Book Reviews

Going Long: Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures

Going Long is a collection of the best Stores from Runners World.  Overall I enjoyed the book.  There were a few articles that I had felt I already knew the store, i.e. an article on the Hoyts and Matt Long.  There were a few that I found a little dry and did skip, but as I said, over all a good read.  I downloaded it on my Kobo as I could not find the book in the library or Chapters.

Devoted: The Story of a Father's Love for His Son by Dick Hoyt with Don Yaeger. 


The remarkable story of a father’s devotion to his wheelchair-bound son and how their bond inspired millions of people worldwide.

Born a spastic quadraplegic, Rick Hoyt was written off by numerous doctors. They advised his parents, Dick and Judy, to put their firstborn son in an institution. But Rick’s parents refused. Determined to give their son every opportunity that “normal” kids had, they made sure to include Rick in everything they did, especially with their other two sons, Rob and Russ.

But home was one thing, the world at large, another. Repeatedly rebuffed by school administrators who resisted their attempts to enroll Rick in school, Rick’s mother worked tirelessly to help pass a landmark bill, Chapter 766, the first special-education reform law in the country. As a result, Rick and other physically disabled kids were able to attend public school in Massachusetts.

But how would Rick communicate when he couldn’t talk? To overcome this daunting obstacle, Dick and Judy worked with Dr. William Crochetiere, then chairman of the engineering department at Tufts University, and several enterprising graduate students, including Rick Foulds, to create the Tufts Interactive Communication device (TCI). In the Hoyt household, it became known as the “Hope machine,” as it enabled Rick to create sentences by pressing his head against a metal bar. For the first time ever, Rick was able to communicate.
Then one day Rick asked his dad to enter a charity race, but there was a twist. Rick wanted to run too. Dick had never run a race before, but more challenging still, he would have to push his son’s wheelchair at the same time. But once again, the Hoyts were determined to overcome whatever obstacle was put in their way.

Now, over one thousand races later, including numerous marathons and triathlons, Dick Hoyt continues to push Rick’s wheelchair. Affectionately known worldwide as Team Hoyt, they are as devoted as ever, continuing to inspire millions and embodying their trademark motto of “Yes, you can.”
I enjoyed this book a lot more then I thought I would.  I ended up buying the book as it was not available at the library and the print price was very close to the Kobo price.  I look forward to sharing it with my coworkers for a read! 
What is something that you thought you weren't capable of doing, but then proved yourself wrong?
I think the best example of this would be running a half marathon and since then, continually beating my time!
Dick Hoyt was asked if he ever would have run a race without Rick, and he said no even though he probably would have run the races faster.  Would you have done the same, why or why not? 
I can see why Dick would feel this way. He started running to spend time with his son, not for any personal gain other then just being with his son and making him happy.   

The Long Run by Matt Long with Charles Butler.

I thought it was fitting that we are reviewing The Long Run on the day of the Boston Marathon.
The next time you think you're having a bad run, think about Matt Long.
Matt Long was a New York Firefighter, a 9/11 responder, and a Boston Marathon qualifier when he was hit on his bike by a corporate shuttle bus making an illegal turn during an illegal transit workers strike. He went from being in the best shape of his life to a 5% chance of living, having been literally torn open as the bus ran him over and dragged him and his bike, ramming his seat post up through his body and crushing his pelvis.

Through the heroic efforts of surgeons, doctors, and nurses, he lived, but that was only the beginning of his struggle. He had to learn to walk again, a goal that many physical therapists told him was noble but unattainable. He didn't give up, finding therapists who believed that his competitive nature and his peak physical fitness at the time of the accident gave him an excellent chance of not only walking again, but running another marathon and ultimately an Ironman.

Most of the book is about his recovery, which was slow and ponderous at times. Matt doesn't skimp on the medical details of his injuries or recovery. At times his descriptions are graphic and cringe-inducing, but there's no other way to communicate the horrible damage to his body and what he had to do to recover. Sometimes its a bit hard to read. He also doesn't hide his periods of  depression. It's not feel-good inspiration on every page. Even without his specific goal of running, this book is a guide through recovery to whatever your goal might be, which Matt carries on with his IWill Foundation.

