This past week I have been "reading" (ok, listening to audio book!) Chris Cooper's "My Best Race: 50 Runners and the Finish Line they will Never Forget". Cooper is also the author of "Long May You Run" (2010).
Each chapter in "My Best Race" tells the story of one runner in their own words about what they consider their best race ever. Cooper interviewed 50 runners (Olympians, World Champions, Disabled athletes, and recreational runners) on what they consider the best race they ever ran and why. He found the stories inspiring, poignant, funny, and definitely worth writing about. Some of the more well-known runners interviewed for the book include Kara Goucher, Zola Budd, Jeff Galloway, Jenny Simpson, Bart Yasso, Marla Runyan, Ed Eyestone, and Trisha Meili (you may remember her as The Central Park Jogger).
As soon as I heard about the book I knew that I would really enjoy it, and when the very first chapter started off by none other than my very favorite Kara Goucher, I was hooked. This book is a wonderful read. It feels like you are talking with some of the most inspiring people in running and hearing about their most private feelings, emotions, and running experiences. It is truly an inspiring book, and one that really highlights the strength, power, beauty, and spirit of runners and the running community. It is inspiring, motivating, and exciting. I highly, highly recommend it.
My Best Race can be found on Amazon in both Kindle and audio format.
Reading this book got me thinking about my own "best race". I know in my heart that my fastest races (and most emotional) are yet to come, but I have had some wonderful experiences so far and quite a few could be arguably my best race.
My first 5k, which was also the first race I ever ran - crossing that finish line (in 32:36!) was incredible and lighted a fire within me that still burns strong.
My first marathon - I finished with Josh and my parents cheering me on, completely amazed at what I had done, grinning from ear to ear and wanting to do it again (and again).
But I think at this point, I would have to say my best race would be the Pocatello Marathon in 2012. It is not my PR (I ran a 3:17 there), and it wasn't a perfect race, but I ran strong, set a PR at the time, overcame stomach issues, placed sixth woman overall and won my age group. But even better was that my best friend in the whole universe was there (Jennifer came from Florida!) and she ran the same race that day as her first marathon. I waited at the finish line area and when I finally saw her coming I couldn't stop crying! I was so VERY proud of her and excited for her. I ran in the last 200m or so with her and once she crossed that finish line we hugged and hugged and hugged.
Here is a video of J. crossing the finish line and us right afterwards. Don't mind our friend Alana cheering. :)
What was YOUR best race? Have you read Cooper's book yet?