Marathons

Fuck Yeah!!!!

Really, I said that.

You might think all I care about is running damn marathons. And you\’d be close to right. This weekend is my return to marathoning. After foot surgery in September. 6 weeks of non-weight bearing. Months of rehabbing. I\’m back.

It won\’t be fast. It won\’t be pretty. But it will be done. I\’ll have swag!

Memorial Day 2014

I am nearing the end of 5 days off. As usual, silence and solitude have provided a mental grinding post. This working away of the ego is the finest part of Desert Spirituality; but it is also the most dreadful.

After one day of solitude, I looked at my Black Berry and saw a troubling e-mail from a colleague. My ego suddenly wanted to take off on a rampage. I could see my sudden need to practice my spirituality very intensely. Truly, perfection of spirit, renunciation takes place on this inner field and because our egos get upset. The field seems sort of like ego vs spirit. But, really, the ego was never real and spirit is not really on the same playing field as the ego. I needed to work the aspects of A Course in Miracles known as \”holy instant\” and \”looking beyond\” or be miserable.

A Course in Miracles assures us that our thinking is undisciplined and gives us tools. I picked up my tools. The tools worked. this morning, I experienced a moment of knowing I shared the One Life with my colleague. It didn\’t have to be more than an instant of allowing my self to be spiritually healed.

And then continue to practice the mental discipline.

I am getting ready for my first marathon since surgery. It is a road marathon. I am not looking forward to the \”racers.\” But to give myself a chance in the race environment, I have been going easy during these 5 days. That means only 3-4 hours of workout each day, not all running. I\’ve still put in 60 miles in the past 5 days. Not sure really how that happened. Didn\’t seem like it.

I\’ve also been writing a paper on ammonia refrigeration. It surprises me how I got 5 pages written this weekend. I am grateful that finally my thoughts coalesced into sentences and paragraphs. Key points were focused on.

I did not celebrate memorial day other than take my day off work. I realize others must think I\’m wired wrong; but I am not proud of the stars and stripes. I don\’t agree with our middle eastern wars. I think our people are soft and the civilization we were decades ago is gone.

I\’ve been reading the works of Keith Akers (The Lost Religion of Jesus). Very astounding works; but definitely would be dissed by main stream Christianity. But his works do verify my own supposition that Jesus was a radical and would never have agreed with churches as they exist now, and in particular not with the Roman Catholic authorities. It fits with my vow to shamelessly follow Jesus; even if it looks like I\’m against Christians.

Poverty and Laps

I just walked around Brummerhop park 30 times. I would have walked further, but I have an appointment this afternoon. I dread going out. I\’d much rather re-fill my hydro-pak and head out into Houston\’s heat and humidity.

In walking, I\’ve discovered my essence. I can walk and walk, if not fast. I cannot run and run. In walking around for hours, I lose myself and all my possessions.

The people who walk their dogs or pick berries know me. They see me walking around. Sometimes they comment. A man asked me today if I was doing it for exercise or cardio. Well…..  How do you answer that question without stopping? But the man wouldn\’t understand any way.

A walker may look fit, but they are not seen as an athlete. So I am robbed of that possession.
If I walk a race, I finish but not very fast. So I am robbed of that possession.
I can\’t explain in a sound bite why I walk. So I am robbed of that possession.
I can\’t explain to the multitudes why I walk. So I am robbed of that possession.

Well, really, all these possessions are ego possessions. In fact, walking belong to essence; and this cannot be explained. Bragging rights are the ego\’s. Soul simply walks.

I am going in a road marathon next weekend. I am looking forward to seeing friends. I am dreading the environment of a road race. I\’ll have to hustle in order to make the time cut-off. I don\’t want to hustle.

At the age of 40, I renounced the world and went to live in a monastery. At the age of 44, I got kicked out of the monastery. When I came back to secular society, I found I didn\’t want many of its things and activities. I\’ve continued to live without much of society. As time goes by, I continue to decrease my participation in the general thought patterns. I thank God that I am free of so much social activity.

Yes I pay bills and go to work. No I don\’t \’many other things.\’ I work each day in my mind, pruning thought from society, encouraging thoughts of essence. My thoughts of essence are not my original thoughts. I might be studying some great thinker who is unknown to most of society, not mainstream. But the fact remains, I am not participating in society.

Walking laps in a small track, I can direct my thinking inward. I find essence. I have more time later today and 3 more days this weekend to enjoy solitude with essence.

Working Friday

Today, I am at work. I am here extra early. I didn\’t do any exercise this morning. I do have much work to complete for a refrigeration safety review.

But, though I slept longer instead of exercise, I did not skip my spiritual exercise. This morning, I touched on A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 189 and chapter 27.IV \”The Quiet Answer\” from the text. As I read \”quiet\”, I let go of my world and let God\’s world take over. My world had men who think it is ok to rape women, or kidnap school girls to sell, or continue the mad capitalism or materialism which is killing a peaceful society. In my world, I grow old and wonder if my heel will ever relax and stop hurting; so I can walk for miles.

