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Spike Gillespie releases meditation book and plans classes

Army Marathon and Cupid’s Undie Run set.

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Spike Gillespie can meditate almost anywhere — and she has, in the last two years.

Photos on her blog, www.meditationkicksass.com, show her sitting cross-legged, eyes squeezed shut and a slow smile on her face, in the studio at radio station KUTX, in the middle of a road in Oregon, in front of a wall of eyeglass frames and next to a Christmas tree.

Now, after a year of meditating every day, Gillespie is publishing a book about the experience. “Sit. Stay. Heal. How Meditation Changed My Mind, Grew My Heart and Saved My Ass” is part memoir and part how-to guide and features clever photos by Ann Woodall.

The local writer will also lead a series of donation-based beginner meditation sessions at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays through February at Eastside Yoga, 1050 East 11th St. (RSVP at tinyurl.com/ouzsnzp).

Gillespie, who grew up with an abusive father, says she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, cyclical depression and anxiety. Two years ago, she got so depressed she could barely get out of bed.

“I had to do something about it,” she says. She’d been meditating on and off for a dozen years, but without focus. She vowed she’d meditate every day for a year, and starting in late 2012, she did.

Five-and-a-half months in, she began blogging about the experience. She wrote first about how to meditate, then a reader asked if she took requests. That led her to meditating at strange and unusual places around the city. She meditates for 21 minutes a day.

“I still meditate every single day and haven’t missed a day since,” she says. “I hope to meditate until I die.”

She says it calms her down and eases her depression. It’s helped her come to terms with her own abuse, cope with a recent breakup and recognize that she has contributed to some of her own troubles.

The self-published electronic version of the book is available at meditationkicksass.com (pay what you wish) or on Amazon for $9.99. A print version will be released in late February.

Army Marathon coming in March

The Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, fast approaching on Feb. 15, isn’t the only 26.2-miler in the area.

The third annual Army Marathon near Fort Hood on March 1 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and honor Texans who served in it.

The marathon route begins near Fort Hood in Killeen and ends in Temple; a half-marathon and 5K will start and finish in Temple. Race director Ed Bandas, a former Marine, says it’s a fast, downhill course.

About 1,500 athletes are expected to participate in the three races, which are produced in partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health and Central Texas College. Active duty military members, veterans, police and firefighters will wear special identifying bibs.

“It’s very patriotic,” Bandas says, adding that about a fifth of participants are active military.

About 200 soldiers who ran the race last year but have since been deployed will participate in a shadow run in Kuwait the same day. Bandas is sending them T-shirts, race bibs and medals.

“What makes us a little bit different is because we are not affiliated with the U.S. Army, we can do charitable activities with our funds. That’s why we started this in first place — to bring funds and awareness to really good veterans charities,” he says.

Registration is open until Feb. 28 at www.thearmymarathon.com.

Cupid on the run

Don’t be alarmed if you see hundreds of runners dashing through downtown Austin wearing nothing but their skivvies come Feb. 7.

That’ll be the Cupid’s Undie Run, a 1.5-mile race featuring athletes in their favorite underwear and bedroom attire. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds research for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body.

The run, held in 39 cities around the world, has donated $4.5 million to the foundation since its inception five years ago. The Austin version will kick off from the Rattle Inn, 610 Nueces St. Racers will meet up for a pre-party at noon, then dash through downtown in their skivvies at 2 p.m. before returning to the Rattle Inn for a post-race party sponsored by MeUndies, Fathead and Quicken Loans.

Last year, about 600 runners participated. Registration is $55 at cupidsundierun.com/city/austin. To learn more about the Children’s Tumor Foundation, go to www.ctf.org.