Do what thou Love shall be the Will of the Law

me running
Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon 2010
I just came back from my third run in three days. This is unusual for me of late, and comes from my new found energy since I upped my protein intake. Today’s run was a little more, though, since the news of the Boston Marathon bombing hit my consciousness, and the sun shine beckoned me outdoors.

A wonderful thing happened on my run which hasn’t happened since I was training for a half marathon in 2010: I lost myself in the run. I reached that moment where I stopped paying attention to how far or how fast I was going, I was just running, and my brain was busy working things out. Things like “Do what thou Love shall be the Will of the Law.” Granted, there are some of you who know what this refers to, but for the rest of you, you can look up “Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

I’m not sure exactly what my bastardization means to anyone but myself, but it came from the other day when I watched Kumare, a documentary about a false prophet, and Jeff Who Lives at Home, a film that, oddly enough, seems to be an “answer movie” to M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. Kumare is a man’s quest to understand faith, studied the phenomena, and asked if just anyone could be a prophet, including himself. He creates an alter-ego prophet, sets up an ashram and religious practice, finds devotees and then unveils himself. Though Vikram (aka Kumare) maintains that he was not *actually* a religious leader, I found myself wanting to argue with him that he was, and also, a legitimate spiritual teacher. Jeff Who Lives at Home, features the tension between the two brothers, one who is terribly unlikable with a crumbling life, and another, stoner “loser” brother (Jeff) who sees the world through the lens of fate. Jeff wants to believe, and through the movie, made me believe (though frankly, only within the confines of the film.)[1]

The easiest explanation I have for what I believe in is that I am an atheist. Like Vikram Ghandi, the director and creator of Kumare, I was drawn to religious study hoping that it would help me understand and perhaps solidify my religious leanings. By age thirteen, I had a spiritual calling for ministry, one that despite my religious non-affiliation, I still have and see my vocational choices as being complimentary. My study of religion (both academically and through social circles) led me to abandon orthodoxy in favor of what I have always essentially believed: there is no magic. The caveat being that each person is a creator and divine, and creates the god of their belief and the magic according to their system. There are no gods, and there are all the gods. I see it as strange and powerful stuff, but only real to those who see and believe.

That being said, I think that religion and religious practice are necessary and part of the intrinsic fabric of many humans. I’m not about to take that away, especially if they respect my unwillingness to share in their devotion. During times of tragedy, people often feel helpless, especially when far away, and offer thoughts, prayers, lit candles and other rituals, most of which are materially useless, but enriching (I’m told) for believers.

My magic was that I went on a run, and fell into that brief euphoria that running can give a person. I engaged with an ecstatic moment, noted each runner as I passed them by, wondering if they were in a similar devotion today, thinking on the people of Boston, the runners, the observers, the city. Running, like many other body-punishing activities, lends to an ecstatic experience that is otherworldly. The Boston Marathon is a gathering of ecstatics some “True” others “False,”[2] but all sharing in a grueling experience that many will never take part in.

Though it did nothing, I ran. I thought of Boston. And perhaps like I accuse Kumare of being more of a prophet than he realizes, I show how much like Jeff I want to believe that putting myself out there with ecstatic intention means something more than sore quads in the morning.

[1]This “renewal of faith” within the confines of the film was done far better in Jeff Who Lives at Home than in Life of Pi. Life of Pi had beautiful special effects, but was in the end a spiritually hungry white person’s quest for meaning with the help of magical brown-person.

[2]All practices have their True Believers, those who will claim for whatever reason that no TRUE runner would do x, y, z. And those True Believers will disagree with what’s True. At 200 lbs, jogging a slow 2.5 mile, am I a true runner? At 155 lbs, and running 13.1 in 2:15:21, was I a true runner?

Spring Training

To say the least, I’ve been slacking. I’ve made excuses: busy at work, cold and wet outside, treadmills are boring, no training buddy. Meanwhile, I’ve gained 7 stubborn pounds and 1.5 inches on my thighs! Thankfully, the rest of me seems the same measurements, but I’m definitely feeling softer.

The big issue is that I’m adjusting to my new career and ambitions, new house, and enhanced social life. This had led to many lunches and dinners out, and delicious beers and cocktails. Then there’s the caloric granola that I sometimes eat in the morning. It’s not that breakfast is bad, but I’m starting the day eating for pleasure and not necessarily need. It’s not that eating for pleasure is bad, but I’m lacking the key moderation. Sometimes I’m not hungry in the morning, but eat anyway. Same goes for sizable dinner and drinks after a heavy lunch.

