born to run

As you wander within running circles, there are things that seem to pop-up repeatedly. References to techniques, products, most sought after races and books that every runner should know about.  My love for reading has obviously drawn me to the book suggestions. Nothing like hobbies colliding!

So, Born to Run is one of those books.  It seems like anyone who’s ever obsessed over their mileage and pace has read this one.

Equal parts inspiring and informative.  One minute you’re ready to throw the book down, lace up your shoes and spontaneously run. Just. Run.  Three pages later you find yourself completely rethinking your form/technique. And by the end you’re googling things like ‘trail running’, ‘ultramarathon’ and ‘Barefoot Ted’.

There is so much packed into this book that at times it felt completely scattered to me.  I was actually relieved when I read the following in McDougall’s acknowledgements at the end:

“If you didn’t feel overwhelmed by weird digressions while reading this book, you and I both owe thanks to Edward Kastenmeier, my editor…”

There were definitely ‘weird digressions’, which makes me wonder what it looked like before Ed got his hands on it!

I think this is a book that needs to be revisited.  I’m not one for re-reading things, my To Be Read Pile is way too large for that, but I think Born to Run is an exception. There’s so much to take in that it’s almost impossible to really absorb it all in one passing.  Even some of the research that McDougall references in this book is worth going back and getting additional details on.

But the biggest ‘a-ha’ moment for me by the end was that I’m not really having fun with running right now. I’m training (alone) for a 92-mile relay coming up in about a month. The team is comprised of mostly strangers. I only started running consistently (after baby #2 was born) back in March.  I feel a large amount of pressure to perform for THEM. Afraid that I’ll end up holding The Team back. Every single run I manage to cram in during the week has such importance attached to it.  I feel like every time I head out the door the next 30-70 minutes of my life need to count for something. And I can feel it taking away from that incredible free feeling that comes along with going for a mind-clearing, rejuvenating run.  This is everything that Born to Run is so NOT about.

“So simple,” he said. “Just move your legs. Because if you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.”

I know that once this relay is over the pressure will be gone and my enjoyment of each run will return.  At first I found myself wishing the next month away.  But after finishing this book, I’m starting to think that maybe this is the exact opportunity to really take to heart what McDougall was trying to convey. Our group doesn’t really have a ‘team’ feel to it, but I can control how I choose to approach this experience. I need to remind myself of that and not worry so much about performing for anyone but me.  It is very likely that I will never do another relay again, so I need to stop worrying about everyone else and focus on enjoying this experience.

How’s that for a ‘weird digression’??

I’m hopefully heading out for a run this evening. It’s supposed to get close to 100 degrees today!!

“If you can run six miles on a summer day then you, my friend, are a lethal weapon in the animal kingdom.”

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