Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Review: Running Home by Alisha Perkins

Why do you run?

Some of us run for fitness, to lose weight, or for fun. For many of us, running is therapy. I started running to manage anxiety and stress. So did Alisha Perkins. When Alisha reached out to me to ask me if I wanted to read her book, Running Home, for the book club, I immediately said yes.

Running Home by Alisha Perkins
Running Home: Big-League Wife - Small-Town Story

Alisha Perkins is a mother of 2 young girls, married to Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins, and started running to help manage her anxiety as well. The baseball wife life is stressful. There are lots of long hours alone, frequent moves, and the ever-present uncertainty about the job and the team. About 6 years ago, the Perkins' were wintering in Florida for spring training and Alisha decided to go for a run. She figured she'd go for her usual 2 mile run, but something happened. She didn't stop at 2 miles, but kept going.
"Not only did I beat my personal best length that day in Florida, but something else happened on that run. For the first time ever I experienced "runner's high". I am sure you have heard of this elusive phenomenon--every runner talks about it. But until then I had had no idea what the fuss was all about. Every time someone mentioned it, I played along, feeling as though I were faking an orgasm." --Alisha Perkins, Running Home
It was on that 5 mile run that she felt the much needed release of all her anxiety. She was hooked.

Alisha Perkins
photo courtesy of Alisha Perkins
We've all been there, and reading this book felt a lot like talking to a running friend. We runners share our experiences both on and off the road, and it is there we find others with a common bond. Alisha's first race was a 10 miler. She struggled mentally with taking time for herself to train, but with the support of her husband and family, crossed the finish line. Shortly after that, she signed up for her first half marathon. You know the pattern. As her confidence with running grew, her finish times became faster. The ongoing support of her husband, family, and friends gave her the desire to continue to run.

The book is organized by races. While Alisha gives a recap of each race she has run, she also shares her thoughts about running, anxiety, motherhood--it's like reading a journal. As I read the book, there were times that I felt she was inside my head! That's what I liked best about this book--Alisha is so relatable. Even though Alisha is married to a big league baseball player, she's dealing with the same day to day stressors as the rest of us.

Alisha Perkins
photo courtesy of Alisha Perkins
I sent Alisha some questions and she was gracious enough to respond right away.

TTLWH: I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression as well, and that is also the reason I started running. In fact, I was amazed at some of the parallels in our lives. Guess that’s what you get from being a type A perfectionist kind of gal! The interesting thing to me is that most people would think—why take on more? You’ve got a successful husband. Why not step back and chill out? How are you doing with your anxiety, while promoting a book, running, and raising two girls?
AP: I was not ok with just being a wife and mom- those things were awesome but I wanted to be something. I can't explain it but I had a itch I needed to scratch. So far I have been handling the anxiety pretty well with all the madness. There are times when I have to shut down but I am pretty good at remembering to take some down time if needed. I have to remember that I can do anything but not everything.

TTLWH: Have you heard from a lot of readers since you published your story? I bet there are a lot of women who run for the same reasons! Has “coming out” been therapeutic for you?
AP: It has been super therapeutic for me. I never intended to write a book- I wrote it out as a catharsis and ended up publishing in hope to help others. I have received many emails from women and men thanking me and telling me how much they could relate and how much it helped. It warms my heart.

TTLWH: How did you pick CF as your “pet charity” for your 15s 5k race? Does Glen (her husband) get to participate in the race, since that is the thick of baseball season?
AP: CF was our original charity because we have two friends with little ones with CF. This last year we switched the beneficiary to the PrairieCare Child and Family Fund which helps foster creative innovations in mental health education for youth. This is obviously very close to my heart and I recently accepted the role of vice president on their board so I was excited to be able to have a hand in where the money is used. Glen does not run the race but him and a bunch of his teammates come out and hand out medals at the end of the race which is really fun for the runners.

