Running Recap: Rick O'Donnell 5.22 Mile Trail Run & Ultra Challenge

This race recap is long, and not even remotely book-related. Consider yourself warned.

This past weekend marked my second time running the Rick O'Donnell 5.22-mile Trail Run & Ultra Challenge. Held in a gorgeous state park, the course is a 5.22-mile loop with just a wee bit of elevation gain:

Participants can sign up to run one loop, or take on the "ultra challenge" (run as many loops as you can in eight hours). Intending to run two loops as a training run for my upcoming half marathon, I signed up for the ultra challenge.

Social Justice Book Club: The Men We Reaped Sign-up & Schedule

We're gearing up for the October edition of the Social Justice Book Club. Based on participant input, we'll be reading Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward this month. In order to help keep us all on the same page (somewhat literally), I've outlined an (entirely optional) schedule for the month's reading below. I bumped start/end dates to Mondays instead of Saturdays, as I for one try to spend less time at my computer on the weekends than I do during weekdays. But feel free to post whenever works for you!

Week in Reading: September 19th

A week in reading, indeed! I finally seem to have remembered how to read a book, and damn, it feels good to be back at it.

An Invitation to Learn How to Live: Margaux Bergen's Navigating Life

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

Margaux Bergen offers her daughter--and her readers--a collection of heartfelt life advice based on her own experiences.

Karl Meltzer, Scott Jurek, and a Different Kind of Competition

This is not book-related, but it is inspiring. At least to me. And as I find myself frequently sucked into the vortex of bad news, campaign feuds, and headlines of racism, sexism, and other -isms of hatred, I find I need these kinds of inspiring stories. So shared here without apology and without relevance to any of my typical content.

Taken on the AT when I dropped my brother off at the MD/PA line to start his first solo hike of the trail.

Karl Meltzer is currently through-hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT).

This in and of itself is unique but not unheard of; the Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimates that approximately 15,000 individuals have through-hiked the entirety of the trail since the trail was a thing of which through-hikes could be counted. The first known through-hiker was Eric Shaffer, who completed the trail in 1948. It took him 124 days, which he spent without a tent, sleeping mat, or stove (which he chose not to carry because of weight), and his hike was virtually unheard of at the time (according to one source, the Appalachian Trailway News even published an article while Shaffer was hiking explaining all of the reasons a through-hike was impossible).*

This isn't even Meltzer's first through-hike of the trail. He completed the full trail in 54 days (that's roughly 40.5 miles per day) in 2008. And this time, he's aiming to complete the entirety of the trail (2,190 miles) in 46 days (an average of 47.6 miles per day) in order to beat the current fastest known time (FKT) for an Appalachian through-hike.

Week in Reading: September 12th

I'm starting to think I should rename these posts "a week in running" instead of "a week in reading," because I seem to be running much more than I'm reading these days. I've come to accept (in a kicking and screaming kind of way) that I'm in a full-on slump; I don't even have an audiobook going at the moment, despite several hour-long drives last week and coming up again this week. And so my reading list this week looks disappointingly similar to that of last week, and the week before...

Mansion and Mystery in Scotland's Outer Hebrides: Sarah Maine's Debut, The House Between Tides

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

Debut novelist Sarah Maine delivers a well-plotted mystery that blends the past with the present of an old mansion in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.

Week in Reading: September 6th

Post-race beers at the Thorpewood Trails 10k

What a (long) weekend. I don't know about the rest of you, but the temperatures here were absolute perfection these past three days -- I spent the weekend running (a 10 mile training run on Saturday and a 10k trail race with friends on Sunday), airing out the house (it was cool enough to turn off the AC for a few days!), and generally catching up on things like breathing and laundry and dishes. My pseudo-slump continues (I've picked up nothing but assigned and/or book club books since I last whinged about not reading much), though I'm really enjoying the assigned-to-me books I'm picking up.

Looking Back: The Best of August

August has come and gone, and with it a lackluster month of reading. Though looking back, I did finish six books this month, it felt slow and disjointed. Which is not to say there was anything wrong with the books themselves, which were actually quite excellent.

I read some new books...

Malafemmena, by Louisa Ermelino: This collection of short stories plays on the story of the "malafemmena." Though the word translates roughly to "bad woman," Ermelino's women are not bad so much as they are non-traditional, traveling, single, fleeing, independent, rebellious. The stories are slight but impactful--a quick read for anyone interested in short story collections. Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.