Sunday, June 28, 2020
I have a friend who thinks I am a bad ass. I haven't known how to respond to that since I don't feel like a bad ass.
However....after today, maybe I do.
Wouldn't someone who has run, as of today, 100 marathons in her life be a bad ass? Or who ran a 100 mile race? Or became a millionaire? Or who finished monastic formation? Or successfully accomplished FIRE (financial independence retire early)? Or who had been sober for 34 years? Or hold down a job at Starbucks at the age of 62? Or, many other things I have accomplished in this life.
So, someone who completed a 600+ mile virtual race across Tennessee, in half the allotted time, ought to be a bad ass.
Well, a few days ago, I did the math and saw that I was getting down to the end of my race across Tennessee. A tiny thought went through my mind, "Do a marathon to finish it off." Along side of this impending finish was the fact that I had failed to complete a virtual marathon during April because when I had got to 22 miles, my feet hurt and I quit because a virtual race didn't mean anything.
Well that is a good idea: finish off a 600+ mile/ 2 month effort with a celebration by running a marathon. Be a bad ass! But also, I felt a little resistance because of that failure in April. Should I try this again? I didn't want to feel like a failure again. I haven't done that many miles in one run for awhile. Can I do it?
To sign up for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee was an impulse from my inner being to begin with. It felt so right. And, 20,000 other people, and some dogs, have joined me. My success at carrying out the project was effected by alignment with my inner being. My energy was lined up with my inner being and momentum was generated to complete the project. In fact, I have been obsessed with getting miles every day, even walking on the treadmill to complete miles in the afternoon after a shift at work.
But, to do a marathon by myself, I needed more than a vague idea. I needed to strongly intend to do it. I needed emotional momentum. I needed to line my energy up with the idea. This means some practical activities like getting all my drinks ready the night before. Taping my toes. Setting my alarm clock. It is hot here so a person has to get up early to finish running a marathon. Still, I had to sit down with my journal last night and explore my fears. I had to complete a focus wheel to raise my vibration in relation to the idea. I had to segment intend by remembering how I felt during a 50 mile race last November when I had been in the zone and finished trouble free. I had to think honestly about this upcoming segment and my intentions for it. Was the idea an ego idea that would fail or an inner being idea which would succeed? It is up to me to decide and then line up with the energy. These energy activities are to experience the success in advance so it is the cause.
The alarm went off at 4 am. I did have to decide at that point whether to get out of bed. That has happened before too, not making it out of bed I mean. But I did get the idea of how I would feel if I completed a marathon versus how I would feel if I went back to sleep. I remembered how good it feels to run in the early morning coolness. I chose getting up.
I had a cup of coffee. The bad ass idea went across my mind. A bad ass has to get up early if she wants to do a bad ass thing. I did a meditation on physical well being. I felt much better. I felt like I just needed to be easy about it. I grabbed my hydro pack out of the refrigerator and made it out the door by 5 am.
I had planned to complete the marathon in two parts. First running from my front door and then going to a park with many trees during the hotter part. The first part went super well. It went so well that I extended it to 18.3 miles before getting back to home base. It was mostly cloudy and I felt appreciation that such a cool morning had been given to me.
When I got home, it was still cloudy and I had to decide where to complete the run. To go back out from my house or go to the park. I thought about how clouds can suddenly vanish and I thought about how much easier it is to run in the shade. I picked the shade. So I hopped in my car and drove the two miles to the park. Good choice. The clouds did disappear and by the time I had finished off the final eight miles, it was 87F. Course map (the straight line from green dot to hash mark is in the car, but not included in miles):
What surprised me however was that my feet and legs didn't reach any devastating level of pain. For the run, I had plenty of emotional momentum to keep going, but also, I wasn't in trouble with blisters. I didn't bonk.My feet didn't hurt. My hip didn't hurt. It was amazing. It has been a long time since I have felt so in the zone for a long distance effort.
