Alexandra Heminsley, Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning How to Run, (2013), 208p
I am going to start off by saying that if I were to write a book on running, it would essentially be this book. Besides the fact that, unlike Heminsley, I have NOT run a marathon yet… I imagine I will feel the same way if I ever do.
I started my running journey in the spring. After being a relatively lazy child, even lazier adult, then nearly killing myself with intense crossfit-esque Jillian Michaels DVDS, I was not too keen on cardio in general. I have used all of the excuses possible to avoid running: I can’t run, I have asthma, My legs are too short, I’m really out of shape, I would only run if a bear was chasing me. On and on and on. By this point, my partner had run three full marathons. My dear friend had signed up to swim a leg of the Ironman. I was just still just sitting on my butt.
So, I decided to give it a try. I downloaded the Couch to 5k app. The first run nearly killed me. The second one wasn’t much better. But after I rounded out the second week, it started to get easier. I signed up for a 5k colour run in July. That was my motivation. It still sucked. I got sick and felt like I was back at square one again. I did not think I could do the 5k, considering my longest run before race was was a measly 4k. And that included a bunch of walking. But, when race day came, I did it. I walked for less than one minute and finished in about 29 minutes. Bad ass. The runners high kicked in. That night I signed up for a 10k.
Getting to 10k was easier than getting to 5k. I did it, dominated it. Walked for about 30 seconds of the full 10k, and only because both of my feet went numb. I finished in an astonishing 1:01:58. Then I signed up for another 5k, which I ran this weekend, then signed up for one on Thanksgiving weekend.
I feel like Heminsley and I are kindred spirits, but she dove right in and signed up for a full marathon. Good on her. Running Like a Girl follows Alex through the trials and downfalls of training for racing, from physical to emotional. Interlaced with humour and brimming with reality, this is my kind of memoir.
Seriously, this is what hooked me.
Running is awful. It feels unnatural, unnecessary, painful. It can hijack you with breathlessness, cripple you with panic, and overwhelm you with self-conciousness. It isn’t a warm fire or a deep sofa or a cup of tea and a smile. It is cold and hard and unforgiving.
This is exactly how I felt when I started running. But then it got better. Not necessarily easier, because I am constantly pushing myself, but better. More rewarding. Fun. It clears my constantly worrying mind. It tames my competitive nature. It makes me stronger. I never in a million years thought I would be a runner. I’m still highly doubting I will ever run a marathon, but the idea of doing a half has been stuck in the back of my mind since I finished the 10k and didn’t die. For now, I’m enjoying running 5k’s with my friends. Laughing and smiling and hurting the whole way.
Happy reading (and running) –
PS. I bought my domain today, so I’m officially a big deal now. Thanks to everyone who has been following me on my journey so far ☺️