January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
The resort sits in a broad valley at the bottom of massive Mount Kuchumaa, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border. The first thing you notice is that mighty peak, with the smaller neighboring hills completing the property’s west-facing backdrop. Upon arriving, it’s pleasantly easy to get lost on the meandering paths that curve around 32 acres of gardens, under so many plush trees and all 86 individual casitas for guests. Much of the furniture is handmade inside, as are the tiles underneath your feet. The airy feel of open-beam ceilings only adds to the relaxing atmosphere in this place. The vibrant colors of the Mexican folk art on the walls brought back memories of the dolls my parents gifted to us from their own vacation in the region many years ago. Inside the welcome packet, visitors will find a small pouch—a “sleeping bag”—for their cell phone, as well as a full schedule of the week’s fitness classes, guided hikes and runs, lectures and dining hall hours. My immediate instinct to peruse the website for answers was squashed; I had it all right here, with my phone tucked neatly in the bedside drawer. For the runner who is constantly posting, comparing, analyzing and breaking down digits of all sorts, this was the perfect place to shrug off digital distractions and enjoy the fresh oranges, grapes and bananas that were waiting for us on the coffee table.