I didn’t realise Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel was such a recent release (April 2013) until about two minutes ago when I searched for some extra information about it to write this review. But look at me, being all early-adopter and stuff.
I bought the book on May 22nd, according to my Amazon account history, after virtually wandering around Amazon searching for books on trail running, days before signing up for my first ultra. The title grabbed me, and not just because it has the word “ass” in it (I’m not that juvenile, really). The full title is actually pretty long: Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel – A Trail and Ultramarathon Running Guide for Weird Folks.
Weird folk, that’s me.
Jason Robillard, the author, is known in the running community for his Barefoot Running University website and for his previous book, The Barefoot Running Book. He’s also known for having pretty much my dream life (writing and running for a living). Don’t you just want to hate him a little bit?
No, you don’t. Because, number one, your mum was right and that’s ugly. Number two: he actually has some pretty good advice to give.
It took me a few pages to really get into the book. It’s got a long list of chapters, which at first I thought interrupted the whole flow of the book. But then I realised that, as a handbook, it needs to have information structured in that easy-to-find way. Just a few pages into it, I discovered a really good deal of incredibly useful advice, not just for trail runners in general but for anyone stupid enough to sign up for an ultra.
(270 days to go, you guys!)
I liked the unpretentious conversational tone of the book, which reads almost as if a trail running buddy was just emailing you his best tips. These days, being the ridiculous gen-y that I am, I judge my opinion on books partly based on how many highlights they get on my Kindle. This one got a few, mostly tips about how to run in different conditions but also stuff like:
Robillard also says he walks all the hills of any course over 50k and adds that that strategy has actually resulted in improvement on his finish times. Any trail runner who tells me walking is a good idea in an ultra is automatically added to my best friends list and would qualify for a Merry Christmas card if I still bothered sending those.
He also suggests a number of interesting things I wouldn’t have thought would be a good idea, including wearing white cotton shirts when there is a lot of sun exposure and adding “foodless runs” to your training, to help develop the ability of using fat as fuel.
I’d like to share a few of the tips I got from the book but that would be doing it a disservice since what you should really do is pick up a copy and read it yourself (won’t take you long). It’s not exactly Nobel material and it doesn’t try to be. It’s written as a trail running handbook and, as such, it pretty much ticks all the boxes, with a really comprehensive list of practical advice for every trail runner out there.
For a free sample of the book, click here. For more information on the book, check the blog with the same name or head to Amazon for a copy.
June 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm
Ass crack fusion? You’re not making a good argument for exercise. Yay, sloth!
June 19, 2013 at 1:02 am
I’ve experienced “monkey ass.” But not crack fusion. I’m pretty sure I would quit the sport if my ass fused together.
June 19, 2013 at 2:19 am
I totally judge my books by how many highlights/bookmarks I have on my kindle for it. I’ve read a few books lately I feel like there is something highlighted on every page, or none at all.
Looks like a good book you read though, I like when it doesn’t get that pretentious “I know better than you, so you better do what I say” type feel. Instead it keeps you laughing and smiling and gives you info in a more social matter.
June 19, 2013 at 7:36 am
So I’m actually not ever going to google that. However, any author who is willing to share such a brutal and gross fact is pretty much automatically added to my must-read list. Thanks for sharing!
June 19, 2013 at 8:50 am
I laughed so hard I almost didn’t mind the part about fusing butt cheeks. Running off to purchase as we speak! Thank you!!!
June 19, 2013 at 10:25 am
I don’t know if I’d get into Ultrarunning (cause the marathon is not my thing), but I do like trail running.
The name of the book, what a cracker, I will have to add it to my read list on goodreads, and the dry witty sarcasm of the book sounds right up my alley.
June 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm
I’m in need of a good running book, and since trail running is on my after pregnancy to do list, I think I’m going to have to get this book. Especially considering I just laughed out loud reading your post.
June 20, 2013 at 12:17 am
Thanks. I was looking for my next book. I think I just found it.
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