Tolerance can’t be lawed, regulated or forced into existence.
Back in October of 2018 I saw this video (David Goggins). After I saw the video I did some searches on Ultra Marathons and singed up for Old Pueblo 50 (3/2/2019) – On race day I hadn’t run as many training miles as I should have and there is a back story but it’s just easier skipping over it as it doesn’t change the main premise. I should mention I’ve always stayed in shape but a long run was anything more than 12 miles.
As I mentioned I was able to practice being in the pain and see that pain is pain. So pain is just something that gets our attention. Now if I wasn’t running and felt such a pain then there might be a problem that warrants my/our attention! Because of this I can learn to just drop the story and experience the pain as I experience any other thing. It’s just a feeling!
I know that I’m not in extreme danger but my body doesn’t. Essentially my body is giving me the story which will hopefully get me to stop. Yes sometime I do NEED to listen to this message.
I hope this story illustrates my main point as well as the second point of needing to listen:
Up until mile 41 I was doing great! My personal goal was to have the first 25 miles completed around 4:30:00. Around mile 20 the leader had passed me in the opposite direction (First lap one direction second is back the way you came). My legs felt great at that point, sore but plenty of strength. I felt very mentally comfortable as I spent a majority of the first lap running with a group (awesome group of guys). So mile 20 I picked the pace up slightly just to see if I could do something impossible, catch first. My wife and son were at the halfway aid station (the start line) and helped me get in and out, they did an awesome job. I was in 7th, about an hour behind the leader, 30 minutes behind second, and 10 minutes behind 6th. I arrived at the half way point right on schedule: 4hrs 30mins. Keeping my time goal and running my own race.
A quick calculation and it seemed there were a lot of people running faster than last years finishing times reflected. Perhaps, we start fast, out of optimism, and then reality punches us in the face. Then again what the hell do I know this is my first ultra and trained alone.
After the half way point I really began to punch it and I believe I was going at a pace to complete the second half in about 3hr30mins to 4hr00mins. The second half of the race I switched to caffeinated gels. My overall nutrition plan was after the first hour I’d start taking gels every 20mins and drink 1.5L electrolyte water, and use lyteshow electrolytes in my water.
On the second half my stomach began feeling slightly upset. I limited my water intake because I didn’t want to run out but I started feeling really thirsty. I was practicing pretty deeply my running meditation, especially at this point. Now, roughly mile 35, I had passed 2nd place. I took off the hard on the second loop because I believed that I could push it through 25 no matter how bad of a condition I was in. Maybe, maybe, I could have kept the pace had I been able to stay hydrated. Around mile 37 I tried choking down a gel but I was on the verge of vomiting and was feeling pretty horrible. By mile 41 (aid station) I basically blew up. My ears were popping pretty bad and needed a little assistance walking. They assisted me and made me stay at the aid station for a bit until I recovered slightly. Just as I was leaving 3rd place had arrived at the aid station. Linda Vann walked me a little ways from the aid station and told me walking was good enough. This advice helped me more than she’ll know! However, I knew what walking meant: there was no way for me to get 2nd place or be on the podium, as I knew 3rd was shortly behind 2nd. Honestly, I felt like dropping when I hit that aid station. I felt like I was maxed out.
However, I did walk and for a few moments felt sorry for myself but I made myself walk anyway. I just kept walking. As third place (now second) passed me he said, “maybe you’ll get a second wind”. I thought there wasn’t a way in hell I’d recover. There was about an hour window in which I had lost my meditative mind. It was negative and telling me so many reasons why I should and could dropout. But as I said, I just kept walking. I tried and then slowly started to get my mind back.
As I was walking I started to recover and had around 5 or 6 miles to finish. I started to jog. I would jog and then walk for a bit, jog and walk and repeated this process to the finish. I had run out of water around mile 45 so I gulped down a 100 mg caffeine gel to power me home. I got to the state of feeling horrible again but just pushed through to the finish. I heard stories of people being a mile or two from the finish and not finishing but as long as I was alive I wasn’t going to let that happen though my body begged.
Nothing like pain brings one into the present moment
I don’t see myself different than anyone so what applies to me applies to all humanity.
My first ultra was mostly mental work for me and I used my meditation practice to help. I practiced seeing it, practiced being absorbed in it, and practiced feeling it deeply. For example, “What would it feel like to win? What would it feel like at mile 40? I then, in a way, sowed these feelings into me.