The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee is now complete. I will finish in roughly 1,590th place of 20,000. I feel like a bad ass.
Check out my run on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/3684757639
I have the corona virus to thank for my amazing athletic feats of the past 3 months. Without corona there wouldn't be these virtual races. Actually, the corona virus has been very good to me. Everything about me is thriving at the moment. My mode of existence has shifted. There are many people who are doing amazing things during this corona virus time. Not everybody is worried about sickness. Just look around you and you will see them.
Stay tuned. I have another virtual race coming in two weeks. It includes a 50k race which has to be done in one effort.
Friday, June 26, 2020
May 1st began the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. The course was 635 miles from a lower western side of the state to the very tip of the state on the eastern side. As of yesterday, I'd completed 603 miles.
Today I walked 6 miles. That leaves 25 more miles. I'm planning to do all those miles on Sunday in the form of a virtual marathon. A marathon to celebrate Virtuality. Vitality!
A part of my brain believed that this virtual race is really a race and I should put as much as I could into it. And, whenever I am not at work, I really have nothing to do except go for walks. That's why I have finished 2 months before the deadline. Essentially, I did as many miles as I could for the past 2 months. I am really astonished at the number of miles I have completed.
Only lost one toenail. 😁
I've loved almost all the miles. I love both the pathways through the forests and the pathways across wide open prairie.
I don't know how to stop. So, I signed up for another virtual race which starts in the middle of July. It is a short one however: 4 different distances to be completed during a 7 day span. The challenge is that one of the distances is 50k. I'll have to get up early and try to get some big miles before it gets too hot.
I am putting my memorabilia from virtual races up on a wall. I want to remember this year of pandemic.
Friday, June 19, 2020
This morning, I ran another 11 miles to count for my Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. There are less than 100 miles to go. I'm looking forward to finishing. I can hardly wait to finish so that I no longer have this commitment hanging over my head. Oh, sure, I go running alot without a virtual race commitment. And I am finishing this virtual race at east 7 weeks before the deadline. But because it is a "race" I've felt compelled to do as many miles as possible, between 5 and 15 every day depending on whether I work or not. I still get around to lifting weights 2 or 3 times a week, but I have ditched exercise machines for doing miles. I think that the exercise machines offered some advantages which I am missing while engaged in the race. They were working some different muscles, were non-impact and were high intensity. But I feel compelled to get miles done first.
Why is that?
This map shows me at mile 527, 83%; though I've run another 11 miles since this map was updated.
Aside from running miles and working at Starbucks, I've been attempting to build momentum for my writing project. Just writing this blog is writing.
I've also made a little progress on Jean Paul Sartre's "Being and Nothingness." I like this alot:
"Consciousness has nothing substantial, it is pure "appearance" in the sense that it exists only to the degree to which is appears. But it is precisely because consciousness is pure "appearance", because it is total emptiness (since the entire world is outside it)--it is because of this identity of appearance and existence within it that it can be considered as the absolute."
Or these phrases:..."The percipi referred us to a percipiens, the being of which has been revealed to us as consciousness"...."the immanence of self in self"...
For one thing, I encountered the word percipiens within the first 4 pages of this book and could not grasp what was meant, but now I do.
For another thing, whether Sartre meant it or not, the descriptions of consciousness as nothing substantial and pure appearance seem to help me know and deeply feel my own higher consciousness. My total existence as a being and an appearing existence seem to make sense to me and I feel very good pondering and allowing these abstract notions.
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
One of the goals of my life has been to know my higher self. This project is by some estimations an impossible task. Some contemplative texts such as "The Cloud of Unknowing" posit that you can't know. Other writers describe knowing this higher consciousness but only after a phenomenal incongruity, like a near death experience, like an LSD trip, like some other experiential extreme, including visits by supernatural beings. None of these things have ever happened to me and I have frequently been pissed off about it.
Because I wanted the experience. I wanted to know.
