How would you feel if running were taken away from you? What if running made up a large chunk of your identity, your coping, your lifestyle, your friends, your work?
I received an electronic copy of this book free to review. Links contained in the post are affiliate links, meaning I receive some pennies if you make a purchase after following them.
Racing Heart: A Runner’s Journey of Love, Loss and Perseverance
by Kate Mihevc Edwards
Alright, to preface… this isn’t a spoiler, it’s written right on the book. The author, Kate, was a runner/triathlete and a heart condition took that away from her.
Kate Edwards started running and fell in love with the sport. She trained hard and long. She entered events, she won races. She changed her career path and became a physical therapist out of love for the sport. She had lofty goals including an Ironman.
She had a few health instances that seemed kind of weird over the years, but she chalked it up to bad days. We have all experienced a bad day when running. But eventually those days got more severe and there was no more ignoring them. They were serious issues that needed to be addressed.
She sees doctor upon doctor and endures so many tests. I read the book with intensity, waiting to see how she would end up with a diagnosis and what her life ends up looking like. I won’t spoil that exactly, but I will say that I would encourage anyone who loves running, and really puts all their proverbial eggs into that running basket, to read this book.
The honesty with which this book is written really makes you feel how much she loves and relies on sport, and how deeply it hurts her when the very thing she loves starts to actually cause her more harm and ultimately has to be removed.
Back to the “me me me” aspect of this review… the book scared me a little. Not because I read this and thought, “Oh no! I have a heart condition!” It was more the fact that once I finished my first race, I put a lot of stock into running races and having a lot of them on my calendar. Running is part of my identity and I’ve rebuilt my whole online world around the fact that I run. (I wasn’t always jillwillrun online. Once upon a time, I had a more generic web presence that seemed inclusive of me having a whole personality.) I loved having events planned and following my training schedules. When I entered treatment for an eating disorder, the number of events I entered scaled down a lot and the amount of time I was allowed to run was diminished. And then after I had a child, the events dropped even more dramatically because of time and support limitations. And the impact parental anxiety has had on me.
This book has struck a chord with me and has made me think hard. What would I do if running were not an option for me anymore? Is that kind of what I’m dealing with now, although to a lesser extreme, with my poor training of late?
The stress and anxiety in my life has given me a large number of health issues, which honestly make running less enjoyable. Yet I still feel a longing every day to have that old drive and ability and schedule that allowed me to do all the running I wanted to do. And maybe the fact that I let it get to me and ponder on the life I used to have, that could potentially be exacerbating the health troubles that I do have from the increasing stress I experience.
I don’t even know that I have an answer or a conclusion to these thoughts, but this book has made me think. I said it struck a chord. Maybe it was a nerve it hit. Whatever it is, I have definitely been thinking a lot about my running future and I kind of attribute it to this book. I just think that maybe I was too dependant upon running feeding my soul that I’m overlooking other things that can provide joy and empowerment as well.
So…. definitely look into this book. It’s well written and it will make you think/feel.