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)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Hemorrhoid Coup

The day didn't start too well.  Got up to go run and went out the door and felt immediately tightness in the calf.  But, also I stepped on a rock yesterday and it is on the left metatarsal that always have problems with, I just can't seem to get a break with that part of my left foot.  It hurt so much on the run.

So I didn't run this morning.  Frustrated I returned home and threw off the clothes and went to work.  At work I had an incredibly busy day that was extremely stressful day.  I limped around the office all day with this left foot, not the calf.  As the day went on the limp got better. 

After work I was walking home and the calf felt pretty good and the limp was gone and I needed to run.  So I went and ran 12k, 1.3 to and from the flat, and the rest on the local track (Start Stadium, match of death).  In general the left foot was painful and the calf was tight some of the time, but I got the run in.

there were times when the run was quick, but actually it was the slowest 12k I've run in months, I kept slowing it down so that I wouldn't do any damage and that was probably a good thing.  It was dark out there and of course going to and from the stadium was loads of fun on our great Kyiv sidewalks and streets.  That is always extremely annoying, even knowing that I have no control over those items it is still very annoying and tonight it kind of pissed me off since I had the left foot and the calf to think about as well.

On the track I was able to stay mindful of the foot steps and work hard on keeping the calf from having too much damage.  It does feel tight now and I am icing it as I write.  I wonder what tomorrow will be like.  But right now, I am very happy to have been able to get the run in.

Funniest thing, running up to the track I saw a billboard advertisement, in Ukrainian, about hemorrhoids, absolutely hysterical, out loud I said "I don't have hemorrhoids, but I have a left foot and a right calf that are just about as painful probably. 

I'll take the mindfulness for this one.  I consider today's run to be a coup.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Kyiv

Sorry Hunter S. Thompson.  I ran today.  For most people that is either something they always do, something they have just started doing, or have started doing again.  I've been off for two weeks with this Soleus Strain.  I have been looking forward (craving, grasping) to this run for the last three days.  I also have been fearing (fear) this run for the last three days.  The myriad of what ifs available for this Sunday boggle the mind.  (not really, the mind is the one that made up all these myriads, thus causing the suffering).

Slept in a bit, ran mid morning.  It is 0 c outside, i think, tough to tell, low overcast clouds.  Decided to start with a simple 12k.  The mind said run easy, just get used to doing it again because I (the mind) will spend most of my time monitoring this leg and deciding how much fear, depression and anger to put in to you based on how the leg is doing.

I give the whole run about a 7 out of 10.  It was fantastic is some places, mellow in some places, scary in some places and it was completed.

My body reminded me several times that I have just been injured.  The leg seems to have held up well.  The first 6 kms were fairly basic and there was a bit of tightness but nothing untoward.  At about 5km I go downhill, gradually, for a bit, this seemed to speed me up which promptly brought out the stabbing pain, so I slowed it down and reminded myself about 200 times the keep it slow, approach it with the Caballo Blanco (why take two steps when you can take 3) approach. 

This approach was very useful as the stabbing came back every once in a while, but it certainly didn't cause any long term problems and as I write this I have no pains or aches and am not limping to the refrigerator for the ice bags. 

There was a great deal of fear today.  Fear led to anger, anger led to hate, hate led to suffering, the same that always happens.  However, the fear came and went, so did everything else, I was only working on the leg today, and the leg is what brought the fear.  Now my mind will work me over about how I will feel tomorrow morning.  Stupid mind, I know you are there... 

Fear and loathing

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Progress, Patience and Physio

Thursday, ice every night, with a wrap, no ibuprofen, just ice and not running.  I can now pull full weight and lift with the toes with no pain and no follow on inflammation.  Sticking to my plan of not running until Sunday however.  Real progress with the injury.

The other real progress is that I seem less attached to this injury than injuries in the past.  I don't think about it nearly as much as I have in the past and when I do I try to follow my breath and move past the moment.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Update

Well, the damage is so far not too bad.  With ice and rest it looks like the Sunday run is not the end of the world.  Every day it feels much better.  In fact today I am able to go down stairs normally.  I tries to put all weight on the right side on the balls of my feet and then push off also.  There is soreness, but not the sharp pain there was in the past.  Patience, ice and rest, ice and rest.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Follow Up and Impatience

The rest of Sunday has been a lot of feeling if I have pain or phantom pain.  Did some stretching, but then decided to do what I do well, research the injury.  Me and the internet were friends for a bit.  I narrowed it even further than previously by reading some medical journals on how to determine the specific area.  Given that I have trouble walking down stairs and pushing off the injury is not the gastrocemous muscle, the larger muscles in the calf. 

It is in fact, based palpation and rotation learned through the med journals, is the soleus at the high level.  This muscle is underneath the gastrocemous and is in charge of lift when going down and push off when running. 

