“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” -Steve Prefontaine

Ever since learning about the sport of ultra endurance races such as ultramarthons and ironmans among others, I’ve become slightly obsessed, and convinced that running and pushing your physical limits is the only real way to live.  I think Dean Karnazes, a famous ultrarunner, says it best when he says: “People think I’m crazy to put myself through such torture, though I would argue otherwise. Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. Dostoyevsky had it right: ‘Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.’ Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is a magic in misery. Just ask any runner.”

This fall I read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and then watched his ted talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_mcdougall_are_we_born_to_run.html

After reading the book I called my parents and professed that I wanted to drop out of school to live in the mountains and run (needless to say they quickly told me this was not a good idea).

I was so excited, my sneaking suspicion that running was a way of life finally had scientific backing. In fact, it’s hypothesized that running is actually what we are designed to do (I think we talked about this the first day of class), and a lot of the reasoning is in the link above. We are built to be endurance athletes. We used to literally be able to run animals to death just by outlasting them.

The science behind exercise and nutrition has always been an extremely interesting topic for me, and I love reading articles about new findings, but for the first time I found something that explained all the big key points: why we’re so slow compared to other animals, why we can outrun a horse in a distance race but can’t even compare over shorter distances, why we stand on two legs while almost every other animal walks on four, and countless other things.

Even though we are “born to run,” there are still some people who take this natural ability to the next level. Here’s an incredibly motivating video of one of those people, David Goggins, a Navy Seal, Ultrarunner and incredible athlete:

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One Response to “A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” -Steve Prefontaine

  1. Gabrielle Donahue bballqueen says:

    Wow, that video was inspiring and shows what an incredible machine the human body can be. I also read “Born to Run” last year about the Tarahumara runners and felt equally inspired to test my limits and continuously strive for excellence in my exercise expectations. Watching ultrarunners always leaves me wondering how much the human body can withstand. How much is too much? When does it become detrimental to keep training or running your body down that much? Or is there even such a thing as limits or are they human misconceptions? It truly intrigues me because ultrarunners like David continute to push the envelope on previous records. The video says he has suffered blisters, shin splints, stress fractures, etc. and I wonder when his running methods will force him to stop, or if they ever will.

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