Monday, March 2, 2009

Why We Run

If you haven't already read Bernd Heinrich's book, Why We Run, I suggest you run down to your local book store and pick up a copy. Heinrich is a biologist/ marathoner, (or is it marathoner/ biologist?) and he explores the history of running pretty well from the beginning of time. As the blurb on the back says "This is not a how-to book, it's a why book - and an immensely enjoyable read.".
Heinrich examines the concept of ultra-endurance from a scientific perspective and then infuses it with his passion toward running. The scientific information is thoroughly explored, yet it's written in a language that's friendly to the non-science types (myself included). For example, for the first time ever, I now have a clear understanding of VO2 Max and its implications for runners, "That maximum volume of oxygen that we can process on a sustained and steady basis over a matter of minutes.". Thanks Bernd!
In my favourite passage, Heinrich explains that our ability to endure sustained pain and focus for a future goal is because we, as in humans, have the ability to dream... to see into the future. He says,
"Dreams are the beacons that carry us far ahead into the hunt, into the future, and into a marathon. We can visualize far ahead. We see our quarry even as it receeds over the hills and ito the mists. It is still in our mind's eye, still a target, and imagination becomes the main motivator. It is the pull that allows us to reach into the future, whether it is to kill a mammoth, run a marathon, write a book, or to achieve a record time in a race."
So my friends, dream on and remember, always, it is a good day to be alive.
Cheers, M
still not running :>(
... maybe next week :>)


Anonymous said...

I was looking for you yesterday, Mike, hoping to see you back running. Have been thinking of you since the Hypo, hope that you'll be back with us soon. Sorry that Lynda and I never did get a chance to chat with you after that run. You still owe me a cup of coffee! Also want to say that your blog entry after the Hypo was amazing, Mike. Your words really do inspire many of us. Your attitude towards life, in general, is one that I aspire to. So glad to know you and see you soon.
Debbie C.

Unknown said...

I do owe you a coffee, and a whole lot more! Thanks Deb. I look forward to a long run with you some day soon, maybe in shorts!? I'm glad to know you too. Happy trails, Mike

Jen said...

Sounds like a good read. I like the part about dreams and how they carry us. Beautiful. I hope you're recovering well. NOT running is a really hard thing. But truly, your attitude is inspirational and admirable. Thanks for still posting even if you're not out there on the roads. Get better!