August 19, 2011

Canyon Bound

I never really understood what it is about running that I love so much. But ever since I started, no matter how difficult it was, I always felt that running, for me, had a purpose.

When I successfully broke the circle of injury about 2 years ago by ditching my shoes, I felt a sense of discovery and gained access to great freedom. My running improved by leaps and bounds, and before I knew it, I went from running 10K’s to half marathons, to marathons, to ultra marathons. But most of all, I went from running as an exercise to running as a lifestyle.

Along the way, a friend of mine offered me a book. It’s called Born To Run. It tells an awesome tale of human discovery and a race that was created to reunite two worlds. A race that brought foreigners deep inside the Copper Canyons of Mexico, the home of the Tarahumara, for a gathering of Running People and a celebration of peace. For the first time, I started understanding my passion and discovered that running is rooted deep inside the story of humanity. I began to comprehend the grand meaning running holds for me. And I was moved beyond words by what had happened in the canyons, by what has since been called the greatest race the world has never seen.

Out of the many great pearls of wisdom this book contained, I wrote only one on the inside cover. The one that had struck me the most, the one lesson that I remember above everything else.

“Expect nothing of your running and you’ll get more than you ever imagined.”

It took me a year and a serious injury to fully fathom what this means. I stopped obsessing about times and performances and instead started to focus on enjoyment, freedom and the realization of how incredibly blessed I am to be able to get out and enjoy a breath of fresh air on my two feet, to enjoy great physical well-being and to be my own means of locomotion. I, too, was born to run.

Then all the lore of that great book came to life. The Tarahumara Indians, first, through my research. The “Running People” of the canyons, their lifestyle, traditions and struggles. Then the man who helped the world discover them, Caballo Blanco, through an incredible twist of online fate, became a friend. I shared with him my feelings about the Running People and my yearning to somehow get closer to them, if ever possible. Then something happened that I never expected. Something that is more than I ever imagined.

I was invited to travel down to Urique and run with the Tarahumara. I was called a friend and was welcomed into the greatest race the world has never seen.

On March 4, 2012, I will run the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon.

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