Also, remediation was discussed and also I was on several physical therapy blogs.  It looks like I didn't take the correct amount of time off.  They say a minimum of two weeks and then slowly testing it. 

Looks like I should listen to my body and the doctors.  Won't run again this week.  See you again on Sunday.

to impatient, need to listen...

How Mindfulness Can Save you.

The plan was to go out and do 25km this morning.  That was a stupid plan.  Yesterday, on the way to the shop I put one foot after the other in rapid succession and felt that there was still a not there in the calf.  The follow on has been the related tendon that is also sore from all of this.  The shop trip made me change the plan to run 12k today.

Woke and gave it a shot.  In general there is still stiffness in that area but for the first 12 or 13 minutes it was just stiffness.  Uphill seems to put more stress on it than downhill, flat is no stress at all, just a general stiffness in the area. 

As I was crossing my first checkpoint, which happens to be a steady uphill for about 600 meters, I got a knife like stab in the calf.  I made an immediate decision to fight another day and cut off the run by heading back on a shortcut toward the house.  Of course this area was flat so there was very little discomfort.  Of course, this made me think I could do a little more if I just got to a downhills and flats, maybe I could get in 8 or 9km.  As I was making another turn to head downhill on Vanda Vaselevskoi I got another stabbing pain and decided that I just needed to get it home and see what the damage might be.  I ran home getting in a very easy 4.6km.

As I sit here plotting out the rest of the week I can say two positives.  I got up and ran; and it looks like if I keep moving forward the stiffness will work itself out.  It looks like I have a date with the Start Stadium track from the next few days/weeks.  I just don't know how long it will take.  But certainly it felt wonderful to be running again. 

I still just don't know where all this came from.  It is the right side of my body, I never have problems with the right side, it is always the left side of my body.  It is interesting to watch it develop, after the run I tested things a bit and I didn't do any damage, all systems are static from yesterday, I can't put weight on it.  But, its obvious that age is probably a factor in this as well.  I can't just rebound like I did when I was younger.

Slowly but surely I think I will get it back.  Reflection.  Mindfulness saved it today I think and may allow me to run again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Slow Boat to China

Still haven't gotten out the door.  Trying to rehab as intelligently as possible.  At this point I think I will run on Sunday.

In general this is a strange injury.  It is really focused in one area of the calf and is a real pinpoint pain.  Now I can put weight on it and I've done emergency running crossing streets so really need to stay mindful and follow the breath and feel the emotions that come with the not running.

In fact I am kind of lucky as I am also acting as sort of director of the school and I have had some long days that would have prevented me from running which would have probably pissed me.

As stated, it is ceasing, it arose, it has reached an apex, it is ceasing.

Sure feels like a long time.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Waiting for it to pass

So, woke up and tested things, seems that the tightness is subsiding a bit.  While walking today I began to feel like I could put weight on the calf and push off a bit.  Still there will be no running tomorrow.

At the moment I am just trying to follow my break h and learn more information about meditation, mindfulness, and no self.

The journey continues, probably no writing again until I get back on the road unless things get really delayed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This To Shall Pass

Ah, life...  Woke up early assuming, in my arrogance and craving, that I would be able to just go out and run 25km this morning.  Nope.  a quick trip to the bathroom proved uneventful, however, I put on my shoes, just to see if I could run without any problems and that was not good at all.  Since that time I've been researching the injury and figuring out what exactly is going on. 

Not much luck on what is going on, either a calf cramp that is going to take a few days, or a strain, not sure if it is a strain as all the medical research indicates it is not, i.e. not warm to the touch, no swelling.  However, push off from the right leg is not really possible as there si a sharp pain in one small area of the leg and the whole thing radiates upward to the mid upper leg.  I am engaged in ice mostly.

Well, I wrote of it before, some might say it is because I predicted my own demise, I prefer to think of it as all that arises does indeed cease.  There only the thought that it will cease eventually, I don't think I will run tomorrow either.  To meditate on this I've been looking out the window.  This collage reminds me of impermanence.

Each day has a time stamp.  As you can see fall is turning to winter, the leaves keep coming off the trees.  Much like my leg, this too shall pass.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Creating your own suffering

No running today.  The calf is quite sore from yesterday.  I've done a lot of massage and stretching.  When I woke up this morning it was still sore.  At least it isn't a tear but one more day at least is necessary.  Better safe then sorry I guess.

Thus, I have the chance to talk about creating your own suffering.  My attempts at getting off this medication feel like a complete failure.  I am constantly frustrated and full of anxiety about all kinds of things.  I almost through my new tablet against a wall today because I couldn't make it work.  Thus I create the aftermath of suffering with this.  Even with meditation, following the breath, being mindful I am annoyed.

Add my attachment to this calf problem and I am really causing suffering.  Of course it is temporary and impermanent but my mind certainly doesn't see it that way.  This is a really good example of how I cause my own suffering.  Maybe it is a chance for me to expand my practice further by seeing all the things that I do to myself.

