The Promise

Earlier today, I was standing at gate 98C in Newark airport, awaiting flight 1199 to Houston. I was going to be on time. I was standing next to a power source and it wasn\’t long before someone asked me if I was going to use the plugs. I said no. She put her phone on it. I was looking at my boarding pass. A female pilot wandered over to charge her phone. We got to talking. Somehow, the United boarding process came up. I mentioned that I was one of the regular people. I\’m not platinum, gold, or anything.

I looked again at that boarding pass.

My boarding pass was a miracle in itself. It represented me being in Newark about 5 hours earlier than originally planned; and that United had changed my flights without charge and the first flight from Ottawa had arrived in time to make my connection. I suddenly blurted out to random stranger plugging in her phone, \”Just think, I\’ll get to Houston, no traffic on Beltway 8, no traffic on 225, no traffic on 146.\”

She was not from Houston and had no idea what I was talking about. But I had blurted out an impossible situation; there is never no traffic on these highways at 5:30 pm.

On the other hand, as I looked at the paper boarding pass, I thought it represented a promise. A promise from some higher authority that I would be taken care of.

Amazingly enough, I drove home from the airport, 40 miles during rush hour, without a single bad traffic area.

I have spent most of the day in steel tubes flying through the air. But, I was also alone it seemed. I thought of my medal picture from the Ottawa 2012 half marathon:

It is a still life.

This morning, I spent 3 hours in a car with someone feeling tension. Now, I am driving home, 2,000 miles and hours away from this morning. As I drove the last few miles to my home in Houston, I felt the stillness of the picture. It is a memory of an event, a memory of living flowers. It is a memorial of an experience. It is silent.

I am a girl who will go on running. I will go into my elliptical now. I will do my balance exercises today. I just had my green tea and there is fresh spinach in the fridge. My boss has already sent an e-mail asking if I would help a colleague.

But, alone, I feel the stillness. It is so beautiful, I may cry. Thank You Stillness.

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ORW – Running with a Maniac

Sunday, I had a fabulous time running the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon. I ran with a guy I\’ve chatted with on-line but never met before. It went really well and was a good time.

I was staying in a hotel near the start. This allowed me to use a nice bathroom very soon before the race. I sallied forth at 8:40 for a race that started at nine. It was easy for Ken to spot in my running mania top. He hugged me.

I insisted on starting in the first wave. My check out time became my motivating factor for running a relatively fast race.  Ken and I talked of ultra marathoning and fueling. He asked me why I went to a monastery and how I got kicked out. IronGirl passed us. I said, \”Congratulations!\” She said, \”for what?\” Then at the same time we both said, \”Being here.\” Ken knew I would need a porta stop. He pointed out some \”good\” (no line) portas. With 10k left to go, the bands started energizing us and the energy increased. We picked up our pace. My heel was hurting. during the last 5k or so. Miss Smiles cheered for us. Avis cheered for us.
I finished happy (2h17).

There was a massive human traffic jam right after the finish line. I waded through it, picked up my medal and then exited out the side. I then jogged to the hotel and in 15 min took a shower and packed up; getting out by 12 pm. Whew!
Then I went to the Runningmania meet and greet, meeting several new maniacs. Then I left with JoJo and drove to her home town. This morning, I took a picture of my medal with her flowers.

Then, we took C-Moss for a walk on some trails nearby. It started raining so we cut it a bit short. Then we went driving around Kingston ON and also walked around town. I succombed to my curiosity regarding Vibram 5 Fingers and bought a pair on-sale. Low and behold, Spaff wandered into the store. OMG! What a treat to meet one of my ultra idols, whose blog I read.

Tomorrow, I\’m leaving Kingston early and flying home. I will be glad to get home and relax for a day before going to work. I have trouble being surrounded by people so much. I miss my quiet pondering. So, that is the insite for this report. Going to races and meeting others is fun. But not for me as a way of life. Just being quiet is my practice. My mind is quiet and I can hear the inner Voice. \”Being\” alone lives in the kingdom. It is hard to just be with others around. \”Being\” is forgotten.

My new toy:

Ottawa 2012 – Half Marathon Prelude

Pictures from the hotel lobby:

The cool jersey is Runningmania.com gear. I\’ve been a part of that discussion board for several years. The other people live in Canada. So I come up here every year to say hi to them in person.

Ottawa Race Weekend is a huge event. There is a 2k, 5k and 10k on Saturday evening; then a half and full marathon on Sunday. Last night, I met 2 maniacs I haven\’t met before. Today, I am running with one I haven\’t met before but chatted with almost daily. And then, many maniacs will meet for a post race meal and I\’ll get to say hi to at least 20 maniacs.

I am as usual studying A Course in Miracles. It says (Chapter 6.III) the message of the crucifixion was: teach only love for that is what you are. The ego was made without love and cannot hear the Holy Spirit. The ego is what asks, \”What are you?\” and is the part of the mind that doubts.

\”…the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which he created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real.\”  \”The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself. The protection of God then dawns upon it…\”

And now I sit quietly in my hotel room, waiting for the race start. I will sally forth ego and mind to join the Son of God.

