Tag Archives: Penn Museum

Taharhumara, Running Momma and Me!

Before you read this post, do yourself a huge favor and go read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. Go ahead, I’ll wait. *whistles to herself*

Back? Oh-my-god-so-good-you-want-it-to-go-on-forever-but-first-you-must-run-bc-that-is-all-you-want-to-do-when-reading-it, right?? Love this tome, hands down my favorite running book. You really should read it. If you already have, you know that one of the key story lines in the book is about the Tarahumara people of the northwestern state of Chihuahua state of Mexico. Theirs is a culture where long distance running is as natural as yelling “you are so cuuuute!!” when you spot a Chihuahua puppy.

I heard about an exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology on the Tarahumara wayyy back in April, but never got around to going. When I heard that this past Saturday there were also speakers on tap (Sterling Noren who is working on a doc featuring Micah True and the Tarahumara as well as Diane Molina who did the photos) I knew my procrastination had paid off! I tapped Running Momma to be my museum buddy, since I knew she would enjoy it as much as I would, and we planned a Mom-Daughter day (Lil Sis is busy on Saturdays becoming a mistress of Social Work, so just the two of us today). Here’s what we saw:

The museum was beautiful! I thought for sure it was a building that had been re-purposed but Mr. Wiki informed me that it has always been a museum. It was built between 1899-1929 – way to slide it in under the depression wire guys! It was also located right across the street from the stadium where the Penn Relays are held, so that was also super cool to check out.

The afternoon started off with presentations by Sterling and Diane. Sterling’s featured movie footage while Diane used photographs. Both were great, but I especially enjoyed Sterling’s narrative approach to his talk.

Running Momma with her Tarahumara counterpart! One thing I especially love about these people is their flair for color. The bright, swishy  fabrics they are partial to really underscore the fun aspect of running.

The Tarahumara have relay races, sometimes days long known as rarajipari, where they split into teams and keep a balling rolling by kicking it or hitting with a stick. Say what?? I could barely squeak out 50, nevermind keeping track of and kicking something while chugging along! The high school, gym-hating version of myself shudders at the thought.

We both really enjoyed daydreaming about running with these awesome folks… and of course, we spent a ton of time talking about our real running plans – since we were in Philly, the marathon was the obvious topic du jour. Running Momma is planning to tackle it next year, yeah baby!

After all that talk about running, it was imperative that Running Momma properly refuel – with fancy chocolate, natch! I especially like the ones that were designed to look like the Queen’s crown. Adorbs!

Our last stop of the day was the Philadelphia Runner store in University City. Good thing I don’t live closer to this place or I’d be broke. But, boy, my wardrobe would put Lululemon models to shame and I’d be in no danger of ever bonking. A bag full of GUs , Chomps and Nuun = happy Kashi.

Absolutely awesome day with my ma. It has been so rewarding to watch her morph from our biggest cheerleader on the sidelines to getting in on the action herself! I can’t wait for the many days I have ahead (and treasure all the ones gone by) of running talks, racing and cheering each other on with this amazing, adorable, fantastic woman that I am lucky enough to call my Running Momma.

What was the last museum you went to?

When was the last time you were in Philly?

Isn’t Running Momma the cutest?

PS The exhibit runs until September 30th, so get your booty over there stat if you want to check it out! It’s relatively small, but the rest of the museum is also great, so totally worth a trip.


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