Running Streak – update day 22

Weird. For the past 22 days, I’ve jogged/walked at least 13 miles a day. On May 1, I began a virtual race of 637 miles and I upped my daily mileage total. Why? Because I can.

See, I noticed three days ago that the 13 miles had become quite easy. And when I went for a second workout, I jogged much of it. Then, two days ago, I felt good after 13 miles so went two more. And I did 15 again today.

It gets me thinking. Most ultramarathon training plans rely on weekend long runs because most people work during the week. But if you don’t work, then you have time for as many long runs as you want. So my training theory is that my new set point for a daily jaunt is 13 miles. Training doesn’t start until after 13 miles. My base is 91 miles a week. So if I want to run an ultramarathon, my body is used to the massive miles. My training plan doesn’t rely on long runs but on a massive base. And, I am signed up for an ultramarathon later this year.

In the virtual race, you earn badges for reaching milestones. I’ve so far completed 95 miles of the race, in 6 days, 15% of the race. Here is my trophy case so far. The colored badges are earned. The greyed-out ones are still to come.

Next weekend, I’m signed up for a four-day race. I have options for how far I want to race each day. I feel like I could do full marathons if I take a day off from running on Friday. So my streak might end. But the high mileage will continue.

I feel so free doing lots of miles. Like I cut everything loose and went for it.


Virtual Reality – Half Marathon Streak Day 16

When last I spoke, my running streak had been ten days. Today is day 16 of daily half marathons. Yes, I did it. It has become pretty easy to accomplish this task. My daily agenda: morning spiritual reflection and writing, 13 miles, shower, eat, YouTube, read, meditate (this takes an hour), lift weights, eat, read, sleep, repeat. Pretty easy.

In philosophy (Spinoza, Sartes, and perhaps other philosophers), God is a thinking thing and a human is an extension of divine thought. So, of course, I am also a thinking thing. All humans think. Our problems stem from what we think about. Choosing thought seems difficult. The difficulty comes because of the endless chatter available, as well as the conditioning received when young. I continually need awareness of my thought choices if I want to feel good. What reality do I want to live in?

Enter a virtual reality of The Great Virtual Race Along the Trace (GVRAT). It starts tomorrow. What I like about this is that I can control my achievement. There is no judging panel or approval master. In my career, there were always bosses judging me. Or in the monastery, sisters were judging my spiritual life. Really incredible to think they would attempt that. In the virtual reality of GVRAT, I have melded the imaginary and the manifested. I am a focal point of pure thought and manifested miles. I get to participate in reality beyond this world. I am completely in control of my achievement. I love this.

The virtual race begins here:

Pretty neat eh? The virtual race starts in New Orleans and ends up in Memphis. Humans can actually construct realities for themselves. I’ve never been to New Orleans. I’ve only been to the airport in Memphis. But my mind thinks I’m really running a race. I can live daily in the reality of the virtual race for however long I am doing miles. Thats fantastic.

About My Running Streak

The Path of Long Distance – An essay on running streaks.

I always thought running streaks were stupid. But now that I’m involved with one, I don’t know how to stop voluntarily.

A strange thing happened to me. It began with a seeming failure, or at least an experience of how my brain works, of consciousness at its worst. Last Saturday, I was supposed to go in a 50k (31 mile) race. I was well trained and ready. But in the middle of Friday night, at 1:30 am, I was awakened by a thunderstorm with severe high wind. It was scary. I lay awake thinking about my alarm going off at 3:30 am. After the alarm went off, I sat in bed and looked at various radars and weather forecasts. I noticed that I would have to drive through a line of red-colored thunderstorms to get to the race. That didn’t seem like a great idea to me. I’d probably get a little wet at the start of the race. More thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon, about when I might still be ten miles from my car, with the wind turning north so I’d get cold besides wet.

My brain could not come up with any reason why I should go to the race. And, well, I ended up back in bed.

Later in the morning, after the storms had pulled out of Kansas City, I went for a 13 mile run.

That weekend, I had signed up for the “Great Virtual Race Along the Trace” (GVRAT). It is a virtual race of 1000k (about 634 miles). If you finish in 50 days, you get some extra swag. I love swag. I run for bright shiny objects like belt buckles and medals. So, if you average 13 miles a day, you can finish in 50 days. Thus began my running steak of 13 miles a day. Can I do 13 miles every day? Good question. I decided to experiment with it, though the race doesn’t begin until May 1.

