One week out…

Well, here we are one week away from the big day.

The “taper” has begun, and I am easing into recovery.  Thus, the reason why I am writing this entry in the middle of the day.  It is nice to have a day off but feels odd.

I have put in many long hard hours over the last several months.

The journey almost brings me to tears reflecting on it.

I have lost faith and gained faith in my coach and in myself over and over, but I never strayed from the training plan as much as I wanted to out of fatigue.

Yesterday was a huge race for me.

I came in third for my age category at the Pittsfield, MA Berkshire Ultra Running Club’s 13.1-mile race.  If I had only known how close I was, I would have never lolly gagged taking photos and eating my Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches at the aid station.  I had no idea.  I was just running for the sheer fun of it, finally.

I came in first before last years top age category finisher’s time.

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The course was terrific.  No better than that, it was absolutely stunning.  Challenging ascents but not overly and nice descents that I took advantage of.  Many were complaining about the course being hard, but after some of the recent ones that I have been on, i.e., Jay Peak and my other mountain races, it was a piece of cake for me.  Actually, this was a paltry 2,500 in elevation gain – a piece of cake!  Actually, I was running up some ascents when others were walking.  That felt damn good.

This photo was taken atop of Berry Mountain located at an elevation of 2,201 part of the Tacomic Mountains of Western, MA and New York State.  Stunning…

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All in all, a great effort that restored my confidence for next week.  And, it proved that all of this hard work is starting to pull out my potential as an endurance athlete. It has ground me down to the point of exhaustion, but now I see why.  Perseverance and persistence are my greatest attributes and yesterday shows it is paying off.

Phew, did I sweat that one out?

I even am resurrecting my goal of going to Moab, UT to run 31 miles in the desert in the red rocks in February.

But, let’s keep it within the day.

Or at last next weekend.  I have my “drop bag” prepared with snacks, Tylenol, rain gear, Immodium, wet wipes, and all the usual “drop bag” kinds of stuff.  A “drop bag” is basically your supplies that you can pick up at points along the course as a 31-mile race is not as “supported” as say a road race would be.  So, you must be a bit self-sufficient.

I am having a “take it easy” kind of a running week so that I will be well rested for our big endeavor.  Think of me next Sunday, nearly all day…as I anticipate it will take anywhere between 7 – 9 hours depending on how fatigue sets in and how I handle it.  I have a run, walk, run strategy lined up, and I will work it as best I can.  But, fatigue is the enemy here.  And, thus, all of my back to back runs over the last several months – running on tired legs.

And, I finally hit 1,000 miles running this year.  1,022 to be exact.

Next weekend.

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Self Sabotage​ at its finest…

I was very, very close to giving up or perhaps I should say giving in to my own self-sabotage.

Let me explain.

Jay Peak took a lot of out me.

A lot.

So, I self-combusted.  Started binging. Stopped running.  Wanted to fire my coach.  You know, self-sabotage.

 

I am so glad that I have started to see my own behavioral patterns.  Because this isn’t the first time with this rodeo.

Why do you think I haven’t gotten past the marathon distance?

I was supposed to go to Moab, Utah and run a 50K this past February.  As the date got closer, I ate my heart out and fell apart both physically and mentally.  Came up with tons of excuses too.

So, I am so grateful that I was able to quickly push the pause button.  And, that my coach did his job. He talked me off of the ledge.  Some may say well he is paid to do that.  Sure, but that is what a coach does, right?

So, I got right back into training and eating right.

I worked on Saturday leading a Board retreat in Bridgeport, CT.  So, Sunday I signed up for the Surftown Half Marathon in Westerly, RI.  What a cool race it was.

I aced it with a speedy, crushing (as Coach called it) 2:19 time for a pace somewhere around 10:35 for 13.1 miles.  I was cooking and on fire.  I felt good.  I used a Galloway 5:00 minute run with 1-minute walk segment.

Here the ole girl is proud that she still has the gas in the tank.

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Today, I took the day off from “work” and ran a 5-hour endurance trail run.

Back to back runs on tired feet will hopefully prepare me for 31 miles in two weeks.

The one thing that I contemplated through this all was the power of me.

Yep, me.

I almost threw it all away.

I didn’t want to run a half-marathon and then run 5-hours today.

Heck, who in their right mind wants to do that.  The half-marathon was at half-marathon pace.  An exertion in and of itself.

