Have Fun Out There Or Not

Title: Have Fun Out There Or Not: The Semi-Rad Running Essays

Author: Brendan Leonard

Completed: May 2022 (Full list of books)

Overview: Back in late 2012 or early 2013, Matty and I started planning a fun birthday celebration. Our birthdays are one year and four days apart so what would be better than a joint birthday party… where we ran our age in miles through the Boise Foothills. This was such a bad idea that we kept it going each year until I moved away, adding a mile each year, of course.

When this book arrived, it seemed like the sort of thing Matty would send, but the card was blank. We texted a few days later and he confirmed that he sent it. This book perfectly covers the topic of running long distances for no particular reason other than to have fun and find out if you can do it. I feel that sums up many of the adventures we had together and this inspired me to make up others. The next one is already taking shape.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you or someone you love runs long distance and can’t exactly say why. Thanks for the book and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATTY!

Highlights:

  • When Forest and I had discussed the rules at a coffee shop in Brooklyn three days earlier, I had said, “I think vomiting is allowed.” “I think vomiting is advised,” he said. I wonder how many bad ideas start with two grown men asking each other “What if we …”
  • So I don’t run with headphones, which is kind of boring, but I think I prefer a more pure kind of suffering.
  • This ultramarathon was for sure the most pain I’d ever been in for this long—a new frontier of fatigue. But there were cookies every few miles.
  • Running, unlike a lot of sports, is almost universal. Most of us have never (and may never) know what it’s like to drain a three-point shot over someone to win a game, or catch a touchdown pass, or tear down an Alaskan spine on a snowboard. But everyone knows what it’s like to run when you’re tired, to dig deep, whether it’s a mile or 100 miles. And when we see someone else doing it, trying hard, we’re moved. And we cheer.
  • running through the mountains in the dark, slogging through a 100-mile course with 21,000 feet of elevation gain in order to get a “free” belt buckle is borderline psychopathic behavior according to most sane people.
  • we sat for a few minutes and didn’t run or walk, finally off the clock after 32.5 hours. It was difficult. But we all signed up for it looking for something difficult, didn’t we? I guess I got my money’s worth. And hey, a free belt buckle.
  • A friend of mine said to me a long time ago that you basically have two options when you do things for fun: you can find things that other people have made up and do those for fun, or you can make your own fun.
  • I am a fan of both making up my own fun things as well as doing other things people have made up, but I have to say, when you’re making up your own fun, the ideation process and the planning are probably half of the enjoyment for me.
  • One thing I know about endurance sports, at least as you’re progressing into them, is that the hardest thing you’ve ever done becomes less hard once you’ve done it. And then you do the next, harder thing, and that first thing seems not nearly as bad. And then you just keep going, and going, on sort of a stair-step progression plan for idiots.
  • Eliud Kipchoge, who holds the world record for the fastest marathon ever, puts his shoes on one at a time, just like you. Which is nice to think about, but he would also fucking crush you in a marathon.
  • If you’ve been running regularly but would like to find someone to tell you you’re doing it wrong, you can find them on the internet.
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