That’s What She Read: Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning How to Run by Alexandra Heminsley

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C. Jayne Trent

I had to see what this was “Learning How to Run” was all about, being a girl and formerly a mildly serious runner. I really enjoyed author Alexandra Heminsley’s account of becoming a runner/marathoner; this was a quick, cheerful read, very funny and actually inspiring; I laced up again and hit the running trail soon after finishing it.

Heminsley kind of backs into running, stumbling out in ancient sneakers, feeling outclassed in snooty running stores, despairing of finding a running bra intrepid enough to corral “the girls.” Gradually she begins to enjoy running and challenging herself, she likes her new-found strength and stamina and ends up running marathons. Never preachy and often riotously funny – who knew untethered boobs perform a figure-eight-ish parabola? – this is a great book for anyone who’s wondered why people run.

I especially welcomed Heminsley’s honesty. She dishes the reasons why it is not at all easy to start running; everything hurts, everything bounces, some folks shout rude things, dogs chase you, and if you’re a city runner, traffic can be a big concern. Other runners look fitter, sleeker, and impossibly fast, she says. But if you stick with it, it gets easier, you get faster and stronger, and yes, it starts to become fun.