Sporty Books List

I’ve been reading a ton lately (love my Kindle!).  I’ve hit up a bunch of the popular ones, for example, Hunger Games which I do recommend, and Shades of Grey which I have mixed feelings on; an easy read if you have nothing better to do, but THE most repetitive writing style ever; I mean all I remember is “Are you hungry? Not for dinner…” which was written about 20 gazillion times in that book!  There was really no plot until the 3rd book either, just an up and down relationship struggle… anyway.  So yes, I got pulled into a few popular trilogies, but other than that I’ve been on a severe sports book streak.  Here are a few reviews.

Mile Markers

My friend and very good runner, Amanda, lent me this book by Kristen Armstrong (Lance’s ex-wife).  I took it on a work trip to California, and surprised myself by finishing the book in just three days!  I really loved this book, so much that I plan to read it again soon.  I wanted to run so much while reading it that I was getting up early for hotel treadmill runs during my trip.  Here are a couple of quotes from the book I liked:

“I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run.  I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, starving, and sweat-purged.  I love the good ache of muscles that have done me proud.”

“When you are truly genuine, there will invariably be people who do not accept you. And in that case, you must be your own badass self, without apology.”

It was great that Kristen focused on her running friendships, and maintained a balance with athletics and her family.  I’m sure being a writer with a flexible schedule helps (she was able to go on 20+ miles runs then pick up her kids from school!), but it was still a great example of a driven, athletic mom that really cares about her kids too.  Oh, and my dream life would be to raise kids in Austin and have a beach house in Cali – not a bad setup!  Note: the book is a collection of blog posts (her blog is http://milemarkers.runnersworld.com/), so it’s an easy read but not a “full story”.

Sole Sisters: Stories of Women Who Run

While I was on a running book streak, I read this book too.  It’s okay, but just okay.  It was a collection of stories of different women, running for different reasons – some organizing runs for charities, some running after hardships, some helping others run.

The Science of Yoga

I heard about this book on NPR, and decided to give it a try because it seemed science-focused, yet controversial.  First off, it’s not the easiest read and rambles a bit much.  It did however, enlighten me on yoga’s beginnings (vagabonds and gypsies in India) and uncover there are little to no “athletic” benefits to yoga, though it does seem reduce stress and improve flexibility.  I’d agree with this – I’ve worn my heart rate monitor to various yoga classes and don’t get much more of a burn than if I were walking for an hour.  And I was never able to gain muscular strength with yoga (Body Pump is where it’s at!!).

I still enjoy yoga, but this book reinforced that maybe the instructors don’t have much scientific evidence when they say “this pose is good for your coccyx” and it definitely reinforced that I have to do what’s right for my body and not push past my limits.  I have to remember that what I’m doing is to help my mind and flexibility, not win a competition.

You are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon

Pretty good story of six or so first time age grouper Ironmen competitors.  I enjoyed reading the trials and tribulations of their training and found it rather inspiring.  I liked one guy’s mantra “left, right, repeat” and used it in my last tri!

I’m Here to Win: A World Champion’s Guide on Peak Performance

This is Chris McCormick’s book on winning, but honestly, it doesn’t benefit an age grouper triathlete all that much, it’s more for a professional.  There are also a few chapters that I found pretty ridiculous on trash talking and how to intimidate your competition.  I think he takes it to the extreme and has probably ruined a lot of potential friendships by being cocky.  There were a few tips I enjoyed reading though – hydrating the day before an event with more than just water to flush out your system and drinking Coke on long rides, for example.

A Life Without Limits: Chrissie Wellington, the Autobiography

It’s truly amazing to think that Chrissie haphazardly found out she was a world champion and won Kona as a rookie.  Her story is pretty interesting and gave me a lot of insight into her journey and outlook on life.  I didn’t realize growing up she struggled with an eating disorder, then became quite the backpacker, before realizing in her late twenties she had triathlete potential.

I can’t say I agree with some of the political views she voiced in the book, but other than that it was an okay read and I did like her openness and positive attitude.  Yes, it’s obvious genetics had something to do with it, but she also is a hard worker, extremely mentally strong and has a high tolerance for pain.  Oh, and she loves beating the boys.  I can relate to the last one Smile   And I found out she eats hot rice cereal before events, so I totally went and bought some at Whole Foods; I’m sure it will push me to Kona status!

Does anyone have any sporty or other book recommendations?  I haven’t started the many ultra running ones yet.

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