Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. How do some of Katie’s early childhood experiences–running the Fodderstock, jumping in an icy river in winter–shape the relationship she has with her father as a girl, and then as a young adult? How would you describe their father-daughter dynamic, up until the time Katie moves to New Mexico?
2. Why does Katie feel so shaken, reading the contents of her father’s letter in Chapter 8? Do you see her father’s actions as a betrayal in any form? What was his obligation to her as a parent, in regard to the circumstances of his divorce and talking to her about it?
3. What do you understand Katie to mean when she says that, in the wake of reading her father’s letter, she wonders if “he hadn’t also been afraid to commit to himself?”
4. What is the thin edge? What is the difference between fear and anxiety, as Katie experiences them both?
5. Are there similar things that seem to motivate the different kinds of “extreme” athletes and adventurers Katie interviews for her job at Outside?
6. What does Katie learn, from reading her father’s letters to his former lovers, in Chapter 17? How does she “carry” this knowledge with her going forward?
7. Discuss the different meanings Katie writes about for the word “practice”—what does it mean for her to practice running?
8. What does motherhood teach Katie about being a runner? What does being a runner teach her, about how to be a better parent?