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by Susan Reynolds

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2006
ISBN: 978-1-4327-0048-5

An inspirational memoir about finding the inner athlete in yourself.

Says Reynolds (The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides, 2006), a self-described clumsy pre-Title IX baby, “I have long believed I have a great journey in me.” Here, she traces her recent steps in that trek, hoping to inspire others to follow their own paths to health and self-fulfillment. In her late 40s, the author was overweight, in otherwise poor health and generally so disgusted with herself that she decided to take up walking to remedy the situation. “In the end,” she writes, “my goal was not so much thinness, as that is a way I have never envisioned myself. My goal was fitness. I wanted to feel good inside my skin. I wanted to wake up without achy joints and stiff muscles. I decided that I would do this for myself.” Though initially unable to find the time to walk significant distances–she’s a mother of four and wife of a prominent lawyer with muscular dystrophy–Reynolds fell in love with walking while on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. She also modified her diet, eliminating gluten and lactose products, and soon dropped more than 60 pounds and her “moose-woman self-image.” Exploring the Black Range Mountains near her southern New Mexico home inspired Reynolds to not only complete a number of half-marathons, but undertake major walks and hikes in the western United States, France, Costa Rica, Scotland, and even to stage her own 38.5-mile Ghost Town Ultra (any distance event longer than a marathon’s 26.2 miles). “It is funny,” she writes. “I was not an athlete until my first marathon at the age of 50.” Though Reynolds tends to wax a bit too poetic and her narrative meanders at times like a diary, her story should motivate those in a rut to take charge of their lives.

This frank, enjoyable “why-to” guide to walking offers direction for personal growth as well.