The Book That Combined My 3 Hobbies: Running, Reading and Writing

Hello! I started 2021 with the goal of reading and reviewing 12 personal or career growth books. Here is my fourth one on Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall.

I figure since not every book is the same, not every review will follow the same rules and format. Here goes.

This is not the type of book you need to put down every 5 minutes to note a really impactful quote, nor is it filled with “golden nuggets”. It is a story of people who run. And it is also a story that makes you reflect.

The story begins with the author Christopher McDougall’s quest to tracking down the Tarahumara (or Rarámuri) — a Native Mexican tribe in the Copper Canyons. They are known for their ability to run up to 200 miles (321 km) in one go, at a fast speed, without getting the common injuries people get from running. The Tarahumara don’t run in fancy sports gear and cushioned running shoes, they run in Huarache sandals. They run as a way of life and not only as a form of exercise.

Through his research, McDougall learns how to become a better runner, not just physically but also mentally.

The book was a pleasure to read! I did not think a book about running could turn out to be such a page-turner. I am an avid runner, but I think you can enjoy the read without prior interest in running. However, you might end up being a convert by the end of it.

The Tarahumara run with joy. They don’t run to get paid, to lose weight or to beat a distance.

They run because they can, and they feel free. When they were young, no one stopped them from running at full speed. There was no limit.

In western culture, I see parents telling their children to slow down, to spend less time playing and running around, while the Tarahumara parents are running with their children.

💡 Oly: They aren’t running for specific results or xyz reasons: they run because they enjoy the act of running.

How can we take this into our daily lives? Instead of walking simply to commute, we can enjoy the act of walking and the nature, architecture and people around us while walking. Instead of cooking just to satisfy our hunger, we can enjoy the art of cooking.

The other day, I baked apple pies. In the process, I had to peel a number of apples: not a sexy task. I was tempted to turn on my laptop and start an episode of Community. In that moment I was brought back to this idea from the book to enjoy the act of what we’re doing.

It is not only about the smell of freshly baked apple pies or the enjoyment of eating a bite of warm pie with a cool topping of vanilla ice cream. The process in how apple, sugar, water, flour and butter come together to form a pie is something to enjoy and celebrate.

This is a big reminder and takeaway for me. I love running, but sometimes I still get frustrated when I run slower, or don’t beat my personal best. In those moments, I must remind myself: I don’t run to get slimmer, I don’t run to “rack up miles”, I don’t run to beat a record (who am I kidding?) I run because I enjoy it, it genuinely makes me smile and I feel great doing it. I run because I can.

Another life lesson disguised as a running lesson.

“You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.” Jack Kirk, the Dipsea Demon

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