async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: book review
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Book Review: Above the Clouds: How I Carved My Own Path to the Top of the World by Kilian Jornet

 Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Above the Clouds by Kilian Jornet from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

"I accept that, inwardly, running is everything."~Kilian Jornet, Above the Clouds

I've been intrigued by Kilian Jornet for a while. I've heard that he's arrogant, but man, is he an incredible athlete. Last spring, while running a 10 miler on my treadmill, I watched a video of the 2010 Western States 100 miler in which he competed against Anton Krupicka and Geoff Roes, among other famed ultrarunners. In contrast to the casual, rugged appearance of these guys, Jornet looked like a sprite in his white running kit. I marveled at his fleet footedness, but even more so at the audacity of wearing white to a trail race. Jornet didn't win that year, but he went back and came in first in 2011. The video and my thoughts kept me occupied for that treadmill run. I wanted to learn more about this guy. 

Jornet grew up in the Pyrenees mountains of Spain and attended a mountain skiing school. He took up running in the summer to stay in shape for 'skimo'. His training and discipline made him uniquely prepared for ultramarathoning. He dominates in moutain running and has crested Mt Everest twice. There are the doubters, but after reading this book, there's no doubt in my mind that Jornet is one of the best athletes of our time. This guy knows how to cross train!

 In Above the Clouds, Jornet shares his story. 


Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review: The Athlete's Gut: The Inside Science of Digestion, Nutrition, and Stomach Distress

Disclaimer: This post contains an affilate link.

Long time readers of this blog know that I've struggled with GI issues on the run more than any other running issue. So you can only imagine my excitement when I saw the new release The Athlete's Gut by Patrick Wilson, PhD, RD. A whole book dedicated to GI issues on the run? Has Wilson been reading my blog? Or is it really a thing? I clicked over to Amazon quicker than it takes me to find a porta-potty and bought the e-book.

Who knew that there was so much information about tummy troubles? I poured over the information he presented. Let's just say that this science nerd wasn't disappointed. But did I find any answers?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Book Review: The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of the Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating from NetGalley and Health Communications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

What runner amongst us hasn't struggled with fueling and nutrition? Carb loading? Protein? Keto? Supplements? There is so much misinformation out there. I was familiar with Dr Maharam's previous book, The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Runninga comprehensive book on running and injuries that I read and enjoyed. I was excited to read his new book on nutrition. I was confident that I'd find expert advice in the Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating.

As a well-known and respected sports medicine expert, Dr Maharam served as the chairman of the International Marathon Medical Directors Association and the medical director of the New York Road Runners Club and the New York City Marathon, among other well known races. Sadly, he passed away suddenly in January after completing his book.

His co-author, Mark Fuerst, is a well-known health and medical writer.



Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Book Review: Run to the Finish: The Everyday Runner's Guide to Avoiding Injury, Ignoring the Clock, and Loving the Run

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Run to the Finish from NetGalley and Hatchette Books in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links. 

Before I ever started blogging, I read running blogs. At the time, I was starting to run half marathons and while searching Google for advice, I stumbled upon a few running blogs written by women who were moms and/or 'regular' runners. Totally relateable, I ate up everything I read. I probably learned more about running from those blogs than from any technical books I had been reading. I enjoyed the camaraderie that developed with the authors when I left comments on their posts. Through this community, I developed a confidence in my running as well as developed an identity as a 'real runner'.

One of the first running blogs I ever read was Amanda Brooks' Run To The Finish. Along with some of the other runblogging pioneers like Miss Zippy, Marcia's Healthy Slice, Shut Up and Run, and the ladies at Another Mother RunnerRun to the Finish has been on my to-read list since then. Althought we've never met in person, over the years, Amanda and I have become blogging friends simply through commenting on each other's blogs. It's been a lot of fun and exciting to watch her opportunities grow through her blog. This month, Amanda released her first book, aptly titled: Run to The Finish.

Run to the Finish, in Amanda's words, is not a book "for the elite runners. It's a book for me and you and the 98 percent of us in the middle of the pack to know that its just fine to be the best runner you can be while juggling work, family, friends, and still enjoying that delicious slice of pizza every Friday night."



