Book Review: The Lola Papers by Amy Marxkors

lola_papersAmy Marxkors’ “The Lola Papers” is a story of the author transforming into a serious runner. It is a non-fiction book written in a fiction style, spiced with humour. All of this is neatly packaged into a easy to read and entertaining style, with some insights for wannabe runners.

Amy is a writer. She starts running and asks a coach to help her with preparation to her first marathon. The coach agrees and the book follows her way to her first marathon. It tells about the insecurities she has, about the friendships she makes on the way, about ups and downs of running and her training regime.

When I started the book, it took me a bit to get used to the characters and Amy’s nicknames for them. Mr. Speedy Pants, Big J, Mrs. Awesome etc created feeling of reading somebody’s writing meant for the inner circle. Yet as I got used to the characters, understood their inner traits, I started to really appreciate and enjoy Amy’s way of writing and started crossing fingers that they’d succeed with their goals. I got into the book. So it happened that a day before I left for Finland very early in the morning I went to sleep long past midnight because I just could not put the book down until I finished it.

While reading the book, I was very anxious to learn about Amy’s results and progress: in 5k, in the marathon, in the training 400’s. But I soon realised that it’s just not that kind of book – there are no numbers present except for the distances. The book is about the journey and not the destination(s). A bit different from the books I usually read, but I’m glad I did.

lola_papers_signatureHere are a few notes I made during reading the book. Beware that these do not give you a feeling of the book, but perhaps some inspiration for running or something else you want to do in your life:

    • Struggles simultaneously expose and build our moral fiber. Trials require and teach perseverance. Perseverance demands and grows character. Character summons and enables us to continue.
    • Running is invigorating. Challenging. Satisfying. Empowering. Even purifying. The self-discipline mandated by a rigorous training schedule brings structure and consistency to life no matter how hectic things get. Knowing that you faced the fiends of fatigue and won, that you pushed your body to keep going when it most wanted to stop, creates a sense of accomplishment that sweeps over you in all-consuming wave of post-run exhaustion. You are mentally cleansed. You are physically strong. You are a runner.
  • When I’m having a tough race or I’m just not feeling it that day, my mind goes into survival mode. What will keep my legs moving? What I need to keep pushing? You gotta race on the bad days, too. It’ll make you tougher.
  • A dog in the hunt does not know he has fleas. When you are focused on racing, you don’t notice anything else – not the pain, how tired you are, anyone else around you, anything. All you see is the finish line.
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