My summer was filled with miles of beautiful running until a few weeks ago when I had to call it. I won't be racing UTMB sadly because I need to figure out a back injury from a fall at World Championships in Austria in June. C'est la vie! Feeling extra grateful for my supporters Patagonia, La Sportiva and Petzl. It's in times of injury that a brand shows their true colors.
Since then, I've made a dent on my book list.
Favorite running book of the year so far: What Made Maddy Run. Even though it was published in 2017, this book is phenomenal and necessary. Written by renowned sports writer Kate Fagan, it tells the tragic story of Madison Holleran. Anyone in the collegiate running scene in the early 20-teens remembers the terrible news of her death. This book unpacks the role relationships play in our lives and how digital communication, especially social media, can mask a lack of depth in our relationships.
Kara Goucher's book: The Longest Race. I have so much respect for this woman. I appreciate that this book was exactly what it claims to be: a sports memoir. It's not literary, but chronological and blunt. Kara shares her personal, heart-wrenching and triumphant experience as one of the world's greatest distance runners. Definitely passing on Nike after this one.
Lauren Fleshman's book: Good for a Girl. While I thought this would be my favorite running book of the year, I was the most disappointed by it. Half mandate for better treatment of women-specific challenges in sports (mostly running), half memoir, I struggled with the lack of depth in each of these elements. This book highlighted the need for a book on NCAA-induced eating disorders, no doubt. Also treatment of pro runners in general, from sprinters to distance runners. Lauren's experiences with other pro runners echoed a lot of Kara's book, but I would love to read a book entirely on that topic: How do pro track and field runners do it in America? It's practically impossible to make a living unless you're winning Olympic medals! Also, let's get more investigations into USATF. Otherwise, I found some of Lauren's problems with women's running not as interesting as her own stories and yearned for more specifics of her journey versus long platitudes on what ought to change.
That being said, it's pretty cool how this year brought in so many women's running books. Next up: Des Linden's memoir.
Song of Achilles - SO GOOD. It's everything a novel should be. Thanks Brynn and Jim for the rec.
Circe - Close second to Song of Achilles, thanks Anna for the rec. I feel like a witch in my flower garden!
Slouching Towards Bethlehem - How is this my first Joan Didion?
Cobalt Red - Brace Yourself. What's happening in the DRC is fucked up.
7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Thanks Addie and Abby for the rec, this was a delight. Fast, delicious beach read.
Another part of my summer has been immersing myself into the depths of the Southern Ocean. Studying Antarctic toothfish has challenged me in incredible ways. For one, I knew hardly anything about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean a year ago. Working for my PhD advisor Prof Cassandra Brooks has opened my eyes to our Earth's chilly underside: a place teeming with marine life and complex geopolitics.
While I've spent countless hours studying Antarctic toothfish ear bones in our lab at CU Boulder, the highlight of this work has been expanding my worldview and ecosystem view to include the dark, cold depths of our planet. Rich with fish, whales, sponges, crustaceans, seals, penquins and more, this part of Earth is absolutely spectacular. No, I don't have a trip planned on the horizon, but I am okay with that. It's a privilege to study Antarctic fish even from a lab in Colorado. While I'm pivoting my research towards deep sea mining, I am grateful my mind has spent the last year swirling through the world's coldest currents.
I'll be briefly speaking about my work on September 15 in Boulder at Chautauqua if you're interested.