If we really want to get rid of suffering, completely and totally, then clinging has to go. The spiritual path is never one of achievement; it is always one of letting go. The more we let go, the more there is empty and open space for us to see reality. Because what we let go of is no longer there, there is the possibility of just moving without clinging to the results of the movement. As long as we cling to the results of what we do, as long as we cling to the results of what we think, we are bound, we are hemmed in. Meditating on No-Self: A Dhamma Talk (Edited for Bodhi Leaves), by Sister Khema(1994)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mid Week Blast

It's Wednesday.  I am about three days from heading back to Florida for my yearly vacation.  After Sunday's run I felt compelled to keep looking into the no-self thing and working with impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and change.  Also trying to follow the breath. 

I did core on Sunday and Monday, I also did a very nice 12k that felt really just, just, just... easy.  I'm currently running easily a minute per mile faster than I have in over a year.  Knock on wood, I am also not seeing the same leg problems.  The other thing is, when I run at a real pace it must make my feet plant better because my feet have also stopped hurting.

I didn't run Tuesday, :(, work got in the way and I had an early one to one with a VIP so an early run was out as well.  But, going back to impermanence, etc.  so it goes.  I didn't run, its done, move on.  Stay in the current moment, not in the last moment.

I ran today and again really quite good stuff.  In some ways it feels aggressive, in other ways it feels like it is how it should be.  I'm not breathing hard, except when working hills, I'm not feeling like I have tired legs.  Today was 15k and it was faster than I have run 15k in training or in racing in almost 20 years.

I am not thinking much of the change in training and am really enjoying it at the moment.  Is it possible that this things happen just because they happen?

Today's run was a blast.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Nice Sunday Run

Out for 15km this morning and all moved along nicely.  An interesting aspect is no self.  Whether a person believes in those things or not, it seems interesting at the moment to try to pursue this concept.

For example, while running if something hurts, it actually isn't me that is hurting because there is no me, it actually is the vessel that hurts and concentrating on the pain actually subsides, but a lapse of that concentration brings that pain back as me or mine. 

Another thing to play with is just running.  The vessel runs, I don't run, there is no me.  It takes a great deal of mental gymnastics at the moment to get to that.  If there is no me, how do 'I' believe there is no me?  Good questions.

All I know is I ran my quickest 15km training run today, just running, and no thinking, that I have done in almost a year and it was easy as pie, what foot pain?

A nice Sunday run.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

No-Self, or, stop thinking and just run

All in all a pretty good week.  I ran 6 days out of 7, 12 km each day.  Something strange happened this week.  I ran Sunday, got out the door nicely and wrote about that.

On Monday I ran about the exact same time but ran the route backwards.  There was a lot of work on foot steps, easy, light etc.  Experienced a bit of tightness as well, and my feet hurt like hell when it was over.

On Tuesday, I got home from work and my brain said run!  I ran harder than I have run in several months.  It was tiring and not at all smooth but it required that I actually run and focus on just step after step.  Not how big the step where to step how to step easy light smooth.  In the end I was really tired but happy with the run but it was a lot of work.

On Wednesday I just tried to put one foot after the other, i was dehydrated and very tired.  it was a boring run but all I did was run.

Thursday, I couldn't do it, just exhausted, i was however happy that I went four days in a row without wimping out.  Very tired and very dehydrated. 

and then Friday came.  I put on the shoes went out the door and ran.  But there was no steps, small steps no upright worrying about posture, nothing about 2 steps and 3 steps, I began to run.  It began to just be running, the focus was just counting my breath, not form, posture, etc.  I just ran, it was truly easy, light and smooth.

Saturday, was the same thing.  I thought about it and I think (dangerous word) too much thinking, not enough enjoying. 

For the first time in months and months I had to quick runs, one I planned, the other I did not.

Working on no self, reading on it, working on it.  Stop thinking, stop attaching, just run.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Strange and Bizarre

I managed to get out the door today at 10:00 a.m.  which is about 90 minutes later than I had planned.  But run I did and it was very nice.  I just don't see what the issue is for me trying to get out the door.  The runs themselves have been really wonderful.  Take today for example, nice and easy and light and actually in some places also smooth.

