USA Fit Marathon – report

This morning I woke up at 3 am. Well, the alarm was set for 3:15. Did my spiritual study and then headed out of the hotel at 4:45. I was parked at the race by 5. This was just to ensure a parking spot. I read a book in car. I thought about the race. I realized I felt fear. 

At 6 I went over to the portas. They had cute signs on them telling people not to mess them all up. There were still long lines of cars trying to get into the parking lot. Um, too late folks.

Then I was wandering around the start area and ended up talking to my friend Mathew. This seemed like a big race, though mainly due to a huge number of half marathoners. 

Suddenly, it was time to start, 6:30. It was still dark. I started jogging. The first interesting thing was I saw a midget runner. No joke. The woman was about 3 feet tall; and wearing a head scarf. Amazing. There is also a running club called \”Black Girls Run Houston\”. Don\’t know why but seeing them in their shirts in a little group caused me to tear up.  Besides Mathew, I saw David, Donna, Huan, Yen, Karen, and a number of familiar faces of people whose names I don\’t know. 

This race turned out to be really boring. A beautiful subdivision. Good traffic control by actual cops. Good aid stations. But mainly just out and back on a 4 lane road, 2 laps.

The first lap I jogged at 11 min miles. Starting into the second lap, it became warm and I was sweating. I started 7x1s. Luckily the wind came up and also it became cloudy. That saved the day. 

Still this seemed like a tough race. Maybe that was mental. My fear seemed to relate to the pounding. I was working way harder than I do in training runs. Marathoning in and of itself is a popular sport in Texas. Many people race frequently, as I do, though not as much as others. Every marathon causes me to find out what I am made of, the most important moment being when I head out into the second half. It wasn\’t until the second lap that I got in a zone; just running, no mind games. In this race, there was a timing mat at mile 22.5 (on the second lap). It was killer as it was at the end of a dead end street and hot by then. I guess marathoning is as meaningful as any other activity that anyone does. If part of my task as a human is to add something to the stream of life, then marathoning works for me. But it is a participation event, not a race.

In the second lap, it was a lonely race. Only 244 marathoners; with the walkers starting 2 hours early.

In the end, Mathew came in a little behind me after leading for 25 miles. 5:08 chip time includes 2 pit stops. Still, 11:4x per mile. 6/24 in F50-59. If they had the 55-59 ag, I would have been 2nd. Ha! What did I just say about participation not a race?

USAFit Marathon

I got a 6th floor hotel room, just hoping to see a sunset. I very rarely see such a thing. My ipad picture thru a window doesn\’t do it justice.

The marathon is not until tomorrow. They gave me my finisher\’s jacket at packet pickup. Sort of takes a bit of the thrill out of it.

I never know how fast or slow I\’ll go in a marathon. But I think if I go a bit slow, I can still be in the car and heading home by noon. And then I can lay on my bed and read and nap the rest of the day away. And go to work again on Monday.

What will be good about this race? I know I\’ll have little conversations with others. I know I\’ll experience moments of mental freedom. I know I\’ll admire the many people who do marathons much slower than me.

Grace\’s Warbler

I run on the trail\’s of Seabrook. There are lots of birds. Big sea birds. Vultures. Ducks. On Saturday, I saw a flock of green parrots. But for several weeks now, bird watching professionals have been hanging out in one particular part of the forest. These are serious bird watchers, with big long lenses, tripods, patience.

Yesterday, I finally asked what they were looking for. Grace\’s Warbler.

I was pondering that this morning. Lots of people are seriously looking for this small bird. While I run around not knowing of its existence at all. And even now that I\’ve googled the bird, I don\’t know what is so special about it.

I chase the Holy Spirit with all the fervor of these bird watchers chasing Grace\’s Warbler. In fact, The Holy Spirit is Grace\’s Warbler.

I search the running calendars looking for a race I want to go to. I can\’t find what I want. There is no running adventure hanging out there on the horizon, no transcendental event; except for those I am already entered. My life seems not to have some big special thing in it. You know, us humans have a very difficult time with sameness.

I only ran 62 miles this week and worked out for 16.x hours. Next Sunday is a marathon, so I was taking it a bit easy this weekend. I hope I have fun next weekend. Its just a marathon; nothing special. See, for some, a marathon is a big deal. For me who runs many of them, its not.

My Course in Miracles lesson today is: \”I choose the second place to gain the first.\” This is not a material world concept of getting ahead. \”What seems to be the second place is first, for all things we perceive are upside down until we listen to the Voice for God. \”

I wish I could see Grace\’s Warbler.

Spiritual Work While Running

I had an excellent weekend of miles. I got 10 miles on Friday, 19.x on Saturday and 20.x on Sunday. Sunday was particularly lovely as the weather was nice.

I was running in Meador park and doing jog walk intervals. Nothing fast as I didn\’t want to beat myself up, just do the miles. I was watching my reactions to others. In particular how I react to dogs and small children. I was able to notice that point at which my reaction arose in me upon seeing a dog. Very interesting to actually see it come, but hold it consciously. The reaction and the hateful thoughts which follow are quite optional. They cause unhappiness for me. But I seem to need to continually reduce them to awareness of when the first arise in order to heal them.

