Saturday, March 5, 2011

NEW AGE Running

What runner isn’t interested in a (legal) energy boost before running a race? Typically that means pre-race carbo loading, getting lots of rest and tapering the training leading up to the event. Unless, of course, your race happens to be in Sedona, Arizona – one of the world’s New Age centers and home of more than one well-known vortex! And what, might you ask is a vortex? (At least I had to ask.) Although science has its own definition, New Age practitioners take that definition a bit further in describing “swirling centers of subtle energy coming from the surface of the earth”. Since most of the Sedona vortexes are reasonably accessible, we reasoned we ought to take advantage of one and took the short walk up onto a red-rock ridge to experience the “Airport Vortex”.
I can assure you the view was spectacular. As for having the “required, but normally present” sensitivity to feel and absorb the energy – well, perhaps race results would be a better indicator.
Sedona is truly a beautiful and eclectic place. The scenery is spectacular – combining desert landscapes with gorgeous red rock buttes, towers and cliffs, along with chalky ridges and mountains nearly surrounding the area. The city is a place that has exponentially grown in the last few decades and now sprawls between and among the red rocks.
It also boasts more New Age practitioners and businesses than you are likely to find any place else, to include palm readers, spiritual advisors, vortex tours, UFO centers and other self-awareness enterprises. (We admit to visiting a UFO business and the aforementioned vortex, but only photographed some of the others mentioned.)

The trip ended up being among our favorites. The race was run on a spectacular course through the red-rock country, the weather was great and we enjoyed our visit to Sedona – to include several really good (fairly traditional) meals and some hiking. Bookending the trip were visits with Emily in Las Vegas (to include the Cirque du Soleil show, “Ka”, which was pretty incredible) and time at Hoover Dam on the front end; and a drive through Oak Canyon, and a stop at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on the return. We were powerfully reminded of the amazing grandeur of the Lord’s creations. It still takes my breath away.

Another factor contributing to the success of the trip was being able to enjoy it with Karen’s brother, Tom. He flew into Las Vegas and drove to Sedona with us – running the full marathon, rather than our wimpy Half. He is pursuing the same 50-State goal as we are, but with the full marathon. This was our third race with him (and his first visit to the Grand Canyon) – and we have enjoyed them all!

But back to the race. What did the Airport Vortex do for me? Before sharing my own assessment, there are a couple of things worth knowing about the course. First – it was VERY challenging. There were a number of significant, extended hills – to include a long one from mile 12 to mile 13 (which should be illegal). Contributing to the challenge was the elevation. Although only at 4500’, which is about where we live and train, we seldom run races at that elevation. Second – this was an early season race, meaning the training leading up to it was limited. With that information out there, certainly no PR was expected. And none was achieved. I felt I ran a good race, but my pace – even after the vortex – was about 45 seconds per mile slower than my time last year in Fargo ND (where, to the best of my knowledge, there is no vortex). The moral of this story? You might be better served by ensuring the training and preparation are consistent with the goals. In my case, they were – but I will admit the vortex was an interesting concept – and I would not hesitate to go back to Sedona. However, hiking and scenery and more time in Oak Creek Canyon would be the draw.

In an attempt to make the length of my blog rival that of Dacia’s regular tomes, there is one additional thought to share from this race. On a couple of the final hills it is accurate to say that I was dragging. They were tough! In those moments, the beauty of the area I was running through was not foremost on my mind – until I caught myself. Despite fatigue, it was still WOW! I couldn’t help but think how often we do the same in life. Invariably, there is beauty all around – but how easily and often do we miss it? I believe New Age thinking promotes self-awareness – and maybe that is a good thing, in moderation. However, I am far from a New Age advocate, but can still offer this nugget: Don’t let the occasional drudgery and demands of life make you miss the beauty that is there to be seen. And don’t run so fast that you miss it, either!


Rachel's Mommy said...

Great post, sweetie! And another great race--we're getting very close to our goal!

Mythreesons said...

Beautiful pictures! I'm sad I didn't go, but glad I didn't make that my first half... I'd probably never run again! We'll go next time... Oak Canyon sounds so fun.

Super Daysh said...

From what you said- I don't think you have to worry about "running to fast" to miss the beauty all around. :) tee hee hee. And no- that blog didn't even come close to one of my good, long ones! ;) I'm glad you had a good race and that you enjoyed your trip!

princess jen said...

"Don't run fast" I like that message ;) Thanks for those photos. What a gorgeous place!!