The Foundation

What do I stand on? Why do I say this today?

I just returned from an exciting and fun race in Canada. This morning, I again am able to sit quietly and do my spiritual study. In chapter 6 of the ACIM text, it says that the Holy Spirit is the answer to the ego\’s doubts about what it is. The Holy Spirit always answers (tells me) something like this: I am a priceless child of God. He created me as part of Him. His decision cannot be undone.

The text is saying that the ego\’s whole idea is to undo the Idea of God, and not be part of Him. The Holy Spirit\’s job is to provide the answer. I get to choose which I want to listen to, hear and learn.

My foundation is to accept the Holy Spirit\’s answer and always say it again to my ego. When my ego brings up doubts, fears, angers, hatreds, I answer with the Holy Spirit\’s answer. In this way, I am not projecting anything other than inner peace because a child of God knows they are safe and nothing else is real.

The Promise

Earlier today, I was standing at gate 98C in Newark airport, awaiting flight 1199 to Houston. I was going to be on time. I was standing next to a power source and it wasn\’t long before someone asked me if I was going to use the plugs. I said no. She put her phone on it. I was looking at my boarding pass. A female pilot wandered over to charge her phone. We got to talking. Somehow, the United boarding process came up. I mentioned that I was one of the regular people. I\’m not platinum, gold, or anything.

I looked again at that boarding pass.

My boarding pass was a miracle in itself. It represented me being in Newark about 5 hours earlier than originally planned; and that United had changed my flights without charge and the first flight from Ottawa had arrived in time to make my connection. I suddenly blurted out to random stranger plugging in her phone, \”Just think, I\’ll get to Houston, no traffic on Beltway 8, no traffic on 225, no traffic on 146.\”

She was not from Houston and had no idea what I was talking about. But I had blurted out an impossible situation; there is never no traffic on these highways at 5:30 pm.

On the other hand, as I looked at the paper boarding pass, I thought it represented a promise. A promise from some higher authority that I would be taken care of.

Amazingly enough, I drove home from the airport, 40 miles during rush hour, without a single bad traffic area.

I have spent most of the day in steel tubes flying through the air. But, I was also alone it seemed. I thought of my medal picture from the Ottawa 2012 half marathon:

It is a still life.

This morning, I spent 3 hours in a car with someone feeling tension. Now, I am driving home, 2,000 miles and hours away from this morning. As I drove the last few miles to my home in Houston, I felt the stillness of the picture. It is a memory of an event, a memory of living flowers. It is a memorial of an experience. It is silent.

I am a girl who will go on running. I will go into my elliptical now. I will do my balance exercises today. I just had my green tea and there is fresh spinach in the fridge. My boss has already sent an e-mail asking if I would help a colleague.

But, alone, I feel the stillness. It is so beautiful, I may cry. Thank You Stillness.

ORW – Running with a Maniac

Sunday, I had a fabulous time running the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon. I ran with a guy I\’ve chatted with on-line but never met before. It went really well and was a good time.

I was staying in a hotel near the start. This allowed me to use a nice bathroom very soon before the race. I sallied forth at 8:40 for a race that started at nine. It was easy for Ken to spot in my running mania top. He hugged me.

I insisted on starting in the first wave. My check out time became my motivating factor for running a relatively fast race.  Ken and I talked of ultra marathoning and fueling. He asked me why I went to a monastery and how I got kicked out. IronGirl passed us. I said, \”Congratulations!\” She said, \”for what?\” Then at the same time we both said, \”Being here.\” Ken knew I would need a porta stop. He pointed out some \”good\” (no line) portas. With 10k left to go, the bands started energizing us and the energy increased. We picked up our pace. My heel was hurting. during the last 5k or so. Miss Smiles cheered for us. Avis cheered for us.
I finished happy (2h17).

There was a massive human traffic jam right after the finish line. I waded through it, picked up my medal and then exited out the side. I then jogged to the hotel and in 15 min took a shower and packed up; getting out by 12 pm. Whew!
Then I went to the Runningmania meet and greet, meeting several new maniacs. Then I left with JoJo and drove to her home town. This morning, I took a picture of my medal with her flowers.

Then, we took C-Moss for a walk on some trails nearby. It started raining so we cut it a bit short. Then we went driving around Kingston ON and also walked around town. I succombed to my curiosity regarding Vibram 5 Fingers and bought a pair on-sale. Low and behold, Spaff wandered into the store. OMG! What a treat to meet one of my ultra idols, whose blog I read.

Tomorrow, I\’m leaving Kingston early and flying home. I will be glad to get home and relax for a day before going to work. I have trouble being surrounded by people so much. I miss my quiet pondering. So, that is the insite for this report. Going to races and meeting others is fun. But not for me as a way of life. Just being quiet is my practice. My mind is quiet and I can hear the inner Voice. \”Being\” alone lives in the kingdom. It is hard to just be with others around. \”Being\” is forgotten.

