Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Marathon Monk Challenge

(Good morning!!)

After writing on the Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei, I thought it would be a great way to usher in a new year of running with a 100 day challenge. Basically, the goal is to run for 100 days straight, but I have a couple of self imposed guidelines.

1. Run 100 days straight:

The goal of the 100 days is to gain consistency in my daily running practice. The runs don’t have to be 40km like the Marathon Monks do, nor does it have to be the same route, but the goal is to get out every day.

2. Leave the watch at home:

This one is easy, since my Garmin 305’s charging cradle broke, and I don’t have the money to replace it:) Taking the Marathon Monks example, they run because they are practicing harmonious passion. The goal is to see Buddha in everything, not a specific pace, or a course record:)

3. Try to run at the same time daily:

Obviously with work and other duties most of us might not be able to start at the same time everyday, but the thing is to keep it as routine as possible. The Marathon Monks start their run at 1:30 everyday. Along the path they know when, and where they will be on the course when the sun rises. This adherence to a daily routine allows the practitioner to see both the uniqueness and oneness of each day. Like the Marathon Monks, I plan to start my run in the early morning to greet the sun daily!

4. Find and recognize awe inspiring places:

Along your path you will find places that connect with you. Take a moment to stop at these places and enjoy the beauty, say a prayer, give thanks, or simply just be. This turns your everyday run into a daily spiritual pilgrimage. Living in Santa Cruz, I have a number of beautiful spots where I like to stop and enjoy nature's splendor!

5. Journal daily:

No specific rules for journaling. Just write down what you observed daily on your pilgrimage. Note the days that are difficult, the days that seemed effortless, and your observations on the path. I've been keep tracking on this blog, and daytum.

6. Analyze and revise every ~ 2 weeks

With regular journaling, I may find things that feel right or not. While the Marathon Monks had a rigid practice, I want to remain flexible in my approach. Most likely the refinement will be the course I run, the time I run, or the amount of mileage I cover.

That’s about it! In many ways this challenge takes the essence of the Marathon Monks 100 day term, but makes it more accessible to everyone. The main thing is to get out and enjoy your surroundings. This can be done as a walk, run, or even a bike ride!

Here's some additional information on starting, maintaining, and restarting a routine: