I spent much of the weekend completely immersed in Born to Run, finally taking the time to read for myself how and why the barefoot running hype began. My brother, Mikey Doodle, sent me his copy in the mail, thinking I could maybe read a few excerpts here and there to get some last minute inspiration before the marathon. But when you take my lack of social life and add to that my trembling fear of next week's race, I pretty much knocked it out in a day (it's a delightfully easy read).
This is a book that no doubt sticks with you. It causes an internal struggle between wanting to drop everything to run 100 miles -and- the complete inability to put the book down and return to the real world. There are a few passages from Born to Run that I can't seem to shake, so I'll share a few this week for those that haven't read it or perhaps are simply looking for some inspiration.
Pain. Pain has obviously been a big part of our training. We've dealt with a host of issues and we've incessantly blabbed about all of them on this blog. My IT Band-related knee pain is currently so debilitating that the finish line is an extremely blurry and idealistic concept to me. But Christopher McDougall's analysis of pain helped me put my own in perspective, and reminded me that I'm not alone... and it's time to suck it up:
"Take any other sport, and an injury rate like mine would classify me as defective. In running, it makes us normal. The real mutants are the runners who don't get injured. Up to eight out of every ten runners are hurt every year. It doesn't matter if you're heavy or thin, speedy or slow, a marathon champ or a weekend huffer, you're just as likely as the other guy to savage your knees, shins, hamstrings, hips or heels. Next time you line up for a Turkey Trot, look at the runners on your right and left: statistically, only one of you will be back for the Jingle Bell Jog."
Heartbreaking but true. Pain makes us normal - it's how we overcome the pain that sets us apart.