I’m standing in the exercise and fitness section of my local used book store, browsing the titles on running and anything else that might be of interest. I’m specifically looking for Born to Run, anything else on barefoot running, or anything else on distance running that isn’t marathon or triathlon focused. I’m not discounting training for a marathon one day, but I am not ready to read that book just yet.
Not finding anything between Running and Walking for Women Over 40, Run Your Butt Off (with a subtitle about losing weight), and Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, I pick up the marathon book. After all, I’m not over 40, and while I’m sure a lot of the advice isn’t age-specific, some might be. As for Run Your Butt Off, the last thing I want is a running book with a primary focus on making me smaller in the lower body. I use my butt — all of it, at its current size — for running, and I like it just fine, thanks. Of the three, the marathon book looks the most interesting: maybe it will have a chapter on building up via smaller distances.
I’m leafing through it, sort of squatting on the floor by the shelf, when he arrives. I don’t really pay attention at first, except to make sure I’m out of his way. When he starts looking through the running and walking shelf as well, I move a few feet back and continue skimming. A few minutes later, I’m deciding the book is not for me (too much marathon-specific advice for me right now) when another book plops to the floor in front of me. At first I think it must have fallen off the shelf, except that it doesn’t tumble in the way of an accidental fall but travels and lands flat as if someone is gently tossing it to me.
The book is Walk Yourself Thin, and the guy smirks. “You might want to start with this first,” he says and leaves, clearly not waiting to engage me in any kind of meaningful discussion about running, walking, fitness, or weight.
I consider chucking the book at the back of his head, but I have a longstanding moral policy against throwing books. Even if he deserves it, the book doesn’t. Besides, it’s bad karma to be an asshole, and right now, the cosmic balance is in my favor.
I glance at the cover then set the book back on the shelf without opening it. I don’t need to. I don’t want to walk myself thin any more than I want to run my butt off. I would like to safely and sustainably increase my running distance and maybe even figuring out how to shed the Vibrams and go barefoot, but I’m perfectly comfortable doing all that with this body at this size.
If, however, I am overcome with the urge to power walk wearing stoplight-color-coded shorts, I will totally give this book a second look.