Talk about a collection of macho dudes.
Last night I attended Chris McDougall’s speaking event to promote his new book, Born to Run, at the New York Running Company in Columbus Circle. There was a group run beforehand around Central Park, but I skipped that part (gawd durn adductor brevis). The runners had already returned when I got there, and they were arrayed around on ottomans in the back of the store–as a group, they gave off a sweaty rankness that clutched at my heart. I want to run and get all stinky too!
I waved at Ming, and at Cowboy Hazel (who I had never before met but recognized immediately from the red hoodie and Yankees cap he told me he’d be wearing), and then Chris started talking about a reclusive tribe of running indigenous Mexicans, Emil Zapotek, Barefoot Ted, Scott Jurek, and Dirt Diva. He spoke about how running is the most primal of all human talents (running portends world peace), the difference between getting in the miles and running for the joy of it, and how barefoot running can bring us back to our bodies’ natural running form. He showed a few photos of a Tarahumara Indian, Zapotek, Frank Shorter, Jesse Owens and Roger Bannister to demonstrate their form. They were carbon copies of each other, all perfectly aligned and relaxed–I got the chills, they were that beautiful.
Chris is a great presenter, with a relaxed style which allows him to talk about his topic with natural enthusiasm but without that slickness that I see so many authors fall into when they try and “sell” their book. He looked us all in the eye as he talked, and when I introduced myself afterwards, he did the same thing. There’s something about folks who can hold a level gaze that instantly puts me at ease.
I can’t wait to read his book; I am confident it has much to inspire me, especially now as I recuperate from injury. I believe that what Chris says is true: proper running form (even if it takes barefoot running to click it in) is what will keep injury at bay and bring about maximum joy in my running.
After the event, I nodded at Cowboy and said, “Get a bite?” He was down, so we went to the Brooklyn Diner on 57th Street & 7th, where we ordered a simple meal. Me, salad; him, the biggest freaking hotdog I’ve ever seen. When I say it was the length of my forearm, I am not exaggerating. When this wiener arrived at the table, Cowboy wasn’t the least embarrassed, but I was tickled. This shank of meat kept me laughing our entire meal. It was so incongruous. Thankfully, he only ate about 1/3 of the hot dog, none of the onion rings, and maybe a forkful of the sauerkraut. He’s in the middle of a taper leading into his next race – the Delaware Marathon not quite weeks from now. Inappropriate wiener aside, it was very cool to meet Cowboy, who was easy to talk to, and from whom I received excellent running energy.