Louis Cinquino is an ordinary guy with three daughters and a seemingly stable home life, who must face his 50th birthday and the reality that his marriage is headed inevitably toward divorce. Yet the more he looks back, the more he sees his life unraveling before him, in a mix of nostalgia, second-guesses about the past and uncertainty about the future.
He responds to this mid-life crisis by challenging himself to reach for a goal he was never able to achieve in his high school track career: to break 5 minutes in the mile and to do it on the streets of New York City in the world famous Fifth Avenue Mile.
With only 16 weeks of training to try and turn back the clock 32 years, the author defies all logic by accomplishing well beyond what he, or anyone thought was possible.
Whether you are a runner or not, if you have faced loss or emotional turmoil in your life, you will identify with Cinquino’s story. You’ll be swept along in his unexpected and comical attempts to find balance and redemption in a perplexing panoply of self help and spiritual gurus ready to provide answers.
The author shares how, after a career of promoting self help books, he suddenly finds himself in need of their promises of personal transformation. He submits himself to a lengthy and exhaustive gauntlet of self help approaches and spiritual journeys, then almost by accident, rediscovers the simple healing joys of running.
What ultimately saves him is the invigorating yet humbling nature of being an older runner trying to do what old people do not do: go fast. In Running Back the Clock, you’ll see how running reveals itself as the steady and faithful companion which leads him to restore focus in his life and pride in himself.
The arc of the story is not a grand, extravagant expedition, but a seemingly simple, tangible, easy-to-understand journey that reveals itself day-by-day as he does what we all must do: wake each morning and decide what to do in the here and now to make ourselves faster, stronger, younger and wiser.
Cinquino generously shares tips from experts that he meets along the way as he trains, including a Runners’ World running coach, a nutritionist, a sports psychologist and Steve Scott, the former American mile record holder and the person credited with breaking 4:00 in the mile more often than any other human. These experts, as well as the author’s own insights, will enable a like-minded runner to create their own strategies for increasing speed and competing in races of their choosing.
In addition, the author will include a full yoga-for-runners routine that was developed specifically for him during his training from a certified and highly regarded Iyengar Yoga instructor.
Enhancing the read are nostalgic glimpses at what it was like to come of age in the late sixties and early seventies in rural New York state, on the cusp of both the baby boom and Gen X childhoods.
Above all, as you are carried along on this quest, you will be immersed in a new philosophy that the author coins in his approach to mid-life and beyond: living the mulligan. This concept is based on a golf term that describes a situation when an ordinary golfer hits a shot so badly that his playing partners allow him to just forget about it and hit another shot without penalty. “Take a mulligan” is a philosophy that anyone can understand.
Cinquino brings the mulligan concept to life in a commonsense way that can benefit anyone who spends time replaying the past in an attempt to undo emotional scars and behaviors that they can’t seem to shake.
His unique skill is to bring this message without the obtrusive and polarizing vocabulary of religion or conventional spirituality. Cinquino’s stories are smart and vulnerable, and his outsider voice speaks to the heart of us all—and in particular to men looking to rediscover what’s best about themselves in the face of adversity.
Running Back the Clock gives you the reassurance that you, too, can find a better version of yourself, and in so doing, rediscover meaning and purpose by letting go of the past and stop worrying about the future. A glimpse of the story can be seen through this major feature article in Runners World September 2013 issue.
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