Friday, February 21, 2020

Book Review: The Vail Method

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Vail Method from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

As an aging runner who would love to continue to stay active, I was intrigued by The Vail Method. I'm not a fan of fad diets or methods that promise to make me feel 20 years younger. So when I was asked if I wanted to read and review The Vail Method, I was reluctant. This is a running blog! Did I really want to go down this path and review this kind of book? But after reading a little bit more about Dr Ehrlich and his book, I realized that I was actually the target reader for his approach.

In his ophthamology practice, Dr Matthew Ehrlich observed many older patients who were struggling with health issues. Experiencing some age-related health changes himself prompted him to help middle aged and older adults stay active and healthy. His passion for fitness and healthy eating led him to complete a fellowship in antiaging medicine. Using evidence-based medicine, Ehrlich developed his plan, a holistic and practical approach to getting and maintaining fitness, increasing energy, and peace of mind.

Sounds good? Let's dig in.



Friday, January 24, 2020

Book Review: Spirit Run: A 6,000 Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Spirit Run from NetGalley and Catapult in exchange for my honest review. Spirit Run is scheduled to be released on March 3, 2020. This post contains affiliate links.

NoƩ Alvarez was a nineteen year old college student, a son of Mexican immigrants, who, after spending a summer working alongside his mother at an apple packing plant, wanted to do more with his life. He was saddened by his mother's and other workers' acceptance of their lives. Struggling to fit in at college, Alvarez gave up his scholarship and decided to join a Native Americans/First Nation Movement called Peace and Dignity Journeys. PDJs are marathons that are meant to create awareness amongst Indigenous people of the Americas. Spirit Run is Alvarez's story of his four month journey with PDJ.



Friday, November 22, 2019

Book Review: Older, Faster, Stronger by Margaret Webb

Disclaimer: I originally reviewed Older, Faster, Stronger by Margaret Webb in 2014. This is an update of my original post. It's such a great book that I wanted to revisit it. This post contains affiliate links.

I hope you don't think I'm being pompous by saying that I could have written this book. At age 51, after being plagued with running injuries, I decided to work with a CrossFit coach to get stronger so that I could keep running the rest of my life. She worked my muscles, while I was in charge of my running. That year was incredible for me. I ran my second Chicago Marathon, finishing with a 1 hour, 10 minute PR. That was the year that I finally felt comfortable with the fact that I'm in my 50s. I was in the best shape of my life and that reshaped my attitude about growing older.

Five years later, I still find this book as relevant as before. Those of you who regularly follow me, either here on the blog or on Instagram know that I've continued running, although my marathon days are behind me. I've increased my strength training to twice weekly and have continued to get stronger. While I don't buy into the "age is just a number" nonsense, I do believe that growing older doesn't have to mean giving up active pursuits! We just have to be smarter about it.


At the time Older, Faster, Stronger was released, I was drawn to the book--because Webb's goal, at age 51, was to have her "fittest year". A lifelong runner, she wanted to shake off her midlife malaise and regain the level of fitness she enjoyed in her 20s as a collegiate runner. Her race goal? To place in the top 10 for the half marathon at the World Masters Games. Along the way, she consulted with experts and legends in women's running, using this information to crush much of the so-called wisdom about aging athletes.
"The difference between the front and the back of the pack tends to widen in older age groups, and often the vastly superior winners of older age-groups ran fast enough to be competitive in age groups younger than their own--clearly able to maintain their incredible speed through training, talent, or some other means of resistance to aging."
This is something I've noticed at races as I've moved through my 50s. The women at the top of the leaderboard are still amazingly fast. When I first saw this, I was shocked at the speedy finish times of some of the women in my age group. I can't help but wonder why? Is it genetics? Training? Diet? Webb tries to sort some of this out. She talks about the importance of sleep and diet in older athletes. While younger athletes can skip a night of sleep and still run well, can feast on junk food and not have it affect performance, the same does not hold true for the older athlete. I also liked her information on carb loading, which essentially is bad advice for older female endurance athletes. Apparently, we don't burn fuel like men do. Interesting! Webb also stresses the importance of cross-training, including yoga, which is so good for runners.