National Captal Marathon – Report

The boarding passes are printed. Spirit Flower will soon be going back to her little corner of the planet.

My Course in Miracles lesson for the day was: I rest in God, and I am as God created me. The rest in God bit is common to all religions. What I am is uniquely defined by A Course in Miracles. These two ideas were in my mind as I ran today.

There is nothing so wonderful as the tremendously achy feeling of post marathon legs.

Believe it or not, I booked my trip to Canada at the end of last year and the hotel in January. I feared that if I did not book the ticket and pay the money, I’d chicken out on coming to NCM. JoJo (an internet friend from runningmania) and I had been discussing what race it might be good for me to come to; and she wouldn’t let me come to ATB as it is always rotten weather.

So then, the task was to maintain my marathon fitness and not be stupid (hence incurring an injury). I ran 3 and 4 hour runs each weekend all winter, sometimes in crazy locations as I sought secure footing. Little old ladies ought not risk falling down to much. (LOL). I chaffed at the bit wanting to race but refraining under the “don’t be stupid” rule. Finally in March, I couldn’t pass up my dream race (80 miles in 20 hours); and seemed to come through that ok. Then, I guess I hit an impossibly stupid thing: the Olathe marathon. It was only 3 weeks after the 80 mile race and I shouldn’t have “raced” anything (but go read that report for further information). After Olathe, I had a tender Achilles and I have been babying it for the past 6 weeks.

After my 3 and 4 hour runs last weekend, I was sure of my condition (as any addict enabling themselves can be) and approved myself for running NCM, but going for a 4:40 or worse. My trip to Canada has been wonderful and JoJo is a great hostess and I’ve been thrilled to meet the runningmaniacs I’ve been following for the past 2 years. Ottawa is beautiful. Watching the Trifecta was great. I’ve never seen such a well managed event as far as crowds go. I loved watching the world class women in the 10k.

JoJo got me at the airport. I spotted her flirting with cute soldiers (really JoJo, maybe you should do the Army run and get a soldierly hug at the finish). First on Saturday, we went to Tim Horton’s and then JoJo’s parents. We went to Bruce pit with C-Moss and met Andy on Saturday morning. Andy gave me an orange buff. JoJo put on my tattoos. We went to the expo and met Turd (Mike) on Saturday (I needed to meet someone whose internet handle is Turd Ferguson). After tons of walking as we watched the races, my weak foot was complaining. I was up at 4:30, had my coffee and spiritual study and bm. I walked down to my corral at 6:40. I asked someone to take my picture with my bb; so I have a before and after.

The start was terribly polite. The green corral was half empty. Everyone had plenty of room and even the bunnies were not creating problems. So, I just started at an easy pace. At 5k and 10k, I was on a 5.5 mph pace and that seemed fine with me. I didn’t really look around at the scenery much but was impressed that so many people came out to cheer all along the course. I was so surprised the first time someone said, “Go Laura.” She told me my name was on my number (dummy). That was cool! The aid station near the half was fabulous with the men in dresses, and some guy who really could dance! I got into at porta-pottie without waiting at 17k (bonus points).

Finally, I saw some maniacs with hula girl. Their cheering brought tears to my eyes. After that, I started trying to decide when to turn on the afterburners. My Achilles was “not too bad” (which is usually an understatement for a runner), my energy level was great and I knew I wanted to put some effort into the race. I began to speed up. At 30k, I approved my self to fire the jets (hence the negative split). Surprisingly, when I go into high gear, I also go into meditative state and become something of a running machine powering ahead and mostly looking only at the road in front of me. Having the half marathoners join the course at the end disrupted my speeding as I started having to dodge them.

But I was starting to feel the race in my legs and knew I was achieving my happiness (I love that feeling). I kept “racing”, saw hula girl again and swerved to get a low five. I was soon into the crowds lining the final k. I’ve never been through anything like that before. Wow! Swell! Bosso, coolo, neato!

Finished: turns out chip time matched my watch (4:31). The medal is so pretty and I love the spinney thing. Worth the expense of the trip. I had my bb with me so I asked someone to take my picture.

Then I basically hobbled back to the hotel to clean up and go to the M&G. It was great to meet more runningmaniacs. After a marathon, I usually get to a prone position as soon as possible, so it was outrageous to spend 2 hours shouting at people you just met. I am exhausted.

After a nap, I’ll still swear the Achilles is “not too bad.”

National Captal Marathon – 1

I arrived yesterday in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. United Airlines did an excellent job of delivering me and my luggage. For some reason, all crowds and lines disappeared before me and I breezed along. I almost cried when the customs agent asked what my business was and I proudly answered, “National marathon.” Even now I feel the tears inside. Ottawa is very beautiful and my hostess (one runningmaniac named JoJo) is superb.

From A Course in Miracles this morning, I pondered this: “Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship, and always obscured by it, is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. This is the only love that is fully given and fully returned. Being complete, it asks nothing.”

There is much in ACIM about the ego and its special relationships which distracts me from the one real relationship, that with God. It takes an act of will to stop my ego activities and remember God. However, one I make the decision and set aside the space, God comes and I am aware of Him. It is for this awareness that live.