I am reading a difficult book. The book started off so difficult that I almost gave up. But starting on page 11, I ran into a series of ideas which I actually understood. The series of ideas lead me to a consciousness of my deeper consciousness. This knowing, this ability to know, is what I have been seeking. What I know is that inner pre-reflective non-self-conscious consciousness; my vibrational beingness, pre-manifested existence.
I will show here the series of ideas. Each could be contemplated and possible you can achieve knowing that you know, perceiving the non-reflective.
“…consciousness is the knowing being in his capacity as being and not as being known” (Being and Nothingness page 10).
“All consciousness … is consciousness of something … there is no consciousness that has no content” (Being and Nothingness, page 11).
“…the necessary and sufficient condition for a knowing consciousness to be knowledge of its object, is that it be consciousness of itself as being that knowledge” (Being and Nothingness 11).
“…reflection or positional consciousness of consciousness, or better yet knowledge of consciousness. This would be a complete consciousness directed toward something which is not it; that is, toward consciousness as object of reflection” (Being and Nothingness, 12).
“…the known, the knower known, the knower known by the knower, etc…the totality always falls into the unknown; that is, we always bump up against a non-self-conscious reflection…” (Being and Nothingness 12).
“…there must be an immediate, non-cognitive relation of the self to itself” (Being and Nothingness 12).
“…every positional consciousness of an object is at the same time a non-positional consciousness of itself” (Being and Nothingness 13).
“…those fleeting consciousnesses which have passed by without being reflected on.” (Being and Nothingness13).
“…it is the non-reflective consciousness which renders the reflection possible; there is a pre-reflective cogito…” (Being and Nothingness 13).
“Every conscious existence exists as consciousness of existing.” (Being and Nothingness 13).
It is from following this difficult trail, including ideas previously contemplated, that my mind became conscious of itself; that is, the higher consciousness and the lower ego consciousness somehow perceived each other. They knew of each other’s existence but also that they were one being. The higher consciousness which does not speak in words was aware, and felt in this world by the lower consciousness which does think in words.
In my words: Behind the existing consciousness is a non-existent consciousness which is conscious of existing.
The book is Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre. Nearly 800 pages, written in 1943, I don't recommend it to anyone. But I enjoy chewing on ideas. And this book does provide that.
In other news, I am 432 miles into my virtual race across Tennessee. More than two thirds done.
Sunday, May 31, 2020
The most interesting, poignant, thing happened today. I was running in a small park which is out in the county, surrounded by fields. The park itself is very uncrowded almost all the time, which is why I like using it. Today I was running 2 mile laps and stopping at my car for drinks of water. The run was going very well and I was appreciating it.
During my last lap, I noticed a very very small fawn. It was all by itself and making this pathetic little bleating cry. Very small. No mama deer anywhere in sight. Oh my god. My heart was crushed. This poor little fawn had no mama. About that time, another car came by on the park road. It slowed down looking at the fawn, but also, I was out in the road too. They rolled down their window when they got to me. I asked if they had their phone could they call an animal shelter or something. I pointed out that the fawn had no mama.
We were not able to call anyone right then, it being Sunday. I said that I would try to call later. As I jogged away, I noticed that the young man had got out of their car and was walking toward the fawn. I assume that they caught it, as it wasn't there when I drove by after I finished my lap.
Such an amazing thing to see human hearts reach out to this tiny living being who would die without help. Oh, yeah. The people who stopped to help the fawn were black.
I don't know much about love,but I think this was it.
In other news, I am just over half way in my virtual run across Tennessee. In the month of May, I jogged or walked 335.7 miles. The winners of the race finished in 11 or 12 days (621 miles). And many of them are participating in a race back to the start. I know of a 73 year old lady who is planning to walk there and back within the 4 month allowed time frame. Me? Once, I get across Tennessee, I'm done.
Here is a map of the course and my location. And, the race t-shirt came yesterday.