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, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_j71s_dwRQ&t=49s. 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.


Race Report

First of all, I did a really great job of running a marathon. Second of all, the cabin sucked. Driving went fine.

I drove from Kansas City to Fulton Illinois, directly to the race course on the day before the race. I wanted to make sure I knew where the course was. I met Clint and Tedford there, so I knew I had the right place. Then I proceeded to the campground.

I think I realized from the instant I first walked into the cabin that I didn’t like it. Mostly because it was dark inside (no windows) with poor lighting. The air conditioner was very noisy. The porch might have been nice to sit on but it was in the sun, so too hot to sit there. I put my chair in the shade in the grass and found it very buggy. The shower house was dark also, though it did have real toilets. The camping area only had a pit toilet with no light or door. During the night, I found my sleeping situation not comfortable, being too hot or too cold depending on if the AC was on. The AC kept waking me up. I found myself peeing in a plastic tub I brought for that purpose, but still, it was awkward and made me wonder what the hell I was doing there.

I got up around 3:30 to prepare to drive to the race which started at 5. I found myself with the phone, looking at hotel rooms in nearby Clinton Iowa. I was realizing that it was an impossible task to recover from a full marathon in that cabin and be ready to go to a 5 am race the next morning. There was no way I could relax and re-hydrate in that cabin. As well, it would take extra time to pack up my mountain of stuff in the morning.

I drove to the race. After parking, I immediately took out my phone and booked a room at the Hampton Inn for that night. This was very fortuitous. It meant that I could relax and run my marathon knowing I would have a shower and a bed waiting for me afterward. It also meant that I would finish my race because I had already paid for the hotel room. I had nowhere to go so I might as well run 26 miles. My mind bought into this perspective and I had a great race. There was a cool breeze coming in from the north, keeping the weather mostly cool. I loved it. It was the first time in awhile that I ran in joy and not in wanting to quit. The 26 miles went by easily and fast.

Video on Day 1: https://youtu.be/ICSs3vhzAIo

Windmill along the course, Day 1
Riverboat on the Mississippi, Day 1

I finished the race in 5:57 by my Garmin, which didn’t include pit stops. I jogged most of the first 20 miles. Very happy with that.

After the race, I drove to the campground, packed up my stuff and checked into the Hampton Inn. The AC in the room was quiet! The room was clean. I showered. I began to re-hydrate with a real bathroom nearby, not having to pee in a cup (like at the cabin). I felt like a queen in my hotel room.

Day 2: The racing company gives you the same medal no matter what distance you do and you can switch distances after the race starts. I knew I didn’t plan to go more than 13 miles for a half marathon. I started jogging. After 5.5 miles I realized that my legs were tired and I didn’t want to push them. So I finished off a 10k and collected my medal. The sunrise was worth getting out of bed for.

Sunrise, Mississippi River, Day 2

I am extremely pleased that I had enough positive mental attitude to enjoy a full marathon. I am entered in a 50k in 6 weeks and I feel optimistic about that. My training plan is to keep lifting weights and keep putting in hot miles, even if walking. I have no injuries from my marathon.

As I started heading home, west bound on I80, I noticed that there are more semi-trucks on I80 than cars. It made for a slog from Davenport to Des Moines. But as I turned south on I35, it was smooth sailing. I guess no one wants to go to Missouri!

Surprising Results

Sometimes, when things go differently than planned, the results are better. How so you ask?

Last October 2021, I signed up for three marathons in three states in three days. This was not so unusual as I have done multi-day marathons before. I signed up so long ago because prices for events go up the closer to the event you get. The event itself was this past weekend. I have been anticipating the event for months. In the meantime, I have gone in a 50k race and dealt with a sore hip (from work), which restricted my training. But going into the weekend, I felt completely good in my hips and legs.

Day 1 marathon was in Miami, Oklahoma. I drove down the night before and stayed in a hotel. The race took place at a park near the Neosho River. To complete a marathon, we had to do 14 laps of the course. I started off running because I felt rested and good. It was not a hot day, but very humid. I was doing well for about 9 miles. Then I realized that if I was going to do three marathons in three days, I needed to slow down and put in walk breaks. I did put in the walk breaks. At which point I began to get bored and wonder why I was doing boring laps in a park. I got up to around 16 miles and realized that I was thinking of cheating in order to get done quicker. I realized that I cared nothing about notching my belt with another marathon. Then I thought, “Don’t cheat. If you’re not in this game then just quit.” After 9 laps/17+ miles, I realized that I didn’t want to do any more laps. So I went to the timing table and told them I was quitting. They gave me a half marathon medal without blinking an eye. It turns out that the half marathon medal was the same as the full marathon medal. So I got the bling and went home. I was quite happy to begin my 3 hour drive 2 hours sooner than planned.

