Finding My Feet
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.
Hanny Allston writes with an immense honesty and even sounds poetic at times. Even though it is hard to get rid of an eating disorder completely, there are always lessons to take away. In a letter to her younger self, she writes: “It is okay to sit still and even to close your eyes for a while. Take a rest! For what we have learnt from this journey so far is that we must be more to do more, rather than, ‘I need to do more to be more.’ For even when you strive to create meaning from purpose and ambition, it is okay to also sit still.”
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 🙂
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)
Hanny Allston is a World Orienteering Champion and record holder and road and trail running races.
May 7, 2020