Book Review: Confessions of an Unlikely Runner by Dana L Ayers, Originally Posted on A Nerd Girl Gets Fit

Review Originally Posted on  A Nerd Girl Gets Fit

I definitely didn’t expect to write a book review on this blog. I usually keep that pretty much exclusively on the What A Nerd Girl Says blog. However, I was scrolling through Facebook this morning before work and I saw a book recommendation on one of my running groups. I’ve been looking for some good non-fiction running books that I can relate to and this one was also on sale for only 2.99 for the ebook and I immediately bought it. I’m glad I did because I read it in one day. I am structuring the review similar to how I structure my reviews on my regular blog because I think it just works!




168 pages


November 20th, 2015


Difference Press







Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website


Witty, observant, and full of cringe-worthy confessions and heartwarming encouragement, Confessions celebrates both running and life. Part Bridget Jones, part Forrest Gump, Dana Ayers chronicles her awkward mishaps and adventures in transitioning from childhood bookworm to accidental accomplished athlete. Over the last ten years, Ayers has completed a vast array of races. She runs them all while admittedly not getting much faster, much thinner, or much more disciplined-though she has managed to be on national television, split open her pants, and get electrocuted.

Ayers intersperses her hilarious yet relatable struggles with insights about how and why she keeps running. A self-proclaimed ambassador of slow runners, Ayers has completed dozens of endurance challenges, including Tough Mudder, the Ragnar Relay, Muddy Buddy, Warrior Dash, Run Amuck, the Army Ten-Miler, the Country Music Marathon, and many more mud runs, obstacles courses, and races. Her race descriptions will entertain seasoned runners and non-runners alike. Woven into the chaos of her running adventures is compassionate reassurance for anyone who feels like they aren’t fast enough, athletic enough, or strong enough to finish a tough race.

Though told with humor, Confessions’ stories share an underlying theme of Ayers’ serious reverence for the sport of running and the running community. Ayers describes experiences such as participating in a 1,000-mile relay for Boston Marathon bombing victims, and being overcome by emotion while observing wounded veterans struggling to finish a race. Her stories prove how life-enriching it can be to physically fight for something and to cheer on others who are doing the same. For anyone who has considered trying a marathon, an obstacle race, or simply taking up running for the first time, Ayers is your ambassador. If she can do it, you can too.


I never ever had any inkling in my mind that I would ever run a full marathon. That is 26.2 miles. That is basically my commute to work. I’ve set what feels like an impossible goal of running a half-marathon by my 40th birthday, which is in roughly 8 years. It seems so impossible. To be fair, a couple years ago, I would have thought running a 5K would be impossible and I’ve done nearly a dozen at this point.

Dana’s book makes me genuinely believe that I can do a half-marathon. Hell, she makes me believe that I could possibly capable of completing an actual marathon. 26.2 miles. She makes me believe that.

Because she’s slow, because she likes to eat like me, because she struggles and throws up after races and all of that. She is a normal, every day, non athletic person. She is a person that you can relate to, honestly, and the fact that she accomplishes a marathon and a Tough Mudder and she does a Ragnar Relay, all these things that I dream of but never actually feel I could accomplish – it makes you think, yeah, yeah I could totally do that.

This book is an incredibly quick read and an easy read. Dana doesn’t write the book like she’s writing this life changing novel but like she’s writing a letter to a friend, telling them about the insane adventures she’s had in running and how you can really do it, seriously, you really can. She talks about ripping her pants, throwing up, peeing in random places, sleeping in weird places and you think, this is not glamorous and can be gross but its kind of amazing.

I definitely recommend this to any runner but honestly I think this is really good for runners that are like me – hesitate to call themselves runners, the slow ones in the back that watch as everyone passes them by, even that old lady that looks like she’s not too far from the grave. Its encouraging for those of us who see these big, big goals like Tough Mudders, marathons, Ragnar Relays and want to join in, want to be a part of the fun but think…I am not the person for those. I’m slow, I’ll bring my team, I can’t do it.

Dana did it. She’s done so many amazing things and she’s not an athlete, she’s not someone that has been training her entire life. Her book is FUNNY and encouraging and just great. I read the entire thing in a matter of an hour or two and am so glad that I did. I hope to find more books like this, written by accidental runners like me, to encourage me to maybe, possibly dream of big things in the future.


5 out of 5 Stars


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