Matt eventually got himself fit and capable enough to run the New York Marathon in 2008 (the same year the Lance Armstrong run, who beat a cancer that gave a 50% of surviving, which were much better odds than Matt was given). Matt's legs didn't completely work yet and the pain in his feet were excruciating, but he kept going. Matt hadn't returned to his Boston qualifier time, but he finished the race. That would be remarkable in itself, but it wasn't enough for him. He trained up and went on to compete in an Ironman finishing just in time for Mike Reilly to say "Matt Long, you are an Ironman".

I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put it down.  I found myself telling my husband all about it, and some parts he did not want to hear!

A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Chrissie Wellington
A Life Without Limits By: Chrissie Wellington
In 2007, Chrissie Wellington shocked the triathlon world by winning the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. As a newcomer to the sport and a complete unknown to the press, Chrissie's win shook up the sport. A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS is the story of her rise to the top, a journey that has taken her around the world, from a childhood in England, to the mountains of Nepal, to the oceans of New Zealand, and the trails of Argentina, and first across the finish line.

Wellington's first-hand, inspiring story includes all the incredible challenges she has faced--from anorexia to near--drowning to training with a controversial coach. But to Wellington, the drama of the sports also presents an opportunity to use sports to improve people's lives.

A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS reveals the heart behind Wellington's success, along with the diet, training and motivational techniques that keep her going through one of the world's most grueling events.

I wasn't sure how I was going to like reading another triathlon book, but I quite enjoyed reading this book.  I enjoyed hearing of her thoughts during training and races and how she overcomes the mental aspect of both.  I felt it was interesting how she kept referring to the poem "IF" by Rudyard Kipling. The funny thing is that the same day "IF" came up in the book, someone in my training group had posted the poem on our facebook page.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!
           Rudyard Kipling

Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America by Marshall Ulrich.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book.  It was interesting to read all that is involved running such a large distance, including the preparation, injuries and other obstacles encountered along the way.

Have you ever used running to run away from something? Did it help, or hurt, the rest of your life?
I find running helps relieves stress after a long, hard day at work.

Ulrich ran a huge portion of the runs with injuries, which also meant that he were in pain. Do you think that you could overcome pain so that you could achieve something that is much bigger than yourself?
I don't think I would be able to over come that amount of pain.  A little bit, I can work through, but I try to listen to my body to know when I am running too much.

Would you ever run an ultramarathon, why or why not?
Likely not.  I think it is great that people can, but right now 1/2 marathons are my limit.

If you ever attempted a run like Ulrich's, what route would you want to take?
I would try to run across Canada!

You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon by Jacques Steinberg.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book as I enjoyed reading about the different back stories of all the Weekend Warriors!  I especially looked forward to reading every night near the end of the book as I couldn't wait to see how everyone was doing in their training and in the Ironman race itself.

Which of the potential Ironmen did you relate to the most? Why?
I think I related to Laura the best as I could see myself struggling with the swim portion and having an overwhelming fear.

When do you first remember watching or hearing about an Ironman?
I am not sure when I first remember hearing about an Ironman.  I did watch portions of an Ironman on TV a month or so ago.  I am sorry for not remember which one it was as I started watching it near the end, but it was on TSN.

Would you ever do an Ironman or a triathlon? Why or why not?
At this point I think not.  I am not much of a swimmer or a cyclist.  

The Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life by John "The Penguin" Bingham

The book The book is separated into four parts: "The Courage to Start", "The Next Step", "The Road to Victory" and "Running for Your Life".  I found "The Courage to Start" and " The Next Step" resonated to most with me.

Bingham ran a bit when he was younger, but he didn’t start running on a regular basis until he was 43.  When did you begin running?
I started running a year ago last June.

Waddling, round, and emperor-proud, Bingham says he runs like a penguin.  How would you personify your running style?   
I always say, slow and steady wins the race, so I guess I would think of myself as a tortoise!

