Monday, December 7, 2009

Marathon Report


Just before the run I tweeted that I was about to embark on the physical trial of my life, man, was THAT an accurate statement!

Before that, though, was the entirely unnecessary drama brought about by my being so easily distracted and terrible with details. I forgot to go to the expo the day before the race to pick up my race bib and timing chip! Oh my goodness. They said on the document I had from them that race bibs were not handed out on race day. I remembered two hours after the expo closed with a sudden breaking out in sweat and a deep groan.

I decided to drive to Mandalay Bay's convention center in hopes some poor clerk was assigned the job to take care of mindless people like me. I was greatly relieved to find a sign posted on the closed doors that I could pick it up at 4:15 am at the Solutions tent.

So, my best friend Mark cooked me up a spaghetti dinner for my pre race dinner of carbs. I went to bed early and got up at 230 am drove to the Strip and after an illegal running of the barricades, a feat I seem to do every major race, and driving over a median I parked two casinos down at the Excalibur and made it to the Solutions tent at precisely 4:15, bravo!

Since it was quite cold at 34 F, I went inside the Four Seasons hotel which shares the parking lot with Mandalay Bay and warmed up in this lovely room with a couple other runners from Seattle, Vegas and Australia. The Christmas decorations did my soul good.

Then I went to the Rockin Runners tent to meet up with my running partners. We were planning on being together for the first 11 miles before I split off for the full as they were doing the half. The cold began to seep in but I did escape the point of shivering with my 3 layers of clothing (actually 5, but who's counting).

We were in corral 24 and I was surprised to have to wait for 45 minutes after the gun went off for us to get to the Starting line. But at 7 am, we were off!

I had to run across the street at about mile 4 to catch a porta potty, one of the drawbacks of drinking coffee (but well worth the performance enhancing boost) and was supposed to meet Dee and her daughter Megan at the next light. They reported they waited 8 minutes for me but I saw neither hide nor hair of them and must have passed them right by for they caught up with me at mile 8 when I was in yet another line for a porta potty. I waved them on and discovered inside that I was chafing and bleeding quite a bit- an alarming sight! But a few miles later I discovered how to stop that nasty little problem, for the most part.

Now, this is where my real trouble started. At mile 11 the top of my left foot started hurting for no real reason. I didn't trip or turn it or anything. I thought my laces were too tight and stopped to loosen them but they were not tight at all. A mile and a half later I started walking hoping it would improve. The first slow jaunt I did seemed to be better, but it soon worsened. Just then, I met with Diane from my running team who does a lot of walking. So I decided to join her.

We ended up walking the next 13 miles together. For the first half of that my foot worsened and the sickening realization gripped me, I was injured and it may not go away. I found out the hard way that walking 13 miles in the cold air with a sore foot can get quite painful even if you have recently run 18 miles with little pain.

I was very grateful that I had someone with me and I told Diane so and she replied she felt the same way. With such a damnably long distance ahead of us we both knew discouragement may have caused us to do the unthinkable.

I thought our walking pace was just fine since the cutoff was at the 17 minute per mile pace but we must have not been walking what I estimated to be a 15 minute per mile pace because the race official's car that signified the cutoff was gaining on us. We decided to run. For the last few miles of walking the foot pain seemed to lessen and I was shamefully thinking I was continuing to walk for mere reason of convenience and laziness, you know, going too easy on myself.

The first two quarter mile runs we did actually felt better than the worn out walking pain I was experiencing. Poor Diana, though, aside from her aching muscles that initially forced her to walk so much, she was now experiencing her blisters getting raw. They were quite slow runs, I must admit. And when we did the third and fourth jaunts my foot pain which had transferred to my ankle flared up. I thought I'd have to walk the rest of the way for fear of having a total ankle blowout.

Then James, the organizer of our training team appeared on a corner, he was waiting for his last two runners. He tried relacing my left shoe but the pain did not abate whatsoever. Dianne kept walking and was 40 yards ahead of me. Then the ominous pace car was RIGHT behind me, telling us he was the official car for the cutoff. For the next mile and a half he was in my peripheral vision, a mere couple feet behind me, and I forced my hurting ankle to speed up for fear he would pass me and I would be a DNF, Did Not Finish.

I caught up with Dianne and together we pressed on to about 24.5 miles. By this time I had a slight limp. By mile 25 we passed a couple and I was slightly relieved, but then they passed us back. Ugh, I was thinking if I was lucky enough to finish I would be the Very Last Runner, sheesh!

