this link:, which actually has my favorite quote on it.  For colder runs check out the Buff website (insert this link: for thicker wool and fleece options.  They are versatile and can be used as scarves, face coverings, and even headbands when you get hot!

5.      A race to run:  My goal is to run a race in all 50 states, and that’s a lot of race registrations!  If you want to save a bit of money, asking for a race registration is a great gift idea.  Some suggestions from me include a Ragnar Relay, any race in Disney, or one of the Vacation Races  races.  I ran the Zion Half Marathon in March and had the most incredible experience.  I’m hoping that someone will buy me the Yellowstone Half Marathon registration this year!

Thanks for checking out some of my favorite things!  What’s on your Christmas list this year?  If you could put any race on your gift list, what would it be?

Make sure you follow Kristen and all her Alaska adventures: Blog | Twitter | Instagram


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Books for the Runner, Bookworm, or Running Bookworm

Full credit to Competitor for this list, but I thought it was too good to not share! Besides, there are tons of runners who also like to read about running, or people who just like to run, and people who just like to read, so why not gift them a thing or two of their favorite things for the holidays? 

The 25 Greatest Running Books of All Time
(and now essential for some last-minute holiday gift ideas!)

25. Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There (1991)

Of all the books written about Nike, this is one of the best. Written by sisters Julie Strasser (Nike’s first advertising director) and Laurie Becklund (a reporter for the Los Angeles Times), “Swoosh” tells about alleged steroid use by Nike-sponsored athletes, under-the-table payments to amateur runners, and how Phil Knight, Steve Prefontaine, Geoff Hollister and a few others helped make Nike the most successful athletic shoe and apparel company in the world. (Another good book with less of an investigative slant is “Out of Nowhere: The Inside Story of How Nike Marketed the Culture of Running,” which Hollister wrote a few years before he passed away in 2012.)

24. Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving—and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity (2010)

Although the generation of empowered mommy joggers probably started in the 1990s, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea organized, authenticated and rallied the tribe with this landmark book—the first of three they’ve written together—and now it’s a movement. The authors offer insight, inspiration and plenty of training service content that encourages any woman (but especially mothers who are juggling a lot of things in life) to get fit and inspired through running.

23. Running With the Kenyans (2012)

British journalist Adharanand Finn immersed himself (and his family) in elite Kenyan running camps to uncover the secrets of the Rift Valley. He trained side-by-side with Olympic legends and up-and-coming hopefuls, ate their food, followed their customs, interviewed their coaches and came away with a mesmerizing glimpse at the culture of distance running at its purest level.
22. A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York (2009)
The New York City Marathon is the world’s biggest race—and one of the hardest to get into—but whether you’ve run it just once, finished it many times or are still pining for a chance to run through New York’s five boroughs, Liz Robbins’ journalistic approach is worthy of a read. The New York Times reporter covers the race through the eyes of five recreational runners with unique reasons for running the race and makes it come to life for the same reasons it has mushroomed in size since its inception 45 years ago.

21. Why We Run: A Natural History (2002)
Originally released with the title of “Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life,” this book explores the idea that human evolution was made possible by the ultra-distance running capabilities of human beings. Author Bernd Heinrich, a biologist and award-winning nature writer, investigates the physical, spiritual and primal desires and instincts to compete in a blend of anthropology, psychology, philosophy and his own personal passion for running long distances.

20. Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (2012)
Ultrarunning champion Scott Jurek is one of the greatest distance runners of his generation. Although many of the highlights of his career occurred before ultrarunning hit the mainstream (including seven straight wins in the Western States 100), he’s one of the sport’s first transcendent stars and one of the reasons for its recent growth. In his autobiography, Jurek tells about his childhood in Minnesota, his growing interest in ultrarunning, family challenges and his emerging running career. Most importantly, it also details how he went from traditional meat-eating dietary habits to becoming a vegan. He outlines his entire nutritional approach and serves up some of his favorite recipes.

19. The Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age (2011)
Known by fans as "The Penguin" for his back-of-the-pack speed, John Bingham is one of the unlikely heroes of the modern running boom. In this warm, witty memoir, the best-selling author and magazine columnist recalls his childhood dreams of athletic glory, sedentary years of unhealthy excess and a life-changing transformation from couch potato to "adult-onset athlete." It’s a must-read for new fitness-oriented runners or lifelong runners who have kept running despite slowing down through the years. What Bingham proves is that if he can become a marathoner and a healthy runner, anyone can.

18. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances (2014)
Matthew Inman, a Seattle-based cartoonist known for “The Oatmeal,” burst on the running scene over the past few years by writing and illustrating honest, witty, authentic and sometimes brazenly awkward stories about his own running. His debut book is a funny and poignant look at the sport through his own curious pursuits as a marathoner and ultramarathoner. He’s one of the freshest voices in running, because he gets it all and because he isn’t afraid to question it all. Says “Born to Run” author Chris McDougal: "Finally! A voice that sings with the blerches of angels!"

17. Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind (2012)
No book has exposed and cultivated the spiritual connections between runner and running better than this book by Sakyong Mipham, a Tibetan lama and leader of Shambhala (an international community of meditation centers). Mipham, an accomplished distance runner who has also been trained in horsemanship and martial arts, explains how physical activity (and specifically running) is essential to spiritual well-being and offers lessons for any runner to create a mind-body connection.

16. The Silence of the Great Distance: Women Running Long (2000)
Frank Murphy combined his experience as a writer, runner, coach, director and sociology professor to write “a stirring account of the development of women's distance running.” Although he chronicles American legends Doris Brown Heritage, Mary Decker Slaney and Suzy Favor Hamilton, the primary narrative of the book is about Stephanie Herbst, a nine-time All-American at the University of Wisconsin in the 1980s who promptly walked away from the sport. Through the examples of Herbst and Kathy Ormsby, Murphy tells of the intensity, dedication, passion and pressure of women’s athletics.

15. The Complete Book of Running (1977)
Before there was “Born to Run,” there was “The Complete Book of Running.” While this book has long been out of print, it’s still one of the most important books about running ever written (selling more than 1 million copies), Author Jim Fixx captured the essence of running and distilled it to the recreational fitness level. He helped grow the original running boom exponentially by showing that anyone could become a jogger with a little bit of knowledge and a good pair of shoes. The book is full of smart how-to advice, coaching insights and philosophical vignettes that have mostly stood the test of time. While many books have since offered more advanced concepts, Fixx changed the world forever with this book (and his 1980 follow-up, “Jim Fixx’s Second Book of Running”) by making it acceptable for grown men and women to run around in shorts and T-shirts in a personal quest for fitness, freedom and self-expression.

14. Feet in the Clouds: The Classic Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession (2004)
Richard Askwith explores the centuries-old sport of fell running, one of the few endurance sports “to have remained implacably amateur and utterly true to its roots” through several hundred years of competition in the Lake District and Snowdonia regions of the U.K. It’s a great read and a fascinating immersion into this quirky but authentic segment of running. Askwith’s on-the-ground reporting includes a look at some of the most legendary races, weeklong competitions and some of the most celebrated figures in the sport.

13. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
Written by Allan Sillitoe, this is a story about a rebellious working-class boy, Colin Smith, who, after being sentenced to a reformatory school for robbing a bakery, comes of age through long-distance running. His stay at the reform school is rough until the headmaster begins to cultivate the boy’s natural talent as a means to show rehabilitation and maturity. Smith embraces the challenge and recognizes that running can offer him the ultimate sense of freedom.

12. PRE: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend (1977)
Much has been made about Steve Prefontaine in recent years, but if you want to get the inside dish about the rise and fall of this legendary American distance runner, this is a must-read. Tom Jordan’s riveting biography of this rebel runner who died too soon includes captivating insights from rival runners, teammates and coaches. It serves up an authentic glimpse of the man who was a record-setting runner destined to become the iconic figure who remains one of the greatest runners in U.S. history 40 years after his untimely death.

11. The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It (2004)
Published on the 50th anniversary of the world’s first sub-4-minute mile, this is a compelling book that profiles the three athletes who were determined to become the first runner in history to break the 4-minute mile. Neal Bascomb writes with eloquent detail how history was made and changed running forever. The story focuses equally on Roger Bannister, the young English medical student, Wes Santee, the brash Kansas farm boy, and John Landy, the privileged Australian.

10. Running and Being: The Total Experience (1978)
Originally published in 1978 and reprinted in 2013, this is a masterwork by one of running’s greatest writers, the late Dr. George Sheehan. It has been called “an educated man's narrative of his midlife return to the world of exercise, play, and competition.” Although it focuses more on life than it does on running, it serves up inspiration for a lifetime of fitness, happiness and freedom, proving that a mental-physical-spiritual synergy can develop out of a consistent commitment to the running lifestyle. Sheehan was one of running’s first great writers and, although he passed away in 1993, his words of wisdom remain as astutely profound as ever.

9. Lore of Running (1985)

South African sports scientist Tim Noakes is one of the world’s leading exercise physiologists who has not only studied distance running but has also run more than 75 marathons and ultramarathons during his career. His research and his passion have made this 944-page “bible of running” the preeminent scientific book on the sport since it was first released 30 years ago. It has continued to earn acclaim as the author updates it with new material. It opens with a definitive look at the physiology and biochemistry of running and how to apply that information to training the human body based on science and research. Noakes also dedicates a section to racing, from 10K to ultramarathons, and how to push the limits of performance, plus details on ergogenic training aids, how to reduce the chance of injury, running mechanics and numerous other topics related to performance-oriented running. The most recent edition, released in 2002, includes interviews with 10 world-class runners that put Noakes’ work into context. This is a must-have book for every serious runner, but it certainly can’t be digested all in one sitting.

