Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Born to Run

I'm back from Hawaii! It was a wonderful vacation, full of sun, sand, and surf. Actually, I didn't go surfing, but spent plenty of time snorkeling. My foot feels much better and I am starting to test its limits by wearing heels for a bit during the day and walking for 30 minutes. I'm proud to say both were pain-free!
I must admit that the first two weeks of no running were pretty easy to swallow. The pain and extra-strength tylenols drove home the message that I was in no way, shape, or form, was I ready to run again. Now that the pain's gone, I want to run again. I head to the sports medicine clinic tomorrow for a follow-up. Hopefully I'll get some good news.
I spent a good deal of my vacation time reading. One of the books I'm currently polishing off is Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher MacDougall.

The main argument in the book is that modern running inventions and gadgets may have improved running times, but that running shoes cause more injuries than they prevent. Running shoes disconnect our brains from our bodies and that by interrupting this vital communication, runners get injured because they are unaware of their body's limits. Now he's not saying that everyone should throw their shoes out the window and prance down the street in bare feet (though that'd be pretty hilarious). But he does say that trying to follow the Tarahumara (the Hidden Tribe reference in the title) way of running and living can pay off if you can do it. He also debunks the claim that humans weren't mean to run long distances.
It's been a very interesting and informative read. The book does a great job of giving the reader an overview of the history behind ultrarunning (50K+ races) and how the sport has evolved over the past 20 years. The author chronicles his own adventures and his evolution from injured runner to ultrarunner. His journey is convincing evidence that the Tarahumaran lessons can pay dividends if you apply them correctly to your running and way of life.

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