Worldly Wednesday: Wallace, Legolas, & the Tarahumara

When I was young, I ran everywhere. I ran outside to play in the sandbox, ran to collect water for my sandcastle’s moat, ran inside because the water made me have to go to the bathroom, ran to get a snack, ran outside to get the mail, ran to my fort to read the letter from my pen pal . . . you get the idea. I liked to run. For the fun of it.

I still do.

I don’t go running to stay healthy, or lose weight, or because zombies are chasing me. I run because I like to go fast. I like the wind in my hair, the bounce of my ponytail on my back, leaping from concrete slab to concrete slab, grass and trees and stop signs flying by. The sweat pouring down my cheek melts all the anxiety out of my system, my gasping for breath makes me thankful for each one that I pull in. Running simplifies things.

However, let’s get back to the zombies.

I’d like to think that if I ever needed to, I could run for my life. Mind you, I can’t do Parquer style free-running (I’m scared of falling from great heights) but I think I could get away from a bad guy, as long as the bad guy 1.) can’t run more than 13.1 miles. 2.) doesn’t have any long-ranged weapons 3.) doesn’t know how to track me for 13.1 miles, or else then he’d find me collapsed, red-faced, gasping for breath, and begging for death (the state I was in following my first/last half-marathon)

Long-distance runners really inspire me. Especially William Wallace, The Three Travelers, and the Tarahumara.

Remember that scene in Braveheart when ‘the legend spreads’ and William Wallace runs through the mountains with his great sword on his back, his kilt blowing in the wind, and a sweet appreciation for nature in his expression? I saw it first when I was thirteen, and it totally made me want to start running long-distances. And it totally made me want to run them while wearing a skirt.

Another amazing running scene is in the beginning of The Two Towers, when Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas run “three days and nights pursuit, no food, no rest, and no sign of our quarry but what bare rock can tell.” You know you have a true friend if they’ll run long distances for you, all so you won’t be eaten by orcs. It really it a true sign of friendship. Seeing Legolas run gently through the terrain as if he didn’t want to break a blade of grass, watching his blonde hair waving behind him, made me want to run fast and light over nature, and made me want to do it with my hair down.

And then there’s the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico.

The name they call themselves, ‘Raramuri’ means, ‘those who run fast.’ They have a fun and ancient tradition of running races of up to 120 miles through their rough, canyon country. They’ll even sometimes kick a ball in “foot-throwing” competitions, or keep a hoop rolling the entire time. Not only that, but they run in sandals! And on top of everything, they do it when they’re a bit drunk! (they consume large quantities of corn beer before races)

The Tarahumara like to run. Their races last anything from a couple of hours, to a couple of days! Now, their skills have passed down from generations and generations before them, as their fore-fathers had to run long distances in order to hunt prey (called persistence hunting) because everyone knows that a man can outrun a quadruped because quadrupeds can’t pant (isn’t there a school house rock about that?)

So, why do I run? Because one day I might have to spread the word about my rebel army, while wearing a skirt. Because anyday now, I might have to track a friend who’d been captured by cannibals or zombies or terrorists. Because sometime I may have to outrun my dinner. But mostly, I run because it’s fun.

What’s your favorite form of exercise?

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26 Comments

  1. I like to hike. While I’m not much of a runner (or all that pretty while doing so) put me out in the woods on a dirt trail and I’m good to go. I love watching the small woodland creatures frolic and wonder that the heck that creature on the trail is doing on their front lawn. Same thing I think when our resident chipmunk Bob runs onto our courtyard interrupting a conversation between my wife and I. Cheeks exploding with pride.

    Great post Ellie! Gotta run!

    Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 6, 2011

      “cheeks exploding with pride.”
      Favorite sentence of the day. =)

      Reply
  2. I like to lie on a deck chair beside a well-chlorinated pool. I am really, really good at it. Seriously. I could go pro. ;-)

    Reply
  3. Ah, running. I wish I could find more time for it. I used to run cross country in high school, and miss that running comradery.

    I agree with Gene, a hike is always good, as well. I need to try and do more trail running, combine the best of both.

    Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 6, 2011

      Trail running is the way to go, if you have a nice trail near you. Put some Gladiator or Braveheart soundtrack music on your iPod and it makes it so much better.

      Reply
  4. I like the wind in the hair and the free feeling. But, I spent a good part of my life with an issue with two of my heart valves that made me feel like I was going to die after a short distance. So that put a cramp in my desire to run.

    That, and not being able to find a good sports bra.

    [You're description of running makes me want to sign up for the next 5k. Well, the next 5k held in the winter here. Florida summers will kill you.]

    Reply
    • I’m with you, Amber, but it’s an excess of birthdays with me. As if I could ever run!

      Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 6, 2011

      Feeling like one is dying is definitely a feeling to be avoided if possible. A good sports bra is few and far between – and if you ever find one you must stock up on them. 5k is my favorite distance, not too short, not too long, doesn’t take too much time to train for. They’re a lot of fun!

      Reply
  5. Dude, how long have you had this blog? I totally didn’t know it existed.

    Reply
  6. Interesting post, but you forgot about the time Tom Hanks ran for two solid years. Lol.

    Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 6, 2011

      OH yeah!!! That’s another inspirational running scene! I loved that part in Forrest Gump. I also like Chariots of Fire, that’s a good running movie.

      Reply
  7. Another great film for running is Conan The Barbarian – everyone in that movie jogs everywhere.

    13.1 miles? Wow, well done.

    Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 6, 2011

      That’s funny. Long distance runners need to be slim, and with Conan, I picture these stiff body builders jogging everywhere, barely able to swivel their necks or pump their arms. lol.

      Reply
      • Actually, that pretty much nails exactly what it’s like – except one of the guys running is tiny, so it sort of looks like a comedy duo hoofing it into the sunset.

        Reply
  8. Great post! Most Saturdays I spend a good hour-and-a-half running away from big rugby players with no necks, cauliflower ears and tree trunks for arms. It used to be fun when I was a little young whippersnapper but now I’m a little grey around the ears I spend most of the time being caught, picked up and thrown into the opposite field… I don’t think wearing a skirt would help.

    Reply
  9. EllieAnn

     /  July 6, 2011

    LoL! But have you even TRIED wearing a skirt? It is totally good at helping you run faster-and it’s good at distracting others from throwing you across fields.

    Reply
  10. Dancing! Definitely dancing. And I do it in skirts. :)

    When I was young, I was able to run. I was the fastest endurance runner in my middle school, in fact. My one claim to running fame. Then I dislocated my knee. That was 1979. The town doctor said, “If she was a football player, we’d try to fix it, but she’s just going to get married and have babies so it won’t matter.” And that was ok with my parents, because they thought the same thing. So running very far was not only something people only did with horses where I was, it was not quite as feasible as it once was. But I could dance!

    Very fun post, Ellie.

    Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 7, 2011

      Dislocated knee? OUCH! No one willing to do anything about it? Even worse. I can’t even start on the sexist Doctor/parents, or I’ll go on forever. But what about the statement, “she’s just going to get married and have babies.” Uhhhh, doesn’t he know how much a mom uses her knees? She’s up and down and up and down all the time – doing way more important things than playing a football game … things like, uh … raising a human being! OK, I’d better stop now. *deep breath*
      Dancing is great in a skirt. =) What a beautiful form of exercise.

      Reply
      • I totally agree on that one. There are six school aged children in my quiver and nobody was happy for the past two weeks since I hurt my knees running. You do use your knees as a mother. In fact that is why I took up running, because my family needs a healthy, strong mom. Shame on that doctor!

        Reply
  11. cathi lang

     /  July 7, 2011

    great fun, Ellie, truly great fun!

    Reply
  12. cathi lang

     /  July 7, 2011

    I like walking, walking down the dirt road or around Ahrens Park or to Rock Creek (never did that) anyways… walking is my favorite exercise and biking and playing games with the family

    Reply
    • EllieAnn

       /  July 7, 2011

      Thanks, mom! =) I miss walking down the dirt road with you.

      Reply
    • Hi Ellie’s mom! *waves* You must be a pretty cool mom to have raised Ellie. She’s awesome. So I just wanted to say hi.

      Reply

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