Monday, October 11, 2010

The Tarahumara: Head-to-(Running)-Toe Inspiration

When you run on the earth and run with the earth, you can run forever.
Tarahumara Indians

I used to love running. I ran almost every day between high school and England. While my distances varied, running was the one constant in my life that could slow my mind and tune me back into my own voice and my own rhythm. At Davis, I ran along the Country Road until I could pop onto dirt trails that helped me forget the collegiate surroundings. In San Ramon, I took to suburban trails that were only a mile away from the freeway but were miles of quiet serenity. I jogged in every place I traveled--London, Puriscal (Costa Rica), New Orleans, and Burgos (Spain). But something happened and I left my blue Adidas in the corner for a while. I started training using CrossFit Endurance last year and I forgot how to love running. Instead, it was a chore every day to run X amount of time or for this many intervals. I didn't have time to let my body fall into a rhythm and let the world melt away. Between the homesickness and the weight of assignment-running, I hit a funk and everything from my body to my social network suffered because of it.

A friend of mine lent me a book I have had on my to-read list for over a year now. Christopher McDougall wrote Born to Run, a book about amazing athletes, a tribe that loved running, and living life the natural way. If I manage to get past the first chapter of a book, it usually means I'm hooked and if I'm hooked, I'm usually pretty inspired by the time I put the book down. After reading about ultramarathoners, the benefits of vegetarianism, and the triumphs of average people who became ultimate athletes, "inspired" was an understatement. I've spent the last year and a half trying to maintain a workout routine with Clint. We routinely fall off the CrossFit bandwagon, the way Kirstie Alley falls off the resist-the-donut wagon or Whitney Houston's I-want-to-sing-again wagon. With the extra time I have while Clint is deployed, I have the ability to focus on setting a workout routine again (and subsequently, on myself again). And with the motivation that comes from knowing other vegetarians (and vegans!) have accomplished amazing things just with their two legs, I feel like maybe this ride on the CrossFit wagon might be more sustainable and permanent. I needed a little reminder that I used to live for the trails. I'm even excited to incorporate a few CFE workouts if they can boost my pace up (but this time, I'll know to incorporate them less often). Just in the past few weeks, I have felt happier about my progress and happier in general. I feel like I'm gaining a sense of my old self back, a part of me that loved to run and loved to live.

The Tarahumara are a tribe that love to run. But sometimes I wonder if running helps me to love.

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