Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Cold Spell

Training is continuing to go well, despite the return of freezing temperatures., dropping to -12°  at nights. So far we've been spared the snow though. At the weekend I took repossession of the pulse meter, which had to have a new battery and a service. The last time it worked anything like reliably was during the marathon last September, and even then it played up right at the start, so that I ran the whole time not really knowing my time. Of course I now realise I've probably been training too fast, after today's easy run at 70% of my maximum heart rate. Actually I don't believe it is possible to run that slowly. I always end up running at around 75 or 80 %. 

One observation from today's run: I regularly pass people pushing their babies in prams and wheelchairs, sometimes men (most of whom don't look at all happy with their task), and sometimes women (who also look pretty unimpressed). What I particularly noticed today is that almost all the women were talking into their mobile phones. One could speculate on the effects of this phenomenon, and on the reasons for it. But not today. I need to go to bed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Week at Padmaloka

Last week I was on retreat at Padmaloka, the retreat centre near Norwich in East England where I lived and worked between 1994 and 2000. I have been back several times since I moved to Berlin and my retreat this time was as ever a joy. There was plenty of meditation and discussion on the topic of the Imagination, raised by a paper by Subhuti, recently circulated among members of the Triratna Order entitled Re-Imagining the Buddha. During the week I also managed to keep up my training schedule and avoided getting ill, with the help of Master Lam's Chi Kung 'cold prevention strategy', which I learnt from his book, The Way of Energy, from which I learnt chi kung several years ago, and was the source of inspiration to practice it over many years. Since learning this form of chi kung incidentally, I stopped having the regular problems with my back, from which I had suffered over many years, probably on account of simply becoming more aware of my body and its movements than I had been before.

Since arriving back home I have had a very full round of meetings and appointments. There has been some excitement at Buddhistisches Tor around the arrival of a film crew from ARD who have been making a documentary for showing in the autumn. While leading the meditation on Sangha evening on Tuesday, which was filmed, I was very aware of the opportunity that unusual experiences give us to experience our responses. Such occasions prevent us from falling into our habitual ways of being and so we more clearly experience the tendencies of the mind, usually tending towards one of the extremes of aversion or desire. Apprently they have been awarded prizes for other documentaries, for example one called "Gut sein auf Probe - Ein Egoist engagiert sich" (Good on test - an egoist commits himself).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Marathon in a week

The first week of my training for the half marathon went well. I ran 40 km in the course of the week - which is more or less the same as I ran in September in one day. This morning I ran another 12 km and noticed towards the end that my hair had frozen, or more correctly, the sweat in my hair had frozen. When I touched it I was reminded of the time I stopped coming my hair, thirty something years ago and developed natural dreadlocks. I was also reminded of my winter cycling tour in Dorset in January 1991, when my beard froze and I took on the appearance of an arctic explorer, and thereby attracting a little attention when stopping to visit shops for refreshments.

Anyway, the training feels good, despite the cold, and I am looking forward to running in the Berlin half marathon for the third time in a row.
This is part of the course I ran on Sunday in Luckenwalde