Then for the last half mile James convinced us to run it in. But I could only go half the speed Dianne was able to muster cuz of the pain. So, I ran with a limp and very slowly passed up about 5 walkers, there was this lovely group of young cheerleaders whooping and cheering and doing back flips for us. I was grateful that they stuck it out for so long a time.

Then came the blessed 26th mile! Only .2 to go and I hoped fervently that I wouldn't have an ankle blowout. The Finish line loomed ahead of me and I beared down trying to go as fast as the pain would allow. I crossed it finally at almost exactly 7 hours and this big burly guy put the quite lovely marathon medal around my neck. A few feet later this cute young gal tied the space blanket around my neck and was so enthusiastically saying how I deserved it that I got choked up thinking about what I had just accomplished. I was a marathon man....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prayer Train

There's a train of people in my wake
as I journey through life,
people I love and have compassion for,
whom I pray for.
Interceding with heaven,
that I may enjoy their company for eternity in paradise,
rejoicing together in our fellowship with God,
that eternity-long celebration,
and asking that their earthly sufferings be alleviated
and also made to enrich their lives
as Christ's sufferings enriches ours.

I have a lovely train of friends, beloveds and family-
all of whom I hope the best for,
they bring love to my life,
may I ever be so rich....

written tonight at 3 am in Chapel of Perpetual Adoration

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Nearness of God

I come to the nearness of God in this special, quiet place
With other lowly pilgrims seeking his touch.
I am blessed with the comforts of a caring and present God
In this always open chapel.

I come to the nearness of God and ask of him
Pertaining to all of my desires and all my questions.
I am surrounded by silence and the thoughts of God
In the chapel of adoration.

I come to the nearness of God, afforded in this nook of the church,
Grateful for how close my God is to me,
By his own choice, by his own sacrament,
In this chapel containing his body.

I come to the nearness of God, hungry and hopeful,
Desiring the keeping of promises, glad of his faithfulness,
Eager to receive in the silence
In the Eucharistic chapel.

God is good....

just written at 2 am in the St Bridgets Chapel of Perpetual Adoration

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Major Change In My Life? A monastery, even?

For a long time I've wanted to start another family. I am disheartened by how my four kids and I relate. We're not close and don't contribute much to each others lives, much of which is my fault, complications arising from my lack of character and the symptoms of my bipolar mood disorder in my younger years. My best friend, Mark's family is very close. When he asks his 3 kids to volunteer and help serve the homeless at Catholic Worker where he and I are on staff, they all come to help out cheerfully. I guess it's not always a good idea to make comparisons...

I love babies and feel young, though I'm pushing 50, look young, too, thanks to my half Japanese genes. And so I've been somewhat searching for a younger woman who wants to bear a couple children into this world.

But I've recently experienced a release in my spiritual life where remaining chaste actually seems a real possibility. That has led me to deepening my spiritual commitments. Combine that with the desire to do something about my fear of death and the desire to live eternally, has me thinking of straightening out my life to be in accordance with the Catholic Church and its teachings.

The Church takes very seriously the words of Jesus. It's one of my main attractions to it. Jesus said remarrying is adultery (the Church teaches only an honest annulment corrects this) and I've been married three times. So, unless I can honestly obtain three annulments, which seems mind-boggling to my ADD brain (long term projects are VERY hard for us), then it would be a grave sin for me to remarry. And since its a grave sin to be intimate with a girl outside of marriage, then I'm looking at lifelong celibacy. Something which seems easier to enjoy since said spiritual release from the fires of lust (which one can only hope is permanent).

Now, I have come to realize that I am drawn to the monastic. I really enjoyed getting up two hours early, a few years ago, and driving to Mark's house for coffee and morning prayer from the Divine Office, an ancient Catholic practice which all the priests, nuns, sisters and brothers in monasteries do worldwide everyday throughout the day. I did that for over a year. I also spent quite a few times a week during that period before the Eucharist in a Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, which the Church teaches is the direct Presence of God. Much of that time was chronicled in my earlier blog The Lucky Man. Reading The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris and her other book, Acedia and Me, opened my eyes to the joys and strengths of the monastic life.

Soooo, I am considering becoming a Benedictine Oblate, a third order (layman) member of the huge Catholic order founded by St. Benedict. And perhaps even joining a monastery in a deeper commitment to the order. I don't think I'm eligible to become a priest at my age and education level with all the baggage in my life, but there may be a monastery which would take me in. Or I could lead a life like Kathleen Norris, full of layman commitments and activities while writing award winning poetry....

