Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Zuni, New Mexico
November, 2007

This fall I traveled to Zuni, New Mexico. An Indian Reservation located just 150 miles west of Albuquerque. I was invited to be the guest speaker for the Zuni High School fall sports banquet. The experience was quite unique.

As soon as I arrived to Zuni, some members of the Cross Country team were already waiting for me to go for a 12 mile run. Luckily, they had it all planned out. The run was going to be made into a relay. For the first 4 miles I ran with a few of the girls, then a couple of guys joined me and took me to the 8 mile mark. Finally, I met with the last group that would take me back to the school. The scenery was beautiful. The surface was so soft; I could hardly feel the pounding on my legs. While running we had the opportunity to get to know each other. It was quite motivating to hear how pure all of the athletes talked about their running. After the run we stretched, elevated legs, took some pictures and I rushed to “The Inn at Halona” to get ready for the banquet.

To my surprise, at the banquet there were approximately 300 people. It was very rewarding to be able to share my experience not only to the athletes, but to some of their parents and relatives. One thing that I noticed and really impressed me was the fact that Zuni people really cherish their culture and tradition. They spoke Zuni and English during the banquet. According to a couple of the students, the Zuni were and are a peaceful, traditional people who live by the sale of traditional handmade crafts. As far as I know, some Zuni still live in the old style houses. If you ever have a chance to be in New Mexico, I will totally recommend coming to Zuni Pueblo.

The following morning, me and a few of the runners met at 7:00 a.m. to run up to the killer. The “killer” is the name athletes gave to a very steep, sandy hill that leads you up to the top of one of many enchanting mesas (mountains) that surrounds Zuni. The team uses the killer as one of their training runs during Cross Country season to get physically and mentally ready for race day. I have to say that running up the killer was quite challenging. I could feel my legs burning and my heart working at a zillion beats per minute. I have no idea how I survived the test, but I did. It was the best feeling in the world when we finally made it to the TOP! The view was beautiful. The scenery was spectacular. I have never seen or experience something like that before.

After the run, I rushed to the Inn at Halona for a warm shower and homemade blue corn pancakes. Although, my stay in Zuni Pueblo was very short, I really enjoyed every minute of it. I thank everyone for their warm welcoming and for making my visit to Zuni Pueblo a pleasant one.

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