On the Deeper Things...

So I've been reading Bernd Heinrich's Why We Run, which was formerly titled Racing the Antelope... At the mid-point of the book, I'm still not sure Why We Run is a good title -- How We Run or How Creatures Run would be more descriptive, but no matter: the book is an absolute delight if you're seeking one of those books which is partial biology and partial biography.

Heinrich goes into great deal explaining how bugs, birds and antelopes achieve their amazing acts of ultra-endurace, and tempers the science lessons with his own experiences in the world of ultra-marathoning. It's an interesting blend of understanding why certain athletes (and animals) can kick our butts while also giving some thoughts on things we can do to improve our own performance.

Pronghorn antelope have always been fascinating to me. Though I've never hunted, stories about hunters tracking these very fast and very skittish animals make for great reading. Heinrich provides the reader with a lot of insight into how the pronghorn - with the same organs as humans - is able to run at 60 mph and maintain a high speed for miles. He also explains how evolution has caused the pronghorn to become "ridiculously fast for modern predators."

It's a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.


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