Friday, December 30, 2016

The Bread of Life

The thing I want out of life, this life and all the others, is God. Like a salmon returning to spawn time after time, I came back here for another journey. 

Here is a new thought: maybe I hated my mother's womb because I knew that this life's journey was starting at spiritual rock bottom. I wasn't born into spiritual privilege; like having enlightened or philosophical parents. I wasn't born already half way up the mountain. I was born into alcoholism, co-dependence; the deepest pain and despair imaginable existed my family.

I looked at the DNA of pain and anger and hate. I felt the net of this pain full DNA settle in. I fought off the poisons of thalidomide and alcohol. Then I looked up. I saw that somehow I could climb out of this pit. Somehow I could find sunlight. I realized the energy it would take. Begrudgingly I said, "Okay God. I'll do it."

When I left the convent, I was determined to be spouse to the Lord anyway. When I left The Church, I was determined to have communion anyway. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." He is teaching us something new. It is not to have communion but to be communion. DNA and bread of life are the same thing. Allow Life to eat you. Be consumed by Life. 

Feed every scrap of pain into the fire of your heart burning within. Let the fire of your heart burn you up. This is life. This is communion. This is to be The Way, The Truth and The Life. This is to follow Jesus and be his disciple. This is the imitation of Christ.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Organizing 2016 and My Life

It is Christmas Day 2016. I am getting ready for a long walk jog. But first, I did as I always do: read an inspirational book, journal, listen for intuitive thoughts. Many times, the listening part is listening to massive amounts of emotion; but eventually, an intuitive thought comes. Then I work out (exercise). Then I go to my job. Today, I got the following clear thoughts about my life.

My response to the world is consistency. I've been doing the above for decades.

In my life, but especially in 2016, I received the gift of marathons. This gift needs to be unpacked and contemplated. In my life I've run 73 official marathon or ultra-marathon races, plus numerous private 26+ mile quests. In 2016, I completed 22 official races plus 4 private 26+ mile quests. In 2016, I received a dream: a marathon vacation. I went to the Black Hills area and did 4 marathons in 4 states in 4 days. Super.

In 2016, I received the gift of emotion. That is, I finally learned what emotion is so that I could then feel it and let the energy go through.

In my life, I have received 2 Sentences. I see these as purpose, but they are not as simple as they look.
- Shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer.  This thought came to me after the Columbine shootings (1999); as I was driving down a mid-western freeway in a pickup truck. It resulted in my trip into the monastery. This is difficult because Jesus is not who or what mainstream people think.
- Love is the predominant mode of existence.  This came to me in a dream as I learned I was leaving the monastery and re-entering the world (2003). This is difficult because love and being loving is not what mainstream people think.

The gift of Not-Going-Along. I got this in 2003 when I left the monastery. No, I won't eat your food. No, I won't join your society. No, I won't share your emotional energy. Keep it away from me.

In 2016, I had to figure out what I am. The words finally arrived: Gender Nonconforming. This has nothing to do with sexuality or trans-gender. It means that I don't conform to the standard or typical female. I have not lived my life as a woman; no marriage, no motherhood, a male dominated career....

To Trump or Not-to-Trump. My opinions need to transcend the war going on in our nation and the world. I think this will be an ongoing contemplation in 2017.

The Blockage. I have an emotional blockage. A flaw in my DNA. A dam in my energy pattern. A deep psychic wound. This situation has come more to my consciousness this year. Exploring and healing will be an ongoing contemplation for 2017. Yes, you can heal your DNA.

That's all folks. It is now time for running.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Salvation is as Salvation Does

Marathons. God I want to run another right now. I don't want to wait 10 days, until 1/1/2017, for my next race.

Here is a story of how I can get completely lost in my mind. Here is an example of an addictive thought process. While I am addicted to marathons, you can easily substitute alcohol or cocaine and get a similar slippery thought slope.

Yesterday I was out running. I was feeling real good and I wanted to run another marathon. But there are none right this minute; except for Iranmarathons.com in San Antonio. Here is the beginning of the slippery slope.

