Sunday, November 29, 2015

Vacation Day 10

Today I wasn't sure again what I wanted to do. So I went for a run outside while I decided. The purpose of the run was just to run until I needed a pit stop, then I would go home for that. Mission accomplished. Then, I grabbed the nathan and headed outside with no idea where I really wanted to go or at what speed. I wandered over to Clear Creek again and did laps by the lake.

Today, I logged 13.55 miles.

Total for my 10 day vacation: 150 miles, and a total of 39 hours spent either running or other cross training and strength.

Today was a loss mentally. See, I can't decide what I really like the most. But one of the choices, ultra-marathons, I fail at. I succeed at either marathons or half marathons with at least 2 weeks between races. But part of my brain wants to enter a 48 hour race in March. Another part wants to do 2 marathons in a weekend. Another part wants to do a 50 mile race in 3 weeks. Another part wants to keep working on strength and speed.


I'm almost 57 years old. How many 57 year olds do you know who are conflicted about what race they want to go in?

Holiday shopping? Ha! Running shoes and a slant board for sit-ups.

I love being an athlete.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Vacation - day 8, day 9 am

Yesterday I slept the latest yet, until 8:30. Surprise!

I hadn't planned on doing big miles yesterday. In fact, wasn't sure what I would do. But, after the spiritual reading, I had decided to go to El Lago first for a real run. But as I went out the door, I noticed my Nathan was on my back. Surprise!

Well, since I had hydration, I decided on a new thing. I went thru El Lago and out along NASA to Clear Lake park. For a long time, I've noticed a bike path near the lake that just might have a small hill. So yesterday was my day to check it out.

I planned to run easy laps there for however long I felt like it. But on the first lap, I got a surprise. This:

OMG! Way too wonderful! So, I ended up combining circuit training with my laps. I would run 2 laps, 0.8 miles, then do a 9 station circuit. Repeat 7 times. Then I headed home.

So, I felt so happy about this. All excited about a new way to do strength and also to combine it with running. My happiness helped me see that perhaps I really do like shorter faster harder; more than slower longer painful. So excited about total fitness, even if I am nearly 57 years old.

Like, the pictures of me in a marathon show me smiling. The pictures of me in an ultra marathon show me dying.

Later in the evening, I rode my elliptical for 45 minutes.

Late at night, I entered a half marathon, just an hour before the price increase. It was funny. I had been upstairs, laying in bed reading. I thought I would come down stairs to check for a discount code for this race I knew about. No discount code. But the price for the half was reasonable and was going to increase that night. The medals looked swell. I know the park and the RD. I wanted to try another fast race. Before I know it: click!

This morning, I made it out of bed when the alarm went off at 6 am. After the spiritual reading, I went to Meador park for fast running. I did 8.5 miles at 10:14 min/mile pace; then slowed up and finished a 10:34 miles total. That was very good.

I'll probably do another indoor work out later.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Run-cation day 7

Yesterday, I ran two whole laps of the Seabrook trails. If you go around the outside of all 3 parks, Meador/ Pine Gully/ Friendship, you get 8.8 miles per lap. This is the first time I've done the complete circuit twice. Usually, I run more laps of a smaller loop.

That got me up to 88 miles in 6 days.

Today, I got out of bed whenever. For spiritual study, I read both some of A Course in Miracles and some of Brunton. I had planned to just walk today and I was going to do it in Brummerhop park. But, I started off with a full hour of running in El Lago so I could take my first pit stop at home. Then, I loaded up my Nathan and went across the street to Brummerhop park. I did 40 laps of Brummerhop. So the total for the day was 19 miles. For 7 days: 107 miles and 27 hours (includes cross training).

Of course, I spend all this time thinking. Today, my mind traveled back and forth between this world and not-this-world. When I was being conscious, I directed my thoughts toward the World Idea, seeking and listening to something bigger than myself. When I was not watching, my mind was busy trying not to hate someone at work, and rationalizing / fictionalizing why I don't participate in holidays.

