Sunday Runday, Paleo Guest Post #2, Weekly Recap and my ‘Four Books’

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Happy Sunday! This weekend has been gorgeous, and as Harold notes the great weather has spread throughout the northeast, which has made for excellent running conditions and also made doing ANYTHING outside much more fun! I hope you have been taking advantage of the great conditions – if the weather has been favorable for you!

Paleo Journey Part 2 at The Gluten Free Treadmill

On Friday Laura posted the first part of my ‘Paleo Journey’ guest post, which got some excellent comments.

Today completes the series, and hopefully provides some context around how Paleo relates to ‘eating in the real world’. Like so many other things, it is about finding what works for you and going with it! I think our diet will largely be ‘modified Paleo’ for the foreseeable future.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

My Running Summary

This was a bit of an odd week, as after my killer hills on Sunday I decided to take Monday off and really just let the remainder of the week go by feel. I had two mornings in a row where I slept in, but then ended up with evening runs. Of course, the temperature was about 70F and dry, so 5PM was very bearable. Let’s look at how I did:

Sunday: 12.5 miles of ‘hill repeats’ – exhausting and awesome all at once
Monday: Rest Day – end of the ‘RW streak’
Tuesday: 9.5 miles
Wednesday: 9 or so miles for National Running Day
Thursday: 8.75 miles after work (first Saucony Kinvara run)
Friday: 9.25 miles after work
Saturday 10.5 miles on the Catharine Valley Trail

I was surprised to total up my week and see I had done just over 59 miles. I was quite ready on Monday for this week to end up in the 40s, which would have been fine – but instead I kept the miles going … but did it on my terms. My schedule was favorable to get in a couple of evening runs as I noted – something that barely ever happens. Take it where you can get it.

I also really loved my trail run on Saturday. Sara had a guest post on trail running (from Jenny of Jenny’s Fitness). The Catharine Valley trail has an entry point just 10 minute drive from my house … no more excuses.

10 Day You Challenge

OK, so now I am up to Day 7, and the task is to name four books. Oh great – no pressure: just name four books that are meaningful and provide some context on who I am and what I think. Ugh – I have read and loved thousands of books through the years. High school I was loving Sartre and Camus and Dostoevsky and Heller … since then I have read pretty much everything from Zahn’s classic Star Wars EU trilogy to Naipaul and loads of YA stuff (sorry Slate, but I love Harry Potter and Divergent and Fault in Our Stars).

One of the last books I eliminated from the list was ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce. That book is a double edged sword – noting it immediately sounds pretentious, but it is a book I really love. I’d read it in high school, but have great memories re-reading it while traveling for work on my first job and sitting in a small restaurant on a warm day soaking in sun and reading. Oh well, here is the list:

Day Four: Seven Wants

1. ‘Cat’s Cradle’ by Kurt Vonnegut – this book I would call my all-time favorite. Like most Vonnegut works it is a fairy easy and quick read – deceptively so. I have read this book 20 or more times since around 1980, and I don’t think I have read it the same way twice: it is funny, bitter, sardonic, twisted, anti-government, anti-religion, pro-spirituality, pro-human, both pro- and anti-science, and so more. I cannot recommend it enough.

2. ‘Foundation Trilogy’ by Isaac Asimov – while like so many sci-fi series there is a ton that this trilogy gets wrong, so much that has been changed as technology advances … the human side of the stories and the thrilling chase and mystery aspects are all consistent with what could really happen. It is interesting to juxtapose some of the events of these books with some anti-science movements in our own country today.

3. ‘100 Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Getting through this book the first time early in high school is something I still remember (not assigned, just pleasure reading my sophomore English teacher thought I would like) – the sweeping story of a town as it rises and falls, told through the history of a single family, if funny and sad and touching and engaging throughout. It really is an epic piece of modern literature, and I always love stepping back into that world.

4. ‘Night Watch’ by Sergei Lukyanenko – these books by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko captures great character studies and tales of the human spirit in the context of magic and mystery, all set in post Cold War Moscow. The series has ups and downs, but having just re-read the first couple I was reminded of how well it mixes intriguing storytelling and quality writing.