The iron nun, Sister Madonna Buder, at age 83, one of the women featured in the book. She has completed 300 triathlons and 45 Ironmans since taking up running at age 48! She qualified for Boston with her first marathon at age 52. 
There's a lot of detail in the book, and keep in mind that this book is really for running junkies and women looking to maintain or maximize their fitness as the years march on.
"A lot of research now shows that training--aerobic, anaerobic, and strength--has effects on the human body at any age. At any age, you can improve the human body. Exercise can literally keep you young. "
Now, this is good news!! These studies also show that all this exercise causes the release of growth hormone and that may very well be the fountain of youth. Interestingly, human growth hormone (HGH) has been used by endurance athletes to improve performance but is a banned substance. The research to support HGH in endurance sports is limited. That doesn't stop athletes from trying it.

In Older, Faster, Stronger, Webb outlines her race strategy in great detail, including the use of mantras or power words, in her case, one word for each loop of her race:
"fun, stronger, faster, and fearless" 
While I won't share the outcome of her race in this review, I can attest to the power of positive thinking and the use of mantras during a race. I often use mantras during a tough race. Mostly I remind myself to "run your own race" and not get caught up in what is going on around me. Listening to music, especially in long races, can help me shut out the world and get in my head to keep myself focused.

Webb also stresses the importance of bonding with other racers, particularly pre-race:
"For women, this prerace hug fest may be a potent secret weapon, as social bonding can release the hormone oxytocin, which has been credited with reducing fear, anxiety, and even inflammation" 
I completely agree with this, in fact, I just published a post on how to meet running friends. As I've grown older, it's become more important for me to have a sisterhood who 'gets' what I'm going through. Having those friends with me at the start line really helps me stay calm and makes the experience much more fun!

Webb encourages us to be proud of our efforts, whether we reach our goals or not:
"But an important lesson I have learned from my running career: While we can't control the outcome of a race, we can control the effort we put into it, and its important to celebrate that effort, and to celebrate ourselves."
I really enjoyed Older, Faster, Stronger. There are so few books that address the concerns of women who want to keep running as they age. If you are looking for a weight loss book or a guide for beginning runners, this is not that book. Older, Faster, Stronger is written for women endurance athletes who are looking for encouragement and guidance about running the rest of their lives. Webb nailed it, in my opinion. The book is well written and easy to read. Really, for me, I felt like I was talking to a friend about running.

I want to be fitter, faster, and stronger! Older? Not so much. Doing it my way!  /via @oldrunningmom @MargaretWebb @RodaleBooks #running #runchat 

Are you an 'older' athlete? If so, what are you doing to 'stay young'? Do you have any goals that you want to achieve? Do you use mantras at races? 

I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas

Disclaimer: I received a pre-release copy of The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas from Net Galley and PenguinRandomHouse Books in exchange for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard about CBD (cannabidiol). If you believe what everyone is saying, CBD seems to be that "miracle" substance that can cure everything. I've had more people suggest I use CBD for my rheumatoid arthritis than I can count. The last time I went for a massage, my massage therapist opened a jar of CBD capsules, shook out a few, and offered them to me. "It will enhance the experience", she said. (I took a pass.) The local video store--believe it or not, there is still one just down the street--advertises CBD oil on its sign. A neighbor swears by the CBD oil he buys at the local gas station.

Can so many people be wrong? Is CBD the real deal? Or is it the modern version of snake oil? Is CBD something runners could benefit from?

I've been using a topical CBD product on my joints when they are inflammed and yes, I'm finding CBD to be an effective adjunct to my medications. I've also noticed that I have been sleeping better when I use it.

Is it the real deal? A magic bullet? Or is CBD just another supplement that is really a placebo?



Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Joy of Running

I received The Joy of Running from Penguin RandomHouse in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Seriously, how do you find joy while running in this hot, sticky blast furnace of a summer?

You find a way to make it work. You talk yourself through the tough spots using positivity instead of complaining about how much it sucks. It does suck. We all know running in the heat and humidity sucks. Telling yourself it sucks isn't going to make it feel better. You're out there, you're moving, you're sweating, you're doing it.

Maybe you slow down so you can get there. Maybe you change your goals. Maybe, like me, you drop your distance. While I'd love nothing more than to get some long runs done to prepare for my fall half, my body doesn't want to do that in this heat. I'm making peace with the fact that I can't always get what I want out of this body. I do what I can with what the day gives me.

