Like so many, I have read and reread “Born to Run,” by Chris McDougall and followed the recent news story of the death of Caballo Blanco, Micah True, one of the primary people represented in the book. Though I no longer run, and could never relate to the distances discussed by Ultra runners, (a half marathon was my favorite distance), I enjoyed and benefited by taking this journey to the land of the Tarahumara and highly recommend it to anyone.
In fact, I highly recommend reading just about anything. Stretching the brain while we flex the muscles works hand in hand. There it is again – that mind/body connection that is such a huge part of Spinning® training!
The world of Ultra anything may be over the top for many of us. However, reading about individuals who have embarked on the immense challenges of reaching Ultra goals is not only inspiring, but can be broken down into small, digestible bites to be used to fuel our own goals and ventures.
If you have introduced yourself to running in the Copper Canyon, or the Western States 100 or the Badlands, or a myriad other of the sports extremities, you have probably already learned something about Dean Karnazes.
Karnazes seems to be a character and the more you familiarize yourself with him and/or his books, the more likeable – though clearly quirky – he becomes. Often criticized for his commercialism, some fail to acknowledge his big heart (physically and emotionally) and all the good he has done and is doing.
Scott Jurek is in the opposite camp. His recently published book “Eat and Run” is not only a good read, but packed with motivational concepts that are applicable to all of us as Spinning® enthusiasts, cyclists and generally active individuals.
Jurek, arguable the “top” Ultra distance runner today, (is there ever a #1?) is a dedicated vegan, has had one heck of a tough life, and has risen to the top of many mountains in many senses of the word. Life, to Jurek, is clearly meaningful. Let me share a few passages with you:
“The point was living with grace, decency, and attention to the world, and breaking free of the artificial constructs in your own life.” (p. 105)
“By combining instinct and technique, I searched for that small zone where I could push myself as hard as possible without injury and the unraveling of the body’s systems. Accessing and staying in that small zone is the key to success.” (p 113)
“Most of all, the Ultra distance leaves you alone with your thoughts to an excruciating extent. Whatever song you have in your head had better be a good one. Whatever story you are telling yourself had better be a story about gong on. There is no room for negativity. The reason most people quit has nothing to do with their body.” (p136)
Hey, it’s summer. Certainly you have some time to kick back and read a little….
“Eat & Run, My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, New York 2012.