Monday, September 10, 2012

{Review} Hot Flashes and Half Ironmans: Middle-Aged Endurance Athletics Meets the Hormonally Challenged by Pamela Fagan Hutchins

ISBN #: 978-0615634128
Page Count: 248
Copyright: May 2, 2012
Publisher: Skipjack Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Women get older, dammit, and sometimes it sucks, especially for women who pride themselves on athleticism and an adventurous spirit. Hot flashes. Weight gain. Sleepless nights. Yes, it can be hard, but middle age doesn't have to be a flashing red stop light. It's perfectly acceptable for women of a certain age, a certain level of hormonal imbalance, and a certain amount of cellulite to don spandex and even enter the rarefied sport of endurance triathlon.

In fact, there's a huge advantage to aging: much of the potential competition drops out in favor of the couch and a remote control. And the endurance high? The elation of dietary purity and discovering you can have arms like Madonna? The Zen of goal attainment? Better than a good Shiraz buzz. Once you get past the ugly mood swings, chafing on your girly parts, and a "kill your own mother" craving for sleep and a hot Cinnabon, that is.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins has been there and done that, with lessons learned and sense of humor (usually) intact. She completed her first triathlon at 39 and her first Half Ironman at 40. She has her eye on an M-dot tattoo in 2014.

Kathy's Review:

Hot Flashes and Half Ironmans is funny, it's informative and it's personal. Author Pamela Fagan Hutchins (I'll just call her "Pam" from now on - I know things about her that I don't know about my closest girl friends!) talks about her experience with perimenopause, which honestly, I had never heard of before and now I'm convinced I have, as well as training with her husband for a half ironman. From the beginning I felt like I was reading an e-mail from a friend. Her phrasing is literally laugh-out-loud funny. I read most of this book with a smile on my face. For instance: when describing a canoeing adventure on a very cold lake wearing many layers of clothing, she says, "I got out, almost falling into the water and turning myself into a giant super-absorbent Tampax." Oh, the visual! And that's BEFORE her husband confesses at dinner what he saw in the lake ... doesn't sound like they'll be trying that again any time soon. The book is peppered with these funny moments. You'll never look at Icy Hot the same way again! ;-)

I admire the relationship she has with her husband Eric. Through her hormonal imbalances he seems like a pretty cool guy and pretty patient with her. The fact that they train together for the half ironman and other marathons shows how strong they are as a team. The pictures of them shown throughout are sweet; holding hands on the treadmill or crossing the finish line together at a race.

I was more interested in the Hot Flashes than in the Half Ironmans, but it was interesting to hear about her training, the setbacks that occurred and how she overcame them. Another especially interesting section was where she discussed her "no white" diet. There are a ton of healthy eating tips in there that I made note of - particularly the sugar-free drinks and the gelatin suggestion. That's stuff I will definitely be checking out.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, I feel that it lacked structure and continuity. One chapter would be about a particular triathlon event, and then she would jump around. The diet chapter is in the middle of the book and I felt like it should have been an appendix. The same thing with a rather lengthy chapter about how to select a bike. Again, could have been at the end.

I was also surprised when I reached the end of the book only to be treated to excerpts from several of Pam's other works. Each of those focused on a different topic - for instance, her marriage to Eric and how they make it work; another discusses her son Clark, who is ADHD. I'd like to see a whole book of hers devoted to perimenopause because this was interesting to me.

Pam's got a great voice as a writer, and certainly has a lot of life experience to share. I'd like to see a little bit more organization to her writing, which would take this from great to outstanding. As it stands, Hot Flashes and Half Ironmans is chock-full of interesting tidbits that will especially interest triathletic women, or women who want to get motivated to accomplish a physical goal.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Send me a book and I'll tell everyone it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.........I'm easy

  2. :-)Bill! Good to see you here!

    Kathy! I loved your review - I think Pam is a fabulous writer too - and a terrific person..eeeeasy to read. A few months ago, I had the privilege of reviewing her other book :"Puppalicious and beyond" and I don't mind confessing I am all starry-eyed.

    Great to visit here! :D Cheers!

  3. So right -- she is funny and a gifted writer! And an inspiration to perimenopausal women everywhere. :)

  4. Sounds like a great book club read.

  5. That was an excellent review and exactly how I felt about the book. You have a good "review voice" and I like how you said what you liked and didn't quite like. It makes one want to rush out and buy the book (and I aleady have 3!) - good job!

  6. Great review. Reading about her perimenopause had me going YES, YES, YES and more convinced I have it myself, too.

  7. I think this is an excellent review, I have read the book love it AND I love that the reviewer here is honest and balanced and true to her opinions on it.
    What is clear and wonderful is that the reviewer (Kathy) takes this role seriously, reads thoroughly and has intelligent remarks about the things she thinks are great and not so great. It gives a potential buyer of the book a good idea what to expect and if the book is for them, which is of course, the way it should be.
    Nicely done.

  8. Thank all of you for stopping by and leaving comments! I will let Kathy know you enjoyed her review.

    Have a great day everyone. =)



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