Posts tagged book review

{book review} Marathoning For Mortals


Every day I have an internal debate with myself, usually while I’m out on my morning run. Could I really run a full marathon? Do I have what it takes? A few weeks ago, I went to the library and checked out a handful of books on the subject to see if I could answer that question. I just finished the first book. Marathoning For Mortals by John “The Penguin” Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield.


marathoning for mortals cover

Source: Goodreads


What did I love about this book? It is written by to very real people who offer real advice for the person who is not a “easy” runner. John Bingham completes races in run / walk intervals. And Coach Jenny’s account of her first half marathon reminds me very much of mine.

This book is written for the person who questions whether or not they can complete what much of the population does not. A full marathon. (It also addresses half marathons, but for my purposes I am referring to the full.)


By getting to the starting line, you’ve already placed yourself in the top echelon of athletes. You may or may not be in the top tier of that race, but as a long-distance athlete, you are fitter, better trained, and more disciplined than 99 percent of the population that has ever lived. Remind yourself of that when you start to obsess about your pace or finish time.

It gives real advice from making the decision to do it, training, having the right gear, preparing for the big day, having three plans for race day, race day itself, and even the days after. The book ends with training plans for walk/run, run/walk, and run methods.

What did I take away from this book? That I can probably do a full marathon. It won’t be easy, I’ll have to train my heart out, and maybe my first go-round with training won’t lead me to the start line. But once I make it to the start line, my chances of crossing that finish line very likely.

Early on in the book, there is a personal inventory quiz that helps you decide where you’re now, where you want to be, and your goal for completing along distance event. Everyone has different goals. Is your goal just to complete the marathon? Do you have a specific time goal in mind? And most importantly, your goals may change as you train..

My favorite quote in this book, and one that I’ve read before from John Bingham is:

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

If you, like me, are contemplating a full marathon, I highly recommend this book. It is food for thought, full of real advice and thoughts from people. I love nothing more than someone who never thought they could do it and then cross the finish line in tears. To me, that is motivation to get out there and do it.

What books did you read when contemplating a half or full marathon?

{book review} The Willpower Instinct


I am no stranger to willpower – or the lack of willpower. I’m sure we can all agree that willpower is strongest when things are going well, when you are in control of your environment. When we lack control – or when stress prevails – the willpower goes out the window. We don’t often think about the fact that there is science behind willpower. The Willpower Instinct was a wonderful insight into something I – and many of us – struggle with.




In her book, Kelly McGonigal,Ph. D., explains that willpower is actually three powers… “I will” power, “I won’t” power, and “I want” power. “I will” and “I won’t” power are the two sides of self-control, but they don’t alone constitute willpower. To say no when you need to say no, and yes when you need to say yes, you need a third power: the ability to remember what you really want.

I really enjoyed this book. Admittedly, I do not read self-help books on a regular basis. With The Willpower Instinct, I liked the layout, the explanation of each topic, and the summary at the end of each chapter. This book could absolutely be a great reference tool as you encounter difficult situations where you may struggle with willpower.

Other topics you will learn in The Willpower Instinct:

  • Willpower is not an unlimited resource. You only have so much of it, and too much self control can actually be bad for your health.
  • Willpower is a biological function that can be controlled through mindfulness, better sleep, and even what we eat.
  • Guilt and self-criticism undermine willpower, but self compassion improves willpower.
  • Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control.
  • Willpower is contagious – you can catch temptation from your friends, but you can also catch self-control from the right role models.

While my struggles with willpower generally revolve around weight loss and emotional eating, everyone has a different struggle. Money, spending, smoking, drinking, infidelity, and more. Willpower may seem very complicated, but it boils down to a simple question when you are faced with it. If you are trying to lose weight and someone offers you a slice of cheesecake, it is your choice whether or not to have it. Sure it will taste amazing, but will you feel guilty afterwards? Do you need it? And then you remember that as good as it tastes, it will never feel as great as seeing the numbers go down on the scale. You have the power to choose.

A favorite thought of mine in the book is:

Sometimes our strongest motivation is not what we think it is, or think it should be. If you’re trying to change a behavior to please someone else or be the right kind of person, see if there is another “want” that holds more power for you.

For me, my struggles with weight loss are not always about the numbers on the scale. Sometimes thinking about what the scale will say is not always the motivation I need to avoid a dessert I shouldn’t have. But if I focus on how I will feel better in my clothes, it brings on a whole new side to my goals.

If you are interested in reading more, I highly recommend this book. You can also read more about it on the BlogHer Book Club page and participate in discussions about the book.

Disclosure: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

{book review} Terra by Gretchen Powell



terra signed 1


terra signed 2


When a fellow blogger writes a book, you have to read it. Especially when she starts a second blog about the writing of her book and self-publishing, and you get more and more excited about it as she gets closer and closer to publishing it. So, when it was released on Amazon on December 11, I immediately downloaded it on my Kindle, anxious to read it.

And when your sister-in-law, asks you to write a guest review for her fabulous YA Lit review blog Making The Grade, you jump at the chance. I am happy to share my guest review with you here…


Gretchen Powell has written her first book titled Terra, a YA dystopian book about a girl, her brother, and their life in Genesis X-16. Terra’s life is changed forever when a discovery leads her to a world she never thought she would be a part of and a boy named Adam who is unlike any other she’s ever met.