The win isn't in the finish time, the win is the finish. That is what brings me joy. Never give up.

Wednesday's hot 5

Friday, April 19, 2019

Book Review: Outrunning the Demons by Phil Hewitt

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Outrunning the Demons by Phil Hewitt from NetGalley and Bloomsbury in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

***
"And then I did what I have always done. I ran." ~Phil Hewitt
After a brutal attack where he was left for dead, accomplished marathoner Phil Hewitt found a new meaning of the importance of running as he sought to get himself back on track. In his new book, Outrunning the Demons, Hewitt shares his story as well as the stories of 30 other runners who have used running to overcome PTSD, addiction, anxiety, and depression. If you are looking for inspiration, this book will provide plenty.



Friday, September 21, 2018

Book Review: Endure by Alex Hutchinson

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

As a long distance runner, I've always been fascinated by the subject of endurance. Especially because running long distances has never come easily to me. While I was able to train for and run several marathons, I never understood the science behind the training. Why is the long run 20 miles? Why do some runners do more than one long run? Is carb loading really necessary?

I trained for my PR marathon using an unconventional combination of running and interval training in the CrossFit box. My coach pushed me hard, hoping to get in my head--in a good way. It worked. When naysayers dissed me, I always commented that "endurance is endurance".

As it turns out, I was right. There's also a mind/body connection. Endurance isn't as simple as it might seem.

I've been a long time fan of Alex Hutchinson, who has been writing his Sweat Science column first for Runner's World and now at Outside Magazine. Being a skeptic of bad science, I have always appreciated his very thorough analysis of the research on all things running. When I saw that he was releasing a book on endurance, I was really looking forward to reading it. I knew that Endure would be thoroughly researched and after reading it, I am not disappointed.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Running is My Therapy

I received a copy of Running is My Therapy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

It's no secret to regular readers of my blog that one of the reasons I run is to control my ever-present anxiety and mild depression. It's not easy being type A++ and after self-medicating through my 20s with alcohol, I knew I had to find a better way to cope. You've probably heard this same story from many other runners, but I kind of fell into running. I was working out at a gym that had an indoor track, and I started running on it. I didn't seek out running as a way to manage my stress but as it turns out, running was the best therapy I could have found. Not only did running provide me with an outlet to release all that negative energy, but through running, I developed self-confidence and self-efficacy. Life doesn't get easier and running is the tool I need to navigate all the ups and downs.



Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Review: Run Forever by Amby Burfoot

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Run Forever from Corner Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Somewhat overshadowed by the amazing performance of the women's' runners at this year's Boston Marathon was legendary runner Amby Burfoot's 50th anniversary of his 1968 Boston win. He finished in 4:53:22, a time that was about twice as slow as his winning time of 2:22:17. Considering that he is now 70 years old, that finish time would be remarkable under any circumstances! But when you think about how many DNFs there were at this year's race and the horrible conditions the runners had to endure, his finish is all the more remarkable. Amby recaps the race on his blog.

I'm pretty sure that Amby's years of experience and knowledge of running came in handy that day. In his new book, Run Forever, Amby shares his running wisdom with us! After 55 years and 100,000 miles of running, he wanted to help motivate runners who want to stay fit and active for life. For this review, Amby shares some of his thoughts about running and why he wrote the book.



Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Life's Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

A lot of you will look at the title of this month's Taking the Long Way Home book club selection and immediately decide that this book isn't for you. Heck, you might not even read my review. That's unfortunate because if you don't, you are missing out on an amazing story. While I understand that the use of the f-word is offensive to many people, I beg of you to overlook it and read what is truly one of the best books I've read this year.

Susan Lacke was a divorced self-proclaimed trainwreck, an overweight pack-a-day smoker with a penchant for bad relationships and boxed wines. A college professor, she took a job in Arizona, working for a professor who was an intimidating, imposing, accomplished athlete. They strike up an unlikely friendship, he drags her to the pool, she starts swimming, and yadda yadda yadda, the next thing you know, she's signed up for an Ironman triathlon.

And so it goes.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: A Beautiful Work in Progress

This post contains affiliate links.