My new toy:

Ottawa 2012 – Half Marathon Prelude

Pictures from the hotel lobby:

The cool jersey is Runningmania.com gear. I\’ve been a part of that discussion board for several years. The other people live in Canada. So I come up here every year to say hi to them in person.

Ottawa Race Weekend is a huge event. There is a 2k, 5k and 10k on Saturday evening; then a half and full marathon on Sunday. Last night, I met 2 maniacs I haven\’t met before. Today, I am running with one I haven\’t met before but chatted with almost daily. And then, many maniacs will meet for a post race meal and I\’ll get to say hi to at least 20 maniacs.

I am as usual studying A Course in Miracles. It says (Chapter 6.III) the message of the crucifixion was: teach only love for that is what you are. The ego was made without love and cannot hear the Holy Spirit. The ego is what asks, \”What are you?\” and is the part of the mind that doubts.

\”…the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which he created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real.\”  \”The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself. The protection of God then dawns upon it…\”

And now I sit quietly in my hotel room, waiting for the race start. I will sally forth ego and mind to join the Son of God.

ORW – Prelude

I\’m getting ready to go to Ottawa Canada to run a half marathon. Tomorrow, Saturday, I fly. I\’ll be met at the airport by a running maniac friend and we will zip into town in time to watch the evening races. I\’ll be meeting some new people and cheering them in their 10k. On Sunday, I run a half marathon at easy pace with a new internet friend.

Today, Friday, I took a day off work. I slept for 11 hours! And then, after running errands, and after the Houston weather had got to 85F, I went for a 2 hour jog. Yes, I can run in heat and humidity.

Now I have done some packing and eating and soon will do the evening workout.

I marvel at the status of my life. There are so many places where a path had to be chosen and radically different outcomes ensued. I could\’ve stayed in California instead of moving to Missouri. I could\’ve stayed a drunk rather than get sober. I could\’ve skipped the monastery. I could\’ve skipped Texas. I could\’ve got fat and sick. I could\’ve stayed a Catholic, or become a Buddhist.

Have I learned anything? I have learned peace; even in the midst of a busy city existence. I have to find the secret of the desert monks in the midst of cars, airports and a huge chempark.

I find this existence in my living room as I ride my elliptical. I find it in the tiny park across the street where one lap in 0.28 miles but trees provide shade. At the back of the park is a swamp. Birds with long legs find their lunch. Snakes perch on fallen logs.

In the desert, I find Christ within. I find love in all the other people I meet. I find that deep well of the Hidden Christ in the silence within.

This Blog….

Because of this blog, there are several people who I have met in person and several others I exchange with on the internet. But it troubles me that lately, a Russian source comes here 20 or 30 times a day. Is it a robot or a real person? Is it a hacker of some sort? I don\’t want to cancel the blog because the Russian robot is bugging me.

In other news, my 2012 world running tour goes international this weekend: Ottawa Canada. What is funny is that this 2012 running tour is also scheduled to have a stop in Germany. I did not plan any of this really. I signed up for some races because I wanted to. I signed up for others because work was taking me to that area. But really, 5 states and 2 other countries is crazy.

I have found a chiropractor in Houston area who does ART/Graston. She works on my left achilles and heel. Yesterday she gave me some foot strengthening and balance exercises. Wow! If I keep doing those, I won\’t be one of those little old ladies anyone could push around.

Chapter 5 – Intense Holy Spirit Learning

A Course in Miracles Text chapter 5 is really deep into the Holy Spirit. I deeply feel Him inside. I remember. Or I stop and listen; experiencing the reality.

All this as I ride the elliptical or walk on the tread mill.

\”Healing is the vocation of the mind.
In the mind, God put the Call to joy.\”

I\’m still in the hunt for completing a 24 hour run. Maybe this one near Atlanta on September 1:
http://www.dumassevents.com/Merrill_s_Mile.html

Surreal eh?

On the road – Blue Hill Run

Saturday, I did my 16 hour run/walk. Sunday, sleeping and driving. Monday, ex-bike and treadmill walking at hotel. Tuesday, 92 min of jog/walk.

Today, Wednesday, a great run over Blue Hill, along Monument Valley and back up into Great Barrington. Except for a steep part at the top of Blue Hill, I jogged the whole way, 8 miles. So sweet!

It was a mile to the cemetery from my hotel to start this loop. If I feel good tomorrow morning, maybe I\’ll do the loop and then some. I bought a small bottle of Bolton Farms protein smoothie to take along.

Very pretty here, eh?