Sunrise over the Neosho River

Day 2 race was in St Joseph Missouri, a short drive from my home. I woke up before the 4:30 am alarm and enthusiastically got out of bed. I was prepared to run a half marathon as fast as I could. No plan to try a full marathon suffer-fest. Just run the half and enjoy yourself. It was turning out that I much more enjoy a fast half marathon more than a slow full marathon, at least when the course is 14-16 laps of boredom.

Day 3 race was in Hiawatha Kansas, a short drive from my home. I woke up at 3am, a full hour before the alarm, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I checked the weather because thunderstorms were predicted. Depending on how bad they were, I knew I wouldn’t go to the race. There were storms but they didn’t look that bad. I would have to run in the rain, however. I was interested in getting my body to the race start and not in laying in bed. I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep regardless. So I made a bargain with myself. I said, “Get in the car and go to the race. If it is miserable, then just run a 5k, get your medal and go home.” That is, just get going and see what happens. I did it! I made it to the race and began running. I felt tired from the previous 2 days of racing, but not injured. It was raining so I wore a jacket. All the other racers were out there in jackets and ponchos, toughing it out. And there I was too, getting the miles done. But my brain wanted to cheat and go home. I was conscious of my brain trying to talk me out of what I was doing. If the rain had been worse, maybe I would have obeyed. But the rain wasn’t that bad and it did let up after I had run 10 miles and only had 3 to go. I finished! I didn’t cheat! I’m incredibly proud of myself.

What is all this about cheating you ask? Well, these races are very low-key. The timing is pretty loose. They have a start time. You tell the timer when you are done. Each lap you pick a rubberband off a table to keep track of how many laps you have run. Nothing stops you from picking up two rubber bands. Heck, you don’t even have to show the timer how many rubber bands you have when you say you are done. So really, it is up to the person to be honest with themselves. Some part of my brain strongly wants to cheat, but I never do. I think I endure my cheater brain every marathon I try to run. My brain is much more peaceful when a racecourse is a loop where you can’t cheat in order to get to the finish line.

What was the most memorable part of the 3 days? All 3 days there was a woman on the course who had both legs in full-length braces and used crutches. She was out there doing miles. I didn’t talk to her, but I watched. Why was she wearing braces and how strongly motivated she must be to get out there and do miles? Interesting. Here I am completely healthy and thinking about cheating, and I’m sharing the course with someone in leg braces. After I finished my race on day 3, the woman happened to be in the finish area, getting ready to start another lap. She asked me if I was done and was I coming to day 4 (it was an 8-day series but I signed up for 3 days). I said I wasn’t coming to day 4. She asked if she could take my picture. It turns out she wanted a selfie with me. I moved into position behind her shoulder. I could see myself in her camera. I look like a little kid in my ball cap, happy. She must have been watching me run miles while she was hobbling along. She wanted a picture with me. How special. I keep thinking about how I felt in that moment. It gives me goosebumps to think of it but I can’t explain why.

You would not believe how happy I was with myself about the results of this weekend: 3 races done at pretty good speed and no cheating. No laying in bed when I could have gone to a race. No useless suffering just to notch my belt. So this is what life can be about: how you feel about what you are doing, not what you seem to be doing.

Mental Training

I have epic plans for running events in my 63d year of life. I had to decide between two events that occur in March because their prices go up at the end of December. So I went for a long run yesterday while I wrestled in my head with the decision.

I picked a short course and I had in mind doing miles for over 4 hours. I would need to run numerous laps of the 2.37 mile course. A very important thing happened as I approached the end of lap 7 at 16.6 miles. I wasn’t yet at 4 hours, and 16.6 miles really isn’t that long. It was terribly windy and I was already feeling the sore feet that come with long distance running. I knew that I shouldn’t quit. Nothing was stopping me from quitting. I came upon the idea of just getting past the car and doing a short lap to get above 17 miles.

I started lap 8. after I got over the hilly part and past the turn-off for the shortcut, I found that continuing became easy and desirable. And so, I completed a full lap 8 and got 19.1 miles. This was the crucial thing: get past the stopping point somehow. And this activity is purely a mental phenomenon. I exercised a mental muscle to get that last lap started.

