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Born This Way - Our first in a series of guest posts leading up to the Boston Marathon

Posted: Mar 23 2015

We saw a great quote recently.  It said there is a big difference between the first day of spring and the first spring day! With temperatures still near freezing, that saying is quite appropriate for our friends in the Northeast.  Now we may not know when it is going to warm up, but one thing we do know is that, regardless of the weather, in 28 days Boston is going to be the center of the running universe.

That’s because on Monday, April 20th, approximately 30,000 people will line up to run the Boston Marathon!

It’s one of our favorite days of the year and we’ll be glued to the computer tracking results. As a lead up to the race, we’ve asked some of our friends to guest post (like we did last year) and write blogs about running, runners, and the Boston Marathon itself.  To start the series, we have a post from our friend Amy Foell.  Amy lives here in L.A. and is a writer, a comedian, and she’s a runner.  She recently ran the L.A. Marathon and she was kind enough to write this post for us:

Born This Way

Written by Amy Foell

Recently, I achieved a goal that seemed inhuman. I (and 25,000 friends) ran the LA marathon, along a minimally shaded course with record high temperatures. Heat was the least of my worries considering I grew up in Maryland where the humid summers felt like a daily Bikram yoga blast. Even my post–op knees did not take too much anxiety space in my mind. Between ACL tears and multiple orthoscopic surgeries my knees have been to rehab more than a B-list Hollywood celebrity. The biggest cause for my concern was this slight anti-marathon buzz floating in some of my circles. My well-intentioned, nay-sayers said things like, “…it’s un-natural”, “that’s too much for a human to run”, or my top favorite, “you know what happened to Philippides,” with furrowed brows and an ominous tone. I’m certainly not “social tofu” absorbing any opinion in the room and I’ve never been sucked into buying a timeshare; but I wondered if there was any truth to their words. So I did some research about the endurance of humans and discovered some amazing facts about our species.

(Note to any vegan and vegetarian readers, please be advised the following content may disturb your sensibilities.)

Over 2 million years ago early humans began to develop a means of hunting animals versus scavenging. Anthropologists phrase it, persistence hunting. (Sounds like an offshoot of Crossfit in Alabama.) Essentially humans tracked and ran after game until it tired out. An interesting concept considering we are physically weaker than much of our prey and had yet to develop advanced weapons such as bow and arrow technology.  But humans have something most other animals did not; we have chutzpah! Just kidding, we actually have endurance.

Many animals like cheetahs are faster than us, however their speed does not sustain. It’s a quick sprint to attack another animal or move out of harms way. Humans on the other hand can go the distance beyond that of most quadruped mammals. Horses and dogs arguably have mighty endurance, but eventually they hit an “overheating wall” when the temperatures rise. They must pant to cool themselves and cannot do so while galloping or running. Depending on the temperature, they may only have maximum of fifteen minutes before they must slow down. The relatively hairless, human has a state of the art cooling system called sweating, and long, elastic tendons due to bipedal mobility. These qualities allowed homo sapiens the ability to run for hours. So marathons are in perfect alignment with our evolutionary make up.

Baby, we were born to run!