Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Taking Charge and Finding My Strong

This week, I decided that I was done fighting with my body. While running isn't my friend these days, there are lots of other things that I'm doing well and I decided to focus on that. I did run a bit, slowly, and my body seemed grateful that the pressure was off. Who knew that it was listening to me?

A few years ago, one of the fitness companies had a campaign that said: "Find Your Strong". That was my mantra for the week. By shifting my focus from the road, I found my strong in other places.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Olympic Inspired: 8 Ways To Channel Some of the Glory Into Your Runs

The 2018 Winter Olympics might be over but once again I am filled with inspiration from everything I watched. These amateur athletes brought their best and left it all out there--on the slopes, in the half-pipe, on the name it. Watching them perform made me want to push myself harder on my runs.

Do you find inspiration from watching athletes push themselves at their sport, even if it isn't running? I found lots of inspiration these past 2 weeks. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion by Catriona Menzes-Pike

Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion by Catriona Menzes-Pike from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the links and purchase the books, I'll make a little cash for books for future blog posts.

Although I didn't plan it this way, it's kind of ironic that I chose Catriona Menzes-Pike's memoir, The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion to follow last month's selection Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports by Kathrine Switzer. Menzes-Pike takes us through her journey of grief but intersperses her story with women's running history. There is mention of Switzer in the book (how could there not be?) along with other noted women runners, and I couldn't help but compare the 2 books. While Switzer's story was also very personal and historic, she wasn't running from something as much as towards something, which was a finish line. Menzes-Pike's journey arose out of grief and life challenges that she needed to run from.

How many of us have started running for that very same reason?

Friday, June 9, 2017

6 Effing Reasons You Should Run

Disclosure statement: this post was brought to you by the letter F. Rated G for Global Running Day.

In case you missed it, Wednesday was Global Running Day. Did you get your run in?

It seems as though there's a day for everything, isn't there? How did this even come about? For example, today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Day. I don't really care for rhubarb, but I can guarantee that my husband and his father would be all over this holiday. If only they knew that it existed!

Some might call it frivolous, but in this case, I'm glad there's a day to celebrate my favorite activity. Even though Global Running Day falls on a day that I don't normally run, I chose to commemorate this special day with a virtual 5k. My incentive? A free medal I received from I Love to Run that asks the question: Why do you run?

I might take that question a little bit further and ask: "why should you run?"

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: First Ladies of Running by Amby Burfoot

Looking for inspiration? Then you need to read this month's Taking the Long Way Home Book Club's selection for June: First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever by Amby Burfoot. Burfoot, an accomplished runner in his own right and long time Runner's World writer, profiles 22 women who changed the history of women's long distance running.

You've come a long way baby...

I was so excited to read this book. After all, I was raised in the era when Title IX came to fruition. In 1972, an educational amendment was passed which declared:
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
Not only education, this amendment extended to sports. Prior to the passage of Title IX, women were not allowed to participate in many sports. Reading this book took me back to those days when the women were discouraged from many sports because they were felt to be too "fragile" to participate. Reading this book brought me back to my own childhood in the early 1970s when the only "sports" I was encouraged to try out for were cheerleading or tennis. How far we've come since then!

The women featured in this book were the pioneers of women's road running. It's hard to believe that it wasn't that long ago that women were banned from running long distance road races. Imagine lining up to run a race and being physically removed from the course or having the finish line blocked by men who refuse to let you run!

Familiar to most runners is the story of Kathrine Switzer and the Boston Marathon. This is one of the 22 stories included in the book. The picture of Kathrine being stopped by race officials is the stuff of legend. But contrary to popular belief, she wasn't the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. The first woman to run Boston was Roberta Gibb.

When Bobbi Gibb applied to run Boston, she didn't know that women weren't allowed to run the race. She applied to run and was denied. The denial letter stated that it was "against the rules" for women to run farther than 1.5 miles. She was told that the marathon distance was "too long" for women. The race officials probably thought her uterus would fall out or something. No matter. Bobbi lined up to run, unofficially, and ran a 3:21:40 marathon, which was promptly denounced by officials. Her finish has since been made "official".

Besides the well-known legends of Switzer and Gibb, Burfoot shares plenty of other inspiring but lesser known stories about the women who paved the path for those of us who run today. My personal favorite was the story of Miki Gorman, who didn't start running until she was 33 years old and set a marathon world record in 1973! She also won the Boston and New York City Marathons in 1977 and won a marathon in her 40s, at the time the oldest woman to do so.

Burfoot does a great job with spotlighting the women who changed women's running. You'll recognize many of the names--Joan Benoit Samuelson, Mary Decker-- but there are several that weren't familiar to me. This book is really a trip through the history of women's long distance running. The only woman he includes that seemed an odd choice to me was Oprah Winfrey. Yes, Oprah's Marine Corps Marathon finish proved to everyone that any woman was capable of running a marathon. Of course, there were the naysayers who had to remind everyone that Oprah's personal trainer ran the race with her. The truth is that Oprah inspired a lot of women to take up running. And yes, a lot of us use Oprah's finish time of 4:29:20 as a time to beat in our own marathons.

True story.
But to include her in this book? I don't know if she deserves to be profiled along with these running legends. I wonder what they would think about this.

Still, that's a minor quibble about what was an excellent read. Since each chapter profiles just one of the 22 women, this book can be read in short bursts. The profiles are well written and I was just fascinated by the stories of all these running pioneers. After finishing this book, I felt a sense of gratitude to the women who went the distance even when they were told they couldn't. As Burfoot says, now, in 2016 over 50% of runners are women, and 40% of marathoners are women.
"So I learned an important lesson: Running isn't just about running. It's about the sense of empowerment you get from going the distance. That empowerment can help you succeed in so many other activities." -Kathrine Switzer
We've come a long way, baby!

