Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marathoning for Mortals

Book:  Marathoning for Mortals
Author: John "the Penguin" Bingham  & Coach Jenny Hadfield

Once considered a feat for superhuman athletes, the marathon is now within every mortal's grasp.  In MFM, you'll find the courage to train, the willpower to perservere & the tenacity to finish one mile after another.  John & Jenny stick with you every step of the way, from the first insecure thoughts to your last minute jitters to your supreme joy at the finish line.  In MFM, you'll find:
*8 training programs to run, run-walk, walk-run, or walk the half marathon & marathon
*the advice you need to physically, mentally & spiritually reach your dreams
*Tips to help you customize your training, buy the right shoes & apparel & eat the best foods
*Guidance for common motivational, physical & emotional roadblocks

Join John & Jenny on an amazing transformative journey where the finish line is just the beginning.

First Line:  You already have everything you need to be a long distance athlete. Its a mind set - not miles - that seperates those who do from those who dream

I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! A friend of mine who I met on Daily Mile just did his first marathon with the help of this book. He recommended it to me & I'm so thankful.

I saw that all my running ("training") was doing it the wrong way.  And maybe that's why my times arent improving.  I've actually pushed myself too hard...

This book gives wonderful tips, advice, motivation & REALITY.  They ask you questions & really stress not to pick a plan that is overwhelming for your age, your health, for YOU!  I ended up deciding to use the program that calls for "Run/Walk" half marathons... It will work best for me at my age & my past health & my weight.  And they let you know its OK to pick whichever plan... its just a journey between you & crossing that finish line. 

I highlighted so many things for encouragements - as well as knowledge I never realized before.

Here are some examples of motivation:

*For nearly everyone, races arent about competition - but rather about celebration.

*In every long distance race, your body eventually gets tired & your mind must take over

*Long distance training an be a positie & constructive form of selfishness.  After all, once you're at the starting line, you're there by yourself.  No one can run a single step for you. No one can jump in & help you.  No one but you can make the decisions about what to do to keep going.  ITS ALL UP TO YOU!

(my fav) *Crossing the starting line may be an act of acourage, but crossing the finish line is an act of faith.  Faith is what keeps us going when othing else will.  Faith is the emotion that will give you victory over your past, the demons in your soul, & all those voices that tell you what you can & cannot do & can & cannot be.

(whoooo  - good stuff)

So I start my new plan in this book in a few weeks to prepare for my 4th half marathon in November!  I'm excited to do it RIGHT.  Excited to see the changes in my body & my time...

My Rating:  5 skeins... I really do recomment it for anyone who is interested in learning to run any long distance.  (They also make a book similar for just beginning to run - not necessarily long distances)

Last Line:  Waddle on....

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Peach Keeper

Book:  The Peach Keeper
Author:  Sarah Addison Allen

Its the dubious distinction of 30-yr old Willa Jackson to hail from a well-to-do old Southern family that met with financial ruin generations ago.  The Blue Ridge Madam - built by Willa's great-great-grandfather & once the town's grandest home - has stood for years as a monument to misfortune & scandal.  But Will haslearned that an old classmate - socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood - has restored the Blue Ridge Manadam to its former glory.  Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest.  Instead a skeleton is found buried beneath the property's lone peach tree & long -kept secrets are beginning to come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurences.  Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa & Paxton must uncover truths that have transcended time & defied the grave to touch the hearts & souls of the living.


First Line:  "The day Paxton Osgood took the box of heavy-stock, foil-lined envelopes to the post office, the one's she'd had a professional calliographer address, it began to rain so hard the air turned as white as bleached cotton"

Isnt that a great first line?  I love really descriptive lines in books.

I had never read anything from this author before & really enjoyed this story.  It's light hearted, easy to read, fun in areas & mysterious in others.  It holds a story of learned friendship... & friendships that have lasted through the span of time.  It holds the story of romance being found.  It holds the story of a secret that has been kept for years.  It also holds the story of women of the South... which I always love.

Its not a deep mystery, but its fun to learn what happened to the skeleton under the tree.

Its not a impacting story, but it is enjoyable enough to not want to stop reading.

I really fell in love with all the characters - especially Willa & Paxton, as well as Sebastian & Colin, Paxton's twin brother.  Watching Paxton learn to "grow up" & stand on her own, even in her prim & proper world, had me rooting for her.  Especially when her heart was so bare in front of her best friend Sebastian. 

You cant help but love all the characters.. even the girls grandmothers... & Rachel, the coffee wiz who can figure everyone's personalities by what they order.

It has moments where its just plain goofy & not you know things cant possibly happen, but you get wrapped up in just the story of it all... & isnt that what a good story is about?

My rating:  4 skeins
Last Line: She smiled back & said, "Me too"

The Final Summit

Book:  The Final Summit
Author:  Andy Andrews
(This book was provided to me from BookSneeze for a unbiased review)

Book Description

David Ponder is back. This time the fate of mankind is in his hands.

This is mankind’s last chance. Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent humanity hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship, and it consists of only two words.

With time running out, it is up to David Ponder and a cast of history’s best and brightest minds to uncover this solution before it is too late. The catch? They are allowed only five tries to discover the answer.

Readers first encountered David Ponder in The Traveler's Gift. Now, in The Final Summit, Andrews combines a riveting narrative with astounding history in order to show us the one thing we must do when we don’t know what to do.

First Line:  "It is amazing, isnt it, how one sound can distinguish itself from another"
I have loved all of Andy Andrews books... have marked them as my favorites in the past... so I was excited when I saw he had another one coming out.
This was the follow up to "The Travelers Gift" - which I also loved.  I was anxious to see who David Ponder was going to visit with again.
This time around, it had a more urgent feel, as David has to meet with all the other Travelers & come up with a 2-word answer to save humanity.
I did enjoy some of the characters David spoke with... but some of the others, they just didnt hold my interest.  I guess its the History side of me ... I'm picky about who I care to learn about... & mostly, anything involving battles or politics, it looses me... such as some of the characters in the book.
I did enjoy some of the quotes on certain topics the historical people would give...especially the topic of "Hope"... I wrote down tons of quotes on that one..
"Hope sees what is invisible, feels what is intangible & achieves what most consider impossible"
Good stuff, right?
But then, it would just get weird in places.  I would get frustrated when I saw quotes from people in today's time being used in the book as something someone said.  I saw this happen a few times... one was a quote Billy Graham had used on 'courage'... also saw some of Andy Stanley's ideas being used in this book - it was even labeled exactly as Mr. Stanley's series did with the same ideas of your destination & your direction... I'm sure Mr. Andrews got permission to use this in his book (I would assume) - but it was just weird how it was used ... almost letting these characters who are supposed to be historical, take credit for things other said.
See?  A little weird...
So needless to say, I was a little disappointed with the book.  I really liked some of the ideas - some of the points on hope & courage... but the vibe of the book was just off to me. 
I've seen others who liked it, & others who didnt... so I am assuming this is definitely one of those books you have to choose for youself...
My Rating:  3 Skeins (it woulda been a 2 on the story but some of the quotes really stuck with me marking this up one more skein)
Last Line:  And with a thrust of his wing & a burst of light, he was gone.