Sangha

Run for the Dry Forest

Pu’u Wa’awa’a Run for the Dry Forest 10k with Hawai’i Forest & Trail

“Are you interested in running the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Run for the Dry Forest 10k?”

This was the question from my mate only days after finishing my third full distance Ironman in 3.5 months. My response? “If you’re doing it then I’m changing my travel plans and doing it with you!”

Sangha is a Pali and Sanskrit word translated as “community”. Thich Nhat Hanh clarifies, however, that it’s more than a word, it’s a practice. “The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love.” The few people I consider a part of my sangha/community also hold close the ideas of transformation and healing of self and society. There’s a very strong spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

I knew that extending my stay on the island of Hawai’i, and having hang out time with one of my true soul brothers would support the regeneration that was desperately needed in my mind, body and spirit. A year of hard training to get me to, and through, the Ironman World Championship had left the batteries depleted. What’s more, I needed time to listen and hear the direction that the Universe was encouraging me to travel. The previous eleven months had been dedicated to pushing the edge of the envelope physically and mentally in order to catch up to my athletic peers. It worked! You see, in order to compete at IMWC, also known simply as ‘Kona’ in the triathlon world, an athlete must qualify at another Ironman race. With virtually no endurance training, only three years of experience in the sport, and an ankle fracture as the launching point of the whole adventure the steep climb took its toll.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t a happy camper. But post-season regeneration became the main theme, with a secondary theme of defining future goals. It’s been three weeks since I finished ‘Kona’. There’s been no formal training, but I have moved my body, mostly with swimming in the ocean, a bit of running, and a bike ride. The core elements have been rest, meditation, quiet time in nature, and good talks & adventures with my mate.

In this blog I intend to explore the concepts of sangha, health, nutrition, and wellness and how they are expressed in my life. This is a journey–an ongoing discovery. And as such, I don’t know what the path looks like. I invite you to come along with me. To be honest, there’s a lot of resistance inside about starting this. I don’t fully know the plan, what I’ll share, if it’ll be interesting or if it will be of value to you. All I know is that two key people in my Sangha continue to encourage me to speak out, to share, to offer my own experiences for your use in however it fits in your own journey.

…oh, how did the 10k go? It was a LOT of fun. My intention was to just take it easy, but as the start neared I knew that my desire to push the limits would take over. The first half is uphill, and I allowed my heart rate to dictate pace. On the downhill I went as fast as I could while making foot and leg stability my primary focus. I felt great afterwards, but during the next several days my quadriceps muscles were tight and extremely sore!

balance & peace,
/howie

(Thich Nhat Hanh on ‘The Practice of Sangha’, http://www.lionsroar.com/the-practice-of-sangha/)