Review of Running like a girl by Alexandra Heminsley (2014)
If you’re interested in the journey from wanting the perfect arse to running marathons and everything in between, then this is a book for you. It’s about finding freedom and confidence by pounding the road, mile after mile. Alexandra Heminsley writes about all of this with honesty and generosity.
For the uninitiated, running can be a bit of a mystery, all that lycra and those sports stores. Why would anyone want to run a marathon, or even a 5k? As the author points out, running can really suck. It’s hard work. While her first run as an adult was a disaster, Alexandra started again after 3 months and kept going and shares what she found out along the way.
On the practical side, the author shares her experience on the importance of the right shoes and sports bra, of getting your kit sorted before races and training. More interesting is how her relationship with her thoughts and body and friends and family changes throughout and how running provides a physical expression of how she’s feeling when life hits hard. As she points out,
‘…once you’ve experienced the delicious realisation that you can carry on when you are quite sure you are about to die in tears in a crowd of thousands, you have taught yourself a skill that is applicable to all of life. It turns out that to survive, you just have to keep going.’ (p6)
I think there’s something in that, learning just what we’re capable of doing. For me it was running my first marathon with bronchitis. The more I think about it, the more I realise how silly I was but everything’s always 20:20 with hindsight. I can still feel how I did on the day when my foot crossed the finish line and I thought to myself ‘when can I do this again?’
In Part 2, Alexandra gives us a list of runners in whose tracks we run – those who convinced the world that yes, women can run marathons; how to deal with injuries; how to raise money if you’ve gotten a charity place at a run; and, some of the lessons she’s learnt.
Well worth a read.