In fact, during the start of my run today, I thought numerous times of just “calling it” and quitting.

But, I refused to.

I took the run in bite sized time increments.  Half an hour after half an hour got me through.

It is amazing what one is capable of.

Truly, if nothing else, I have pushed myself both physically and mentally to expand.

I may be physically and mentally tired – BUT I AM NOT GIVING UP.

How can I give up less than 2 weeks from race day???

Here I am after just completing my 5-hour trail run.

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The training continues this week, but with no “workouts” just 1 1/2 hours of runs daily.

I am either going to do the 20-mile Newport Galloway run or stay in Vermont (I will be in VT with a client on Thursday and Friday) and run 2.5 hours on the Mt. Ascutney trail system to simulate my upcoming race conditions.  After that, the following week, my runs are nothing more than easy, recovery runs as I taper into the big event.

No official half marathon race photos from Sunday yet but I will be sure to post them when they are released!

Hey, please keep this ole gal focused and leave me a word of encouragement in the comments below…pretty please!?!?

 

 

Sat Nam.

Sat Nam.

Inside of me.

 

Sat Nam.

Shining through the illusion of self.

 

Sat Nam.

The true identity.

 

Sat Nam.

The only existence that matters.

 

Sat Nam.

The divinity that lies within.

 

Truth is my identity.

The essence of all that is

like a mirror shining on the cosmos.

 

Divinity rests inside

to be discovered like

a seed as it grows.

 

Sat Nam.

Awaken my soul.

 

The call to live everything…

THE CALL TO LIVE EVERYTHING

One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise.

We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts. We should never forget that death is waiting for us. A man in Connemara said one time to a friend of mine, ‘Beidh muid sínte siar,’ a duirt sé, ‘cúig mhilliúin blain déag faoin chré’ – We’ll be lying down in the earth for about fifteen million years, and we have a short exposure. I feel that when you recognize that death is on its way, it is a great liberation because it means that you can in some way feel the call to live everything that is within you.

One of the greatest sins is the unlived life, not to allow yourself to become chief executive of the project you call your life, to have a reverence always for the immensity that is inside of you.

 

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John O’Donohue

Excerpt from WALKING ON THE PASTURES OF WONDER
John O’Donohue in conversation with John Quinn

Inishbofin / Co. Galway – 2017
Photo: © Ann Cahill

Take off the mask

Illusions of grandeur.

Momentary lapses of self-importance?

Egocentric desires run rampant.

 

Take off the mask.

 

One word breaks the crackled skin.

Not worshipped enough?

How dare they.

 

Take off the mask.

 

Anxiety, fear, defensiveness pervades like fog over the ocean.

Have your fragile assumptions been checked?

Defend that ego.

 

Take off the mask.

 

Stop the struggle.

Release yourself into the God

who created you.

Let go of your illusions of self.

 

Take off the mask.

 

Let go of the need for control.

Release yourself into the God

who birthed you.

Let go of your illusions of egocentric desires.

 

Live.

 

“The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness.” — John O’Donohue

 

 

Down, down, down…

Down, down, down.

Deeper I go.

The ascent up was meaningless.

 

A job making six figures.

Traveling all over the country.

Money to use lavishly.

Look at me and my title.

 

Never enough.

 

Down, down, down.

Deeper I go.

The ascent down is full of meaning.

 

Freefalling.

In deep confusion

at times in desperate despair.

 

Clinging to an illusionary existence.

 

What am I really here for?

What am I suppose to be doing?

 

I shed myself of false pretenses

trying to live into an authenticity that is all mine.

Only trying to do good

while getting things done.

 

Down, down, down.

Deeper I go.

I am finding myself in the freefall.

In the descent down.

 

Until I finally hit bottom.

And, I have arrived.

 

As a human, I’m just a tiny moment of consciousness, a tiny part of creation, a particle that reflects only a fragment of God’s love and beauty. And yet that’s enough. And then we return to where we started—in the heart of God. Everything in between is a school of love.  – Richard Rohr

 

 

In the darkness

Where are you in the darkness?

I am vulnerable.

I am foolish.

I am weak.

I am despised.

 

Where are you in the darkness?

You see my wounds.

You see my hurting.

You see my agony.

You see my angst.

 

Where are you in the darkness?

I want to see the light.

I want to feel the light.

I want to be the light.

I want to spread the light.

 

Where are you in the darkness?

I wait.