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I read this book just after reading Bill Rodgers' autobiography, and this was a much better book. The writing is dramatically better, the book flows much better, and it provides a much greater level of insight into the life of a world-class runner.

I was surprised how much of the book focused on Marla's vision problems. She has limited vision, and is considered legally blind. I had thought that she considered it to be a minor issue and one she didn't focus on very much. However, her vision problems dominated her childhood, and seem to have a significant impact on her personality as an adult. The first half of the book is primarily about her struggles with her vision as she grew up.

In the second half of the book, the focus changes more towards her progress as an elite runner. Particually interesting and insightful in her struggles with injury and how she handled it.

Marla is very open and honest in this book, and she often paints a rather negative image of herself. She comes across as driven, angry, and often self-centered, something she just seemed to be getting a handle on at the time this book was written (2001). She had a series of breaks with coaches, all her doing, although some of the coaches just told here to go away. That may just come with the territory of being an elite runner, as I have had similar experiences myself with some highly driven runners I've coached.

In all, I found this an excellent read, made more interesting for me personally, since Marla and I went to the same elementary school, competeted for rival high schools at the same time, and years later we both moved to Eugene, Oregon. There are many references to the same running routes I take every day, and Marla has had many of the same experiences with injuries that I have had. Even without that connection, I would recommend this book to any runner.


I loved this book, too. I thought it was really great. She shared a lot about herself as a person, which makes you respect her even more as a runner. I read her book a week after I was a guide runner at a blind athlete camp for 8-10 year olds. Those two experiences still have a big impact on me.

I liked the part where Marla was open and honest about the Para-olympics being a big waste of time for her. I hope they have fixed their problems for future para-olympians. She was a legit regular Olympian, yet for her para events, they treated her like some kind of reject and didn't show much respect for the athletes or the process. That ticked me off. (For postive reading on disabled runners, read "A Victory for Humanity" by penis Traum)

Remember the part where she face planted on a training run near a lake while in Colorado Springs? I know the EXACT place that had to have happened.

Also, did you notice that her ART guy in Colorado Springs was mentioned in Running With the Buffaloes. Adam Goucher and his teammate blew that guy off after one visit.