I'm struggling a bit with blood sugar when I am not running though.  I seem to be up and down a lot at the moment.  Perhaps I am not taking enough of the Lispro?  I think I will take a look at that.  With the decrease in mileage over the last few weeks maybe the Lispro number is too low and needs an increase.  But the danger there is if you increase and then catch a spurt where you actually run every day.  Of course I've shown no ability to do that in at least two months :)

Strange feelings, bizarre results when I run, just don't see why I can't get out the door.  Obsession with time for work?  Attachment?  Aversion?  Craving?  Just words, can't find any "emptiness" to hit the streets.

I did today though.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Returning to Blame

Just an unproductive finish to a very good start of the week.  Travel on Thursday and Friday, it turns out, was much rougher than I had anticipated.  Woke at about 10 today with an intention to run but ended up back in the bed by 2 for a 3 hour nap.

For the week, I ran 36 km.  Feel like I am going backwards.  Returning to blame and that isn't very productive so maybe we can get started again on Sunday with what was very productive about 3 weeks ago.

Need to try and return without blame and just run.  Why can't I just run?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We're Done Here

I'm leaving this evening for a miserable return to Kyiv.  Flight plans are 11:35 departure from Muscat, Oman to Doha, Qatar.  2:30 a.m. departure from Doha to Vienna, Austria for  a 7:30 arrival and a 9:40 departure from Vienna to Kyiv for 12:40 p.m. arrival.  Going to be long and tough.

The positives exercise wise have been that I have done a version of core every day of this trip.  The negatives are that I didn't run on Wednesday or Thursday.  Wednesday was the final day of this inspection and I had a dinner with all high end stakeholders (I hate that word, really, yet I continue to use it) and didn't get home unitl 11:00.  Today I slept in after meeting 114 people over 4 days plus 4 90 minutes on Wednesday and a 3 hour dinner meeting.  I then went shopping for gifts and did some actual sightseeing.  It was actually well worth it and I am really glad I did it.  I took about 140 pictures.  I never really get to sightsee on these inspections so it was nice to do so.  The downside is I didn't run those two days.

I did run Monday and Tuesday and both those runs were fantastic.  They were watch runs.  I turned it on and worked my way around various areas of the city until I knew I'd run at least 12k both days.  The Monday run was the opposite direction of the Sunday run so that was great.  Nice terrain, no real hills to speak of and of course around 100 F, still a very smooth run, but of course my feet still hurt and that nagging thing on the right knee (behind it) was there.

On Tuesday I ran east toward Iran :)  I ran through the diplomatic quarter, the government building section and the opera house and palace area.  It was a beautiful run, even in the dark and great to keep my head up and just look at all the architecture surrounding me.  A smooth piece of work that I enjoyed.

I'm done here, posting late, getting on a plane.  Back to Kyiv.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A two country post

Haven't posted since the Wednesday day off run.  I ran another nice 12k on Thursday which was a slow stroll around the usual route.  My feet keep hurting.  The event of the run was that I took a fall at about 11.5 km that gave me a variety of road rash.  I lost concentration on the "trail", aka the roads/sidewalks of Kyiv and stumbled over a man hole that was about a foot above the pavement level.

I had hoped to run on Friday morning, but I was catching an 11 a.m. flight to Frankfurt Germany and just didn't get out of bed at 5:30 to make it happen.  Its 45 minutes to the airport in Kyiv so the time would have been run at 6 finish around 7, get ready, find a taxi leave at 8:30 for the airport.  So, me and the alarm clock did not get along so I didn't run.  My day was spent walking airports.  I flew from Kyiv to Frankfurt, a badly designed festival that required about 2 km of walking just to get from my first plane, out of the security area, to the Qatar Airways counter to get my next tickets then a train to the next terminal then another 1 km walk to the gate.

