Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Born to Run

This is my second running book in as many weeks. What is wrong with me? I borrowed this from the library some time ago but returned without reading. At that time, I was lukewarm on running. I checked it out again since I've been upping my speed and mileage and am finally starting to feel like I'm an actual runner and not a fraud.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race The World has Never Seen was written by Christopher McDougall, a journalist and runner in search of the answer to his running pains. On his journey, he discovers an incredible breed of runner, the Ultrarunner. These athletes run back-to-back marathons for their races, up to as much as 100 miles during one race. That's right, without stopping, and usually in very rough terrain and difficult climates. While researching these ultras, he stumbles upon an ancient tribe of runners, the Tarahumara. They live deep in the Mexican jungle and have no interest in modern-day technology.

Following his guide, Caballo Blanco, McDougall begins to transform his running style and attitude. The Tarahumara run everywhere throughout their lives and they do it in low profile, rubber-fashioned sandals as opposed to fancy running shoes. Eventually, McDougall and Caballo plan to hold a 50-mile race bringing together a handful of the best ultrarunners in America and as many Tarahumara that would show up.

I really enjoyed Born to Run. The chapters hop back and forth between the unbelievable path McDougall and Caballo took to make this race happen and other runners' stories and advances made in running shoes that were actually causing a lot of chronic pain issues. This format was sometimes difficult to keep up with. McDougall's research on the problems Nike and other shoe companies have created for runners with their suped up shoes was incredibly enlightening. I am one of those sufferers of foot problems and run with orthotics. Orthotics that McDougall heard from multiple doctors and running specialists were really crap. If you are not a runner, you probably won't get as much out of it as I did. However, McDougall paints amazing characters from all these runners he met along the way that you will likely still get swept up in the story. You just won't find the running research parts as interesting as I did.

Rating: * * * *

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