Day 7 –  Nothing seems too wrong with my body other than I need to watch my nutrition and I’m more tired in the afternoons. But my mind is extended out over a long horizon. What if? What if I do 13 miles a day for many many days? I watched a YouTube video about a guy running across the USA, at 50 miles a day, to raise money for cancer. His life had become nothing more than get up, do the running, get up, do the running, get up, do the running. A very elemental life. I actually like that idea of a life. That idea is actually what I longed for when I had a career sitting behind a computer, in a chemical plant. And now? I have given myself permission to have that life. To run more than is reasonable every day and not feel like I am wasting my life.

Living this way feels like expansion because I am involved with an endless progression of miles, as well as a very now focused activity because I need to decide to take a sip of Gatorade now, or do another loop now. It is mental expansion because you are going to do something hard every day for an endless number of days. No days off. It is an insane thing because it is purposeless, or anti-productive. Like why are you doing this again? Can’t you find anything useful to do with your time? No. My job is to participate in this endless and timeless coverage of miles.

Day 8 went okay. The shoes didn’t feel that great. 13 miles is a good challenge. It’s not too easy and not too hard. 13 miles requires planning since it takes me nearly 3 hours to complete. It won’t generate blisters. The logistics of hydration aren’t too complicated.

The streak has taken over my life.

Day 9 – Wow! I felt good today. The Novablasts felt good. I ran at Shoal Creek. Remembering when I tried to kill myself by running, while I was in the monastery.

Day 10 – This morning, I had a certain ambivalence. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the streak going. GVRAT begins in a few days. I know that when it starts I’ll be obsessed with getting as many miles a day as possible; and shouldn’t I rest up for a couple of days before I begin that? Or what to do about the races I’ve already signed up for. In the middle of May, there is Mainly Marathons 4 marathons in 4 days. I can’t do a full marathon without resting up before and after. I know the full marathons will generate blisters that will need healing.

The streak however is something positive in my life. It is something I can be successful at. It builds towards my 80th year of life (in 16 years) when I plan to do an ultramarathon. The streak is like sobriety, or being alive. As of today, I’ve been alive for 23,487 days and sober for 13,773 days.

The streak is something I don’t need anyone else for. Something I don’t need anyone’s approval for. No one has power over me. I don’t have to game a system to get ahead. I don’t have to hate anyone while I’m doing miles. I can un-choose hate as my primary emotion. The streak is a way to let go of care and worry, to be a cork floating free. The streak is part of a good death because it is a way for me to live well. The streak is not escaping life but trying to live it. It is a way to embrace Life Itself.

My Inner Being sees far beyond this world, this day, and the three or so decades I have left to live. A streak is one way of gazing into eternity with my Inner Being.

Day 10 complete. Another half marathon in the books. I saw this plaque on a park bench for the first time today.

Love Always Rises

Today is Easter Sunday. Celebrate not that a physical body rose from the dead, but that Love always rises. Love lives in every person and cannot be killed. Resurrect Love within your soul today.

I saw this tree while I was out running. The tree is alive but it has no core. It is a husk of a tree. My core is love. It struck me that I cherish the core of my being. As I keep putting on days and years, I want to die with my core vibrantly alive. I don’t want to die as an empty husk of a human being.

Descartes asked, “What path shall I take in life?” He chose philosophy, that is, to be a lover of wisdom. I chose a path into the reality of God. I choose to awaken to inner peace. My ethos is an infinite appreciation of the flow of the universe through me. The feeling of the flow of love, pure and unadulterated, cannot be grasped. It does not allow possession. It only gives. Love is just being. Love cannot be defined but it can be experienced. This is who I really am.

This Month in Running – March 2023

I feel inspired to recap March 2023. Why? I’m happy with myself.

I watched a long podcast with Courtney Dauwalter. Courtney is the best in the world female ultramarathoner. She said that she is always searching out where her limits are and giving everything she has to each race. The interviewer lamented that he is not as fast as he used to be. He sounded like it wasn’t worth going on. This interplay intrigued me. I thought, “Keep doing it asshole. You are not old so stop using that excuse.” Courtney also talked about her first 100 mile race. She dropped out at 60 miles because her feet hurt, but then sat by the sideline and watched many other people with sore feet keep going. She realized that she could have gone on, but it was too late to reenter the race. Her decision was to up her training and be ready for the pain the next time.

