Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back on the Road

A lot has gone on since I posted my last entry. For one, I finished the book, Born to Run by Chris McDougall. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book changed my life. It reminded me why I am a runner and reignited my dream of becoming an ultra-marathoner. For those who haven’t read the book, Born to Run is ostensibly a story of the the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons, a tribe who’s 100 plus mile foot races through mountainous trails are legendary among runners. However, McDougall’s book goes beyond an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the Tarahumaras (and the ultra-running community that is the tribe’s closest American counterparts.) Indeed the first two-thirds of the book lay the groundwork for the introduction of a startling thesis--that human beings have evolved for running. With the support of evolutionary biologists and anthropologists, McDougall tackles and answers some big questions: Why did our ancestors outlive the stronger, smarter Neanderthals? Why do expensive running shoes increase the odds of injury? Ultimately he comes to the conclusion that running steadily for hours at a time is not only therapeutic but also natural. Primitive humans did it constantly, catching and killing quarry simply by exhausting them in marathon hunts. They also did it barefoot. I urge everyone, whether runner or not, to read this wonderful book and then go for a run.

In acknowledgment of my evolutionary destiny, I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 21, 2009. Training has already commenced, and I am going to get this race under my belt and start running ultras.

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