nomeatbarefeet

a vegan couple: eating; running; living–minimally.

Tag: Tony Krupicka

Living Deliberately Project – Week 50

This week in the LDP…

well, this happened:

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It is hard to recognize him with a shirt on. Usually he looks like this:

For those who don’t recognize the handsome man beside me, that is Anton (Tony) Kurpicka, ultrarunner extrodenaire and one of the stars in of the film In the High CountryKatie and I attended a showing in Burlington, which was followed by a Q&A with Tony and Joel Wolpert (the cinematographer/crew/climber/runner). It was truly incredible to be able to meet someone who has been so monumentally inspiring to both of us—to ask questions, hear about his life and what it’s like to run 100 miles in the mountains, and then to snap a picture or two.

(Plus we took the elevator up with him—Katie’s response: “Hey it’s you!” Tony: “Well, I don’t really know where I’m going.” Us: “Well, we’re coming to see you.”) As far as once in a life time opportunities this was a great one (and cheap: tickets were $10 a pop).

Expenditures amounted to $28 this week, leaving us with $34 for the last two weeks of the LDP.

Yeah, so other than meeting a world famous ultra runner this week was pretty laid back…colder and colder and colder, plus snow (I am writing this just prior to a massive storm coming through). Katie has one more week of school and this its Christmas Vacation. Not sure what more to say. As always, trying to survive the holiday season is a tough task. Sharing it with family always helps.

Rethinking what “running” means

Instead of being the ultimate priority, running to me became just another skill in the toolbox for getting to the top of a mountain quickly.  If the terrain dictated that I could only use it on the gradual approach, or once I’d achieved a high ridge, or maybe only on the descent, then that was fine.

-Tony Krupicka (TK)

Once you turn to the trails and the mountains you learn that the idea of what it means to be a “runner” shifts and changes. Trail running can often involve lots of walking/hiking/scrambling/climbing. One needs to be aware of the terrain and what is needed at that particular moment. The trail may not be offering you the opportunity to run—you might need to power-hike or walk or hand-0ver-feet scramble some boulders. Does this make you any less of a “trail runner”? I don’t think so. I think that that moniker, which we slap on ourselves, is a multi-faceted phrase that means different things at different times. I love the quote from TK because it captures, so poignantly, what is great about running trails. (Of course, he is talking about mountains…but potato potawto.)

One of my goals for this year is to focus on improving my climbing and descending—really thrashing my quads and calves to improve my ability to take on hills (and possibly mountains). That is why TK is so fascinating (and inspiring) to watch. He has such a love for the mountains; he exudes this kind of joy for being out there. It is a simplistic joy that draws its strength from a minimal, unadorned experience. The environment might be some of the gnarliest terrain around—but he just makes himself a part of it, molding himself into the kind of runner than move forward up the mountain. This simple joy was picked up by none other than Scott Jurek in his book Eat and Run:

We had trails and the fresh air and a little water and food and our fit bodies to move through and with the land. That was all we needed. Seeing Kyle and Tony so happy reminded me that that was all I ever needed, all any of us needed.

I love trail racing—there is no denying the fun, camaraderie, and the rush of pushing yourself against others. But I also love just being out on the trails. I want that love to continue for as long as I live. Like Gordy Ainsleigh, I want to be doing this for many  years to come. I want to just be out there. Trail running doesn’t have to be fast; it doesn’t even have to be running at all. All it has to be is a connection with the trail, with nature, with your surroundings, with yourself. All it has to be is that act that takes you places, and if that means hiking or scrambling or walking then embrace what “running” has become for you.

I have been waiting to post this for a while now–not sure why—but it makes perfect sense because I was subconsciously waiting for Ultimate Direction to come out with this: a feature film that looks at TK’s “running” through the Rocky Mountains. THIS I am excited about. Check out the link to the trailer below to see what I mean. If this doesn’t inspire and motivate you then I do not know what will!

For a first-person view of TK running the mountains, check out this video with him and Kilian Jornet (!) running in the Grand Tetons

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