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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

don't stop me now... feeling inspired

Don't Stop Me Now - Vassos Alexander

I know, I know, a book review wasn't exactly what you were expecting to find over on this blog, but bear with me on this one...

This book, Don't Stop Me Now, has changed my life, ok, that's a huge exaggeration, but this book has motivated me to get my ass running like nothing I ever thought could.  If you're even vaguely interested in running, or thinking about starting to have a go at running or need some motivation to keep going, then you must read this.  Yes, I know you think I've gone insane but it's true, I'd offer to lend you it, but I kinda want to read it again.

I bought this book for the Mr for Christmas, and after a few weeks of him reading small snippets aloud, or referring to sections he'd just read, I asked him to tell me no more as from the bits I'd heard from him, I actually wanted to read it myself. 

This is a book by Vassos Alexander, no I hadn't heard of him either, if you're a sports fan, or have a partner who is, it's likely that they will know the name, Vassos is apparently one of the best known sports broadcasters there is, and an ultra runner to boot.  However he hasn't always been an ultra runner, in fact, he hasn't always been a runner, he started late in life, I think in his mid-30's (don't quote me on that!) and only because his waist band was expanding and he wanted to continue his regular beer drinking down the pub.

The book follows his journey from his first ever run, five minutes down the road from his house and collapsing in a heap, to him completing an iron man (2.4mile swim, 112 mile cycle finished off with a marathon, 26.2 miles if you're wondering).  It's split into 26 chapters, each chapter starts with an almost diary-like entry, written whilst he's running each mile of his iron man marathon, it's a difficult read as you can feel the pain and distress he's putting his body through every step of the way, and you find yourself urging him to stop, and yet praying he'll finish it. 

Don't Stop Me Now - Vassos Alexander

Don't Stop Me Now - Vassos Alexander
I know, I hate myself for this bedside table reading too...

Each chapter then goes on to chronicle more of his running life, and ends with stories about how other (usually very well known) runners got into the sport, think Paula Radcliffe, Joss Naylor (my fellow Cumbrian readers should know who he is) Nell McAndrew and Vassos' own children to name a few, and it is completely fascinating.  As many of these are Olympians, they generally knew from a young age they'd be runners, but the odd one didn't start till they were older and yet have still gone on to achieve incredible feats.

But as a non-runner, it's hard to get motivated by those 'natural' types, I just assume it comes easy to them and so know very much from my own experience that that will never be me.  That's what I love about Vassos, he hasn't always found running easy or pleasurable, he talks about his aches and pains, the inner battle he has with himself to give up often half-way through runs, and those occasions when you go out for a run, and you're just not feeling it.  

My husband is training for a marathon, he's a natural runner, he's always enjoyed it, and often uses it as a stress reliever, and he's fast! I don't think he really understands why I find it so difficult, why I so often just give up and walk home, and why I don't seem to be getting any further or faster.  I'm not criticising him for this, he's just made to run, me not so much.  

However Vassos gets it, but he also talks about how much he loves it, how he finds it the best way to discover a new city when he's travelling, how he always just keeps telling himself to keep going when he doesn't really want to anymore, and how he completes several long distance runs in all the wrong kit because he's forgotten to bring most of it with him.  He doesn't follow a crazy diet, he hasn't set himself ridiculous training plans and he does most things he shouldn't the night before/hour before a big race...think drinking beer, eating too much (or too little) and wearing the wrong trainers. 

It's completely fascinating, and has really inspired me to get back out there and stick with it, I'm probably back down to 5k distances now, but I'd like to get that  up to 10k again, and maybe regularly managing 10k, not once every 6 months which seems to be how it goes.  I want to go to the local Park Run and try to beat my previous times, and I want to go out for a jog to just enjoy and appreciate the landscape.

So, thank you Vassos for inspiration, and maybe one day I'll be recounting my own Iron Man tales.... yeah, I went too far, maybe a half marathon, maybe one day? 

Don't Stop Me Now - Vassos Alexander


  1. Thanks for posting this, I'm going to add it to my reading list. I'm with you- I like running, but it definitely doesn't come easily. I'm quite happy with a gentle 5k! I've signed up for two 10Ks over the summer and I'm really excited about them (and a little bit nervous too!). I'd also recommend Alexandra Heminsley's book 'Running Like a Girl'- I found it so inspirational and very funny too!
    Lisa |

  2. I've heard a few people speak about this book lately! I might give it a go - I need all this inspiration I can get to run my half marathon in August!!

    Your posts about running are always good to read - maybe soon you will have written enough for your own book! ;)

    Christy x
    Dinner Stories

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