Today is a holiday in the US. I don't participate in it. I am ethically and morally against this day's activities, so I don't participate.

This does not mean I am ungrateful. In fact, I'm grateful every day for a number of spiritual gifts.

My loops around Brummerhop are very small. Obviously, it is not an adventure run. It is a run designed on purpose to be nothing but time on the feet; and plenty of space to work on the mind. Today, after 38 laps (which came after a 4.8 mile run), at about mile 18.5 on the day, I finally got the answer to why I spend my vacation running, and not doing something exciting. It is because I actually am nobody, even nobody special. At that thought, I became peaceful and happy. Any resentment I have is suddenly released as I took the lower place in society.

I am always happier when, from my heart, I believe that I am nobody. Perfect.

Vacation - 5

Wow, it is so rare that I get 5 days off work. I can hardly understand that I still have 5 more days. Each day has been sort of like: in bed until about 7:30, spiritual reading and meditation for about 2 hours, errand, exercise for 3.5 hours, eat, lay on bed reading, maybe additional work around the house, meditation, lay in bed reading, lights out and sleep about 10.

Today, after 4 days of long distance running, I decided to do something different today. So, after getting up, I put on my jeans. After the spiritual reading, I made my quarterly trip to Home Depot (only over spent by $50, but I needed a new power screw driver). Then, instead of running, I did cross training in my house.

15 min ex-bike
17 min elliptical
25 min durability (put on ankle weights, rotate between step platform, mini-trampoline, trx sprinters, stairs carrying weights, shoulder press, kettlebell swings)
15 min nordic track
15 min versa climber
15 min rowing
90 min walking uphill on the treadmill

For spiritual reading, I've been switching back and forth between Paul Brunton and A Course in Miracles. I decided while running yesterday that A Course in Miracles is much for helpful in actually changing my thinking and increasing my overall consciousness than Brunton.

This morning I thought about spiritual gifts I've received over the past 40 years.
- The gift of wanting to know God and pursuing Him daily
- Sobriety using spiritual tools
- Meditation
- Benedictine listening
- 4 years in a radically different world ( monastery )
- Return to the world without being of it
- Incredible prosperity
- Ongoing desire to improve / heal my reactions to others
- A Course in Miracles

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I had a lovely time outside today. After my run, I came home. No contact with other people today. Also, I've mostly been reading all afternoon and evening.

Is that okay?

The word cocoon came to mind. Perhaps in retreat, I am healing and transforming. That's the point of my solitude. It is a spiritual cocoon. The ego part of my consciousness is reading, but truly my soul is listening to a higher Voice.

Vacation Day 3

I slept amazingly well again. A cold front came across Texas and for the Gulf Coast, it is really cold. Yesterday: AC. Today: heat.

I am putting 4 Course in Miracles lessons into my mind for the next few days:
-This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.
-God is the only goal I have today.
-Let me remember what my purpose is.
-Let me remember that my goal is God; overlooking all little senseless aims.

These are easy enough to remember and to return my thoughts to them. In these vacation days, with nothing on the schedule, I can devote my time to spiritual lessons. I can devote my mind to remembering Spirit.

The above thoughts were in my mind during my run today. As a result, my mind was not on any resentments. When I saw a dog with owner, I didn't hate all dog owners for leaving dog poop on the trail. I had a new thought: the hate is optional. I am also gaining perspective on work colleagues; what can and cannot happen and how we can relate to each other.

My mind was peaceful for 3.5 hours of walk/jog. I felt good today. I could have done more, but I'm saving miles for 7 more days. So far this vacation: 46 miles.

This is part of the Seabrook trail:

I did my chores which was vacuuming part of my house and setting up the electronic cat repellent in the back yard. I looked at picture of a snow storm in Chicago. Sure I am glad I live on the Gulf Coast.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Whenever I have several days off work, time to be alone with my thoughts, I hope for an inspiration, a new thought.

