Posts Tagged ‘christopher mcdougall’

Day 4 of 7 in the Blogging My Birthday Week Series

I have mentioned before, but not very often, that I am one of the semi-regular personalities on a local running podcast called the NY Running Show. Each week a bunch of opinionated runners of all ages and speeds get together to discuss what’s gone on in pro and amateur racing in our preferred city. Last Sunday, we discussed the New York City Half-Marathon, and I gave the verbal report of what you’ve already read here. I hope you subscribe to our long-winded but charming podcast!…. Chris McDougall commented on my blog when his book Born to Run first came out, and now he’s responded to a comment JG of Run Westchester posted in response to McDougall’s NYTimes.com online feature about how trail runners who don’t have a training schedule are more virtuous than road runners who like to log their miles. Or something like that…. If you are in NYC on Sunday May 1, please support my efforts along with the other members of the Team Fox Young Professionals to help fund the research for a cure to Parkinson’s Disease. We are holding a Sunday Funday brunch at Aspen in Midtown. Tickets for open bar & brunch buffet are only $42 if you order now, and we’ll have fun raffles & live music, too…. On March 31, I’ll be going to see this documentary about some crazy person’s quest to run 75 marathons in 75 days. It’s called My Run, and I’ll be at the AMC 25 theater in Times Square, 7 PM showing. Who’s in?… My next race is April 17 in Boston. No, not the marathon (not yet, anyway). This is the 5k, the day before…. Two pieces of bad news about my beloved Queens. 1) the libraries have stopped buying new books due to budget cuts, and 2) the vote went through today to name my bridge after Ed Koch. Oh, the indignity…. On the up side, it still is a delight to run down off the 59th Street Bridge into Queens through this clean and pretty plaza. They just finished the construction on the Manhattan pedestrian approach, too… By now you must be dying to know, Why oh why are these ellipses for my glutes? because last night’s Pilates class literally kicked my butt, and my posterior has been pained all day long. I’m hoping that if I dedicate this blog post to them, my glutes will stop their whining… And lastly, I tried this eating plan for a month–basically cut out all sugar from my diet–and I didn’t lose a single pound. This means I am still too plump to fit into the dress I wanted to wear for my party tonight. Here’s a picture of me in the dress back in July, when I was about 10 pounds lighter, but also still married.

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It’s taken me entirely too long to finish this book. It’s not for lack of interest, believe me, but rather from lack of time (work reading trumps pleasure reading every time). Back in May, I attended Chris McDougall’s event for Born to Run with Cowboy Hazel–you will all remember I was still pretty freaking injured and not running at all. This is what Chris wrote in my copy of the book:

To TK and her flying pigtails–
With this book may your hamstring troubles disappear. “Running is magic.”

Well, look at that. Chris’s book kept me company through Recovery #1 and Recovery #2. Just this week I decided I was okay enough to go through with my first endurance event since February. I like that timing.

Now, I didn’t read this story looking for training or performance advice.  I know a bunch of folks have come away from this book feeling like McDougall is a barefot running evangelist (he is, but I doubt he’d insist it’s the only way). What I liked best about Born to Run was the people he presented–the ultrarunners, the Tarahumara, el Caballo Blanco, the scientists, the doctors, and himself.  Like any talented journalist Chris drew out and then captured on the page each character that played a part in his own quest to learn how to run effortlessly and without injury. By the end of his book, I wanted to be a part of his band of Mas Locos. Also appealing to me were the notions that running is the basis for our humanity; running is free, freedom, and freeing; running is about connection and escape; running makes us better people. Sure it’s all a little bit romantic, sure it’s all a little bit crunchy–but Chris is writing about ultrarunners here, not your standard track stars. And, as a professional in the book publishing industry who  notices these sorts of things, I must add that Chris’s acknowledgements are a lot of fun, too.

I also posted a separate review on Goodreads. And, many other bloggers and podcasters have reviewed Born to Run, here are the links:

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colorado may 09Saturday evening, I told my brother’s friend MA he had to go get Born to Run out of the library. Earlier that day, MA had completed his second ultramarathon, the Greenland Trail 50k, so I though he’d be interested in Chris McDougall’s book…. Speaking of, McDougall’s written an original essay for Powells.com. Funny stuff… Good luck to all my friends running marathons next weekend: MA and his fiancée TP take on the Colorado Colfax Marathon in their second attempt; Sarah is trying to BQ at the Cleveland Marathon; and Cowboy Hazel is hoping to PR at Delaware….. My PT exercises are definitely making a difference; I can tell because my glutes are pretty much in a constant state of low-level ache…. Today, I rode a bike for the first time since I can’t remember. After I got back from the gym I hopped on SK’s about-town bike (replete with high handle bars and rear-end baskets) to meet her and the kids at the park. I especially loved the hula girl wired to the front of the chassis. Pedaling uphill: not so fun…. colorado may 09aLast night I met an author friend for beverages at Upstairs at the Kitchen in downtown Boulder, CO. He’s not one to mince words, as likely to tell me I wear my high heels better than most as to point out I’ve gained some weight. Tonight I was treated to this sterling observation: “You cut your hair. Are you trying to go for the younger demographic? It’s so… edgy.” Finally, I thought, someone who hates my ill-conceived haircut as much as I do. I was starting to get tired of smiling graciously at all the lame compliments… On the way to our race, SK asked Miss T what her favorite color was. “Pink!” was the prompt reply. SK and I exchanged a sideways glance. How does this happen? We never encouraged the pink… As I flipped open my laptop on the flight home, out slipped a piece of paper with my brother’s unmistakable scratch, “You are loved,” it began. I’ve never gotten a family love letter before, but this one was so beautiful I now must advocate they become more widely sent. I was trapped in seat 26D, but tingling with how loved I felt. Thank you Brother; thank you my Lafayette, CO family….

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Just 22 days left until I can start to run again… in the meantime, I am trying to fill my time with running-related things, like reading plenty of running blogs, magazines and books. I just finished Once a Runner (review to come, I promise) and am now moving on to Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. In search of an answer to the question “Why does my foot hurt?” McDougall traveled to the Tarahurmara Indian tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyon–apparently they are the world’s most talented ultramarathoners, and they’ve been at it for centuries.

Here is a random excerpt from the book, which holds an auspicious promise for the rest of McDougall’s narrative:

Know why people run marathons? [Louis Liebenberg] told Dr. Bramble. Because running is rooted in our collective imagination, and our imagination is rooted in running, Language, art, science… they all had their roots in our ability to run. Running was the superpower that made us human–which means it’s a superpower all humans possess.

I’ve had McDougall’s New York City event to promote his book on my calendar for a few weeks now.  If you’re local, come check it out–if you show up early, everyone’s going out for a group run before the book conversation, which will include visual aids. (I guess McDougall’s foot no longer hurts.)

Tuesday, May 5th / Group Run: 6:30 / Book Talk & Signing: 7:30
New York Running Company, The Shops at Columbus Circle

Hope to see some of you there, if you can make it leave me a comment and we can try and meet up.

(If you live in the Boston area, on Thursday 5/7 he’ll be at the Greater Boston Running Company in Lexington, MA  on 1884 Mass Ave at 6 PM.)

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