Friday, January 30, 2015

The Other People....

..... are especially nice this year.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Can Hardly Wait.....

.... to do it again.

Whats that?

Another marathon!

Yup, as hard as last Sunday's race was, part of my brain yearns to do it again. Lucky for me, I am at least going to do another marathon this week.

This week, it will be flat. But wind and rain look to be in the picture.

Why do people become addicted to marathons?

I am currently signed up for 4, and own airplane tickets to get to a 5th. In my mind, I hope to complete a quad in July.

When I think of last Sunday's marathon and the hills, that is what I lust for. Not the swag or the bling. The experience: what it felt like to climb steep hills and limp down steep hills in the last few miles of a 26 mile race.

Well, heres to more marathon experiences. I can be as slow as I am and still get the experience.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hardest Marathon Ever

My 41st life time marathon:  Waco Miracle Match Marathon

I got to Waco on Saturday afternoon. I walked around the starting area some. Waco seemed a sleepy town even though it is home to Baylor University. It is an old town, sporting the ornate courthouse.

Here is a map of the course.

You start off with a little bit of wandering around the Baylor campus. They have a brand new foot ball stadium which even has a harbor. Baylor is a Christian school, assuming Presbyterian since they have a John Knox Center. Many of the buildings appear like churches with Texas stars on them. Add in many ROTCs manning aid stations and intersections and I was able to describe the four most important principles of American Life. In this order: Texas, Football, Army, Christianity.

Ok, it was early. I started an hour before the main start. About 30 of us were there. One man who looked about 80 sidled up to me to chat. He was a little shorter and had a face like a rock and a hump on his back. He called himself Tortoise. I think he beat me.

At about 5.3 miles, we came up from the river to near the starting area. A band was playing. The regular race had started. There was an aid station that nobody had really used. I took a cup of gatorade. After drinking it, I slammed the empty cup on the ground and then raised my arms high. First one! Some guy watching me figured it out and started laughing.

We then spent about 4 miles going up Austin avenue. Some nice old houses here. We continued to wander up through neighborhoods. Did I mention up? Where did these hills come from? Its Texas and Waco had looked flat driving in.

About 12 or 13 miles, I was thinking how wonderful marathons are and how I just need to do them. Then, this particular marathon went to hell. Then real hills started, I thought. No, the real hills were these awful steep mothers between miles 21 to 25. Who puts 60% road grades at the end of a marathon? And then line the course with quotations about suffering every 20 feet!

Here is a picture of Lake Waco about mile 15.

Here is a selfie at Waco Golf Course about mile 14, the first serious down hill followed by the first serious up hill. But these were pissers compared to the bloody hills at miles 21,22,23, and 24.

I finished in 5:58. Here is the really great embroidered jacket I got for finishing. I'm never taking it off.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Are Prayers Answered?

My point at this moment: reality looks like the energy of the prayer.

I guess that is a metaphysic-y answer.

ACIM lesson: today the peace of God envelops me; and I forget all things except His Love.

I did my morning meditation as usual today. All is quiet in my mind. I finish off packing for my overnight trip to run a marathon. I look at the Houston Transtar map to see what traffic is like. It is appalling. TexDOT has seen fit to completely close several freeways for construction. All of them seem to be in the north west area; where I need to go to go to Waco.

Consternation! I look at that map and at google maps and finally decide on a route.

I go to the AA meeting which is on the 11th step. I sit there and listen to people talk. I think about my own life long struggle to know God. I think about my current practice of reading Q's gospel out loud to myself every night and then practicing silent meditation. I think about my recent reading of the beginning of the Big Book and its instance that we are hopeless apart from divine help and this is for everything about our lives. As if prayer is all there is!

I whip out (from my back pocket) my piece of paper with the lesson for today. I think about getting out of Houston. I think about the peace of God as my reality. I felt peace as my reality. I remembered yesterday's realization that "this IS my life." I came to understand that no matter what traffic was like, it is my higher power's life.

I get in the car and start driving. It turns out, I hardly met a spec of traffic. Unknowingly, I had picked mainly toll roads, and gone a little bit long around; but I went pretty much 80 mph all the way to Waco.

