I’m pretty easily influenced by media. So after I finished listening to the audio book, Born to Run, obviously I wanted to run.
This book covers a wide range of things like tribes in Mexico, the history of the running shoe and why it is ruining the sport, and the evolution of man as a persistence hunter. I especially found the latter subject crazy and awesome. People (men, women and children) used to hunt by simply outrunning animals who have to stop running in order to cool down. While human beings can run for hours and be fine because we have things called sweat glands and lungs that don’t contract with every step, antelope will die of exhaustion in a few hours of running. Running used to be a source of food, transportation, security, and entertainment for humans. We were as, the title suggests, born to run.
The main storyline follows an eccentric runner named Caballo Blanco who organizes a 50 mile race in the canyons of Mexico between utlra running’s elites and the Tarahumara indians. It is full of stories of people who have been injured from running and then change their style to become very strong runners, including the author Christopher McDougall (who is given the spirit animal of bear by Caballo Blanco). These men and women can run races over 100 miles in 16 hours or less. They do all of this by mimicking the way people were meant to run: barefoot.
No, I’m not going to run barefoot (not yet at least), my feet have the toughness of a baby’s bottom. But I did take my feet for a test run on grass and discovered what McDougall was saying in his book. You run differently and more comfortably when you run barefoot. So why not just always run like you are barefoot? Your heel doesn’t slam down on the ground, your upper body is straighter and steadier, and you feel lighter, faster, and healthier.
I took my new running style out for a test yesterday. I did two miles (which is on the long side for me normally) and it felt like nothing and I’m excited to do more. I think my spirit animal is the Hawk. Maybe a crow. What’s yours?