Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review: Gratitude in Motion

Disclaimer: I received a galley copy of Gratitude in Motion from Hachette Publishing in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Colleen Alexander was riding her bike to work on a beautiful fall day when she saw a truck coming at her. Meeting his eyes, she expected him to stop, but he didn't, hitting her and running her over. After the impact, he drove away, leaving her in the intersection. That she didn't die was truly a miracle. Her trauma surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital calls her a "force of nature". Colleen miraculously survived the accident, but her recovery was the ultimate marathon. To this day, she is still undergoing surgeries to repair the damage from the accident.

Gratitude in Motion is the inspirational story of Colleen's journey from her accident back to running and triathlon. Throughout her physical recovery, she also struggled with anxiety and PTSD but was able to use her mental toughness honed from years of competing to help her focus and keep moving forward. Colleen was raised in a devoutly religious family and also leaned heavily on her faith to give her strength.



While her recovery is truly a medical miracle and the result of excellent medical care, I was most impressed by Colleen's determination to compete during her recovery, all the while struggling with wounds and other physical issues that would keep most of us sidelined. Colleen completed an Olympic triathlon with her husband by her side for the swim and a half Ironman with an Achilles guide by her side the entire time. Since her accident, she has competed in 50 races and 40 triathlons, including 4 half-Ironman events.
"I particpate in races not to place, but to show the potential and strength of the human spirit." ~Colleen Kelly Alexander
Throughout her recovery, Colleen expressed gratitude to all the people who helped her, calling them her "heroes". This list is extensive and includes all the first responders and medical personnel as well as blood donors and race volunteers. She is now a spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

photo credit: Colleen Kelly Alexander
Fair warning--the story of her accident and subsequent recovery are full of graphic details! If you are at all squeamish, proceed with caution. In fact, the book is so loaded with details about Colleen's life in general that reading it can be somewhat overwhelming. In spite of that, I hope you don't skip the book. There is just so much inspiration here. If you think you are having a bad day, pick up this book and read Colleen's story. She lives the mantra "no excuses".

I'm really glad I had the opportunity to read Colleen's story and learn more about her. The story of her journey back from her accident was so inspirational to me. Colleen is a fellow INKnBURN ambassador! I'm looking forward to continuing to follow her journey.

If you want to learn more about Colleen, you can visit her website or her Facebook page.

Did you read Colleen's story and if so, what do you think? Even on my worst day, I can't imagine the pain Colleen has to push through to cross those finish lines. Do you find inspiration in other people's stories?

Thanks again to everyone for participating in the book club! While I no longer host a linkup, if you have a review of this book you'd like me to share, please send me your link and I'll add it to my post. In return, I ask that you link back to my post. Let's grow our community of running readers! Or is it reading runners?


For next month's book club, I've got something different planned! I have a stack of books on my nightstand and since so many of us are preparing for spring races, why not have a month of training books? In honor of the Friday Five, I've got 5 training books that I'll share my brief reviews. If you have read any of them and/or reviewed them, let me know. If there's enough interest, I'll open a linkup for this post.
Meb For MortalsAfter meeting Meb in 2016, I was enraptured with this kind, gentle champion. This book is full of tips that every day mere mortals can incorporate into their training regimens.

To Be A Runner : I read this wonderful book years ago and have wanted to share it on the book club for some time now.  A lifelong runner, the author shares his wisdom and insight about running and life. 

To The Finish LineWritten for triathletes, Chrissie Wellington's advice works for runners too. After all, she knows a little bit about the sport...

The 30-Minute RunnerAnyone who says they don't have time to run should read this book. No excuses! The author is a former Army Master Fitness Trainer.

Run Fast Eat SlowShalane Flanagan's cookbook, written in collaboration with her college roommate. If these recipes make Shalane run fast, think what they'll do for you!


I'm linking this post with the Friday Five aka Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy!


36 comments :

  1. I am super squeamish, but this gals's story sounds most intriguing. Although my recovery story is a drop in the bucket in comparison, I can relate to her relying on friends, family, and faith....well, and a little bit of grit & determination as well. It truly is in our darkest hour(s) when we can find our own strength. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Not one of my bad days can even touch what Colleen has been through. There's always someone who has it worse.

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  2. I am a little squeamish myself, but wow she sounds like one incredible force of nature indeed! I do love a great comeback story. Impressive you have so much time to read. I have a few books stacked up as well but I am too tired at night to read them! I've been wanting to read Chrissy Wellington's book as well.

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    1. I just love to read--I don't watch much TV, so that's probably where I find the time.

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  3. I am VERY squeamish! I have to close my eyes during gory movies and the sight of blood makes me feel light headed. But this sounds like a great read.

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    1. It's just amazing to me that she survived at all, much less is running and competing in triathlons!

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  4. Wow! What an amazing story. I can't believe she survived that. Sometimes I"m more squeamish than others... just depends on what else is going on in my life.
    Sounds like a great read.
    Have a beautiful weekend!

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    1. Isn't that the truth? I'm not very squeamish but sometimes gore bothers me more than you'd expect.

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  5. I’m not squeamish at all and this book sounds so inspirational. Definitely putting it on my list. Is it wrong of me to wonder (and hope) if that truck driver got what was coming to him?

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    1. You'll have to read it and find out!

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    2. Debbie, that was my exact question (and hope)! I will have to read it to find out!

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  6. Oh wow, this really does sound like an inspirational story! I hadn't heard of this book before.

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    1. It just came out in January--but I've seen a lot of buzz about it and her story.

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  7. Holy shit. Her body is mangled! I had no idea she was an INK ambassador. Although I wouldn't know that because I'm in the alumni group now. Lol! She seems like a badass. Good on her for pushing through when life got insane.

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  8. Wow! That sounds like an amazing story! I also posted a book review today but not really of a running book. Grit.

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    1. What's your blog? I thought I had a link to it but I don't.

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  9. I thinking reading Colleen's story would be sad, but I'm sure it would be inspirational as well. I have not read any of those books that you plan to review. I'll be sure to read your recaps.

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    1. I didn't find it sad at all--the tone is really positive, even at the darkest moments.

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  10. That sounds like such a good read! I'm definitely adding it to my list! I've never even heard of it before!

    Have a great weekend Wendy!!

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  11. Sounds like a very inspiriting story! I'll need to add this one to my list of books to read too!

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  12. Wow! This sounds like such an inspiring story. I would love to read all about her story!

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  13. Such an amazing story. I am totally inspired by comebacks like this. I have not yet read the book, but it definitely sounds like something I would love. I'm not particularly squeamish, but this sounds pretty personal and emotional. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's a pretty incredible story! She truly is a force of nature.

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  14. I had never heard of her -- but that's so completely amazing. It's just amazing (that word again) what the human spirit can overcome. And I love her quote!

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  15. I’m always amazed by the ability that many people have to push through traumatic events and make their comebacks. Stories like hers are what have inspired me to push through when I’m faced my own setbacks, because if they were able to overcome much worse circumstances than my own, then I certainly can too.

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    1. Exactly! There's always someone who has it worse off, right?

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  16. Oh my goodness, just reading your post wrenched my heart! I'll have to add this book to my reading list! On another note, I hope authorities were able to track down the monster who ran her over.

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    1. They did catch him. Still heartbreaking, no matter what.

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  17. I def need to add this book to my reading list! It sounds like the kind of story that would grip my heart and inspire me to keep digging in and never give up!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I LOVE the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook! I know I will never be as fast as Shalane, but I do enjoy her recipes!

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    1. I loved RFES! The pictures and the personal touch of Shalane was great.

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