Born to Run. Christopher McDougall. (2nd read)

After reading the excellent NY Times article on Micah True, aka Caballo Blanco, I had to go back and read the book that all started with the crazy race he put on in Mexico, Born To Run.  The 1st time I  read this book, I  thought it was about Ultra-running, and it is, but it also is considered the kick starter for the barefoot/minimalist running revolution.  I was already running barefoot and in VFF’s at the time and had no idea they’d be featured in the book…  On this reading, I admit I skimmed the long(ish) chapters on barefoot running vs. shoes and the evolutionary theory of humans as runners… I was more interested in the story of Caballo, as well as the Leadville races and the Copper Canyons run…

Just like the first reading when I was about to head out on a 24 hour adventure race, tomorrow I head to the mountains fo a 24 hour run.  Should be interesting.  :-)

One thing that really struck me was the quote from Caballo that ends the book in light of how he died — alone and on a run in the wilderness:

“When I get too old to work, I’ll do what Geronimo would’ve if they’d left him alone…. I’ll walk off into the deep canyons and find a quiet place to lie down.”

A nit pick:  McDougall, on p. 173, talks about impact with running at 12x body weight…. Most of what I’ve seen puts it at 2-3x, and when I ran on a force-plate treadmill I was just over 2x at 2.08x.  I think anyone who’s read McDougall knows he embellishes a lot – that’s one of the things that makes this book so good!  But 12x vs. 3x is a huge difference!

I guess I still need to read Dharma Bums by Kerouac… “Try the meditation of the trail, just walk along looking at the trail at your feet and don’t look about and just fall into a trance as the ground zips by…  Trails are like that:  you’re floating along in a Shakespearian Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and fluteboys, then suddenly your’re struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak… just like life.”

Quote:  “You can’t hate the Beast and expect to beat it; the only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.”  (The beast is the fatigue and suffering that comes with ultra running…)

Born to Run is a great read….  For me, mostly for the story of the races, and not so much the barefoot running or evolutionary theories of running…

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