Houston Hundred 51.6k

I started the day with a 53 mile high speed drive.

A very small race, parking next to the course was easy and picking up the packet was easy. I saw my friend Kim from Galveston who does many 100 mile races a year. I also spied out Scott and Liz from N. Carolina. I read Scott\’s blog and knew he was coming to this race. Liz has run 35 and Scott has run 26 one hundred miles race this year.

Just before the start, we were treated to this beautiful sunrise.

We had an uneventful start. The course was a 2 mile paved bike path around a park. The only thing was, it was cold with a brisk north wind. Cold? Well, 32F/0C; but for someone who was running in a tank top 2 days ago, it did feel like a freezer. I started with 3 shirts, a fleece, gortex jacket, tights, wind pants, hat, gloves and buffy.
After the first lap, I removed the fleece. After the second lap, I removed the wind pants and buff. After a couple more laps, I went to a lighter jacket. But, all the rest of the stuff stayed on for the duration. One mile into the wind. One mile wind at the back.
Then began my mental games, which is why I run ultras anyway. I had a break through in my mental game today. So, the running plan was to jog steady the first 8 laps to halfway and then do some jog/walk for the second half. I didn\’t sweat one drop, so even though my running was at 12 min miles, it seemed that I had to make frequent pit stops. Thus my time is a lot slower than it should have been.
Starting about mile 10, my mind was trying to come up with a legitimate excuse to quit. Like, how could I get out of there after only 20 miles lets say. So, I remembered the spiritual phrases I had on a slip of paper in my pocket. I got these out and started repeating them over and over. I therefore \”changed\” my thinking. Believe it or not, it is my ego that likes big talk but not big performance. It is my ego that wants to quit instead of doing what I came to do.
My shoes were comfortable and my toe tape job seemed to be working well. So I really had no excuse to quit. A Clif shot with caffeine helped alot.
After 8 laps, 16 miles and race half over, I started to jog 3 light poles and walk one. This rhythm was very great. And then came mile 21. A crucial time, get ready for it. I became conscious of my defeatist thinking and how it screwed with all my past efforts. I told it, \”f*** you, I am finishing this f***ing race.\” Determination arose within me. For the first time, I definitively told my ego to F***-off.
My ego went into hiding after that. I quietly practiced my spiritual phrases and jogged my 3 poles/ walk one. But soon I was on a downhill slide. I celebrated on my marathon lap; only 3 more laps after that. Nothing could stop me now. 
Some of the 100 milers passing me were jealous of me finishing. I was very happy to be finishing. During this race, I reconsidered what I learned about myself at Ultracentric and affirmed that I have characteristics not compatible with running 100s. I watched Kim go through the serious business of setting up and thought about how cold it would be as she walked all night long. \”Whatever for?,\” is what I thought. It is such serious business and I don\’t want to do it. And I\’m happy I don\’t have to go through all that suffering. And I\’m VERY happy that 2 days from now, I\’ll be able to run on New Year\’s holiday, cuz that is what I do when I don\’t go to work.
But still, it is necessary for an ultra runner to go in ultras. I don\’t do 32 miles when I am training on my own. But I was willing to put it out for a race. And the ultra runner\’s mind needs real life practice at the mental games in order to be successful. I have a 50 miler in Missouri in March, so my mind needs this 50k practice.
Finally my bell lap. The volunteers knew it was my last lap. So they were waiting at the finish with my medal and they took my picture. I was last place in the 50k, but second place of the women; so I got a trophy.
7h43min, 32 miles.
And then a 53 mile drive home.

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Ultra Runner

Psyco Wyco 50k
Aslinger 12 and 24 hours
Little Blue Trace ( 50k and 44 miles)
3 Days at the Fair
Ultracentric
Frisco 50k (twice)
Flatlanders 12 hour
Silverton 1000 (86 mi)
(I might have forgot one)

I guess I\’m an ultra-runner, just not 100 miles.

Tomorrow is another 50k. At this place: Bear Creek Park, only it will be a bit brown this time of year.

My Life – an offering

I really believed this morning that there is a Higher Power called Love (not anthropocentric at all) and that I really want to receive Its love as well as let the dream of my life be an offering of love. I totally see that I can perceive the content of any dream illusion as love.

