Friday, June 10, 2011

Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong

In Mile Markers, Runner’s World contributing editor Kristin Armstrong captures the ineffable and timeless beauty of running, the importance of nurturing relationships with those we love, and the significance of reflecting on our experiences. This collection considers the most important reasons women run, celebrating the inspiring passion runners have for their sport and illustrating how running fosters a vitally powerful community. With unique wit, refreshing candor, and disarming vulnerability, Armstrong shares her conviction that running is the perfect parallel for marking the milestones of life. From describing running a hardfought race with her tightly-knit group of sweat sisters, to watching her children participate in the sport for the very first time, Armstrong infuses her experiences with a perspective of hope that every moment is a chance to become a stronger, wiser, more peaceful woman. Running threads these touching stories together, and through each of them we are shown the universal undercurrents of inspiration, growth, grace, family, empowerment, and endurance.

My thoughts:
Last month I took up running for 11 days.  I know that doesn't sound like very long and I keep saying I am going to do it again but haven't done the greatest job following through on it.  In my 11 days I added to how long I ran each day, starting with just four minutes that made me feel like I was going to explode, to getting to almost a half hour.  I ran the longest I ever have and felt good about it, and then I took a break for a day which turned into a month.  When I saw this book at the library it felt like it was there for a reason.  My whole life I have been telling myself that I can't run, but that isn't really based on anything real, just that running makes me uncomfortable.  I'm not a big fan of sweating and running makes me sweat, but after my try last month I know I can do it.

I loved this book from beginning to end.  I found something in each chapter that inspired me and made me want to grow and change as a person.  When I picked it up I didn't realize that Kristin Armstrong used to married to Lance Armstrong and I was impressed that, while she mentions her ex-husband when it comes to her children, Kristin never says anything bad about Lance as a person.  She really only mentions him when she writes about feeling melancholy on her children's "Daddy days" or in connection to their children.

This book uses posts that were done on the blog Armstrong keeps for Runner's World magazine and then they are grouped into 26, with a small .2 at the end as an epilogue, categories.  Because of this not all of it chronological.  Sometimes her twins are 5 other times they are 8, her age and her friends birthdays jump around too, but everything is grouped under umbrella topics for running.  This was another book that brought up so many ideas and feelings for me.  I was impressed by how much faith in God Kristin has and how comfortable she is in expressing it.  I thought of her a lot too in the way she deals with her children and the patience she has.  One passage talks about how our attitude can really make or break something and if we start thinking about things in terms of "get to" rather than "have to" it can change our whole mindsets.  Make chores into blessings.

Another passage that she got from a quote from someone else is that if you keep doing the same things you've always done you will get the same thing you've always gotten.  She was told this in a yoga class, but it really could go with anything.  It is so easy to get stuck in a rut with routine and regular things that to change things up can make all the difference.  Like when babies are small and seem fussy, often times if you take them outside they calm down because it is different than before.

She takes things she learns from running and applies them to life, like breaking up miles into chunks just as we can break up difficult tasks, looking ahead instead of looking behind and taking time for yourself.  At one point she describes taking her children on a vacation because she felt like she was always telling her 'little people" to hurry and go and they didn't seem to want to hurry and go which told her it was time for them all to take a break.  That hurry and go thing is going full swing here at my house.  The older kids have a little over a week left of school and all their activities are winding down, but every night we are out the door to go somewhere for someone, sometimes more than one place.  We are all looking forward to less rush and a more relaxed schedule.

A big part of running for Kristin is her friends, or "sweat sisters".  A couple summers ago I used to walk every night with neighbors and that time was so nice.  It was easier to talk while we walked and it was like we had the chance to exercise both our bodies and express ourselves at the same time.  It was harder to decide not to go walking because someone else was waiting for you and expecting you.

I was looking for inspiration to start running again, which I found, but I also found ideas for life as well.  Yesterday I parked by a car that said"13.1" in an oval magnet on the back and today I was behind one that said, "RUN", "26.2" and "Runner Girl".  If this keeps getting in my path it is time to get back into running.  I even looked up a local 5K I can do in two months for added motivation!  I recommend this book to even non-runners because it is so inspiring and motivating.

•Pub. Date: March 2011

•Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
•Format: Hardcover , 288pp
•ISBN-13: 9781609611064
•ISBN: 1609611063


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