I\’m practicing my \”eh\” because I am going to Canada in 10 sleeps. They\’ll tease me about my newly minted Texas accent.

Now I Go On Living

It is May 15, half way through May, almost. I just did an ultra marathon. I look forward to more. I look forward to reading the blogs of other ultra marathoners as they complete their endurance trials. Today, I went for a walk/run. My blisters are just well enough to allow this. The one on the bottom of my foot is still red, but wasn\’t painful. The left pinky toe still needs space, but my shoes have space.

I ran down the road from my hotel to a quiet cemetery and completed 2.5 laps of that. Then I noticed a road going up a hill behind the cemetery. I went up that too. It was marked every 0.1 miles, so I know I went up 1.1 miles and then turned around at the top. Then back to the hotel for a total of 92 minutes of walk/jog.

I dreamed of my old convent last night. Today, I looked at their blog. I have to admit I\’m more interested in running than I am in the genteel life with mostly elderly ladies. I\’m excited that my 52 mile run didn\’t seem to cause physical harm other than the blisters. I\’m excited to be going to Canada to run in 11 days.

I must have been adequately trained to do 16 hours of running and walking. So my body was not destroyed and the graph continues to build:

When I was out this morning, I thought, \”I\’d love to spend everyday going up and down this hill; even over and over, several times a day.\”

A Course in Miracles continuously reminds me to let go of everything I think; because these are ego thoughts. The grave yard I went through this morning was an example of ego thoughts. Clearly the Star of David tomb stones were separate from the Cross tomb stones. Really? Do you think God really divides his people? Religion can only be a separation exercise. Spirituality can only be ego edification: getting something for yourself. ACIM says that the ego fruitlessly but continuously seeks approval of Spirit, who doesn\’t know the ego exists. Only surrender frees one from the ego thought system. We can choose spirit instead of ego.

A runner at the Fair:

In a Ray of Light – 3 Days at the Fair Report

This picture at the start gives a hint of how I feel inside. Can you see the ray of light around me?

At the start of a long day. I am beaming.

The venue is fantastic, good places to park along the course to set up your aid station, great bathrooms with nice showers, good tent space, 25 ft elevation change for each lap, mostly paved, well lit at night, full kitchen in the food court, a screen showing you distance every lap.

Great bathrooms with nice showers right on course:

The nice down hill:

Food court and timing area:

Tent area near my car, but you could put a tent anywhere:

Swag: a nice jacket.

I came to this race a little by surprise. As a timed ultra addict, I had looked several times at the web page for this race. But this year, with a 50k in Missouri at the end of April and a trip to Ottawa ON planned at the end of May, I just didn\’t have time to squeeze this in. But, about 4 weeks ago, my boss informed me that he was getting his gall bladder operated on and that I\’d have to go to Sheffield Mass. to do a week of training. It turns out, this week after this race. Well, now that I HAVE to go to that part of the country, I might as well enter this race. My boss gave me permission to fly on Friday, so no vacation days used (also no airfare or rental car). Sweet!

I am not really trained for a 24 hour race, but no harm in seeing what I can do. I always go into things with high hopes but am good at accepting whatever happens.

I spent nearly all day getting from Houston to Albany NY. then a 2.5 hour drive to Sussex County NJ. I didn\’t get lost for once, which surprises me. I get to the race site for a look see about 7 pm. I think I decide where I want to park and set up my chair and food. No rain in the forecast.

Then I drive 6 miles down the road to the town where my hotel is. I go to the world\’s worst WalMart; but they do a have styro cooler which I need for tomorrow. Then I find a good food store and stock up on other items. Owing to the fact that I was traveling all day, I was under-hydrated. Therefore, I slept a solid 6 hours without getting up.

In met the wife of one of the runners in the hotel the next morning. This already formed a relationship between me and husband. I get to the race site about 8. Set up my things. I am parked next to one guy who has already been there 2 days and another guy who just got there (he eventually went 120 miles in 24 ours!). We all start chatting. then I pick up my number and swag. Then I check my number and see that it registers on the tower display. Cool: every lap, my distance and time is distance and time flash on the screen. This is great since one lap is 0.85xxx miles.

The race has 72 hours, 48 hours, 24 hours, 12 hours and 6 hours. The people who started before me are on course and mostly walking at various speeds. Some just barely moving forward. Some older folks seem listing at the waist. The scene is pretty grim. Even the leader is walking, though in steady fashion. These people are determined to stay on course no matter what. I am somewhat inspired. I think, \”I can do that. I will do that.\” At 9 am, the 24 hour people start.

I follow everyone around. I notice that there is a horse show in the arenas on one side of the course. Lap number 2, I get to the back side and don\’t see any one in front of me. Sudden confusion as I need to turn but can\’t remember which place. Then, those behind me point the way. Haha, got lost on a 0.85xx mile course which I\’ve already done once.