During the trip, I also looked at my piece of paper and imagined feeling the peace.

Arriving in Waco, I quickly saw the convention center where packet pickup is. There was a Marriott across the street that looked like a handy place to park. As I got out of the car, I had an idea. I went in to the Marriott and told them I was booked at another Marriott 8 miles away but that this Marriott was exactly where I wanted to be. Did they have a room? Could they cancel my other reservation without penalty and book me in there? They did, as well as give me the same rate.

OMG! I am ensconced in a hotel across the street from the start line.

I wanted to experience "enveloped by the peace of God today." I didn't ask God for anything material. I wanted to experience the peace of God and this peaceful reality is what I perceived. It seems completely plausible that me and my higher power created a reality, or that peace was always there but I perceived it today, or what I perceived was my dream of peace.

Reality could be an illusion and it could be malleable. Or perception is in the mind of the perceiver, but what is perceived doesn't actually exist. Only peace exists, the rest of what I perceived is my dream.

No bull:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Me vs My Life

I finally had a moment of realization this morning. Years of meditation and spiritual study may or may  not have helped; but in a moment of total ordinary consciousness, I got it.

"Me" as stated in the title of this blog, is my self centered ego consciousness. "My Life" is what I now understand to be my higher consciousness. And I heard it as well as entered it today.

Its like this. I was reading a portion of the book Alcoholics Anonymous this morning, pages 62 and 63. It talks about how self centeredness creates all our problems; and that we can't be less self centered on our own power. Self will is of no use. Only a higher power can help.  Then, I did a few minutes of silent meditation. Then I made my lunch and was getting ready to leave for work.

I was thinking about how I haven't had a life. All I've ever done was work. I was having an imaginary conversation with my boss explaining how I don't have enough vacation and never get to have my life. Suddenly, however, I heard another mental voice say, "This is my life." Suddenly, it seemed that my higher consciousness had wanted the life my ego wants to get away from. I experienced my higher consciousness. It was vast.

This had nothing to do with oneness or love. It just had to do with realizing my higher consciousness IS living the life it wants. I can surrender and stop fighting. In stopping fighting, I give up ego self centeredness. In giving up, I gain that vast consciousness which is the content with my life.

What if I saw my life from this higher perspective: alcoholic home, several childhood trips around the world, horses, mountain cabins, Israel, men, monasteries, chemical plants, marathons.

Realizing the difference between ego consciousness and higher consciousness is great. I hope it gives me more access to higher consciousness each day.

The gurus and authors have said this too. But it was always something achieved outside of real life. Something obtained in a monastery, ashram or retreat. Mine is in the middle of a chemical plant.

I am really "My Life" not "me."

Saturday, January 17, 2015


It is January 2015. I have completed 40 marathons in this life, spread out over many years. In 2013 I did 9 of them. In 2014, post surgery, I did 5. I am currently signed up for 4. I am plotting and wondering. Can I get to 50 this year? It would seem so. But really what I want to do is get to 50 in July at multi-day event. The RD has asked to provide hoopla for my marathon mile stone.

I am for sure hooked on marathons but I don't know why. When I was a nun, I'd go for runs in a skirt. We had hermit days, renewal days and free days. I would always go for long runs on those days. "Long" at that time was 7 to 10 miles. I would dream of somehow running a marathon even though I was a nun.

I didn't say "Fuck" at that time. I say it now unless I'm at work. At work, and some other places, I say "WTF."

You would think after my Snowdrop failure that I would be done with miles. But it is the Gulf coast in January, a beautiful day and my legs feel good. The fuel belt bottles are filled. As soon as the rice cooker gets done, I am out the door.

Marathons; Fuck Yeah!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Mystical Theology

by Pseudo-Dionysius, Chapter 1

Lead us up beyond unknowing and light,
     up to the farthest, highest peak
          of mystic scripture,
     where the mysteries of God's Word
           lie simple, absolute and unchangeable
           in the brilliant darkness of a hidden silence.
     Amid the deepest shadow
          they pour overwhelming light
          on what is most manifest.
     Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen
          they completely fill our sightless minds
          with treasures beyond all beauty.

