In this lovely read, Christopher McDougall tells us about a tribe of long distance runners in Mexico and the 'tribe' or ultra-marathon runners in the US. I don't understand the drive behind running 50 miles in one day, or 100 miles in one day (at 10,000 ft. altitude). But McDougall also writes about human physiology and how we were born to run, especially long distances. We had to run in order to hunt. But humans also were born to create efficiencies, which ultimately led to the automobile and we lost the need to run. Now people do it for fun. People might look at me and say I'm doing it for fun. I'm not. I'm not quite sure why I'm doing it yet, but I'm trying. I don't have to run - I can certainly hunt down my food at Market of Choice and I can get there by car. And yet I started running at 7am this morning and I ran nearly 9 miles, while my knee felt like it was going to give under me. Why am I doing this?
McDougall also writes about all the issues that I've been hearing for the past year: barefoot running is better, don't strike with your heel, Nike is bad. I know all these things. I practice all these things. I think about them when I'm running. And then, someone takes a picture of me running, and what am I doing:
What you see here is a heel strike and my arms swinging in front of me. Both of these movements are working against me. This was taken at the end of the Skandia 10K Run last weekend. I did not finish under an hour like I had planned, but I was close. The half-marathon is two weeks away. I know I'm ready, despite the uneasiness in my knee today. I also know I'll be happy when I finish.
To be critical of the book, I thought the narrative was a bit sporadic. I know everything doesn't have to be linear, but it seemed like he kept bringing something up, going into a very long story, then finally getting around to what he had originally brought up. It was a little confusing at times. And I'm not sure why certain people were featured when they didn't even run in the race that was the centerpiece of the book. I guess on the outdoors-writing front, I usually read Jon Krakauer, who is an amazing storyteller. I like this book for what it says, I just wish he had said it a little better.