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    Lotus in the Mud

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    VICKY:
    How was your trail race this weekend?

    GRANT:
    Fantastic.  Great in so many ways.

    VICKY:
    The weather was okay?

    GRANT:
    Pouring rain.  It started raining just as I got into Kingston saturday morning.  The course started to turn into mud, but it was a great time.  It made the mostly flat course a bit more technical and you had to maintain concentration at all times to be sure of your footing.  You had to kind of dance around the roots and rocks.

    VICKY:
    Sounds challenging!

    GRANT:
    Yes definetly.  It reminded me of this experience I had when I was over in Korea which has really influenced my perspective on life.

    VICKY:
    Do tell.


    GRANT:
    I was in Kyongu along the eastern coast of South Korea.  It’s a mountainous area.  There is a park which contains the most beautiful Buddha I have ever seen carved out of the rock on the side of the mountain.  The entire park has statues littering it.  I was hiking through the park when it began to pour rain.  Within minutes there was no one around.  I decided to follow trail markers towards what was indicated to be a series of statues.  The trail grew wilder and wilder until I was rappelling down a rock face.  The footing was wet and muddy and treacherous so I had to be extremely focused to avoid tumbling down onto the rocks below.

    When I reached the bottom I found some extraordinarily carved Buddhas.  I bowed in the mud and sat down in meditation.  Probably because of my heightened awareness from the descent I quickly entered a deep meditative state.  I considered my problems.  My selfishness, my lack of gratitude and lack of caring for other people.  I wondered why I wasn’t happy.  I had struggled so hard.  I had been in Asia for almost 3 years.  I lived in monastaries from the rooftop of the world in Tibet to the caves and jungles of Laos and Thailand.  I had studied at the feet of some of the greatest masters who have ever lived including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Also I considered all the other things I have in my life to be thankful for including most importantly my parents who are wonderful people, all my family, my friends, the opportunity to grow up safely and educated.  All this and still I was suffering and pursuing happiness.  I’ve always been chasing after one thing or the other but more than anything I’d been chasing happiness.  And then I finally saw clearly the foolishness and absurdity of desire and pursuing anything especially happiness.  It’s so dangerous to pursue happiness.  It leads you in a lot of selfish directions.  I had that realization and my mind became very still and I experienced a profound sense of joy.  The forest was alive. I was covered in mud.  I was drenched and every moment was perfect.  I felt every drop of rain as it touched me.

    VICKY:
    Coolness.

    GRANT:
    That’s Nirvana and that’s a reason for the big interest of mine in endurance sports.  The goal and the road ahead of you is so inconceivably far away and the road behind you has no meaning.  It becomes timeless.  You are just there.  There is no past and no future.  There is only the present moment.  In my view, endurance sports are like a pilgrimage.  They are a long journey.  They are an opportunity to look inside ourselves and discover something extraordinary.

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    Self-described “running nerds,” Vicky and Grant are co-workers who “spend their lunch hours at the nearest bookstore and will often be seen around the office getting excited about a new energy bar or running gadget.” The duo captured our attention with their unique (double) take on Running Blog Idol, pledging to address a host of different topics including Canadian running heroes. Their submission to our contest even included a sample vlog (available at youtube.com/watch?v=oy4oDokN1Qo), which they promise is “but only a mere example of the lengths we are willing to go in order to share our experience, knowledge, research and general ramblings.” Holy multimedia, Batman!