by Tom Foreman. Penguin Random House, 2015.
One would think that after three decades as a Johnny-on-the Spot Emmy award winning journalist, current CNN reporter Tom Foreman would be immune to fear. After all, he has covered 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, interviewed serial killers and reported from scores of war zones. But what truly struck fear into his heart was when his college-aged daughter begged him to run a marathon with her. The last one he had run was thirty years ago. This would be her first. You know the drill; it is difficult to refuse an opportunity for closeness with an almost- adult daughter. How many more opportunities would there be?
Credible coaches would say the danger part came not from the initial marathon, but from what followed in that same year—four half marathons, three marathons, and one trail ultra, initially billed as a 50 miler but with course alterations, upgraded to 55 miles. Foreman was headed for a fall. Or was he? Miraculously, while growing closer to his daughter, and managing not to totally alienate his boss, his wife, and his younger daughter, he emerged relatively unscathed and oh, so much wiser. He has since run other ultras, not letting them take over his life as they did that initial year. And, he got paid to do it—producing this insightful and humorous chronicle of his journey.
Foreman experiences typical rookie mistakes and insights and you will see yourself here as he trains through his first snowy winter, discovers the power of a headlamp and learns his local trail system. He realizes that the real magic of the trail is the fact that the runners are all in
this together, as a team, matching yourselves against the trail and not some ruthless competitor.
Summing it all up he offers the best explanation I have ever read about why a fifty year-old should reinvent himself through a far-reaching quest for fitness. As his life became more complicated and adult-like, Foreman realizes, “I stopped playing---games, jokes and music. I
was hustling to work, dodging raindrops, and skirting the puddles I should have stomped in….So when I started this, it felt like something woke up inside me. I stopped getting through my days, and I started getting into them…Running puts me in touch with the moment, and reminds me how each one is rare and precious.”