So yes, this train of thought was a result of A Course in Miracles, 29.IV:
The core of dreams the Holy Spirit gives
is His love for the dreamer.
…each dream becomes an offering of love…
at its center is His Love for me
which lights whatever form it takes with love.

I think a love based life is possible for anyone whether they believe in God or not.

For me, my choice is to believe there is a Higher Power and depend on that power. My Higher Power is love and I source my life from love.

Lucky

Early this morning, as I began my morning exercise, I honestly thought, \”I am one of the lucky ones to be going to work today.\” I don\’t think I have ever had that thought before. Amazing.

My Course in Miracle study this morning was in chapters 28 and 29. Here are the phrases I used today:
For hate to be maintained, love must be feared.
God is the Alternate to dreams of fear.
My Guest has come with joy and happiness.
I can never be apart from Him.

And so I am at work. Performance appraisals loom in January. I have written a private letter to my boss. Its what I have always wanted to say to a boss. I may not read it but I hope to have the courage :

You wonder why I don\’t have career goals. It is because I have life goals:
1. Spiritual studies
2. Endurance athlete

These goals have superseded work goals throughout my career. This is because I always have to live with myself; but won\’t always have the same employer.

My only work goal is to be of service. You\’ve noticed that this goal does drive a high level of output and integrity; but this is not to get ahead or to achieve anything other than adequate performance. Oh, and do what I can to keep the place safe.

I like my work. I do a good job just because that is how I am wired. At the end of the day, I go home

A New World

For me, the past two days have been an awakening. As if when the Mayan era ended, I did indeed step into a new reality.

Yesterday, I expressed it as being fucked by monastic teachings. Today, I describe it as leaving a world of spiritual make-believe in favor of a God reality right here and now. The words come for the Big Book of AA, page 130:
\”Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives….We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.\”

I have a ton of mental barriers associated with monasticism. The people who wear pretty clothes or eat meat are not evil and will not hurt me. The gruff old men sitting in AA meetings often have wisdom I don\’t have.

When I approach one of my barriers, I cannot at times go past it. The best I can do is keep my mouth shut and not refute what another person is saying. And at some point, I will act my way into the new way of living.

God is in charge and I just try to be useful and sober.

In an interesting way, everything that seems like a gift of AA also seems to originate from A Course in Miracles study. Today, I am on lessons 130/1:
\”It is impossible to see two worlds.
Let me accept the strength God offers me
and see no value in this world
that I may find my freedom.
No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
I ask to see a different world and think a different kind of thought.
The thoughts I want to think are not my own
.\”

It means using not my ego eyes or thought system; and instead allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my thinking and using Christ vision to see.

This journey is self transcendence at its finest.

Four Days of On Call – Monday

I\’m thinking it is God calling; not work.

Yesterday was a massive breakthrough day. The break through was finally able to admit that my monastic teachings are a corruption in my brain and I must re-wire if I expect to live happily \”out here.\” The main problem is form over content. The content of the lay people I meet is as vital as the vowed religious. The form of the vowed religious is equally decorative as the form of the lay people.

When I left the monastery, it was with a commission: be a monk in the world. And I spent a good 9 years developing that. But I now realize it is killing me. I got it wrong. But I have also found environments to change that. In going back to AA, I re-claimed a spirituality separate from form. In AA, you can clearly see principle of A Course in Miracles at work for healing and uniting. The little gap is cleaned and God builds the bridge (text 28.III.2):

\”2 No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate.
3 The miracle does nothing just because the minds are joined, and cannot separate. Yet in the dreaming has this been reversed, and separate minds are seen as bodies, which are separated and which cannot join. Do not allow your brother to be sick, for if he is, have you abandoned him to his own dream by sharing it with him. He has not seen the cause of sickness where it is, and you have overlooked the gap between you, where the sickness has been bred. Thus are you joined in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him. Fight not His coming with illusions, for it is His coming that you want above all things that seem to glisten in the dream.\”

You don\’t know how hard it is to do something simple, like go to dinner, when everything in your brain is screaming against it. After the AA meeting where I blurted out my  revelation, I bought 2 pieces of carrot cake and ate them.