I meet some other people from Texas. I meet with Fred, a guy I\’ve met at other ultras. I\’m working on nutrition. The afternoon gets up of high of 80F, no shade.

At 39 miles (maybe 10 hours into race), my little left toe suddenly blew up. I went from doing pretty good to can\’t hardly walk in an instant. Luckily, my car was only about a quarter of a mile away. I went there and sat down. I didn\’t know what I would do about the toe, but something must be done. A blister under the toe nail and broke the toe nail loose. I am in trouble.

I try to pop it without much luck. Other people ask if I need help. I ask if anyone knows more about blister than me. Turns out blinter man has gone home, but a physical therapist who works on her husbands feet is willing to help me. This is good because PTs are willing to inflict pain. We discuss and try various things. Eventually we get it drained \”some\” and she puts 3 or 4 more blister pads around it. I put on one thin sock and ask someone to cut a hole in my shoe by that toe. During this time, my body is freezing up. My quads start quivering. I got thru a bit of nausea. I doubt I\’ll be continuing on.

After about an hour, I stand up. Oh look, I\’m standing. Great effort is put into one step and then another. The toe hurts like a mother, but I hobble onto the course. What? Why? After about 0.25 mile, things settle down a little. As the lap wears on, things get better. As the sun goes down, I put on jackets and pants and find I am walking pretty good. Since I am beyond the point where I would normally have packed it in, each lap I finish seems like a miracle. I usually don\’t keep going. I have a hotel room to go to. I don\’t have to be out there.

There is a wedding in one area and people show up dressed to the nines. this gives us conversation about women\’s shoes. Later, it gives us conversation about drunk young couples behaving that way. There is a catered auction in another building. The restrooms suddenly have restroom attendants who clean the place up, light candles, spray freshener, put on music and collect tips. Some items at the auction are pretty high dollar. We talk about that. People inside the auction come out to smoke. The race organizers, quickly get them away from the course. We talk about that. Some drunk or well dressed tipsy people are asking who we racers are and what we are doing. Exclamations are forthcoming.

Best joke was when I was walking with Fred. Another man comes out of the men\’s restroom and says, \”Hey Fred, when was the last time you were at an ultra with bathroom attendants?\” Fred and I bust up. It is ludicrous. Mostly, we use bushes and portas at races.

About 10:30 pm, I am walking along the back side of the course. Up on the highway, I hear the screech of brakes and a loud bang. My hands involuntarily fly to my head. Soon, I think I hear screams. Not long later, sirens. I decide to keep walking until the drunks get home. Its much safer destroying my feet and legs on a track than driving. lol!

I walk for 13 miles. But I find I have no goals. My original goal is gone. Now, I am just walking. I hurt enough that I don\’t think I need to walk all night. I wonder which lap will be my last. I walk with a woman and we discuss the \”why\” question; as in why do we do this. Neither of us know. We just know that pretty soon, we\’ll be clicking submit and doing it again.

I finish a lap and look at the screen. I have finished 2 marathons: 52.xx miles. I have been at this for 15h45min. I realize that I am done. I\’m not willing to just keep hurting and causing myself more injury. 2 marathons is a good. I tell the RD I\’m leaving so they don\’t wonder where I am. she gives me a look like, \”You should keep walking.\” I know that other guys hurting much worse than me are in fact still shuffling around. I don\’t really see why I should continue to beat myself up. At 1 am, I head for the hotel.

I can\’t sleep. First, I am too wound up. Second, my body hurts in too many places. I find that I am damn glad I stopped when I did. I\’m happy with what I did. My bladder is working great so I find myself having to get up. Walking 15 steps to the bathroom is difficult.

Two weeks ago, I finished a 50k (31 mile) race. Now, I see how much more damage is caused by 50 miles. The difference is significant, a step change.

Now, I just drove 3 hours through beautiful New York State to the little town where I\’ll be doing business this week. I realized something different about myself. I don\’t feel like a failure because I pulled the plug on my pain and didn\’t stay out walking til the bitter end. I have felt bad about that in the past. Now, I don\’t feel like this is a flaw in my makeup that needs to be fixed. I just realize I am different. I don\’t have to be like the others. I can be happy with the chance to go 52 miles and almost 16 hours. I\’d never do that by myself, which is why I go to these races.
Good food: Primal fuel mixed with Heed, Vanilla soymilk in little purple boxes, Starbuck\’s bottled lattes, Oikos strawberry yogurt, gala apples, Cuties mandarins, Raw Revolution lemon bars.

OK food: Clif double espresso gel, veggie burgers on pita, Bolton Farms vanilla chai protein drink.

Forgot: cranberries, Luna lemon bars, Almond nut thins.