Review: My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman

My Year of Running Dangerously
No running book will escape my grasp, muahaha! I knew I needed to give this one a try when the cover mentioned a dad and a daughter, because my dad’s the one who pushed me to take up running. Tom Foreman’s narrative is humorous, his running experiences distressing (but addicting), and overall, this is a great book about a personal account of someone older who takes up running again. I’m definitely giving this book to my dad – but with a warning that I’ll never approve of him running an ultra. πŸ™…

Introduction

Fifty-year-old CNN correspondent Tom Foreman is tricked into running a marathon with his elder daughter. As he trains, he reminisces about his high school long-distance running experiences – and the more he runs, the more he falls back in love with running.

Discussion

So I’m continuing my obsession with running/exercise books because my dad just persuaded me to sign up for yet ANOTHER half-marathon, and I need all the motivation that I can get. Foreman starts this running memoir with his daughter, Ronnie, asking him to run a marathon with him, as well as his first training run. You’ll be happy to note that his experiences are relatable and realistic: lots of struggles just to get through that first run, that second run, and still struggling even on the tenth run. But the human body is amazing, and Foreman eventually gets the hang of running again. Interspersed in his training experiences are his memories of him running as a youngster, and those easy runs from decades ago really contrasted with his experiences at the present. I can really feel his desire to run, and his gradual and renewed enjoyment for running.

When the title boasts of running “dangerously”, I was definitely thinking of Foreman running through war-torn lands and running away from predator beasts in the wild, but that wasn’t the right interpretation. Running is inherently dangerous, and as much as our bodies can adapt to running long distances, ultras and Ironmans and the like are pushing the limit for some people. I hold my breath as Foreman describes his numerous falls, scrapes, and being lost in the woods. I’m relieved that he is still healthy and relatively unscathed after his running experiences, but I hesitate to try them myself – or let my dad try them. (Because I know he’ll get addicted like Foreman did, and that’d be the end of that.)

Foreman’s humor is another aspect that I really liked about this book. He makes his family and his coworkers sound so funny (okay, maybe he wasn’t exaggerating and they’re actually pretty funny people!), and there’s just the right amount of irony and dramatic flair in the way he narrates. He’s not afraid of showing moments of selfishness and superiority and hopelessness, and other negative attitudes that we’re all prone to develop at some point. He also integrates some of his running-related experiences as a CNN news anchor/reporter into the story, and those anecdotes are also surprisingly numerous. Another fun part of the book are the photos of Foreman that separate each chapter. Yay for pictures in books!

One thing that was surprisingly lacking was the father-daughter interactions. Ronnie’s influence on Foreman is highlighted at the beginning and the end of the book, and her presence was weak throughout the middle. This makes sense though, as she was then a freshman at Georgia Tech, and Foreman was still working. I like how Foreman focused on his own running experiences, but also took the time to highlight his daughter’s role in spurring those experiences as well. (Also, super side note: Ronnie Foreman and I are basically sorority sisters! I say “basically” because I don’t actually remember the last time I paid my dues… πŸ‘€)

Conclusion

Overall, My Year of Running Dangerously is a quick read, full of interesting anecdotes and showcasing how fun (and dangerous) running can be. I’d recommend this book for fellow runners, would-be-runners, and those of you looking for memoirs with realistic and day-to-day adventures.

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6 thoughts on “Review: My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman

  1. So my dad is also quite passionate about running. I try to get into every few years to no avail, but I think he still cherishes this secret hope. Anyway, luckily I have five siblings to take the pressure off, right?? And my youngest brother, age 14, started running with Dad at the beginning of summer. It was this huge bonding thing, etc etc but point is every fall there is this race down in the Hocking Hills, which you should look up because it’s this really nifty and somewhat indescribable location in southeast Ohio with lots of big sandstone rocks and hemlock trees and it’s really all Ohio has to offer to the world in the way of natural beauty. Anyway, it’s called the Indian Run and they actually run on trails around the park and the trails are narrow and very rocky and full of tree roots and other hazards and they cross creeks and it’s all quite exciting. So Dad and Isaac ran the Indian Run and my dad fell at some point and I’m telling you all this to illustrate how weird guys are because Dad was like 100% SO PROUD OF HIMSELF because he was missing like a 3″ swath of skin on his forearm. This is especially hilarious because overall Dad isn’t really one of those “tough guys” like he never works on his own car or anything like that, he’s an engineer and he works at a desk, but for some reason running is the one thing that really just gets him all manly haha

    Dad is really passionate about trail running. He ran on roads for years and years, and then had back surgery back when I was in high school and was told he needed to not run as much/run on gentler surfaces. That’s when he started trail running because the regular ground offers a lot more cushion than pavement, and he really fell in love. He said that that’s when miles became a lot more irrelevant and he started running just for the joy of being outside. He passed on the love of being outside and on the trail… I just prefer hiking to running!!!

    Also, I remember that when I was younger he had a copy of the book ‘Once a Runner’ by John Parker Jr. I’ve never read it, but I can remember him going on about it being THE BOOK about running. I was reading the description on Goodreads just now and it made me laugh because it says “Originally self-published in 1978 and sold at road races out of the trunk of the author’s car, reading the book became a rite of passage for many runners, and tattered copies were handed down like sacred texts from generation to generation.” It’s possible that my dad bought a copy out of the trunk of the author’s car; I’ve never asked. πŸ˜€

    Anyway, best of luck with running but please don’t hurt yourself

    • OMG THE BONDING EXCUSE… I’m very jealous of you having siblings to handle this bonding business; I’m an only child, so alas, no such escape for me. (Was the “and it’s all quite exciting” part supposed to be sarcastic? Because I can totally hear the subtle contempt over on my side of the Internet, haha…)

      Is your dad and my dad the same person?? Because my dad’s also super proud of his running injuries (black toe, instead of missing skin) but also paradoxically sends me numerous articles about how to prevent injuries, and he also as a The Book of Running that he constantly talks about (Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running instead of John Parker Jr.’s book).

      Trail running indeed lessens the striking impact vs. concrete, but I’m actually more scared of it now after reading this book! Wilderness scares me now haha, but I do enjoy hiking too. πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely let my dad know of the Hocking Hills Indian Run! He’s trying to do the run-a-race-in-every-state thing, and he’s already trying to tackle 3 states this year, so I will casually bring this up near the end of the year…

      • Yeah, the whole proud-of-injury thing is especially weird because my dad is, no joke, known as “Mr. Safety” (and not just in our family haha) but for some reason that all goes out the window when he is high on running endorphins or whatever it is that happens to him! Your dad should totally do the Indian Run, like I was a bit sarcastic about the Hocking Hills, just because compared to awesome places, like Colorado, it’s pretty lame, but really the region is quite beautiful, and the sandstone caves make it unique. It’s also a dog-friendly race, so it’s just funny to see everyone there with all their dogs kitted out, too.

        So what three states is he hitting this year?? I have to admit that that’s a pretty cool goal. I’d be excited just to *visit* all the states!

        • LOL yeah, running endorphins definitely make people go a bit crazy… case in point, all running dads. My dad’s hoping to do Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois! πŸ˜‰

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