What a privilege it is to be a runner; and to have the spirit of an athlete.
This morning I got up at 4:30 and did an hours worth of spiritual work. Then I jumped in the car and drove 45 miles to the park in the city and was running by 6:30. It was warm, 59F, with a 20 to 40 mile an hour south wind. I ran 6 laps, 16.2 miles, 2:47 time. Then, I changed clothes in the car and went to a 10 o'clock fellowship meeting. At 11 o'clock, coming out of the meeting, it was 33F with a north wind. By the time I got home, 45 miles north, it was 25F. Maybe we will get freezing rain or snow later. The low over night is supposed to be 10F. Brrrrr!
After the meeting, someone asked me what I think about while running for 3 hours. I do think. It is a little unusual to spend 3 hours thinking; as opposed to relating or watching TV. Today, I thought a lot about what races I want to go in next year. I thought about the other people and their dogs. I thought about the integrity of the athlete. You see, having the heart of an athlete extends past the actual running training into all of life. In particular, I do my spiritual work as if I was a world class spiritual athlete. In fact, I think the spirituality is more important than the running. I assume that when I get to the end of my life, it will be an experience greater than finishing an ultra-marathon. [The last ultra I finished, I cried out, "Alleluia" as I saw the finish.] So I train for this spiritual event, my death, as hard as I train for real marathons. To me it is all the same thing. The question of "Why?" always comes up during my long runs. The answer is that if you want the experience of finishing a marathon, you have to do the training.
Do I train fanatically about spirituality the same as running? Well in some ways, yes. Being intense and passionate is what is interesting to me. Many people think I am crazy: after all God is free right? I think you get out of something what you put into it. I am studying a particular spiritual tradition that has a 690 page text book. You cannot possibly have any idea what that tradition is about unless you read the text, and perhaps spend several years reading it several times. If I want what that spiritual tradition offers, I also have to do the work.
Tiger Woods is a great golfer because he practices. Payton Manning spent four years in college, instead of three, in order to take snaps (the more snaps the better chance he would have). I spend time (a couple of hours) every day on my conscious contact with God; and abdominals and running.
I'm passionate today. I feel great! Thanks for listening to my soap box.