For this I advice to you to leave behind you everything perceived and understood, everything perceptible and understandable, all that is not and all that is, and, with you understanding laid aside, to strive upward as much as you can toward divine union with him who is beyond all being and knowledge. By an undivided and absolute abandonment of yourself and everything, shedding all and freed from all, you will be uplifted to the ray of the divine shadow which is above everything that is.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Drop the Rocks Day

It is Sunday. Normally I go running on Sundays. But it is cold and wet outside. I will go out for a bit, in a bit. But I decided, there is no need for me to do any set amount of miles. I can burn the calories for today quite easily inside. Drop the rocks.

So I spent more time on spirituality. It occurred to me that my daily spiritual study is pure enjoyment for me.

Meditating on this:

Matthew 5 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorifyyour Father in heaven.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This Sober Life

Monday is my birthday: 56 years old. Today I jogged a half marathon. I hadn't planned that. I just went to the park with some drink and my garmin and started jogging. It was going well and the rain held off so I kept going. This took about 3 hours.

Later, I hope to do a 56 durability workout. That is laps in my house which involves going up and down stairs plus: on the first floor I'll do mountain climbers, KB swings, TRX bicep curls and TRX front rows; and on the second floor I'll do tricep dips, shoulder press, calf raise, and pushups. I'll do 56 crunches too.

But why do I say sober life? Sobriety and the 12 Steps are a way of life. I have been sober most of my adult life. This week, I got to do Step 10 (Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it). I privately lost my temper over a stubborn colleague. When I saw my boss, I said I needed to get that colleague away from me and that I would refuse to work with him. Of course, my boss wasn't too concerned because everyone gets mad at this colleague. My bosses problem is he was counting on me to do some work in a certain area. But, he let it go.

But as a sober person, my own anger (translated thoughts yelling at me about how bad this colleague was and fear of my boss) continued on in my head for the evening. It fired up again in the morning as I sat to do my spiritual work. I didn't know what I would do when I got to work. I prayed for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry it out (Step 11). I prayed for an intuitive thought or decision. I prayed for my colleague's health prosperity and happiness. Then I became quiet.

Then a thought came: I sincerely wanted to be grateful for the work given me to do. Would I like to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution? I would like to be of service. I would like to act to good purpose. This meant approaching my boss, admitting my fault and asking how I could best serve him. (My boss is and always has been very easy going). I had genuine concern that my boss had access to my skills because he relies on me to solve problems not create them.

I did get a chance to talk to him that day. He had not noticed I was upset the day before. He was happy to give me back the job I said I wouldn't do. He also said he would tell other colleague to not interfere with my activities. He said this because he knows other colleague would hinder my progress and I didn't need that.

The spiritual part of this was genuine desire for a feeling of gratitude, the intention to be of service, and the gift of an intuitive thought. This situation a gift of prayer.

This is how I do my life. As I look at my career, I know it is not really going to advance any more. I am a technical expert and at the highest point without being in management. I have no desire to manage people. But I still have a decade of going to work. How will I survive that? Gratitude. The idea that I am serving and and grateful for the opportunity.

As time goes on, I am so grateful for my sober life. It has made my life bearable. But the undercurrent of spirit is what I live on.

Tomorrow might be rainy and cold. I don't know that many miles will be done.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thank You Sargent Miller

Yesterday was an exciting day. I got my picture taken with this police officer:

Thank you Sargent Miller. Because of this, I got $20 off my entry fee for the Baytown Jail Break half marathon. It was fun to hunt down a cop and get a picture. Further, Sargent Miller was helping some other people when I drove up to the police station and he showed lots of kindness.

I am in a happy place with my running. I am not signed up for any ultras, or injured from my 45 mile race last week; hence my speeds are creeping up. I feel good.

Today's Course in Miracles lesson: "Eternal Holiness abides in me." To which I add: Stately Silent Love has set me free.This morning I was once again reading Emmett Fox. His recommendation was that everyone needs to do their own spiritual work; but practice of the presence of God is best. In His presence, I remember service. I am much happier under this attitude and outlook on life.

