Why Humans Run: What Animals Taught Me About Running and Living

    Bernd Heinrich has multiple identities. He is a naturalist, a scientist, a nature writer, and a runner. He won the 1981 Chicago 100-kilometer ultramarathon. The famous biologist Edward Wilson called him " a rare forest man in modern life and a gifted writer of nature ".
    So, when such a scientist who usually studies insect physiological behavior and bird behavior writes a book about running, what would it be like?
    In this book "Why Humans Run: What Animals Taught Me About Running and Life" , Heinrich is full of passion for runners and rigorous science. He tells about his running, and at the same time, through the study of different species in the future The perfect combination of human running and evolution presents the miracles created by sports in natural history. In the book, you can read the narrations of natural authors, and you can also see the different manifestations and influencing factors of speed, endurance, respiration, heat transfer, etc. during running, and explore new perspectives of human evolution. Heinrich made astonishing discoveries, especially in the study of bodily structure, mind, and the primordial drive to win.
    Authorized by the publishing house, The Paper has excerpted the first chapter of this book, "Warm-Up Exercise with a Breeze on Your Face". "Why Humans Run: What Animals Taught Me About Running and Living"; 【America】 Bernd Heinrich / Author; Wang Jin / Translator;

    "Why Humans Run: What Animals Taught Me About Running and Living"; 【America】 Bernd Heinrich / Author; Wang Jin / Translator;

    I like to run in the countryside. Climbing up a small hill, two deer are whispering in the distance: "Look, what is this guy doing?" Running on the path between the mountains, I feel like a happy little hamster.
    —Robin Williams, movie star
    Recently, every time I come home from get off work, I feel a little restless, and I feel very bored, and I especially want to go out and get some air. Maybe this is the after-effects of sitting for a long day. So, running has become my best way to relax. After changing into gym shorts and light sneakers, I finally felt a sense of rebirth, like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon, turning into a butterfly, free and light. After tying my shoelaces, I rushed out and started jogging along the road.
    Today (September 21, 1999) was a cloudy day, with hazy rain on my face, refreshing. The street was quiet in the rain, and I could even clearly hear the sound of water droplets falling on the maple leaves. The maple leaves are still a lush color right now, and in a week or two, they'll take on a different look: a mix of yellow, orange, red, orange-red and purple maple leaves for the fall. The unicorn grass (also known as Canadian Solidago) on the roadside has begun to wither, but the aster has bloomed, and the little purple-blue flowers look very lively and lovely. There are always bumblebees busy on these small flowers, but they disappeared today. They must be afraid of the cold and hid in their underground nests deep in the forest.
    A yellow-black monarch butterfly is sitting on an aster, sucking nectar. It's monarch butterfly migration time again, what a long journey from Canada to Mexico! This monarch stopped here, how much nectar does it take to provide enough energy for the rest of the trip? In fact, monarch butterflies are like runners participating in the ultra-marathon among humans (the ultra-marathon is more than 80 kilometers long), and they all need to stop regularly along the way to replenish energy. It was still warm and sunny last week. Every day I can see the monarch butterfly flapping its wings and slowly passing the sky. Last spring, a group of monarch butterflies set off from Mexico City to forage north. The monarch butterflies I see now are not the same group as last year. They are at least the third generation. The group of monarch butterflies embarks on a winter journey that will eventually reach the mountains near Mexico City, where their ancestors were born. The climate in the mountains is cooler, where monarch butterflies enter a state similar to hibernation, slowing their metabolism and conserving their energy. In order to avoid the cold winter, the monarch butterflies have worked tirelessly to cross thousands of mountains and rivers, and the whole journey takes several months. When exposed to sufficiently low temperatures, they can go months without food, using their energy reserves to power themselves. With this body structure, monarch butterflies are natural marathon runners, thanks of course to their body structure and the way they adapt to their environment. Monarch butterfly sucking nectar

    Monarch butterfly sucking nectar

    I turned left at the end of the road and passed the small pond where the beavers roamed. Today, the pond is quiet, but in April it was still a lively scene. The shorebirds were chattering, red-winged blackbirds sang chorus arias, and dragonfly larvae also drilled out of the icy pond water. Come out and find a warm habitat. The shorebirds and the red-winged blackbird left here two months ago, and the dragonflies, because of the cold, stopped weakly on the leaves of the cattails, laying motionless there, and the mist condensed on their wings. Crystal clear water droplets. I look across the pond to the beaver den in the distance, which is also Canada
    Habitat of the geese. You may be hard-pressed to think that, in addition to the animals just now, this is also home to a moose, a great blue heron and otters. Today, however, I did not see moose or Canadian geese. At this time, the geese should have already started their journey to the south. They will form a "V" formation in the sky, make excited calls, and echo in the sky for a long time. During the marathon, the runners will also move forward one by one like geese, so that they are in the wind shadow area created by others, and the air resistance is reduced, which is conducive to saving physical strength.
    Almost all of our knowledge of ourselves is based on knowledge learned from other organisms. Gregor Mendel's peas, George Biddle and Edward Tatum's bread mold, Barbara McClintock's corn, and Thomas Hunter Morgan's fruit flies, let us know What is genetics (lays the foundation of genetics). The rats, dogs, and monkeys that were the subjects of the experiments provided a wealth of knowledge that allowed us to fully understand the physiology of the human body. By studying mice, people know how to fight bacterial viruses and prevent debilitating diseases. Without the information gleaned from other creatures in nature, we simply cannot build a complete and profound system of behavior, psychology, and genetics. As Elder William of the Athabasca Tribe told anthropologist Robert Nelson: "Everything is a religion." So, I also believe that animals can teach us more about running. After all, they started running millions of years ago, and there were no humans on the earth at that time. The author is running

