So, brief plug before I dive into my first book review. I thought I loved reading until my brother-in-law’s girlfriend (wish there were a fancier name for that…) Emily alerted me to Hey Man! Let’s Read. Their quest is to read one book each week for a year. I’m in it for the good book recs, I obviously can’t keep that kind of schedule up, you know being a toddler mom and also now being addicted to 24 on Netflix streaming. But, I do love reading. And if you ask me that silly, age-old question “what would be your dream job if money wasn’t a factor and you couldn’t fail?” I always say book reviewer. And because of the magic of the interwebs I can do it and no one can stop me!!!
So, here we are. (Yes, yes… I’m sort of an Instagram freak. Sorry if you don’t like square and quirky pictures.)
Born to Run
On the surface, I bet you’d think this is a book for crazy runners and sports fanatics, but it’s a really good thing you don’t judge books by their covers! I am, of course, a runner. But put me in the same category as any of the runners mentioned in this book is laughable. I’d describe this book as less of a sports book and more of a testament to what humans can accomplish, leaving the reader feeling inspired and, probably, pretty lazy.
It starts by describing this tribe of natives living in Mexico, the Tarahumara, who live off the land in the same way their ancestors did. They stage races which have them running (in sandals) for days at a time and for hundreds of miles. The author sets out to basically figure out how this is humanly possible and why injuries continue to plague American runners. (spoiler: it’s probably shoes.) The journey takes him to several different ultra distance races and profiles many of the athletes that compete. That was interesting to me too – what makes someone like this tick? Who wakes up and says, yeah, I want to run 100 miles in the hottest dessert in America? Who signs up willingly to run up and down major mountains in Colorado for 3 days straight? This type of motivation, athleticism and, um, insanity, are utterly beyond me and reading about people who DO these things was utterly fascinating.
So yeah, this book is a journalistic look at athletes, tribal culture, Mexico, biology and evolution, the running shoe industry, personal challenges and running. While I know runners would enjoy this book, I definitely think those who don’t run (even those who think runners are crazy!) would like it too. It changed the way I think about a lot of things, for the better I think!
(Though, I will say, don’t read it as inspiration to rev you up before a race or run. I read it the week before the Tarheel 10-miler race and I hold it directly responsible for my going out too fast in the first three miles. It kind of made me feel like I could run for hours and hours at a fast pace, like the super athletes he interviewed. I can’t. They train more than me… so there’s my warning on that.)