Sunday, September 2, 2012

I am finally here...

Prelude on Saturday: I signed up for Flatlanders many months ago. Coming home from Colorado in July with so much pain, I had no idea what I would do about this race. I didn't even buy my airplane tickets until August; and I cashed in all my points on everything so that no matter how bad I did, there'd be no financial loss.

Don't try to make it mean anything.

Sunday morning, I got up with the alarm. My drinks are made. I did something new. When I travel, I am always concerned about reducing my load. So I took an old copy of A Course in Miracles paperback and sliced off the workbook. This is very small and light weight and I am reading the lessons as if they were the text. The lessons contain much teaching. I am programming my brain with A Course in Miracles in order to have a happy day. To have a happy day, I need to walk with Spirit not ego. Begin the free flow of spiritual ideas.

Lesson 4 in the work book. What thoughts are crossing my mind? These thoughts, good or bad, don't mean anything. I flash on the human quest for enlightenment. Is it not just another human wishing they were pain free and happy all the time? I thought about how "Untethered Soul" mentioned to let in the power at all times and feel good all the time. My heel hurts. This brings me apprehension, annoyance, failure.

L5: form does not matter. Can I enter today a transcendent state? I could say, "I want to have a happy day." And, "I will make no decisions by myself." I am afraid of my own self. L7: I see only the past. L8: My mind is preoccupied with past mind has been merely blank.  I seem to be thinking about how painful and miserable today will be and how it will end in failure.

L9: I see nothing as it is now.

So I drive the 2 miles over to the race, and set up my personal aid station. I say hi to some of my compatriots. This is important. We are in this together.

It rained for 2 or 3 hours in the morning. But it was warm, so I ran all day in a tank top. About 3 hours in, I realized that I felt pretty good and that if I kept the pace just a tiny bit faster, I could get a gold medal for 50 miles. So I worked at it.

I met Joyce and Norm (in their 70s) and their daughter. I met Lee. I said hi to many others. Andrew was doing an outstanding job of counting laps. My nutrition program seemed to be working.

I have no idea how my brain came up with "Skip to My Lou My Darling." I couldn't remember any verse lyrics but that song played over and over. It is totally funny what your brain can come up with.

About 2 hours in, I had a revelation: the reason I quit ultra marathons before the end is because I think now one cares about me. In fact, a major reason behind much of how I feel about life is I think no one cares about me. But that is not true; especially in a race like this: we are all needed and no one can do it without the others. Wow!

6 hours in, I met Julie, a 53 year old woman who was trying to break the course record of 60 miles. So, if I wanted to be happy, I needed to go for the gold since there would be no age group win for me. I cheered for her and she cheered for me.

My self talk was incredibly good. I remember wanting to let go, not control. I could hear some inner voice say about my speed, "How's this?" as I sprinted along. I said, "That's great. Lets keep going." Into the 6th hour, I pulled a crumpled up, soggy scrap of paper I had forgot was there out of my Nathan belt. It had stuff from A Course in Miracles: "Abandon ego on behalf of Him. Seek peace alone and know the power of God. This holy instant is all the time there is. All separation vanishes when holiness is shared." I started meditating on this and Skip to My Lou vanished. I was better now a cruising pretty fast. I knew that abandoning ego meant letting go and letting whatever power was inside me be in charge. That is why my self talk was so good. God offers power to everyone, but I needed to accept it now, today, this holy instant.

Along in here, I had an an apple and a Starbucks bottled frappucino. And then I felt a ton better. I can't at all describe how good I felt, and practically sprinted for a lap before that wore off. But it bought me some needed cushion time. An hour or two later, after various other calories, I had another frappucino. And not too long later, I spent quality time in the bathroom; but I felt much better after getting some stuff out.

Sharing a race course was sharing holiness. I even had to ask a stranger to get the cap off my frappucino. She became part of the "we're in this together team." I even included the people who bottled that drink and the executives who thought of it in the first place.

The last 2.5 hours were hard. My brain didn't track with what Andrew was telling me about my laps and I kept thinking I had one more done than he had said. So I arrived at 1h50min left and needed 7 laps. Crap. I put in a fast one fueled by another frappucino. Then I finally got to 2 laps with 51 min to go. I put in another good one and left myself 31 min for the last lap. As I passed one of the other runners who was standing by her chair, I said, "one more fucking lap." She laughed and said she knew what I meant. As I continued to tell everyone about my fucking last lap, a beautiful clear rainbow lit up the sky.

haha, for once, I didn't quit before the miracle. I'd been out there for nearly 12 hours and had put enough heart into the thing to far surpass what I thought I could do at the start.

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