Easter 2013 Multi-Day

On Thursday, I got in 3 hours of workout plus strength.
On Friday, I got the private marathon done plus strength.
On Saturday, I did the half marathon plus elliptical plus strength.

Now it is Sunday. I\’m headed to the park for a long walk, plus additional cross training this evening.

Pretty decent 4 days of workout; a multi-day. Just for me. Part of the anti-dopamine project. Downward Mobility in the material world. Drinking the dregs of my personal energy.

But down in my guts, the one thing I always wanted was the spiritual connection. From the start, I observed strange religious behavior and I believed that those people knew God, or Jesus. I tried everything to achieve the reality.

I never made it.

Now that I am studying neuro philosophy/science (brain books), I can\’t claim that beliefs are based on anything other than warped survival instinct.

But study of A Course in Miracles does help me deal with my fear and have happy days. So do endorphins. But I don\’t know more than that.

I hope some day I have the spiritual connection. It is the hope and dream of a lifetime; which is slowly and depressingly eroding.

I think I\’ll go buy something.

Private Super Dopey – 2013 #1, RG #5

Today was a marvelous day in Seabrook. First, since I knew I was only doing 13 miles, I slept in. Then, to avoid the stupid Easter egg hunt, I parked in a different area of the park. Then it was turn on the garmin and do miles.

I did really well. My shoes were very comfortable. My legs felt tired but no new pains. A lady I see alot stopped me to say she noticed how long I was out there yesterday and she was impressed. I found out her name is Clara.

Whats a Super Dopey? The Goofy and the Dopey come from race combinations available at the Walt Disney World (WDW) race weekend in January. I\’ll never go there, not only for the expense, but I hate amusement parks in general. A Goofy is a half marathon the first day and a full marathon the second day. When I say I do a Reverse Goofy, I mean I do a full marathon the first day and a half the second. Today was my 5th Reverse Goofy of 2013.

Now a Dopey is new. WDW offers a 5k and a 10k, and the Goofy. All together, its a Dopey. So my Super Dopey consisted of a 4 mile run Thursday am, a 7.4 mile run Thursday pm plus the Reverse Goofy. I call it a Super Dopey since it is more than a WDW Dopey.

Look Ma, no entry fees.

And tomorrow, I\’ll run some more.

I\’ve changed my free weight routine a few days ago. Now, I focus on just one muscle area and try to go AMRAP (as many reps as possible) with it. Very awesome.

Private Marathon – 2013 #3

Today was my third private marathon of 2013. If I walk 13.1 miles tomorrow, it will be my 5th reverse Goofy.

I never know when I am starting out if I will make it to 26 miles. I just have enough water and gel and an energy bar. Then it depends mostly on how my feet feel. Then there is time and weather. Most important, it depends on my mind. I noticed today that I tell myself I\’m going to quit right up until I get over the 16 to 17 mile hump. Then, by the time I get to 19 or 20, if my left heel is not in trouble, I find I cannot waste the time and effort it took me to get that far. So I keep going. When I get to 23 to 24 miles, I will keep going despite any pain, but I might walk it out. All this is mental work. It is called going through the wall.

During this run, I was thinking about the cost of marathon races. Almost all of them cost around $100, whether you eat their food or not. Then there is transportation cost and sometimes hotel cost. All this is necessary to get an official result and a medal. My private marathons have the same human fuel cost, but are otherwise free and take much less travel time and much less hassling with people.

I am not really training for anything right now. I run the miles because I want to. Doing miles is somehow wired into my mental circuitry. I said the strangest prayer ever today: Dear whoever is running my mind and making decisions, if you want me to keep going, you will have to do it.

Somehow I kept going, in fact was not able to stop.

I\’ve been reading brain books. The latest one \”Brain Wise\” by Churchland is easy to read and very informative. I almost understand how an aware self can emerge from neuronal patterns of habit, memory and survival needs. I am in awe of the realization that more than 90% of my thought life is completely unconscious. and almost all of my behavior is originated in survival mechanisms.