Now, mind you, these are all thoughts just beginning to percolate inside my often dizzy little head. We shall see where this all goes....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

She's here! My first grandbaby


I will add more later, but Meavh (a Scottish name pronounced Mayv) was born at 8 lbs 4 oz with long black hair on the 24th!

She was born at home in the master bedroom, her dad was born in a bedroom naturally also 22 years ago. The midwife was trained by her dad's midwife, Kaye Bullock, a lovely lady. She is a quiet baby (lucky parents!) and sweet to behold. Sorry about the blurry picture, more will be published soon.

The paternal joy I basked in the first night was surprisingly sweet. I think she is going to change my life, just like her dad did when he was born. New life, fresh hope, a beginning full of lovely possibilities. Love goes on with this life. Ever expanding circles of love.

Folks, this is what its all about!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Poem

I hurt...
You are confused
And you draw lines in your mind
And I have no idea
And you judge
Instead of communicate.

I really don't see
How we can recover from this
You are so broken
and I don't read minds
I hurt...

Friday, February 27, 2009

I declare war on President Obama and his failed policies of the past.

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. -- H.L. Mencken

President Barack Obama has come out of the closet and shown himself to be a flaming liberal bent on destroying the works of President Ronald Reagan, and that, my friends, is a call to arms.

I knew we were in for some trouble, but drew a sigh of relief at his cabinet picks and had no concrete reason for high alarm due to his broad and general campaign outline of himself that he drew and my natural optimism and willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt. But, with announcing his disdain for the free market and his incredible new New Deal programs he outlined Thursday night, he has shown himself to be the quintessential, far left, liberal, big goverment, tax and spend politician on an even grander scale than LBJ.

This is going too far. This is reason to sit upright and pay strict attention. This is a man intent on stealing from the riches of America relying on the old, failed policies of the past, that have done nothing but bring destruction and financial ruin to millions of Americans. And I will use every last ounce of my political strength to oppose my president. This is war.

President Barack Obama is showing himself to be cruel to the poor, and the middle class. For his policies will bankrupt this nation and lead to quadruple the economic turmoil we have seen in the past 18 months. It will devastate the nation and then the world. Freedom is at risk here, prosperity is at risk here. Our very way of life is at risk here.

And I'm not alone in my dire assessment of our new president. There are literally millions of Americans out there who remember the blessings that Reaganism brought to our great nation, who will not sit idly by while the American way is trampled by the lousy tenants of liberalism. This will be a grassroots uprising of the highest order and we will take no prisoners. This is war and the vast majority of Americans will stop this horrible political agenda. Rise up, my brothers and sisters, now is the time, our time to put this Anti-Reagan president and his congressional ilk where they belong: in the ash heap of history.

Slash and burn.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guest Blogger: What is the most important thing in life?

Here is one of my Twitter friends answering my very important question...

A Reflection on Parenting


Vered (aka v_a_k on twitter)

During one of my first wanderings out and about in Twittervile, I came upon Timaay's question: "Ok, tweeps, in one word, what is the most important thing in life...". .. With hardly a pause, I replied "Parenting". Upon further reflection and the need to elaborate on this without the 140 characters twit-limit, I am happy to endorse that knee jerk response.

Beyond the fact that...

-- giving birth to my son was the single most sensation-packed event I have experienced to date - physical and emotional,

-- becoming a mother has brought about in me a transformation not equaled by any other, redefining the relationship with my own parents and giving me a new perspective on my priorities,

-- the feelings - joy and pain, pride and guilt, love (and yes, even sometimes hate) - are most intense within the relationship with my son...

Beyond all else, I realize that by producing life and nurturing it, I have been granted the opportunity to have a concrete and meaningful impact on the world.

Few of us are born with a gift that allows us to paint "Starry Nights", to compose "The Four Seasons", or to write "The Great Gatsby" - masterpieces that acquired a life of their own and have transcended the lifetime of their creators. But by setting forth and multiplying, each one of us can create an equally, if not more beautiful masterpiece.

As I at times struggle with the desire to "make a difference" through either work, socializing or political activism and the need to tame this desire on account of my shortcomings and the limits of the energy I can muster, I ultimately recognize that my most important sphere of influence is my home and my family. By creating an environment wherein my child can grow to be a productive, responsible, kind and caring person, I make all the difference in the world. And if I am blessed and he grows and matures in such a way as to choose and be able to set forth and multiply as well, then the impact lingers. My essence, my soul - and those of my fore-bearers, manage to survive yet another day, and we will exist in a future in which our names have been long forgotten.

