The hardest thing about running isn't the running. It's getting yourself out the front door. This is particularly true for anyone who is overweight, who doesn't "look" like a runner, but more like someone who ran out of gas on the way to pick up a pizza. Someone who looks like she needs a ride home.
Jennifer Graham's been there. She's still there, actually.
She started running to lose weight, and she did lose a little, but not enough to ever fit in the size 12 silk dress that still hangs in her closet, apparently doomed to be forever unworn. But no matter. Along the way, Graham learned that running - not weight loss - is the fast track to joy.
It's also the best way to motor over the speed bumps of life, whether they be excessive procreation, a difficult divorce, or runaway donkeys headed for the school bus.
Graham, a columnist for the Boston Globe, writes candidly about the indignities of being a plus-sized runner in a sport dominated by long, lean "shirtless wonders." But she believes that everyone who can run should run (and if they can't, they should walk as long and as fast as they can.) How?
It's this simple: Put on your most comfortable clothes, and your most comfortable shoes, and walk somewhere, even if it's just to the mailbox. Then run back to where you started, slowly. The next day, do it again, only go a little bit farther. And farther yet, the next day. Keep it up, listening carefully to your body about when it needs to work and when it should rest. One day, you'll run a 5K, or a marathon, or at least will be able to retrieve your mail with lightning speed.
But first, buy a copy of this book, and let Jennifer Graham entertain you every step of the way.
Praise for Honey, Do You Need a Ride?"
"Jennifer writes like an old friend speaks, in a voice you know and love. Her descriptions of running heavy, whether with added weight or added burdens, make her experience universal to runners and non-runners alike. Her overcoming spirit makes you want to cheer for her, run with her, or eat a pint of ice cream with her! Ultimately, it's not the size of the body but the size of the heart that counts. And this runner's heart is huge."
—Kristin Armstrong, mother of three, Contributing Editor for Runner's World, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run
"Here's to the mid-pack runners, the back-of-the-pack shufflers, the start-slowly-and-taper-off champions. Just remember: there's a lot more of us than there are of them (those tall skinny Shirtless Wonders). And Jennifer Graham tells our story beautifully, with unflinching honesty and laugh-out-loud humor." —John "the Penguin" Bingham, author of The Courage to Start, No Need for Speed, and An Accidental Athlete
"Jennifer Graham might be surprised when the sinewy running tribe she longs to conform to becomes readers of her book, because you don't have to be a 'fat runner' to enjoy this moving memoir. If you've ever fallen in love with running; if running is a constant companion; if running has been a lifeline through bad times, then you'll identify with Graham's story. Okay, maybe not the donkeys or the paranormal coaching, but when you're done reading you'll wish you could join Graham on a run, just so you can hear more."
—Kara Douglass Thom, author of Becoming an Ironman and Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom
"Jennifer Graham is the hilarious, pee-your-pants running partner you wish you had. She'll make you want to move to Boston just to pound out a few miles alongside her and slam down a ginormous hot-fudge sundae with her post-run. If you love running, laughing, eating, and reading in equal measure, you'll love this book." —Eileen Button, author of The Waiting Place: Learning to Appreciate Life's Little Delays