Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm a detective. If I worship anything, it's logic.

My quads and triceps are killing me today, thanks to a pretty awesome workout yesterday in which we did circuits and then roughly 10,000 squat/touch-kick combos. This followed an extremely packed Monday night kickboxing session, with a ton of adorable newbies who were aghast at the things they were being asked to do. That aghastness fades into mild surprise, I wanted to tell them.

I just finished reading Born to Run, a Christmas gift from my sister. Now, I have to admit that I wasn't at all excited to read this book; I've always gone running for necessity only, and nobody has any business calling a book Born to Run unless it's about Springsteen. And I've always taken issue with runners' culture, which, like much of Colorado outdoor culture, focuses on gear. "If I can only spend thousands of dollars on equipment designed to heighten my enjoyment of the outdoors, I'll really enjoy the outdoors," goes that credo. "And how can someone possibly enjoy the outdoors without ripstop nylon and Gore-Tex and a North Face colostomy bag and fly-fishing gear designed by astronauts?"

Running is, in other words and like the hippie-industrial complex, a pastime or avocation that fetishizes the equipment you use to do it. I think it's horseshit, and my assumption was that Born to Run would make me roll my eyes and throw it away after ten pages. But goddamn if my sister wasn't correct—and I found myself doing something I only do with books I really love: limiting my reading to a few dozen pages a day to make it last longer. It's sort of a life-changing book, and it did exactly what my marathoner sister hoped. It made me want to run. Like, not just two miles around the track in the morning, grumbling the whole way. Not five miles or ten or twenty six point two. It made me want to run hundreds of miles at a clip, because that's what my body was designed to do.

That's the central thesis of the book—that humans were engineered from our evolutionary origins as a running species, and that we do ourselves disservice by ignoring that. We are supposed to be lithe, sinewy creatures, trotting lightly with bare feet over tracks hundreds of miles long. Our bodies function best this way. Our psyches function best this way. Our societies function best this way. And you'll forgive me for drooling the way I am over this, but for the present I'm less Batman and more The Flash.

So. I'm going to run. Or, more specifically, I'm going to run again, and reincorporate this into my workouts—which, although I've been doing religiously, have seemed more and more sort of humdrum and normal over the past few weeks. I'm not going to buy expensive shoes or marathon nipple-tape or carbohydrate gels. I'm just going to run, barefoot if need be, and then I'm going to run some more.

And then I'm going to quit smoking.


  1. I read something about fancy running shoes and how they are actually bad for people because they make it too easy or something? Maybe I heard this from you. It was something about how the fancy pants shoes that everyone buys make it too comfortable to run and we don't actually feel when we're doing anything wrong, so we end up messing ourselves up. So maybe you get extra nature points if you do it barefoot. Or maybe you get boils. Not sure.

  2. That's exactly one of the major points of the book. Your foot is a perfect device for running as it is, and adding big soles and orthotics and all the fancy-schmancy crap that runners shell out for actually creates joint problems.