Sunday, August 19, 2012

When the mind is clear, the body is calm, and the heart is at rest

It has been a while since my last post, life has been full of surprises and now I am back in Santiago, living, working, and running here.

Today I had the opportunity to run with a group of ultra runners based out of Santiago, Chile. To state it simply: it was one of the best and most beautiful runs I have ever had.

Our mission: summit Cerro Provencia. A small peak tightly nestled in the graces of the white soldiers they call 'Los Andes'. Cerro Provencia holds its own in technicality (according to running standards) and at some points was a (bit) dangerous in parts of the 25km climb and descent. That just adds to the fun right?

The beginning of our ascent
We made our way up the backside of the mountain, scrambling up some extremely steep cliffs. With a glimpse to our left we had a beautiful view of the Andes and to our right we had an amazing overlook of the entire city of Santiago.

The view to the left

The view to the right
As we made our way closer to the summit the winds were relentless and the trail was covered in slick ice. Needless to say this made for a very interesting descent!

The last push to the summit

On the way down myself and a fellow runner (Moises) burned our way down the trail. It was one of the most amazing descents I have had the chance to experience in my young ultra-running career. In comparing the steepness of this run to the the likes of the Bright Angel Trail head and North Kaibab in the Grand Canyon, I have to admit that the backside of Cerro Provencia is much stepper and more technical (which made for a couple close encounters with the rocks and my backside). As we floated down the trail head, riding the edges like waves, we were able to gaze upon the grandness of the snow covered Andes and soak up their prestige. It was a beautiful run and being joined by great people made it that much better!

Fellow runners Moises, Felipe, and myself (almost at the summit)
In total we were on our feet for around 3 hours and 30 minutes. 25km in 3:30 for a couple quick and young ultra runners should put the steepness in perspective!

I'm looking forward to many more runs on this trailhead and discovering many new ones with my new found ultra friends. The Patagonia International Marathon is at the end of September and I'll be training for it until then! I'm also planning on running the North Face Endurance 50 miler in October, which happens to be in my backyard.

Our view at the end of our run