This mental muscle is the whole ball game for ultra training and racing. Doing something epic doesn’t mean anything more than being able to utilize that mental muscle. For me, training runs of greater than 17 miles will take me into mental muscle territory. I think doing laps for those runs also builds the muscle because you go by the car every 30-40 minutes and quitting is an option. Overcoming “quitting” is the ball game. In every marathon race that I’ve ever done ( over 100), I’ve felt the temptation to quit or to cheat by shortcutting the course. Something mental goes on to honestly finish the race.

Today is the first time that I have clearly identified the experience of using this mental muscle. In the past, I rationalized quitting 12 or 24-hour races because I was in pain or energy depleted, but really, not totally done for. In the future, I’ll have to question the mental muscle to determine if it really is time to quit. Humans can do much more than seems humanly possible if they have their mental game together. I’ve been fooling with ultra-marathons for a long time, but never so clearly as yesterday understood what it is that I’m trying to do. I just wondered how it was that others kept going while I quit. I blamed my lack of a crew. The real issue was the mental game.

I play with the mental muscle every day when I make myself go lift weights for 20 minutes, or go to work. Going running doesn’t require the muscle because I want to do it. Going long requires the muscle. Fascinating!

So, this morning, I reviewed my training in January – March of 2021 and realized that I could do it again. Then reserved a not too expensive hotel room. Then clicked submit on a 24-hour race where my goal is to complete 50 miles within the time frame. I am signed up for an event in May 2022 which will be my big challenge of the year: 5 marathons in 5 states in 5 days. In 2021 I did 2 marathons in 2 days. In 2017 I did 4 marathons in 4 days. Now, several years later, I plan to do more. The races I use to do multi-day marathons are short course, many lap races, and filled with people my age or older. In that group, I am not a phenom. Among the general public, my racing antics are amazing. For my own self, I plan to play the mental game.

An Essay on The Zone

            Two days ago, after twenty miles, I found myself pushing through the last six miles of a marathon. It was the second marathon in two days. I was supposed to run a third marathon on day three. I consciously thought during this second marathon, “If you don’t slow down and reduce the damage, you won’t be able to run another marathon tomorrow.” The reply of my consciousness was, “I’m feeling good. Let’s throw all our stuff into this one race.” I couldn’t slow down. I was compelled to keep running as fast as I could. I was driven to push beyond logic and self-protection. How did I get to that condition where I could throw away logical consideration and seek a peak performance? What was I experiencing or trying to get out of this experience?

            One definition of consciousness is experience. Consciousness is: what it is like to experience something. The mental state I experienced during that second marathon is what I call being in the Zone. The Zone is a term often used concerning peak performances of athletes. But I also think the Zone is an experience of the brain’s default mode network shutting down enough that one can “get out of their head,” get out of their self. We feel much better when we are out of our heads and focused on performance. Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, gambling, zip-lining, meditation, and many other experiences, are ways to get in the Zone, to experience some peak mental state. The Zone is riding the wave.

            Back to my marathon Zone experience, and its analysis. First of all, the Zone is unpredictable for me. I’ve run over 100 marathons in my life and most of them were not Zone experiences. Mostly they were pain and perseverance. To experience the Zone, the moons have to line up. For a marathon Zone experience, what has to line up? My body has to be trained but also feeling good on the day of the event. The weather has to be ideal for running fast, like coolish temperature and not raining. The course of the race has to be fairly easy, not too hilly. The environment of the race has to be fairly hassle free. That is, I didn’t get too pissed off over traffic, parking, waiting in lines, inconvenient packet pick-up, etc. For my marathon Zone experience, I also needed the consciousness of making a conscious aware choice. Internally, I had to choose between the logic of slowing down to protect my body, or riding the wave of higher consciousness and running at my physical limit. I had to have the awareness to feel the Zone in real-time. I had to feel the compulsion to run, the presence of the wave and riding it. That uncontrollable compulsion to keep trashing my body is the thing I keep feeling and experiencing over and over now, two days later. That feeling, that moment, is the Zone. I felt some consciousness, other than my usual logical ego-self, pushing me into a peak performance. I was being all I could be. It was a moment in time of living beyond what I could logically produce. I don’t know for sure how the wave got there, but I noticed its presence and I consciously jumped on it.

