We’ve entered the height of the summer season and let’s just say the personal, professional, and social race calendar is in full swing. During the past month, we have been fortunate to spending some time playing and even racing in our backyards, but airplanes and the annual migration to the mecca of trail and ultra-running (looking at you Chamonix) are right around the corner. If squeezing into a plane seat is in your near future we’ve got some dialed book recommendations to keep you company and so much more to send you into August.
- Air – Harmony and I recently sat down to watch this film about Nike and its pursuit of Michael Jordan. For my entire life, Nike has been the dominant player in the performance footwear and apparel industry. Air gives viewers a glimpse into the early years when they were the underdogs taking on incumbents Adidas and Converse in the basketball market. Without spoiling anything, Air captures the role MJ’s mom plays in his partnership, advocating for what has gone on to become the biggest win-win athlete sponsorship in sports history. Shoe Dog by founder Phil Knit is also a must-read for a deeper understanding of Nike’s evolution.
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain – I’ve long been fascinated with Anthony Bourdain, so it’s surprising that it took so long to finally read his cult classic bestseller, Kitchen Confidential. As someone who worked in hospitality for years, it brings back fond memories of interacting with chefs, line cooks, dishwashers, and other “back of the house” colleagues. But even people with no interest in the restaurant business or food preparation will find this book worth their time. Bourdain was a brilliant writer whose charisma explodes off the page. The documentary “Roadrunner” is also a beautiful though heart-wrenching film about his life.
- Magnesi-Om by Moon Juice – I’m a big sleep lover, and sleep deprivation was the main reason I didn’t think I wanted kids. I’ve done a lot of research into how to support better sleep and I’ve found taking magnesium before bed really helps me. There are almost a dozen (or more) types of magnesium and not all function the same. This is the one I’ve found works best for me – even if I don’t get as many hours of sleep as I’d like these days, I sleep so soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.
- EWG – As someone who loves the sun and spends a lot of time outside in it, I’m ironically also terrified of most sunscreens. This fear comes in two flavors the first part for my health, and the second part for the potential damage it does to the environment. I love what the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is doing to support consumers ‘to make informed choices and live a healthy life in a healthy environment.’ They have a great list of verified sunscreens to pick from, personally, I love Super Goop Sheer Screen for my face (it scores a 2), and also high on the list is the Babo Botanicals Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. It’s the one I use for my body, for Rhodes, and it’s what I force Dylan to wear during long runs and races. Whatever sunscreen you use, I recommend checking out EWG and the amazing work they are doing around consumer products generally!
- FUJIFILM X-S20 – I just got this incredible new camera and used it today in Switzerland taking some photos on the Swiss Alps 100-mile course. It’s essentially made for running! It weighs barely a pound and depending on the lens can fit in a side vest pocket. And although it’s super compact, it is insanely powerful. It is my new go-to camera for anything I have to shoot while running. Highly recommend!
- Bonk Breaker Energy Chews – Every ultra runner has a gummy fixation. For me, one of the main things I reach for when my watch reminds me to eat has become the Bonk Breaker Energy Chews. They taste good, even nearing hour 10 of a training run, which we all know is a big win. Booyah! At 160 calories (30 grams carbs) per pouch and loaded with electrolytes they have become my go-to. Will they be filling my running vest pockets during the Swiss Alps 100-mile this weekend? Only one way to find out.
- Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston – This book was first given to me for my birthday back in 2021. A good friend gave it to me with an inscription scrawled on the inside cover, “I think books find people exactly when they need them most, I hope this book finds you right where you need it.” I rarely read books fast but conveniently I dug into it slow enough that I got to finish the book while running in the San Juans not far from where the book is set. I’ve recently started listening to the book this time around and have fallen right back in love with it. While it might have me daydreaming about moving onto a 120-acre ranch of my own it has also reminded me how much the natural world teaches us, heals us, and inspires us.
- Becoming a Sustainable Runner: A Guide to Running for Life, Community, and Planet – Here I am talking about how I don’t read very much or very fast, and yet I’m coming at you with a second book recommendation. In July I had the privilege of getting my hands on an early copy of the new book (coming out August 15th) by our running friends Tina Muir and Zoë Rom. When it originally hit my inbox I had preconceived notions about what being a ‘sustainable runner’ meant. I boxed it in and kept it small, singularly focused. The beauty of this book is that it’s so much more than that – it’s a holistic approach to being a sustainable human. Expanding sustainability in a way that encompasses your health, your community, and the environment. A gift that just keeps giving!
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