Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana L. Ayers


Dana Ayers is one of us. She calls herself a "back of the packer". A "casual" runner as opposed to a competitive runner. But like the rest of us, she's a runner. And she shares her experiences running a variety of races, from marathons to obstacle runs in very funny and readable book, Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated.

Well, heck, the title says just about all you need to know! Why haven't you read this book yet?

I downloaded my copy for free from Kindle. It was one of those Kindle Daily Deals. I figured, why not? And thought to myself, hmmmm, maybe this would be good for the book club.

This book was so good and laugh out loud funny that I would have gladly paid full price for it, had I known about it sooner. Dana shares all her experiences, the good, the bad, and the embarrassing. She sprinkles "pro tips" throughout the book, advice, wisdom, and motivation based on her experiences

Marathon training? She jumped right into a Team In Training for the RnR Country Music Marathon in Nashville. And asked herself, "what did I do?" She raised $3000 and ran that thing, that's what she did.
"Slower than Oprah, but right around Katie Holmes." 


Motivation for so many of us. Time to beat? 4:29:20.

Because I know that you want to know--5:29.
source: nydailynews.com
I won't lie to you. My first marathon, I so wanted to run a marathon faster than Oprah. My logic was, if Oprah can do it, I can do it, right? Except she had a whole team of people pushing her. My first marathon, I was not successful, but I did best Katie Holmes. Anyways, I did best Oprah last year and this year! Now I can sleep at night. But I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who had this goal. As a matter of fact, there were a lot of those "oh thank god it isn't just me" moments while reading this book! Dana chronicles her training and boy, does she sound like me with her logic and thoughts. There are plenty of mishaps...like the ripped yoga pants and the chafing that resulted from her quick repair of the rip...and you know you have stories to tell too!

Dana takes us through her Tough Mudder aka "paying to sign a death waiver". Which convinced me that I never want to do an obstacle race. I'm glad she did it for me. Kind of funny, because one of the bloggers that I follow, Janelle at Run with No Regrets is running a Tough Mudder this weekend and she listed one of her goals as "Don't Die". She has other less scary goals, of course, but the whole thing makes me wonder: why do we runners do this to ourselves? Dana's recap is really funny, though and really, what fun would it be if you played it safe all the time? You wouldn't be telling any good stories, would you now?

Of course, Dana participated in a Ragnar Relay. Because what runner worth her salt hasn't? Oops, that would be me. I'll live vicariously through my friends who've done Ragnar. Dana's recap is hilarious, and contains what is probably the best quote of the book:
"I thought that cheeseburger was really doing me a solid, but right now it's doing me a liquid.."
Something only a runner could relate to...gotta pick the right fuel! Although when the rungries hit, you'll pretty much eat anything, right?

She also talks about cross training, which she says (again like me!) that it has to be fun to be motivating.
"Pro tip: A perk of being a non-competitive runner is that you don't have to take cross-training terrible seriously unless you want to. Just do something besides running, call it cross-training, and then call it a day."
Love this! And by the way, she even tried CrossFit, where she assumed she get a tear-stained tattoo on her cheek after a successful workout. Kind of like a gang initiation, I guess...some do compare CF to a cult, so I guess she wasn't that far off...

Bottom line, Dana runs for the same reasons we do. Of course she runs for fitness, yes, but:
"It's (running) like the adult form of being rocked to sleep without actually having to go to sleep and without the awkwardness I assume would accompany asking another adult to hold me on their lap."
Moral of the story: You can be a runner too. And you don't even have to put on a tutu or get electrocuted. Unless you want to.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it motivating, relatable, and funny too! You can download it from amazon for 2.99, which is still a huge bargain.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Please share your review in the linkup below. Make sure you link back to this post by grabbing the badge below! Thanks again for participating! 


And don't miss next month's book! At the Chicago Marathon expo last week, I met Bart Yasso. He signed a copy of his book for me and agreed to an interview for the book club. When I asked him about his book, he was really self-deprecating about it all..."it's just a story about me and running, you know..." I've heard great things about the book and I think we will all enjoy it! Please feel free to send me any questions you want me to ask him--Yasso 800s anyone?


"My Life On The Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon" by Bart Yasso is our Book Club Book for November!








58 comments :

  1. Hey! One of my goals for next year, 50 at Age 50,is to run an obstacle course run! I need to read this book! Thanks!

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    1. You do need to read this book! :) And keep me posted on your progress.

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    2. I've LOVED my OCRs - -it's like a race and an adult jungle gym all in one. Good luck!

