Recommended Reading-“The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances” by Matt Inman

This past Thanksgiving I discovered “The Blerch,” or rather our daughter Gretchen introduced me to it (him?) during our annual trip to visit her in Tacoma, Washington. Mathew Inman is a talented Seattle based writer/cartoonist who also runs and does battle with the Blerch. For those of you who don’t know, the Blerch embodies all the negative thoughts Matt encounters while he runs or tries to get out the door. As Matt says, “He’s a wretched, lazy beast.” Blerch, for those of you who don’t know, is the sound food makes when it is squeezed from a tube,” which seems like an apt description of all those negative thoughts. Below is a page from the book that will give you some idea about the “Blerch” and what it represents, as well a glimpse of the book’s cartoon format.


Most of us have our own variation of the Blerch whispering in our ear, or playing mind games with us, telling us why we shouldn’t run or why we are better off staying on the couch tending to our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts and other on-line or off-line diversions. Or, “it’s too cold outside,” or “it’s too hot,” or some similar variation telling us why we shouldn’t run.

The book is humorous, but the underlying message is that running is healthy and beneficial and is an addiction with positive consequences. Or as Matt says, “ It’s like being able to smoke crack every day, but instead of getting strung out and arrested you get bananas and compliments.” Most of my running friends would agree.

If you want to laugh a bit I suggest buying the book, or better yet, check it out from the Evanston Public Library, or the one in your own town. As Matt says make sure to finish your next marathon on a high note, “When you see the finish line, start sprinting like a coked-out orangutan. No one will ever suspect that you walk-jogged the previous 26 miles.”