Saturday, June 7, 2014

To the Grande Panorama; To the Lion

Text by Matt Gray
Photos by Travis Schultz

At Mile 13, I am on hands and feet, scrambling up a small section of vertical granite that is indeed part of the 33-mile Dirty Thirty Ultra. This section of the trail has brought me a smile since last year's ascent, and I've been looking forward to it all year.  Everything feels in-sync: mind, body, breath, and energy propel me over the rock and up to the ridge line.

As I reach the summit, I turn around to admire the panorama of the Continental Divide behind me: massive, beautiful, breathtaking (of course that might have been the climbing). And I feel satisfied that for nearly half the day I've been able to focus on the Shambala Practice of the Lion ... something I set out to do at the starting line.
Over the last couple of months, I've been focused inward, creating Tiger awareness of myself, my form, and my posture, as I strove to overcome injury and fatigue. Today, I am eager to seek additional balance to my running ... the Lion takes us outward, beyond ourselves, to the great world around us, to the Grande Panorama vista, to the natural beauty ... to a few more of the many reasons we run.

And while I achieved the Lion to an extent up until this point, the next descent and subsequent climb over the halfway point of the race, will rock me. Despite additional stunning vistas, blooming aspen groves, and meandering rock outcroppings, I'll need to withdraw back inward to fight through some aches and pains and rapidly decreasing motivation to carry on.

I grow frustrated that I can't maintain the Lion for the extent of the run, as it is a beautiful trail in a beautiful place.  But it makes for an excellent reminder that these approaches each take time and effort to fully manifest.  With our next event on the horizon, a running of the High Sierra Camps in Yosemite National Park, I will continue my chase of the Lion so that I can fully enjoy a place I have loved since childhood.

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