The book Born to Run changed me. It captured my imagination and opened up a new world to me. It gave me big dreams and bold goals. After reading this book, I felt a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. Maybe I was "born to run" after all! I didn't have to be fast. I just needed to believe in myself and "keep on, keeping on."
I met Caballo Blanco in October of 2009, in Palo Alto, California, at our local ultra running store, ZombieRunner. After reading Born to Run, I really wanted to run Caballo's race in the Copper Canyons. But there were too many risks associated with the trip into such a remote area of the world. The perceived dangers from the Mexican drug cartels alone was enough to keep me reserved. Being married with children forces me to reduce risks I would otherwise take in the name of adventure and excitement. So I asked Caballo Blanco a question: "Would you ever organize a race in the United States, and invite the Tarahumara?" I don't remember how he responded, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in his plans.
In October, 2010, I met Ann Trason, another hero from Born to Run. It was her last year as the race director of the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Mile race. It was such an honor to shake her hand. I was so starstruck that I neglected to take a picture of her or with her. The memory of meeting her was enough. Ann Trason was an unsung hero in the book. She raced with the Tarahumara in Leadville and was a fierce competitor with the best of the best. Having 4 sisters, 2 daughters, and an amazing mother, you could say I have a huge love and respect for women. Ann Trason is more than a legend to me. She is a role model for any woman who seeks strength and power. I want to teach my daughters that anything is possible for them. And I would use Ann as the perfect example of a strong woman who kicked men's butts in the ultra world.
In June, 2012, I got to meet Scott Jurek in San Francisco for a fun run and book signing. I read Born to Run like a science fiction novel. I fell in love with all the characters. And meeting them, in real life was a dream come true. Running ultras made me feel like I belong to this isolated community of running people. We run far. Very far. And Scott Jurek - well, he's just cool.
This is the 4th year of the Born To Run Ultra Marathons in Los Olivos, California. This is about a 4 hour drive for me, and a very busy time of year for me (my wedding anniversary and daughter's birthday are in May). There are also a lot of very popular races being run in May that are much closer to me. This year, however, a team of Tarahumara were making the trip to the Born to Run Ultras! I talked to my wife about it and she thought it would be okay for me to sign up and run it. After all, chances to run with the Tarahumara may never happen again (in the U.S.) in my lifetime.
So yeah, I'll be running with the Tarahumara this Saturday. And yes, they will kick my butt. Luis Escobar will be there as the race director. Jenn Shelton and Barefoot Ted are signed up for the 100 miler. It should be an epic weekend!
Did I mention how lucky I am to be coached by Ann Trason? And that I'm running Western freaking States in 45 days? My cup overflows with blessings!