Through the lens of long-distance running, The Running Body uncovers the effects of idolization and obsession, reckoning with power and agency, beauty and pain, loss and healing.
Through multiple modes of storytelling—memoir, meditation, and cultural analysis—Pifer describes how, during her time as a collegiate distance runner, she began to run more while eating less. Many around her, including her coaches, praised her for these practices. But as she became faster, and as her body began to resemble the bodies that she had seen across starting lines and on the covers of running magazines, her bones began to fracture. Pifer tells her story alongside the stories of her teammates, competitors, and others as they all face body troubles.
While grounded in truth, The Running Body interrogates our relationship to magical thinking, the stories we tell ourselves, and the faultiness of memory. Fractures, figurative and literal, run through the narrative as Pifer explores the ways bodies become entangled in stories.
Praise for The Running Body