Pocatello Idaho Running the Gap – marathon #48

A good long race report is needed. In case you are impatient (like me) I finished marathon #48 in 5:20 by the chip, 5:13 minus the pit stops.
Several months ago, I was planning my summer vacation with a friend from Alberta Canada. We had met before in Wyoming, so I was searching around that area for a marathon. Preferably over Labor Day weekend. At first we looked at Jackson Hole, but hotels there are expensive. So we settled on Pocatello “Running the Gap” marathon.  At that point, looking on United Airlines, I noticed I could get first class tickets for only slightly more than “economy plus+bag check fee” so I went for it. In first class, they call me Miss Bellman. United Airlines did a great job. 
Packet pickup was quick. The back pack and shirt were nice. Expo was small. 
Driving the course. Habs and I drove the course. We were astounded at how steep some of the hills looked. I knew I wasn’t going to be sprinting down them. We also got a look at the long straight boring final 8 miles.
Bus ride. The race did have numerous large luxury buses to take us to the start. Everything was easy and on time. Habs and I had to tell the driver where to go though; this added to the fact the driver seemed unfamiliar with the controls on the bus made us pray we got there safely.
Scenery. It was dark at first. I was going about 12 min miles. After about 25 min, I caught up to my friend Larry. Larry has run over 1,500 marathons. He doesn’t go fast but he is somewhere at a marathon every weekend (sometimes 2). His picture is in Marathon Maniacs magazine a lot.  Then after it warmed up, I decided to take off my head band. When I took off my hat, my sun glasses fell. The girl running next to me immediately picked them up and asked if I would like her to fix it. I said sure. Then she said, “I do this for a living.” Seriously good luck for me.
As the sun came over the mountains, I was in a very pretty area so I lolly gagged a bit and took some pics. I had no reason to be in a hurry. That patch on my knee is my number.
As the down hill part is about 15 miles, I did start doing some walking after about 13 miles. I continued the race doing 7x1s. Except for 4 pit stops, my speed averaged just over 12 min miles.
The wind. We ran into a 20 mph cold head wind for at least 8 miles. I got cold and had to put my sleeves back on. Every Marathon has its moment of truth where you want to quit. Some call this the wall. For me, it is beyond my training envelope and when I have to reach down inside for some non-physical power. About mile 17, going into that wind, I realized I was dying. I needed to get my brain to activate those stores of energy it wants to keep for itself. I need to be conscious of when wanting to die happens. If I stay asleep, I slowly slow down and feel bad for the rest of the race. If I wake up and get the power flipped on, I find determination and a lessening of the pain. On this day, I put my head down and concentrated on the strides. It worked.
At the end of the race, just after I turned out of the wind, I was able to really pick up speed and run like a runner into the finish. It felt fantastic. Then Mr Habs gave me my medal and a hug. Chip time was 5:20. Garmn time was 5:13.
Habs had already eaten a steak and potato dinner at the finish line. I had no interest in food, but ate some watermelon. Then decided I was very cold so we went back to our hotels. I took a scalding hot shower and stood in it for a very very long time.

On Sunday, Habs and I went to “Craters of the Moon” national park. Here is a video from the top of one of the cinder hills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXT-R56FRU4&feature=em-upload_owner
And I relaxed in the Hampton Inn laundry room with Habs; and ate a cookie.
I am incredibly happy to have finished another marathon. No issues at all with knees or heels. I do have a case of DOMS in my quads, but nothing serious. Tomorrow I fly home and still have the rest of the week for running in Seabrook. Next stop is the Fort Worth marathon.


Today I ran 5.7 miles in the Seabrook area. I did it at just slightly under the 5 mph pace. My achilles did not hurt at all. Such a miracle a year from surgery.

Saturday, I was in this location and doing what these people are doing: running a marathon.

It is the long way home.

I ran a fantastic race; 12 min miles on average for 26.7 miles. The extra distance is because I didn\’t run the tangents of the course hence I ran more than 26.2, a marathon. During the race, I had to think about my body; how are it\’s knees and heels. This leads to thinking about my training situation in Houston and my training situation as a 56 year old. It turns out that training in the Houston heat is very slow, but when you do run a race in a drier climate, you ARE trained.

While I was running, I heard someone mention the inner person. To look for the inner person. This alone provides my reason for being here. I began to think about the inner person of the Clydesdale runner; and then about young obese Americans in general.

But as I got to 20 miles in 4 hours, an hour faster than any of my training runs, I entered the race mentally. I decided that my body was good and I would not give up. I kept my pace for the next 6 miles.

Keep it Simple. Let the Universe be in charge. Just do the miles. It is looks downhill, be careful. Don\’t give up on the uphills.

