I Can Read: Boston Marathon or Bust

Not only can I read, it’s my A#1 favorite thing to do. I love running, but reading ranks well above it. When I go on vacation, all I think about is how much reading time I’ll get in.

So I have decided to include some reference reading in my preparations for Chicago and qualifying for Boston. I basically went on Amazon and bought every book that had “Boston Marathon” in the title. And now I’m going to read them.

The first, because it looked really short and had enormous character and line spacing, is Boston Marathon or Bust, by life coach Scott Sharp Armstrong. (I linked to it through Amazon, because I’m a wimp and don’t want Scott finding me through his website. Yes, I know about Google Alerts. If you do go to his website, you can download his workbook for free. Guess there just wasn’t room for another 20 pages in the 84-page with 10-pages of testimonial paperback.)

**I started writing this review before I got to the very worst part of the book. At the end, Scott quotes himself in his highlighted inspirational quote of the chapter. His words of wisdom? “There is doing and not doing. There is no trying.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I’m pretty sure Scott Sharp Armstrong is NOT the first person to express that sentiment. I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, that Yoda very famously said it first. So, yeah, it’s that kind of book. There’s no acknowledgment of Yoda whatsoever. So continue reading the review, but know that I think this book is bull shit.**

If you love cheesy platitudes, you will love this book. It’s pretty much just this guy who qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon–which is obviously a laudable and impressive feat–capitalizing on that one success to peddle a fool proof way to succeed at anything.

But it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. The only thing Armstrong brings to the table is his annoying “and I did that to qualify for the Boston Marathon” to end each section. Armstrong’s “training plan” involves just visualization, actualization, and all that hippie feel-good stuff. “The universe rewards action!” he proclaims.

And you know what? I believe in that stuff. I believe in the power of positive energy and visualization and goal-setting. But I would never publish a book (with the formatting of a desperate college student’s 30-page paper) and market it as the key to the Boston Marathon–or anything else in life–without some specifics. I’ve seen bumper stickers that have as much useful information as this book does.

Oh, and if you want his actual Boston Marathon training plan (is that the qualifying plan or the BM plan?), it’ll cost you another $6.95. That’s something that wouldn’t have fit on a bumper sticker, but certainly would have fit in the comfortable margins of this book.

There’s a lot more I could say about Boston Marathon or Bust. I could tell you that it puts one quote at the front of each chapter in big, italic print, and then it reuses that quote later in the chapter! I could tell you that it has sentences that start like this: “Another area where I…” (that should be in which, Scott, though I would never transition like that to begin with).

Instead I think I’ll just tick it off of my books about Boston, and draw some inspiration from the fact that he ran Chicago to qualify. If I have some free time and a renewed tolerance for cliches, maybe I’ll work through his workbook. I don’t want to bust.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by itsnotlucky on June 23, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    When you qualify for Boston and are a better writer than him, you can totally sell a book. BTW are we going to start a blog about tri training??


  2. Posted by youngrunner on June 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I have Galloway, Jack Daniels and a few others if you want to borrow for vacation. I’ll bring them to the track on Friday, you can pick & choose.


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