Laps for nothing

Today I ran in Meador Park.

50 laps of this place:

What happened to the double marathon?

Well, I did drive to Dallas on Saturday and stayed in a hotel. I go up at 3:15 to get ready for a 5am race start. At 3:30, I received an e-mail from the RD cancelling the race due to thunderstorms. Any reasonable person would have gone back to bed, figured out how to have a nice day in Dallas and started the second marathon the next day.

Not me. Unfortunately, I was wired, completely wide awake even though I had hardly slept. I couldn\’t face the idea of spending 24 hours in that hotel room. I didn\’t think I wanted to go run around the lake for 20 miles just as a training run (remember it was a severe storm alert). In fact the only idea  that resonated with me was: If you leave for Houston now, you can have I45 all to yourself. Have a nice run when you get home. Save the hotel money.

Before I know it, I\’m on the road at a high rate of speed.

So, no marathons at all this weekend.

Today, as I mentioned, I did an 18+ mile jog walk. It was 80F to start at 8:30 am and 88F when I finished 4.5 hours later. I was completely sweaty the whole time. I drank 60 oz of sports drink and 2 Mountain Dews. I stopped mainly because I was out of drink.

This gave me plenty of time to review my behavior patterns regarding races. I reviewed the various times I\’ve quit races and the various times I\’ve not bothered to even start. I reviewed my Boston Qualifying races and my lack of desire to go to Boston. I reviewed the reason I run alot. I reviewed the marathons I\’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

It is clear that I no longer adhere to the numbers game. I see it as an illusion. Specifically, I had planned to complete my 50th marathon this year; furthermore planning it for a race in September where I would be with friends and they could pat me on the back for my accomplishment. That won\’t happen now.

But was it not an ego goal to begin with? Contrast that with my regular running of laps. I got involved with lap running as a method for self transcendence and prayer. Meditation as it were. If my overall spiritual quest needs detachment from this world, then running laps for no reason is best. So then I quickly drop my worldly ego running goals. Worldly ego goals is: running 50 marathons so I can tell everyone. Self transcendence running: 50 laps in a park on a hot day.

I read books by Henri Nouwen about downward mobility. I read a book by Anthony DeMello about breaking through the illusion. I read books by Paul Brunton about the spiritual quest and glimpses of the Overself. I really want the relationship with the Christ Within more than 50 marathons. So I let go. I drop the world like a rock. I do laps in the hot sun.

Memorial Marathon Retreat

I am getting ready for another marathon retreat weekend. So, I just started reading Anthony DeMello. The Way to Love. Wow! I\’ve read this before, but it was powerful today:

 \”… attempt to understand the true nature of worldly feelings…they were invented by your society and your culture to make you productive and to make you controllable…\” \”And take a look at the people around you. Is there a one of them who is not addicted to these worldly feelings? A single one who is not controlled by them, hungers for them, spends every waking minute of his/her life consciously or unconsciously seeking them?….For they live empty soulless lives.\”

Yes, part of the reason I stay out of the main stream of American life is to be an individual; not someone programmed by television. Lately, I\’ve been working intensively on my mental. I\’ve come to see how the ego part of my brain is so ruled by attention, approval and fear. And I don\’t want it to be so.

I can hear the ego\’s inner yelling whenever I seem to break its rules. I can feel it pushing towards activities which might produce approval, recognition and safety from the authorities at work.

Yet one more race, one more race report, one more series of atta-girls.

But taking another path towards good is possible. I helped someone this week solely because I wanted to be the person I really am behind the ego.

My races this weekend are very small. They are loops around a lake next to a busy airport. I will quietly do my time. I hope to lose myself with the others. I will have some nice conversation, but also spend a good deal of time on my own. I have picked a mantra to keep my mind on.

The Gift

Today I ran around a 0.36 mile loop in Meador park; yet another location where there are enough trees to run in the summer.

I know that picture says 0.38 miles but I think that is a bit long. Anyway, I\’m being conservative.

I did 50 laps/ 18 miles/ 4h27min.  Nice and warm, humid, 80 oz of drink.

After about 2.5 hours, I realized my mind was wandering around dark corridors. I had the consciousness to think higher. I thought about Presence. I had a new thought: If I actually knew my Higher Self, what would I be thinking right now? Some time later, maybe an hour later, I had a brief illumination. I envisioned having the gift of Light.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Next weekend, I\’m going to try again the insanity of the double marathon. What is different than the last time? Well, for one, I\’m going to tape my toes. For two, be prepared to ruthlessly cut open the shoes if the toe box is destroying any toe nail. Take the Solumbra sun hat. Other details. But, on the second day, when my body wants to give up, I\’ll need a mental preparation. Something other than, \”I\’m doing this just to finish one more marathon.\” I have an idea. If it works, I\’ll let you know.

