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 :>)
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