Thursday, February 12, 2009


Yuichiro Miura was in the news today for setting the world record of being the oldest man to "conquer Everest." He is now 76 and is ready for more challenges. Do we really capture Everest or do we just capture ourselves?

I plan to run a marathon in my lifetime. It's a goal that is nowhere near climbing Everest, but its my own everest. I asked myself why I want to do it. The answer is because I want to conquer myself.

Dili offered a nice place to stay fit by running. The Cristo Rei was a good 15 or so kilometers roundtrip from where I lived. The beach road heading east toward Dili's version of O Cristo Redentor is scenic and running there in the afternoons is great. On a clear day you could "hold" the magnificent sunset in your hands. Although I have not ran that distance, I was able to make it up to as far as the Caz Bar. That is 10k and I felt good to have done it.

One time I planned to run around the Cristo Rei hill. I started from Caz Bar, then past Jose Ramos-Horta's residence, up the Horta hill, then down on the other side towards the beach before finally following the beach road on the other side of the hill. It rained then and made the run quite pleasant -- at first. The shoes held well but I wished I had those sneakers with vents to let the water out. After an hour or so; and I run slow, the water soaked up the cushioning and the sneaker lost its bounce. My knees took a bad beating.

All told, I could not cross the deep crevasse just below the backside of the hill. My knees were too tried to navigate the stone face that became more slippery over time from the washing of the waves. I thought it was too dangerous even to try. There was no other way except to turn back. Luckily on my way back I found a shortcut through the steep hillside back to the main road just before the Horta hill summit.

I still felt good having done that run and especially so after winning the battle against myself almost constantly during the run to whether push through with the plan or just run back. (I think many episodic runners like me go through that stage in their head on every run.)

Why did I do that three-hour run-walk? It's because I told myself that I would do it. Now back to my original question: Do we ever conquer anything or do we really just conquer ourselves? As to the question, why do we (need to) conquer? My answer is, because we become better. What's your answer?

In Gratitude: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of strength and resolve. That I will conquer myself so that I will become a better person, is my constant prayer.

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