In Training, One Year On

A year ago, I posted about beginning training for a marathon. But it wasn’t really about training for the challenge of marathon, it was more. It was a declaration that this sedentary, unfit, and obese Web developer was going to change his life. And change my life, I have!

In May, I ran the St. John the Apostle Stingray 5K for the second time, finishing it 11 minutes faster than when I ran it in 2009. In June, I ran the CHKD Run/Walk for Kids 8K, and in September, I ran a half-marathon distance in an unofficial time of 3:07:35. Two weeks ago, I ran the Warrior Dash, a wonderful, fun obstacle course complete with scrambling over trailers, wading through a pond, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping over burning barricades.

And after about 24 years of struggling with my weight, and about 12 years in the obesity zone, I’m coming back. I’ve lost 47 lbs. so far, and while I’ve got a good amount more to lose (I’m still overweight), losing a fifth of my shell has been fantastic.

I’ve mentioned previously the book which has been helping me take it off, but here it is again for those who are interested: The Alternate-Day Diet (my review on Amazon). I credit it completely with my weight loss since the periods in which I didn’t follow it I gained weight, no matter how much I ran. If you need a program to kick-start your weight loss, I highly recommend it.

One of the most significant things about this year of physical activity and conditioning, is that I’ve actually stuck with it–never before have I been able to keep with a fitness plan for an entire year. (My previous flirtations with fitness fell apart during frigid Ohio winters!)

Now, a year later, I’ve discovered the joy of trailrunning, and my only regret is that I didn’t discover it sooner.

So, is this one of the Wild Things of God? Well, it is in my book. Like so many people, I’ve had a bit of a mental dichotomy between the “spiritual” and the “physical.” (And I could even write about how such a dichotomy is false while remaining blind to how it still affected me.)

But now, practical spirituality is the only kind that interests me. Meister Eckhart’s famous prayer, “God, rid me of ‘God’,” rings true. Yes, I’ve had a bit of insight into the world being a holodeck, and myself as a part of the interplay of light and shadow, but the point of having a holodeck in the first place is to participate fully in the marvelous presentations.

And tomorrow morning, I’m going to immerse myself in the phenomenon of trailrunning.

La vie, c’est bon! That’s Jedi life in the real world.

11 thoughts on “In Training, One Year On

  1. My intrigue with Christian mysticism brought me to your site. I am a once-New-Ager-turned-Christian. I got more from my New Age “era” on having a strong spiritual connection with God, but Christianity has helped me think more about others rather than entirely about myself (in a healthy way). Not to mention, Jesus as a role model and friend. I have been struggling with the aspect of Jesus being the only way to God (I feel he is the way for me, but what about everyone else?). Despite one on one counseling with my pastor and his wife alternately over the past year, I can’t yet submit to the idea that God has put a stipulation on how we reach him. The closest I’ve been able to come is thinking that if Jesus is the only way it’s perhaps because God is trying to give us a signpost of sorts to know we are truly getting him on the other end of the line. My pastor and his wife are concerned for me that the devil is “whispering in my ear,” so to speak. My pastor was the one who mentioned Christian mysticism to me as being “legal” and I find that what I have read on your site fits more with what’s in my heart. I am feeling confused about biblical interpretation, notably around Jesus being the only way and the way being taken by few. I have thought for some time that perhaps this was more about the true connection with God and not so much about simply “taking Jesus into your heart.” Appreciate any deeper thoughts than the basics on your site. Or if you need to direct me somewhere in your site I missed, that’s fine. Thanks.

  2. Thanks Lynda. I’ll respond via email to your of your questions, but I have to say that mysticism has been called many things, but “legal” is a new one to me!

    I’ll say this publicly, though. Trust your heart. You won’t meet God in your mind, but in your Spirit. All these words are just an attempt to get the distractions of the crazy mind to get out of the way for a second, and let the knowledge of the Creator of all this wonder be revealed in pure Isness to the quiet heart.

  3. Congratulations on your marathon training! I did something similar the year I turned 50 although I was not as successful at losing the weight as you have been. It was one of the highlights of my life to finish the NYC marathon that year.

    One of the things I miss about running now is that mental downtime. People talk about the runner’s high, and I do know what that is, but being able to run for long periods of time allowed my thoughts to jostle around and to settle down. I’m inspired by this post to think about starting again. It would have to be slow at first, but hey, slow is good, too.

