When I was transitioning from the tri season to training for the NYC marathon, I bought this book to glom some motivation or some useless piece of knowledge that could distract my sometime feeble brain from realizing that that the miles were actually piling up or passing by during race day.
One of my strengths is useless knowledge. Useful facts, unfortunately in contrast, are not one of my strengths but the depth of my useless knowledge can fool most into thinking that I am intelligent, but only at times. I felt that this book could add to that depth of trivia.
Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it to someone considering racing or even running the NYC marathon. The author, Liz Robbins, seems to spend a lot of time on the "famous" people but mixes in stories regarding some folks that aren't world class runners. I found those types of stories more interesting but I found most were hard for me to relate with. I also found it odd that she didn't chronicle someone going through the 9+1 races almost 2 years in advance to guarantee entry since it appears that many go that route.
The book is not critical of the NYRR at all. Some may consider it overly deferential to the NYRR. It is even sold on the NYRR website in addition to many stores (I found it in Borders).
The book jacket says that the author frequents the running trails of Central Park. She may but I've never heard of a runner describe a running pace in miles per hour (for example 10mph = 6:00/mile) except those who train mostly on the dreaded treadmill. There are a few occasions where this was done but that might have been to entertain the nonrunner readers but I wonder how many nonrunners will read this book?
The best piece of useless knowledge that I got out of this is that the NY Times publishes a list of all finishers under 5:00 the day after the marathon. This was my time goal and this useless fact solidified my goal.
I plan on rereading this book before I do the NYC Marathon in 2010. Maybe the 2011 version of the book will have the story of a fat, old, gravy sweating rock star sticking a fork in 26.2 mile of NYC since it will be DONE. I'm sure this blog will tell the story even if the book doesn't. In fact, this blog may chronicle another 26.2 miles before then. It may even be in a magical place.