Born to Run

Born to Run

A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

eBook - 2009
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The astonishing national bestseller and hugely entertaining story that completely changed the way we run.

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America's best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall's incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009
ISBN: 9780307271914
0307271919
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource (287 p.)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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AL_HOLLYR Aug 24, 2017

McDougall's work weaves together running narratives and scientific research on running, all building to the argument suggested by the title of his book. Perhaps most well known as the book that made the Tarahumara tribe famous.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

Read like a true adventure and thriller - began with the quest to find a recluse known as Caballo Blanco and ended with a thrilling cross country track meet deep inside Copper Canyon. Along the way, we learned to know many colorful people, culture in the world of ultra distance running and some worthwhile lessons on diet and life style. It took more effort to read the book because of frequent timeouts to jog down notes, fact check incredible feats on wiki and google images of places/people along the way. A wonderful read for walkers, joggers and runners, or all wannabes.

d
DRCBOFH
Nov 17, 2016

I made it through approximately half of this book and felt confident that I could summarize the knowledge gained in 3, maybe 4 very, very brief bullet points. Maybe it gets better towards the end but I just couldn't convince myself that it was worth spending any more time to find out.

e
edonnel
Jul 28, 2016

Very entertaining, threatens to break the brain of any serious distance runner. All the running theory I've internalized was disintegrated in the face of the miracle running tribe philosophy. By the end of the book, I was determined to rip my fancy running shoes off and stride gracefully off into the sunset and never suffer a running injury again.

j
jesselapointe
Aug 24, 2015

Really enjoyed this book! I would recommend it to anyone who likes to run or even jog or walk. Explore your connection with your world through this book and get out there!

v
violet_tiger_224
Jun 25, 2015

I loved this book. It has given me a whole new view of running.

LRS1969 Jun 13, 2015

This is so bad that it can't be expressed in an even somewhat longer review. There are simply too many really, really bad elements.

So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I would direct any interested party to check out this review:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2JI2FH53STDAC/ref=cm_cr_pr_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0028MBKVG

This is a really bad book. Maybe would have been a good anthropological highly fictional novel... if one had an ability to step away from reality.

l
luzeng
Nov 24, 2014

Quick-paced, inspiring read; almost got me off my ass except i decided to read another chapter.

g
green_tiger_1186
Jun 16, 2014

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was cool how it told one main stories, with dozens of other stories along with it. I can't wait to get outside and try some of the things the author mentioned in this compelling story about him and the Tarahumara.

h
HereHere
May 26, 2014

Interesting storytelling. I didn't find any part really dragged, but I was so eager to try to learn the lessons of the running people. Some good history, for sure. One thing to note is that exercise beyond 40 minutes starts to cause micro-tears in the heart muscle. Caballo Blanco (the key character in this book), died at 58 with what I understand to be a hypertrophic and fibrotic heart. Moderate exercise at a moderate pace is healthier than long-distance, fast pace (below 7 minute miles) or the combination of long length and fast pace. This message does not come clear through the book, but there are an increasing number of scientific studies on the topic.

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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

Sample of quotes collected:
Some said Caballo Blanco was a fugitive; others heard he was a boxer who’d run off to punish himself after beating a man to death in the ring. No one knew his name, or age, or where he was from. He was like some Old West gunslinger whose only traces were tall tales and a whiff of cigarillo smoke.
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I’d be startled to discover that the ancient saying of the Tao Te Ching—“ The best runner leaves no tracks” ... in January 2001 I asked my doctor this: “How come my foot hurts?”
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Up to eight out of every ten runners are hurt every year. It doesn’t matter if you’re heavy or thin, speedy or slow, a marathon champ or a weekend huffer, you’re just as likely as the other guy to savage your knees, shins, hamstrings, hips, or heels. Next time you line up for a Turkey Trot, look at the runners on your right and left: statistically, only one of you will be back for the Jingle Bell Jog.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up,” Bannister said. “It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle— when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
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In terms of stress relief and sensual pleasure, running is what you have in your life before you have sex. The equipment and desire come factory installed; all you have to do is let ’er rip and hang on for the ride.
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Running seemed to be the fitness version of drunk driving: you could get away with it for a while, you might even have some fun, but catastrophe was waiting right around the corner.
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You know what kind of nerves are in your feet? The same ones that network into your genitals. Your feet are like a minnow bucket full of sensory neurons, all of them wriggling around in search of sensation.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

... the Copper Canyon Express, a luxury vintage train that makes whistle-stops along the rim of the Barrancas and allows tourists in air-conditioned railcars to be served by bow-tied waiters while peering at the savage country below.
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Good guys were even deadlier than the villains. Jesuit missionaries showed up with Bibles in their hands and influenza in their lungs, promising eternal life but spreading instant death. The Tarahumara had no antibodies to combat the disease, so Spanish flu spread like wildfire, wiping out entire villages in days.
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Ghosts were evil phantoms who traveled by night and galloped around on all fours, killing sheep and spitting in people’s faces. Souls of the dead, on the other hand, meant no harm and were just tidying up loose ends.
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... listening to him was like watching an art-house film in fast forward; traumas, jokes, fantasies, flashbacks, grudges, guilt over grudges, tantalizing fragments of ancient wisdom

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone. —KEN CHLOUBER, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100
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Ed Williams … his favorite was one of the scariest: the notorious Leadville Trail 100, a hundred-mile ultra-marathon held in Colorado, which he’d finished twelve times and was still running at age seventy.
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So instead of a marathon, Ken created a monster. To get a sense of what he came up with, try running the Boston Marathon two times in a row with a sock stuffed in your mouth and then hike to the top of Pikes Peak. Done? Great. Now do it all again, this time with your eyes closed.
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Leadville Trail 100 boils down to: nearly four full marathons, half of them in the dark, with twin twenty-six-hundred-foot climbs smack in the middle. Leadville’s starting line is twice as high as the altitude where planes pressurize their cabins, and from there you only go up.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

With Olympic running? As a sport, most track coaches ranked ultras somewhere between competitive eating and recreational S&M.
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Dean Karnazes, the self-styled Ultramarathon Man, couldn’t finish it the first two times he tried; after watching him drop out twice, the Leadville folks gave him their own nickname: “Ofer” (“O fer one, O fer two …”).
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“My friends would tell me I’m not addicted to crack, I’m addicted to endorphins,” Trason would say, and her comeback didn’t much put their minds at ease: she liked to tell them that running huge miles in the mountains was “very romantic.” Gotcha. Grueling, grimy, muddy, bloody, lonely trail-running equals moonlight and champagne.
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Ann went on to become the female champion of the Western States 100— the Super Bowl of trail-running— fourteen times, a record that spans three decades and makes Lance Armstrong, with his piddlin’ little seven Tour de France wins, look like a flash in the pan.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

Ann wasn’t smiling; she glared at Martimano as if she were a black belt and he was a stack of bricks.
===
He’d wanted to learn why Russian sprinters are forbidden to run a single step in training until they can jump off a twenty-foot ladder in their bare feet, and how sixty-year-old goatherds at Machu Picchu can possibly scale the Andes on a starvation diet of yogurt and herbs, and how Japanese runners trained by Suzuki-san and Koide-san could mysteriously alchemize slow walking into fast marathons.
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an ultra is a binary equation made up of hundreds of yes/ no questions: Eat now or wait? Bomb down this hill, or throttle back and save the quads for the flats? Find out what is itching in your sock, or push on? Extreme distance magnifies every problem (a blister becomes a blood-soaked sock, a declined PowerBar becomes a woozy inability to follow trail markers), so all it takes is one wrong answer to ruin a race.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

Who’s more committed to winning, after all: predator or prey? The lion can lose and come back to hunt another day, but the antelope gets only one mistake.
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popping a blood blister between her butt cheeks with your fingernails;
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Slice the top off a ’70s running shoe, and you had a sandal: the old Adidas and Onitsuka Tigers were just a flat sole and laces, with no motion control, no arch support, no heel pad. The guys in the ’70s didn’t know enough to worry about “pronation” and “supination”; that fancy running-store jargon hadn’t even been invented yet.
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Mark Twain used to say. Zatopek found a way to run so that when he won, even other teams were delighted.
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was Zatopek a great man who happened to run, or a great man because he ran?
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“For inspiration,” the article noted, “he repeats a saying of the Tarahumara Indians: ‘When you run on the earth and run with the earth, you can run forever.’ ”

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

His nutrition strategy for an Olympic marathon hopeful was this: “Eat as though you were a poor person.”
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Caballo had gotten his Web site up, but swapping messages with him was like waiting for a note in a bottle to drift up on the beach. To check e-mail, Caballo had to run more than thirty miles over a mountain and wade through a river to the tiny town of Urique, ... its single dial-up line.
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Kerouac wrote. “Trails are like that: you’re floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and fluteboys, then suddenly you’re struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak … just like life.”
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Barefoot Ken Bob begins: Shoes block pain, not impact! Pain teaches us to run comfortably!
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“Barefoot running really appealed to my artistic eye,” Ted was saying. “This concept of bricolage— that less is more, the best solution is the most elegant. Why add something if you’re born with everything you need?”

