Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Spiritual Journey to Katahdin continued

Thursday night I sleep in a tent next to the graveyard. A test of bravery before an endurance event, you ask? No, I just had nowhere else to crash. The opening ceremony started at 5 AM so it was convenient to roll out of bed and be there. My parents arrived just as the ceremony started. Lori's sister sang beautiful songs in Penobscot. Blessings were asked for the athletes on our 100 mile journey. A young girl's shoes lit up as she walked around the circle, giving everyone a rock from the gravel road underfoot. I looked around at a circle of 30 people. 30 committed individuals, here in good spirits, seeking healing for their loved ones. What a unique community I have entered. I thought back on my year since my first Katahdin 100 experience. I had been healthy and happy at times. I have been free of major depression - depression that had threatened to end my life a few years ago. That was my silent triumph.

Our group was ready to begin the journey. It was Barry, Lori, Sikwani, her boyfriend Nate, and me. Nate wanted to run and walk a portion and road crew the rest of the time. We were setting out on a three day journey by foot. I was giddy with excitement, talking up a storm. As we passed graveyard after graveyard, Barry told me they take this route around Indian Island intentionally, to pass by their elders.
Three minutes of running, two minutes of walking - for three days. That was the plan that Barry told me beforehand. I was fit enough to run the hundred miles straight, but that wasn't the point. As much as I wanted to show off, run fast, and challenge myself, the experience for me was sharing the K100 with Barry and his family and their road crew.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Spiritual Journey to Katahdin - Year Two.

Hi everyone.

The Katahdin 100 experience this year was very different from last.  Here's a few highlights.

I continue to run in support of my cousin with CF. He was unable to attend this year because he was recovering from lung surgery. My parents and I were sad he and his father were not there this year. In his place, he gave me a silver necklace with a cross that I could run with on the K100. Other athletes carry an eagle feather with them in honor of a loved one that needs healing.

I also ran this K100 in hopes of spiritual renewal. My grandma passed away a short while ago and spirits have been low. I am also looking for direction in my life right now, as I choose what to do next.

Barry Dana, the event organizer and good friend, told me he, his wife Lori, and Sikwani, his daughter, were going to all run the 100 miles. Cool, I thought. No woman had ever run the entire 100 miles, and Sikwani was up to the challenge. They would run 40 miles Friday, 40 miles Saturday, and 20 miles Sunday. Problem was, they were starting a day earlier than usual, on Friday. My support crew, Dad and Mom, couldn't drive up to Maine until Saturday. So I spent a few days calling friends, emailing whole communities in search of a support team for Friday. No luck. So, I planned for my last resort - to drive the route beforehand and stash drop bags on the side of the road every 15 miles. Last time I had used drop bags was while running around Mount Desert Island. Sure, at times, I was pretty hungry and thirsty, but I pulled it off okay.

Thursday I am driving up to Maine. My dad calls to say he will meet me Friday morning while I am  running. I am confused and speechless. He says Mom will drive from NJ to ME through the night and they will find me running on the road in the first few hours of the journey. Yes! I roar. I don't need to drive for hours in the car stashing drop bags, worrying about whether I'll find them or they'll be tampered with. Phew. What a relief.

To be continued.