A journal for runners, writers and trail philosophers
By Henry Howard
Elite ultra runner Adam Kimble paused his own training and racing long enough to co-author the new book, “Chasing Twilight / A Joy Journal for Runners,” with Connor Crouch and Jim O’Brien.
The trio became connected thanks to Crouch’s mother, Michelle, who is married to O’Brien, and worked with Kimble before his run across the United States.
I had the pleasure to interview Kimble after his successful fastest known time at the 170ish-mile Tahoe Rim Trail last year. And he was kind enough to provide me a copy of the journal in exchange for this interview and review. (Interested in other books by runners and/or for runners? Here are others I have published, including ones by Dean Karnazes, David and Megan Roche, and others.)
It’s easy to see why “Chasing Twilight” is different than most books. First, it’s a journal where the co-authors offer short quotes, anecdotes and thoughts about running or life experiences. And there is plenty of room to contribute your own thoughts, perspectives and more about the ups and downs of running and/or life. (The book is available at this Amazon link, or via Barnes & Noble or Word After Word bookstore in Tahoe.)
For example, I wrote my first entry eight days before my second 100-mile race at the Hennepin Hundred. I concluded by writing,
“It’s a week to adapt.
It’s a week to taper.
It’s a week to plan for a million variables.
It’s a week until a big epic celebration.”
I have found that the journal has been helpful to me to process thoughts before and after the 100. While I am still in maintenance mode, rather than training, it’s been a good way to help me process the mental side of training and, honestly, life.
And, as you will see in this question and answer with Kimble, that’s part of what the co-authors intended as they conceived the book. Here are six questions and answers:
Question: Tell me about how the concept for the book got started.
Answer: One of my two co-authors, Jim, had an idea to create a running journal, and he came to me with that idea to see if I was interested in being involved. As a professional runner who loves writing, I couldn't resist. Plus, all three of us felt that we had never used a running journal that we truly loved before, so we wanted to "scratch our own itch"!
Question: Why is it important for runners to have this outlet?
Answer: Writing, much like running, can be a very cathartic exercise. Personally, my best thoughts and most productive brainstorming sessions happen almost exclusively during a run. I think utilizing a running journal can be a great way to capture those thoughts and enhance their impact.
Question: I like the idea of the "dateless" journal. How do you recommend readers/writers proceed with their own journal writing in the book?
Answer: We wanted to create a dateless journal so that nobody would ever DNF I've used many journals in the past, and when I fall behind on the dates, my commitment to the journal wanes. The hope here is that each individual person can use it as much or as little as they want to, and feel good about doing it every time. Similarly, we didn't want to have specific prompts, and instead aimed to have our own journal entries serve as prompts. In doing that, we felt we could invite more creativity than simply asking someone, "How is your day going?" or something along those lines. And, if you would rather read our entries than write your own, that's an option as well!
Question: After this project was completed, did you find yourself journaling more — and how has the art of this type of writing affected your wellbeing?
Answer: Absolutely! Even though I previously read Jim and Connor's entries throughout the editing process for the journal, they continue to serve as an inspiration for my writing. Every time I open the journal and read one of our writings, it sparks a thought and I find myself writing about something going on in my life. It has really helped me to problem solve and overcome the obstacles in my life, simply by writing about them and working through the issues. It also motivates me when friends and family share their use of the journal with me, and I know that others are going through the same thing!
Question: Did you find the process of writing the book similar to an ultra?
Answer: There was really one way that the book-writing process was similar to an ultra, and that was in the approach. I had to focus on the mile I was in, and not get too far ahead of myself with relation to the overwhelming amount of work we had to do. If you're thinking about Mile 80 when you're only 10 miles in, you will get yourself into trouble. Similarly, though I really wanted to be at the end point of the journey and have a finished product, I had to reframe the situation and focus on enjoying every stage of the writing, editing and formatting we did. Breaking down the project into digestible chunks and being present was important for me to do my best work, just like every time I toe the line at a 100-miler!
Question: So, what's next — any plans for another book either with your co-writers or a solo effort?
Answer: I've always wanted to write a book about some of the biggest adventures in my life: traveling the world in 2015, running across the U.S. in 2016, winning Discovery Channel's "The Wheel" in 2016, and setting an FKT running across Great Britain in 2017. This process has fueled my passion for writing a book about my life, and I plan to do that in the near future!
Name: Adam Kimble
Hometown: Minooka, Illinois
Number of years running: 10
How many miles a week do you typically run: 75
Point of pride: Winning two television shows: "The Wheel" on the Discovery Channel and "The Price is Right" on CBS.
Favorite race distance: 100-miler
Favorite pre-race or training food/drink: Favorite night before a race meal is pizza, favorite food during a race is fruit (i.e. watermelon, strawberries and oranges)!
Favorite piece of gear: rabbit FKT 3" race shorts!
Favorite or inspirational song to run to: "Shake It Out" by Florence and the Machine.
Favorite or inspirational mantra/phrase: "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill
Where can other runners connect or follow you:
• Website: www.adamkimble.com
• Facebook Athlete Page: @AdamKimbleUltrarunner
• Instagram: @adamkimble818
• Twitter: @adamkimble818
• Strava: Adam Kimble