Marine Corp Marathon

 I completed a virtual marathon yesterday. My Garmin clocked 5:59 for 26.7 miles (does not include pit stops). https://www.strava.com/activities/4125097680

During the pandemic, real marathon races have been cancelled. However, many of the really big marathons have offered a virtual option. The Marine Corp Marathon is one of these. The Marine Corp Marathon is so big that they have a lottery to get in and tens of thousands of people do the race. I don\’t think I would ever be interested in doing the actual race, but the virtual event offered a chance for me to get some good swag to add to my 2020 display.

Yesterday, the weather was fabulous in Kansas City. Crystal clear skies, coolish temps. Perfect for spending a day walking and jogging for 26 miles. I picked a beautiful park where I could pass by my car every 8 miles to replenish my drinks and gels. Overall, it was pretty easy to accomplish this distance. Honestly, n real races, I often wish I could cut the course and get it over with. But yesterday, there was none of that thinking, even though, yes, my feet are sore after about 18 miles. But I only looked forward, not away. 

I am running virtual marathons to make a 2020 display. I don\’t think I\’d go 26 miles unless there was some virtual race on the line. Will I keep doing marathons next year? I don\’t know. Half marathons are much easier to manage, and I can run much faster. Half marathons are more like a race and less like suffer-fest. 

Next up: New York City marathon

New Life

 Butterflies are transformed beings.

Last Friday I had the very wonderful opportunity to meet with some friends in a park. From where I sat, I could see this sculpture of butterflies. It reminded me of new life. I was embarking on a new life.

I am newly unemployed, by my choice, having decided that my job at Starbucks was too dangerous during the pandemic. Since I quit my job, I could now meet with wonderful people and have interesting conversations.

Now I am free! I think that when I quit my career 2 years ago, I wasn\’t ready to be free. But now, I think I am. I know what I want to do and am doing it. I want to be a writer and I have more pieces in place now to be successful on a day to day basis. I mean, I now have the ability to focus and actually write for a few hours every day. 

In the above sculpture, butterflies are abundant. Abundance is how I feel about my life. Abundance in every area. All my cylinders are firing and there are eight of them not four. Eight cylinders is a lot of power. I feel inner power and outer power.

I have spent my life in transformation. The work was required for emotional healing. But now, I am out of the cocoon and ready to fly, able to fly, flying. 

COVID Close to Home

 I\’ve known about the pandemic for months. I\’ve been a careful mask wearer for months. But I hadn\’t encountered a person with Covid in real life until this month. It scared the shit out of me and my co-workers.

It turns out that an infected girl in the time frame of being contagious was at work. Where I work we wear masks, but we are not able to social distance from each other. And we touch each others tools and work stations. The girl was at work on a Monday, and experienced symptoms a day after being at work, a Tuesday, and did go to a doctor. Her initial Covid test was negative (taken too soon in the cycle), so the doctor gives her some medicine for symptoms and antibiotics (really? Doctor doesn\’t know shit). The girl develops a heart condition due to the medication and ends up in the hospital for 2 days. A second Covid test is positive. (Have these doctor heard that Covid affects the heart?) Sad situation for a 23 year old woman. 

This time line so far took 9 or 10 days. So the manager at work doesn\’t know about the positive Covid test until 10 days after the girl was at work and contagious. At first, the positive test has to be reported to a district manager (time taken). Then the approval was given to send home anyone in direct contact with the sick girl. Well, crap. These other people were at work, not social distancing for 10 days, not knowing anything about the sick girl. (Luckily, no one else got sick. Masks work I guess).

I didn\’t work with the sick girl, but I did work with everyone else. I heard about the exposure on day 11 when a guy on my shift was sent home. Even then, it wasn\’t the manager who told me. I heard parts of the story in the form of gossip over a head set.

That afternoon when I left work, I was pissed. I couldn\’t figure out the time line at that point but I knew it was 10 or 11 days when I finally heard the second hand information. I stayed by myself for 2 days. I was concerned because many of my friends are in their late seventies or eighties. Finally on a Sunday, day 13, I call my manager and ask her to explain the time line details to me. I need to know if I can go around other people safely. She explains what I wrote above.

My next work shift is that Tuesday at 11:30. At about 8 in the morning, I realize I am terrified to go into work. I look at all the pieces of this puzzle. I realize that there is not a chance in hell that our workplace can really be safe. Does a person know if they have contacted the virus? How many days are they contagious before symptoms? How many days until you can get a valid test, and then results? 

Now I\’ve known about some of these facts, but you don\’t really understand how all these features play out until it happens in front of your eyes. Then you realize that you can\’t be safe at work. My answer was to quit.

I will also say that this girl turned up at work again on day 16. She still had symptoms. They let her come back because of a negative test. But actually, we don\’t know for sure that she was not contagious.

My co-workers were hot about this. The manager wasn\’t there today, so tons of conversation went on. I wasn\’t the only person to be afraid and angry.

Covid really sucks. It is a squirrelly disease. This time line will happen again because thats how the disease plays itself out. That is why I decided I was done with that work place. (Luckily, I have other options).

Everyone stop and think about the time line. Realize that you will get caught up in this Covid cycle at some point. It is inevitable that you will be exposed at some point. Lets hope you have a mask on and you wash your hands alot. Or you will be sick.

