Sunday, March 19, 2017

Seabrook Trail Challenge

Yesterday I ran a marathon and today I ran a half marathon. It is called the Seabrook Trail Challenge. I got some very interesting swag. Three medals which magnetically link together.



I put alot into this race. I always put more into a race than I do a training run. But I pushed myself hard this time. Maybe because I knew that it was going to be hot and I wanted to get done as soon as possible. Maybe I wanted to see what kind of shape I am in. On Saturday, there was a chance of winning an age group award.

But I surprised myself. For several years, I've mixed walking with running in marathons. It is to reduce impact and injuries. It is because I'm not really sure of my knees. It is also because I do alot of miles every weekend, and run many marathons per year; so tearing myself up too much in any one race makes no sense. But recently, I've only been doing one race a month, so I've been working on more running and less walking in marathons. Well, at least during the Texas winter (it is not possible to run that much during the summer). In my February marathon, I pushed the "all running" out to 14 miles before that race got too hot. Yesterday, in my marathon, I ran all the way to 20 miles before switching to 4x1s. I knew I was hot at 18 miles and was slowing down. But my average pace for 20 miles was 10:40 minutes/mile. That is amazing to me. Then today, for the half marathon, I ran the whole thing at an easy pace of 11:30 min/mile.

I did get first in my age group yesterday; but only because the faster ladies weren't there. But I was happy about it none the less.

This total performance makes me wonder what I can actually do. How good are my knees and achilles right now? Is all that cross training doing a good job? In 2018 I'm signed up for the Houston Marathon. I wonder if I should actually "train" for it. A big race should provide plenty of competitive urge; none of the loneliness I usually have in small races.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Re-imagining the Dream

My last post claimed I'm thinking about leaving my job; leaving the American dream. Then I got my bonus. Adding up all the money I actually make convinced me that continuing to work makes financial sense.

So the real problem with my life is me and my attitudes.

And I have spent 31 years working on said attitudes; but with a major distraction. If only I could be spiritual, float around and never work again. Such a dream landed me in a monastery for 4 years; which cost me about $500,000 in lost wages.

As a result of my current investigation into quitting my job, I realized a couple of things. Yes, work is hard and I'm like most people in not wanting to do it. Spiritual directors say that we should follow our dreams and not work at "jobs". But is working at an engineering job in a chemical plant really killing my soul? If I believe so then yes, it is. If I am consciously going to work with some other attitude, then no. Any emotional problems I have with the people at work are no different than the emotional problems I had with the sisters in the convent. And quitting work altogether would leave me with the same emotional problems.

So the real problem with my life is me and my attitudes.

I have access to attitude improvement. Mostly, it is practicing A Course in Miracles. Keeping in my mind, Course thinking instead of ego thinking is a challenge. Daily opening of the book puts fresh healing cooling balm into my brain.

Another result of this "quitting" investigation is that I seem to have pushed away my 2 spiritual advisers. I need to accept my own choices as the best for me no matter what these so called spiritual advisers say. I am an engineer and I must have chosen that for this life's purpose. I am not a spiritual author; and I won't suddenly become one just because I quit my job. My life is not a worthless life because I work as an engineer.

Yesterday, the bug man came so I don't have bugs in the house. Today, the AC man came to check the AC, so the house is cool. Is having the money to pay for such services so terribly un-spiritual?

Tomorrow, I'm going in a marathon. On Sunday, I'm going in a half marathon. Because of doing the 2 races in a row, I get a special medal. The swag gets hung on a wall with numerous other bits of swag. Am I guilty of a terrible shallowness because I love medals? I love races, even though I come in behind. Does this make me a spiritual loser?

The problem with my life is not my life. It is how I feel about it. And I can change my decisions about what a good life is. I need to drop the rocks.

The Dream can be a dream of inner joy. Joy just is. Joy does not have to be caused. Just think the word Joy, and I feel better instantly.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Leaving the American Dream

My company is offering a buy out. Earlier this week, I got an e-mail saying I was eligible. I felt a sudden surge of joyous energy inside my body; like, "yes, get out of jail." Along with that, I also thought of about 4 business opportunities. Dreams of meaning sprung into place.

So, this morning I began looking at a 30 year financial plan and income prospect plan. It is a doable situation. The picture would look much better if I worked until I was 65, but quitting at 60 is doable. But it is counter-cultural to decide that low on the hog is where you plan to live in order to be off the corporate America grid.

Ponder that if you are a baby boomer or a suburban dweller. The energy and aliveness of the sixties has been swallowed by corporate jobs, mini-vans, white wine, Starbucks and children's college educations. What did all of this mean?

Is the purpose of my life just to pad my retirement? Or maybe to have health insurance?Maybe not.

My point is just to think about it. Forgetting the comfy life style which is the hallmark of the American dream could be just the thing my life needs in order for me to be truly alive.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

True Freedom

Are you ever trying to make a life critical decision?  Should I do this or that, meaning something like leave this job and search for a new idea?

Or are you ever just upset with things as they are?

I am in the midst of transforming my life, perhaps. I was trying to figure out if I am running away from a situation or answering a call to a new situation. Then I read this in a book by Ekart Tolle called Stillness Speaks:

"True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with the Now is the end of suffering."

This didn't tell me what thing to choose, but it did give me the opportunity to ask myself, "What if today is exactly as I chose it?" I became at peace with this idea and walked out the door to go to work.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Jail Break Half Marathon

It is interesting to compare my racing style and physical outcome between full marathons and half marathons.


I don't train for speed at all. In fact, while I do exercise a couple of hours every day (not all running), I have no "training plan." I just do what I want. And since I run many marathons, I don't ever try to go fast. Going fast puts wear and tear on my body that I don't really need.

Last Saturday dawned clear and cold (for the Gulf coast). I felt good. When the gun went off, I took off. I found that I was easily running 9:30 minute miles. I just kept doing it. I finished a half marathon in 2:05. Dang good for me. I haven't done that in 4 years.

But I was more exhausted after that than I am after a slow 26 miles. My next race is a challenge. Marathon on day one and half marathon on day two. It probably will be hot. So last weekend is it for speed for me this year.