Sunday, February 24, 2013

Buddha is Dry Shoes: Jones 10 Miler (2/24/13)

Atop the Last Hill at Mile 9.5.
Photo by Thomas Cole

Race: Jones Group Realtors 10 Mile Road Race
Location: Amherst, MA
Goal Time: 1:07:30
Actual Time: 1:09:37

I remember a story from chronicles of Zen masters. 

There was a monk whose Korean name translated to “Block Head.”  He was not intellectual enough to study the sutras and what-not so he was given the job of “working Zen” in the fields and kitchen.  (Yes, this sounds a little iffy to me too).

The master of the monastery told him: “Buddha is mind:”  a typical Zen koan meant to make you think past rational thought and into the metaphysical. Well, apparently, in Korean “Buddha is mind” sounds a lot like “Buddha is grass shoes.”

Well, Block Head was more confused by this then even the Buddha is mind.  But in his “working Zen” he was to “meditate” upon this thought while working in the fields.  (Yep, I bet Southerners told slaves the same thing.)  Anyways, while “meditating” in the fields one day, Block Head slips and falls, breaking his straw sandals – “grass shoes.”  It was this point that he achieved enlightenment.

He returned to the master and pronounced: “I get it.”  And then flung his broken shoes at the master.

“Buddha is grass shoes and my shoes are broken.”

The master laughed in delight at this enlightenment.

I had a mini-enlightenment after today’s race in the snow and I finally got to change: Indeed, “Zen is now”; and “Buddha is Dry Shoes."


For those keeping score at home that is 4 consecutive weekends of the big run of the week being in a snowstorm:

1.  Super 5k
2.  Twin Towers in a Blizzard
3.  Martha’s Vineyard 20 miler
4.  DH Jones 10 Miler

Yep, it’s typical February in New England.

We thought we might miss the snow this time.  But it was pelting a bit of sleet by the start of the race.  By mile 3 and then the dirt road (or shall I say mud road) it was creating havoc in puddles and slipperiness.  My paces were everywhere.

The first 5 miles wandered about in the abyss of easy running, tough hills and snow squalls.  I had given up staying on anything like a “pace” or even the idea of “pace.”  At the 5-mile marker I did look at my watch and it was 36 minutes and some unknown seconds.  I thought that I might be in real trouble.

Fortunately, this race is that anti-Applefest.  It’s a tough first half.  Then Mile 6 was almost normal – I caught up with Sean McDonough, Sr. and had a brief conversation.  Miles 7, 8, and 9 were FAST.  I was feeling good and kept the hammer down through some 6:15 miles. 

Mile 10 was not easy by any means.  There were two short steep hills.  But thankfully, I was able to keep it into perspective and at the top of the second Tom was there: “This is the last hill, I promise.  I looked down into the parking lot where there is an odd extra 200 yard mini-loop (?) and gutted the last quarter mile.  Round the parking lot and in under 1:10:00.

While I am not unhappy with my race, I am not happy with it either. Meh.


Liz Cooney had ANOTHER PR and finished second in her age group.
Urvi had a 1 minute PR (Joe said that’ like a 10 minute PR on another course.)

SRR Men’s Open – 10th; Masters’ – 9th
SRR Women’s Open -15th, Masters’ – 8th; Seniors – 4th

"Buddha is Dry Shoes"

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