  4. PS – a thought for Lynda. The Gnostic Gospels may be worth looking into. I’ve just finished and am re-reading already a book called “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” by Jean-Yves Leloup. If this work had been incorporated into the Bible, Christianity would be quite a different thing than it is now, and many of us may never have left it. This manuscript was found before the bunch of manuscripts that are called The Gnostic Gospels, but it began being looked at seriously because of the findings at Nag Hammadi.

  5. @Mary, I think running is horrible if the goal is to lose weight. I credit 100% of my weight loss to The Alternate-Day Diet my review here. But by all means, if you’re missing it, get back to it!

    @Mary and @Lynda. Some of the Gnostic Gospels are fantastic, and I’m nuts about Leloup’s translation of the Gospel of Thomas. I have a review of it too, on the site. Click on the Book Reviews link at the top of the page.

  6. Jon,

    Thanks for the pointer to your book review. I’m definitely going to get that book now. Leloup is incredible. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is organized in the same way as the Gospel of Thomas, and I read it in a way similar to what you said you would do for Thomas, although perhaps even more slowly. If you haven’t read Mary Magdalene, I’d highly recommend it.


  7. Hullo Jon,

    Your story is inspiring and give encouragement to people. That is good work you do.

    How I agree with you that all knowledge is one. Spirituality, physicality… just labels pinning on an ocean of knowledge. And how can you pin a label on the sea and the moving waves? Yet, it is the most confounding of illusions, and just as you say – intellectually it is easy to accept, but we are so often blind by this world and its many ruse! Hehehe.

    You say –
    “But now, practical spirituality is the only kind that interests me. Meister Eckhart’s famous prayer, “God, rid me of ‘God’,” rings true. Yes, I’ve had a bit of insight into the world being a holodeck, and myself as a part of the interplay of light and shadow, but the point of having a holodeck in the first place is to participate fully in the marvelous presentations.”
    I agree absolutely. It would be rude otherwise to ignore the marvelous stage, props and banana skins (on the floor) that makes this world simply quite wonderful really. I think that transcendental knowledge (or whatever blablabla we may term mystical information) is not complete unless you can take a handful of soil from the earth, enjoy its crumbly feel in your hands and its rich earthy fragrance. Just make sure its not dog poo! Hehehe.

    Well, all the best in your new hobby.

    Pax Taufiqa.

  8. Relative to Lynda and Mary’s posts, I have been on a quest for years to integrate the religion of my childhood (Protestant Christian) with my mystical and meditative experiences. After my mother died in 2007 of Alzheimer’s disease and I was filling in the time that I wasn’t spending taking care of her, I began writing a book. It is a novel, but synthesizes many of the ideas expressed on this site. The story is about an ex-Catholic priest who is also a meditator and finds a way to travel through time back to 1st Century Palestine to get the original story, free from translation and interpretation. The name of the book is An Apostle Thru Time and I am hungry for discussion about it. It is available on Amazon. Send me comments!

  9. -So how about that trailrunning? It just sounds cool.
    -You mentioned in your ADD review that you’re not a long distance runner… how far is “long distance”? I’m just curious how the real world thinks of it, I have known cross-country runners so I don’t feel like 5 or 6 miles is all that far. But maybe I’m wrong.
    -I know your little Jon pic is cool because it says “genius” right behind you, but it sounds like you deserve to replace it with one that’s a little more recent.
    -When will the ice up here go away? I had a nice 6-miler on Saturday, in the snow, and then the weather yucked out.

  10. Hi, Julie,

    I think you misread something in my ADD review. in the October entry, I said “but now I’m a long-distance runner.” I’m not hard-core; I’m still pretty much a novice, but to me, anyone who trains for halfs or marathons or who considers a run of 8+ mi a yawn qualifies.

    Currently, I’m training for running about 14-16 miles/wk, which will be sharply increasing in my marathon training. I love running trails, but I’ve put it on hold until after the marathon.

    The reason is that I’m still a very slow runner with a woefully out-of -shape aerobic system. I decided to go with a heart-rate-based marathon training plan, and after several weeks of experimentation settled on the Maffetone Method as probably the best method for conditioning that. (The same approach is also endorsed by Stu Mittleman in his book Slow Burn).

    At this stage in the program, I practically have to crawl (it feels) to keep my heart rate under my target number, but I’ve read a lot of rave reviews by people who say that after sticking with it for several months, it changed everything.

    You’re right. I really need to revamp the whole site as well. On other venues I’ve started using a pic of myself in Palma as my profile pic.

    Man. I HATE COLD and I HATE COLD RUNNING! I consider myself a hero for doing it in 23F like last night.

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