I’m 64 years old and not as fast as I used to be. But finding my current limits is what I do everyday. Training for ultramarathons is a lonely business. It is long hours and sore feet. It is lifting weights and cross training. But the satisfaction of finishing a hard race is wonderful. Finishing a long training run is wonderful. Being healthy, outside, doing miles is wonderful. I have plans for this year for challenging races.

This month, not counting today, I did 317 miles. I’ve been doing over 300 miles per month for several months. I lifted weights 19 times. I got to go in a half marathon race and beat all the other 60+ ladies. I’m super excited about all this.

Everybody gets sore feet in an ultramarathon. Its not the end of the world. Just keep going.

Throughout my life, I have disrespected myself because of running, like what good is this? Running seemed unproductive or useless. But it is one of the things about my life that is working tremendously well. It is also way off the map for people my age. My inner measuring system is off. I could feel bad that 31 miles takes me longer than it used to, or remember how incredible it is to run 31 miles at all. I appreciate myself and the body that can accomplish big things.

Running and racing inspire me. Inspiration is my life’s blood. Its how I tolerate being alive at all.

Run to find out who you are.

For about 4 years of my life, when I was 40-45, I lived in a monastery. I kept running even while in monastic formation. But it was always awkward. The sisters looked down on me. They thought expensive running shoes were beyond their vow of poverty. I’m glad I don’t now live in a convent with 50 sedentary women. I’d probably be fat and have health issues.

Where are my limits? I’ll keep looking. I have events in April and May to test myself.

What Being Alive Means

Two days ago, a Friday morning, I was sitting in my kitchen and doing my morning contemplation. The bush outside the window still doesn’t have any buds on it. Spring is here, but cold and rain abound. I cried out to The Universe, “bring me what being alive means!” Yes, I was emphatic in my feeling. It is an unspecific request except I was feeling a very specific feeling. I want to do and experiece whatever being alive means.

On my plate are various possibilites of things that could be done. But first up was a half marathon race the next day. I often feel misunderstood when it comes to running. People’s reactions to me, a 64 year old who still does 70 miles a week, almost never feels satisfying. But in asking The Universe for the meaning of being alive, I got a vision of my running. Suddenly I knew with every fiber of my being that running was my expression of the meaning of being alive. And off I went to packet pickup.

Saturday morning the alarm goes off at 5 am. I leap out of bed, eager for the race. I slept great and it was easy to get up. I drank a cup of coffee while I got my gear together. I get to the race site very early so that I could have a primo parking spot. I sat in my car reading a book. As time for the start of the race crept closer, I went into the stadium and found a women’s bathroom with no line. All of these pre-race activites were manifestations of being alive.

I went to the start line, along with about 900 other runners. We were all excited. Raring to go. The national anthem was sung. I get teary eyes seeing the flag and hearing the anthem, every time. And we are off.

The city where the race was run is hilly. Very hilly. Brutally hilly. I ran the race at threshold breathing, which meant an average of 10 minutes per mile. I did well chugging my way uphill and practically sprinted the down hills. I worked hard to stay ahead of the 2:15 pace bunny. As the miles went by, I was becoming more and more amazed at myself as I kept maintaining a 10 minute per mile pace. I had known I could run one 10 minute mile, but I didn’t know I could run a bunch of them. And the hills kept coming. The uphills became more and more difficult to get up.

Arriving at mile 11, I was with the 2:15 pace bunny, and I was the only one with her. All the others had dropped off. She encouraged me. I told her how surprised I was to see how fast I could run. I clung to her. I tried hard to stay with her, even as more uphills continued to present themselves. I told her that I thought the course was cruel. She laughed, “You got this. Just keep going.”

Suddenly I recognized the area of the finishing track. I got on the track and sprinted around to the finishline. I looked at the clock: 2 hours, 13 minutes and some seconds. Wow! I did it. I couldn’t believe it. Thats the fastest half marathon I’ve run in a long time. Wow!

A man came up behind me. He was a little taller than me, probably six two, possible of Indian descent, with a little grey at his temples, so definitely younger. He thanked me. He said he had been following me and working hard to maintain my pace. He thanked me for being his pace bunny. Amazing.

After I got home, I checked the results online. Whoop! I got first place in my age group. I beat 12 other sixty something ladies. Yes, seeing my name pop up at the top of the list felt like winning the lottery or something. I kept reliving the feeling of putting my all into maintaing my pace and running as fast as I could without dying.

And that folks is what the Universe brought me: what being alive means.

So the next time you see some old lady shuffling along the sidewalk, just remember. To her, being out there is the essence and feeling of the meaning of being alive. It is a tremendous contribution to the well being of our world.

Rule of Life for Urban Solitaries – Musings

Many many people live alone. Some of these solitaries are interested in spirituality and seek the greater wisdom of the universe.

Your life in the hermitage is post-career and non-family. Your purpose is now depth. You are making yourself a magnificent receiver and savorer of Higher Consciousness. Your work is listening and savoring the interesting and inspiring thoughts that come to you. The thoughts come from The Texts or they come from your own Higher Consciousness.

Do you need a rule of life? Following rules doesn’t work. A rule should spring organically from what you are already doing. And then it is written out as the life you love and plan to continue because it brings you into close contact with that Great Spirit, that Great Consciousness with which you seek to align yourself.

  • Don’t eat the food of the masses because you want to purify your body. In this, you are humble enough to love yourself and nurture yourself and the spirit that graces your accumulation of conscious cells. Accept the yearning of all these entities to know themselves and the Great Consciousness. You won’t be enlightened. You will be nourished.
  • Minimize social media and the news in order to purify your thinking. How can solitude be experienced if the phone is constantly tugging you to check it?
  • Maintain and relish a state of non-relationship. You don’t need to talk about yourself or anything else with others. No one will understand. Society always seeks to mainstream it’s monks by saying we are social animals and will be mentally ill if we don’t have relationships. This threat of mental illness becomes a demon to address in your hermitage. Stare it down and it will leave.
  • Meditation for long periods for no reason, no goal. Find the emptiness not present in active society. Meditation is not for getting but for quiet. It is an experience of endlessness. Only in a quiet mind can this experience be obtained in modern urban life.
  • Study Texts. It feels good to savor the meanings already discovered. If it feels right and good, begin a project of copying the texts in neat penmanship. In the meditation of copying, the body and mind are integrating truth and a path forward can be found. You can no longer be taught by a superficial pastor. Only a Master will satisfy. You do have access to a Master’s teachings.
  • Spend hours on your feet, outside; and then lift the weights. This behavior is contrary to modern life. Endless miles join with endless silence.
  • Voluntary poverty to drink your spirit to the dregs of life. Self-inflicted non-comfort. Your hermitage is cold in the winter and warm in the summer, but not too much of either.

A tiny bird sits on a bare branch, enduring the cold north wind. Consciousness is here and wants anyone to know it. Embrace the Presence. Why not you? Every monk starts from nothing and always is just that.

Photo by Pixabay on

The Poverty of Not-Having

There is the poverty which lacks basic life necessities. Then there is the poverty which disentangles from getting. Freedom is found in disentanglement.

Addiction is a life of getting. As an obsessed person, look at the role of fear in your life of getting. It is not just that you are addicted to a substance. You are a slave to the anxiety of not-getting.

Acceptance of not-having relieves the anxiety of not-getting. Not-having is a kind of poverty. Actualize and be aware: voluntarily accept a poverty of not-having-my-addictive-substance or behavior. Voluntary poverty is a spiritual practice. There is a positive energy to the idea of voluntary poverty, that dissolves obsession as soon as you actualize the thought of poverty. Accepting this kind of poverty is a way to be obedient to the Life Within. This kind of obedience offers freedom for the soul to soar. In poverty you are free.

Photo by Creative Vix on

Mind versus Marathon – an essay

Thesis: doing something that is hard, sets up a mental battle between my True self and my quitter self. Accomplishment feels good. The conscious experience of the battle is what I try to describe and analyze here.

To set the scene, I signed up for a double marathon. A double marathon is running two marathons in two days. The location of the race is an eight-hour drive from my home. The races are on a short course that is eight laps plus an out and back to make 26.2 miles, a full marathon. This is a small race with only about 100 people, including half marathoners. Many of the full marathoners will be walking the whole way. The event is very non-competitive. It is designed for people who complete many marathons per year or who want to try a multi-day event.

I have been to this event several times. In the past, I have sometimes failed to complete full marathons each day. Sometimes, I don’t even go because I think the weather will be too bad. Sometimes, I quit halfway through because I’m worried about the long drive home. Or sometimes my brain comes up with some other plausible excuse for quitting. The worst is when I quit because I can’t remember the point of why I am walking around in a circle while my feet hurt. I just get in the car and leave. Halfway home, I might remember that I wanted to complete a marathon, but then it is too late. At one point, I only signed up for courses that were out and back, because I knew I’d finish them since that was the only way to get back to my car.