Here is my first Marathon Maniac group photo taken at the Navy Marathon last week in Corpus Christi. I am in the yellow sweatshirt. There were several more Maniacs at the race but they didn\’t happen to make the photo.

And here is an awesome picture of me at Seabrook Lucky Trails 2 weeks ago. Notice I purchased this photo (no watermark). I bought a 5×7 so my home scanner would do a decent job with it.

Joy No Matter What

See this guy?

That\’s Anton Krupika, elite ultra runner. He lives in Colorado and runs everyday in the mountains. And he gets to hang out with Scott Jurek, another ultra runner.

I used to be jealous of the sense of life and beauty that people like him got to experience every day because they lived in the mountains. I live in ugly Houston where the main feature of the landscape is distillation columns, a huge forest of them.

Today, I was sitting in my office at the chemical plant and looking out the window at some equipment and I thought, \”You could feel that aliveness right now. Just feel it.\”

Wow, you mean the sense of joy/happiness/aliveness has nothing to do with the world? Yup. Just feel it now.

I have on a new pair of shoes and my feet don\’t hurt. After a nap, it is time for miles.

Of Depression…

…or at least the tendency.

I\’ve had a suckish attitude for a few days. My ability to get along has suffered. But some things have become a little clearer.

1.  I\’ve been in Texas about a year and a half, and in the same job position for a year and a half. But I\’ve always been a bit of a rolling stone. So, now is when I\’d usually try to move on. But, I\’ve recently passed up 2 offers to move on. I\’m here now as far as I can see. So, it occurred to me this morning that one way I\’ve combated depression is to keep moving. I didn\’t have to face bleakness if I was on the go; always starting over.

2.  Another thing I do about depression is make endorphins. So exercise becomes mandatory for me as mental therapy. Due to job pressures however, there is always a time conflict. This conflict gets worse the longer I stay in one job.

3.  As a Course in Miracles student however, I hear my Self asking my self, \”Why?\” as in, \”you know this is not true and it is not necessary to pay any attention at all.\” Depression does not really exist but we habitually create it as a form of specialness or fear. To \”accept Atonement for myself\” is the heart of what I need to do right now.

4.  Boy, I have to give 3 presentations the second week of April. None of the 3 are close to ready and I don\’t want to do any of it. I\’m really afraid of the Germans who will be here for the meetings; and how inferior I feel at the moment.

5.  But I have a 3 day weekend. I have time for miles and miles. I\’m not going to any races, just do my private marathons.

Private Marathons

Sunday, I had a really good time at the Navy Marathon in Corpus Christi. Nice bling. Nice people.

This morning, I went for a test run in a new set of insoles and my left heel felt great. Then I thought, hey, lets go to San Antonio this weekend and run a marathon and a half marathon. I thought I\’d do real races instead of my private races.

I got to the signup web page and saw that it would be $200 to enter the 2 races; add in the gas and the hotel and my \”click submit\” mechanism suddenly stalled. I am already signed up for a race in April which doesn\’t require a hotel. I might go to Dallas in May.

And so now you know why I don\’t race that much; and count my private marathons instead. Time and money are at a premium.

Besides the money, there is the time. Time spent driving is time lost from contemplation, pondering that great silence.

So, I will release the stress of going to a race and just stay home. I\’ll do my miles in Seabrook, nodding happily at the other runners who join me every week.

What is my goal? If I have no plan to talk to anyone about my races, then  private marathon deserves a private goal. Secretly, I record my accomplishment on a piece of paper taped to my bed room wall.

All of this is about fitness, yes. It is also about longevity. It is also about contemplation. In the quietness of my soul, the mind beyond my normal consciousness, the miles symbolize eternity. The miles symbolize peace.

Patriotica

The eagles, the red, white and blue, The thought of Navy ships and men in uniforms, the word \”Marathon.\” All touch my heart. I guess I am American after all.