This might be the culmination of decades of spiritual work.

And I took it a step further. I passed two small girls with their father. They were on some type of battery powered sports car. This toy is meant for the back yard. It makes alot of noise and goes very slow. No, dad, you can\’t have a decent bike ride with a 3 year old on a toy. I felt my hatefulness for their existence in the park.

After that, I saw a mother walking with two children that had battery powered skateboards. I felt the hatefulness again. What is wrong with people that a human powered skate board is not the best? But after I passed them, I kept hearing one of the kids coming up behind me and then stopping. I kept feeling the hate arise. I kept holding it. Finally I see. The little girl does not know I hate her. I am the one that judged the battery powered skateboard. I know the hate is completely optional.

Somehow, this early consciousness of my normal mental reaction brought a certain reduction in its power. I was not powerless over it, or unconscious of the state of hatred in my mind. I was not able to see God or Spirit in the girl. I could however not be miserable in my own thoughts.

Progress.

I am signed up for a 50 mile ultra-marathon in a few months.

Serendipity

A funny thing happened to me today. It is so odd. Such a coincidence.

I came home from work and ate supper as usual. Right after I finished, ready to do my next usual activity, the work phone rings. Someone from work wanted to know if I could help them with a safety review.

As they asked me for help, I walked over to my back pack and found there was a computer in it. So I got online and helped the plant.

But wait a minute. a) I didn\’t plan to bring that computer home. In fact, I just forgot it was in my back pack. But, how could that happen? The back pack is obviously much heavier when that computer is in it. Yet, I carried it on my back for the half mile to the car and got it off the floor of the back seat to bring in the house without ever realizing it was in there.
b) This is the first time in years that the plant has called me at home. I don\’t usually bring the computer home on weeknights.
c) The one day I accidentally bring home a computer is the one day I actually need it.

Luck?
Or any other explanation.

A Course in Miracles would call this a happy dream, and spend 10 pages explaining the metaphysics of it.

Outstanding careers are made of just such a charmed life. Things just work that way for successful people, or good metaphysicians.

Birthday Blog

Today is my 57th year of life. I am a woman and I was born a woman and I am not any other thing.

This is the first year that someone named Cortana who lives in my computer has wished me a happy birthday. Google Chrome did it also. I am on Windows 10.

It is my 47th year as a runner.
My 35th year as a spiritual seeker.
My 33rd year as an engineer.
My 30th year of sobriety.
My 12th year post monastery.
My 10th reading of the Course in Miracles Text, hence the 10th year as a Course student.
My 7th year with my current employer.
My 5th year in Texas.

I read in the ACIM Text this morning an utterly great and lovely section on holiness (copied below). It is beautiful that I turn my mind to spiritual things twice a day and several times, momentarily during the day. Spirituality is my salvation. My ego mind is filled with horrid thoughts so it is a blessing to switch to Christ Consciousness frequently and know the field of Love in which we actually live.

And now, I am going for a run.

24.VI. Salvation from Fear
(underlines mine)
1 Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your saviour from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now. While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His Own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God’s creation. For in him his Father waits for your acknowledgement that He created you as part of Him.
2 Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole, and part of Him because His Will is one. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother’s holiness shows you that God is one with him and you; that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.
3 Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. Your brother is as He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.
4 Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there, and all belief God’s Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.
5 Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours, for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgement made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.
6 It is His sinlessness that eyes that see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere, and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother’s holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world’s, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives, and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother’s body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.
7 Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself, set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?
8 Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgement you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.

Lovely

It is now 6 hours since I finished my walk. In honor of my 57th year of life, I decided to power walk for 5 hours and 7 minutes. During the walk, I experienced a great deal of existential angst. Like why am I doing this? I struggled with thoughts of quitting early. But somehow I did it.

Now I\’m still totally pleased that I finished.

Part of the deal is that I didn\’t get any blisters with the new insoles I was using.  But also the mental game. I stayed on speed and didn\’t quit. Today opened possibilities for long races in the future.

It was lovely.

Spiritual Workouts

First the running. I had a great day yesterday. I had to split my miles into two periods, but I ended up with 19 miles. Ultra-marathoners as I hope to be, walk a ton of miles. So yesterday, about 9 of my miles were walked. It felt good. Today, I also intend to walk for a long time. As long as I don\’t get blisters on my big toes, I don\’t mind walking.

I really really want to be an ultra marathoner and go in timed races. But if I think about spending my weekends walking 8 hours or so in order to train my mind, I can\’t grasp it. But I am so close to using my frequent flyer miles for a 48 hour race, and letting go of any goals.

I also think about improving my spiritual life, conscious contact with Something. I spent decades chasing that white light experience. Now, I accept that it can\’t be forced. It requires some deeply ego deflating emotional condition, or drugs, or disease delirium, or a brain injury; or produced in an ultra marathon due to extreme physical deficiency.

So I have the spiritual experience of the slow growth, gradual awakening variety. My biggest concern is a head full of resentments, and the ease with which another person can upset my emotional apple cart. A Course in Miracles is directly intended to provide help for this. This week, I\’ll be using Workbook lessons 271-4 (shown below).

