Sunday, September 30, 2012

Very Sweet Weekend of Training

I'm not sure I can believe this, but I guess it is so. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, I've covered 40 miles plus 2 hours of other cross-training; over 12 hours.

That is fantastic. So, I got 260 miles this month and 96 hours; the best this year. I even had to reformat my graph to fit the 260 miles on it:

I'm not very fast, but I get the miles and time in. Well, my next race is a half marathon in Germany and then Ultracentric in Dallas. I spend my time thinking about Ultracentric. I'm signed up for 48 hours, but won't even get to Dallas until 8 or 9 hours after the race starts (work issue). I just hope to make the most of the time I have there.

It is a strange life I live: work all week with about 2 hours of training per day. Spent all weekend alone either running, eating or laying on the bed. This style has been going on for several years. I could say its for racing, but it goes on regardless.

In two weeks, I've scheduled a 4 day weekend. It will be good to do this just before going to Germany (where there won't be much more than short morning walks). My trip to Germany is for work, not fun.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Perfect Day

I got up when the alarm went off. I knew it was supposed to rain today but I got up anyway. Looking at the radar, it did look like a massive yellow spot was about to spend the day over me. So I drank more coffee and worked on my spiritual program. I came up with this bit of phrases for today.

I have the vision now to look beyond.
It has been given me to see no thorns.
The Holy Spirit's vision is not an idle gift.
My vision has become my greatest power for undoing.

I wrote this on a slip of paper and taped it to the treadmill. I then put 90 minutes in on said treadmill. Then I put in 30 minutes on the ex-bike. Then another 90 minutes on the treadmill. This turns out to be a much bigger calorie expenditure than if I had gone outside. The treadmill is a perpetual up hill. When I walk, I make it pretty steep. When I jog, its faster than if I was outside because it is "softer."

Then I had salad and an open face melted cheese sandwich. Then some reading and a nap. Then coffee, peanut butter and dried pineapple. Then..... time for A Prairie Home Companion. So I jumped on the elliptic for 45 minutes and then the nordic track for 45 minutes.

So, 5 hours of exercise on a Saturday is just about right.

There is one day left in the month, but I already have my biggest mileage month year to date by one mile and only lack 45 minutes to get my biggest hours of exercise month.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Excellent Week

Wow! I did great this week: almost 21 hours of aerobic workouts plus 3 strength workouts, including 51 miles. Today was especially super as I enjoyed 4 hours of Texas sun; and my heel wasn't hurting. With one more week to the month, I am over 200 miles and 70 hours.

But the whole time, I kept experiencing my new mental freedom: life is easy. What I mean is that in giving up the dark companions in my mind, I live in freedom. I give up my mental prison which consists of being annoyed with everyone for overlooking and ignoring my ego's ambitions and capricious wants.

Yes I am an avid Course in Miracles student. This is where I learned to set my mind free.

This month so far:


I have been in Texas a little over 10 months. Just today (Saturday) I realized: my past is over. There may be people in Missouri, Kansas or California who remember me. I work for the same company as when I was last in Kansas City. But I am here now. I am in Texas.

I am not plagued with the quest for enlightenment which drove me both into the convent and out of it; and drove the first 8 years of post monastic life. Enlightenment as a quest is part of the mental programming I somehow received.

Here is Texas, I am free to decide "whatever." I don't have to seek God.

This morning (Saturday) I had an unusual thought: start the day from a projection of what I want; not a material want but a way of being.

So it is Sunday morning and I am about to head out for my usual long distance walk. I'll use trees today as I slept in and it is hot outside.

But I had a genuine moment of clarity. Life is easy. It is only hard if you see it that way. I have a picture of a chemical plant on this blog for a reason. I like it there. I like my colleagues. I accept a successful career, fitness endeavor, economic outlook. None of this has to be corrupted with religious teachings or even the idea that the other people are bad.

And so, if I accept success, I don't have anything to preach about or a soap box to stand on. And so I am free. Free to do miles. Free to be alive.

I am just a girl with a blog. Nothing special.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Are you a sucker?

If so, then you probably would click yes to this:

Monday Go Again

From Sunday 9/16:

To allow myself to be afloat in a sea of nothingness; no moorings to anything of the ego. In the emptiness of this morning, I "almost" felt my true self. that is, I felt a moment of that something which is not my ego; something which had no agenda.

And now it is Monday:

See, weekends are hermit weekends. Yesterday, I did not even go outside. This time of introspection coupled with Course in Miracles study helped me to see how much I fight every thing and every one; at least in my mind. In person, I'm seen as helpful friendly and competent. Inside my head, it is fight fight fight. Fight food, fight exercise, fight my body, fight society, etc.

But, when I remember to stop and let it go, things are ok.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wonderful Terrible

Saturday evening: the new season of A Prairie Home Companion is on. Ira Glass and the Sisters are guests.

I continued my weekend workouts: 3 hours this morning. TRX, core and cross training (60 plus min, not done yet) this evening.

The brochure for the open enrollment for the company I work for came in the mail today. I reminded me that I work for a great company. I wish I could mention it by name, but I don't want to trigger its auto search. But, it is fabulous.

In A Course in Miracles, I am on chapter 17 in the text and this lesson: God is in everything I see because God is in my mind. But eyes have nothing to do with seeing. It is about vision.  