How was YOUR running week? How about your eating? And any books you’d like to share?

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20 thoughts on “Sunday Runday, Paleo Guest Post #2, Weekly Recap and my ‘Four Books’

  1. Nice running week!!! Love when the weeks creep up and surprise you like that! No shame in loving Harry Potter and Fault in our Stars – two of my favorites! The only book of your top 4 that I’ve read is 100 Years of Solitude – amazing read.

    • What, no Vonnegut? Or just Slaughterhouse Five? The other two are more obscure – Asimov is more sci-fi, and Night Watch is really obscure outside of Russia and Europe (I found about it from european friends).

      And I agree – I have no shame in what I read. Sure I pleasure read ‘literature’, but I was totally absorbed in ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Sweet Tooth’ last year as well, who really cares so long as you are reading and enjoying it!

      I was really surprised – those hill repeats really kicked my butt and I was just going with the flow … I’ll take it πŸ™‚

      Thanks Megan!

  2. Great running week – and I discovered that I forgot to log a run, so my mileage was higher than I thought! I’m reading so much right now – it’s definitely my escape, but I have to say that my favorite read this summer was Diet Cults in terms of what stuck with me!

    • You have been doing awesome amounts of running AND reading … amazing! And as you know I totally agree on Diet Cults … and I think it reinforces the need for us to do some self-analysis when we find ourselves self-identifying too strenuously with any organization or label.

  3. 100 Years of Solitude is probably my favorite book. South American “magical realism” is lovely in general. And Asimov… I think I’ve read everything Asimov (and entire shelf in my bookcase is just for him). I especially loved the later “Empire” novels and how perfectly they tie into the Foundation ones. And his short stories about Robots are still completely logical and don’t contradict themselves or later novels.
    I have to admire the fact that you were able to select just four books… In the last 10 years I invested more time in non-fiction and I still find it the most rewarding. I’m especially fond of evolutionary biology and biology in general (medicine, anthropology, zoology, botany… all of them). I like data and studies. Of the books that come to mind in the last 5-8 years, these were my favorites:
    1. The Art of Racing in the Rain (FICTION) – yeah, I’m a cat&dog person, but this book is just written by an angel…
    2. The Emperor of All Maladies (non-fiction) – written by an oncologist who happens to be an amazing writer
    3. The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance (non-fiction) – short and very much to the point, while not sparing the studies and case analyses
    4. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (non-fiction) – about how a family grew their own food for a year (the author – Barbara Kingsolver – is also an accomplished fiction writer).

    Otherwise… I’m so in awe of your mileage! I’m still keeping the RW streak, but the one mile I had to do the day after my marathon on May 31st was H.A.R.D. … I barely got to 48 miles at the peak of marathon training and I was really feeling it. Luckily I’ve never been injured even if I run at least 6 days a week – but most of my runs are closer to 4 miles rather than 9-10 like yours! Keep running, you ARE an inspiration πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Raluca, and what a great list of books – I loved “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, our whole family ate that book up!

      Good job doing the streak – I really think that sticking to those 1-mile days is totally critical to keeping it under control.

      Asimov was amazing – he ended up publishing something like 500 books. I have read a few dozen, couldn’t even imagine getting much deeper. Not sure how I feel about the later additions to Foundation and the Empire and Robots tie-ins. I was actively reading when those came out in the 80s, so I have the hardcovers. There is some definite good stuff, but ultimately I always come back to that original trilogy.

  4. Honestly, when you said you were doing the 10 day topic posts and I saw the list, I was most interested in reading the fears and the books. Choices sound interesting.

      • I generally consider my all-time favorites to be The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy), Ghost Soldiers (Hampton Sides) and The Longest Winter (Alex Kershaw). Also, among my more recent reads, if you haven’t read Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand) or The Happiness Project (Gretchen Ruben), I’d recommend them as well. I think I already suggested you might like Lean In if you haven’t read that.