I ran a marathon today. It was a fun experience. I met several new people. These people were Marathon Maniacs. I met a guy who has completed 1,000 marathons; and another couple of guys who had run 6 or more just this week. There was talk of jumping on airplanes to get to the next place; and I was asked where was I running next week. It occurred to me that if I hung around these people too long, I\’d want to be like them. And so I learned that we as people gather into like minded groups and then promote our cause to other people hoping they\’ll join us. This is not bad, just not good for me who hopes to live a non-dogmatic life and have an original thought sometime before I die. If I want to think outside the box, I have to be outside the box. If I want to be a diverse contributor, then I must remain a diverse person and not be assimilated in the group.

I did really well, since there was a huge wind blowing us along for the first 18 miles. After that, I put my head down and bull dogged my way \”uphill\” for 8 miles to the finish. You might say that the real race began after 18 miles.

Included in my weekend was a long shopping trip to Barnes and Nobel. I haven\’t been to one of these since moving to Texas, as the mall is to much trouble for me. But there was a store next to my hotel in Corpus Christi, so I went over to browse. After a very long time, I finally decided to by an Anne Rand book, my 3rd, but I promptly lost it today. But as I browsed, I noted intrigue books, war books, religious books. I could feel my own secret desire to buy yet one more book about religious life. Somehow, the message I got from all this browsing is that we are seeking for something and hope to find it in a book. I do. But that never works.

Of Groups, Chunks and Mirrors

I could have gone to Kansas City today and spent all day tomorrow running 50 miles in a snow storm.
I cancelled that and instead I\’ll be in Corpus Christi running a marathon:

I have some space in my life to build new chunks: compression of conscious data according to its inherent structure or the way it relates to preexisting memories. I live on interconnected facts assembled by awareness.

There may not be an I who does this. There is an abstract principle of life; at least I insist that there is. Is this a divine principle? I don\’t know the God behind it. I do know that when I seek the more silent area of my consciousness, I feel more calm and am able to go about my day with less stress.

Walking away from organized religion, I lose the meaning and purpose of life. The path of no-purpose is not grounded and therefore frightening. We scramble for something to hold on to in order to feel ok about ourselves. I have intentionally ripped my self from the society which gives it position.

I try again to know who I am without others approval or opinion. Like, what races or how many miles would I do if I had no one to tell about it?

Reading this blog, someone knows what race I am going in; but there is no one I\’m reflecting off of regarding this activity. I need to know. If something is purely for myself, with no outside input, would I do it?

I think I have a better chance of re-writing the ancient survival chunks (like continuous eating) and finding a new awareness of life if I do it apart from society. Society seems to force the ongoing dogma instead of going outside the norms. (see \”The Ravenous Brain\” for chunk explanations).

I just came back from a 13.6 mile jog. Many thoughts as I went along.

For one, if I maintain a certain speed of about 14 min/mile, I have no trouble with my skeletal deformities.

For another, I recently had an experience with a group. I got them mad at me because I didn\’t go along with their norms. They stoned me electronically. All groups are like this; either play nice or face the consequences. I know this and I know how to play nice. But in this instance, I felt like saying my opinion. They didn\’t like it. I got stoned.

This experience caused me to think about relationships. I see most of them as mirrors. That is, this group was a mirror for me to posture and preen in front of, receiving compliments and affirmations as long as I behaved. To some extent, my actual life and thoughts were affected by the mirror.

So now I have walked away from that mirror. I wonder how I will shape my thoughts and experiences without that mirror. I have other mirrors for other purposes; but how will I be in that particular area?

On the Marathon Road Again

So funny.

I cancelled a 50 mile race in Kansas this weekend because I thought the weather would be bad. And so far, it looks like snow and sleet and wind and cold. Not just for running but also for flying and driving. 13 hours of being cold and miserable? No, I\’m not a real ultra marathoner.

So, I was surfing the web and ….look\’ee there: a marathon in Corpus Christi this weekend.

