Born to Run

07 Born to Run

No, it’s not the Springsteen thing…it’s something else entirely…but what a great song, huh?

The Born to Run that I’m talking about is the title of a book by Chris McDougall that talks about barefoot running and a Mexican tribe called the Tarahumara, who run great distances in the desert… without shoes.

Even in our culture, where we seem to be able to accessorize the simplest of activities, running is a pretty elemental sport.

Just a pair of running shoes and some lightweight shorts…a t-shirt…maybe a sports bra for the ladies…not much else.  It’s pretty simple.

But somehow we can figure out how to lust after any bling we can attach to even something as simple as running.

Like right now…I haven’t even started running again yet, but already I’m thinking how cool it would be to have one of those new GPS watches that I could look at and tell how far I’d been…where I was and where I was going…even tell the time if I needed that information.

Or maybe a RoadID for my wrist in addition to the one on my ankle?  There’d be no chance for confusion if I had one on my wrist, too. Maybe I need two?

They even have special shoes to make the transition to full on nude feet even easier to handle.

I guess it’s easy to complicate running if I work at it

But…this tribe, the Tarahumara…they break things down to the elemental needs…no shoes, no goretex…just tough feet, big lungs,and…. homebrew. (They drink a lot of corn beer…high carb, low alcohol content corn beer… to fuel these long runs.)

Running and drinking corn beer….hmmmm.

This Chris McDougall book is pretty wild…sparked a strong debate about barefoot running and its benefits…and renewed curiosity in a Mexican tribe of super athletes called the Tarahumara.

A quote from Chris McDougall’s site that I thought was interesting was this one:

“It is a beautiful story and a superb synthesis of the science. It is about time that as a society we examined how it is that we have got to the point where it is considered unnatural to run.”
—Dr. Craig Richards, PhD, professor of biomedical research at the University of Newcastle and a leading authority on running biomechanics.

Children play…they run, they breathe…jump up, jump down…climb and swing and yell and roll….with no concept of sets or repetitions or peak heart rates or anything we obsess over for the sake of efficiency.

Natural athletes.

I’d like to get back to the point where it was such an unconscious part of my life that exercise felt like play again.

Maybe we cloak it all in the business of fitness so we can feign maturity, though?  “Don’t bother me now, son…Daddy’s busy working out”…working out….work…work work work.  Doesn’t sound as natural as running in the desert somehow.

Chidren play, mature adults work.

This was an interesting book and it raised some thought provoking questions about my own attitudes towards fitness.




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