TTLWH: I just read on your blog that you are no longer blogging, but are working on book #2! Care to share what you will be writing about for this book?
AP: It's a secret :)

TTLWH: Finally, what races are you training for now? Have you committed to the 2d marathon?
AP: I am currently training for my first 5k. I realize this sounds strange but I have never run a 5k. A friend talked me into trying to run sub- 7 minute miles with him and I agreed. I am not sure it is possible but I am going to try!!

Alisha Perkins
photo courtesy of Alisha Perkins
You can follow Alisha on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as on her podcast Mind Full. She's no longer blogging but you can access her posts and purchase her book at alishaperkins.com. You can also purchase her book: Running Home: Big-League Wife - Small-Town Story  on Amazon.com.

Disclosure: Alisha Perkins sent me a copy of her book Running Home in exchange for my review. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Did you read Alisha's story? Why do you run? Have you experienced the "runners' high"?


Here's the link up badge! You can find the link up at the end of this post. The link up stays live for 2 weeks. You can link up your blog post, Facebook post, or Instagram post here. No post to link? Comments stay live forever! Please remember to link back to this post. Try to read and comment on the other reviews. If you want to review a different fitness-related book, please feel free to link those posts up as well. I'm so grateful to all of you who participate in the book club.

Taking the Long Way Home Book Club

Next month's book takes us on a journey around the world! Becky Wade is an elite marathoner who traveled to 9 different countries over one year to explore running communities around the world. She then took what she learned and applied those techniques to her own running, with great success. I'm really excited to read this book and I hope you are too! This review and link up will go live on October 21.
Run the World by Becky Wade
Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe
this post contains affiliate links




21 comments :

  1. I love that she's training for shorter races! I feel like you're not considered a legit runner if you don't do marathons or at least halfs...but I like the short ones too :)

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    1. I have done a few 10ks this year and it's been fun! But I haven't done a 5k for a while.

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  2. This sounds like a great book. I need to read it before her next one comes out! I am currently reading the November selection so I have plenty of time to get my review done. Have a great day!

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    1. Check out the October book too--I'm so looking forward to it!

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  3. I think there are a lot of us out there who run to manage stress and anxiety. It's SO GREAT to see people like Alisha getting it out there! I'm totally putting this book on my to-read list!

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    1. I like when people use their celebrity to make things like anxiety less stigmatized!

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  4. I didn't start running to relieve stress, but quickly learned that it's my favorite way to deal with stress and anxiety! Being injured has made me find other ways to handle stress, but running is definitely the best thing out there. I really want to read this book now!

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    1. I think there's a lot to relate to in Alisha's story!

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  5. I know a ton of people (myself included) can absolutely relate to using running as a stress reliever/anxiety reducer. I like the idea of the book being organized by races because that's often how I think about my running history - organized around races. Thanks for sharing this cool read with us!!!

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  6. This book sounds interesting and I am always on the lookout for new running related books. I enjoyed Becky Wade's book and you will too!

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    1. I'm really looking forward to reading it!

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  7. Great book review. It is on my list! I was lucky enough to be raised by parents that made wellness a priority. We walked, hiked, biked, swam. In HS I got into running before school and I just always thought it was fun. I honestly run because I just think it is super fun. I balance it out with swimming, cycling and weights. As I get older, I realize the pounding might not be the best thing and I am very cautious but I hope running will be with me for a long time! Thanks for the review, Wendy!

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    1. I still think running is the best thing, even as I get older. We just have to be smarter about it! :D

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  8. Thanks for the great review and interview. I got into running as stress relief too. Sounds like this book would be right up my alley.

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    1. It's nice to know that there are others out there dealing with the same issues!

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  9. Thanks for the interview. I think I need to read this one.

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  10. That is nice the hubs and team mates hand out medals :) I am sure that attracts people to come run.
    I have felt that wonderful runners high! I hope to feel one soon :) I do not experience them in summer - ever.

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    1. I've had the runner's high in summer when I've done speedwork! Something about crushing those intervals makes me feel strong.

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  11. Sounds like a great book! My anxiety levels would be sky high if I didn't have running as an outlet. I always was a runner but it wasn't until I had two kids that I HAD to run. It is a lifesaver for sure.

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