I love this book. From the beginning, I was hooked. The characters are real and likeable, and a perfect fit for the world that Gretchen has created. I was held captive by the entire story line – the interaction between Terra and the government was as enthralling as that between her and Adam. And the odds they face are unimaginable… Acid rain that keeps them inside for days, a quarantine line that can’t be crossed, and meals that come in pill form.

I admit that there are some dystopian novels that I just cannot get through, the characters and worlds that the authors create are far too complicated. Not the case with Terra. And while I can never imagine living in a time or place where the government has divided the people so far, or where I would have to go out and scavenge for recyclables in exchange for currency to live off of, Terra is very easy to empathize with because her character is so REAL. Forgetting about the futuristic theme of the book for a moment, Terra struggles with loss, fear, and desire. Real qualities.

Terra can be compared to the likes of The Hunger Games and Starters. Gretchen Powell can absolutely hold her own in the YA world and will go far with Terra. There is no doubt that I want – and need – to read more. I cannot wait for the next one. In the meantime, I am sure I will read this again and again.


Terra is available on Amazon (Kindle and paperback) and Barnes and Noble (Nook).



For more on Gretchen Powell, you can follow her on:

Honey, I Shrunk The Gretchen

Gretchen Powell

{book review} No Need For Speed



No Need For Speed book


I just finished reading No Need For Speed by John “The Penguin” Bingham. As the cover says, it is a Beginner’s Guide To The Joy of Running. The title could not be more perfect.

I really enjoyed this book because it spoke to ME, the girl who constantly has to reminder herself that I really am a runner. I sure don’t feel like it sometimes, like when I am super slow, or can’t get the motivation to go farther, or when I whine about not being able to run in the heat. None of this matters though, because all I need to be a runner is the ability to get out there and do it.

The book is broken down into four sections:

  • Inspiration
  • Perspiration
  • Dedication
  • Celebration

Each section has five chapters and within those chapters are tips, advice, suggestions, and my favorite – blurbs titled “lessons learned” from real runners. It’s real and I like that.

Running is really a mind game. And if your mind is like mine, it can play some serious tricks on you. This book was really helpful on the inspiration end of things such as paying attention to what you CAN do, not what you can’t do. Can’t run a whole 5k (yes, that’s me), then take walk breaks. There’s nothing wrong with it.

My favorite chapter of all was the one that talked about races, in the Celebration section. Depending on where you’re at in your journey, we all have different reasons for participating in races and we all have different feelings and emotions when we complete a race – whether it’s our first or last. I still have very vivid memories of running the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon in February, my first one, and it was so emotional. I gave it my all, ran part of it, walked part of it, fought through the cold and wind, laughed, cried, and more… I loved every minute of it. The minute I finished, I knew I could not wait to do another. (If you haven’t read my post on my first half, you can read it here).

There is one paragraph near the end of the book that especially jumped out at me, in regards to running and victories… “It is through the act of running that we become runners. It is running that gives us a runner’s heart, a runner’s mind, and a runner’s soul. That most of us will never feel the thrill of winning is no excuse to abandon the search for our own personal victories.” I love this…. I certainly don’t run to win a race, I run to beat my own personal battles and to feel better. This said it perfectly.

While this book is geared to beginner’s just starting out, I think it’s a great read for anyone who loves to run. I love the mental and emotional aspects of it, as well as the physical. It has good information for someone just starting out. It really is a great read and I expect that I will pull this book out time and time again.

Have you read No Need For Speed? If so, what did you think of it?

A Relaxing Saturday


I apologize for my lack of posts the last few days. I’ve been busy and it just carried over into blog-land. I hate it when that happens, but such is life. Today, however, made up for me being so busy the last few days. I had a very relaxing Saturday.

I started off the morning getting a massage. I cannot stress how much I needed a massage. My shoulders were so tight, there’s no doubt that I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had a gift certificate to Massage Studio in Tampa and I enjoyed every minute of it. If you like, you can read my full review of it on Yelp. You can find it here: While you’re here, if you are a regular on Yelp, be sure to add me as a friend! :)


After my massage, I went up to Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood for a book signing event for Colleen Houck. Actually, it was the second signing I went to as I saw her in Clearwater last night as well. Thanks to my SIL for inviting me! Colleen Houck is the wonderful author of the YA series Tiger’s Curse, Tiger’s Quest, Tiger’s Voyage, and the upcoming Tiger’s Destiny. I have read the first in the series and completed my collection today with the second and third and had them signed by Colleen. If you haven’t checked out this series, you need to. Visit Colleen Houck’s site here . Or you can also read about her and the series on my SIL’s fantastic YA Lit Review blog, Making The Grade. You can find her here:

colleen h reading

colleen h signing

colleen h books

After the signing, I headed home and was hit with a killer sinus headache. The drive from Tampa to Clearwater was the longest ever. All I wanted was to get home, crawl in bed, and hope that a nap would help it. I slept almost 2 hours and when I woke up, my headache was a little better. I’m not going anywhere else today so I hope that it does not get any worse and even better would be for it to GO AWAY!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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