Speaking of checking off to do lists, I finally picked up a copy of Christopher McDougall’s best selling book Born to Run that I’ve been meaning to read for about, um 3 years! I was a little hesitant to read it, one for the hype, and two because I’m scared of barefoot running. 😦
For a two second catch-you-up, B2R is the true story of a middle-age journalist who learns to run “correctly” and love it, by studying the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons. This tribe is completely cut off from any form of society, technology, or orthopedic shoe insert, yet have been and remain some of the very top ultramarathon runners of all time. Let’s just say they know a thing or two.
McDougall interweaves a story about an epic ultramarathon race between America’s finest distance runners and the Tarahumara tribe, alongside a riveting theory that humans were literally born to run – making the argument that we evolved from (and outlived) neanderthals because we are built to run and run long distances at that.
While you may not believe every position McDougall describes in this book, it would be hard to walk away from without some thought provoking ideas around running – how we do it and why. As a runner myself, I was engrossed in this book and found myself practically evangelizing it at work – I’ll save you from that here.
I do want to share with you some of my favorite quotes from this book… I think you can relate even if you’ve never run a mile in your life. This book told a fascinating story and had lessons for people of all running abilities – it’d definitely be a great gift for a runner on your holiday shopping list!
“Living on the edge wasn’t about danger…it was about curiosity, audacious curiosity.”
“The only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.”
On life: “You never know how hard it will be. You never know when it will end. You can’t control it. You can only adjust.”
“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”
“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find some amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through obstruction.” – quote by William James used by Scott Jurek at the end of his e-mails