Which of the four kinds of runners would you identify with the most: the really fast runners, the pretty fast runners, the kind-of-fast runners or the back-of-the-pack runners? Why?
I would consider my self the back of the pack runner because that is where I always am!  It wasn't until the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon that I finished in the middle of the pack. 

What is your greatest running accomplishment?
Mine would be completing the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon a little over a week ago!

Mile Markers by Kristen Armstrong


Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It was different how it was a compilation of her blog posts.  I also liked how it was split into 26.2 chapters.    

Which mile markers resonated with you the most? Which didn't?
The mile markers I enjoyed the most were Balance and Gratitude.  There were no specific mile markers that I didn't resonate with me as I could to as I could relate to portions of all.  What was hard for me to relate to was the mom and the kids aspect of her book as I do not have children.  Other aspect that I could not relate to as much as Kristen was the relationship she has with other runners.  Yes I run with a training group, but all the runners in the group are much faster then I.  I rarely chat while running with others.  I do feel that running in the group is still beneficial as there is a huge support system which you gain as the others are always encouraging. 

Are there any other mile markers that you would have added, why?
I would agree with Crystal from Carpe Diem Crystal that I would add Patience as I feel a lot of people give up on running because they do not have the patience.  They run too fast I give up because it is too hard.  If they were to slow down and work their way up to a faster pace they would enjoy it more.

What was your favorite part about this book? Which was your least favorite?
In Balance the section titled Refill and in Gratitude the section titled I Get To.



50 Shades of Grey by E.L.James

Synopsis: When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
I downloaded the trilogy to my Kobo as I thought I should see what all the hype was about.  It is an easy read, but does have a few grammatical errors and a lot of overused phrases.  I will continue reading the trilogy, but I would not consider it one of those books you cannot put down.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners: 101 Inspirational Stories of Energy, Endurance, and Endorphins by Jack Canfield, Mark Hansen, Amy Newmark and Dean Karnazes

Synopsis: When runners aren't running, they are talking about running, planning their next run, shopping for running. This book contains 101 stories from everyday and famous runners. Telling their stories to other runners. About how running has improved their lives, recovering from injuries, challenging themselves, and includes amazing stories of marathons, camaraderie, and the natural high that comes from this popular sport.

Great read. I started crying while reading the first story! Inspirational stories to make you want to get out and run if your a runner or a non-runner. Great stories for runners that let us know we are not alone on the roads. Recommend any runner to pick this up. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Synopsis: This book is about a kid named Jonas, who lives in a controlled world, with no fear, no pain, or no war. You might think he lives in a perfect world, Right? Wrong! In the Community, there is no choices, colors, pleasure, weather, love, emotions, etc. You can not choose your job, spouse, or anything like that. In the "Ceremony of Twelve", 12 year olds are assigned a job in the Community. Jonas is singled out, and gets special training from The Giver. When Jonas becomes the "Receiver of Memory", The Giver gives him the memories of the far past; memories of pain, fear, war, pleasure, colors,and love Jonas receives the truth.......

This book is very interesting and an example that you cannot judge a book by it's cover.  I couldn't put it down and stop talking to my husband about it.  The ending sort of leaves you hanging though which I didn't really like. 

Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

Apparently I am on a streak of only reading books that have Alice in the title.

Synopsis: Alice Bliss is a 15-year-old girl who is trying to deal with her father's deployment to Iraq. She picks up all the slack when her mom can't handle things at home, while at the same time she is missing her father terribly.   

I enjoyed this book very much. It was so engaging from the first page, and I'm not afraid to admit that I cried on and off for the whole second half of the book. It was so well written and believable. All of the characters were well developed, and they each bought their own emotions to the story. At times I wanted to shake Alice or her mother, or scream at Henry.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


Synopsis: Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of a divorce. 

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.

This book had me captivated from the first chapter. I felt drawn in and personally invested in each of the characters. For several nights in a row, I stayed up until midnight just to read one (or five) more chapters and telling my husband about what happened afterwards.

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