Life persists and I have done the work of God. What more can I ask for?

For comments and more writings visit the Crimson Court
] - I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Touching Eternity

How the mystery of God enters my mundane and profane life...

Sometimes when I say the last amen of the Rosary prayer I feel I'm at one with God & the universe. It started in my early days of praying this repetitious prayer when I used a small software application on my home computer that I downloaded for free after a google search. Its amazing the doors that Google unlocks for you...

The application had you hit the amen button as you got to the end of the Rosary and it would take you to the next prayer. When I hit the final amen of the concluding prayer the entire application would disappear, leaving me with my simple PC desktop. The suddenness of that act would transport me to a place where I immediately felt the peace of God and the curious sense of being wonderfully in touch with his presence. I would feel a deep sense of well being and that I was in touch with the entire universe, at one with it, and with its creator.

The feeling often pervades my senses even when I haphazardly pray the Rosary at work in my casino on a dead game where I'd have plenty of time to muddle through what I could remember of the mysteries of that particular day. I'd be standing there at the prayer's conclusion feeling my invisible senses expanding out to the entire universe.

All this sounds grand and wonderfully full of mystery but its always quite subtle and often missed as the profane concerns of my work day would block me from contact with the invisible world. But on occasion, I'd be wrapped in the mystery and sublime beauty of prayer, in touch with my spirit and all of creation.

What this all means in the long run of my stumbling, sinful life I'm not quite sure, but I'm grateful that a little bit of heaven can pervade my earthly life by praying the simple, repetitious Rosary.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I think I have a chance, folks, for a real good job...

My career coach/sponsor, aka my mom, just had lunch with some potential "juice." Telling her about me, an aspiring dealer. That's the most my mom had done to advance my career since I started this Vegas Baby dream.

It is a bit less immediate than I'd prefer in a couple ways. The contact isn't one in a real position of authority, she's a dealer at my fave casino, and the job opening won't appear until at least next December. Sooo, its not like a VP is gonna recommend me for a position, but, another dealer got hired via my mom through this gal merely by listing her as a personal reference on her job application and once the casino at City Center opens up it will be a rather high paying job.

I remember this MGM Grand dealer, with an incredibly extroverted personality, when I was a pit clerk almost two years ago whom I had told of my dealing ambitions, would constantly tell me we would work together at City Center, once it opened up. Well, maybe, that dream will come true. My Vegas Baby ambitions... siiiigh, that would be nice to realize!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ok, my FIRST EVER New Year's Resolutions


Folks, I have never made New Year's Resolutions. They always seemed silly to me, knowing how many times they are broken. But also, I think it's a feature of my ADD, meaning the difficulty we have with long or medium range goals- for our brains they are veeery difficult.

But having successfully reached my half marathon goal with months of preparation and lots of hard work over a sustained period of time I now feel confident that I can make and keep them.

Soooo, the other day I tweeted two resolutions. To run at least two half marathons if not a full, and to lose another 17 pounds. My weight goal is designed to bring me to a BMI rating of normal weight by age 50, 18 months from now. I told a friend at work that by age 50 I want the body of a 30 year old....

And, by God, I think I will do it. I originally decided to run a marathon to build my character, to gain control over my body and strengthen my soul and it is working! Woo hoo! I am so excited and deeply moved.

For a man who's neurological makeup makes things like organization and planning nearly impossible without lots of coaching, this half marathon achievement is revolutionary in my life and how I view my abilities. A few years ago I had a rush of insight and blurted out to my mom, as she saw some employment success building in my life (after 25 years of floundering in the work force), that I was a "late bloomer." The recognition of truth made her laugh out loud.

It takes me a while to get some things right, but I have learned, that at times, I am very persistent and things are starting to come together for me I am happy to report.

There's something else cooking in the back of my mind. I just read with misty eyes a Runner's World article about a gal who started a program for homeless men to improve their lives by running a half marathon. Being one who's life is being enhanced by endurance running and one who volunteers a couple times a week for the Las Vegas Catholic Worker which serves the poor and homeless, where I also live and am taking a greater role in its operation lately, this has profound meaning to me. Perhaps I may inspire some homeless men to overcome their demons the same way I overcame some of mine. We'll see...