Written by Ann Brennan
For six months I avoided reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I love to read and I have an eclectic taste in books. But the book and the barefoot movement surrounding it had the ring of fad and because fads come and go I was not interested in wasting my time. Eventually though, after being hounded by runners I met in races, at expos and even in my own neighborhood I finally gave in.
In order to give the book a fair shot I decided to get it through Audible. This way I could run and listen to it and if I hated it, at least I was getting my run in and not wasting time with a book I had little interest in in the first place.
For the first chapter, I was convinced I had been right. I had been sucked into reading a book about the big, bad shoe companies and the hippy-dippy love of running barefoot. But that quickly changed.
McDougall started talking about his problems with plantar fasciitis and my ears perked up. Although I was running again, I had spent months recovering from a ruptured plantar fascia and had come to believe that the way I was running was to blame.
But that makes this book seems boring and that was a big part of why I didn’t read it. I had dealt with PF for months. I had read just about everything I could on the subject. I had listened to doctors, physical therapists and coaches talk about it. Why would I want to read one more thing about it?
The truth is the book does discuss the problems our shoes have caused for us but it is much more than that and far more interesting than just one more book about sports injuries.
When McDougall goes on the hunt for Caballo Blanco and began to tell a bit about his history with the Tarahumara I began to understand the draw the book had. When he related the race between the Tarahumara and Ann Trason I forgot I was listening and just ran with all the joy that there is in running.
Although I listen to audiobooks regularly, I have never enjoyed the experience of running and listening as much as I did during the race scene as Trason fought tooth and nail for the win. If for no other reason, this scene made the book worth the time.
In the end though, I learned something. I am not going to be a barefoot runner. I don’t know whether it is right or wrong to shun the idea but I do believe that I was running in the wrong shoes. I do believe I was running with the wrong form. And I do believe that these were the things that lead to a ruptured plantar fascia. McDougall’s story convinced me of this.
If you haven’t read this book yet, I encourage you to do so. But if you have read it without listening to it, I encourage you to go back and listen to it while running. The reader is phenomenal and in the end the story seemed meant to be told as opposed to read.