Book Review: Meb’s “Run to Overcome”

Way back in December at the Rock n Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon, I got to meet Meb Keflezighi.  He autographed his book, Run to Overcome, for me, took a pic, and told me he’d see me at the Peachtree.  Yes, Meb, in my dream I would run as fast as you and be at the start with the elites.  Either way, thanks for making me feel good!

Like I said yesterday, I have not kept up with the reading part of my goals for 2011.  I feel like I have been so busy it’s hard to keep up with magazines much less a book. But after realizing I have had Meb’s book for almost 5 months I decided I wanted to have it read before Big Sur.  Done.  My thoughts?

Incredibly Inspiring.

I will admit the book was hard to get into at the beginning.  There is a lot of background on Meb’s family and what they went through to get to the United States.  But the more I read, I realized it was all part of the journey and it is what made him the person he is today.

A few of my favorite points:

Meb on why he liked running (he started as a soccer player):

The individual nature of running appealed to me.  You start at the same place with your fellow runners.  You all finish at the same place.  how you do is largely up to you.  If you win, you congratulate your team and yourself.  If you lose, you evaluate how to improve.  You can’t make excuses like “he didn’t pass me the ball” or “the coach didn’t put me in.”  Its on you.  That’s the beauty of the sport. 

I love this.  It’s also part of the reason I enjoy running.  It is entirely up to you how you do in each run.

Meb on becoming a better runner (after a conversation with Paul Tergat where he told him he wanted to be where he was and Tergat told him to put in the time and increase gradually to get to his level):

Whenever people ask me for running advice, I tell them what Tergat told me.  Improve your training gradually.  Be realistic.  Set attainable gloss, achieve them, then reset them.

Isn’t that what we are all trying to do?  It was nice to hear from a professional that he worked just as hard.  Sure he has natural talent, but he still worked hard to achieve his goals.

I was also interested to see how much Meb relies on his faith.  It has personally been something that I have struggled with over the years and I am glad I am getting to a better place.  Reading Meb’s perspective reminded me to have faith no matter what life may throw your way.  Throughout his life he had different struggles-with his family, critics (not giving him credit he deserved nationally), and his injuries.  Faith is what kept him going.  He makes several references throughout the book:

During that dark time, we clung to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.  ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” 

His overall outlook:

That’s really the message I want to convey, whether I’m running, coaching, or speaking.  I like how the apostle Paul, who used ancient Isthmian Games as a metaphor for our spiritual life put it in 1 Corinthians 9:24: ‘Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!’ 

I remember watching Meb cross the finish line when he won the NYC Marathon in 2009.  I had just started running a few months before and to be honest, didn’t really know who he was (or much about the sport for that matter).  I just thought it was cool to see an American win.  After finishing his book and learning more about him; I am truly amazed by what he (and his family) has accomplished.  If you are looking for a feel good, positive, inspirational read.  This is it.

Set Goals.  Dream Big.  Go after it all.

Have you read Run to Overcome?  What did you think?

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Elizabeth

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