Last week, while running errands, Nick and I stopped by the library to pick up a few books. While I was there, I checked out the nonfiction running section and stumbled upon this book while looking for training guides.
The story itself kept me entertained [and I am not normally a fan of nonfiction – give me fiction murder mysteries any day] and looking forward to the next runs with the Kenyans. Taking your wife and kids into the unknown world of Kenya was a brave decision, but one that the author [Adharanand Finn or just Finn as he’s better known as] would never regret.
As I was reading through his story, I kept thinking about his goal to find the one secret that made Kenyans so fast and beating world-wide records on a whim at the largest races [New York, Chicago, all the way up the ranks to the Olympic games]. It’s unbelievable when you read their stories. In the end, the reader and Finn realize that the Kenyans do not have just one secret, rather its the combination of many ideas. It’s barefoot running as children to and from school, while running errands, while completing their chores. It’s the diet of little meat and ugali. It’s the lifestyle, truly a “Run, Eat, Rest, Run, Sleep” day. It’s the altitude. It’s the trail running rather than concrete.
Here in the west, running is a form of exercise, an activity we enjoy doing. In Kenya, running is a way of life. It’s all you do. You don’t take time to work a 50-60 hour workweek and ‘run for fun’ when you have a chance. At the end of the book, Finn runs the Safaricom Marathon, a 26.2 mile race in the Lewa Wildlife Conversancy at 5,500 feet <- as if you needed anymore challenges [I tried to run at Beech one time. Yes, that’s right, just ONE time]. Along the course, you never know what animals you will find. But the lions have been scared away by helicopters, so there’s little chance you will be eaten out there.
After finishing the book, I realized I have two goals in my fall training: run faster and run farther. Who wouldn’t also feel that way? I want to surpass my current half marathon time – the one I ran with little training and short runs and train past 13.1 in preparation for a full in the spring. I know I have the skills/techniques/training methods now to beat my current half marathon time, but I have no clue if I will actually meet my time goal. I know my legs can carry me farther and farther and I’m excited to see how well I can handle a full 26.2 mile race in April. And with that said, it’s time to get moving for the day!