I’m not a monk like meditator but I’ve been working at it for a couple years. I used a lot of the principles I’ve learn and applied them to running, especially while I was pounding the pavement. A big insight was during my training runs I was able to go further and see how deep our story of “pain” is and that most of the pain we feel is just a made up story. Because of this I can more easily and thoroughly apply it to my ‘everyday’ life.
Perhaps to better illustrate what I mean; while out running the Bear Canyon Loop I saw myself say something like “I’m so tired”, and I was tired at that point. But this statement of “I’m so tired” lead my mind to all different ideas/justifications. So I started practicing seeing this story even while I wasn’t running. I noticed that my mind is always giving a story in all aspects of life. However, it’s with running it becomes so much more clear because of the actually physical pain. Not extreme pain but enough to know that it’s there (I’m not a sadist). I see great value in story but also I see that I don’t need to be so caught up “in it”. This insight wasn’t new but I was able to internalize it at a deeper level than before. There is something about using some pain in a productive way, rather than running from it.
As we are in our everyday thinking, moment and living it’s hard to see that it’s a story, so I don’t blame those reading this telling me that I’m off my freaken rocker! My story (part 2 Click Here): Finished 5th overall with a time of 9hr:48min:(and some seconds).
I imagine having everything I ever said and thought recorded. I imagine it’s there for all the world to see and to scrutinize.
How deeply am I a bungling hypocrite? How logically consistent am I really? How honest am I really? Am I really the good person I like to think that I am? Am I really the hero?
Unfortunately I am the hypocrite and the liar and not the good hero. I blush at thinking about how much work I need.
What does it cost to get one’s inner life in order? What does it cost to keep one’s external environment clean?
Time and Discipline.
This popped into my mind, “I don’t want to be a positive roll model for my sister.” Whether I want to or not I’m some kind of roll model, not in a self congratulatory way.
My actions are always judged and perceived by someone. Usually the closer the relationship with someone the more my actions are seen. I judge in such a manner automatically. Though with practice I’m far more aware of these charter infractions; meaning, I can circumvent this genetic impulse but it must be done via something like mindfulness, observation, attention and/or awareness.
So why shouldn’t I be judged? Well I think I should be.
The mind seems to always be dreaming. The difference in wakeful dreaming and sleep dreaming is consciousness. Consciousness seems to act as a barrier that keeps the dreams more orientated and cohesive; nonetheless, it’s still very dream like if we actually pay attention. Remove the barrier and we know how crazy things can get in our sleeping dream state.
Simplicity isn’t easy because our nature tells us we need more. Collecting and living in abundance is actually the easy way. However, the best and easiest way to live a purposeful life is through simplicity.
Discipline and habit (suffering) are our friends. Don’t fear suffering, embrace it!
Having an orderly soul is the main key to life.
white, black, rich, poor, fat, thin, ugly, beautiful, sick, healthy, old, young right, left matters not. The inverse of one’s position should matter not nor should it agitate one’s heart and mind. It’s through the inverse that life exists, not it’s eradication of the inverse.
we can all meet in the field of our humanity and disparities.
may I seek to bring my soul in order and see life for what it is, no more need for hatred or division.
Something that I’ve been thinking about it for sometime is an idea I call the left and right lateral limit. The left limit is a persons subjective idea of what horrible pain is and the right is pleasure (or happiness).
The pain threshold is subjective and as we, the human species, have evolved and conquered the external world our idea of what pain is changes; we experience less physical pain than a life several hundred and even thousand years ago.
As this occurs the entire spectrum of this left and right lateral limit shifts. Yesterday’s scrape become today’s ER visit. Yesterday’s bigot joke is today’s outrage.
Why wouldn’t wouldn’t we expect this as we pad the external world. In some regard these are consequences of an ever more civilized society.
Some might argue this isn’t civilizing. I say these new virtues are more extreme examples of past virtues . A major difference is in the past we had an extremely unforbidding environment to counter the virtues and to teach us.
With that environment gone we must self regulate this left and right lateral limit otherwise it spins out of control. However, since this isn’t natural human behavior so evolved behavior wins out (it’s easier to go with human behavior than regulate it). Thus we see today it playing out in a very vocal minority (growing).