So at this point, it’s safe to say I understand that chick lit, TV and movies are maybe not entirely identical to real life. Occasionally, I find it fun to try and find a book about something I’ve done, and see how the fictionalized version compares to real life. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on a plane to San Francisco to run the Nike Women’s Marathon with Team in Training, an organization I can’t say enough good things about. So, in search of a running-related read, I Googled ‘marathon chick lit’ and came up with Girl On The Run.
The book chronicles Abby Rogers’ quest to train for a half marathon to raise money for charity. On one hand, it is awesome that there is a chick lit book about someone doing something that’s positive for both themselves and other people, and not, about, you know, racking up a giant pile of credit card debt. On the other hand, this book perpetuates some myths about running that are maybe not entirely true.
You will meet guys
The vast majority of girls I’ve met in running groups have joined said running groups at least partially in hopes of meeting men. Most of us have been wildly unsuccessful. (I hear triathlon teams are the place to actually meet guys, but I am averse to swimming, and also biking, which kind of rules that out for me). If there are any guys reading this, here’s a hint: Do you want to meet women? Join a charity running team. Every team I’ve been on, the female: male ratio is about 50:1, and that one guy is pretty much always taken. Abby, on the other hand, meets two handsome, wealthy men who inevitably compete for her affections.
You will lose weight
So I know I’m over the whole ‘dieting’ thing, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy it if my jeans started fitting a little better. However, if that’s your goal, training for a marathon might not the way to go about it. Again, I’ve known many people who trained thinking weight would just start falling off. And to be sure, running a half marathon will burn like 1,300 calories. Do you know how many calories were in the celebratory burger and fries I had after that half marathon? I don’t, but I’m going to go ahead and say it was ‘a lot.’ I’m not saying weight loss while running isn’t possible for people who don’t love brownies as much as I do, but it’s certainly not as easy as I thought it would be. Of course, in the book, Abby loses fifteen pounds, just like that.
Charity fundraising is all galas and glamour
In the book, Abby decides to run a half marathon, with a goal of raising £10,000 for multiple sclerosis research after learning that one of her friends has been diagnosed with MS. She does this in part by sending out e-mails, which, at least in my experience, is how a lot of fundraising gets done. On the other hand, she also manages to host a black tie charity auction, which is something I have never quite figured out how to pull off. I’ve participated in some really fun fundraising events, but they aren’t they ‘champagne in a hotel ballroom’ sort, they’re the ‘bingo and beers in the basement of a dive bar’ kind, and it turns out you look silly if you wear a floor length ballgown to the latter.
Training for an endurance race is an arduous experience
Abby spends a lot of time in the book complaining about aches and pains and the horrors of training for a half marathon, and I have to say, I’ve never felt that way about it. I spent most of my young life hating running (the Presidential Physical Fitness test was my nemesis), but when I decided to train for my first half marathon, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I was extremely blessed with attentive coaches and awesome teammates, and I ended every one of my long runs thinking “Okay, I could keep going if I had to.” I liked running so much that I kept training for a full marathon, despite having always been one of those people who thought that anyone who spent four or more hours running for fun was a crazy person.