Clearly I am happy this evening. I can point to all these things in the material world. But none of these are new. I guess it is possible to just allow happiness for no material world reason; in fact not corrupting happiness with anything from this world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inner Ultra Runner

I am not my ego's hate and fear.
I can only be the Self of Love.

These are the phrases I jog/walked with today; 20.1 miles. I spend my time pondering God and the Holy Spirit, along with wondering how far I am going. I don't really plan these runs. I just put on a full hydro-pak and keep going until something hurts, it gets too hot or I run out of water.

Every weekend the inner ultra runner raises its head and takes command of my life. Now that I have discovered that I can run 50 miles in 12 hours while training at walking speeds, I know the inner ultra runner will continue to make its weekly appearance. Today as I was jogging, I thought about this inner determination. I also thought, "why not let it go on?" And so I did.

To want to run ultras is insane. I can't remember that I felt good at the end of 50 miles; and my struggles in my hotel room afterward were not pretty at all. But the rainbow in the sky on the last lap was worth it. The feeling of zooming when you have been running for 10 hours was incredible.

I do not know if I am just wasting my time and my body or building my legacy. Who cares about legacies? I'll be dead. And anyway, several 53 year old women are out there on the ultra circuit, doing better than me. I still feel like a novice wanna be.

My 9 day vacation is over and I go back to work tomorrow. I'll be back to the daily friction of carving 2 hours of work-out time out of a busy work day. Demands from colleagues on all sides. And then the need to regroup after work before I can do a work out. Up at 3:25, do it all and into bed at 9. Disgusting.

I have to go to Germany and give a presentation in a few weeks. It is so important that practice presentations are scheduled as global conference calls. I'm too lazy to go buy some new clothes. I'll look like a dork as always.

Next weekend, I'll be up for another pitiful performance. Luckily, summer may end in Texas. Last night, the temps dipped below 70F for the first time in 4 months. It was the first day in ages that seemed "fresh" or "crisp."

Saturday, September 8, 2012


It is September 8. I've been on vacation for 8 days, with one more to go tomorrow. I have done 106 miles of walk/jog; and a total of 31 hours of exercise. I hope for another hour this evening, plus a weight workout. I hope for another 14 miles tomorrow morning and a cross training hour in the evening. Here's what my year to date chart looks like:

I like running and working out. When ever I have time off work, that is time to train; not lay on a beach and overeat. Vacation is time for miles, as many as possible.

July vacation, when I went to Colorado, was pretty terrible. My heel was in soooo much pain. But, I seem to have worked my way through that for now.

Its cooled off in Texas: only in the mid-90s for the past few days. Yesterday, I slept in and didn't get around to going outside until 11 am. Of course it was already near 90 by then so I used a shady park. I stayed out for 3h14min. But, it did wipe me out for the rest of the day. But I was up early today and feeling good. I did 3h35min and then got the groceries.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


This is a new word I learned a few days ago: an unfinished energy pattern that ends up running your life.

I don't know that I have one energy pattern running my life, but there is one past situation to which my brain returns over and over: my monastic experience. I can't seem to forget this. It doesn't help that I look at their web pages and read their news stories. Ultimately, I know that being a nun cooped up on a religious order is not right for me. But the metaphysics of why I went there and who I am outside here continue to bug me.

For instance. On Sunday, I ran 50 miles. It was an incredible experience and went beyond what I thought I was capable of. My ability to run in the late stages of the race was a miracle and far different than any 50 miles race I've run before. At the monastery last Sunday, the sisters were having an open house to show off their remodeling. So they had the Abbot from the nearby men's monastery come over and bless the place. They gave tours. They had food.

When I lived at the monastery, I always hated the sedate lifestyle. And I never was in agreement with the all male Church hierarchy. On the other hand, I loved my 50 mile run.

Now it is Wednesday. I walked 6 miles yesterday, lifted free weights and did another hour of ex-machines. This morning I got up at 5:30 and hit the park in Seabrook at 6:45 for another 9 miles. Now I am taking my car for service and I will work out again this evening. And, I'll repeat the exercise routine for the rest of my vacation. You understand what this means: I was not injured by my 50 mile effort. Being injury free is also a miracle.

I am living my life. It is a real life. But no one bows before me as they do Sister OSB. My ego hates this. I think my ego is the only reason I am still holding up this energy. I picture my ego as a mad dog that attacks a stuffed toy over and over, violently shaking it around; and repeating the performance again tomorrow. If I had achieved enlightenment, perhaps I'd just laugh at the dog. And truly, as soon as I remember to laugh, I am detached and free.

My latest spiritual studies remind me that I will have to practice "conscious awareness" or I'll go back to unconscious ego domination. One of the differences between A Course in Miracles and stuff like Zen is that I am not alone. I have help and I don't have to do anything but step back and be quiet. Whatever/ Whoever the help is, it does work for me.

This morning in Meador park, the huge fat man on the lawnmower stopped his machine and smiled at me as I walked along the path: such a sweet smile!

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.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I was sitting in the Hobby airport and realized that ultra running is about untethering my soul.

(snap shot is of the cover of the book of that title)

To walk for 12 hours, is to just observe my mind but not act on is capriciousness.

Here is Fenton City park, the place where I hope be free.