I thought of the Benedictine "school of the Lord's service" as I punched in the key code for the community gate this morning, going out for my run. I thought, "How can anyone not realize that all of life is a school for the Lord's service. Maybe being in a convent is actually a hindrance." As I ran I thought about a meeting I have today with a long time friend, maybe the last time I see him. He is Catholic. thinking of him lead me to thinking about The Church and how I can't ethically support the hierarchy. Mixed in is musing about how most Catholics think that all is good based on the public image of Pope Francis. not.

But then again, I don't think most Christians follow Jesus. Since leaving the convent, I've had access to much scriptural research of all varieties. So I can't possibly support any denominational church or religion.

All of these heady thoughts during a pre-dawn run on El Lago.

Practice the presence is the best I can do.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Snowdrop Report

Someone else said this, "I don’t know how to describe the pain... the excruciating, searing pain that each footfall brought to every joint and muscle fiber in my body or the exhaustion that left me unable to walk even a single step beyond the finish line."

I can't do that. My brain says that I should stop. This happens over and over; and why I fail at 100 mile timed races.

But I am not going to throw away the 45 miles I did do. So here goes.

I have been a fantasizer about ultra miles for years. And I have tried various venues. When I heard about this one, I thought it could finally work. The course is in Houston so I could drive to it. It is essentially 3 days which should be enough. They rented cubicle tents next to the course. There was a hotel 5 miles away. I clicked submit.

During the summer, I completed a virtual race where I got in 100 miles in 64 hours. This caused me to think Snowdrop was do-able. This was a mistake because the virtual race was in summer (my element). And I ran the virtual race from home where I could get food I needed and in between miles, I could lay on the bed with ice packs. I could use my rollers to limber up. I could make shoe adjustments.

Well, anyway, training went well. On October 31, I did a 50k in fine form. In late November, I did another 30 mile run with a 10 mile walk the next day. I was sure I was ready.

On December 18, I had a terrible sore throat. I thought I had plenty of time to get over a cold before the race. On Monday 12/22, I still had a terrible sore throat and couldn't talk. I went on a mission to obtain antibiotics. Yes, I had bronchitis. But I got well very quickly. No lingering horrible cough like I saw others having.

On Monday 12/29, I drove over to the race site and picked up my packet. I also dropped off numerous race medals for the Bling for Bravery program. This caused the volunteers to gasp and thank me for my gift. I also met with a woman who had expertise in taping toes. She showed me how she does it and taped two of mine. I did the other foot myself later.

The course is 0.76 miles, mostly flat. It had been raining in Houston so the course was wet, and of course muddy with numerous people walking around it. And cold and windy. Because of the mud, many of us spent the first 8 hours walking around the mud on the grass. This made the course longer but was worth it to keep the feet dry. Then a group of Boy Scouts were put to work putting filler onto the course so we could easily walk around it. That was impressive.

I got to the start ontime. Everything seemed good. Well, Team RWB is an annoying group of people if you happen to be a pacifist and non-patriot. I had to duck several times to avoid being slapped in the face by huge American flags being carried around the course.

Snowdrop Foundation funds childhood cancer research. Around the course were pictures of cute children Some said "In loving memory of _____;" these were the kids that died. Some said, "In honor of _______;" I presume these were the kids still fighting cancer. These pictures caused me to choke up. I thought about how they were probably loved. I mourned my own terrible childhood. I came to believe in a loving Father God.

For 30 miles, 8 hours, I did my walk jog. Then switched to power walking. Things felt really good. I was surprised. I walked 5 laps more than plan; and stopped to go to the hotel with 45 miles. I didn't suspect any problems. My main concern was food. As a vegetarian, I hadn't had the hot meaty meals other people had received. I was craving green.

I got in my car and drove the 5 miles to the hotel.

When I tried to get out of the car, whoa! My right leg won't straighten all the way. The tendons on the back had suddenly snapped tight and swollen. I could hardly walk at all. This did not seem good.

