Thursday, 15 May 2014

Running Like a Girl Review and Update

I finally finished Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley. It took me a while to actually start reading it, but once I started it didn't take me long at all to finish it. Full disclosure: am writing this over a week after I finished the book. Bad Megan.

I received Running Like a Girl from Simon and Schuster, in exchange for participating in the Running Like a Girl Challenge. For a brief description check out my blog post. I'm going to start by giving you my thoughts on the book and then tell you how the challenge is going.

I actually really enjoyed this book. The first part (which is about 3/4 of the book) is about Alexandra's running journey. It was interesting to read about her trials and errors and her triumphs and barriers. Something always seemed to happen right before a marathon, she discovered she had a misaligned pelvis (a result of being hit by a car 4 years previous) and missed a month of training before her first marathon, and then she got tonsillitis before another one, while reading part of me felt like "really? So many things keep happening to her, is this actually real?" but obviously people get injured and sick and it just so happened that for her it was just before her runs.

She also went through quite a few ups and downs in regards to loving running. She hated it to start with (I mean really, who loves running their first time out?) and then after she ran the London Marathon (her first) she loved it and was so proud of what she had accomplished, and then that excitement wore off and she didn't want to run anymore and let herself go (so to speak) and then a friend asked her to do the London Marathon again 3 years after her first and she started to run again and love it again. Then again, after the race she felt like "what's the point?" she'd run a marathon (twice!) why did she need to keep running? She had proved she could do it. And up and down and up and down for quite a bit of the book.

The book is funny, she's very frank, she talks about in the middle of the run realizing she has to go to the bathroom and there is no way she's going to make it home and "oh my god what do I do?" and she talks about looking for the right shoes (and encounters some very rude store clerks) and the right bra.

She does have a very valid point, boobs are awful for running. Mine aren't as big as hers (as she says "a cartoonish size 30FF" pg 39) but they bounce quite a bit and make for an uncomfortable experience. She mentions the Shock Absorber bra, and how it completely changed her life, and when her first one bit the dust, after she reckons 250 miles or so, she took it apart to see how it was made. It was comprised of 72 different parts!
What I like about this book is that she's basically telling you things you should and should not do when running, but it doesn't feel that way. It feels like you're talking to your friend who says "I've been wearing the wrong socks for years and just found out you should wear double lined socks!" She's also incredibly stubborn and does not want to listen to her father's advice, regardless of how many marathons he may have run (19, as she's shocked to find out).
The second part of the book is essentially all research she's done and tips for running. It talks about the most common running injuries and how to avoid them. She also got to interview a few famous runners, and did quite a bit of research on the history of women's running. It shouldn't really have come as much of a shock learning how long it took for women to be accepted into the Boston Marathon, but it was surprising.
She's very right when she says the hardest part about running sometimes is just getting out the door. I usually have to do a lot of convincing and drag myself out the door to try and run. Once I'm out I (sort of) enjoy it, and then I get home and feel like I'm dying and never want to do it again.
So on that note, I'll tell you how this challenge and race preparation is going. Not well. I've gone out officially (meaning tracked and recorded my runs) 3 times. And they have not been too great. My most recent was definitely more walking than running and I still can't do stupid hills, which I'm going to be running up for Met Con.
I really don't have much faith in being able to do these runs. I'm getting kind of worried and am almost regretting signing up. As much as I want to do the race, I just don't think I'm good enough. I think it's a combination of things making me feel like this. The fact that I only have a month, and I procrastinate and think I have time when really I don't, plus I don't exactly have the most support in it. When someone is pretty much telling you you're stupid for trying to do this, you really start to think that. And I'm a negative person with no faith in myself to begin with. So this should be an interesting month.
I'm going to try and write at least one more progress post, and I'll write one after each of my races. So stay tuned for that.
If you're thinking about starting running I'd suggest picking up Running Like a Girl, it's very informative in a way that isn't overwhelming. Even if you don't plan on running, or are already a runner, it's a quick read and a good story.


  1. megan dont give up , remember how proud you were in the cancer run last year. you did well and you can do it again.

    1. Thanks. I'm trying, but sometimes it's just hard. I know it'll be worth it, I guess I just have to focus on that.