In my life, there have been several thoughts which have driven me to life changing action. When I was 22, I stood near the Jaffa Gate in old Jerusalem watching some Hassidic Jews. I thought, "There might be something to this God thing." When I came home, I started to study the Bible and pursue religion.

Years later, and many changes, the shootings at Columbine High in Colorado occurred. Listening to a radio interview of one of the boys that lived, who was the boyfriend of one of the girls who was shot, I heard him read her diary from the night before. Jesus Christ mattered to her. I decided to "shamelessly follow Jesus." That is the second important thought of my life. It was soon followed by the question, "How do I shamelessly follow Jesus?" And the intuitive answer was, "Live a life of prayer." These thoughts led me into the monastery.

The thought "Shamelessly follow Jesus" also led me away from the Church several years later.

But first, I had thought number 3. Right before making my first monastic profession, I found myself in crisis for 4 days. It is a long story, but the nun leadership was deciding to kick me out. During the crisis, I had a dream in which I received, "Love is the predominant mode of existence." And then when they actually told me to leave, I asked God why I had to be the one to leave. The intuitive answer, "Because you can. You can live in the world and still practice my presence."

"Love is the predominant mode of existence" is perhaps the last important thought I have had. It stays with me and provides those moments of knowing it truth in my waking consciousness.

In the 12 years since leaving the monastery, my life has gone here and there. I came to Texas on negative vibes. It wasn't inspired by some intuitive message.  Now I am here in Texas. My life is stable and well funded.

I fear it lacks inspiration. My epiphany of this evening was to remember how these other epiphanies drove my life into new territory; and to notice how I haven't had one for awhile. This is especially annoying because my dream of enlightenment through ultra-marathoning isn't going to work. All the methods of enlightenment which I have tried didn't bring what I was looking for. I'm not going to take drugs or have a stroke.

Never mind. I realize that what my ego thinks is enlightenment is only a dopamine induced ecstasy.

Am I too old to have a powerful intuitive thought? Do I shut them off because I make too much money? Have I not done enough with the previous thoughts?

In my silence and solitude, I pray for an intuitive thought. I will begin to watch for the building of an inner power.

I need to understand: How may I best serve You?

Is this the end of the line? I am impatient God. Or Self. Or Jesus. Or whatever I want to call You. Is being a successful engineer all you really want me to do?

Vacation - 2

Yesterday I began vacation for 10 days. The whole plan is to sleep run and eat; with a few chores and pay a few bills.

Each day begins with a long period of spiritual reading and meditation. Each day ends with a repeat of spiritual reading and meditation.

Yesterday I had a wonderful sunny run on trails, 13.2 miles. But my legs were a bit tired still from last week's race. I also rode my elliptical for 40 mins and did 100 crunches.

Today, it was raining earlier in the morning. So I did a fast 55 min run on roads, getting drenched at the end, 4.8 miles. Then after an AA meeting, I went back out for some slow miles. It was not raining and still quite warm. I got in 10.8 miles. Faster than yesterday and my legs felt fine. I plan to do some trx work later.

Yesterday, a woman asked me what I was training for. Really, nothing. The miles are good for me mentally. I love strapping on my Nathan hydro-pak and just spending time doing miles.

The state of my life is a good topic for me during these days of vacation. Actually, since I am a solitary, I contemplate my life. I look for patterns in the spirituality. At this time, my outer world cannot ask for more. At work, I was recently promoted into the top position I would ever desire to attain: Subject Matter Expert. Money is fine. House is fine. Houston is fine.

So again, I turn inward to spirit and ask for knowledge, relationship and truth.

Today while I was running, I was able to get the feeling that everything is love. Thanks Spirit for letting me know this.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Non-race Report

This happy picture is from my awesome half marathon last week. It was a great race.

I am signed up for another race this weekend; but I just cancelled my hotel reservation. I am going to DNS. Just because I don't feel like doing another full marathon again this week. I don't feel like driving across Texas and staying in a hotel, getting up at 4am, getting to a rainy/ windy startline by 6:30 am. And then, the long drive back either.