This weekend, running a marathon, I got to escape my real life for a few days.

United Airlines did a fantastic job. I worried all weekend about my Denver connection for the trip home. It only allowed 30 min and I feared they would give my seat away. But I came in on time, got my bag from the gate checck, walked 20 gates to the next airplane and walked on during the announcement saying I must be on board. I flew on a 787 Dreamliner. That is a nice plane.

My company is in a turmoil as the parent company has decided to IPO our division. I think most of us will have jobs, just not with our current company. We don\’t like that but who knows if it will turn out good or bad and for whom.

I continue to frame my life in A Course in Miracles. Company or no company, airlines on time or late, I simply must frame my life in ACIM. Right now I am reading chapter 4.II and I offer some statements about ego as described by ACIM:

  • Undermining the ego’s thought system
  • always evaluates itself in relation to other egos
  • continually preoccupied with the belief in scarcity
  • “Self-esteem” in ego terms means nothing more than that the ego has deluded itself into accepting its reality, and is therefore temporarily less predatory.
  •  always vulnerable to stress, a term which refers to any perceived threat to the ego’s existence
  • The ego literally lives by comparisons. 
  •  The ego’s ceaseless attempts to gain the spirit’s acknowledgement and thus establish its own existence are useless. Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego.
  • While the ego is equally unaware of spirit, it does perceive itself as being rejected by something greater than itself.
  • The so-called “battle for survival” is only the ego’s struggle to preserve itself
  • The ego cannot survive without judgement
  •  Who is the “you” who are living in this world?

\”The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its own beginning and ends with its own ending. It tells you this life is your existence because it is its own. Against this sense of temporary existence spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakeable being. No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meager offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?\”

Continually deflating my ego in order to experience my own spiritual inheritance is why I study ACIM. This is valuable to me.

Endless Spiritual Miles

It is 2 1/2 weeks since Calgary Marathon. I really did a good job of preparing for 26.2 miles, hoping to finish in less than 6 hours. Compared to the utterly flat landscape of south Houston, Calgary is hilly and altitude. I did well with that part. My foot which had surgery last September did well too. I am happy with my trip. My Canadian peeps were awesome. Even United Airlines did a great job.

Now, time for a hot humid summer on the Gulf coast. My next race is a virtual 7 day race July 4- 10. The race is linked to my fitbit and I get a buckle for 100 miles. I am going to take it seriously. I like to be at home where I can feed myself, shower, sleep in a bed and the course is right by my home. No adventure at all, just miles.

I\’ve been reading a book called History of God by Karen Armstrong. It is incredibly interesting to learn where Christian sects get their dogma. Ms Armstrong gave the first explanation of the Trinity I\’ve ever understood. The meaning of Jesus is really quite different than churches teach. Christianity as practiced denominationally in the US is what I will now call Pauline. Consider, vast amounts of people practicing some religion mainly bastardized from letters not all written by a man who had a delusional experience but never knew Jesus and argued with James and Peter and eventually separated himself.

The adventure of the Sermon on the Mount is totally lost to denominational Pauline Christianity. That religion is for the masses of people who want to belong and feel safe.

I like more and more that since leaving the monastery nearly 11 years ago, I have done my research and stood up for my convictions. I\’ll accept anyone\’s personal experience of the Spirit of Christ; but not religion. Daily I do spiritual miles. These miles add up. I am grateful for them.

I am 55 years old. I thought I was post menopause, which I am. But I am just learning that hormone induced emotions continue on since now I am missing what I used to have. Yesterday, I discerned that my black cloud of more than a year ago had come back a few weeks ago. When I realized how that was exactly how I felt (seeing the world thru a red haze of hate for no reason), I mentioned it to a female colleague. She told me about a natural supplement she used. Now, I am trying it. I don\’t want the cloud. It is incredibly difficult to find a MD that will give you more than 20 seconds and no prescription unless you are hysterical. So, I go the way of hearsay. Other women will talk about what works for them.

Trip Report – Flatlanders

On Friday morning, I started the trip and today I finished it. Now I have 2 more days to ponder its mystery. I visited the monastery I left 10 years ago. I went to an AA meeting in my old home group. I went in a running race. I read a book called \”The Empire of Illusion.\”

United Airlines, TSA, National Car Rental, Parking Spot, Panera (St Louis Bread), Marriott (Fairfield and Springhill), Honda, WalMart, Quick Trip, Jason\’s Deli, Barnes & Nobel, Coke, Pepsi, Silk, Starbucks, Wrigley\’s, Asics, Succeed, RockTape, and others; gave me a fantastic good time without any hitch at all.