            Physiologically speaking, the experience of the zone requires combining activation of the nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental area, and the prefrontal cortex, all with a good soaking of dopamine. The nucleus accumbens is the pleasure center of the brain. It is stimulated by dopamine. The ventral tegmental area stimulates the release of dopamine. It is stimulated by an outside experience. The pre-frontal cortex is for decision-making. It regulates the activity of the nucleus accumbens and the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced in the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, and hypothalamus of the brain. I, as the consciousness that lives in this body, cannot directly enact a neurological circuit that feels like a peak experience. I can’t push a button in the pre-frontal cortex and feel the zone. All I can do is think thoughts, and notice how I feel. I, that consciousness that lives here, am not physical. This statement, I am not physical, is what brings me to the whole importance of the experience of the Zone.

            Is there anything spiritual about being in the Zone, or producing a beyond mental state, to connect with some higher level of consciousness that can be called spiritual? I deeply want the spiritual: conscious contact with a non-physical realm of being. I want my life to be something more than the biological effects of having a human brain. Neuroscientists and philosophers do not know where consciousness comes from and cannot measure it. I myself, as I sit here thinking about my experience and writing this essay, know for sure that I am more than a purely physical, neurologically developed ego. That I am a non-physical entity with a human body and brain is my conclusion. And you know what? I now define peak experience as conscious contact with my higher consciousness, the spiritual realm of being. Experiencing this spiritual aspect seems to be my whole purpose of living.

Virtual Marathon, An Experience of Conscience


Awesome Houston Marathon swag.

Marathons are hard. They are all hard, for the fast and the slow alike. Some people don\’t know so I\’ll tell you: a marathon is 26.2 miles. In the time of COVID, many races got canceled and many popular races offered a virtual race. A virtual race means that you run the distance by yourself, on your own course, and report the results. Then, the race organizers send you the swag: a medal, shirt, and bib. 

In 2018, as the gun went off in January for the Houston marathon, I was sitting on my bed with a box of Kleenex and feeling miserable. It was the only time I had entered the Houston marathon. I had been entered for a year because the race fills up. I did not start, DNS. 

So, fast forward to 2021, I no longer live in Houston. However, the Houston marathon is canceled and a virtual option is available. I signed up just to get some Houston marathon swag. It means a lot to me to have this swag for my collection of virtual marathon medals.

But running a marathon in January is a tricky thing in Missouri. It is usually too cold to spend 6 hours outside jogging and walking your way through 26 miles. I had assumed that I might have to run the Houston marathon on a treadmill. This year, however, the weather is pretty warm. The problem is snow laying on the ground. The snow on the bike paths means I can\’t use them for running. But in the little complex where I live, the roads have been spectacularly cleared. 

I picked yesterday to run my Houston marathon. It was supposed to get warm. I had devised a 1.2 mile loop around the complex. I could return to my home for pit stops. I had to start the marathon after the sun came up, but early enough that I could finish before it started to cool off. I got started at 8:40. The first miles were a bit slow and tricky because of…black ice. I only fell once.

The day was beautiful. I settled into lap after lap. What happens in my head during 6 hours of boring running? Frequently, my head is trying to figure out how to quit. Falling on the ice was the first excuse. Along with excuses for quitting, there are devious plans to fake results and post them anyway just to get the swag. It is only a virtual race so what does it matter if I lie about the results? Truth is, my brain wants to quit in real races and often suggests that I cut the course. 

I have never cheated in a marathon or anything. While some part of my brain goes on and on with cheating suggestions, some other part of my brain quietly pursues real achievement. I call this quiet part of my brain my conscience. 

Up until 14 or 15 miles, I find jogging quite easy. The black ice has been disappearing. The sun is out and actually doing its job of warming the earth. But after that, my feet begin to hurt and persevering becomes harder. I cut myself a break and start adding short walk breaks. Once past 20 miles, I know I can finish, even if I walk the last 6 miles. 

For most of my life, I\’ve been a runner, sometimes sacrificing hours at work because I need to go running. I spent my career getting up at 3:45 in order to go running before going to work. I often wondered if I was wasting my life. But now, I think not. What I am doing each time I complete a marathon without cheating, especially if I am doing it by myself, is experiencing a higher-order consciousness than ego consciousness. I experience my Conscience. The experience of Conscience is one of the highest things a human can experience, and running marathons gives this to me.

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

Bad Ass Marathon

I have a friend who thinks I am a bad ass. I haven\’t known how to respond to that since I don\’t feel like a bad ass.

However….after today, maybe I do.
Wouldn\’t someone who has run, as of today, 100 marathons in her life be a bad ass? Or who ran a 100 mile race? Or became a millionaire? Or who finished monastic formation? Or successfully accomplished FIRE (financial independence retire early)? Or who had been sober for 34 years? Or hold down a job at Starbucks at the age of 62? Or, many other things I have accomplished in this life.
So, someone who completed a 600+ mile virtual race across Tennessee, in half the allotted time, ought to be a bad ass. 
Well, a few days ago, I did the math and saw that I was getting down to the end of my race across Tennessee.  A tiny thought went through my mind, \”Do a marathon to finish it off.\” Along side of this impending finish was the fact that I had failed to complete a virtual marathon during April because when I had got to 22 miles, my feet hurt and I quit because a virtual race didn\’t mean anything.
Well that is a good idea: finish off a 600+ mile/ 2 month effort with a celebration by running a marathon. Be a bad ass! But also, I felt a little resistance because of that failure in April. Should I try this again? I didn\’t want to feel like a failure again. I haven\’t done that many miles in one run for awhile. Can I do it?
To sign up for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee was an impulse from my inner being to begin with. It felt so right. And, 20,000 other people, and some dogs, have joined me. My success at carrying out the project was effected by alignment with my inner being. My energy was lined up with my inner being and momentum was generated to complete the project. In fact, I have been obsessed with getting miles every day, even walking on the treadmill to complete miles in the afternoon after a shift at work.
But, to do a marathon by myself, I needed more than a vague idea. I needed to strongly intend to do it. I needed emotional momentum. I needed to line my energy up with the idea. This means some practical activities like getting all my drinks ready the night before. Taping my toes. Setting my alarm clock. It is hot here so a person has to get up early to finish running a marathon. Still, I had to sit down with my journal last night and explore my fears. I had to complete a focus wheel to raise my vibration in relation to the idea. I had to segment intend by remembering how I felt during a 50 mile race last November when I had been in the zone and finished trouble free. I had to think honestly about this upcoming segment and my intentions for it. Was the idea an ego idea that would fail or an inner being idea which would succeed? It is up to me to decide and then  line up with the energy. These energy activities are to experience the success in advance so it is the cause. 
The alarm went off at 4 am. I did have to decide at that point whether to get out of bed. That has happened before too, not making it out of bed I mean. But I did get the idea of how I would feel if I completed a marathon versus how I would feel if I went back to sleep. I remembered how good it feels to run in the early morning coolness. I chose getting up.
I had a cup of coffee. The bad ass idea went across my mind. A bad ass has to get up early if she wants to do a bad ass thing. I did a meditation on physical well being. I felt much better. I felt like I just needed to be easy about it. I grabbed my hydro pack out of the refrigerator and made it out the door by 5 am.
I had planned to complete the marathon in two parts. First running from my front door and then going to a park with many trees during the hotter part. The first part went super well. It went so well that I extended it to 18.3 miles before getting back to home base. It was mostly cloudy and I felt appreciation that such a cool morning had been given to me. 
When I got home, it was still cloudy and I had to decide where to complete the run. To go back out from my house or go to the park. I thought about how clouds can suddenly vanish and I thought about how much easier it is to run in the shade. I picked the shade. So I hopped in my car and drove the two miles to the park. Good choice. The clouds did disappear and by the time I had finished off the final eight miles, it was 87F. Course map (the straight line from green dot to hash mark is in the car, but not included in miles):
What surprised me however was that my feet and legs didn\’t reach any devastating level of pain. For the run, I had plenty of emotional momentum to keep going, but also, I wasn\’t in trouble with blisters. I didn\’t bonk.My feet didn\’t hurt. My hip didn\’t hurt. It was amazing. It has been a long time since I have felt so in the zone for a long distance effort. 
The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee is now complete. I will finish in roughly 1,590th place of 20,000. I feel like a bad ass.
I have the corona virus to thank for my amazing athletic feats of the past 3 months. Without corona there wouldn\’t be these virtual races. Actually, the corona virus has been very good to me. Everything about me is thriving at the moment. My mode of existence has shifted. There are many people who are doing amazing things during this corona virus time. Not everybody is worried about sickness. Just look around you and you will see them.
Stay tuned. I have another virtual race coming in two weeks. It includes a 50k race which has to be done in one effort. 

KC Marathon Finish Picture

Below is a great picture of me coming in to the finish line of the Kansas City marathon. I am looking very intense.

My next race is a 24 hour race which starts on a Friday evening. I hope to run 50k on Friday night, finishing about 1 am. Adjourn to my hotel room to sleep and eat. Then return to the course on Saturday to complete at least another 50k.

I love being an athlete.

We are getting our first snow tonight and tomorrow night! And cold! My indoor machines might get alot of usage. However, I am going to make a pair of screw shoes tomorrow.