born to run

Running. We were born to do it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you. But seriously, I think we were designed to be runners; we've lost our connection to basics and I think its about time we got back to the fundamentals.

Why am I on a running rampage? Simple; I just finished reading Born to Run for the fifth time. Its written by Christopher McDougall, regular contributor to Runner's World, and is what
started the minimalist running shoe craze (those weirdos wearing rubberized gloves as shoes.) Born to Run is exciting, engaging, informative and adventurous. The first time I read the book (about a year ago) I could feel the heat from the Copper Canyons and hear the cheers at the Leadville 100. It made me want to skip out of work and literally run for the hills (yes, I was reading while I work, shhhhhh!)

So why am I all jacked up about this book? Because this mama just went for her first trail run (up at the US National White Water Center). It was exilherating! I felt like an indian, running quickly and lightly over rough terrain. I'm sure I didn't look as smooth as I felt, but I didn't care. It was the most fun I've had running in months! I starting thinking back to McDougall's book and his stories about the Tarahumara. I felt like I finally understood what he meant about the joy of running.

So, this mama is changing her running form! McDougall writes about how the modern running shoe, with its over indulgent cushioning, actually prevents proper running form and increases our likelihood to "heel strike." When training for my half-marathons last year I focused a lot on running form and posture (lean back, shoulders relaxed, smile), but I could never quite maintain any semblance of proper foot strike. That season is over!

I've been day-dreaming about the races that Elliot and I could run together (or rather, me running while pushing her in the jogger!) I found several jogger-friendly races, but they were all under 5 miles. I wanted something bigger, possibly even a half-marathon, to run with my baby girl. I realized that here I was, basically re-starting my running, and I was focusing more on distance than form. If ever there was a time to re-train myself, its now! So, I'm now committed to landing lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. Sounds easy, right? Uhm, not so much!

I ran my 5k route (without Elliot) focusing on proper form, mainly my feet. As soon as I'd get my feet landing good, then I'd realize that my shoulders were incredibly tense. Then I'd relax my shoulders only to find out that my feet were back to pounding. It was maybe the longest and slowest 3.1 miles I've run in six months! I don't know how long its going to take to train myself to run properly, like I was designed to do as McDougall would say, but I'm pretty sure its going to take a lot of focus.

So, if you see me running and I look like a sloth...well, I'm trying! I'd rather run slow with proper form than burn myself out. And let me know if you hear of any races I can run with Elliot!

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