Monday, June 30, 2008

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women-Dawn Dais

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women is the first running/training book I have ever read. I really did not know what to expect from it, and I was somewhat expecting a fairly dry, and possibly boring book. I was WAY off! Dawn Dais wrote a hilarious memoir/running guide that made me laugh out loud more than once. Not only could I completely relate to many of her struggles with running and blisters and just wanting to stay home and eat Cheetos, but I share her fears of losing a toenail and wearing Spandex in public--while running. Several years ago, I ran a half marathon with my college roommates, so I could vividly picture many situations Dais shared in her journal entries.

Dais decided to run her first marathon in honor of her grandfather, who suffered a debilitating stroke several years before. She had never enjoyed running, and most of her family and friends thought she had "lost her marbles" when she announced that she was going to Hawaii to run 26.2 miles. Dais describes, in detail, how agonizing some of the longer runs were for her. She also talks in depth about what attire is good to wear when running long distances and why. Other topics discussed are good eating habits for runners, having a running mentality, and how to raise money for the big races. Every single chapter is full of sarcasm, humor, wit, and honesty. I think I need to share several passages that I found quite humorous:

"Take a moment after each run to cool down and acknowledge what your body has accomplished. Turn off the headphones, be silent, and just listen to your heart pounding in your ears. Yes, it's slightly bizarre that your heart has taken up residency in your skull; apparently that's where it resides when you are a physically active person. Do not be alarmed" (124).

"Yes, the big news of the weekend is that my right knee has officially left my body. But don't worry, it was kind enough to leave a sharp knife in its place" (163).

I also thought I would share a passage about having the right mentality. Many people believe they could never run a 5k, much less a half or full marathon. However, as Dais experienced, and as I myself experienced, it is possible to work your way up to longer distances than you ever though possible. Of course, many people have zero desire to ever run, and there's nothing wrong with that. But some people say they CAN'T because they have never been a runner, and this is simply not true. Dais' opinion on this issue is, "Your mind will decide whether your training will be successful; if you are mentally convinced you'll succeed, then you'll be able to convince the rest of your body. But if you aren't convinced then that attitude will slowly seep into your physical performance and you will slowly begin to accept limits that are far less than what you are capable of accomplishing" (104).

Dais has included many of her own journal entries, and she strongly encourages runners to keep their own journal during training. She has even included blank lined pages at the back of the book. Besides journaling, there are other "fill in the blanks" for great topics such as pros and cons to training for a race, your fears and why they are ridiculous, and before and after changes you have noticed since you started your training. Of course, she has made her own lists as examples, and they are all hilarious! There is also a training guide at the beginning for those training for a half and full marathon. It is a 20 week schedule, which is much longer than the ones I've found, and they truly start out at a level that most people could handle and slowly add miles/minutes.

I would recommend this book to new runners, those who would like to run but think they aren't capable, or to anyone who could care less about running, but wants a good laugh! If you are a more seasoned runner, you probably won't find much information that you haven't already heard or discovered on your own, but it is always nice to know that other people out there are sharing similar experiences.

Thanks to Becca for giving away this signed copy, and you should check out her interview with the author, Dawn Dais as well as her review!

Date completed: June 28, 2008
# of pages: 229


Trish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trish said...

Just delete my first comment...

Sounds like a great read--especially as I am trying to pump myself up to be a runner (something I have always hated but wanted to do). Are there little charts and journals in the book--I like those types of things a lot.

Oh, and I think you should start a running blog. :)

Laura said...

~Trish-You should borrow it! I would give it to you, but it is signed, and I want to keep it :) It will make you want to run, and make you feel better about not being a super serious runner. After I read your comment, I added in another paragraph about charts and journals. Those are one of the best parts in the book, so I should have added that in the review to begin with!

Becca said...

Laura: I'm so glad you liked the book! I told you it was a good one. I think the best part about it is that it's down to earth. I've read other running books and they all make me feel like the worst runner ever, but Dais made it seem like anyone could get out there and run.

I'm going to add your review to mine at The Inside Cover because I think you did a way better job than I did.

OK then, happy running!

Laura said...

~Becca-I'm so glad I did read this! I feel much better about my running progress after reading about her experiences, and how she pushed through and finished an entire marathon. I included your great interview, but I forgot to link to your review, which was also great! :)

____Maggie said...

I want this! Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :)

Jeane said...

My sister is a runner. I think I would like this book to understand what she goes through.