Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously

Bill McKibben

ISBN 10: 0684855976 / ISBN 13: 9780684855974
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[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Simon & Schuster Pub Date: 12/5/2000 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 192 Reprint edition. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: This text documents Bill McKribbens year as an imposter of sorts in the demanding world of competitive skiing. In his late 30s McKribben decided to test his body. He decided upon cross-country skiing. He took a year out and trained full-time - with the help of a coach/guru - putting in hours and miles typical of an Olympic athlete. McKribben's year culminated in a series of long-distance cross-country races, where his body experienced rhythms and possibilities like never before. Changing his lifestyle and training full-time test not only your body but also your mind and spirit. Whilst training McKribbens father developed an illness that would eventually cause his death. This forced McKribben to futher explore his body and spirit and that of his father's.

Review: At the age of 37, bestselling author and journalist Bill McKibben stepped out of the ordinary routine of his life to spend a year in "real training" as a cross-country skier. With the help of a trainer-slash-guru, McKibben took on a regimen equivalent to that of an Olympic endurance athlete's, running and skiing for hours every day in preparation for a series of grueling long-distance ski races. What prompted this successful writer with an admitted aversion to competitive sports to push himself so hard, for so long?

Partly it was pure selfishness; after a decade as an environmental writer and activist, I needed a break from failing to save the world. But mostly it was curiosity that drove me. By year's end I hoped I'd have more sense of what life lived through the body felt like.

If Long Distance begins as a story about the transformation of the body and what it means to challenge one's physical limits, it evolves into a thoughtful lesson about a wholly different kind of endurance. Halfway through McKibben's training, his father was diagnosed with the most virulent form of brain cancer. As McKibben was reaching peak condition, his father's life lurched toward an end, forcing McKibben to snap out of his self-inflicted self-absorption. He had tried to think of endurance as "the ability to fight through the drama of pain. But now I understood it, too, as a kind of elegance, a lightness that could only come from such deep comfort with yourself that you began to forget about yourself." And the elegance of Long Distance is in its ultimate lesson that each of us has a mind, a body, and a spirit, and we must find our strength in all three realms. --Svenja Soldovieri

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Title: Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously
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