Its really about the people. Like this morning. I arrived at my gate very early, in fact, the earlier flight was still at the gate. I went up to the gate agent and said I had a very stupid question, could I get on the earlier flight? She laughed and said I\’d have to work much harder than that to have a stupid question. She then went on for more than 5 minutes about stupid questions. This was a very friendly conversation. I was there for her.

The people at my old AA group mentioned several times about how I had affected them in the past and how they felt honored to be in my presence.

At the monastery, I got a tour of the new construction, visited the old sisters, ate in the refectory and talked a long time to the Prioress. I met the father of one of the sisters. He was a massively alive 80 something; eyes so bright so energetic. I cried a bit at the side of Sr Priscilla. I love her but she is 97 and barely moves. I held court with another group of elderly sisters. Some of the sisters I knew came over and hugged me; others ignored me. I noticed the silence. I know I have too much energy to stay at that place; and no desire to be so cloistered, bored, sedentary, Catholic.

Priscilla is in the middle.

My friend in Kansas City made me breakfast and we talked for 2 hours.

I then went to St Louis. I70 was construction free. I went in a timed race. The heat index was between 97 and 100F for 5 of the 6+ hours I was out there. I completed 26.6 miles before deciding my heel was in enough pain. I got to talk to several other runners.

Leaving the Parking Spot today, they only had one exit lane open, and none of the self check out lanes. So about 50 cars were lined up trying to get out. I was friendly to the cashier and she was able to tell my how hard it was.

I don\’t own any electronic products that begin with i. I plan to stay out of that community, just like Face Book and various other main stream activities.

I am satisfied with myself. I live in Texas. I am sober. I have the benefit of having gotten my world traveling out of the way when I lived with my parents. My only journey now is the one to God. Yes, I walk with Spirit.

United Airlines

I really wonder. What is the deal?

I wanted to change a trip I have. I know they have a large fee to change. So I just bought another ticket for what I wanted. I then called them and said, I won\’t be on that flight. Would you cancel it so someone else can get on it?

Their answer was: oh no. Just don\’t show up. We\’ll credit you with the amount of the flight.

Some how this works in their favor beyond me buying another ticket. Are flights all so overbooked? Do they never show a flight as full? What if the flight shows full, but if they took me off, one spot would open up?

I find this to be poor customer service and an activity that only makes us hate United Airlines more than we already do.

Anyway, business travel aside, I am slowly discontinuing trips which require air travel. Except for Southwest, I find all airlines very annoying.

On the other hand, I am highly excited to be me and have 2 out of town races coming up in the next 3 weeks.

Goofy #8 2013

First off: a BIG thank you to United Airlines. I had a credit for a cancelled a trip, but the credit was so low, it was the same as the change fee. So, why use a ticket if the penalty is the same as the price of the ticket, especially if Southwest also flies to that place for less? So, I called United and the agent waived the fee. Good job United.

So, Friday and Saturday were actual marathon races in San Antonio. Last night I got a good 10 hour beauty sleep. Today, I decided to try a long walk and see how things were. Things were fine. I finished a 13.1 mile private half marathon. And thus, I have completed another 2013 private Goofy.

(Goofy is Disney\’s marathon+a half in January. A private Goofy is a solo marathon+ a half for the frugal at heart).

United Air Lines


I am holding tickets for a trip on United. I don\’t want to use them. I can cancel the trip and re-schedule, taking credit for this trip. But I don\’t really feel like going anywhere.

So a weird thought came to me. I wonder if United would use these tickets for a charity case. As in, maybe someone with cancer or needing a transplant could use the ticket.

So, I went to United\’s web page and found that you can donate your miles to several charities listed there. So I called United and asked if I could donate these tickets. The agent said no, I can\’t transfer the tickets.

What? Outrageous!  United should be happy to transfer these tickets in the name of charity. WTF!

So I wrote a note to their \”contact us\” page and told them how stupid that is.

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.

Silverton Aftermath

I completed my 86 miles of Silverton in the evening of Sunday, 9/4. On Monday, Labor Day 9/5, I drove to Durango. I had a 5:50 am flight on Tuesday, hence decided to spend Monday night in Durango.

I got to Durango at about 11 am, too early to check into a motel. So I had a soy latte and then wandered through a running store. I came out dressed in a new running outfit and headed for a bike path along the Animas River.

I\’d say I look pretty snazzy!

Anyway, I did a little slow jogging and walking for about an hour. I could feel tiredness but no injuries from the 86 mile Silverton jaunt. On Tuesday, United Airlines did a great job of delivering my body to Kansas City on time. So in the afternoon, I completed my usual core workout and added another 45 minutes of cross training.

Today, Wednesday, I had one more day of vacation. So (finally) a fantastic 11 hours of sleep; and then a 7 mile jaunt on trails including a couple of miles on a new gravel road I found. And, poor me, I clicked submit to enter a 50 mile race on 10/8 ( Heartland Spirit of the Prairie).

