Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review: Born to Run

AND the pundit comes out to play.  

To be perfectly honest, I didn't read this book.  I listened to it as an audio book.  I drive 2.5 hours twice a week up to Rock Springs to work for 2 days and I need a break from podcasts, so I purchased this on

I loved it!  I didn't know much about the ultra running world, so I was googling lots of of subjects and people as I listened.  Or writing it down and looking it up later if I was driving.  I found it completely fascinating and a great story. I became a little more intrigued about trail running too.  Even with my affinity to getting lost every time I go on the most simple trail, I live in SLC at the base of the Wasatch Mountains!  I can run for days if I want.  Maybe next summer that will be my yearly running goal.

As far as all the barefoot/minimalist theories, I really think there is something to running with a better form, higher cadence and shoes that are not so clunky.  My physical therapist helped me work on form and cadence so I remember the principles of it.  On the other hand, I was listening to this while icing my insanely sore foot because I went to a minimalist  low heel drop shoe too fast and without the right insert.  The book inspired me to start reading another book, "Natural Running".

Natural Running is written by the guy that founded Newton Running, so of course he has his agenda, but I like it.  I checked it out from the library to save money for running shoes and clothes but I can tell already I need to own this book. The book goes through a lot of running history (YAWN!!) but ends with ways to strengthen your feet and improve your form.  

Wait - how do you write a book review?  I forgot, I'm more of a pundit then a reviewer.  And if I'm just spouting off my opinion then I can call it a review ala Kathee.

Back to Born to Run, since I haven't finished Natural Running yet.  The story is about an ultra race that takes place in Mexico in a remote area called the Copper Canyons.  Micah True - who died this past spring of Cardiomyopathy while on a run, put the race together.  It included the Indians that are native to the area and they run either barefoot or with just leather or rubber sandals along with some great ultra runners.  That is the quick and dirty version.  The writer, Christopher McDougall did a great job keeping the story fun and exciting while exploring each character and the history of barefoot or minimalist running.  If you love running or just love a good story I would recommend this book.  I have more of a visual memory and not actually reading the book but having it read to me causes me to loose a little of the details, but if I got my hands on a copy I would read it.  I own the audio copy so I'm sure to listen to it at least 2 more times in the next few months.


I suffered 2 stress fractures within a little over a year when I started running in about 2005 - 2006ish.  I then started my first experience with Plantar Fasciitis in December of 2008.  When seeing x-rays of my feet and the way I stand it's frightening.  Overpronation and my heels look as if they grew about an inch distal from where they should be.  I started with some custom orthotics made by a company from a prescription written by my orthopedic doctor that specializes in feet.  Not long after that I acquired Plantar Fasciitis.  I stopped running for about one year while doing all kinds of physical therapy and wearing a boot at night (Das BOOT!).  Then my running friend suggested I see her podiatrist.  He put me in this hard plastic, VERY EXPENSIVE, custom insert.  I was concerned that the hard plastic would aggravate the injury and I was wrong.  It took a few shots of cortisone and little time but the PF went away finally and I worked my way back to running.  I think I was wearing Brooks when I first came back and they hurt the top of my feet so I switched to Asics 2160's. Then last fall I switched to the Saucony Mirage shoe and ran in them for 6 months before I decided that I should try running with my OLD insert at the gym and maybe strengthen my feet.  Tsk Tsk.  I bowed my head in shame as I went back to the podiatrist, got another shot and now I'm trouble shooting the problem.  Looking back I think the first custom orthotic could have been part of most of the problem.  I already wrote about the cork theory in my previous post and I'm moving to a more supportive shoe to help me through the races I've already committed to do.  I don't want to stop running, that would make too much sense and I have 3 Ragnars and a half marathon to finish!!  (Can you hear that whining - it's deafening)  SO - barefoot running seems absolutely crazy to me.  Running with great form in a shoe that is more sensitive to the ground makes all the sense to me.  I do have a pair of Saucony Mirage's that never made it into the rotation that I'm using for house shoes (because no one should wear shoes in the house!) and hoping to get back to them.  

Does anyone actually Barefoot run?  I've seen people in Vibrams, but never really seen anyone wear them in a race.

Anyone have Plantar Fasciitis that wants to tell me their success story.  I could use it!

Tomorrow I run the first leg of the Salt Lake Half Marathon Relay!  Yeah another medal!!!  Race recap to follow.

Blog on..........

1 comment:

  1. I got the book Born to Run as a gift and I still need to read it. I'm a little careful with barefoot running. I think it's good on short easy runs and to train a better form, but once you increase the mileage I think it's better to wear shoes. There must be a reason why Kenyans started to run in shoes :)