If you want to read more about the First Ladies of Running, there's a Facebook Page linked to the book.

Traveling Cari wrote a nice review as well.

Did you read the book? What did you think? Who was your favorite runner profiled? Did you agree with me that Oprah was an odd choice to be included in this book?

Here's the link up badge! You can find the linkup at the end of this post. The linkup stays live for 2 weeks. 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. Let's grow this thing!

Next month we are reading Mark Remy's Runners of North America: A Definitive Guide to the Species.  In this book, Remy presents 23 species of runners and gives us the tools to observe and communicate with them. Best known for his Runner's World column "Remy's World" as well as his Dumb Runner blog, Remy takes an irreverent look at running. It's marathon training season and I thought it would be fun to have a humorous book to read. The reviews have been really good! I hope you join us for this one! The review and linkup will go live on July 15.

An InLinkz Link-up

This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review: Find A Way by Diana Nyad

While not a running book, Diana Nyad's memoir of her attempts to swim from Cuba to Key West is full of inspiration for any endurance athlete. You know how this one ends. But that's ok, because in Nyad's words, it's about the journey, not the destination. Sound familiar? We runners say that all the time! What an epic choice for this month's Taking the Long Way Home Book Club!

"This is a swimmer's Mount Everest, the great epic ocean endeavor of our blue planet."
I'm a runner, not a swimmer. Never have been, never will be. My idea of swimming is paddling around the pool on a raft or jumping from the boat to the waterski. But for Diana Nyad, swimming was her outlet. In Find A Way, Nyad shares her journey from the pools where she trained as a young girl as well as her traumatic childhood. Reading about the sexual abuse from her father and her coach was difficult. I wondered how she could overcome such horrible experiences and become so mentally tough.

Resilient. Driven. Focused. Determined. These are the words that came to my mind while I read this book.

Throughout the book, she describes her training in great detail. There were 16 hour swims. Night swims. Throughout her multiple attempts to meet her goals, some harrowing encounters with poisonous box jellyfish. In fact, the limiting factor to her achieving her goals were those box jellyfish. She invited an expert to join her team to help find a way to swim through those hazards.

I was impressed with the large number of people Diana had devoted to her dream. Besides the jellyfish expert, there were shark divers, medical experts, handlers, kayakers, navigators, so-called independent observers to verify the swim as authentic, meteorologists, support crew...the list goes on. The Xtreme Dream Team, as she called them, were pretty much intact for all 4 attempts.

What I loved about this book was the dedication and drive Diana demonstrated throughout her quest. Even after the failed attempts, she never lost sight of the ultimate goal, the Key West beach. Even when people suggested she try swimming a different route, to a different destination, she knew that she wouldn't be satisfied with that.
"The human will is far and away stronger than fear and common sense combined."
"Our greatest weakness is giving up. The most certain way to success is to try one more time."
Of course, I also loved that she refused to be limited by her age.  Diana was 62 when she reached her goal. Her training was intense. I was exhausted just reading about some of the swims. The fact that she was able to do this training 3 years in a row and attempt this swim multiple times tells the reader a lot about her spirit but also that an athlete should never be discounted because of age. Certainly, endurance sports are ideal for the aging athlete. Don't tell Diana Nyad she's too old to chase her dream!
"At sixty, in every way, including as an athlete, I am at the prime of my life."
"Don't put your assumptions of what one is supposed to feel at my age on me. I defy those suppositions of limitations. If you feel aches and pains, say so. But I don't, and I refuse to follow you or anybody else's conrolling and denigrating parameters of mediocrity."
Amen, sister!

If I have any complaint about this book at all, it was at bit tedious at times to read about Nyad's training. She describes her training swims in great detail, and sometimes I had to put the book down to absorb everything she was sharing. In her epilogue, she shares that 80% of the story is not in the book. I can't imagine the book being any more detailed than it already was. I think her editor did a nice job paring the book down to make it very readable.

For me, this book was very inspirational. Throughout the book, I kept reflecting on her drive and determination to reach the other shore. There were so many great quotes I pulled from the narrative.
"Whatever your Other Shore is, whatever you must do, whatever inspires you, you will find a way to get there."
At the end, as she's pondering her accomplishment, she comments on how the actual beach landing and achievement was kind of fuzzy to her. As she says, "in the end, it was the journey that inspired."
"So for that journey-versus-destination debate, to my mind it's all about the journey. Yes, I remember the end and the feeling of the walk up the beach still sparks euphoria. But the journey lives somewhere deeper than memory."
Isn't that the truth? Even though I've never accomplished anything nearly as grand as swimming across the Florida Straits, my dream was to run a marathon. I say it readily to people, there is no greater feeling than crossing that finish line after all that grueling training. But we learn so much about ourselves in the process of preparing for an endurance event. Finishing an endurance event is somewhat bittersweet. Sometimes it's hard for us to not sign up for another event.
"I share that same thirst to live that drama again. I do." 
What inspired you most from her story? Do you have any life dreams you want to accomplish?

Here's the link up badge! You can find the link up at the end of the post. The link up stays live for 2 weeks--it will close April 1, but the comments stay live forever! Don't forget to link back to this post, and please read and comment on the other reviews. If you want to review a different fitness-related book, please feel free to link up with us as well! Remember, sharing is caring! I'm so grateful to all of you who participate in the book club!

Next month we are reading How Bad Do You Want it: Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald. I've heard great things about this one, and with everyone training for halfs and fulls and triathlons and oh my! the timing is right! Link up will go live Friday, April 15! And remember, you can read any fitness related book and link up your review.

affiliate link