Friday, May 20, 2011

"The best runner leaves no tracks"- Tao Te Ching

I woke up this morning craving the kind of sustenance that only comes with a decent latte, which in turn requires the new Arcade Fire album from the library (ask me if you want it;)) and something decent to read, so I headed to downtown in lu of things more engaging, and happily so. While I was trolling stuff at the library I actually came across something really interesting, which hasn't happened for me in a couple months (33 Men, sadly, is maybe the worst, most drab nonfiction I've ever read).

The book is called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It is about this Men's Health writer, who is an oft-injured jogger who goes in to see a few specialists about a spiking pain in the heel of his foot that he got after a 3-mile run. He isn't happy with the diagnosis (cortisone and more cortisone, and a recommendation to switch from running to biking), so he travels to Mexico to study arguably the greatest distance runners on the planet, the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons, who supposedly compete in the world's severest 50-mile exclusive trail races on routes known only to them.

In addition to the neat cultural aspects of the book, or perhaps in response to it, McDougall is constantly fact-finding the answer to the question of what makes the greatest distance runners the greatest. In the first few chapters alone he offers interesting, little known facts about runners, such as that 8 out 10 runners are injured every year and that the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons think that distance running is "an outrageous threat to the integrity of the knee".

OK, so obviously anyone reading this blog didn't need a book to tell them that! But you have to read it yourself for the good stuff. But his major argument is that the best runners are barefoot runners, and he poses a very interesting argument. Check it out for yourself sometime. It might make you think twice about those toe-fitting shoes.


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