I’m using the Runner’s World iPhone app to set a new training schedule, and hoping that if I start small, I can get back into half-marathon condition. I started this morning, 2 days later than intended, with a morning 2 miler. Jon came with, and did an inaugural run in FiveFingers.

Almost at work, so I’m ending this post for now.

Changes in Plans

Wow – long time no post! I’ve been in New York since last Wednesday, when my husband and I were called out here due to his grandfather’s health being rather precarious at the time. This meant that I had to cancel birthday plans as well as my plans to run the Seattle 1/2 Marathon, which was to also be my birthday celebration.

Luckily, fitness wise, my 1/2 marathon dreams are still in the running – I am scheduled to run the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon next weekend.

Of course, as I usually do the week of my birthday, I am coming down with a head cold, and am laying low, being whiney, and craving a burrito (where’s a good burrito near Scarsdale?!)

I was ab it ambitious when I logged onto Blogger today – so I think that’s it for the update. I guess a bit of recap – I’ve been able to do up to 9 mi (including yesterday) so I think I’m in good shape for the 1/2. I’m still debating on following through with the Bikilas, but I’ve come this far, so why not?

OK, more rest awaits!

Issaquah Run at Salmon Days

Last Sunday I did the Issaquah Rotary Run at Salmon Days. I completed the 10K in 57:27, according to the official chip time. This meant I was a bit slower than average, and way slower than the first place runners, but it was an awesome race, and I really enjoyed it. My pace was faster than I ran for the Livestrong Challenge 5K back in June, and the Runner’s World Smart Coach actually had me running slower for the race, so I beat what I guessed my time would be. The Smart Coach app on my iPhone is predicting a similar pace for the Seattle Half Marathon at the end of November. I laugh to think it is even remotely possible for me to sustain less than a 10 minute pace for 13.1 miles, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try!

Looking at the training schedule ahead, it’s not too crazy. My biggest fear is the waining light in the morning, as well as the rainy weather. My feet were definitely cold in the Bikilas while I was warming up for the race last Sunday. I tend to like to run with very little exposure protection because I do heat up so fast. I don’t ever understand the people who run in long pants and long sleeves on 50°F days. Granted, I’m cold when I leave the house, but all it takes is a block of running at a moderate pace and I’m plenty warm. The rain/mist is more of my concern, as well as the slick, oily roads I’ll be crossing in the morning hours. And people drive like idiots, and I wonder what good visibility will do me when most people in Seattle ignore the laws of physics (ie. just because you have the traction to go 45 mph in slick, low vis conditions, doesn’t mean you can stop easily when you absolutely have to.)

I’ve been toying with the idea of re-upping my gym membership for training on a treadmill. I know that I won’t get the kind of training I get from road running, especially locally, because any run means hill training. I’ve also been hoping to hold out in case I get hired at my current internship, because then I might get a free gym membership close to work, making mid-day runs more feasible.

I would love to find some training buddies locally. I don’t want to be ridiculously serious, but I really just want some people to share my hobby with. I’ve always been a bit of a loner, and it’s my nature. It’s something I’m thinking about, at least.

Now, to go shopping for weather related gear. It’s supposed to be a cold, wet winter. I wonder how my running will survive!

Running in Chicago vs. Seattle

Yesterday I probably walked over 5 miles – it was wonderful, especially considering the amount of fried food I ate yesterday was more than the past month combined. Today I went for a light, long run – it’s a break week, so I only did about 45 minutes for the run. My pace ended up just under 11 min for the entire run, and I ended up doing just over 4 miles. The biggest treat was going along the lake in the bright summer sun. It was a bit breezy and, of course, hot – but it was wonderful. Running in Chicago makes me feel like I could run forever. It’s amazing what running up and down hills in Seattle will do for your perception of effort. My heart rate was pretty low for a run (around 120-140 a good part of the time) due to a lack of effort needed. It was a fun vacation run, to say the least.

Today was also my first run in myVibram Five Fingers Bikila . They are definitely an improvement over the Sprints – and I’m glad to once again be running a minimalist shoe. My knees ache so much less after a run. The only problem I seem to be having is that my big toe on my left foot gets a little unhappy – similar to the problem I had first with the Treks. At least I’m relatively certain these are the right size. Not too big, not too small. It will take a few more runs before I’m certain – but I think the Bikilas are likely the winner.

Now – back to my break!