I actually kept my promise and did all of my MKMMA work during my race at the Across The Years 24 hour race. It was really hard to do but I did it. I also listened to the recordings and said my affirmations for basically the whole time.
Unfortunately, or I guess you could say fortunately, the race ended up being one of those “bad” running days where you just never end up feeling great to be a runner. I forged on though and kept at it for 12 hours. I learned a lot during those 12 hours though. I know in this class we talk a lot about the concrete Buddha and there is something special about these ultra running events that removes the concrete for a short period of time. When the pain and discomfort and struggle get to a point where it is nearly impossible not to think of it you end up in a place where you are living on a very basic level. A place where you don’t care about ANYTHING that you don’t need or truly desire. During these times of the race you kind of have all those notions, opinions, and “self” break downs and realize you are so powerful yet so fragile. Here are some of the things I noticed:
- At around 5 hours I could barely NOT think about whether ultra-running was a tool for my PPN of true health. This is a very different type of running and can produce profound effects in mental strength but is it actually going to bring me true health. In the past I would have chalked this thinking up to “negativity” because it was thinking that did not correspond to finishing the entire distance my mind hand conceived to finish from the beginning. I would have thought of it as the type of thinking that would ruin the run, and in reality it was that thinking that brought me to stopping early when I could have certainly gone the full distance had I used the “law of substitution”. This time was different though, I didn’t immediately reject this thinking and began to ponder more upon the WHY of this type of running. Why am I doing it, what does it mean for my DMP (Definite Major Purpose), is this something my heart desires more than anything, is it balanced and of TRUE HEALTH???? Keeping an open mind to this led to the end of my race but this time I didn’t see it as the “old blueprint” thinking but rather the more enlightened more powerful REAL me questioning the root of this activity and what it meant, weighing its salt according to my DMP. When I chose to stop I had no guilt, no shame, no disappointment but rather I had a soundness of soul and mind making the decision with peaceful strength and certainty.
- Before the race started I saw numerous people hobbling around with very limited ranges of motion thinking to myself, “I don’t want to be like that”. When you run these and train for them, it is really a “limited” type of training that often reduces your range of motion. Running is a constricting activity. This was really the beginning of my questioning my previous thoughts and beliefs about ultra-running and how it fits into my definite major purpose.
- I had a massive example of the law of growth in a very short period of time. Once the thought of stopping and the reasoning behind it, and the abandoning of the thought that it was just negative thinking………..there was almost no stopping it and it ended up producing the results to perfection. I stopped early. I realized I have battled these types of thoughts off in the past by substituting them with powerful positive thoughts to keep on going.
- A wonderful thing I felt really strongly about during and after the race was the question of the NUMBER. What is the number of miles and hours worth? What do those numbers mean to me? What do I want those numbers to mean to others? Do the numbers matter at all in the end or is it the experience, the training, and JOURNEY that is truly the meaningful and most impactful part of it all. I can run 2 miles or 60 miles, but does this change who I am………who I am becoming………..who I will be? Would it be ok to participate in these awesome runs without expectations and just go with it and experience whatever it is I am experiencing until my heart and mind say I got what I needed from this event? These are radical questions for me and maybe lots of other ultra-runners because they are not obsessively focused on finishing, or the number. It’s a radical shift to be sure yet I think it is a good one, a potentially more powerful one, a more open one where more growth as a person could happen because the ultra is a tool rather than the goal. I have been super obsessed and goal oriented and ALWAYS finished the distance according to my goal, but maybe there is a more profound growth and goal that can be attained rather than just the number.
A lot to think about and I will most certainly be doing another post here as well as a more running focused post at my running blog.