Are we really born to run? She says YES!

For a while now I've toyed around with the idea of inviting a guest blogger to offer his/her thoughts on my blog. I just haven't done it. Then fellow blogger Michelle over at Runnin' Down Dreams started having regular guest posts recently and I just knew after reading the last one that it was time to start that trend here. So it's fitting that the person who sparked me to finally do this is the first guest poster on my blog. I hope you enjoy. (Also, check out her blog today; you might recognize the guest poster over there.) I am very humbled that I am #1 guest poster for my buddy David, who is an awesome runner and friend. Also, it's fitting because, after all, I am #1! Thank you David, I hope I do you proud.

Ever since I fractured my big right toe back on Jan. 21, I have been increasingly fascinated with feet. You can say I have a bit of a foot fetish of sorts. It was a bad break at the joint area and, believe it or not, 7 months later it is still not 100 percent healed. Not to worry, no pain at all and I am back to running full force. Then, I discovered the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, an awesome read and my foot fetish became even stronger. It's about how we are born to run, and how shoes mess up the mechanics and get us injured.

I had many questions: Why does my foot hurt? Why am I always getting injured? Am I not running the right way? Are my kicks all wrong for me? Well, maybe?

The book chronicles the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and how they are undoubtedly the world’s greatest distance runners For many, many years the Tarahumara Indians have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest. Their superhuman talent is matched by amazing health. They run in sandals folks. Homemade SANDALS. Not the high tech shoes we all wear in the "modern" world.

Are we meant to run barefoot? Well, as a child we sure loved to do just that.

From Chris McDougall: The Tarahumara have a saying: "Children run before they can walk." Watch any 4-year-old — they do everything at full speed, and it’s all about fun. That’s the most important thing I picked up from my time in the Copper Canyons, the understanding that running can be fast and fun and spontaneous, and when it is, you feel like you can go forever. But all of that begins with your feet. Strange as it sounds, the Tarahumara taught me to change my relationship with the ground. Instead of hammering down on my heels, the way I’d been taught all my life, I learned to run lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. The day I mastered it was the last day I was ever injured.

"Lightly and gently." Pretty easy concept yet so many of us do not do that. We put on cumbersome running shoes that invariably change our gait, which in turn may or may not result in injury. I wonder why Nike spent four years perfecting the Nike Free 5.0, which does what? It promotes the principles of barefoot running. Yep. Nike wants us to feel as though we are running barefoot. The logic behind that is the use of cushioned shoes result in making our feet lazy. We do not use our foot's muscles efficiently because the shoes do it for us. When running barefoot you are forced to naturally improve your running gait and at the same time strengthen foot and leg muscles.

Newton Running shoes are a great place to start if you have an inkling or are curious about running barefoot.

Living in a big city really inhibits your ability to go on a barefoot run, but my foot fetish tells me that it may be a good thing in the long run. (PUN INTENDED).

I am in no way saying all my running is done barefoot. In fact, none of my runs are barefoot, but I do have access to a beach and, I think, for me that is a great place to start. If anything, read up on it and at the very least "Born to Run" is a good summer read.

Please visit me over at runningdowndreams.wordpress.com, and thank you again David for making me #1

Meanwhile, the foot fetish continues ...

Thanks Michelle! Do you want to be a guest blogger? Shoot me an e-mail at runningbecauseican@gmail.com and we'll make it happen.