Born to Run – Book Review

I was traveling from March 10th – March 22,  first  I took a work related trip to Miami Beach (5 nights) and then a vacation in the Caribbean (6 nights).

On April 4th I attended my Newberg Band of Westward Brothers ( a men’s group  I attend). While there my friend Curt asked me about my time away.  To paraphrase him, Curt asked me – “aside from the ‘quality’ time you spent with your wife, what was the favorite thing you did while you were away?”

Well, aside from the really good, frequent, “quality” time I spent with my wife, two things came to mind. At the Fontainebleau resort they have an open air restaurant (read outside) – La Cote.

For more on La Cote see the end of this post.

As much as I enjoyed my time chillin and dining at La Cote, my favorite activity was when I was in the Caribbean.

I loved having a late breakfast of wonderful tropical fruit and then sitting on the beach in a lounge chair reading. when I got too warm I would take a dip in the ocean and then go back to my lounge chair and my reading. The book I read to the sounds of the gentle waves was Born to Run by Christopher McDougall .

I had read about this book on my Barnes and Noble iphone App back in late February during church. (iphones can really help out during a church service. Marc- please forgive me for this ongoing transgression.)

In March before we left Portland I saw this book at the Clackamas Barnes and Noble and I picked it up thinking I would take it with me on my trip.

The review I had read really caught my interest in spite of the topic. You see, this is a book about running. I hate to run. (well… I used to hate to run, more on that later). Until April 2010 I have not run since High School, when Pastor Bower thought I should enter the mile at state. ( I came in 5th).

My wife likes to run (she calls it jogging, I call it misery). Every time I have gone out jogging with her I have had a miserable experience. my feet hurt, I have a hard time keeping up with her.etc etc, wah, wah wah.

The fact that I bought a book about running and actually took it with me on vacation is real testament to how good a story Christopher tells. What is even more amazing to me is that this is a true story, about real people and real places.

I love to read the first words of a book and see how they strike me. The first words of Born to Run are haunting and fascinating – “For days, I’d been searching Mexico’s Sierra Madres for the phantom known as Caballo Blanco- the White Horse.”

This Caballo Blanco lives in the Copper Canyons, – the Barrancas del Cobre in Mexico to live in proximity to the Tarahumara, pronounced Spanish-style by swallowing the “h”: Tara-oo-mara.

Born to Run describes the Tarahumara people this way (page 4) – “the Tarahumara may be the healthiest and most serene people on earth, and the greatest runners of all time. When is comes to ultradistances, nothing can beat a Tarahumara runner – not a race horse not a cheetah, not an Olympic marathoner.”

The Barrancas del Cobre is a group of six distinct canyons located in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Taken together these six canyons are larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The beginning of chapter 2 (page 7) of Born to Run says – “It all began with a simple question that no one could answer. It was a five word puzzle that led me to a photo of a very fast man in a very short skirt, and from there it only got stranger. Soon I was dealing with a murder, drug guerillas, and a one armed man with a cream cheese cup strapped to his head. I met a beatufful blonde forest ranger who slipped out of her clothes and found salvation by running naked in the Idaho forests, and a young surfer babe in pigtails who ran straight to her death in the desert. A talented young runner would die. Two others would barely esacape with their lives. I kept looking and I stumbled across the Barefoooot Batman…Naked Guy…Kalahari Bushmen…the Toenail Amputee…a cult devoted to distance running and sex parties…the Wild Man of the Blue Ridge Mountains… and ultimately the ancient tribe of the Tarahumara and thier shadowy disciple Caballo Blanco”

At this point having read all of 7 pages of the book I put it down – disgusted. There was no way that this author could cover all of those items and tell a cohesive story.

However… after  few days I picked the book up and I kept reading.

I kept reading because of the 5 word question mentioned above . on the top of page 8 the author shares those 5 words.

I am so glad that I overcame my skepticism and pressed on with this book. Much to my delight, the author does cover all of the crazy elements mentioned above and he does tell a very cohesive story.

It is truly an amazing story , even if you like me, hate running at the point you start reading the book.

I was crying as I read chapter 31 (pages 257-274). This truly is a moving story.

I cannot recommend Born to Run enough.

Soon I will share how this book has changed my life.  -see my 4/21/2010 post

stevenshomler.com Running Shoes Damage Your Feet Run Barefoot (Insanity-or-Maybe Not…)

Born to Run – Check it out! Soon!

My other Barefoot Running related posts are

Born to Run – Book Review

Running Shoes Damage Your Feet – Run Barefoot (Insanity! or Maybe Not)

Barefoot Running Websites  – 5 Interesting Ones

Why Might Barefoot Running be Better For Your Feet?

Are Barefoot Running Shoes an Oxymoron?

Barefoot Running Shoe Options and Barefoot Running Tips

More info on La Cote-

La Cote has two levels and the second level is on the roof and from the second level you have a wonderful view. I dined at La Cote three times while in Miami. Two of those times I sat upstairs and from where I sat if I looked to my right I saw the ocean, and if I looked to my left I saw the beautiful free form pool.

Sitting upstairs at La Cote with a pitcher of fresh raspberry Mojitos and some Hamachi Ceviche, Grilled Farmers Bread ( lightly topped with extra virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt) and a Greek Salad (Tear Drop Tomatoes, Red Onions, Red Peppers, Feta, Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers and Lemon Dressing) is a great way to spend a few hours in the warm Miami sunshine.

This entry was posted in Barefoot Running, Book Reviews, Food, Sports, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Born to Run – Book Review

  1. Jessica Chestnut says:

    Okay, Okay. I’ll admit it sounded boring until you mentioned: a murder, drug guerillas, a beatufful blonde forest ranger who slipped out of her clothes, a young surfer babe in pigtails, who ran straight to her death in the desert, a cult devoted to distance running and sex parties. I’m paying attention, Steven. LOL.
    It’s your five toed shoes that have sparked my interest in running though.

  2. Marc Schelske says:

    Well Steven, the book does sound interesting, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why you read during church. I include *waaaaay* more interesting stuff than that! I just assumed that when you were on the phone you were posting something awesome I just said to Twitter and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s