Born to Run is Christopher McDougall’s account of some quirky ultra-marathon trail runners, the Tarahumara of Mexico’s Copper Canyons, and the modern reemergence of barefoot (and nearly-barefoot) running. It’s a very enjoyable read, starting with the author’s foot problems, and continuing with his search for the near-mythic Tarahumara tribe and this legendary figure known as Caballo Blanco. It continues with a race featuring some talented ultramarathoners and the locals, telling a good story along the way. It even touches on the interesting theory of persistence hunting — that humans may have largely evolved this ability for distance running to allow them to capture prey merely by being able to chase it until it runs short of oxygen or becomes hyperthermic. (Provided of course that they keep tracking it during the shorter spans of time where it may be faster or more agile.)
It’s a compelling enough book to get me off my ass and back into some running. This time, I’m going to stubbornly (if slowly) be doing it entirely with the Five Fingers. There is enough evidence out there that that extremely cushioning or extremely motion-controlling shoes we’ve all gravitated toward aren’t that healthy for us, since they basically dull the feedback mechanism that would have us adjust our running form to hit the ground more gently.
So, naturally, I ran about 6 blocks yesterday and my calves have been sore ever since. Not injured, just sore. I’m eager to continue working on it, at a gentle pace.
I’m going to try to post again soon and write about The Authenticity Hoax, another book I enjoyed this past week.