Book Review: Finding My Feet by Hanny Allston

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Book Review: Finding My Feet by Hanny Allston

Finding My Feet by Hanny Allston

Short Description

At 19, Hanny Allston faces a ‘perfect strom’. Her father is terrifyingly ill. Beside his hospital bed, she teters painfully on crutches after surgery that could end her sporting career. Her future in medicine is in peril because the university cannot defer her studies. (Source: Book Description)

 

Author
Hanny Allston is a World Orienteering Champion and record holder and road and trail running races. 

 

Release Date
May 7, 2020

At the age of seven, Hanny Allston puts three goals on the front page of every journal she owns: being an Olympian, living at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sports), and becoming a doctor. In the nine years following, she pursues her Olympic dreams in the pool, striving to become one of the best swimmers of Australia. When her family starts getting into orienteering, Hanny is hesitant at first, but then slowly starts falling in love with the sport of running, while at the same time falling out of love with swimming.

 

When her father commits suicide and her family breaks apart, Hanny is also facing an injury that could mean the end of her career. As the university is unable to defer her medical studies, the goals that 7-year-old Hanny put into her journals slip further out of reach. In the middle of this ‘perfect storm’, anorexia joins her, offering a false sense of security. But eventually, she finds an answer to the question “What next?” and stumbles along the path of finding her feet. While in the following years she gets back to her old strength and she runs faster than ever, anorexia remains by her side, destroying relationships and threatening her (physical) health.

Athletic success is not a way to judge your strength and character. Athletic success is never going to be the superglue, or the thing you are proud of when you are telling anecdotes in the retirement village. Life is not about winning medal, breaking records, or receiving accolades. Nor will athletic success heal you or change you for the better. 

– Hanny Allston

This book is not only the story of Australia’s most successful orienteer, but also reflects on the struggles, hardships, and failures that are part of everyone’s lives. Life is a series of challenges, but as you overcome one after another, you will grow. Therefore, “Finding My Feet” is also a book about life itself.

 

Towards the end of the book, she comes to this conclusion: “Life is giddy and messy, and well, surreal. In fact, when you think you have it all sorted, you travel around a corner and, ahead, there lies another question, challenge or opportunity. So, I am sorry this story was giddy, messy, and honest. But it happened. Life happened.”

 

So, if you like learning from others, this book is for you. Hanny Allston shares her life lessons, her failures, and her successes with an inspiring honesty. Maybe it will shift your perspective on injuries as much as it did mine 🙂 

 

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About The Author

I did my debut triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at 6 years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it would take another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 
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Book Review: Cross Country by Ricky Gates

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Book Review: Cross Country by Rickey Gates

Cross Country by Ricky Gates

Short Description

In 2017, professional runner Rickey Gates ran 3,700 miles across the continental United States with just a small backpack and an anthropologist’s curiosity to discover the divided America in which we live.

(Source: Book Description)

Author
Rickey Gates is a professional runner who competed on all seven continents.

 

Pages 
256

 

Release Date
April 14, 2020

A few pages into this book, I was completely hooked. Rickey Gates starts off with his motivation to run across the US (from the East to the West), then goes on to describing his route in more detail. From the beginning of his journey on, Gates starts including conversations with locals into the story.

 

The book is designed to show how people and their culture change as Gates moves further west. However, the snippets of conversation are too short and it’s hard to make out a common thread in these little stories. Gates plainly talks about his encounters with locals and leaves the reader alone to judge. Although I welcome the distance to the author’s own thoughts in these situations, I wish there were a few more pages to this book that show Gates’ own experiences and challenges he faced while running. The book is supposed to show the “ordinary and extraordinary people and place he saw along the way,” but the little stories he tells are too shallow to really let the reader in.

“I had learned over decades of running and racing that to cross a place on foot is to observe and participate in a vast and complex web of infrastructure.”

– Rickey Gates

The book defeats its purpose of showing “the divided America” (as stated in the book description) because most of the author’s interactions with people rather express a sense of hospitality and willingness to help than referring to political opinions.

 

Overall, the story remains rather superficial. I think a book like this should live from the experiences and challenges the author goes through in order to find a deeper meaning in the journey. It should also live from vulnerable moments in which the author lets the reader in to his thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, the story remains just plain and lacks the depth and insight the reader is looking for.

Readers who are looking for a quick and easy-to-read travel story will definitely like this book. Those looking for raw and authentic experiences of someone running 3,700 miles across the US, the book probably won’t live up to their expectations. 

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About The Author

I did my debut triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at 6 years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it would take another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

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