Saturday, June 26, 2010

Run Through the Jungle


So this will be the first Running is for Crazy People book review. And what makes me qualified to review someone else’s work? Their art? Their knowledge? Absolutely nothing. But when has that ever stopped me? Never.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Ever Seen.
By Christopher McDougall

Synopsis taken from Christopher McDougall’s website:

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

For me, this book was about the discovery of the art of running. What our bodies are capable of. And that we are all capable of pretty much the same thing…we can run. Some of us faster than others. But we can all run. Honestly, what other sport out there can a 19 yr old compete with a 60 yr old? And the 60 yr old has a really good chance of coming in first? Not on the football field. Or basketball court. Or anywhere else for that matter. But running. Running is a different game altogether. Why? Because we are all Born to Run.

We were born to run in the simplest of ways. Put one foot in front of the other. No high tech running shoes. Or high tech watches. Or high tech anything. Just run. I love this concept. Just run.

Now, I had no intention of joining the barefoot craze when I started reading this. Or the minimal shoe craze for that matter. But I did stop and think about it. I did stop and think about my form. How could I improve it? How could I stay injury free? After reading this book, how could you not? I am also not on the “I hate big shoe companies” bandwagon. Nor am I rushing out to buy a pair of Vibrams (although I did think about it. And probably will eventually). But I did switch to a lighter shoe. A shoe that forces me to get off my heels. To run more naturally. It’s interesting really. My calves were killing me in the beginning because I was using muscles I had NEVER used before. But my feet felt amazing. And my shins! Oh my shins have never felt better. Now my toe, my crock pot toe…that’s another story altogether.

And Ulramarathons. I’ve never even given them a second thought before. Now I read everything I can about them. It's fascinating that our bodies will let us run for that long. Fascinating.

And Scott Jurek. I think I have found a new hero to add to my list. (Jeff calls him my new boyfriend and I don’t argue). What an amazing athlete. And man. He has me rethinking everything I put into my body. He actually made being a Vegan look desirable. What? I know, it’s crazy.

And the Tarahumara. Such an amazing group of people. We can all learn so much from them - runners and non-runners alike. Besides...who else could bring back the popularity of the chia seed? I haven’t heard this much chia talk since the 80’s. And then we were just growing them as pets.

This book is a must read for ALL runners. Novice to Elite. It will change everything. Go out and buy it now…

I have to go now…must read this book a second time. And take notes. And underline. And change my life.


Daily Mantra:

Just run.

(Now, besides my Dad, who else got my “Run through the Jungle” reference? Nobody? Come on people.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What? Am I really doing this again?!


I have decided to sign up for another round of Team In Training. This time to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon. But wait? Isn’t that what I did last year?

No. No, it is not. I ran the half marathon. 13.1 miles. It almost killed me. But this time I’m running the full. THE FULL 26.2 MILES. It may actually kill me.

Kidding (I hope).

And it is my job to run the training miles. And ohhh there will be lots of miles. So very very VERY many miles to run. But I will run them. With a smile on my face. It may be a fake smile but a smile just the same. A smile because I can run these miles. It will be hard but I can do it. I can run these miles for the millions of people diagnosed with cancer each year that can not run them. I can. So I will.

And I will raise money for research and patient care. That’s what this really comes down to…raising money. Because without the funds, a cure will not be found. And patients and their families will not get the care they need. And Team In Training does this better than anybody.

So please help find a cure by donating to this amazing cause. A cause that is SO very dear to my heart. Please click on My Fundraising Link below. Donate what you can. $1, $5, $25, or more! Every dollar makes a difference. Thank you so much!!!

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/Whiterck10/jwatkinufs


Daily Mantra:

I can do it.

(Yes, my mantras are back.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Houston, we have a problem.

I was originally going to name this post “Another reason to hate Houston” but decided that was a little dramatic. And Lord knows I am NEVER dramatic. And I guess I don’t really hate Houston. I just don’t love Houston. I blame any dislike for the city on Jeff. He’s the one that hates Houston and now it’s rubbed off on me.

That is until this happened…

Houston Marathon Committee Implements Lottery System for Marathon, Half Marathon Race Registration.
New approach gives runners equal opportunity to register for popular events

That was in the actual press release. Equal Opportunity? Really? Do really great concerts go to a lottery system because they sell out super fast? No. Of course not. Because it’s stupid. First come. First served. That is equal opportunity.

And yes, I know one of the greatest races in North America is on a lottery system – The New York City Marathon. But in the words of Tony Collins…”they ain’t no New York.” And they never will be. Plus New York has systems in place that allow for local runners. And charities. And not just the charity of New York’s choice. But several charities. They have MANY ways to get in that doesn’t only involve the lottery. AND THEY ARE NEW YORK. It’s different. Plain and simple.

Seriously pissed off at Houston Marathon. If I could somehow blame famine in third-world countries on them, I would. Not too dramatic, right? This race does not sell out because it’s the best race in Texas. It sells out because of the flat course and nice weather. You want a PR, run Houston. You want to qualify for Boston, run Houston. Mostly I’m just mad because it screws up my running plans. My friends and I had EVERYTHING planned out and now it’s all messed up. Stupid Houston. Again, dramatic. I know. And I’m sure I’ll get over it…eventually.

Disclaimer: I completely realize I have no real knowledge of the Houston or New York marathons. So technically I should not be spewing my uneducated opinions to anyone who will listen but whatever. I’m doing it anyway.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quote of the Week

Saturday morning I went to my first DRC (Dallas Running Club) Club run. 4 short miles bordering White Rock Lake. No big deal, right? Wrong. It was so hot. I mean SO hot. I honestly wanted to stop at one point. Quit. I couldn't breathe. So humid. It was like I was wearing an extra layer of clothes. Clothes made of sweat. I was actually shaking when I crossed the finish line.

I felt so beat down after that run. Down on myself. But I'm better today. Already have a new plan to work on my endurance.

Quote of the Week

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

John Wooden

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

For the love of Luke

Luke's Locker

Best. Place. On. Earth

Especially the one at Watter's Creek. Seriously. Best place on earth. It's like the
runner's version of Disney World. A little slice of heaven for the
obsessive/compulsive runner. Which I have become.

My friend Serene and I are there every week. No joke. Sometimes twice a week.
Sometimes twice a day. We browse. We try on. We add to our never-ending wish list. We mingle. Yes, that’s right, we mingle. There is always a myriad of other runners there. Doing the exact same thing as us. Talking endlessly about our infatuation with this sport.