I was a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997 – the same year that Adam Goucher was a senior and shattering all kinds of cross country records. I wasn’t a runner yet back then or I would have paid more attention to what exactly was going on. But I do distinctly remember seeing Adam’s name and face on the front page of the school newspaper quite often that year. I remember thinking that he must be a big deal to get so much press. (It wasn’t until many years later when I read Running with the Buffaloes that I really knew the whole story of what happened that year.)
Fast forward four years and there was a new runner that I kept hearing about. Her name was Kara Grgas-Wheeler. By this time I WAS a runner, so I was paying a little more attention to the running scene at CU and around Boulder. It turns out she was in my graduating class, and I remember thinking that I should keep an eye out for her name because she was going to make it big. Kara Grgas-Wheeler would go on to marry Adam and become Kara Goucher – the now world-famous runner who just ran the marathon in the London Olympics.
Kara has been my idol for several years for so many reasons. While I won’t get into that now (because this is not a post about Kara), I will just say that both Kara and Adam are huge inspirations to me. I have never met either half of the running power-couple, but they both seem like genuinely nice, warm-hearted people.
There are two authors of Running the Edge and while I certainly don’t mean any disrespect or mean to ignore Tim Catalano, the fact is simply that I don’t know much about him other than he ran cross-country at CU, where he met and befriended Adam. Both Tim and Adam are amazing runners who know a great deal about the sport. So needless to say, when Tim offered to send me a copy of Running the Edge to review, I was ecstatic. It’s actually been on my reading list for quite a while now, but it’s one of those things that I just haven’t gotten around to. No particular reason, other than life.
Okay, okay…on to the book!
Anyone who has met me or knows the story behind my coaching business knows that I am a huge believer in mixing psychology with running. The tagline to my business (She Runs Strong) is “Empowering Women through Running” because the way I coach combines running coaching with life coaching. I strongly believe that running can help people in every aspect of life, from family to career to personal crises. And the thought of writing a book has in fact crossed my mind before. The one flaw here is that I do not have a psychology degree – just personal experience.
It turns out that Tim Catalano DOES have a psychology degree and this book is the perfect blend of running and psychology. Running the Edge is exactly what I preach to my clients and typically anyone else who will listen. Tim and Adam talk in depth about six attributes that most runners possess (initiative, adaptability, integrity, responsibility, determination, and person-ability) and then extend those discussions into how we can use these attributes to transform other areas of our lives. There are exercises for the reader to complete within each of these areas, as well as personal stories from both Tim and Adam sprinkled throughout the book.
Overall, the book is a great read and one that I think every runner can relate to and benefit from. It makes you stop and ponder the different areas of your life, what could use improving, what you need to do to improve it, and what you are already doing right. Like I said, it’s the perfect mix of running meets psychology/self-help.
My favorite parts of the book, however, are the personal stories that Adam and Tim tell. So often, we have the tendency to put athletes like them on a pedestal and think that they are untouchable and flawless. It’s so refreshing to hear personal stories from them about the setbacks they’ve had and the hardships they have had to overcome for them to be where they are today. It makes them human, real, and relatable.
And the best part is that Tim and Adam have given me a SIGNED copy of Running the Edge to give away! It’s the brand-new revised version, so you’ll be one of the first to read it! To enter for a chance to win the book, simply leave me a comment in the comments section of this blog entry. The contest will close Wednesday, August 29th 2012 at 5:00 pm Arizona time. One entry per person, and I will draw the winner at random.