Marathons are usually not physically difficult if you do them as slowly as I do. They just require patience since they take a while. What I am wanting to dig deep into is my mental battle. What I am trying to do, why, and how. What is the deep purpose of completing a double marathon on some dinky course, slowly? There is no grand glory of a personal record or first-place award. The only thing is me, whatever pain is in my feet and my brain that is arguing for quitting.

This time, I vowed to complete the event period. I even booked a hotel room partway home to prevent myself from leaving the event halfway through the second day. This excuse was eliminated because I already paid for the hotel room and I wouldn’t have an eight-hour drive ahead of me. The weather looked dry if a bit cooler than I wanted. No excuse there.

The drive down to Dallas was uneventful except for the inevitable traffic jams at Oklahoma City and the North Stemmons Freeway in Dallas. But my mind was mostly full of resentment about work and a desire to tell them to eff themselves and stomp out the door. I wanted an excuse to quit (another essay). It was ugly up there in my brain. But the push of my brain to quit a situation that has some complexity and difficulty is applicable to my marathon quitting problems. How the heck is it that I can complete something I have decided I want to do?

So, I made it to Dallas. I checked into my hotel. I picked up my packet. I ate. I laid on the bed. I woke up at 4 am and got up at 4:30. Plenty of time to get ready for a race that starts at 7. Driving to the race and parking were easy. Day 1 of the race, my head was filled with quitting. No really. My feet were hurting a bit, but not enough to stop. Maybe I should drive home a day early, hotel room be damned, because it might be snowing near my house the following day. Is there some way I could get out of this activity without anyone knowing? Or, I don’t remember all the things my brain had to say, but it was not pretty inside my head. I finished a full marathon on day 1 and went back to my hotel. That evening I had to tell myself, “keep going no matter what.” We are seeking something, a reality that is beyond quitting. Keep going even if you have to walk a lot. The voice of the quitter can be identified and disobeyed. Train your mind to do what you want, not what it seems to want, like quit. I want to do what I want to do and not what my brain is yelling about.

Early in the morning of the second day, I was sitting in my hotel room contemplating the upcoming marathon attempt. By chance, I caught this podcast featuring Sally McCrae and 507 miles, Sally is a very famous elite ultra-runner. She did this running project for her reasons, but what struck me was her mental attitude. She self-decided to do a thing and was self-motivated to complete it. It hurt but she kept going. Could I get my mental act together? Can I decide to do a thing and do it even though my brain is yelling about quitting? That is my dilemma.

I realized that I really wanted to feel however I would feel on the other side of the event. Sally said, “Hope carries you up and over a mountain.” My hope was to get the emotional boon on the other side of my mental marathon mountain. I asked my Inner Strength to support me, to be my crew, my pacer, and my cameraman.

Day 2 of the double marathon was surprisingly easy. Despite feeling a bit sore and tired, I actually went faster on day 2 than on day 1. I didn’t fight with myself at all. I somehow got into a mental space that was beyond my typical brain, a zone of sorts. My quitter voice wasn’t heard or even considered. I like feeling accomplishment, A LOT. Finishing day 2 felt great. This personal victory felt great. It opened the door to future racing. Hope shines forth for more great feelings.

Why did I succeed this time? I honestly believe it was because a) I took away some of the excuses and b) firmly decided that I would finish. I wanted to feel finishing more than I wanted to feel quitting and I was willing to remember this.

There is a cult of “do hard things” present in America and on YouTube. Hard things build character, yadda yadda. I’m 64 years old. I should be done doing hard things. Right? For me, hard things range from getting out of bed in the morning to going to work, to running an ultramarathon. A hard thing is anything that requires grit, resilience, or perseverance to accomplish. “Hard” is a mental state. Hard is getting out of your head and doing what you want to do. Old folks especially need to do hard things. I have to get some help from some Higher Self to do this. If I ask, the help comes. But I have to receive the help. Being in receiving mode instead of quitting mode is where I get lost. I forget. I fail. Doing a hard thing is somehow vital to my life, to feeling good about my very existence.

There was no snow at all on the drive home. A complete success.

The Spiritual Path

This morning, it is cold and rainy outside. I was doing my morning meditation. I was thinking of my own mental conflicts, and of a person who has asked me for spiritual help. I wanted to know what to say to her. I thought this:

The first step is to want something more from life.

The second step is to want to search the realm of the spirit for the something more.

The third step is to decide to devote your life to something more.

Thus you will attract the answers to your questions.

Pretty simple eh?

Photo by Julia Volk on