      • Some really great stuff – and Hillenbrand and Ruben are actually on my Kindle ‘wish list’ (along with Lean In) … so when I clear my current queue (or they drop in price) they will be mine πŸ™‚

  5. Great week of running, I don’t think I have ever gotten into the 50+ mileage weeks, you are a rockstar!! I haven’t read your book choices, but I am going to put them on my to read list. I am currently reading a lot of what I will call “junk” reads…nothing too serious, but fun and quick.

    • Thanks – it was a surprising week for me. As for reading – I think it is all what works for you. With such a busy life as you have, sometimes those ‘junk’ books are just the right thing … I remember reading a bunch of sci-fi and fantasy books for a while when I had little kids and a long commute πŸ™‚

  6. Wall of text incoming…

    Your description of Cat’s Cradle sounds like it could be interchangeably swapped to describe my #1 book, Frank Herbert’s Dune. The whole 6-book series is what I really call my #1, but if you only get to pick one book, it is the first. When I read that was one of the first times I ever really understood literary tools and how it feels like he’s writing about space ships, sand worms, and a futuristic world, but he’s really being “…bitter, sardonic, twisted, anti-government, anti-religion, pro-spirituality, pro-human, both pro- and anti-science, and so [much] more.” FYI – I just downloaded Cat’s Cradle, queued up next in my Nook.

    #2 is more or less anything by Robert Heinlein. If I had to pick one, I’d dodge the question and pick two. Stranger in a Strange Land – amazing journey through legal, spiritual, and social implications of the first human born on a foreign planet. Starship Troopers – don’t be fooled by the garbage movie they made. The book highlights duty, civics, personal responsibility, the relationship between strategy and tactics, complexity of dynamics between workers, line managers, middle managers and executives (soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants, generals in his story).

    #3 Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Simply bizarre, I don’t even know how to describe what it is. Unlike anything I’ve ever read, my wife and I did a “book club” with just us 2 reading through the original 6 books. A mind expanding read, simply because it is so unique. Be ready for ambiguity and weirdness when you get into these. I sometimes found myself reading a single page 3 or 4 times before moving along, just to absorb what was going on.

    #4 W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corps series. Historically inspired fiction following some US Marines through the Pacific during WWII and then on into Korea as the books continue. Draw a 2×2 matrix with “level of personal honor” along the top and “level of privileged upbringing” down the side, high and low are the two settings for each axis. This series illustrates what happens when you take people from all four boxes and dump them into a chaotic situation. Added bonus if you enjoy the setting of US military history, but the relationships are what make Griffin’s writing interesting.

    • Hmmm … while I love Dune, I wouldn’t really compare it with Cat’s Cradle, or Vonnegut in general. He is more like a post-modern Mark Twain. I hope you enjoy Cat’s Cradle – most people have read Slaughterhouse Five.

      Definitely also like Heinlein – hadn’t read Stranger since high school until last year. Still holds up well. For some reason I have never been a fan of King … maybe I need to retry at some point. Haven’t heard of ‘The Corps’ series – will have to check it out!

      Thanks for sharing – love the perspective!

      • I’m not generally a Stephen King fan either, but Dark Tower came recommended by somebody I respect so I gave it a shot and was drawn in immediately. As the books move on you definitely need to keep an open mind because it gets strange but there are layers upon layers upon layers if you enjoy that kind of thing, not like a horror book at all.

      • My older son loves many of his books, I just read one back in high school and thought it was rubbish and never returned … ok, will have to un-stubborn myself πŸ™‚

  7. My running week was great, but I’m still hesitant to talk about it for fear of jinxing myself! A book that I loved, though I will say it did go on for quite a while, was The Count of Monte Christo (I wouldn’t say it is my absolute favorite, though). That was a great book when I was hurt, because I put it on my kindle and spun away to it for what felt like years. I’m currently reading The Goldfinch, and though you may not always love the main character, the author is beyond skilled and descriptions are beautifully adept and masterfully crafted.

    • I won’t ask more about your running week, because I don’t want to mess with success πŸ™‚

      The Goldfinch is another on that is on my Kindle wishlist – some of the reviews are very mixed, but the quality of writing seems to be praised. Worth a shot, it seems … πŸ™‚

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