Running & Becoming
by Patrick Reed
I race in just a few hours, so I’ll keep this to the point. Today, I met both Dean Karnazes – the “Ultra-marathon Man” – and Luis Escobar (of Born To Run fame) Wow! I was exploring the SLO Marathon Expo in preparation for tomorrow’s race, and I kept noticing Dean relaxedly chatting it up with every volunteer he crossed paths with. I was taken aback by Dean’s ease and apparent sincerity. I wanted to talk with Dean personally, as he is both an inspiration to me and I am interested in having him on my podcast one of these days — so I sidled up to him when the time was right. He was picking oranges out of a great bin of gratis citrus. I followed suit and introduced myself. How stoked was I to enjoy a conversation for the next 10 minutes with a genuine and humble great man. We talked ultras and training, marathons and living in Europe – and when I told him I was a fan of his, had read 50/50 and Ultra-Marathon Man, he said, “Oh, I’m sorry!” and laughed along with me… Let the Letsrun.com forums and even Chris McDougall pout as they may, Dean is a pretty great guy.
But it wasn’t any of the stuff of our conversation there at the oranges that left a lasting impression on me today. Rather, it was later in the day, as I listened to Dean address a crowd of about 250 strong. One woman asked about how to make the transition from marathon to ultras — and Dean’s response resonated deeply with me: “It’s a paradigm change. You have to change your mindset to ‘Success is finishing the race. Crossing the finish line is winning. You have to get away from the concern about time, and realize that the race is about finishing well.” And so my task for tomorrow is set by Dean Karnazes’ well-stated running philosophy. My aim is to run through the finish well. To finish is to win — regardless of the watch…
As mentioned, I also had the honor of crossing paths with fellow photographer Luis Escobar today. If any of you have read Born To Run, you will remember Luis and his father as two who accompanied the American contingent with McDougall into Tarahumara-land. It is Luis’ photo which adorns the cover of the book — and it is likely that most every image of Tarahumara runners you have seen were taken by Luis Escobar. Luis had an exhibit — promoting his photography and a new book on the Tarahumara entitled “Running with the Tarahumara” – and one image especially struck me. I have included it below. The joy on the face of the Tarahumara runner adds credence to my comments above inspired by Karnazes. Winning is not what this running game is about. The will to win, perhaps:) — but not simply winning as an end to itself. The joy of the journey. That is it!
What did I learn today that I will put into practice in just 8 hours when the gun fires: Run for joy!
PS – Check in tomorrow to see how my race went — and if you are racing yourself, run to finish well.