I don't have the energy.

Instead, I'll be sleeping in the next 10 days and jogging in Seabrook; with plenty of time for spiritual reading and reflection. Not wearing myself out.

It is the right thing to do.

Yes, $100 race fee will go to the charity and I won't have anything to show for it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lesson 185

Just plowing my way through the ACIM workbook I arrive at, "I want the peace of God."

If I know I mean it then there is nothing more to say.

Well in the workbook, there is two more pages of explanation.

To say the words is nothing. To mean them is everything.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

La Porte Half Marathon

The second leg of my November race tri-fecta happened today.

2,000 people and a bridge.

I've been feeling good lately. And today I thought, well, it is only a half marathon. I started off running with the crowd, passing those walkers and other slow pokes who should have started further back in the crowd. While we had a big wide road to run on, it was still crowded most of the race.

During the first 5 miles, I was near 11 min miles. Then we head up and over the bridge, around a marina and back over the bridge. When we get down the steepest par of the bridge, there is about 3 miles to go. I was around 10:30 minutes per mile pace (average for the race) at that point.

It being "only" a half marathon, I decided to burn it in. I had about one more mile of gradual down hill and then 2 miles of flat. It was the first time in ages I have allowed myself to run full out for any distance at all. I had a mantra in my mind and I didn't think of anything else. My mantra was, "Father all power comes from you all-one."

In a race this big, I knew full well that there would be no age group award. But it the last 3 miles I thought: run your own race.  I kept my form straight and put the pedal to the medal, all fears of injury aside.

I finished in 2h16min. That is the fastest half marathon I've run in years. It felt good. Now, several hours later, I'm also sure I didn't hurt anything. And this despite that I ran 12 miles yesterday.

It is strange to me now to compare my body for different type of races. In the past month I've done a real slow ultra marathon, a very decent full marathon and today this very speedy half marathon. Today, running fast with only a mantra in my consciousness was more spiritually mesmerizing than the hours going at slow pace in the ultra.

Physically, I'm more successful at faster shorter races, like a full marathon, than I am trudging through an ultra. What I wanted in ultras, meditation, seems best obtained on slow training runs in the Seabrook trails. I also meditate by sitting. But I am never successful at the ultra marathon. I get into pain and decide to quit; perhaps wisely so as I've never irreparably injured myself. As a means of spiritual enlightenment, it is not working.

I am closer to admitting who and what I really am.

I have been trying to decide whether to enter a double marathon (2 marathons in 2 days) in February, or go in a bigger race which would be either one full marathon or one half marathon. It is very difficult for me to let go of the multi-day race, but I would have more fun and be happier going in the bigger race. The double marathon would be very small and on a very boring lap type course. Blisters would occur. It is such a small race that it has low quality swag and pretty expensive. But it IS a double. I want to do a double close to home so I can decide if I want to go in any more ultras. But I fail at ultras.

I really am a marathoner. I should just do it.

Next weekend, I'm going in another full marathon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lesson 183

I found so much comfort in this lesson last night and this morning. It soothed both my ego and my soul and made peace inside my being.

Yesterday I was stressed out at work. I felt reactive emotionally and pushing back. Then, in the evening I felt bad anything had happened. I did my evening exercise, then read the lesson and took my inventory and meditated.

I slept good. I did not obsess about work or any person in the night. I woke up a little before the alarm and got up. I did the same spiritual activities again. I realized how my main conflict is with myself.

For my life, I've struggled to be more calm inside. Do others struggle or is there something wrong with my wiring? No, I think most people are either unconscious, or not involved with mental self improvement through spiritual / meditative techniques. Most people are too distracted with activities to address the depth of the issue. I live a solitary life with lots of silence, no TV or other outside input. This makes me sensitive to times when my ego/ emotions are stirred up. Then it is my job to get the swirling upsetness to settle into peace. That is my spiritual life at its core.

