The Summit Seeker – Book Review
In July, we profiled Vanessa Rodriguez who goes by the name Vanessa Runs. At that time she has recently quit her day job as an editor at a dot com to pursue her true passions in life; writing and running. At that time she moved out of her apartment in San Diego and into an RV with her boyfriend – Shacky, dog – Ginger, and cat- Momma. One of her first tasks while enjoying her new found freedom was to pen her first book, The Summit Seeker.
Over the weekend I had a chance to sit-down and read her first book. I have found timing is everything in life. I had just come off a particularly difficult race on Saturday and was having doubts about some aspects of racing and life. On a whim, I decided to put my mind off my racing by reading a book about running. Only afterwards did I see the irony in it.
The first thing you need to know about The Summit Seeker is that it is as much a book about running as it is about Vanessa’s life. As I read the introduction by Gordy Ainsleigh, truly the godfather of Ultrarunning and founder of Western States 100, I knew this was going to be a book for me. As I read through the short sections and chapters, it was as if I was sitting down at a table hearing Vanessa’s stories. She cleverly intertwines both stories of running with stories of life. As I read through I was amazed at some of her past, related to other parts on a very deep level, and even laughed out loud at times.
Vanessa’s words will resinate with anyone who is a runner. Any woman reading this book runner or not will have at least one of two sections that they feel are plucked right form their own life experiences. While reading the book I found out I am not the only one who was hit on the head with a cabbage patch doll as a kid (and not the soft part either). Vanessa’s tails of her first 100-miler, and second and third were powerful and memorable. Her story of running with Gordy during a R2R2R run are vivid and colorful.
In truth, the book took me only a few hours to read, however after putting down the book I had a renewed sense in my own running. It gave me inspiration to take on a few more challenges I have recently been questioning. But mostly it reminded my why I started running, and what continues to keep me running on trails mostly alone, out of the view of the rest of the world. I strongly recommend this book to all those around me, especially women. You do not need to be an ultrarunner to relate to Vanessa’s tails as the book is really much more than just about running, it’s about life, growing up, finding yourself, and following your passions.
I had a lot of admiration for Vanessa before reading The Summit Seeker, after having finished the book that admiration has only grown. Read the book, you won’t be sorry, enjoy her stories, and then go out and make your own.
The Summit Seeker is on sale now at amazon.com in both paperback and kindle editions, as well as other ereader apps.