In God\’s world, there is quiet:

Lesson 189: \”Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.\”

Text 27.IV: \”In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved….The holy instant is the interval in which the mind is still enough to hear an answer that is not entailed within the question asked. It offers something new and different from the question.\”

Perhaps it was not my choice but spirit\’s that brings me to this moment. It occurs to me how much I need the text and workbook of A Course in Miracles to remind me of quiet; and that in quiet I get my answer. When I choose quiet, I relax. I can go do my day.

At times, I feel as if I am still digging my way out of foot surgery and 6 weeks of non- weight bearing living. I feel as if I am still getting to know this post-menopausal body; but also to build it. But the methodology of training is not the same. Other women can walk 100 miles, or 72 hours, or 10 days. This opportunity is available to me; but I need to learn a new way.

In quiet, I receive my answers. In the Holy Instant, I hear what the Spirit is saying. I can \”simply do this.\”

An Inconvenient Truth

I was laying in bed last night, not getting to sleep, mulling over my spiritual situation. This thought came over my brain waves: you bear the yoke of Christ.

Now that was a shocker. Despite what I think of churches and denominations, I bear the yoke of Christ. It cannot be removed. I read all sorts of opinions about God and Christianity. But I bear the yoke no matter what I think of them. Inesacapble truth.

And so I got up this morning as usual and did my spiritual study. I slammed into Lesson 186 of A Course in Miracles. (found here in entirety, lesson 186). But the pertinent points for me were:
–   acceptance of a part assigned to you, without insisting on another role
–   Let us not fight our function. We did not establish it. It is not our idea.
–   All false humility we lay aside today, that we may listen to God\’s Voice reveal to us what He would have us do
–   the Voice for God assures you that you have the strength, the wisdom and the holiness to go beyond all images
–   Arrogance makes an image of yourself that is not real…sensing its basis crumble. Let it go. Salvation of the world depends on you, and not upon this little pile of dust…like wind-swept leaves…like mirages seen above a desert…These unsubstantial images will go, and leave your mind unclouded and serene, when you accept the function given you
–  Do as God\’s Voice directs
–  Salvation of the world depends on you who can forgive

In ACIM, forgiveness is in fact \”looking beyond.\” Looking beyond the dream of this world to Christ within, not of this world. I do in fact understand and practice ACIM forgiveness. This morning, I realized how insubstantial the roles in this world are. How we honor the role of a person instead of honoring the Christ in each.  You don\’t have to believe in God to honor the inner being of any person. That is the beauty of an atheist. Love just is; no need to attach religion or spirituality or God or any code of morals.

So for a little while this morning, my ego laid aside its frustration over being nobody and instead beheld TRUTH. I closed my eyes as I rode my elliptical and beheld Truth, the core of all which I call Christ. Yes, my vocabulary is corrupted by denominational words. But still, it is the essence which matters, the truth which sparked the word. Someone was beholding and they needed to exclaim. I am exclaiming now. TRUTH.

I bear the yoke of Christ. My way is quiet. In silence I listen to the Voice. And then I go to work. No monastic profession. No religious confirmation. No bowing or kneeling or professing allegiance. No specialness of any sort (thank you atheists). I just bear the yoke.

Mother\’s Day

For some I guess. I am not a mother and don\’t have a mother; and am not amused by whatever trauma I\’ve observed by those who do have mother\’s but are enmeshed in dysfunctionality.

If I was still in the monastery, I\’d be having a bad weekend. First, the sisters set up a special table and everyone puts a picture of their mother on it; and the liturgy honors mothers. But wait, I really hated my alcoholic mother and wish I hadn\’t been born. So, I\’d be annoyed at the monastic community activity. Then, the sisters are having an auction this weekend. I was there during one of these auctions. I stood in the rain all day and directed traffic and parking. It was very tiring. I\’m more the type of person who takes the unwanted stuff to Good Will, rather than have a sale.

Instead, I\’ve been doing miles. And noticing what my body, mind and spirit can or can\’t do. I\’ve noticed that I\’ve had pain in my left heel so long, that I have difficulty getting out of bed. I can\’t look forward to going running because I don\’t know how bad that heel will feel.

However, it is getting better. This weekend, almost the only pain I experienced was related to the scar (which is right down the back of the heel), but not related to the heel spur on the bottom of the foot. It is very good news that Saturday and Sunday, I tried the \”Miracle\” (brand) insoles and my foot liked them. I haven\’t used them since surgery because they have been too high in the arch. But this weekend, they were perfect.

