I recently read Run Like a Girl by Mina Samuels.
Part locker-room confidential, inspiring manifesto, and personal memoir, the book shows us, through stories of nearly a hundred women, how the confidence women build by participating in sports—whether it’s running or rock climbing, swimming or yoga—can transform our lives in profound ways. Lively, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking, in the candid stories, which fill its pages, these women share how sports helped them overcome life’s obstacles and achieve the happiness and success they’d been running toward.
While reading this book I took the time to reflect upon the fact that I was fortunate to have parents who felt it was important for my sister and I to have an active childhood. From the time we were 3 years old, my sister and I were dancing…by the time we were in elementary school we were each taking more than 5 dance lessons weekly (the last dance studio we attended is still there and thriving!). Between school, dancing, and homework (which was often done at the studio between classes) there was no idle time and more importantly no time to get into any trouble.
We were also swimmers who spent every summer on the swim team at Forest Park Cabana Club. To this day I do NOT get into cold water without a fuss…there were too many COLD early morning workouts that resulted in blue lips and fingers, but my mom was always on the sidelines with a thermos full of hot cocoa.
I guess I had never really stopped to think about the fact that the sports I participated in as a child were as powerful as they were. I learned so much about life from dancing and swimming. I learned that life goes on even when you fall flat on your face during a dance recital and the whole audience gasps! The butterfly stroke was shockingly hard when I first tried it, but through perseverance and LOTS of practice I learned that it could become my best stroke. Because of sports I never developed the all to common fear of public speaking. Sure, I get butterflies when I speak publicly, but years of dance performances and swim meets made me comfortable “performing.”
Sports continue to help me as an adult. As you know, I competed in the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June (click here to read my post about it). When I stated that the second third of the race Was difficult for me, what I should have said was, “The second third of the race was incredible difficult for me. I felt so ill that I thought I was going to vomit and REALLY wanted to quit.” What kept me from quitting was the fact that I didn’t want to let my team down and I most of all didn’t want to let myself down. I persesevered. In the last third of the race I found my stride again and had a blast At the end of the race I was so proud of myself for not quitting…my prior experiences with races let me know that I would somehow make it through. Sports has so many parallels to life. Sometimes life can throw you curve balls, and experiences like the Mud Run strengthen you and let you know that you WILL get through those curve balls and actually be better for them.
I really recommend Run Like a Girl. It is a quick read filled with inspiration as well as stories about the deep friendships that tend to form through athletics. There are so many activities I have wanted to try and haven’t and this book has motivated me to put myself out there. One of my fellow NEXT by Athena Ambassadors is a Stand-Up Paddle instructor and I now plan on contacting her for a few lessons since it looks like so much fun.
I am excited that I am going to be able to gift one of my readers a copy of Run Like a Girl. To be entered into the giveaway leave a comment below about what sports means to you…
I look forward to reading your comments and will announce the winner on August 3rd.
P.S. I am on day 10 of Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis today and doing great! The soreness in my calves went away by day 5 or 6 and I am really enjoying the dance cardio. It has been so long since I danced that I forgot how important it is to dance up on the balls of your feet in order to save your shins…my body now remembers!
For more information about Mina Samuels click here.
To purchase Run Like a Girl click here.
21 responses to “BOOK REVIEW and GIVEAWAY – Run Like a Girl”
I am 45 and started running two years ago. I have two daughters, 11 & 9. I am a coach for a running program called Girls on the Run that is for girls in the local school. It is an amazing program that teaches self confidence and personal awareness to girls. Both of my daughters participate and I am trying to show them being active now will last a lifetime. I also became a vegetarian almost two years ago and life has never been better!
I think I actually read about this organization in the book…AMAZING! I love what they stand for. Kudos to you for being such a great influence.
This sounds like a great read! Thanks for the reco!
I am SO excited to read this book! Just reading your review on it has brightened my day and given me renewed strength for why I got my degree in Recreation Administration. My passion in life is to educate others about themselves through nature, recreation, and leisure. My father was a workaholic and I found that exhausting and imbalanced. Throughout life I’ve strived to create that balance between recreation/sport and an emotional awareness. I’m currently enjoying Bikram yoga, road biking, and volleyball and would love to hear about other women that can bestow upon me wisdom, humor, and strength. I feel this book will give me great tools, understanding, compassion, and inspiration to hit the road running (no pun intended! haha) to help others enjoy the life we’re both grateful to have.
Your work is so important…thank you so much for sharing yourself with others.
Thanks to my Mom I grew up taking dance classes as well. As an adult I have found yoga to be incredibly wonderful addition to my active life. This book sounds like a great read, thanks for the review as I had heard about the book before but an now more interested in reading it.
I definitely have my mom to thank too. She tutored to make extra money so my sister and I could dance…she said she always wanted to take lessons as a child and was never able to, so she made a promise that she would give her girls the gift of dance.
Tears in my eyes reading your post…it really struck a cord with me how important it is to instill in our kids how important it is to participate in activities that build them up and help create self confidence, overcome challenges and being part of a team and/or community. Thanks! Would love to read that book some day.
This book really brought it home to me too. As parents we have an opportunity to gift our kids with athletics.
wow… sports are anticipation and reflection… they’re working as a team and acting independently… they’re feeling good in the moment and being sore the next day… they’re planning and training, as well as depending on the circumstances of the day… they’re fun and anguish… they’re work and play… and at any point in time you can feel like you’re doing awesome, but at the same time, there is no mastery or perfection of it… 🙂
I would love to receive the book, as I am trying to get back into running. In fact, I had the audacity to sign up for a half marathon in november!
Good for you! Strap on those running shoes 🙂
Jodie…you always write the best comments!
Sport has taken on a really new meaning for me this year – a girlfriend and I decided that every month we would get together to try an activity we’ve never done before and really throw ourselves out of our comfort zones. So far, this has included white-water kayaking, horse-riding, hiking, indoor rock-climbing and bike-riding (which has inspired me to ride to work every day) and we have a huge list we still need to work through! Coming up there will be surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding, sea-kayaking, zip-lining and hopefully swimming with dolphins! I’m loving my new “adventurous” lifestyle!
That is awesome…I want to do this!!! There are so many sports that I want to try and I just haven’t done it. I need to create my own sports bucket list.
This book sounds amazing I hadnt heard of it until this post but I would love to read it!
I’ve tried to pick up running to get in shape and somehow it is one of the hardest things for me to do. I would love to read this book!
Nice job Gret! Sounds interesting!
v and m parker
Cycling keeps me sane. It keeps me fit and healthy, but it’s equally important for my mental health. I live with cancer in my liver and chest, and feeling myself getting stronger and stronger on my bike reminds me that it doesn’t matter what a scan says. I’m healthy.
That is amazing! You are truly an inspiration.
I was never confident on a team and so I turned to solitary sports-yoga, running and biking. To me-it means feeling comfortable in my own skin and that is a very special feeling!