Thursday, October 8, 2009

Born to Run and a New Personal Achievement

I first have to preface this post in that I shouldn't be blogging and SHOULD be working on my WCHA season previews instead ... but I wanted to post this yesterday and didn't so I need to do it today. Yes.

Anyway, after reading an excerpt in 5280 Magazine and I'm pretty sure this one in Men's Health, I decided to pick up Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Long story short, it was AMAZING. McDougall, a writer for the aforementioned Men's Health, wanted an answer to a simple question - "How come my foot hurts?" He'd been told that it was due to running and the high stress that it puts on one's feet. In figuring out exactly why running hurts one's feet, however, he learned about the Tarahumara, a group of running people down in Mexico. The Tarahumara are basically the world's best ultramarathoners, having come to one such race (the Leadville 100) and kicked everyone's asses. They are also kind people, have very low injury rates and are pretty much perfect (so McDougall describes them).

Anyway, the book tells of McDougall's tale of finding the Tarahumara and then learning how to run and train like them, finding out that he can run further and longer as a result with no injuries.

McDougall winds his story in along with the basic history of ultramarathon-ing as well as the history of how our foot problems (due to running) came about. Basically, as humans evolved and moved upright, we were born to run and run long distances. Barefoot. The human foot was made to run barefoot and all the correcting crap we do to our feet with our running shoes and stuff basically makes it worse. In other words, since Nike came out with the first cushioned running shoe, runners started getting injured and injured a lot.

If you like running, a good story, history and a touch of anthropology mixed all together, I highly recommend this book. I just picked it up from the library, but I'm thinking it's one I may need to buy to have for the personal library.

After finishing the book yesterday, I was motivated to go running around the park barefoot ... but knew I had to get in some miles. So, I decided to go for a long run. I tinkered with my form a little - keeping my back straight and my steps as light as I could make them ... and I did well. I tried to enjoy the run and not feel miserable and for the most part ... it worked.

I didn't have to walk until just past the 3.2 mile mark and only seriously walked when I got to this murderous hill near the end of the run (100 feet in elevation gained in under a half-mile). All in all, I did 5.12 miles in 1:00:16 ... which is the longest run I've EVER been on. EVER. It was the first time I've ever cracked the five mile mark. My quads started hurting a bit near the end as did my stupid buniony feet, but it also felt AMAZING at the same time.

So, that's where I am. Except for pretty much my total lack of bike riding lately (oops), I think I'm well on my way to early prepping my way for an Olympic distance triathlon next year and maybe even a half-marathon next December (2010, people) ...

1 comment:

Dr. J said...

Glad things are going well! I have a column up on barefoot running. I can't support doing an extreme amount, but I do think running like you are barefoot with midfoot/forefoot striking is a good way to go. Let me know how it goes.