Brummerhop Saturday

You\’ve seen this before: Brummerhop Park. I jog an odd figure 8, getting 0.36 miles per lap. Today I jogged 30 laps. But before I did that, I ran 90 minutes at 11:30/mile in El Lago. So I got 7.85 miles at race pace and 10.6 miles at heat stress pace. Brummerhop park has good trees and there were some clouds; but still a sweat fest out there today. I drank 70 oz of liquids but still lost 3 pounds. Such is summer in Houston.
Overall, an awesome way to spend Saturday morning.
But I am a DNS today. I had signed up for a 25k trail race. But on Friday night the race director sent out an e-mail about 50% of the course being ankle deep in water; and massive mosquitoes. I thought about this. 150 runners doing one or more laps would really churn the place up. I had no desire to walk slowly in mud for even one lap. So, another race fee bites the dust.
I am doing really well with my running; but it is unfocused. Marathons #47 should get done next weekend. I do hold two sets of airplane tickets to go to 2 marathons. I\’m not really sure of my interest in just doing marathons for the sake of counting them.
My lust for Sri Chinmoy and self transcendence running seems to have worn off. In June, my marathon trips will also provide a visit to the convent I used to belong to. That is on my mind. 
I\’m not too old to be a runner. But a reason for why I do this needs renewal. I liked my laps in Brummerhop today; but I wasn\’t existentially engaged. Every morning, I sit with my spiritual books and become existentially engaged. Then I go to work and lose it. Then I come home and regain it. Running used to bring it. This morning\’s fast run brought ideas for a work project. That\’s nice; but part 2 of the run was mental nonsense. thoughts running all over the place. None of them interesting.
I\’m struggling with myself.
I need to meditate in silence. Let go. Be satisfied with just being. That is the problem; having taken the ego\’s toys, I am left with dissatisfaction. Just being doesn\’t give my ego anything.

The Chicken or the Egg

On Friday I got an e-mail. I saw the first few words on my Iphone. I was afraid to open it if it was bad news. This morning, I finally got around to praying about it. I got into my surrendered state of mind. With a connection and belief in my Higher Self and no trace of ego fears, I opened the e-mail. It was good news in the sense of no surprises.

Did the e-mail always say what it said? Or did I have to create the reality and then the e-mail said favorable things. If metaphysics is anything at all, if a Higher Consciousness exists at all, then \”I create my own reality\” is true. I project what ever I see. So of course, I had to correct my projection before looking at the e-mail.

The Balance Sheet

Freedom from bondage. Bondage of ego that is.

Downward mobility. As detailed by Henri Nouwen in The Selfless Way of Christ. How does a high paid engineer follow Christ really? I am and can continue to let go of power, prestige and infamy. I do my job and try to help others.

I did something nice for some colleagues this week. They did not reciprocate. My ego noticed this and started in on a mental tear. I realize I am hopeless in the area of doing something without selfishness. Every time I do something good, my ego whips out the balance sheet to see if I profited.

Self centered in the extreme. Driven by a hundred forms of fear. Each day is a new beginning and I seem to arrive at each morning sober. I have a daily reprieve.

Last evening, I listened to a sober lady tell her story. She has 41 years of sobriety. In a few short months. I\’ll have 30 years. Sobriety in AA, conscious contact with a power greater than myself, is the best thing. A sober life is an amazing thing.

I am at an odd place in life. Or at least different for me. My outer world is stable. It is a chore to go to work each day, but overall, I have a very nice job and I like it. Everything is paid for. On days when I maintain my humility, I can be happy.

So this gives me time and space to continue to probe spirituality; to wonder about self transcendence.


It is now hot on the Gulf Coast. Today I did my laps under the trees. I thought about how I started ultra running and doing laps because of the Sri Chinmoy 3,100 mile Self Transcendence race. I thought about my short monastic life. I thought about the vehemence of my first ten post-monastery years. I was not able to pray today. No mantra was transfixed in my mind. But eventually, yes I did pray. I thought a question mark into the universe.

No answer came. But the trail was mostly in a forest. It clouded up a bit towards 2 pm. I felt good. Jog walk jog walk jog walk….. think….. muse about the past. Trying to put the pieces together.

A monastic contemplative goes into the silence. Can I reach silence and still go to work 5 days  week? I have to.

Laps are utterly meaningless; except for the silence.