Guest Post By Ulises “Oso Loco”
Over 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare rapid neurodegenerative condition (largely due to MRI findings reflecting volume increase, Cortical tissue loss). This finding was the culmination of more than a year of wondering what was wrong with me. Close friends and family thought I had either relapsed (including me) as I have a drug abuse history (been sober since July 9th 2001), or that I was having a mental breakdown. I had recently gone through a divorce, had a young daughter that moved out of the country, and lots of work drama (this is all in hindsight now that I can say this).
Needless to say this was a very dark time in my life.
Going back to the MRI findings, doctors suggested that I may want to quit my job and start planning as the deterioration was worrying; they indicated that I would not be able to walk or talk soon.
A doctor from Cuba suggested that I have a functional test – a test that does not rely on anatomy but rather on function. I have a PhD in Neuroscience and loved the idea. After a perfectly normal EEG, this was a contradicting result. However, I had dropped about 45 lbs, and my cognitive abilities had declined severely. I recall laying in the hospital (during a routine of tests) and just thinking: “If this is it, please let it be it, I cannot take this anymore, I am exhausted, if I am going to be confined to a mental institution or death, I am ready.”
I did not care any more of the causes of the condition but rather the way out, a solution or a reprieve. During these times, one of my spiritual mentors suggested that I should start walking and praying, and run here and there. I was “willing” to do anything at this point. I started to walk-run (I used to wear Converse All-Stars) and could not even make a 0.5 miles.
My brother encouraged me on (he is an Ironman athlete). During this time, a friend reminded me of the great Mexica Runners (Among the Mexica, commonly known as the Aztecs, running was a part of cultural and ritual activities). Little by little, I would walk half a mile, a mile, struggle with knee pains (I had never run in the past). I became less and less interested in “my problems” and more interested in how I could be of service to others. Friends encouraged me to register for a half marathon. I registered for Valles Caldera Half and Jemez Mountain Trail Run (right up the hill from Espanola, NM where I lived).
The more I ran, the more I felt a conscious connection with living things and the Spirit of the Universe and things “just made sense” inside. I no longer cared what the cause of the “medical condition” was. In fact, while I run (and struggle), the easier it is for me to feel it and pray-talk to my Creator.
Running has taken me to meet amazing humans, each with a “story.” We all have a story. I highly admire and respect the running community and I feel a part of it. I have come to experience over and over that my mind likes to come up with false ideas and beliefs about myself, you and everything else.
Over and over, my perception is changed through this journeys, and interestingly, although the distance isn’t the goal, I too have learned that in this unexplored territory – where the body and mind aren’t comfortable – the spirit likes it, and it re-arranges my belief system about me, you and everything else.
That’s a great prognosis. I’m inspired by your message, and glad to share in the journey.
Thank you, I am glad many get something out of it. There are so many of you that inspire me to get out there and give it a try.
Thank you Trail and Ultra Running for sharing this. I have met so many inspiring humans, runners. Deeply humbled, #ConsciousContact
So proud to know you, and every day with you is a gift. I love you, Ulises!
Right back at you Laurita, thank you so much for all your support and my “crazy” ultrasignup registration frenzy 🙂 You are the best 🙂
me da mucho gusto que correr le haya dado a tu vida un giro enorme, pero lo que más me ha gustado de tu historia es que eres un ser humano que no le teme a reflexionarse sobre el pasado y que has salido adelante. Me gustaría que la próxima vez que estés en México y yo también nos vayamos a correr al Ajusco.
Arturo, muchas gracias hermano, claro. Me encantaria tambien. Ha sido un parte-aguas de mi vida entera. #ConsciousContact
You are an inspiration and good example that medicine doesn’t have a definition for everything (nor should it). Keep going! I think I saw you running last time I was in NM!
Dr. K, I am sure I know you well and thank you ! It means tons that you reached out. Appreciate it. Blessings.
Love it. See Dr. Ricoy everyday starting or getting back from a run, and/or a bike ride. Keep going my friend. Running is physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally rewarding.
Tony, thank you brother. I am always happy to see you on campus and appreciate the support.
You are an inspiration to me, cousin! Love you, -Peter
Just read your story. Though I thought I knew your story I guess I most certainly did not know all of it! Wow. I remember seeing you at that Valles caldera race and in hindsight I now understand I saw you on a significant moment in your running journey. Super awesome. I am inspired by you and honored to know you.
Running probably kept me alive in my using days and has most definitely enhanced my connection with my higher power these past 8 years in recovery. Your story demonstrates what a powerful spiritual tool running is for any runner who wants it, and even more specifically for those of us in recovery!
Thanks for your story.
Awww Emily, thank you thank you. Indeed, that half marathon was a fundamental step in this journey. I was so happy to see you on Saturday.
Thank you, Ulises. I wondered why you were doing so much running – you are, indeed, an inspiration. Abrazos, Maggie
Gracias Maggie. Saludos
You are incredible! A truly inspiring story. I’ll get out there tomorrow.
Gracias George. I admire and respect your own trajectory. We need to connect soon. Saludos
Great honestly. Running for healing and optimal health. Thank you. Would be my honor to produce huaraches for your very special feet. Cheers. Fred
Thank you Fred, I’ll send you a message via FB. I’d love some huaraches from you 🙂
What an inspiration! Love hearing your success in life … it’s major. Sharing it – even bigger! Thank you. Congratulations that you were able to take charge in such a positive way. Keep running… love your pictures- your ❤️Heart shines through them. Bev Cobb!
Much thanks Bev, humbled. Blessings.
Much thanks Bev, humbled. Blessings.