Frankfurt to Doha Oman on Qatar Airways was almost 7 hours and then I did the sprint with a one hour transfer window to catch a flight to Muscat, Oman.

I'm in Muscat Oman doing a quality assessment of the Foundation Programme of the College of Banking and Finance.  Basically determining how to improve the English language training for Omani nationals.

I started work on Saturday at 7:30 after getting in the bed at 3 a.m.  First things first.  It is HOT!  I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year plus another 6 months in the military, but I am spending some time reacclimating.  That is to say drinking water constantly.

After working all day I decided to fore go running outside, I didn't feel acclimated yet so I went to the hotel gym and ran on this great treadmill for 10k.  It had a television and the Doha Diamond League meeting was on.  Its nice to run slowly on  a treadmill and watch Kenyans run under 8 minutes for a 3000m Steeplechase!  All in all it was a nice slow run, bu there was a mirror there and all I can say is I look fat and out of shape.  I also did core exercises yesterday.

Today I went for a run outside.  You might remember I blogged about running in strange cities and how interesting it is.  Nothing different here.  I had a basic route mapped out, but then that all changes with construction.  So I just ran a bit and there was a mix of trails, grass, dirt, marble, brick and asphalt.  The statistic of the day  38 C or 100.7 F!  Hot, not humid, windy, and dry.  You just can't run quick in that weather, you've got to stay calm and remember where you are.  It is like orienteering.

A very nice run.  So, 4 days, 3 runs, two countries.  Nice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Leaves? Or Same Old Story?

After two days off feeling sorry for myself and some polite reflection on the events of Sunday, I ran a nice pleasant easy 12k today.  We have yet another holiday here in Kyiv.  This one is Victory Day.  More people died on this side of the war than on the US side, about 20 times more, so if they want to have the day off whatever.  Unfortunately, they don't really have the day off because they have to work on Saturday so I am not sure how that is a day off.

The run was very nice, not fast, probably slow, good small steps, just a run, no watch.

On the other hand, I am trying to implement some changes in general after the Sunday fiasco.  I've done some re-research ( I knew it before but needed a kick in the head again ) on Low Glycemic Index foods and dietary requirements.  Gee, who knew you couldn't eat all the ice cream and junk you wanted and lose weight, I'm shocked I say, shocked!

So, trying to turn over a leaf here with diet, getting back to doing Core Exercises and getting the correct amount of sleep and considering each run to be the start of a brand new thing.  Breath by Breath.

Have you heard this one before?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Definitely Not Fun

