This winter break has been the best yet for running on the Oregon coast. I’m not sure why, but the beauty of this place gets more and more breaktaking to me with each new year. We’ve had some crystal clear sunny days and balmy temperatures, which draws the scenery into a sharp focus. I’ve been mostly running the typical route up Floras Creek Road, but just wanting to go farther and farther in. After about 2 and-a-half miles the road starts to climb, which is why the past few years I’ve made the run five miles. This year was different. The farther you go, the better it gets, probably because you really have to work for it. Love it! It’s even better in the rain.
I just finished Born to Run, a book on ultrarunning. It’s about a race between modern runners and the Tarahumara, a primitive tribe that lives in some of the most treacherous, impenetrable terrain in Mexico who run hundreds of miles regularly just for fun. The author’s main premise is that the human body is engineered to sustain not short distance sprints, but endurance runs. He comes at this from an evolutionary standpoint that I completely disagree with, but the evidence in the form of the human body and it’s ability to sustain effort over long distances is quite compelling. There are tribes still in existence out there that literally will run an animal to exhaustion during a hunt….all in their barefeet. Many of the animals we associate with speed and agility can and have been beat by humans through sheer endurance. We’re built for long distances; they are not. Anybody can do it, you just have to get past the mental blocks set up by self and culture. He also spends a lot of time talking about the history of the tennis shoe and how it’s been a Pandora’s box to the modern runner. More on that later.