Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Yes, I'd Love to Run 100 Miles Through Inhospitable Terrain. Where Do I Sign Up?

Written a couple days ago:

This morning, before my run, I ate/gulped down a concoction of chia seeds, lime juice, and sugar. It was of questionable consistency and supposedly gave one energy. Why, you ask, did I slurp this down when I could have had a bagel (I actually also had this) or oatmeal or bacon or eggs or Fruit Loops. Here's why:

Copper Canyons, Mexico
via NatGeo
I'd been warned that I would love Christopher McDougall's Born to Run. I'd been told by friends and family and Runners World and running blogs. But I wasn't interested in reading about ultra-marathoners. I couldn't relate. I'm only now just training for my first half marathon. I'm slow and don't mind. I stop to pet cats and dogs. I love my neon pink running attire. I smile goofily at other runners. I pause at traffic lights. And 13.1 is an entirely different animal than 100 miles. The fairly flat sidewalks and barricaded main streets of one of the races I partake in are nothing to extreme desert or mountain highlands.

Well man am I glad I read this! It was too bad I read most of it on an airplane because it made me want to get up and run! It made me realize there is nothing to fear with my upcoming race. I am alive and am happy to be able use my nature given appendages.I love to run. Indeed, the book tells me that as a human, I am born to run. This morning, my first run since I finished the book, the run felt freer, more natural, and completely invigorating. . . and yes, I still stopped to pet the kitties.

Reading this in the terminal at Fort Lauderdale, I was approached by a fellow runner even. This book brings people together!

This book also follows a man - who alternately has gone by the monikers Caballo Blanco, Micah True, and Michael Randall Hickman - and his dream and success story of bringing American and Terahumara runners together for an endurance race that tests the feet, the heart, and the mind. Caballo recently passed away, coincidentally and sadly. Check out more info on that here.

Born to Run speaks to man, as a species, as being born to run. It is not just about one single runner, though there are profiles of many and an in depth look at the Terahumara - an indigenous culture living in isolated mountains of Mexico. Running is their lives. McDougall talks about them and other groups and how we as Americans can learn from them.

By the way, the chia concoction is called iskiate and is a snack of the Terahumara that supposedly provides them the energy to go miles and miles through the inhospitable terrain of the Copper Canyons. I thought with that I could handle a few miles in my paved Seattle neighborhood.Turns out, no problem!

Check out a very brief look at the running women of the Terahumara: