Title: Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run
Author: Alexandra Heminsley
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Finished Reading: June 19, 2014
About: “In her twenties, Alexandra Heminsley spent more time at the bar than she did in pursuit of athletic excellence. When she decided to take up running in her thirties, she had grand hopes for a blissful runner’s high and immediate physical transformation. After eating three slices of toast with honey and spending ninety minutes on iTunes creating the perfect playlist, she hit the streets – and failed miserably. The stories of her first runs turn the common notion that we are all ‘born to run’ on its head – and expose the truth about starting to run: it can be brutal.
Running Like a Girl tells the story of how Alexandra gets beyond the brutal part, makes running a part of her life, and reaps the rewards: not just the obvious things, like weight loss, health, and glowing skin, but self-confidence and immeasurable daily pleasure, along with a new closeness to her father – a marathon runner – and her brother, with whom she ultimately runs her first marathon.
But before that, she has to figure out the logistics of running: the intimidating questions from a young and arrogant sales assistant when she goes to buy her first running shoes, where to get decent bras for her larger bust, how not to freeze or get sunstroke, and what (and when) to eat before a run. She’s figured out what’s important (pockets) and what isn’t (appearance), and more.
For any woman who has ever run, wanted to run, tried to run, or failed to run (even if just around the block), Heminsley’s funny, warm, and motivational personal journey from nonathlete extraordinaire to someone who has completed five marathons is inspiring, entertaining, practical and fun.”
As mentioned in Kicking Ass and Taking Names, I am not a runner. I don’t like to run and I really only run if I’m being chased by a tiger, which doesn’t happen all that often. That being said, I signed up for two 5K runs. Pretty Muddy was in August, 2014. This is a 5K mud run with obstacles throughout the course. Foam Glow 5K was in September, 2014. This was a 5K run at night with black light and glow-in-the-dark paint. They both sounded fun and I want to start pushing myself physically. I figured I should know a thing or two about running. So, I picked up this book. It was recommended to me by my best friend, who is a vegan runner currently training for a half-marathon.
- Great non-technical running book. Being my first book dealing with the dreaded physical activity, I’m ultra-glad it wasn’t hardcore in the stats and mechanics of running.
- Anecdotal. This book is filled with pages and pages of funny anecdotes of Heminsley and her journey to be coming a multi-marathon runner. It’s light and definitely covers some of my fears of starting to run (ie. WHAT IF I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM ON MY RUN??).
- Caters to women. Being called Running Like a Girl, you’d think it’s geared toward women, and it definitely is. Dealing with issues about what sports bra to get and fears of menstration while running and being unprepared make this book an awesome girl-running-talk book.
- Great for all stages of running. Whether you’re running for the first time or have been running for years, this book tackles anecdotes, fears, and triumphs that all runners encounter.
- There’s a humanistic touch. Heminsley gives us guidelines and tips that she has discovered while on her trek. However, she also includes how long she ignored these tips, which is great! She doesn’t expect us to take everything she says to heart and knows that we will need to find out for ourselves how useful the tips really are.
- TYPO. Heminsley is a writer. She is an established article writer for BBC. So, why is there a typo on the first page – even before the first chapter? “…cripple you with panic and. overwhelm you with self consciousness.” What is that period doing just hanging out in the middle of the sentence?? Having just finished Invisible City, which was littered with typos, I was definitely worried about the integrity of the rest of the book. Luckily, there was just this one.
This book is divided into two parts. The first part is more about her personal journey to becoming a “runner”. The second part is dedicated to cheats, guidelines, and tips she found along the way that could help other runners.
My rating and why: Three stars. I enjoyed this book. It was really helpful knowing that other people weren’t born to run and that someone else has gone through the same struggles that I’m going through. While reading the book, it made me want to get up and just run, much like Forest Gump. (Run Megan Run!!) This is crazy huge coming from someone who has to force herself to get up in the morning and run, trying to think of all the reasons why she is running.
Let’s keep the conversation going! Are you a runner? Do you like to run or do some other cool activity like dance, yoga, boxing….? Are you going to add this to your “to-read” shelf? Let me know in the comments below. Like, comment, and follow.
New book review to come out Friday.
Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!