I think I will start with the positives.  Again, I learned a great deal about pacing, confidence, training, eating, conditions and how you have to take them as they come.  I also learned that I am overweight, out of shape, need nutritional guidance and a lot more miles in the bank before I can just roll out of one race and in to another.  I also saw the other side of blood sugar issues, this time high blood sugar. 
Unfortunately, these are things I will need to work with and think hard about over the next few months until I try something of long distance again.  Right now I am actually really disappointed in Kyiv.
We started on time at 10:00 a.m.  The race was two races at the same time, a 15k and the marathon starting from the same place.  All in all, about 1,000 people I think.
The course was a loop of 14.2 km that we would run 3 times, and later I would learn we would go past the finish line 6 times plus go past it and come back for the finish of the marathon.  The 15k had to do the same thing.  That is of course something everyone had to do, but it just wasn’t something I was very interested in, but more on that later.
I had intended to try and run about 3:45.  By the way, I just didn’t have that today, that is for sure. The 3:45 pacer ran away from me in the first kilometer which was weird.  I actually felt I was running nicely in the first loop.  Having run the loop twice already I knew what it would be like and I knew that there would be cobblestones, and the hills, etc.  all of that I knew was coming.
We ran into the park area first which was quite nice, quiet, relaxed, trying to get my bearings, I had warmed up about a km and felt myself starting to get a rhythm and I was making sure I wasn’t running very hard and letting people just run away from me knowing that it would be difficult later.  There was water, but it was in cups, the first time I went through at about 2 km I got water all over myself, that required an adjustment, actually I just stopped and drank, the water cups were very small and they were only filled half way so by ½ way you had to drink about 5 cups to get 8 oz of water.
We eventually make the first turn and head back, out of the park and in to the sun.  it ended up being very hot today with not much wind, the temperature by the end was about 78 F.  That is the hottest it has been all year.  This was another disappointing area because of course there hadn’t been time for acclimation of that sort.  Watching the weather all week I figured it would be about 70 at worst based on predictions.  It rained the night before, instead we woke to hot and humid and humid is rare for Kyiv.
I quickly figured out that my practice with cobblestones did not prepare me for the leg turnover of 8:30 per mile and going through uneven roads was really quite difficult and to protect the ongoing foot issues I have running here, not on trails, I modified my stride for both sets of cobblestones on the course.  This came back as a problem later, the total amount of cobblestone on each loop is about 3 km.  I ended up running modified steps for 7km of this run, resulting in  left hip pain and right foot pain that was really extraordinary.  Even compared to the fun cramping I had at Conemarra. 
Out in to the heat we went and headed back the other way, we went through the start finish line for the first time, and headed up Khryshchatyk Street toward Red Army st.   And from here it was just a bizarre 2 ½ hours of running.  Kyryshchatyk is closed on weekends so there are always a lot of people on this street on the weekends.  Since it was warm there were even more than usual.  I estimate that there were about 3,000 people in this area of the course.  Not one of these people was in the least bit interested in a race with 1,000 people coming through.  More bizarre is that they were in the way and didn’t care that we were running.  There were people screaming at runners that they were in their way of moving back and forth across this closed street.  This happened every time we went through this are and we had to go through it 7 times.  On my second loop I came to a complete stop three times as people just walked right in front of me.  It was the rudest, ignorant, unwelcoming thing I have ever seen.
Keep in mind, this country is hosting the world’s second largest Football tournament Euro 2012 in 33 days.  But it gets better friends.
As we headed toward Red Army Street I went up a hill, not bad, running nicely, but I started to hear all these cars honking their horns.  Maybe they are cheering us on?  Nope.  This is a big road we are on it is 4 lanes wide and we are two of them.  However, there are large cross streets as well, and there were 10 different cross streets, large and small on this part of the course.
The cars were honking at us all right, but it was because they wanted to cross the streets.  The police were at each intersection on the first loop and they were working hard to make people stop, some people wouldn’t.  On the first loop I saw several cars full of people screaming at runners, me included and giving us the sign of international brotherhood (the finger) out their car windows.  This went on the whole section of Red Army at every intersection. 
Since it was an out and back set of loops it turned in to going out the gauntlet and coming back this gauntlet.  At least there was water at the end of the rather long cobblestone festival.  At this point I started putting cold water sponges on my thighs, this really helped and is something that I took from this run. 
I went through the first 15k in about 81 minutes.  Once again, right where I wanted to be.  And we headed back out toward the park again.  It too was nice again, but the cobblestones really were a pain in the ass.  And back out into the heat.  At this point I’m taking as many of those little cups of water as possible. 
But of course now there are even more people on this closed street and they are really starting to be obnoxious about walking across.  I watched a runner in front of me try to get around a line of 10 people who had made a line across the road.  These idiots didn’t care at all. 
An unsophisticated demographic.
I got through the gauntlet only to have the fun of Red Army.  Out and back again, but this time, the police had stopped even trying in some places.  I was almost hit at a major intersection as the guy tried to go between me and a guy who was 10m in front of me on the road.  He screamed at me like it was my fault that he couldn’t do whatever the hell he wanted in this lovely welcoming city of his.
This was a complete downer and it all fell apart from there.  I battled the cars, I got turned around and headed back and went through the same thing, taking water, sponges, etc.  But I was starting to crash and burn.  I had taken a GU at 50 minutes and I took a banana at about 1:50 minutes and lots of water, no cramping, just my legs seemed to not have any turnover.  At this point 28km in, I was also starting to have some serious pain in various areas from these cobblestones (of course I didn’t figure that out till later).
I run the gauntlet again.  This time coming to a complete stop a couple of times and just shaking my head.  And again, 1,000 of people, not one of even the least bit interested in the marathon, nothing, really amazing that that many people can’t even generate a passing interest or a minimal amount of respect for other people.
I have lived in this country for 5 years.  I have known the whole time that Ukrainians are a breed apart, self centered, greedy, uninterested in doing things the right way, and at the same time, some are, but more often than not, most are not. 
This was really getting me.  Down.  I started to think about DNF.  I headed toward the park again, I ran on the cobblestones.  I got up in to the shade and had some salt, water, and GU at the aid station and started running, I felt pretty good actually, but I was not running quickly.  The 4 hour balloon pacer passed me and I knew I was in a bad way.  What I was not was in a good spot mentally.  I was very angry with the place I lived and how these folks were treating people who came from many different countries to run this marathon.
I got back to the start finish again.  I quit.  Walked off the course after about 33 km.
It was no fun.  But I learned a lot.