I am well aware that the race director P fudges the results. That is, people who didn't run the race, including herself, are shown with results. People who ran virtually are shown in the results. P has claimed to run 1001 marathons, when I watched her cheat at the 2015 Irving marathon.

So I could drive to San Antonio and run a marathon. For me personally it would be legal right? I showed up at the course and ran it. Do I want to support a race director who cheats? But, God, I want to run a marathon right now. But I know perfectly well, that I could be the only one who shows up. So that is not really a race. Why drive to San Antonio, pay $100 to a scoundrel, and run by myself. Why not pay $35 to the scoundrel and run in Seabrook, but have my result appear with the rest of the results. I could run the course for the Seabrook Lucky Trail marathon so I was sure it was a measured marathon and not a Garmin marathon. I could do this and then be able to count one more marathon in my collection.

After this run where I came to this extraordinary conclusion, I got on the internet. I decided to check out results for L. I like L and I have seen L at races all over the country. L has been recognized for the most marathons ever. He includes Iranmarathons results in his list. But strangely, whenever I have gone to San Antonio, I haven't seen L on course. I asked another friend, C, about this. He said that L might start at 10 pm. But, my mind whispered, then that is really running virtually. So, to continue my rationalization, I thought, "If Iranmarathons virtual results are good enough for L, then why not me?"

Then I happened to google L. I landed on a page marathoninvestigation.com. They had a long expose about L and the impossibility of some of his results. They also had a long expose about the Iranmarathons race director P.

A sour taste went into my mouth. Thank God for that. I was saved. I dismissed all ideas of claiming a virtual marathon result or going to San Antonio. Instead, I found myself sending an e-mail to Marathon Investigations about what I saw with P at the 2015 Irving marathon.

Today I went for a 3.5 hour walk. Just walking. I know I'll survive 10 days until my next marathon.

Monday, December 19, 2016

73rd Marathon - Houston Running Festival

Saturday, I ran a marathon. It was my 22 marathon this year and my 73 marathon this lifetime. I am  57 years old, 58 in January.  I say all that because of the time of year. Another year of marathoning wrapped up. In fact, I far out did myself as far as number of marathons done in a year goes. 11 is the second highest count.

Spirit unleashed, that is my yearning for 2017. Not that I'll run more marathons or train more but that I'll let my soul be free. Free of my character defects and unleashed in joy and athletic power; that my ethos dream for 2017.

In this marathon, I went out wanting to give my fastest. At the same time, as the day got warm, up to 80F with a strong wind, my speed slowed.

As I think of this marathon, I think of the drops of sweat dripping from the brim of my ball cap. For about 2 of the 5 hours, there was a steady drip drip drip. I remember passing Kim several times. Kim cannot run any more. She walks; and due to nerve damage has to sit down every 6 miles. Yet she would walk 50 miles. I admire Kim. I admire anyone who keeps going despite difficulties.Various other people I passed or was passed. We chat a bit. People say, didn't I see you at such and such a race? Or, how far are you going today? Or will you be at the Texas marathon? Or, go girl, you're looking good!

On this day, there was a girls soccer tournament on the ball fields inside the park. Six or so games going at any one time. On one lap, I saw a guy from work who was cheering one of his kids. I didn't say anything. On the next lap he was still there. This time, I yelled hello and got his attention. He waved.

This marathon was 13 laps of 2 miles each plus a loop around a parking lot at the start of the race. As usual, as I approach 20 miles, my feet and legs are tired and hurt a bit. Thankfully no blisters or any other injury. I am grateful for the last lap. As I run it, some guy who is faster than me passes. When I say it is my last lap, he says "I hate you." This because he is doing a longer distance but wants to stop now.

I get my awesome medal and am shortly driving home. I use google maps, even though I know the way, because I don't know which highway has traffic. Houston is like that. Even on Sunday, some highways will be full.

