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Article: Lessons from the Land

Lessons from the Land

Lessons from the Land

Hikuri or Peyote, is known as “the wise man"; it's considered to be a teacher in the Wixárika culture of this area.

Running through the jungle and mountains of Mexico a few months ago at the UTMB Hikuri 100k (62 miles), I missed a turn around mile 43. At the time, it weighed on me, filling me with disappointment. As I struggled to re-group and find motivation to keep charging, I realized the wrong turn didn’t matter at all. Fourth or eighth, who cares. Once the emotional dust of my ego settled, I re-grounded. My experience and growth doesn’t depend on beating four more people.

I came here because I need a proper test for myself. I came solo with the intention to compete, test myself on new terrain, in some serious heat & humidity, test my foot (which hadn’t been 100% for a while). These efforts take me from my comfort zone, which in a strange way is comfortable.

What mattered was being fully present with this effort. These moments are a beautiful time to be fully engaged with earth and body. It’s never easy, but that’s why I’m here. Nature is mystical and always willing to teach...if I’m open.

Often the most demanding parts of these races are the remote sections when no one is around. The strange battles that happen in your mind and body, absorbing whatever the earth and body have in store for me on the day. It’s a mysterious blend of wildness on a physical and philosophical level that is so raw. I find myself craving a handful of these self-induced runs each year. Whatever happens as the day and effort unfolds, I am here to embrace it all. Being so singularly focused on one thing for so long is truly rare in modern life. An effort that requires everything I have physically and mentally is brutal & beautiful. It’s a gift from the earth, the mountains, the river, the dirt, the body, the movement. It’s a gift that comes from riding the fine line of bliss and suffering for a long period of time. 

I needed to go experience this run, not sure why but glad I did. The race was intriguing, rugged, mysterious. The countless river-crossings that helped keep me cool. The people and their openness to us coming to experience their race, their mountains. The small town of Mescota, where we started the race. The cheering school kids running an aid station at a small school that seemed impossibly remote. The local shaman with the pre-race blessing. The hundreds of colorful butterflies that magically parted just in time leaving a clear path to run through.

Thank you Wixárika wisdom, thank you Sierra Madre Occidental mountains, thank you Cuale River, thank you Nature for teaching me.