    The author is running

    We have found that animals are far superior to us in practicing certain qualities advocated by human beings, such as industriousness, loyalty, bravery, loyalty, patience, tolerance, etc., animals are far superior to us, but if in order to prove ourselves It is also a very dangerous behavior to observe and cite examples from other animals to see whether the moral code is in line with the norm. Once you do, you will find hatred, violence, torture, cannibalism, infanticide, cheating, rape, murder, and even war and genocide all justified. Animals show us how humans developed themselves, not what we try to be. We can learn from animals how humans want to operate.
    Humans are so insignificant in the face of species diversity. Nor are we unique or special compared to most other species on this planet. Like other animals, we are also struggling in the long river of species evolution. We have experienced countless possibilities and are subject to countless constraints, and we have become what we are now through running-in and collision. Only through them can we see ourselves objectively and impartially, otherwise we will be caught up in parochial ideas and unfounded speculations.
    Across the pond, I saw a maple tree 5 feet wide. The tree looked half-dead, with a long-billed woodpecker perched on it, pecking at the thick, dry branches so intently that it completely ignored my presence. The small maple tree next to it is covered with wild vines, and a group of traveling thrushes fly out of it with their wings flapping. They are busy eating the berries that can be seen everywhere in this season to replenish energy for the upcoming migration. The thrushes flew away, but a grouse suddenly swooped down with lightning speed. I was startled by the powerful and rapid flight. The grouse began to peck at the grapes the thrush had knocked to the ground. If there were a few more dashes like this, it would definitely get tired. Like most migratory birds, traveling thrushes can fly for hundreds or even thousands of miles in a row, and like a pack of long-distance runners, they show us what it takes to have endurance. In contrast, grouse has amazing explosive power, and their bodies should have feather fibers that can swing quickly, just like human sprint champions, with many muscle fibers in their muscles. long-distance runner

    long-distance runner

    Running less than a quarter of a mile down the road, I came across another beaver den, built only a year and a half ago. The new dams have flooded the trees, which will slowly die this summer. The beavers are busy knocking down the great aspen on the shore and building underwater food storage with poplar twigs to survive the coming winter.
    As I jogged along the pond, I startled a group of mandarin ducks. They paddled, and soon they swam into a water covered with green duckweed, hiding in the submerged holly bushes. The bright red berries in the bushes seem to signal their maturity to migratory birds. The forest duck's nest is located in a nearby tree hole, which was pecked out by a North American black woodpecker. Within a few hours of hatching from the eggs, the young of the forest ducks can jump up and down, in and out of the hole like ping-pong balls—they are natural high jumpers. In the spring of last year, Lin Yuanyang gave birth to children here; in May, there was a flock of fluffy birds here, and now they have grown up and look almost indistinguishable from their parents.
    Roadside branches hang down above the road, and every few steps I can see traces of caterpillars gnawing on the leaves. Whenever I found caterpillar droppings on clean ground before, I would look up for the big green worm moth larvae and other moth larvae on the tree. Now these larvae must have turned into pupae, dormant in them, waiting for the arrival of winter. There are hardly any caterpillars on the trees now, and soon the nests of the thrush and the warbler will be revealed as the leaves wither. The dying maple trees in the pond were already dyed with gorgeous gold when the other maple trees were still lush and green, which was so beautiful and breathtaking.
    Now my body is slightly hot. I increased my pace, ran more easily, and at the same time, my mind became clearer. Some dusty past events come to mind. I continued to run on the uneven bank, where I had seen a bird's nest in the spring, and as I passed under the bird's nest, a brown nightthrush shrank its neck and used its dark eyes looked at me curiously. The nest is now empty, but I can still seem to see what happened here before. From the pale blue eggs hatched the chicks, their pale white feathers gradually turned into brown striped feathers, and these clumsy little creatures, one by one, turned into giants that jumped around in front of me. bird.
    A few steps ahead is a water green hill tree, and there are no husks on the ground, indicating that the squirrels did not eat here before. It seems that this tree has not produced many fruits this year. On the other side of the road is a row of old broad-leaved trees, where a barred forest owl frequently haunts.
    After walking a few steps, I came to the intersection. There is an apple tree here, and deer often jump out from here. I also once saw two small beavers wandering nearby.
    What followed was about half a mile (800 meters) of rough terrain, and I picked up the pace a little while trying to mentally sketch out my every move. It amazes me that this conscious visualisation of my pace can actually affect my actual pace. Ideas in the brain are passed to the body, executed and returned to the brain, and so on. Keep the movement smooth and smooth, keeping the right footstep opposite the left one at the same time, I thought, and it did. Like most things we learn, this process usually happens unintentionally.
    After arriving at the farmland pond, instead of continuing to run along the road, I jumped over the roadside fence, wanting to see the frog and the pond. Are there any frogs here? It has been raining a lot recently, so the pond should be able to survive the dry season. Last month, I also heard tree frogs chirping here and saw minks and frogs. Now I am like a hunter on the prairie, looking forward to discovering many treasures on the road of running.
    I started jogging again, looking up at Camelback Mountain, my eyes gradually moving down, down the hillside to the Huntington River. I feel good now, the unknown surprises ahead of the road are the driving force for me to move forward. The previous running experience has also given me infinite strength, and sometimes the vision of the future running competition will also lead me to move forward.


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