For example, why should I get angry at an inanimate object?  Do I think I can control the object so well that it will do what I want it to do?  Clearly I cannot as I am pissed that it won't do what I want it to do.  Again, causing my own suffering by not see that it is impermanent, without satisfaction, and not having a self.  This is all very enlightening to me.

But, again, even though I can see it clearly, I go around and around in a circle that seems to repeat itself every day, all day.  I wonder if it will ever end.  I wonder if it is the medication that doesn't keep me in the circle.

Fascinating.  Hope to run tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Uh oh

Mid morning 12k, moving along nicely, good mindfulness, good focus, pretty wholesome, timing out nicely, well on my way to PB for the 12k again and then, all that arises ceases....

Developed tightness in my right calf at about 6.5 km, by 7.5 km I had to stop and try to stretch, stopping was the worse thing I could have done apparently, another .5 km later and I stopped again, I was bent over and taking baby steps hobbling, felt like a cramp, felt like a torn muscle, felt like pain, and lots of it.

I managed to keep some form so as not to hurt anything else on the way home.  I must have been ripping along, because I know I was running slow the last 4k and still ran a pretty quick time for the course.  Running down hill was quite easy, running uphill was painful. 

I've been stretching all day, I even took a Ukrainian pain killer a very rare event for me.  Right now, at 4:00 p.m. it hurts but I am limping less.  Just need to see what happens, I don't think it is a tear, it is however, a serious cramp, drinking water and green tea. 

Nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Left Foot

Mid morning, windy and a bit cold.  It was about 5C, but with the wind, allegedly it was for -1C.  However, another PB on the 12k course. 

Worked with 'right now' on this run and used it as a koan.  It worked pretty well today.  I felt that I was in step with this today and I was very mindful on this and there was very little unwholesome thinking or monkey mind during the run. 

On the other hand, my left foot.  Thinking about it, I know it isn't broken, there is no effect on my stride like a broken metatarsal would be.  I've had a broken metatarsal so at least I can rule that out.  It is sometimes a lot of pain, and sometimes not much pain.  Today, even with the quick feet and leg turnover, the pain was still there and ran down the left outer edge.  Once I stop running, after about 3 or 4 minutes it goes away.  It does hurt if I walk barefooted around the flat on the floor, not on the carpet.  I've put lotion on the last two days, will do so tonight.  At this point I am truly grasping at anything and I don't think that is correct approach.  I've researched it a lot, I've tried some things.  I've tried loosening the shoes, tightening the shoes...

I continue to research and think, practice mindfulness of foot steps.  In general I know it doesn't affect my foot fall and therefore doesn't cause and injury.  Is it possible I need all that built up skin stripped away?

Since the age of 2 years old I have had the following things happen to the left side of my body:  spiral fracture of the thigh, broken left arm (3 times), stress fracture of the left tibia, five broken bones in the left foot, broken left side of collarbone, 3d degree burn on the left leg as a result of a fire, multiple sprained ankles to the left leg.

My left foot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Right Now

Upon suggestion, I put lotion on my foot/feet.  I can't really tell you if it makes a difference as it has only been one run.  My feet felt a bit better, but maybe that is because it is later in the week, maybe the lotion helped, maybe my foot step mindfulness was better?  All I know for sure is that this is all uncertain.

Meditated, or tried to, on staying with right now during today's run.  Somewhat successful, but if you count meditation as realizing you are having a fit of monkey mind and returning to the thought of right now approximately 1, 783, 173,139 times in a 12 km run, then there was some good thought done.

12k, it rained most of the night so the temperature dropped again, worthy of a long sleeve shirt at least.  Ran faster than yesterday, so what?  Lots of wind out there today.  I don't own any of this, or do I?  I'm pretty sure there is substantial evidence to indicate a lack of ownership.

Hercladis:  A foot never steps in the same river twice.

That is about what my runs are like.  Right now, new right now, new right now, new right now.  Right now repeats to infinity.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Feet, Impermanence, Feet

My Feet Hurt!  Doesn't matter what day, for some reason the outside left foot hurts a lot.  Not affecting my running gate, not affecting the speed at which I run, in fact they hurt less with the mindfulness of steps, but they still hurt.  I've wondered if it is callouses or build up, the streets that have a strange camber to them.  I consider all of these things.

What would Ajahn Chah say?  I know what he would say, "this is uncertain" this is not permanent" "this is impermanent" this arises and it ceases.  I fully agree, it always goes away, but sometimes it carries on for hours afterwards.  If there was a self, I could control this problem, no self, no control of the problem, more proof of the doctrine of no self.  "The sensory experiences we like and dislike are equal."  I think they means they are equally impermanent.