So here is my point: I didn\’t injure anything at Silverton. I only created tiredness for a few days; but nothing that needs weeks of recovery. I did come away from Silverton transcended. That is, I realize I am at a greater fitness level than I thought. I see I have trained up to a new standard. There was an absence of foot isses I\’ve had in the past. I\’m in fantastic shape, not just compared to other 50 year olds, but compared to everybody. And I\’m smart enough to not go over the injury line.

Two years ago, I entered the Heartland 50 mile. Right then, I got a new job, so I DNS\’d. But I was probably only half as trained as I am now. Now, Silverton proved to me what\’s in me. All I need do is not be stupid and over train going into Heartland.

I am excited about Heartland. Stay tuned.

Here is a blurb for the race information:

“There are several ways not to walk in the prairie, and one of them is with your eye on a far goal, because you then begin to believe you’re not closing the distance any more than you would with a mirage.  My woodland sense of scale and time didn’t fit this country, and I started wondering whether I could reach the summit before dark.  On the prairie, distance and the miles of air turn movement to stasis and openness to a wall, a thing as difficult to penetrate as dense forest.  I was hiking in a chamber of absences where the near was the same as the far, and it seemed every time I raised a step the earth rotated under me so that my foot fell just where it had lifted from.  Limits and markers make travel possible for people: circumscribe our lines of sight and we can really get somewhere.  Before me lay the Kansas of popular conception from Coronado on – that place you have to get through, that purgatory of mileage.

Hiking in the woods allows a traveler to imagine comforting enclosures, one leading to the next, and the walker can possess those little encompassed spaces, but the prairie and plains permit no such possession.  Whatever else prairie is – grass, sky, wind – it is most of all a paradigm of infinity, a clearing full of many things except boundaries, and its power comes from its apparent limitlessness; there is no such thing as a small prairie any more than there is a little ocean, and the consequence of both is this challenge: try to take yourself seriously out here, you bipedal plodder, you complacent cartoon.”

The Quest – On Location in Vancouver

My spiritual life is spanning a wide territory this week. On Monday I travelled to North Carolina for a company leadership program. Today I am in Vancouver BC. Tomorrow I am running in the Vancouver Marathon. Last night I got to meet some people from the on-line running club I belong to. They met me at the airport yesterday. When I came out of customs, one of them went crazy running around ringing a cowbell and yelling, \”Run Spirit run!!!\”  This almost caused me to cry. But then, I had felt the tears coming during the long walk from the airplane to customs.

I have today free. I am having a difficult time stopping my mind for even a second and connecting with my soul/Self; that great interior silent love and peace. I know I keep harping on my spiritual life as THE foundation of my life and that everything else springs from there. What I know of as my life is just a communication effort from my soul/Self to me, the little point of awareness. The foundation is why I make an effort each day to return to the connection and give it priority.

ACIM text reading this morning (A Course in Miracles, the section \”Finding the Present): \”For to believe reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional…You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience, and plan accordingly. Yet by doing so you are aligning past and future, and not allowing the miracle…to free you to be born again.\”

Do you ever think about how deeply American middle-classers are programmed to solve deficiencies and increase material comfort? My whole life has been focused around solving problems so I can have what I want for myself. What this means is I have been attempting to make reality be what I want it to be. Incredible! I don\’t think I\’ve ever understood this as clear as I do today (after numerous reading of the ACIM text).

And yes, I know I want to be born again (not talking about born again Christians). And so I lay down my mental distractions and seek inward toward my soul/Self. It matters little whether I am in North Carolina or Vancouver; the main thing is the reliance on my soul/Self without interfering. That\’s how I get the miracle. The expression of love from cowbell maniac was a miracle. (Miracles are expressions of love). All the runners I\’ve met are expressions of love. As I type this, I am giving them their true reality as beings of love. Wonderful!

You would not believe what a monumental mental battle I had just to get here. After I got home from North Carolina, I was certain that their was no way I would voluntarily get on another airplane that soon. I fought mentally with the idea of just taking 5 days off from work and re-couping my energy. But, I made it to the flight, and wonder of wonders, United Airlines did a fabulous job of being on-time.

So here I am, typing this blog and periodically shutting my eyes and savoring my soul/Self. IT is right here. I love IT.

(I didn\’t take any of these pictures)

My hotel is located right near the Y at the end of this bridge. My room is a corner room on the 11th floor with a good view.

This afternoon, I will jog from my hotel to Stanley Park and enjoy the view. Missouri has no beautiful seaside or mountain landscapes.

Here is what the race start looks like. Its not that big a race.