So I went for a very nice run this morning and ordered pictures from my last marathon. Today at work, I am successfully accomplishing work; and staying out of anyone's face.  Peaceful I am.

Here is the whole of Lesson 183.

I call upon God’s Name and on my own.
1 God’s Name is holy, but no holier than yours. To call upon His Name is but to call upon your own. A father gives his son his name, and thus identifies the son with him. His brothers share his name, and thus are they united in a bond to which they turn for their identity. Your Father’s Name reminds you who you are, even within a world that does not know; even though you have not remembered it.
2 God’s Name can not be heard without response, nor said without an echo in the mind that calls you to remember. Say His Name, and you invite the angels to surround the ground on which you stand, and sing to you as they spread out their wings to keep you safe, and shelter you from every worldly thought that would intrude upon your holiness.
3 Repeat God’s Name, and all the world responds by laying down illusions. Every dream the world holds dear has suddenly gone by, and where it seemed to stand you find a star; a miracle of grace. The sick arise, healed of their sickly thoughts. The blind can see; the deaf can hear. The sorrowful cast off their mourning, and the tears of pain are dried as happy laughter comes to bless the world.
4 Repeat the Name of God, and little names have lost their meaning. No temptation but becomes a nameless and unwanted thing before God’s Name. Repeat His Name, and see how easily you will forget the names of all the gods you valued. They have lost the name of god you gave them. They become anonymous and valueless to you, although before you let the Name of God replace their little names, you stood before them worshipfully, naming them as gods.
5 Repeat the Name of God, and call upon your Self, Whose Name is His. Repeat His Name, and all the tiny, nameless things on earth slip into right perspective. Those who call upon the Name of God can not mistake the nameless for the Name, nor sin for grace, nor bodies for the holy Son of God. And should you join a brother as you sit with him in silence, and repeat God’s Name along with him within your quiet mind, you have established there an altar which reaches to God Himself and to His Son.
6 Practice but this today; repeat God’s Name slowly again and still again. Become oblivious to every name but His. Hear nothing else. Let all your thoughts become anchored on this. No other word we use except at the beginning, when we say today’s idea but once. And then God’s Name becomes our only thought, our only word, the only thing that occupies our minds, the only wish we have, the only sound with any meaning, and the only Name of everything that we desire to see; of everything that we would call our own.
7 Thus do we give an invitation which can never be refused. And God will come, and answer it Himself. Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. They cannot reach Him thus. He cannot hear requests that He be not Himself, or that His Son receive another name than His.
8 Repeat God’s Name, and you acknowledge Him as sole Creator of reality. And you acknowledge also that His Son is part of Him, creating in His Name. Sit silently, and let His Name become the all-encompassing idea that holds your mind completely. Let all thoughts be still except this one. And to all other thoughts respond with this, and see God’s Name replace the thousand little names you gave your thoughts, not realizing that there is one Name for all there is, and all that there will be.
9 Today you can achieve a state in which you will experience the gift of grace. You can escape all bondage of the world, and give the world the same release you found. You can remember what the world forgot, and offer it your own remembering. You can accept today the part you play in its salvation, and your own as well. And both can be accomplished perfectly.
10 Turn to the Name of God for your release, and it is given you. No prayer but this is necessary, for it holds them all within it. Words are insignificant, and all requests unneeded when God’s Son calls on his Father’s Name. His Father’s Thoughts become his own. He makes his claim to all his Father gave, is giving still, and will forever give. He calls on Him to let all things he thought he made be nameless now, and in their place the holy Name of God becomes his judgement of their worthlessness.
11 All little things are silent. Little sounds are soundless now. The little things of earth have disappeared. The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God, who calls upon his Father. And his Father’s Voice gives answer in his Father’s holy Name. In this eternal, still relationship, in which communication far transcends all words, and yet exceeds in depth and height whatever words could possibly convey, is peace eternal. In our Father’s Name, we would experience this peace today. And in His Name, it shall be given us.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fort Worth Marathon....

