Incredible and inspiring book. Caballo Banco (Michael Randall Hickman), the Tarahumara indians, Jen Shelton, Bonehead Billy, Barefoot Ted, and more are detailed in this book in relation to their ultramarathon adventures. Our ancestors were persistence hunters who could outlast any animal in the world. We are the ultimate long-distance running machine and the shoes and other technology often simply throw us off and injure us in the long run.
We do not need fancy running shoes. The foot is perfect!
Some incredibly courageous stories about a “different” breed of people who run just for fun and in the badlands. No publicity, no real money, just the thrill and the freedom to run 100+ miles.
Humans are the most sophisticated running machine evolution has come up with. We sweat as the main way to cool down instead of just breathing so we can run more efficiently. Can go longer than any animal. There is even a 50 mile race between man and horse in Arizona and the human wins
Knees high, toe down, short strides, feet land directly beneath you, heels flip back
Forearm parallel to the ground and pumping like Rock ’em Sock ’em robots. You are the only bi-ped without a tail and the arms provide stabilization
In slow motion foot looks like a swan landing on water, with toes splayed.
Pronation is good – meaning you land on the outside of your foot and rotation ends on your big toe. This is a mild twist that provides shock absorption.
Your ligaments and tendons act like springs, use them right and you will run more efficiently
Had no idea our ancestors relied so heavily on persistence hunting and simply out running their prey. While I don’t think I am one of those people who loves running 100+ miles for fun (I haven’t tried yet so you never know…), it is amazing what these people are capable of
Louis Zamperini was a troublesome child who had insatiable energy and often found trouble. He was able to start focusing his energy towards running when his brother Pete got him into track and field in high school. Lou at first hated running but was soon breaking high school records left and right and became obsessed. He went to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and while he didn’t medal, he was the youngest ever American distance runner in the Olympics. He was training for the 1940 Olympics but got drafted as a bombardier and was soon shipped to the Pacific. The rest of the book describes Lou’s inspiring ability to stay alive through several different Japanese POW camps, come back to the US and fight off alcoholism and live an extremely long, happy and fulfilling life, eventually even being able to forgive his captors/tormentors. The book ends with a tear-wrenching image of Lou running with the Olympic torch in Japan where he once held captive.
It is truly amazing how strong and enduring people’s will to survive is. Certain of Lou’s recollections make me cringe at humanity’s blatant thoughtlessness and conditioning to whatever situation they’re in. The guards, who for the first time in their lives, had power over others and abused it beyond all imagination. POWs in one camp were drenched in gasoline and burned alive in a pit. Some lost their fingertips trying to climb out only to be shot or bayoneted
In order to be truly happy, one must be able to fully forgive others. Lou had recurring nightmares about The Bird, his main tormentor, and this drove him to alcoholism. Finding the ability to forgive The Bird allowed Lou to let go of his past and move forward with his life – it repaired his marriage and allowed him to live an extremely happy and active life well into his 90s.
What I got out of it
You have more strength and willpower inside you than you’ll ever know until your limits are pushed. Find out where your limits lie and you won’t have any regrets
Forgive others no matter what. It is more for you than for them and until you do, you will not be able to truly move on with your life.
Extremely powerful book and one that I plan on reading again as it made me so grateful and aware of the amazing life I have