12k this morning, cloudy and windy.  Very tired legs I think.  Mindful of the steps, but a monkey mind nonetheless.  I was actually surprised at not being overly tired during the run.  I was afterward.  I even took a 30 minute nap before I went to work.

I am perseverating on the feet.  They are...all that arises ceases.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Comfortably Tired

Good sleep, even with a nap yesterday.  25km today.  First time in a quite a while.  Not to mention 20 Saturday and 25 today.  Very tired, that is for sure.  Legs were a little dead by the end.  The last 5 kms has 3 very large hills, up the big bridge that connects Obolon with Podil, Vladymyrsky Spusk and Shevchenko Street. 

All in all it was fairly mindful with the foot plant.  There was some arising and falling stupidity but it was noticed, it arose and it ceased and there were long periods of just following the foot plant.  It was a beautiful morning but a bit windy in some places.  Since it was the first time I had run 25k on this route since March of this year (last speed run before Conemarra Ultra) it was interesting to see how the areas had changed. 

The only thing that has changed much is that the roads are in a bit worse shape.  The leaves have all but fallen all over the place, there are still some remnants, in areas with heavy tree cover there is a yuck filled path of wet leaves that have never been removed.  In general, about what Kyiv is like in November. 

Still no snow.  Good.  It will come though, it always does.

After I got home I was tired and hungry.  I could really feel the tiredness today, right up until now.  Need to stay comfortable with this and embrace in order to move through the week.  I wonder...

is there such a thing as comfortably tired?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How about a nap?

The end of the week.  Went 20km, as planned today, not as fast as last Sunday but still quicker than last years 20's.  Ran with the water bladder and pack as I continue to practice with this method of long run rehydration and food/money/keys/phone/insulin/blood sugar testing materials storage.

Went the opposite direction which meant I went through khryshchatyk early in the run.  The way I run the route I hit Khyrshchatyk about 3.5 km into the run before I then head down Vladymyrski Spusk toward Poshtova Ploshcha and then right at the McDonalds and head down toward the back side of Podil, etc.  Today though when I turned off Shevchenko on to Khyrshchatyk there were police everywhere, I thought, what this time.

Seems there was a major "soviet type" display going on.  As I hit the part of Khyrshchatyk that is pedestrian I saw the Kyiv horse police and then I saw Soviet WWII style military equipment getting ready to go on parade, there was a photographer there and I think he took my picture.

Then I saw row upon row of military people lined up.  What there also was were Kyiv police every 5 meters.  Many of were less than pleased that I was running by, this 'parade' went on a while and just to keep it normal I jumped on to the sidewalk, but then the police didn't like that either, I got the impression that they wanted me to stand and watch, or leave, it seemed laughable that the later is exactly what I was doing, yet they insisted that I do so.  Strange.

I finally got past that and got on with the rest of my run.  Pace was quite quick for the first half.  I took water at 28 minutes, 50 minutes, 70 minutes today, as well as at the end of the run.  I also took GU at about 50 minutes.  I practice taking GU and water while going uphill today.  That is problematic, not really problematic but requires that you really slow down to make sure you concentrate on one thing at a time instead of trying to run uphill with good foot plant, be quick, eat GU, and drink water.   Mindfulness does not tolerate multi tasking.

I really got tired toward the end of the run.  Referring to yesterday's post.  Here is comes, at least realizing the impermanent nature of things means that I am not surprised or upset that 'it' has arrived.  In fact, can't control, so just run.

Will increase mileage over this week and next and then build base on that for three weeks and then up it again and build base again.  However, traveling will get in the way in December and January.

I have added the International House Kyiv logo to my blog.  I also added the ability for people to just put in their email address and receive the blog when I put in a new entry.  I don't think I have access to any of that, it is a google thing.  Perhaps someone will find it more convenient than coming to the site.

No good title today, so a normal ending, how about a nap?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just Be

12k in the rain.  Mid morning run after a rest day and another PB for the 12k course. This is beginning to build and hopefully can be maintained in some way.  Very important to watch how much I sleep, changed to 7.5 hours only, regardless of the day, watch the knees and the ITB and watch those steps.  Making sure that I take one day off per week.

Steps were mindful today, unfortunately the mind was not.  Interesting phenomena is that the unwholesome thoughts kept coming up but the steps did not change today.  In the past if they came up the steps changed also.  This I guess is progress, but can't cling to it.

It occurs to me that all that arises ceases.  This great period of running, the quickest I've had since I started running again in 2006 after a 13 year layoff will eventually have to come to an end for the simple reason that all that arises, ceases.

I feel myself clinging to each result for most of the day, and then later in the day beginning to work on having the next run be independent of the last as that it has no permanent self to it and I don't own the run and I'm just lucky to be running.

Noticing this fear of the runs becoming worse, must be worked with, meditation on this will be the subject of tonight's sit.

A friend told me during the down period, 'just be'.