Back in the spring I wrote about a book I read on running by a guy named Dean Karanazes. At the time I read it, I was impressed by his outstanding ability to run, but not so much with his boastful attitude and the fact that running for 2 days straight on a treadmill in front of tv cameras is not only pointless but utterly silly. My brother suggested that I read a book he recently had finished: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
To say the least, it is impactful and highly motivating (and I wasn’t even looking for motivation, but I found it anyway!) I don’t agree with everything in it; namely, the foundation of evolution that he builds continuously on or the spiritual level to which he elevates running. I also thought he idealized the Tarahumara’s (the Mexican tribe he writes about) society, in essence portraying it as a near-Utopia. I happen to think drunken bacchanal orgies are not good, even if that society-wide “release” keeps them from having any crime or murder.
But there were many good things about it too. He presents not just the story of one people, or even his wildly entertaining experiences with them, but also gives tons of history about running, several specific runners who are not just amazing ultra marathoners but are much more the down to earth, barefoot running, chia-chomping folks that I think is characteristic of the folks who participate in one of the most universal sports. I stand by my belief that, in general, runners are good people (leaving good vs. bad/spirituality behind). Personally, I think it has to do with the high level of strict self-motivation it takes to be a runner.
My brother and I have been slowly working our way through they Lord of the Rings movies (yes, I am a nerd and own all 3 extended editions and am re-reading the books). Much of the story centers on characters making quick pursuits-almost always on foot. I always thought that running all day on little food was exactly the sort of thing that belonged in a fiction book-no way was it truly possible. But after reading McDougall, I can see that it is-not that I could necessarily do it! One thing McDougall talks about the Tarahumara eating is something called pinole– ground toasted maize kernels that is supposed to be awesome at giving energy. I haven’t found any yet (other than online) but I did try this:
My mom picked this up at the store the other day and I had some for breakfast today. It kind of tastes like slightly sweet tortilla chips but lighter and nuttier. Alone it was good, but I think because it is kind of salty already, it just didn’t mix well with cottage cheese. I’ll have to give it another go, mixing it with something else.
I think a selling point of this cereal is that it’s gluten free, but these 4 ingredeints definitely make it on to a superfood list:
Flax is high in omega-3s with vital vitamins and minerals, corn is good for your skin and digestion, quinoa is one of the “wonder grains” (that is actually a seed) that is super high in maganese and is a complete protein, and amaranth is super high in iron and protein.
So are we truly born to run? I don’t know, but I do know that it is a universal passion and in some cases, necessity. All I can say is, get the pick and decide for yourself. Oh and speaking of running…just go ahead and sign up for the Run for the Grapes. You know you want to!