On Friday, I did 23 laps of a 0.46 mile loop in Pine Gully park. This was jog/walk and I got 10+ miles in the middle of a sunny day. My heel was not feeling great as I think the shoes were tied too tight and pressing on the heel too hard. On Saturday, I did 55 laps of a 0.37 mile loop in Brummerhop park. This was jog/walk day and I got 20+ miles in 5 hours. On Sunday, I power walked for 4 hours and 14+ miles; in Meador park on a 0.7 mile loop. Sunday was heat test day. I didn\’t start until pretty late. I wore my \”Solumbra\” (brand) SPF jacket and hat. I think that it does help to keep the sun directly off the skin, even in humid Houston. I also drank \”Clip-2\” (brand) drink. I think that helped also.

Think about it: 4 hours speed walking in the sun. What does it take to do that? Body, mind, spirit.

Walking for hours is not that easy. One time in a 3 day ultra, a 65 year old woman walked my young ass into the ground. She never ran at all; but man could she speed walk.

Laps. Yes, laps. Laps are boring. But I\’m not running for entertainment. I\’m running for introversion. I\’m doing laps to train my mind. When I get to a real 55 hour race, I want my mind to be able to handle laps. You can forget yourself doing laps. You have to get past a certain point, which take a few hours; but then You suddenly lift your head and realize 40 laps went by and you didn\’t even see them.

Some people pick their 100 mile races based on technical difficulty of the trail. Some people pick them based on popularity. I pick mine based on inward potentiality. After hours and laps, it is not about the running but the dregs of who you are.

Today, I watched a boy completely scream at his big brother. I completely understand the rage. I haven\’t screamed at anyone in years, but in my silence, I know there is rage. I think we all have it but most of us don\’t let it out. A Course in Miracles can address the rage.

The Ineffable

In Plotinus\’ Ennead 3.8.10, you will find, \”Once you have uttered \”The Good,\” add no further thought…\”

ACIM  Lesson 169, \”We say \’God is\’ and then we cease to speak.\”

This is what I mean when I say ACIM is the same as Plotinus\’ Enneads. I could quote the Bible or some Sutra. But this is not a scholarly essay. It is my musings on what I am studying. I mean, before The One, our little words go silent. But to get before The One, I must enforce silence myself.

No it is not an endless do loop. Be quiet and you will find Silence.

I don\’t know why some people seek to know God and others don\’t give God a second thought. I\’m one of the ones who aspires. I get up at 3:30 in the morning to give Silence It\’s time.

Its not for Everyone

This week, I got in 62 miles, and about 17 total hours of workout. Saturday was my first 22 mile jog/walk in about 8 months. I was glad to get it done because I am concerned about the Calgary Marathon coming up June 1st. I think I\’ll be able to get that done.

But my mind is very endurance oriented. I still want to accomplish a multi-day event. I lay in bed and think about doing laps. I wish I could just go and go. Well, I still have some heel issues to work out. I know that any multi-day event I do will be slow. I\’m fine with slow. I need to prevent toe nail losses and figure out how to stay in the game for more than 16 hours.

What is not for everybody? Virtual events. I signed up for a 7 day virtual race. It is linked to my fitbit, and I get a buckle if I do 100 miles. This would be my second virtual event. I find that I do hold myself to higher standard than I would otherwise when I am even slightly accountable. The virtual event does push me. In my case, it is a test to see how long it takes me to get to 100 miles. I\’m hoping I can do it in 4 days.

This is leading up to a real race in December. It is also mind training. My mind needs as much work as my feet to accomplish a multi-day.

With the virtual event, I get to sleep in my own bed and eat my own food and save travel costs. I am racing less these days as races now cost over $100 and race directors try to pack more and more people in. I saw a race where the course was 100 miles, a t-shirt and belt buckle were offered and I suppose timing; but otherwise, completely self supported. Why is that so different than my virtual race?

Would I cheat? No. Cheating would bother my conscience. The accomplishment has to mean something to me. Since I don\’t talk to very many people, there is no point in having a belt buckle that I cheated to get. I need the 100 miles to be my truth, not anyone else\’s.

Endurance has been a part of my character my whole life, even when I was a teenager. Even when I was a kid on a swim team. My whole life I\’ve wanted to do endless miles. I continue to figure out how to do that.

Enough

I was just looking at the ads on a local running calendar. All the race ads were for races that featured spray painting, foam or warrior obstacles. What ever happened to just running?

Err, more races are put on by professional race directors. In the sense that there are more races, that is good. In the sense that too many people are allowed to enter, or expenditures for stuff like porta potties are cut, that is bad.

And fees go up. And you can have your splits show up on FB….  Wait, I don\’t belong to FB. How will anyone keep up to date with my life?

I have been running and racing for over 40 years. I am getting slower, yes. The thrill of racing is diminishing. My miles are not diminishing.

This morning, I jumped on my elliptical and did a great 40 min of cardio. I like this activity because it is so easy and relaxing. I have this wonderful benefit. I don\’t realize at all what advantage I have over the vast majority of mature adults. Nope. Exercise is just what I do.

I have wanted the Endurance State of Being since I was very young. It gives me a feeling of infinity. In Houston, in the humid summer heat, miles are still possible. Its just miles. Nothing fancy.