I hadn’t planned on a post, but a good soul passed on this weekend and it prompted me to write. His name was Micah True. Some knew him as Caballo Blanco, the White Horse, from Chris McDougall’s Born to Run.
It is probably not just coincidence that I posted a quote of his in my running journal on the day he died. We are all attached in many ways and his passing was surely felt by many.
I won’t expound my feelings about running. If you are interested, they are being explained in my journal, jlgrunr.com. It can be summed up in my tag line “I run, therefore I am.”
What I want to share is something simple. Micah found truth in running. I don’t mean he lived a life without ever lying. I don’t know any human being who doesn’t lie. Truth doesn’t mean telling the truth. The truth Micah searched for was something deeper. It is the kind of truth you have to face when you are running fifty miles in rock lined canyons. The kind of truth that reminds you that you can do a lot more than you have ever given yourself credit for.
Don’t get me wrong. He was no profit. As a man he had his frailties and weaknesses and faults. In running he found answers. I understand that because I have often found resolution to problems that have confronted me while out on a run. Plot lines find their way around roadblocks after a few miles. Running frees me to think.
Here is a quote from Caballo Blanco that has been pivotal in my transition to a more natural running style. It is about taking it slow, letting it settle in and then letting it just disappear underneath you as it becomes natural.
Think Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget your practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one—you get those three, and you’ll be fast.
There is nothing easy in learning to run naturally, but there is a grace in the form that feels right. It has taken me about 200 miles and six months to finally get to smooth. I don’t really care about fast. I just want to run.
This quote applies to so much of what we do. As a writer, the process of taking it slow and letting it become a natural form of expression rings so clear. You can not force your writing technique. Like any endeavor, you have to start slow, find your rhythm and build up through repetition and work. Once you have your voice, you can write well. But to get there you need to take that first step. You need to commit. You need to understand that there will be pain. But it is all worth it in the end.
That is the truth that Micah True had found. Like him and so many other runners, movement out on the roads and trails sets me free. It provides me a sense of truth that informs the rest of my life, most of all, my writing.
He will be missed, but it would be a disservice to his memory to mourn him. Instead, we should celebrate him by recommitting ourselves to our own truths and, starting slowly, learning to master them.
I’ll leave you with a final quote that Micah put on his Facebook page a few days ago.
“If I were to be remembered for anything at all, I would want that to be that I am/was authentic. No Mas. Run Free!”