“Our running shoes have magic in them– the power to transform a bad day into a good day; frustration into speed; self-doubt into confidence; chocolate cake into muscle; or […] a problem into an accomplishment.” (p. 53)
Mina Samuels has written a great book about the power and influence of running in the lives of women. Motivational books aren’t normally my thing, but I am a sucker for personal stories and good research; and this book proved to have both. Samuels works her way through different challenges women in sports face– and sexism is only one of them. She talks about needing to find balance with sports and the rest of your life, the way athletics can positively and negatively impact women’s “need to be thin”, and how sports can be a positive avenue for women to build unique friendships with women and men.
I remember being sent to detention in sixth grade by my gym teacher for refusing to play “catch” with the girls when I wanted to play the real football game that the boys were playing. Samuels’ book included frustrating stories like this, of course, but it also full of stories of women overcoming whatever obstacle lies between them and sports, and the results are life changing.
As I’ve been reading more and more about running, I realized that runners peak at a later age than say… all other professional athletes. I like knowing that I have a good many years ahead of me to stay active– and I might even get better. Samuels’ calls it “throwing off our lace caps” by delaying the inabilities of aging for as long as we can.
I recommend it– not just for runners, but any active– or hoping to get active– women.
“Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world… A woman awheel is the picture of untrammeled womanhood.” — Susan B. Anthony (p.179)