Hummm, sun, within driving distance, not too expensive, long time limit (so I can walk alot)….YES!

I\’ll be sunning myself in Texas instead of freezing in Kansas.

A Fork in the Road Passed

This is where I was on Sunday, finishing a half marathon. The plan had been to go to a 50 mile race in Kansas this coming Saturday. But I\’ve been watching the weather for that area. It looks wet (snow, sleet, rain) and cold (30F to 40F) and windy (13-18 mph from the north) for that day. A 50 mile run takes me over 12 hours. I realized I have no desire to be miserable for 12+ hours. So I cancelled my trip.

I still have 3 days off work, so I might run a private marathon or two at home. Its part of my downward mobility project (see below).

Downward mobility is not necessarily a Christian value for me (since I am not really Christian), but de-constructing my ego and not-going-along-with-society certainly are my values. Do you know how hard it is to be of service at work and make sure not to brown nose about it?

This morning, riding my elliptical, I was thinking about how my colleague R was standing in for boss while boss is on medical leave. I realized clearly that R is the one being groomed to move up (and not me). But it also occurred to me that I had been honest with boss about how I didn\’t want to climb a career ladder but be a technical expert. I also know in my heart that I am more interested in my life activities more than my career. When I think about it consciously, I\’m perfectly willing to support R in his career.

That is the fork in the road. I passed it, maybe long ago.

My ego loves to compete at work. So dealing with the emotional urge is hard; partly because the ego goes under ground. You don\’t know how many resentful failure messages it sends out. Well, in the quietness of my morning meditation, these failure thoughts are easier to spot. And then I can re-center on the choice I made and decide if I still want that choice.

I am part of the massive American eating machine. I\’m only skinny because I work out alot. Like many Americans, I have no idea how to eat only as much as I need. It is true, I might be slightly better a food discrimination than most people but only by a fraction.

Pretty soon after waking up this morning, I thought 2 words: joy and happiness. That is a new thing for me to come up with those words before I even got out of bed. They are energy words for me. That is, just thinking the word gives me the feeling of the word. I feel energized without any change in my physical world.

Awesome! Energy!

On this side of the fork, who am I? I know I\’m on the road less travelled. I know I hear a different drummer. (re M. Scott Peck books). But what really does it mean in abstract non-material terms?

For most Americans, the downward mobility choice is a choice to stagnate and die. Is that the road I\’m on?

Life is momentary for me. I felt it on my elliptical this morning. I felt it in the word \”joy.\” When I run endless miles, it is seeking the eternal value of life. The road after the fork has nothing on it. It has no experiences because it is egoless but eternal.

Sounds boring right? That is how I\’m gett\’en out of here.

Tuesday, Richard Beck posted this:
http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/03/downward-mobility.html

It is about Henri Nouwen\’s The Selfless Way of Christ.

For some reason, it touched some deep part of me that was the reason I became a spiritual seeker or tried Christianity. The life of the monk is a hidden life; hidden in Christ. It is quiet. It is deep communion with spirit.

Here are some excerpts:

We are taught to conceive of development in terms of an ongoing increase in human potential. Growing up means becoming healthier, stronger, more intelligent, more mature, and more productive. …. In our society, we consider the upward move the obvious one while treating the poor cases who cannot keep up as sad misfits, people who have deviated from the normal line of progress.

 …

Three temptations by which we are confronted again and again are the temptation to be relevant, the temptation to be spectacular, and the temptation to be powerful.

Who am I when nobody pays attention, says thanks, or recognizes my work?

I think that question sits at the root of our spiritual malaise and weakness. We want people to pay attention to us, to recognize us, to give us our due. This is how our identities, worth and significance are grounded. We want to be relevant, spectacular or powerful. So we go through life fishing for such things, a grasping that keeps knocking us off center, spiritually speaking.

I\’m mindful here of something St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 4.11):

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.

 Nouwan observes, \”There is almost nothing more difficult to overcome than our desire for power.\”