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Potomac Books


Personal Record, Personal Record, 0803260334, 0-8032-6033-4, 978-0-8032-6033-7, 9780803260337, Rachel Toor , , Personal Record, 0803218702, 0-8032-1870-2, 978-0-8032-1870-3, 9780803218703, Rachel Toor , , Personal Record, 0803234260, 0-8032-3426-0, 978-0-8032-3426-0, 9780803234260, Rachel Toor

Personal Record
A Love Affair with Running
Rachel Toor

2008. 182 pp.
$24.95 t
Out of Stock
2010. 184 pp.
$18.95 t

Rachel Toor was a bookish egghead who ran only to catch a bus. How such an unlikely athlete became a runner of ultramarathons is the story of Personal Record, an exhilarating meditation on the making, and the minutiae, of a runner’s life. The food, the clothes, the races, the injuries, the watch (and Toor loves her watch) are all essential to the runner, as readers discover here, and discover why.
A chronicle of Toor’s relationship with the sport of running, from her early incarnation as an Oreo-eating couch potato to her emergence as a hard-bodied marathoner, this book explores the sport of running, the community it brings into being, and the personal satisfaction of pursuing it to its limit. Alternating with Toor’s account of becoming a runner are the stories—meditations, examinations, celebrations—of how runners become a pack. An homage to running, a literary take on how an activity can turn into a passion, and how a passion can become a way of life, this book runs all the way from individual achievement—a personal record—to the world of friendship and belonging, the community that runners inevitably find.

Rachel Toor teaches writing at Eastern Washington University, is a columnist for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a senior writer for Running Times. She is the author of The Pig and I: How I Learned to Love Men (Almost) as Much as I Love My Pets and Admissions Confidential: An Insider’s Account of the Elite College Selection Process. A graduate of Yale University, she received an MFA from the University of Montana and currently lives in Spokane.

Personal Record takes you on a grand tour of the running life, which goes from hobby to one of the purest forms that fanaticism in sport can take—ultramarathons. As any great running book deserves, Rachel Toor’s writing is swift, disciplined, sinewy, and indomitably strong. It is also hilarious. The story she tells is a marvel.”—Pat Conroy, author of My Losing Season and The Prince of Tides

“In an unconventional, inspirational, and loving account of running, really well done and funny as heck, Rachel Toor shows how this simple activity is so powerful it sweeps us off our feet into friendships that endure. I'm a fan.”—Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon and owner of the Bill Rodgers Running Center

“Rachel Toor is very brave, as a runner and as a writer. She sees things down at the cellular level and doesn't hesitate to tell you Difficult Truths. And, if it weren’t for the fact that she confesses to breaking down and crying every so often, you might even think it was easy.”—John L. Parker, author of Once a Runner and Again to Carthage

“Readers who have thought about taking up running but have kept putting it off will discover that Toor has deftly taken away all of their excuses, from ‘I don’t have time’ to ‘I’m too out of shape’ to ‘It’ll hurt too much.’ A book that will appeal equally to novices and experienced runners.”—Booklist

“A finely written ode to the art, the trial, the lifestyle of marathon running. Toor, an experienced runner, has the ability to take you inside that niche world and make it real.”—Reader’s Digest

"In her new essay collection, Personal Record, Toor immerses the reader in the world of long-distance running, examining her bruised, muscular body, the contents of her closet, her pantry jammed with energy gels and protein bars, and her love life in the process of explaining what running means to her and describing the experiences the sport has given her."—Jenny Shank, New West

“Rachel Toor makes me want to be a runner. . . . We can all find something inspiring in this book of stories about her running experiences.”—Doris Anne Roop-Benner, Story Circle Book Reviews

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