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  2. Ooh, I want to read this book! It sounds like so much fun! I'll have to check to see if it's available in audio, since that's all I seem to read anymore:-)

    I ran my first marathon long before Oprah or Katie, so all I wanted to do was finish (well, in 3:45, but that didn't happen until my 4th or 5th).

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    1. I may actually turn it into an audio book at some point because I've had others say they'd like to listen to it during a run - so we'll see! Right now it's only in eBook form and will be in print next month!

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    2. Dana, an audiobook is a great idea! A lot of my friends listen to podcasts when they run, so that might be a whole new thing!

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  3. This sounds like a great motivational read. I'll definitely have to look into it. Thanks for sharing the review!

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  4. This sounds fantastic! I have had exactly no time to read, and I am missing it and your book club. :(

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    1. Just add it to your to read list!

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    2. I feel you! Hoping to make it an audio book at some point for folks who'd rather listen instead!

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  5. This book sounds like such a fun read - and something I could definitely relate to! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I need to read this. You know I'mall about the qualitative > quantitative goals. Your first goal should be don't die and run a smart race.

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    1. I like the whole goal of not dying....

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    2. Haha that's exactly what I said my first goal should've been when I ran my first marathon: "Don't die." Hope you enjoy the book!

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  7. I need to finish up the book so I can write about it and link up!

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    1. Yay! Looking forward to your review!

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    2. I hope you enjoy it! Looking forward to your review!

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  8. I beat Oprah and my first marathon and did not even know it until just now!!!!!! Have a great weekend.
    bakingrunner.blogspot.com

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    1. Doesn't that make you feel so much better?

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    2. Haha that's impressive - her time was surprisingly fast! I hope to beat Katie the next time I do a marathon but no promises! Hope you enjoyed the book!

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  9. This book sounds awesome - I'm loving Dana's sense of humor about the whole thing. I'll be flying soon and this book is going on my Kindle for sure!

    P.S. I met Bart at the Big Sur expo - he is just so, so awesome. Love him.

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    1. I loved meeting Bart, which is why I picked his book for next time! And I think you'll really enjoy this month's book!

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    2. Thank you for downloading! I hope you enjoy it!

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  10. Not every OCR is as intimidating as Tough Mudder style races! But those ones really ARE kinda scary... I love this and will probably be buying this book asap for my next good read! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I have no desire to do any OCR! I'm old and fragile...

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    2. Haha Tough Mudder wasn't as scary as the hype made it seem and it ended up being really fun. Plus, you could always skip an obstacle if you had a bad feeling about it. I'm glad I did one but I may stick to shorter OCRs now (the 5k'ish ones). Hope you enjoy the book, Amanda!

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  11. Off to look for this book now! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! Would love to hear what you think!

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  12. Love your review, Wendy! I'm so glad I got this book because this is the story of my life! Lol! I will need to write a review soon, too! Great post!

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    1. Haha, seriously, sounds like a lot of us!

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    2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Artney! Looking forward to hearing your review!

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  13. This sounds like a great read! I many need to download for my next book. She sounds kind of cool too!

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    1. I'd love to meet you both! This is so fun to connect to other runners through the book!

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  14. I haven't read this yet, but it sounds hilarious...right up my alley. I need to read Bart's book, he is such a cool guy!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! BTW, love the name of your blog, Sue! haha.

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  15. I LOVED this review, thank you so much, Wendy! I'm thrilled to hear so many people are related to my stories - thank you everyone for reading and sharing!

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    1. It was a fun read, and I loved it! Any book that makes me laugh is 5 stars! Keep running and keep writing! :)

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  16. I will have to read that one. I love running books. I did read Bart's book and he signed my copy when I met him at Big Sur.

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    1. Ooooh, will I get to see him at Big Sur?

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    2. I hope you enjoy my book! Would love to hear what you think!

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  17. Wendy the review was great. Sounds like Ayers is a funny gal. Please take my link down. It was only after I posted it that I realized it was a link up for running books only. I apologize. Gina

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    1. I'm going to leave your link because it is a fitness book! Thanks for participating.

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    2. Yes! The book is about running, OCRs, cross-training and general fitness (struggles). Would love to hear what you think if you download it!

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  18. I'll have to check this book out!!! My first marathon was 5:23...but my PR is 4:25 so I'll take it, LOL!!!

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    1. See? You beat Katie and Oprah!

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    2. Oooh - this gives me hope since my first one was about 5:30! I'd like to do Boston one day on a charity bib so maybe I should shoot for 4:30! haha. Hope you enjoy the book!

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  19. More great books to add to my reading list.

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