Tag Archives: Marathon

A marathon story

Saturday I listened to cool sounds at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market , including “Oh Susannah” Sunday 05:15 I started a 42.2km marathon. Laid-back open air, beautiful.

1-DSCN2834Marathons are just marathons: I run enough and have the genes to run most inside the 5-hour limit. Except they always are special.

The thing is I have to pay for and run one each year. To run still longer means we (not the cheats) have to show we ran 42.2 km.

Of course running talk is cheap. Sweat, chafe, foot-slog get the medals, satisfaction, grins, and, what I like: marathon logic and magic.

Marathon logic. If you can’t, you can’t. The first half is easy, otherwise what are you doing there? If you get too cocky, Nemesis lurks.

Nemesis hangs out past 30 km unless you have a bad hangover, the aid-stations run out of water, you trip and whack your head.

At about 25 km the kerb tripped me as I jumped onto the pavement to bin a few plastic water sachets. I’ve learned to roll too; so got right up, a bit sandy.

Falling broke the monotony, started a I-km conversation. Spilled half my crunchie – sugar, oats, coconut – my spell against Nemesis.

Ah, a marathon life: wind in hair, a dash of adrenaline, camaraderie, even a bit of empathy, sometimes espresso at the Olympia Café.  

After 31 km I looked for signs of Nemesis in the headwind, sunburn, foot-grind, behind the distance markers, on the others’ backs.

1-DSCN2836-001By 35 km, I knew I had passed her. Maybe she’d had her fill. My legs trundled a lilting rhythm. I sprayed water on me, took electrolytes.

My run-beat evoked the swing-lullaby beat of Saturday morning’s song and its line “goin’ to run all night, goin’” to run all day”.

As I get older I can resist more temptations. The last to go will be the lingering songs of the gorgeous ultra-marathon Sirens.

1-DSCN2847-001Marathon Magic turns my Nemesis into

  • a couple of naughty Sirens
  • a beer
  • an ultra-entry form
  • a deeper resolve

and feeds the life-fire in me.

A marathon story of running, beer and more.

Goals and their limits

Goals are limited

Goals are always limited,  too often limiting. But if we let them, they can do more.

I understand that goals focus us and that’s a good thing.

Goals, running goals, life goals, are always come from what we see, know, understand. Too often they come from what we are taught or the demands and  expectations of institutions. Goals are always limited to what we can see, by what we know, by what we have been shown .

Here’s an exam1-DSCN1127ple of what I mean. When I started, my running goal was to get through the 86+ km Comrades Marathon before the cut-off time. It took my legs two years to get strong enough to run 10 km – that long partly because I thought running meant running at 4 min/km or less, mostly because I was unfit and overweight, with smoke-gunged lungs.

Less than a year later I lined up for the marathons and after just under another 10 hours,  Comrades Medal hung on my sweaty, unbelievably fulfilled chest – in way it still hangs there.

Setting a goal gave me that. But I had got a lot more.

I had got running,  got running engorged. Instead of times and records,  I ran what I could imagine: whether out for hours roaming paths and roads, sneaking in under 38 min for 10 km or getting through 100 miles.

I got running and all it brings:  sun, storms, under stars, rainbows and waterfalls, on mountain tracks and endless roads; I ran with people and alone, I loved running, talking about it and the glitter, colour and rhythms it gave to my life. I ran stress out of me and life into me. My mind cleared and I could see and understand things, life, in ways far different and literally unimaginable before I started running.

No training program, school curriculum or university course taught me that. No institution, international or local, world record holder talked about that.  They gave races, times, rules, uniforms, officials, training programs, personal bests, the science.

But I got so much more.

Sure it’s nice to achieve goals and they focus what we do. What’s better is if we are open to learning while we chase them. There’s always more to what we know and see and value.

And so ..

Later I did set one other running goal – to write a book about running and life. But I did it less for achieving a goal I could see and understand; more because I knew I would discover so much more by doing it.

So nicely, I had no idea what writing a book would allow me to see  but I knew it would be good. I got more of life and value and to run mystical miles.

A new running adventure

A new adventure for me starts today:  talking about the richness of life and running, as I wrote about in the book Mystical Miles The 2nd Dimension of Running.

1-1-DSCN2137My adventure began as I think it should, with a run and will go for as long as I can manage, even if I have to take a break from running from time to time  – like the ultras I like to run from time to time.

Running engaged my mind from the beginning  and my mind fully engaged with running. I knew I had to run … for my life. My belly was too wobbly; the survival drive in me sensed danger.

From the first steps my mind engaged to keep me going out no matter how hard it was. Running and Mind – ideas, thoughts, plans, fears, hopes and more, fused, became one – each indispensable to the other.

I  ran on as I run on, mind in my footfalls and panting, which so nicely keeps opening me to More of me, of sunrises, of Everything.

There is more to running than just running.

1-DSCN2030-001Together running and mind showed me there is more to running than just running. Running is more than just sweat, effort, grind, blisters, tiredness under- or de-hydration. More than the training, results, records, personal bests. The work never stops, the training and measures never stop, they sweatily offer more.

And that, my run-in mind says is how life is: there is more to life than the work and chores. You have to do them. But you can do them quickly and efficiently and make time for More.

I’m sure you’ll understand that the second dimension of running  of the book title is the More!


Mind in Running

Mind in Running

Mind, as much as body and the paths on which my feet crunched kilometres, has always  been part of my running. That’s how I got the riches of running.

Right at the begi1-DSCN2026nning, my mind got me running when I made up to start running.

I got most of the “how” of running from books and the people I ran with. My mind played with the what, the what-else and the why of running. From that the rich part of running, grew and blossomed

In a sense my mind had to do this. It had to find or make up a reason for all the interval and fartlek sessions, time-trials, long slow runs, training, racing, the goals and standards.

In addition to the shorter, harder work, I got longer runs. Once I got through a few weeks for being out for a couple of hours, coming back with well-run grin, I found a passion. That was enough.

Yet there was more. Running far enough quietened, calmed, emptied and so nicely scrubbed out my mind. That was more than enough.

Still more came – run far enough opened my mind just right and the outside began pouring in – sunrises, stars, the tingle of the life in grasses, sunbirds, geraniums, frogs, trees, the nicely infinite deep of the sky.

Running enough got me enough and the magically  opened the way to get still more.

So running gave me a bit more of Life; became a way of getting even more of life. That was the second dimension of my running .

More on mind in running, on mental strength next time.

About Mystical Miles

Mystical Miles” an idea forged in running: Running is more than sweat, grunt, blisters, times, records and distances; running is unimaginably, immeasurably more. It’s easy enough to run in More.

The story of the discovery and exploration of the more of running  is told in the book:

Mystical Miles Cover 3d TinyMystical Miles -The 2nd Dimension of Running.

More about  the book and how to get it here.


The Blog  on this w1-DSCN1639ebsite is part of the ongoing exploration of the More, the richness  and riches of running.



The more comes from running from the accumulations of running from all the training, racing short and ultra-marathon long; from running the run in, through, under: sunrises, rainbows, alone and with others; from the robustness, resilience and responsiveness  running generates;  from running outer tracks and trails, roads and beaches, and from inner paths, clearing inner tangles, opening mind and body to all of what is around us.

The more of running comes, you see, from all of running.

“As I tie my laces, pull up my shorts, I have already begun to change, a bud beginning to open.” Mystical Miles