Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Second Wind: One Woman's Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents Paperback – October 19, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
In it readers are taken on a remarkable personal journey as she pursues a midlife quest to run seven marathons on seven continents.
Finding herself edging towards the middle years of her life and coming to terms with divorce while also rejecting the restrictive religious-based life that had defined her life until so recently, Ostman embarks on a new life that challenges her to step outside her comfort zone.
At the suggestion of an old friend she puts on running shoes and goes out for a slow run. She is an unlikely runner, but soon begins to appreciate the release it gives her to think and reassess her life.
And so begins a transforming process as she tentatively embarks on a new relationship that is, at the same time, intertwined with a desire to run a marathon on each of the world's seven continents and yes, that does include Antarctica!
The book works on many levels, but at its essence it tells the true story of a woman redefining her place in the world.
Filled with humour and poignant moments of reflection, Ostman goes from being a non-runner in 2001 to someone who, in 2010, found herself on the verge of becoming one of the few people on the planet to have completed the marathon distance of 26.2 miles on all seven continents.
Does she complete her quest? That is for the reader to discover. However, runners and non-runners will find plenty to like about this book. The conversational writing style is easy to follow and enjoy and with each marathon Ostman finds a new meaning, a new lesson, to enrich her life.
This is not a book solely about running, it also celebrates overcoming adversity, finding inner strength, connecting with others across age barriers and cultures, and letting go the need for perfection.
As Ostman puts it herself: "The marathon teaches a person to plan, to dream, to push through hard times, to admire unlikely people, to give up the penchant for perfectionism, and to accept life for the messy endeavour it is."
It is also a book about a woman gaining strength and finding herself.
Each chapter is prefaced by well chosen quotations that inspire and cleverly foreshadow lessons to be revealed in the pages that follow.
Ostman's reflection and honesty is refreshing. At one point she writes: "As it turns out, when you're by yourself, it's not easy to shove off the responsibility for your unhappiness onto someone else."
Personally, although I'm neither a woman nor a back-of-pack runner (I've run road races for 30 years), I found myself nodding along with so much of the experiences and revelations described by Ostman.
I laughed loudly many times at the candid wit and humour to be found in the pages of `Second Wind'. And I appreciated the humbling moments of humility shown by the writer such as when, having envisaged cheering spectators, she describes her sadness at arriving at a near deserted finishing line after running a marathon race in five-and-a-half hours. Earlier in the race she had chatted to a fellow competitor, a 75-year-old man in his 331st marathon. Before leaving the finish line in the near silent stadium she turns and waits to cheer home the lonely veteran.
The blurb for `Second Wind' promises that the book will "inspire readers to take chances, find truth in their loves, and learn to listen to the voice inside them that's been there all along". For me, this book fulfilled that promise, and more
Best of the book: inspiring quotes that begin each chapter, her devil may care attitude, and hope-that readers who need a little push may be encouraged enough by her story to take up distance running. Second Wind is an inspiring book for women about the mental and physical benefits of distance running. Also good: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox and The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh.
And what does Cami learn during her Vision Quest? She learns to revel in the "complex person" who she has become, sharing with the reader such keen insights as her shocking discovery that South Africa still has racial issues despite the end of apartheid. She gains a sense of "entitlement to be nurtured by others", which she thinks is a good thing (I'm not making this up). Cami is so enthralled by the concept of being nurtured by others that by the end of the book, the only thing longer than one of her marathons is the list of people she has imposed herself upon - maybe she was giving the little people an opportunity to participate in her Vision Quest.
The 7 continent goal eventually becomes an obsession for Cami - she has a readiness to cut any corner, lean on any person, plus an unwillingness to accept responsibility for poor outcomes or problems. Cami actually blames the economy for the decline in her business, even while taking repeated long trips and vacations - presumably her clients moved on to someone more reliable. One of my favorite parts is Cami's endless attack (while drinking her Double Short Soy Latte) at a company called Marathon Tours because they wouldn't move her up on a waiting list to go to Antarctica - how could they not understand the importance of her Vision Quest? - it never occurring to Cami that pretty much everyone on the list ahead of her likely shares that same goal. Oh, and also the part where she cries at not getting a finsher's medallion - a tee shirt not being enough for Cami.
It's too bad that Cami's running evolves the way it does. In the beginning, she gains many of the positive benefits that keep the rest of us out on the road. Running seems to help her make strides to overcoming her problems. When the 7 continent goal first arose, Cami could have taken a long term view. She could have learned how to train and run a marathon, properly. She could have spread her events over several years. She could have learned self reliance. She could have proudly upheld ethical standards. She could have had an inspiring story. But she didn't.