A Love Story

 One of the interesting and most cherished things about my sobriety is the people who I\’ve known for 35 years. My life has moved around the country, but I have now settled in the place where I got sober and these people are still here. We are now all old. This story is about one of them.

As a 26 year old female, I entered the halls. I was single, pretty new to the mid-west, having come from California. Angry. Hateful. Shattered.

In the hall, I found people older than me, but much wiser. Every meeting was a discussion of wisdom I didn\’t have. I was new to it all. I admired these wise elders. By elder, I mean people in their thirties and forties seemed much wiser than me.

One of these people was a man named Milt. Milt had about 3 years in the program ahead of me. He was an engineer. About 50. He had a wonderful wife who was also in the program and very wise. Both of them had meaningful things to say. Their marriage and love was a thing I was jealous of, and dissed myself because I didn\’t have such a thing.

Milt had a habit of handing out hugs. He also always said, \”Has anyone told you they loved you today?\” And he, upon my no answer, would say that he loved me. That used to make me mad. I thought he was just saying it and didn\’t mean it. He had real love with his wife. I had nothing. No love for myself or anyone else.

Decades go by. Sometimes I attend that AA hall. Sometimes I\’m living somewhere else.

When I moved back to town 2 years ago, I started attending a meeting where Milt always goes. Now I am 61 and he is 89. His wife passed away several years ago and he is a cancer survivor. He still drives himself around and lives alone. Since the virus lock down, he hasn\’t been out much. Last night was the first time he has been back to that meeting. It is a small meeting and every body there is old. Everybody has decades of sobriety.

Last night, as I came in and sat down, Milt came over. He had an angel coin that he wanted me to have and he said he loved me. The meeting went on. Milt sat there behind his mask, looking around the room. He shared on the Daily Reflections. We closed the meeting and left.

This morning, I noticed the angel coin sitting on my counter. I thought about Milt and this long history of saying he loved me. And I thought about the fact that Milt won\’t be around much longer, and he knows it. I realized that I believe Milt loves me. That Milt loves everyone and all of life. That love is really Love, it is everywhere and true for everyone.

So stick around AA. Keep improving your emotional sobriety. You too will come to know Love.

Fucked 12 Steps

 I just started reading Russell Brand\’s book \”Recovery.\” I found this rendition of the 12 Steps. I think it would really help someone who doesn\’t want to admit they have a problem, or doesn\’t want the God shit. 

As someone with 35 years sober, I finally feel enlightened.

Here ya go: traditional 12 Steps on the left, Russel Brand\’s on the right.

I love it. 

Inspiration vs Doing It (Air Force marathon)

 In the past two days, I have listened to at least 3 hours of David Goggins giving interviews on Youtube. I knew of this guy from his ultra-marathon activities, but had never listened to his story. Well, it is an amazing story, a rags to riches story for a poor black kid. But he is different. I learned some stuff.

First, I learned the difference between being inspired to do something and actually doing the thing. I knew what he said but I had never focused on it in his way. Being inspired may get your ball rolling, but there will be suck. Don\’t just dream of the finish line, but put yourself in the moment of pain and imagine that, be ready for that. 

This is really a big point. I get inspired alot. But I don\’t always carry out the dream because it is a lot of work. Everything worth doing is work. You can receive and incredible business idea, but building and running that business is work. I can imagine the riches and glory. I forget to imagine getting through the work. 

Second, he said to get out of bed when you decided that you were going to, like when the alarm goes off, no matter what. Make yourself do it. That way, you are a winner of the battle over control of your brain first thing. You win one right away. 

So…

Getting out of bed can sometimes be difficult! Especially if it is for a voluntary activity. 

Today I had planned to run my virtual Air Force Marathon. Last night, I prepared my Gatorade and laid out my equipment and set my alarm. The alarm was not set too terribly early because the temperature was to go down to about 56F last night.

Would I make it out of bed? I frequently sleep very badly and that makes getting up very difficult. Goggins says to get up anyway mother-fucker. But I moderated my coffee drinking yesterday. And I did get some decent sleep. I slept enough to wake up at 3:15. And, well, my brain started thinking about running a marathon. So I got up at 3:45, 90 minutes before the alarm. A big win.

I was able to get started with my run at 5 am. It was cool enough for long sleeves. I had a full hydro-pak and I headed north on the long bike path. I loved it. An almost full moon. A completely clear sky. No cars. Deer. Raccoons. Coyotes yipping in the distance.  Part of my route went back and forth through a park so I got to enjoy the beautiful forest. It was cool enough that my hydro-pak lasted over 5 hours. So I got back to my house with 24.8 miles done. I refueled and then walked the last 2.4 miles to make a marathon. It was by then warmer and I didn\’t feel like stressing myself out.

Because the morning was so cool, I did more actual running and better pace than I was doing earlier this summer. I am very pleased that I got it done. Running 26.2 miles by yourself, voluntarily, can be hard. Yes, my feet and knees are sore at about 20 miles. At that point, it is some part of the mind that has to win over some other part, or you\’ll quit. I know because I\’ve done that. 

Not a quitter today. I was more than inspired. I actually carried out the dream.

Strava

Yes, I have done other virtual marathons. There are other challenges on my plate which take more long range effort: writing a novel, going to college, reading difficult books, continuing to lift weights, continuing the coolish showers, eating a plant based diet. HaHa: Cold water on my naked body isn\’t killing me.

There might be a reason for me to do this. I read it in someone else\’s book. I\’m not ready to write it in my own book.