Epitaph:  blood sugar when I got home was over 400.  At the start of the day it was 112.  An opposite effect that requires a lot of thinking.  But might explain, though probably not, the leg turnover shut down.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Moving forward...

A stiff and less than smooth 10k yesterday in the morning.  I was pleased to get it done in the morning as I had to go to work for Thursday.  Today was not nearly as good.  I woke up and decided to go right back to bed.  So I did.  Woke up around 9:30 and then went in to work.

I got home and decided on a light 5k.  I wasn't going to run at all.  Over the course of the day I really started to feel very good in the legs and then I went and ran.  Very informative. 

I definitely want to warmup before the run on Sunday.  That is a definite need.  I'll want to do that about 15 minutes just before the race. 

Speaking of the word race...  not really going to do that.  I intend to run 3:45 or a bit less.  My plan is 8:30's. 

Won't run tomorrow.  Will be picking up race number tomorrow downtown.  Race is Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

Should be a nice long run Sunday.  Relentless forward progress?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I'm into day 3 of the vacation.  Actually for the office it is 5 days plus two weekends or 9 days.  For me and about 5 others it is a weekend then 3 days then work Thurs/Fri then two days off again.  So really since it is Wednesday, I go back to work tomorrow.

I meant to rise nice and early and run.  Didn't happen.  Just ended up sleeping late (which in itself was great) and then did some work long distance for this trip to Oman that I have going on where I will do an analysis of the English Language Center for the Oman College of Banking and Finance.  Then I went out and ran.

I intended to do 15km, but really the body didn't want that so i did 10km and it was really nice.  Really nice.  Easy and light and then it got quicker and better  and then I would slow down, then speed up, really not even working on it, just doing it.

No watch, not time, just vacation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How do you calculate metric temperature?

Ran at mid day today.  Temperature ranged from 26-28 C.  What exactly does that mean?  How do you convert Celsius to Fahrenheit?

Here's How:
  1. Take the temperature in Celsius and multiply 1.8.
  2. Add 32 degrees.
  3. The result is degrees Fahrenheit.

We usually just say x'2 +32 around here, but technically that just ain't right now is it?

The tightness behind the right knee kept me from getting up real early yesterday and running before getting the day started.  When I got out of bed yesterday walking was uncomfortable.  during the course of the day I worked on about 5 different stretches and finally found one with a towel around the feet and the leg extended which ended up working well.  That felt good.

I also took off the strap around mid lower leg that was for the Soleus muscle.  Who knows?  Soemtimes your willing to try anything huh?

Today's run was nice and easy and light for 15km.  Not much going on, but it was damn hot to me.  By the way, still going without the watch. The temperature is supposed to get a little lower over the next couple of days, but not much.  There may be rain on Saturday and Sunday also.

Just about decided to just run the Marathon to say that I did but to use it as a fitness gauge and high mileage workout.  I'm also considering not wearing the watch there also.

By the way, 26 C is 78.8 F.