book review: Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By Christopher McDougall

I am such a book evangelist. I go into it with the same verve: “You have to read this book. It is so amazing.” And away I go, telling the person in front of me how great this book I just read is. Ugh. So annoying.

But I am at it again. I just read Born to Run. Brent and I both read it. And loved it. Brent was a runner in college, for exercise sake. I have never been too good at running, but a few years ago I had this dream about running, where it was fun again, like when I was a kid. I jumped over things and ran under logs. It made me long to run again.

About six weeks ago I started running. Slowly. One Mile. I am up to 2 miles at a go. I run until I don’t feel good, then walk. I started running because every “weight loss” book/story of success I have seen, the person has begun running.

But the book was an after thought. And what an inspiration it is. The book just makes you want to get out there and do it...barefoot. Who needs Nike? Since the advent of the running shoe in the 1970’s running injuries have steadily increased. “Shoes block pain, not impact. Pain teaches us to run comfortably. From the moment you start going barefoot, you will change the way you run.”

Did you know the foot comprises one quarter of all bones in the body and more than 200,000 nerve endings? Over 2 million years has lead to a very well designed foot for running. Putting a shoe between your foot and the ground, means those nerve endings are deadened. We don’t need shoes; we need to get off the couch. Because we are wearing shoes, our feet muscles have atrophied. The book makes the argument that our evolutionary advantage was our ability to run, unlike other species near to ours.

“Heavier people are more likely to die from at least ten different kinds of cancer.” Who knew the exact numbers?

“When cancerous tumors are removed by surgery, they are 300 percent more likely to grow back in patients with a ‘traditional Western diet’ than they are in patients who eat lots of fruits and veggies, according to a 2007 report by The Journal of the American Medical Association.” To read the actual study, click this sentence.

I have started using my Vibram FiveFingers to run, and it is so much more fun. I am really enjoying feeling the ground, standing up straighter, and breathing better. It is really amazing.

The book talks about racing, and ultra-racing, and touching moments, and high drama. It makes you want to run. So run right out and get the book!

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