In her book, A Beautiful Work in Progress, Mirna Valerio aka "Fat Girl Running" shares why she started running:
"I had a health wake-up call that brought attention to the fact that I was stymied physically and mentally, and I was on my way to an early death. I began to progress again, as I reacquainted myself with the forward movement that is running. In addition, my health returned, and my smile became genuine again."
Valerio, aka The Mirnavator, initially started blogging to share her experiences as a "fat girl who ran". She didn't think she was unique in her journey and she didn't want it to become a weight loss blog or a pity party. What she learned was that as an overweight, African-American runner, she was crushing all kinds of stereotypes and beliefs about overweight people. She also learned that she has a body that is amazing, strong, flexible, and agile. A body that can run all types of distances. Mirna's memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress is a celebration of her journey towards body acceptance and self-love.

You don't have to struggle with weight to relate to Mirna's journey.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: Mindful Running

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Mindful Running in exchange for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

What do you do when you're having a bad day? You just go for a run, right?

Life can be full--good or bad, and at times, chaotic, and overwhelming. For those of us who run, lacing up our shoes and heading out the door is an escape from the buzz of every day. Many runners often refer to running as a moving meditation. We look at our time on the road as a time to work out problems in our minds. Some of us push ourselves hard to sweat out all the negativity of the day. Sometimes we push so hard that we lose that ability to unwind and enjoy our runs.

In her new book, Mindful Running, author Mackenzie L Havey set out to explore this concept of running being "spiritual" or "meditative". Before you click away, hear me out. Havey isn't talking about any new-agey type chanting or meditating. When she talks about mindful running, she means tuning into your body and paying attention to how you are feeling and what's happening around you. By definition, mindfulness means staying present in the moment.

Havey knows what she's talking about. She's a veteran of 14 marathons and an Ironman and is a USATF certified coach. She's also a sports psychologist. 

In MIndful Running, Havey asks the questions: does running mindfully positively affects running performance?  And why can't we just tune out and let our minds wander? She explores these concepts as well as discusses how to run mindfully.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Marathon Woman from DaCapo Press in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I am really embarrassed to admit this but prior to reading Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports, I only knew of Kathrine Switzer because of the Boston Marathon incident from 1967. You know the one, where she was yanked off the course by the race director? You've seen the picture a million times.

What I didn't know was that this one event, in which a young woman wanted to run a marathon, set into motion a movement that would change women's sports forever. What I didn't know was that Kathrine Switzer had a huge role to play in this movement. And what I didn't know was that Kathrine Switzer was an amazing runner in her own right.

Overshadowed by that one fateful event are all of Switzer's accomplishments. If you are a woman and you've run a race farther than 1 1/2 miles, it is because of Switzer. Yes, there have been other women's sports pioneers but Switzer's run at Boston was the pivotal event that made it possible for all of us to do what we love to do...run. And let me tell you, after reading her story, yep, I'm going to say it: "we've come a long way, baby!"



Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review: The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes

Looking for inspiration? How about reading the story of an epic footrace retracing the steps of Pheidippides from Athens to Marathon? Did you know the entire journey was 153 miles, not the 26.2 miles we associate with the distance commonly run today? In his memoir, The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World's Greatest Footrace, ultramarathoning legend Dean Karnazes recounts his attempt to retrace the steps of this hemerodromos (the term for those ultramarathoning messengers of yore). While doing so, he also explored his Greek roots and his life path from surfer to runner. There's a lot of good stuff here.

book cover photo courtesy of Dean Karnazes

Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Review: Your Pace or Mine? by Lisa Jackson

This month's book club selection, Your Pace or Mine?: What Running Taught Me About Life, Laughter and Coming Last by Lisa Jackson, could not have come at a better time. Feeling a little down on running lately and stuck in the winter doldrums, I needed a pick me up, and reading this book was like having my BRF giving me a pep talk.

Lisa Jackson shares her personal stories and experiences as a self-proclaimed "least likely runner you'll ever meet". At the end of each chapter, she also shares the stories of other regular runners--people like us--whom she all says are "equally amazing".

Because, as she says, "running isn't about the time you do, but the time you have while doing it".



Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life by Frank Shorter

Frank Shorter, the self-proclaimed "father of the modern distance running movement", achieved greatness in long distance running. In his book, My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life, Shorter shares his running stories and the motivation behind his victories.