On January 1, 2017, the journey continues. I plan to be Spirit Unleashed. This race report is about the race, but also how I feel about life at the moment. I'm thinking that I'm tired of fighting at work; fighting for what is right and good, or for advancement. I wish I could pull my dog out of the race.

I love how I feel when working out. I love the afterglow of marathons. The marathon journey does not have to end any time soon. I go in races where there are many people much older than me finishing the 26 miles. I can be there for a long time.

One of the things I like about this medal is the big words Houston. I have to admit to myself that I like it here. And ask myself, "Why would you ever leave?"

Today, the Monday after this race, I ran 15 miles in laps around a park. I thought about my current situation. I need to learn to take my dog out of the work race. I need to learn to let go. After my run, I purchased a new hydration belt online and then I entered a marathon in February in Galveston.

I still need to figure out my future. I want to learn to write an essay. I use the word essay in its technical sense. In the writing word, the philosophical world, an essay is a specific thing. I have a dream of writing 100 essays about 100 marathons; and so hope to use my brain creatively and engage independent thinking.

I love the belt buckle:


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another Zone Experience

I wish I could express what it is like to be in the marathon zone. Whenever it happens, it makes all marathoning so worth while.

I don't have a family, so I'm happy that I got to spend Thanksgiving running marathons with my marathon family. It is so cool to see a small crowd of marathoners get together for multiple days of races. Some of these people are Texans and I see them at Texas marathons; but some are from out of town and I see them when I go out of town. Angela, Clyde, Robert, Ila, Maggie, Kevin, the guy from Mumbai...

I ran 2 marathons. The first day, I played it safe as usual. I set my Garmin for 3x2; then easy jogged for 3 minutes and fast walked for 2 minutes. I finished day 1 in good shape in 5:42 (not counting pit stops). Then chilled in my hotel room.

Day 2, I felt good. I was surprised that my big toes seemed pain free. The usual blisters were not there. At the start I took off running easy. No walk breaks for 8.7 miles at 11:20/mile pace. Then my head did some math and figured that even if I did the 3x2s, I'd only lose about 3 minutes per lap so I might as well take the walk breaks.

But as soon as I started the walk breaks, my running speed took a quantum leap. I mean, I was flying whenever I was running. I became free. I thought, "well I don't have to do another marathon tomorrow so I might as well let my body go." And I did. I began to run just for the pleasure of running. I had one line of a Christmas tune going in my head. Otherwise, I had no presence of mind. I was sheer movement without ego. Man, I loved it. Even with the walk breaks, I still managed an average pace of 11:20/mile. I finished in 5:05 (including pit stops).

What was also cool is I somehow got it in my mind as I came in sight of the course clock, that I could beat 5:05. I actually sprinted the last 0.2 of a mile or so. I haven't sprinted in a long time. I haven't just ran full out in forever. It felt awesome to just let go and go. Are 57 almost 58 year olds allowed to do that? For no reason! I mean, there were no awards for this and I wasn't passing anyone. It was only for myself.

I'm pleased to say that nothing got injured either. I'm going to run tomorrow. I'm going to consider running fast in my next marathon in 3 weeks.

Monday, November 14, 2016

It About the Buckle

Racing season in Texas is winter for everyone else. Summer is just too hot, day and night, for racing. Any racing I do in the summer is in some other state. Racing season lasts until April or May; though May races have to start at 5 am.

This weekend I did my first 2 races of this year's racing season. Long ago, I had a discount to do the Jackalope Jam, a timed race. I signed up for 24 hours hoping to do 100k and get a belt buckle. In the mean time, the Houston running festival in December is offering attractive Texas themed buckles for the marathon. In 2014, I traveled to Calgary hoping to get a buckle. But it was their 50th anniversary and gave out huge bronze buckles which are not able to be worn on a daily basis. Rats! Last year, I went in the Fort Worth marathon to get a marathon buckle. But, while pretty on the front, the working part on the back was dis-functional, so it couldn't be worn as a buckle. Rats!

I have 3 honestly earned race buckles. But I wanted another.