I went to my room. I warmed up some beans. Ate the yogurt. Took some Aleve. But mostly I laid there with a pillow under the knee. Every time I tried to get up, everything of my body hurt but also, the leg continued to be dis-functional.

Alone in my hotel room a decision was reached. I know that the leg could be very slowly warmed up and I could slowly walk all day and continue the race. It would be ungodly slow, cold, wet, muddy. Most ultra runners would do this. Alone in my hotel room, I thought that I didn't want that leg to feel the same level of bad again the next night or the following night. It wasn't worth a belt buckle to continue to destroy the knee. Did I really need to spend 2 more days walking around a muddy cold course?

Gulp! Early the next morning the knee is better, but I'm more worried about parking at the race (where I need to go to turn in my chip and pick up my gear), and morning traffic when I tried to drive home. My mind was not on trying at all. Only thinking about going home.

I think the power walking was yanking the tendons every step. That particular knee has had an ACL strain in the past. I know it is not a wholly perfect piece of work. I was surprised that walking caused this, but it was exuberant walking for 15 miles on top of 30 miles of jog/walk.

Anyone I've talked to outside of the race has told me I did the right thing. No ultra-runner has agreed however. There is a line there which I have not crossed.

My tendons did get better in a couple of days. I did realize I have a problem which limits ultra-running. Both a mental and physical limit. 45 miles is however not to be thrown away. I did it! I'm glad for that.

I've cancelled my summer expedition. That is because 2 of the 6 days were to be 39 and 43 miles on hills with time limits. I don't want to challenge my knee and then be stuck in a desert tent with no ability to deal with it. An eight hundred dollar lesson.

But my mind still soars. I don't know what to do except restrict ego activities and sink into silent prayer. I guess that is all that needs to be said.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


I begin as I left off. Last night, I put together the 2015 spreadsheet for use in recording exercise. This morning, I bought a new notebook for the same purpose (because the one I've used since 2003 is full). I went for a 4 mile walk in Pine Gully Park. It was nice to get some fresh air.

I was supposed to be at a 100 mile race; but after 45 miles, my knee seized up so I quit. Now, 2 days later, it feels like the ACL tendon is stressed. But, it will recover fine since I didn't tape it up and continue the 100 mile attempt. This is typical of me for all ultras I guess. 50k goes very well. 50 miles can be toughed out. But when something goes wrong on the way to 100 miles, I cut my loses and quit. I got the participant medal but not the belt buckle.

My ego was sacrificed.

A walk in Pine Gully is worth anything.

My Course in Miracles Lesson for today:
The hush of Heaven holds my heart today.

1 Father, how still today! How quietly do all things fall in place! This is the day that has been chosen as the time in which I come to understand the lesson that there is no need that I do anything. In You is every choice already made. In You has every conflict been resolved. In You is everything I hope to find already given me. Your peace is mine. My heart is quiet, and my mind at rest. Your Love is Heaven, and Your Love is mine.

2 The stillness of today will give us hope that we have found the way, and traveled far along it to a wholly certain goal. Today we will not doubt the end which God Himself has promised us. We trust in Him, and in our Self, Who still is one with Him.

I will continue with spiritual studies in 2015.

News stories of 2014:
Nigerian girls

My 55th year of life:
I applied for 5 jobs; and ended up in the one I had in 2013.
My company is selling our plant.
Running: 3 half marathons, a 25k, 2 full marathons, a 50k. 3,051 miles and 959 hours of exercise. One virtual race where 200 miles were completed. One failed attempt at 100 miles in a public event.
I got an iphone.
Still sober. 2014 was my 29th anniversary.
Still A Course n Miracles student.
Read a number of religious and spiritual studies books.
Made my first presentation at a professional conference.
I bought a new car and a new computer.
I don't belong to Facebook.
I don't belong to a religion.
I am a vegetarian still.
I invented "Starship Baytown."
6 HAZOP signoffs completed.
I started wearing glasses.

But, what was it like to be me this year?

Although a menopause crazed brain attacked me most of the year. increasingly positive beliefs about myself and God's love for me prevailed. It was a year of ego downsizing. Life dreams getting dismissed as: not this life time.