Of course, I didn\’t agree with some of the decadence of the religious order where I found myself. Of one thing I am glad to be free of: religious holidays in the convent. Oh Lord. Saturday would have been spent cleaning and decorating; while I wished for some free time to go running. Today would be spent cooking and  secretly decorating the chapel for Midnight Mass; while I secretly wished for time to go running. We\’d gather in the chapel for Christmas lessons; and living out the contention over who got to sing them. Then we would be up til the wee hours doing Christmas Vigils and Midnight Mass and serving cookies to guests and then cleaning everything up. Tomorrow would be more liturgy, table setting and then a feast. I hated the feasts. They took too long, seemed decadent, required a ton of dishes; and I wanted to go running.

Nothing like clean rural Missouri air and hilly dirt roads to clear a nun\’s mind.

I have also corrupted some of A Course in Miracles. I hope to continue to correct my thinking with His help.

Lesson 127/8:
The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Escape from every law in which you now believe.
Allow His Voice to teach love\’s meaning to my open mind.
Love\’s meaning is my own and shared by God Himself.

Last week, I covered 76 miles and did 23 hours of workout, plus 3 strength sessions. Yesterday, I walked 15 miles. This gave my Achilles a little break. I have a race next this Saturday.

I am one of the 5% of people who don\’t participate in Christmas. Send your insults and guilt trips; I\’m still not going to do it.

Today I am going to the park for a few miles. I have experimented with taping my toes but not cutting holes in the shoes. I still need to solve the issue of tearing up my toes before I can do more than 50 miles. My previous tape jobs have been hit and miss. At Ultracentric, it was a massive miss. So, back to the drawing boards. It doesn\’t help that I have 2 pairs of new shoes, men\’s size 10, when I think 11s are going to be my future.

Four Days of on Call – Saturday

There is no straightening out my life or this world. There is only happier dreams provided by the Holy Spirit with awakening.

My lesson today is: In quiet I receive God\’s Word today.

And so I went for a 17 miles jog/walk. And also a 3 mile treadmill jog.

Did I receive God\’s word? Yes. Unequivocally. I had a tiny moment in the afternoon when I glanced at lesson 126 (All that I give is given to myself.), and something grabbed my heart for a moment. I knew that the one thing I want is His presence in my mind. Nothing more.

I also went to an AA meeting this evening. I said, \”Life is about conscious contact, not about getting what you want.\”

Four Days of On Call – 1

Process safety engineers have to be on-call? I guess so since I am for the whole of the holidays. It doesn\’t really matter. I don\’t participate in Christmas.

This morning, my meditation was from Lesson 121-123:
Forgiveness is perceiving light in others.
Sink into happiness. Smile on all.
I hold this joy consciously all day.
I thank my Father for His gifts to me.

And I thought of many people. Not just the annoying ones but the authority figures and the friends. All are the same. All ask to be seen in light. I could do this very easy. An advantage to the elliptical or the Nordic Track is that I can shut my eyes and ponder my lessons while riding them. I wholly realized that my Father\’s gifts were these people  I was thinking about in light.

Yesterday, the builder installed a brand new kitchen faucet as a warranty item, even though my warranty has run out. After I got to work today, I got a recognition award: GOLD level. That is on top of the silver I received earlier this week. The notice brought a dopamine reward experience: I felt good. But later, after I got the details of what for, I realized I wasn\’t special. Then the opposite of a dopamine reward cropped up.

Until you return to the idea that everything, I mean everything, comes from God. The recognition is a symbol. And also, a way for the universe to take care of me.

The awards are redeemable for cheap consumables or gift cards. I think I\’ll redeem mine for some hotel dollars.

I came home early today. I was here a couple of hours before I remembered Silence, and the gift of 4 days. Peace descended on me. I became drenched. I feel good.

Lesson 109

I rest in God.
This thought will carry me thru storms to the certainty of God.
I let my mind be still and thankfully accept its healing.
I rescind my judgement on God.

These are the phrases I pondered while walking this morning. I realized that sometime during the day, someone would jangle my ego and I\’d be upset. It occurred to me how I let this happen day after day. Today, I did enter conscious awareness when it happened, remembered my lesson and also asked the Holy Spirit for help.

When I take on the role of system administrator, I\’m no longer anybody\’s friend. I\’m not good at accepting people being upset at me for enforcing system rules.

Chapter 28: The miracle reminds me of a Cause forever present…The miracle comes quietly into the quiet mind.