Word association. The game, the foundation of some classic comedy skits, and the stereotypical tool of psychologists. “Born to Run” … “Bruce Springstein”. How can you not – seriously. But now a new wrinkle has come into play. “Born to Run” … “running barefoot”. What? Where did that come from?
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen is journalist and correspondent Christopher McDougall’s first book, and he nailed it. Over the last year his book has quietly become an “it” book – the talk of water coolers, gyms, and many a shoe store. Not only a fun and enjoyable read, the book is an anthropological history of man, of running, of evolution. He introduces us to the Tarahumara Indians, to the sport of ultra running, to a cast of characters so colorful that they have to be real. The lessons in marketing, consumerism and our buying habits are truly enlightening. The phrase “eat like a peasant” will enter your lexicon. And yes, it is about running barefoot. But in the end it is a story of people who love what they do – a simple and timeless story.
In our society, fitness and specifically running, is something that is forced. As adults the idea is that we have to run for fitness, to offset our poor diets, or to look a certain way. For our children it is equated with punishment, especially once they get into organized sports (run laps, gasers, “conditioning”, “two a days”, “run until you puke”, “no pain no gain”, etc.). All the rewards of our culture are sedentary (extra food, sweets, relaxation, video games, computers, phones, sitting out drills, etc.). The irony is priceless. The Tarahumara Indians run early and often. They want to run. They run because they love it. They reap the rewards in health and happiness. In our society we are taught early on to hate running and exercise, and the results are all to often reflected in our societies relative lack of health and happiness.
Thanks to word association and Christopher McDougall it seems only fitting that “Born to Run” now prompts “love what you do” or “bring the joy back into what you are doing”. So why the Bruce Springstein “Born to Run” and what does it have to do with any of this, other than word association? Well, if you want to see a great example of loving what you do and pouring every ounce of energy and heart into something, take a walk back to the days of MTV.
Now there is some motivation…get out there…we were all Born to Run…