“You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.”
~ Jack “The Dipsea Demon” Kirk
If you’re on Facebook at all, you must have seen the numerous “Sh*t XYZ [people] say” videos. It started with “Girls”, and lots of other gems followed: “Girls to Gay Guys”, “Asian Dads”, “VFX Artists”, and yesterday, our friend Ruel posted “Sh*t Barefoot Runners Say”. It was HILARIOUS to us since we’ve been minimalist runners for the past few years:
Back in 2009, I was introduced to the concept of barefoot or minimalist running. I changed my running technique and even went through the CrossFit Endurance training certification. I had been into running since around 2004, and had completed several half marathons and one full before this, but at the cert I learned a lot about how through the past several decades since the first “running shoe” came out in the 70’s, runners have been getting injured more and more with technological shoe “advances” – not less and less, because most running shoes are designed to prohibit the natural movement of the foot, and cause more problems than they “solve”.
At the cert, I was also introduced to and encouraged to read the book, “Born To Run”, and I bought it that very weekend. Though I’ve been practicing minimalist running for a while now, and have also coached Nick a bit with it (he used to get terrible shin splints and hated running, but since changing his technique he no longer has those issues and actually ran his first marathon last year) that book sat on my shelf for two and a half years until I saw the video Ruel posted. After having a good laugh, I decided I really should finally read the book.
“Born To Run” is about an indigenous tribe of peoples in Mexico called the Tarahumara (Tara-oo-MARa) or Rarámuri, who run for ridiculously long distances over varied rough and steep terrain, and who run at all ages – from children to great-grandparents – they run all their lives, and in sandals or “huaraches” that are basically nothing more than a piece of rubber protecting the bottoms of their feet, fastened with a leather strap. They have no plantar fasciitis, no Achilles tendonitis, no shin splints or any of the other “running” injuries that are common with the “modern” runner.
The author is Christopher McDougall, a former war correspondent for the Associated Press and now a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine. He decided to write the book to address his own nagging questions about the broad modern medical community’s view on running and how “bad” it is for the body. His journey takes the reader from the office of one of the country’s top sports physicians in Philadelphia – where McDougall was told that at 6’4″ and 230 pounds, his body just “wasn’t built for running” – to the Leadville 100 Ultramarathon in Colorado, up freezing peaks, across blazing deserts, following the stories of athletes who push their bodies to the absolute limit for their love of running, and finally to where it all converges in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and the “greatest footrace the world has never seen”.
This book was fantastic. Engaging, witty, thought-provoking, and honestly, invigorating. If you like to run, you may want to get this in both the print and audio versions, since reading the book constantly makes you feel torn – between continuing to read, and lacing up those huaraches for a run.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Unabridged CD)