I think that in my life I have made great strides in getting along with people, no matter how I feel inside. But I know that I am not illuminated. I have only had glimpses of that greater consciousness. I continue to do the spiritual work, surrendering each day, praying, meditating, taking my inventory. These practices are providing a good life; and good relationships.

I still yearn for that one great moment; but it is out of my direct control.

LESSON 271

Christ’s is the vision I will use today.

1 Each day, each hour, every instant, I am choosing what I want to look upon, the sounds I want to hear, the witnesses to what I want to be the truth for me. Today I choose to look upon what Christ would have me see, to listen to God’s Voice, and seek the witnesses to what is true in God’s creation. In Christ’s sight, the world and God’s creation meet, and as they come together all perception disappears. His kindly sight redeems the world from death, for nothing that He looks on but must live, remembering the Father and the Son; Creator and creation unified.


2 Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You. What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me. And this I choose, to be what I would look upon today.


LESSON 272

How can illusions satisfy God’s Son?

1 Father, the truth belongs to me. My home is set in Heaven by Your Will and mine. Can dreams content me? Can illusions bring me happiness? What but Your memory can satisfy Your Son? I will accept no less than You have given me. I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle and forever safe. God’s Son must be as You created him.


2 Today we pass illusions by. And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams, when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear.


LESSON 273

The stillness of the peace of God is mine.

1 Perhaps we are now ready for a day of undisturbed tranquillity. If this is not yet feasible, we are content and even more than satisfied to learn how such a day can be achieved. If we give way to a disturbance, let us learn how to dismiss it and return to peace. We need but tell our minds, with certainty, “The stillness of the peace of God is mine,” and nothing can intrude upon the peace that God Himself has given to His Son.


2 Father, Your peace is mine. What need have I to fear that anything can rob me of what You would have me keep? I cannot lose Your gifts to me. And so the peace You gave Your Son is with me still, in quietness and in my own eternal love for You.


LESSON 274

Today belongs to Love. Let me not fear.

1 Father, today I would let all things be as You created them, and give Your Son the honour due his sinlessness; the love of brother to his brother and his Friend. Through this I am redeemed. Through this as well the truth will enter where illusions were, light will replace all darkness, and Your Son will know he is as You created him.


2 A special blessing comes to us today, from Him Who is our Father. Give this day to Him, and there will be no fear today, because the day is given unto love.

Anticipation

Well, I\’ve gone to race calendars several times over the past few weeks to see what race I want to sign up for. Nothing has grabbed me that I\’m not already signed up for. So I just must wait. Next marathon is 1/31.

But I\’m actually anticipating 2/20-21; my next try at a double marathon. It would be so cool to get 2 days done. It is in this park:

In the mean time, despite going back to work, I\’ve got past 10 hours so far this week. You know, I just love how I feel after I work out. My mental feels so good. I can\’t figure out why so many people won\’t exercise.

This weekend is decent weather for slow jog walks of long duration.

Next Tuesday is my birthday. I\’ll be 57 of all things.

Texas Marathon 2016

I\’ve been in Texas 5 years, but the first time I made it to this marathon. It sells out every year. 2015 was the first time I was sure I wanted to run a marathon on January 1.

The race is a full and a half with 700 people crammed onto a 6.55 mile, mostly out and back, bike path type course (4 laps). I got to see alot of people I see at all the races; and say hi multiple times.

Swag is a large duffle bag, nice long sleeve shirt, hat and the biggest medal ever (3.3 lbs). When they gave me my medal, I nearly fell over.

Personally, this was a hard race for me. I ran a very fast marathon 2 weeks ago and didn\’t really do any down time after that. I know it was hard because I discovered this mental pattern: the first 2 laps thinking I might drop out at the half, the third lap thinking I might cheat and take a shortcut. Finally on the last lap, I just let all that turmoil go and ran to the finish.

Because my legs were tired, I started doing 7x1s after the first lap. Even so, my time, at 5:06 by garmin (which is minus pit stops), averaged out to 11.7 min per mile. That is still excellent for me. This course was harder than the course 2 weeks ago since there were some minor ups and downs.

This race has a devoted following. One thing I like about Texas is the number of devoted marathoners. Lots of marathons and lots of people who just can\’t stop marathoning, no matter how old or slow. I see them over and over. They are lovely.

Another thing I noticed about myself is that I don\’t yearn for the ritzy neighborhood anymore. This race was in a neighborhood filled with very large houses, lots of paved pathways, lots of trees and lakes. It was beautiful. But I realized that the gravel trails of Seabrook, and my half a house, are perfect for me. I like where I am. I can see my retirement years on Seabrook pathways and on my own elliptical.

My first race in 2015 was on 1/25. So, with this race on 1/1, I finished 12 marathons in 12 months. I loved some of the marathons and struggled with some of them.

I keep doing races because: when I dream, that is what I dream of. I want to be a part of it. It is a thing.

8 races are in the plans so far for 2016. I\’m going to try another double marathon and see if I have worked out my toe blister issues. I\’m also planning to try ultras again later in the year.