Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thank you Mr. McDougall

My name is Ken and I am a runner. At least I WANT to be a runner, but my body won’t let me. At least that's what I thought. I always assumed that my athletic body would be able to run the same way I bike, lift weights, walk 18 holes of golf etc..etc.. But every time I ran upwards of 8 miles I would have to take the next 3 or 4 days off to rest my shins and pop acetaminophen like candy.

I assumed that’s how it would go for the rest of my active life. I assumed that the Philadelphia ½ marathon that I wanted to do last year but couldn’t due to injury and every marathon I dreamt of running were forever out of reach.

Fast forward to an email I received from the Penn State Alumni Association (2001 PSU MSIS Graduate) about an event featuring Christopher McDougall who wrote a book called “Born To Run”. Christopher was to speak to the attendees about his incredible experience researching the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons and their ability to run amazingly long distances without the benefit of the latest “Max-Air” or “poofy cushin” sneakers. I couldn’t attend the event, but always on the lookout for a good book I logged into my Amazon account and bought the book.

I had NO idea that this book would change my life. My assumption was that it was a good read about an interesting topic. But page after page made me want to yell “OMG YES! Exactly!!”. I won’t ruin one page of the book other then to say it wasn’t a “good” read, is an AMAZING read that totally de-rails my thoughts of my very own body and my abilities as a runner.

So before I continue with installment number 1 of the journal of my journey to reclaim my primal ability to run, let me say thank you Mr. McDougall.

I am writing this blog (my first) because in the two weeks since I have become a barefoot runner, everyone I have talked to had the opposite reaction then I expected. I expected looks of disbelief and ‘your nuts’ type comments. What I got was “really?? That’s great!” and “wow, I have the same issues, I should try that”. I have an urge to help spread the word about this ancient running technique that has been nearly erased by sneaker companies and the pursuit of the al mighty dollar.

I hope you like reading about my bare feet and I hope you think twice about those big, fat cushions on the soles of those sneakers in your closet.

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