... and Bill Wilson retreat.

I originally signed up for this race because they give out cool belt buckles for medals. And because I seem unable to not sign up for races. Winter is racing season in Texas; and marthoners come out in all their glory. Many of the same faces are there every week. Yup- as many marathons as physically possible.

Logistically, everything went well. I made it out of and back into Houston despite rain and closed freeways. Traffic is the most important topic in Houston; avoiding it that is. I encountered no traffic in Fort Worth, but traffic is an important topic there too. I expected it to be a bigger race; only about 300 were entered in the marathon.

Logistically, everything associated with the race itself went perfect. Nice aid stations. Easy packet pickup. Plenty of parking at the start.

My hotel was nice too. Nothing broken. The air conditioning was quiet.

So I get into Fort Worth and my hotel. I have with me a new book: "My Name is Bill." A biography of Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA. Very interesting details about Bill; his family background, his life hurdles and finally the AA years. It was interesting to me to see how Bill's personal emotional problems fit in to the writing of the 12 steps. then it was interesting to me to see how my own emotional problems fit in with that frame work. I have of course been working the steps for 30 years, but this gave me a fresh perspective on how I feel about it.

And then, since I'd get tired of laying on the bed and reading, I'd get up and pace back and forth in the hotel room reading pages 62-63 of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous out loud to myself and refreshing my memorization; which pages are about selfishness and self centeredness and turning your life over to your Creator.

I haven't drank for 30 years. I don't really remember what alcoholic craving was like. I do remember succumbing to it. I remember buying alcohol day after day. I remember trying to hide the gin from myself on the top shelf of my pantry. I remember that when I felt too drunk, I'd put my finger down my throat to throw up.... and then drink some more.

It was good to take the time out to think about all this.

Then on Sunday, I was up before the alarm to go to the marathon. I was there early so I continued to read my book in the car. At 30 min before the race, I got in line at the porta-potties. Then got back in the car; it was a tiny bit chilly. Just before the start, I got out of the car, walked about 50 feet to the start and shivered for about 10 min. Then we were off.

The course for this race is almost all on bike path; so traffic was not a worry. I ran 100% for the first 8.5 miles at about 11 min per mile pace. Then I started running 7 min and walking 1 min for the rest of the race. I got to talk to several people along the way and greet a some I hadn't seen for awhile.

I spent a good deal of time noticing the difference in how my body feels when I am doing a fast marathon vs a slow ultra marathon. I had the option of pushing myself at the end of the marathon because I had a certain end point. With a 24 hour race, I'm always conserving because I don't know how long I'll keep it up. Also, I get less blisters with a running marathon than I do with walking an ultra (an issue I don't know how to solve).  I am extremely pleased with my 5:04 time. It averages out to about 11:45 per mile. I'm happy with that because I train much easier than I race.

The belt buckle looks cool. Unfortunately, it is not properly designed to be used as a belt buckle. Rats! I really wanted a marathon belt buckle to wear. Now I have two that can't be worn.

Any results from all my AA pondering? Well, I did real well with a personality issue at work today. That is progress. I'll take it. Concentrating on turning my life over to a higher power and remembering that "of myself I am nothing" always works to make my relationships better. For that I am grateful; and I did thank whatever higher power there is as I drove home today.

I'll post pictures when they come out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rainy Sunday

Today, I spent 3.5 hours running in the rain. It actually went pretty good.

I've been mulling over my week in Germany and the German colleagues. Also one American colleague. Concerning the Germans, I have concluded: there is not much I can do to change the world. But alot I can do to make Baytown Texas a safe plant. Regarding my American colleague: I say in my soul, How may I best serve you? If I serve my colleague in my mind and heart, all will be well with the universe. I pray for _____. I pray for her health, her prosperity and her happiness. I pray that everything I want for myself be given to her.

And go on my way, unburdened by my own ego.