Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The One Book When You Need Encouragement for Your Passion

I'm always shoving a book towards someone saying, "You should read this!" I love sharing my favorite things. But this time, someone shoved a book towards me.

My mom and sister kept chatting about this book called Chasing Grace. "You should read it, Schuyler!" And when it came up in my review Program, the BookLook Bloggers, it was really destined to be. I needed a quick, easy read that was still enjoyable, so I put it on hold.

It's been a while since I've read a biography, and I've never read a biography of an Olympian before. The experience was inspiring.

The Book
“For as long as I can remember, life has been measured in seconds. The fewer, the better.”

Most people equate success with having more, but Sanya’s quest was always for less. She started running track as a little girl in Jamaica and began competing when she was only seven. At 31 she’s had a career’s worth of conditioning to run a 400-meter race in 50 seconds, hopefully 49, or even better, 48.

When she started training with her coach, Clyde Hart, they divided her race into four phases: push, pace, position, poise, and with the inherent prayer. For years Sanya worked to hone every phase in practice so that when it came time to race, her body would respond as her mind instinctively transitioned from one phase to the next. As she got older and embraced a life that measures more than just a number on the time clock, she has realized the genius of this strategy for not just racing the 400 meters, but for living her best life.

Sanya shares triumphant as well as heartbreaking stories as she reveals her journey to becoming a world-class runner. From her childhood in Jamaica to Athens, Beijing and London Olympics, readers will find themselves inspired by the unique insights she’s gained through her victories and losses, including her devastating injury during the 2016 Olympic Trials forcing career retirement just weeks before Rio. Sanya demonstrates how even this devastating loss brought her closer to the ultimate goal of becoming all God created her to be.

”Sometimes you think you are chasing a gold medal, but that’s not what you are chasing. You’re racing to become the best version of yourself.”
My Thoughts 
Sanya writes in a warm, simple, easy-to-read style. It's a pleasure to read because it flows smoothly and almost feels like she's having a conversation with you. I love conversational literature. Her life of intense training on the track reminded me in some ways of the training process my sister undergoes for the Bible Bee competition--it's a long process with a brief off-season, and she has to stay pretty intense and focused to keep in shape--just like Sanya.

I was inspired by two things in particular--one was the four phases of the race, which Sanya calls "the four Ps". You cannot always run the race by pushing off and going at the top of your game and energy. Eventually, you have to pace yourself into a steady rhythm so you don't burn out. The discipline of pushing hard at the start and then holding a steady rhythm made a lot of sense, and I want to incorporate it into my projects and mindset as I work.

Another inspiring thing about Sanya's training was just the sheer discipline on the track every day. I had a really tired week last week, and didn't do too great on the rhythm side of things. It's OK to take a break sometimes (pacing, after all) but I want to press on, and not fall into bad habits that could derail the work God has set before me. I hope to remember Sanya's example and techniques to encourage me to run the race faithfully and constantly.

Also, I loved the section when her body could no longer hold out in the running, and she had to retire. Passing the baton into the next season of life with grace was really helpful. I loved the inspiring finish to her book.

I love Sanya's passion. I'm passionate about what I do, and this book gave me tools I needed to run the race well. I highly recommend it for an inspirational and inspiring read.

I recieved this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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