Do you remember your first run? The day that you decided to put on a pair of running shoes and run? I've been running so long that I don't remember the actual first run. But I do remember about 20-odd years ago, at a really low point in my life, going to work out at a health club where there was a track running around the perimeter of the club. I must have started there, because that's where I met my friend Jayne, who took me under her wing and taught me how to run and how to train. We eventually took our runs outside to the forest preserve path that was near the club. Eventually, I mustered up courage to run races. My first races were 5ks and 10ks. Marathons were for the "runners". Of course, I haven't stopped running since. And yep, there are a few marathons under my belt.
In her book, Running Like A Girl, Alexandra Heminsley chronicles her journey from non-runner to runner.
"It's the most natural thing in the world. We were born to run. you just put on your shoes and head out the door, that's the beauty of it. It's just you, the road, and your thoughts..."Cue the sound of the needle scratching across the record. Because as Heminsley says, these are the lies people tell you about running. At least, I think, in the beginning. Running is hard, right? Heminsley is open and honest about her struggles with running.
Because she's us. She is brutally honest in her self assessment:
"I wasn't the sporty type. It was as simple as that. I was a curvy girl with little or no competitive spirit...."And she talks about the challenges she faced as a new runner. One of my favorite stories was the first time she went shopping for shoes, and was dissed by the running store employee. As if it isn't intimidating enough to go into a running store...
"Well, you'll need to run on our @$$@% machine, and then we'll need to look at your gait and analyze the data, and then @!$^, and in case of pronation pffng."In other words, intimidation by professional jargon. We do that in medicine sometimes...
Heminsley turns to her father for inspiration. A veteran of many marathons, he was old school, running in a pair of Green Flash sneakers. He was also her biggest cheerleader, giving her advice and encouragement. How nice that she had her dad to cheer her on!
|Heminsley at the Brighton Half Marathon |
"I could not have done more to be prepare for my first London Marathon, yet I have never been less prepared for anything in my life..."I found myself nodding a great deal while reading this book. She talks about the magical feeling you have after completing a marathon, becoming "the girl who did". After the marathon, she loses her desire to run, and becomes, as she puts it, "someone who has just run a marathon. Not a runner. Eventually she gets her mojo back through helping a friend cross the finish line.
There's a lot more revelation in this book, and anyone who's been a runner for some length of time will find a lot of familiar ground here. For beginning runners, this book will serve as inspiration that if Heminsley can become a runner, anyone can become a runner. Because no matter what your body size or ability, we all start at the same place. And as Heminsley states:
"...as I have learned, it is an honor, a privilege, and a gift."
|At the Nike Women's Marathon|
source: Huffington Post
I really enjoyed this book, and found her writing style easy to read. The book is written almost as if Heminsley is right in the room with you, telling her stories. I highly recommend this book for any level of runner. After all, we've all been there...
Did you read the book? What was your favorite part of her journey? Were inspired by her story?
Be sure to link up your review below! And if you don't have a blog, feel free to post your review in the comments. If you do link up, you know the rules: link back to this post and be sure to read everyone else's posts! Sharing is caring. Thanks so much for participating!
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And join us for next month's book, which is sure to be inspiring:
The author of this book contacted me about participating in the book club, and after learning about his story, I was so inspired, I said yes! This is the story of a young Kenyan, placed with an American family, who finds solace in running and trains to run the NYCM. I haven't read it yet, but the reviews sound promising! The author has already agreed to participate so it should be another great book for the book club. Link up goes live Friday August 14. Let me know if you have any questions!