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Long Distance: Testing the Limits of Body and Spirit in a Year of Living Strenuously [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Bill McKibben

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26. Oktober 2010
A new edition of a classic McKibben book about what it takes to be a world-class athlete and where the true meaning of endurance can be found.
At 37, the celebrated writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben took a break from the life of the mind to put himself to the ultimate test: devoting a year to train as a competitive cross-country skier. Consulting with personal trainers, coaches, and doctors at the US Olympic Center, he followed the rigorous training regimen of a world-class athlete.
Along the way, he learned to cope with his physical limitations and, when his father was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor, discovered something about the real meaning of endurance.
Told with his trademark intelligence, humor, and honesty, Long Distance is an insightful examination of
the culture and mind-set of endurance athletes, and a moving and inspiring meditation on finding balance in our often harried lives.


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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 -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


Jon Krakauer author of "Into Thin Air" Bill McKibben has written a wry, wise, thought-provoking book about what it takes -- and what it means -- to endure for the long haul. It's an extended meditation on athleticism, primarily, but it's also a wonderful paean to winter, and dying with dignity, and -- perhaps above all -- leading the examined life. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  21 Rezensionen
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Tear-jerker of a read 14. Juni 2005
Von C. Redding - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I guess they say real men don't cry, but this book really tests you. It's written from the first-person perspective about a guy's yearlong effort to get in shape through cross-country skiing, and also to enjoy his relationship with his father during the latter's long bout with terminal cancer.

Because I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activity (I cycle toured around Australia not too long ago!), I was initially attracted to the book by the sports angle. From that perspective, the book was great. Having down-hill skied since the age of 5 I'm not overly versed about the world of cross-country skiing, but the author delves into different kinds of techniques, skis, waxes, and other equipment, as well as the underlying physiology in a detailed way that shed some light on the sport that I never got riding the lifts. Additionally, I definitely enjoyed gaining greater insight into the subculture (Did you know that the major event in the sport is called the "Birkebeiner"?)

What I didn't expect at first was such an emotionally gripping book about family relations during serious illnesses. The author describes the gradual decline of his father's health, and the toll that takes on the whole family. There are some really nice passages where you recognize the moments that all of us enjoy with our families, but the not-so-fun moments are part of the reality portrayed, too. By the end, I was glad for having read this book, because it was a lot more than just a journal of a year spent skiing.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A powerful book that goes beyond endurance training 2. Januar 2001
Von Charles Eddleston - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As a skiing enthusiast, I found that Bill McKibben's Long Distance revealed the world of physical and mental training that i never fully grasped existed. Even with all his training it was amazing to see that so much rested squarely on genetics, to see that after his many hours of training he could only become so much. The mental aspect was a plus to the book, as a past ski racer it was nice to see someone put into words how it feels out on the course:
"Except that the minute a race is done, you start trying to make it all add up, turn the thousand things that happen even in a three hour ski race in to some kind of coherent storay with a morale at the end: 'I couldn't focus,' or 'I bonked,' or 'Everything came together.'" -Bill McKibben.
To sum it all up, Mr. McKibben has written up an endurance trainer's dream and how he copes with the mental and physical pressures are fascinating to read. I would recommend this book to anyone that is remotely interested in cross-country skiing or how the elite athletes train.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Journel of Strenght and Sorrow 6. März 2002
Von Stephen F. Abney - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This slim volume actually deals with 2 subjects: 1)endurance conditioning with its emotional, psychological and physical components 2) the demise of the author's father. The training portion with all its equipment and conditioning minutia is better suited to a magazine article. The reader gains an insight into the heroic efforts that world class endurance athletes must generate to be competitive. On one hand their fortitude and courage demand our admiration, on the other hand one may suspect a certain compusive obsessiveness that borders on the fanatical. Let the reader judge.
The more compelling portion of the book describes the months in which the author's much loved father engages the process of physical degeneration leading to death. This becomes a profound meditation on mortality and the spititual imnplications of life's last opportunity for self education. Moving and thoughtful, it is the soul of the book.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen More than just on ode to skiing 25. Dezember 2001
Von M. H. Bayliss - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In turns, this account of his incredibly strenuous year is funny, heartbreaking, introspective and irreverent. I'm surprised how modest the author is about his ability to even perform some of the workouts -- a 3 hour and 55 minute run or ski! I'm an exercise fanatic myself, but I don't see any 4 hour workouts on my horizon. The chapters on the origin and development of cross country skiing are fascinating -- I used to hear about Koch and Caldwell when I taught at the Putney school. Our Olympic program hasn't really done much to produce skiiers since that time. You'll also gain a tremendous respect for the Norwegians, Swedes and Finns whose reverence for this grueling sport makes them the finest in the world. This book went well beyond just sports -- although his father's illness was introduced abruptly, it does serve as an anchor for much of hte second half of the book. His dignity to the end made it inspiring rather than depressing. My only small criticism is that since the book is so personal I would have liked to hear more from his wife and daughter's reactions to his training. He alludes to them, but it sounds like they lived on another planet for that year which I'm sure was not the case! Very rewarding and inspiring read, well written.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Superb Book that is both Thought-Provoking and Touching 3. Dezember 2000
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
McKibben is one of those rare authors whose ideas touch both the heart and mind. There are really 2 subjects that McKibben writes about here--his experiment to train with the same intensity as an Olympic athlete, and the death of his father. Throughout this incredible book, McKibben questions his life, his motivation for conducting this fitness experiment, and his relationship with his father. There plenty of times when McKibben could have allowed this book to become a preachy, self-indulgent sermon on the emotional pain of watching his father die. Instead, McKibben keeps his story personal and in so doing, the lessons he learns become more meaningful. Just a warning though--this is a big time tear-jerker at places.
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