Lately I’ve been pondering this whole Ironman/marathon running gig that I’ve thrown myself into: is it healthy, is it purposeful, but unfortunately have come up with no major revelations. Luckily, however, Christopher McDougall, a Michael Pollanesqe writer, has also been pondering similar questions and has come up with some revelations. In his book, Born to Run http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/246907/tue-august-18-2009-christopher-mcdougall, McDougall studies the Tarrahumara Indians of Northern Mexico to find out how they are able to run one hundred plus miles with apparent ease. What he finds is that these guys just love to run; they are not mutants with superhuman strength and stamina, they are just regular guys who enjoy bounding from rock to rock at the miles pass beneath their sandal clad feet.
I’ve been running for nigh on thirty years now and though I’ve had some good times I can’t exactly say I find running joyful, that is until last Monday, and all it took was a change in attitude. We were coming home from working on the cabin when I had Melony drop me off about seven, maybe eight miles from home. I figured a nice late afternoon run would be good after a weekend of pounding nails and sawing boards. The weather was nice - mid sixties scuddy clouds – the farms in the Snoqualmie Valley were in full bloom and from the very first step I made a conscious decision to “run happy.” I smiled the whole time, kept a nice even pace and stopped to pick blueberries, and even an apple, when I got a little hungry.
I reached the turn to my house way too early so I took a little detour through the woods. Coming up from McDonald Park required the ascent of a hill that nears cliff status but I just kept smil’n and strid’n and pushed right up no problem. I’m familiar with the trails that exit near my house because I used to mountain bike this area a lot, but now that the exit closest to home has been blocked off by development I had to venture onto unchartered territory. I kept heading north, or at least what I thought was north with the idea that I’d have to come out of the woods some time. After about twenty minutes of wandering around I popped out at the end of some road. I figured that the road had to go somewhere so I just followed it a couple three miles until it ran into the main road. I was about two miles downhill from home, no problem, this was a “fun run” and so I just motored on up. Fifteen seconds after setting foot in my driveway the hail storm hit. Sometimes you get lucky.
I learned that running only sucks if you make it suck. We humans are born to run, our ancestors didn’t live to run, they ran to live, all we have to do is awaken those memories.