A few months ago, I realized that the Jackalope Jam was the same weekend as this year's Fort Worth marathon. So if I failed at Jackalope, I couldn't turn around and go to Fort Worth. However, I could just do a marathon at Jackalope and also go to Fort Worth. I also realized I didn't want to hurt as bad as 61 miles would hurt. However, I have done several multi-day marathons this year. I really enjoyed the Fort Worth marathon last year and didn't enjoy the Jackalope at all.

So, I opted to do the double marathon and get my buckle from Fort Worth.

Yes, it is all about the buckle:




And what a pretty buckle that is. So worth it. I love it.

For this weekend, I had a secret performance goal: how quickly could I do 2 marathons. See, the Jackalope had a 6 hour time limit and we had to do 27 laps to get a 26.2 medal. So I put a little pressure on myself to get done in time, including pit stops. Fort Worth is the better course for running fast but it was on day 2. I finished Jackalope with 27.8 miles (according to my Garmin) in 5:37 using 4x1s. That is outstanding considering I did have to hold back for day 2; and it was hot after the first 3 hours. For Fort Worth, I decided to set my Garmin for 3x2s. I wasn't in any hurry and wanted a low impact day. I took the early start to get more time in the cool morning and to relax on finishing time limit. But still, I finished the race in 5:35. It must be that whenever I was running, I was moving well.

My friend Angela, who was at Fort Worth, said I was looking strong.

I realize I like going fast. I'm not sure how much fast my legs can stand. And I've decided that I'll get to 100 marathons in this life, but no need to hurry. I've adjusted my racing season accordingly. I have another double marathon over Thanksgiving, but that is mainly to enjoy a group of people I know will be there. But for December, I decided not to do a double and instead, run fast at Houston Running festival. I did really well at that race last year and want to try again. And in February, I'll do a fast half marathon instead of a slow full.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Four Marathons Four States Four Days

In a way, what led me to try 4 marathons in 4 days started many years ago. But also, it was an urge to push my envelope some in hopes of even doing more.

I like doing distance because it gives me a chance to look inside myself and see what I am made of. There are emotions. There are thoughts. It is about self transcendence. It is about prayer.

There is a community of runners which does ridiculous numbers of marathons. My trail-mates for this event are people who have run anywhere between their first and their 1,500 marathon. But mostly people who have run gobs of marathons. I've only run 68, a relatively low number. This was a six day series. I only ran 4 of them. Most of the other 85 or so marathoners in each race ran all 6.

And, if I can run 4 marathons in 4 days, then maybe I've got a fix on how a multi-day race might come out. I'm in terrific shape right now.

Here also, there is the camaraderie of the other runners. I see people I know at these races. Maybe it is about relationships. A relationship with Clyde, or Larry. Clyde was at my first triple marathon this May. Clyde is 69. He was finishing his 200th marathon. They had his picture around the course and on the last lap numerous people, mostly an entourage of girls, joined him; along with having impromptu pit stops where he drank some alcoholic beverage. It just so happens that I was finishing my marathon on that lap too. Clyde and his entourage kept passing me and then stopping to drink; when I would get ahead again. Finally I made sure I got ahead and finished before he got there so I wouldn't finish in the middle of his party. Clyde was at my first quad, but a much different version whose wisdom I enjoyed.

Then there is the matter of old people doing amazing things. Like 84 year old women finishing Iron Man triathlons within the time limit. Women of my mother's generation! I am "only" 57, yet it is my generation that first ran an Olympic marathon, who first finished Iron Man triathlons. At these races, I meet some of these amazing elderly athletes.

And why? It all started with reading race reports of people who did these events and how they felt about it. It started with the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race. All of these distance events cause people to look inside.

I wanted to look inside my soul. If I went in an event, I'd do more than I would do by myself.

In February of 2016, I was successful at running a double marathon (2 marathons in 2 days). I was super pumped and in the zone on day 2. I quickly signed up for two more races which were triple marathons. At each of these, day 3 was super zone day and I ran incredibly fast.