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

“Pronation has become this very bad word, but it’s just the natural movement of the foot. The foot is supposed to pronate.”
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“Vin, what’s up with the barefooting?” they called to Stanford head coach Vin Lananna. “Didn’t we send you enough shoes?” Coach Lananna walked over to explain. “I can’t prove this,” he explained, “but I believe when my runners train barefoot, they run faster and suffer fewer injuries.”
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Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone. —KEN CHLOUBER, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100
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Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 percent of all runners suffer an injury.
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PAINFUL TRUTH No. 1: The Best Shoes Are the Worst RUNNERS wearing top-of-the-line shoes are 123 percent more likely to get injured than runners in cheap shoes, according to a study led by Bernard Marti, M.D.,
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What a cruel joke: for double the price, you get double the pain.

j
jimg2000
Jan 03, 2017

PAINFUL TRUTH No. 2: Feet Like a Good Beating AS FAR back as 1988, Dr. Barry Bates, the head of the University of Oregon’s Biomechanics/ Sports Medicine Laboratory, gathered data that suggested that beat-up running shoes are safer than newer ones.
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The puzzling conclusion: the more cushioned the shoe, the less protection it provides.
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FINAL PAINFUL TRUTH: Even Alan Webb Says “Human Beings Are Designed to Run Without Shoes” BEFORE Alan Webb became America’s greatest miler, he was a flat-footed frosh with awful form.
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“I was a size twelve and flat-footed, and now I’m a nine or ten. As the muscles in my feet got stronger, my arch got higher.”
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Hunkered in a valley two miles up in the Colorado Rockies, Leadville is the highest city in North America and, many days, the coldest (the fire company couldn’t ring its bell come winter, afraid it would shatter).

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Age Suitability

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r
red_horse_677
Dec 13, 2014

red_horse_677 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 15

g
green_tiger_1186
Jun 16, 2014

green_tiger_1186 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

j
jkrambeck
Feb 12, 2013

jkrambeck thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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FlowerFarmer
Dec 18, 2009

FlowerFarmer thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Summary

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v
violet_tiger_224
Jun 25, 2015

This is a great book for runners of all ages and skill levels. Along with telling the story of arguably one of the most historic races of all-time, it traces humanity back to our evolution to reveal that we were in fact "born to run."

h
hweinert
Sep 19, 2011

Born to Run is like those dreams many of us have, which start simply and end in the land of the bizarre. In this case, the simple question of why most American runners suffer injuries despite expensive sneakers brings Christopher McDougall to the unforgiving terrain of Mexico's Copper Canyons, home to an indigenous population of ultra-runners, the Tarahumara Indians.

They call themselves the Raramuri, or the 'Running People.' They never suffer illness. Eating a diet of ground corn, mouse meat and homemade alcohol — and sleeping no regular hours — the Tarahumara men and woman somehow pack the endurance to run cliff-side races topping one hundred miles and sometimes lasting two days. Their economic system of bartering and pre-Aztec language are an anthropological mystery, but local legend leaking from the canyons has it that men can chase a deer until exhaustion renders the beast an easy kill.

McDougall recounts his quest to understand these near superhuman ultra-runners with adrenaline-pumped writing, humor and a distinct voice. Pulling you with him through sun-crisped canyons, plopping you into the path of sweat-less super athletes, and crushing your faith in Nike, he never lets go from his impassioned mantra that humans were born to run. "Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees," he writes, "we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain."
npr science books 2009

f
FlowerFarmer
Dec 18, 2009

One of the best books I've read in a long time.

James McDougall's Born to Run is at times, hilariously funny, astounding and inspirational; and some times all three. This book challenges our beliefs as to the limitations of the human spirit and the human body.

And.. it might just get you running again.

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