8. Running The Rift: A Novel (2010)
The debut novel of Naomi Benaron, “Running the Rift” follows a young Olympic hopeful from Rwanda who dreams of competing in the Olympics. But amid violence and genocide tearing his country apart, Jean Patrick Nkuba is quickly thrust into a world that is much bigger than his daily training for his competitive goals. He sticks to his dream but eventually has to flee for his own safety, leaving his girlfriend, family and country behind. It’s a powerful coming-of-age story that ties together an individual’s innocent and authentic passion for running with the bigger picture view of social injustices and a society in conflict. The author, an active runner and triathlete, and a professor at Pima Community College, is a talented writer who previously won the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction and the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Working extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda helped her create a very lucid sense of the tension and strife in the lives of her characters. “Running The Rift” was awarded the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

7. Running With the Legends: Training and Racing Insights From 21 Great Runners (1996)
With an influence from a 1967 book called “The Lonely Breed,” Michael Sandrock, one of the country’s top running journalists for the past three decades, profiles the training and racing habits of 21 of the world’s best runners of the modern era from 800 meters through the marathon. Much more than a collection of biographies of fast runners, this book looks at the unique qualities that allowed each runner to achieve greatness amid a sea of other talented runners. Sandrock, an accomplished runner who trained with several runners in the book, is a rare breed of writer who can take the granular elements of elite running and make them come to life for a mainstream audience. “Running With The Legends” is an inspirational tome that transcends the generations of elite runners and international borders.

6. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2007)
This memoir by Haruki Murakami has made waves among North American readers since being translated into English a few years ago. It’s a personal stream of consciousness about one man’s participation running marathons and ultramarathons after taking up running in his early 30s. His realistic descriptions of what he puts himself through are amazing, especially when describing his physical, mental and emotional struggles to finish a 100K run. What makes this book so compelling is his ability to make the mundane thoughts of daily life and training come alive with engaging prose that runners of any ability or experience level can appreciate. Although it received mixed reviews from book critics, runners have raved about it for the honest, flowing style of its prose that all runners tend to have on the run. Murakami mentions some of the things he sees out of the corner of his eye during a run, embellishes his choice of music he listens to on the run and makes sure to remind his muscles who is boss. Certainly, any runner can relate.

5. Bowerman and the Men of Oregon (2007)
Anyone interested in American running should read this book about Bill Bowerman, the legendary University of Oregon track and cross country coach who co-founded Nike with Phil Knight. During his 24-year career at Oregon, Bowerman led the Ducks to four national titles and produced numerous Olympians (including the author, Kenny Moore) and record-setting runners. But he also instituted mandatory rest days for his athletes, researched new training methods, developed innovative running shoes and apparel and, of course, coached the legendary Steve Prefontaine. What makes this lengthy tome come alive is Moore’s exceptional writing, from gripping race accounts to the many intricate details that made up Bowerman’s complicated personality.

4. Duel In The Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and America’s Greatest Marathon (2006)

This is the story about the 1982 Boston Marathon, the epic race that saw Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley turn themselves inside out in searing heat in a neck-and-neck battle to the finish line. John Brant craftily weaves the excitement and tension from that amazing race into the eventual, premature decline of each runner’s career. Beardsley suffered an unbelievable series of physical setbacks that led to a serious addiction to painkillers. Although Salazar would go on to run in the 1984 Olympics and win the 1994 Comrades Marathon, he suffered from paralyzing depression and a mysterious malaise for years. The book traces the evolution of the American running boom through the compelling biographies of two of its original icons.

3. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (2009)
Christopher McDougall’s 304-page autobiographical account of running almost-barefoot with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico has sold more than a half-million copies worldwide and remained on The New York Times’ bestseller list for more than four years. Although it contains some hyperbole, the book has earned its keep (and rave reviews) because McDougall’s vivid storytelling, compelling character development and in-depth reporting appeal to new runners, veteran ultrarunners, non-runners and couch potatoes alike. The book was one of the primary catalysts for the minimalist running shoe revolution that helped spur brands to develop lighter, lower-to-the-ground shoes using less material. It also spurred a revolution in running form, a growth in ultrarunning participation and a greater understanding of the universal language of running.

2. Running With the Buffaloes (2000)

When Chris Lear transferred from Princeton to the University of Colorado for his final year of college eligibility as a cross-country runner, he had no idea what would unfold around him. He penned this amazing journal-style book about the 1998 season that included enormous highs and lows, including the death of the team’s brilliant No. 2 runner, Chris Severy. The story takes a deep dive into the life of collegiate cross country and the success of the Colorado program led by its sage coach, Mark Wetmore. A cult classic among competitive runners within months of its release, it has stood the test of time because of the subsequent success of Adam and Kara Goucher, and Wetmore’s teams (which have won five NCAA titles since the book was released). It’s an exciting page-turner whether you’re a competitive runner, a former high school or college runner, or a recreational jogger who runs to stay fit.

1. Once a Runner (1978)

A cult classic for years among elite runners and college cross country teams—finally starting to garner appreciation by larger audiences during this latest running boom—this novel (originally self-published by John L. Parker) is all about the grit and determination it takes to be an elite runner. Although the book’s main character, Quenton Cassidy, struggles to find a balance between the intensity of his dedication and the real world, it’s that edginess and hunger that leads him to his great running accomplishments. The book was out of print for years, but re-released in 2009. A sequel called “Again to Carthage” was released in 2007 and a prequel titled “Racing in the Rain” came out in 2015, but neither are as compelling as the original.

Have you read any of these? I've only read 1 and 3, but now I've got 23 more to add to my list!