I had known of Mainly Marathon series for more than a year. I kept looking and wondering how I could do such an event. I don't have much vacation time. There is alot of driving each day. Moving hotels each day. But under all that is a multi-day endurance event which I had a chance of doing.

I got a very large bonus from my company this year. I decided that I would take a week off work without pay and go on a marathon adventure with that money. On April 20, I bought my air plane ticket. On April 22, I signed up for the races. My dream was to become a reality.



On September 12, the day before flying out, I'm wondering why I am doing this thing. What alot of energy expended to fly to Denver, drive to South Dakota, then Wyoming, then Nebraska, then Colorado again. For what?

In the days leading up to the race, I didn't have any meaningful thoughts about why. Mostly I felt lethargy.

After a perfect flight from United airlines, in first class on a dream liner, I drove though gloomy and cold weather from Denver to Spearfish, SD. The first thing I did in Spearfish was buy a cheap jacket at Walmart. It was cold for this Gulf Coast girl.

First marathon was in Belle Fourche South Dakota. It was on a bike path along a river. I ran it using 3x2s in 5:47.

ACIM lesson: My holy vision sees all things as pure.

Thoughts: This trip is the ultimate ego fiasco. I'll do it all and still not know the existential me; or not have changed my ego's anger at all.



Second marathon was in Sundance Wyoming. It was on a horribly rocky gravel road around a fair grounds. I walked and jogged based on the footing in 5:48. The uneven footing beat up my toes more than I wanted and I began to worry. I had worn an extra knee support on my right knee and was very glad that the knee was protected from the extra wobbling.

ACIM lesson: I am surrounded by the love of God.

Thoughts: Talking to Clyde, he said he tries to make everyone's life happier by trying to put smiles on their faces. I totally felt my own reticence at that moment. I felt my dis-like of colleagues due to my own biases.  My life is a struggle with myself. I know I am difficult and keep trying to be better.


Driving to Chadron, I saw a perfect double rainbow. I sensed something bigger than myself; or a gift.

Third marathon was in Chadron Nebraska. It was in a beautiful park and mostly on park road; except for a patch of grassy trail that we covered each lap, out and back. The grassy trail was uneven and I worried about turning an ankle; it also beat up the toes. I was worried that I'd not be able to do marathon #4 after that.

ACIM lesson: Creations gentleness is all I see.

Thoughts: Specialness and self pity. I was judging the people who had achieved various levels of marathon quantity awards, frequent marathon awards, shirts saying "I did this" or that. As I struggled with the "trail", I felt sorry for myself, but also realizing I'm there with many other people doing the same thing. I thought about how difficult it is to bring anonymity and service into my life.



Fourth marathon was in Sterling Colorado. It was in a beautiful park and on good dirt footing; though a little hilly. I used mostly 3x2s and finished in 6:20.

ACIM lesson: My holy Self abides in you God's Son.

Day 4 of my time on course, many of the other runners recognized my steadiness in going forward. I thought that maybe my jogging and power walking were helping them to do more.

I cried at the end of the last lap. I was over come with emotion that I actually finished my first quad. This was the brief moment when I knew my soul. It took 4 days and over 100 miles, but finally I felt myself without my ego's intervention. The JOY brought tears to my eyes and tremendous NOW.

After the race, I talked to Clyde. He talked about the family of marathoners. People joined in doing something they love. I was among people like me. People who think a vacation is to go and run several marathons. Clyde lives in Texas so I will see him again.


The deepest longing and yearning that every human has for "something." That is really why we were there. It wasn't the Titanium Award, or the Everest Award, or the world's record for most lifetime marathons. It was the human spirit.

At a minimum, this vacation brought a relief from thoughts about work. Experiences bring thoughts. But I am not at my end, no conclusion. I am still on a journey. I don't have the final answer to my being.

For swag, we got a shirt, one main medal and a medal for each state, plus a little tag that says 2016.



Osmium Marathon Maniac is 4 marathons in 4 days.