June 24: If There Is No Running How Can There Be Transcendence

“I left at 11:30.  I could have done 2 or 3 more laps, but for me it was more important to go home and get a little more sleep.  And that helped so much.  It was the first night that I could sleep for a full 3 1/2 hours. Yesterday I had my best mileage day but I really felt that I needed a little bit more sleep. I did 113 laps.”Photo by Jowan

Photo by Jowan

Nidhruvi Zimmerman like all the runners of the 3100 mile race have been on the course now for 8 full days. Depending on where you live in the world there is an extremely good chance that at the moment you are preparing yourself for a good nights rest the runners will be still out on the course here and running.

A 6 hour break from the race every night can for some multi day runners seem like an extravagant luxury.  But try inserting all the other necessary chores that you need to do just after, and then again just before the race starts at 6 am.  The amount of free time you anticipated begins to get squeezed down into something, that looks less and less like sweet dreams and more and more like a nightmare.

pre-pranjal

When Pranjal leaves the race he tries and works briefly on his blog. He ran 118 laps yesterday and this morning he stretched out for not more than 5 minutes before the start.

Question: Did God really intend everyone to run?

Sri Chinmoy: In God’s case, there is no difference between His sleeping and His running. Even while sleeping, He runs the fastest. And when He is sleeping, He knows that He is running. In the case of an ordinary human being, it is different. When you run, then only do you know that you are running. But when you are sleeping, you do not feel that you are running, unless you have wild dreams that you are running faster than the fastest. But God, even when He is sleeping, knows that He is running.

God created two things for the human mind: running and sleeping. You can say that you have already done your share of sleeping. But God says, “Since you have pleased Me by sleeping, now please Me also by running.” So God did intend everybody to run. Running means speed, both on the inner plane and the outer plane. God’s Poise is speed, God’s Peace is speed. How will He go beyond His Goal if there is no speed? If there is no running, how can there be transcendence?

Sri Chinmoy, The Outer Running And The Inner Running, Agni Press, 1974

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

Photo by Bhashwar 1979

This morning a small dilemma arises when Sarah is not there in front of her house to be picked up and a knock on the door does not work.   Sarvagata calls his wife who is staying at the same address and is able to get her woken up.  Rupantar then goes back to pick her up.   This is not a problem, but it does mean now that Sarah will loose a few precious minutes of running time.

pre-rupantar

Nidhruvi arrives after having her luxurious 3 1/2 hours of rest

pre-nidhruvi

Baladev has brought a pillow for his breaks in the van.

prebaaladev

The wear and tear of the miles begins to show on the runners feet but so far no bad blisters.

pranjal-foot

Start

start

Though summer technically made its arrival several days ago, today for the first time the temperature and the humidity will be soaring.

silouhette-ashprihanal

The morning is deceptive.  It is not hot yet but the humidity makes it feel uncomfortable already.

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Not too many minutes pass before Sarah arrives, thenmshe too starts

start-sarah

Ananda Lahari continues to be consistent with the all important 110 lap days

ananda-lahari2

Baladev and Ananda Lahari heading up the block

behind

A flower finds a friend

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Ashprihanal did not have a great day yesterday.

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Some foot repair

foot

When I ask Nidhruvi if she is having a good day. “The day has just started and for me the start is always the best and the easiest.”  For her the nights are the most difficult.  “Because you have run all day long and by the evening when it is getting so dark I am getting so tired, and I don’t have so much strength any more. So for me it is so hard work to run the last 2 1/2 hours or so.  I always try and reach 110 laps, and  if possible 111.  It depends on how I feel.”

nidhruvi6

She also describes how much time is used up when she gets home at night.  The usual chores such as a shower, washing her hair, and taking a foot bath.  Then there is a massage.  “It takes time, you don’t get to sleep before 1 am.”

She says because her feet are doing so well she doesn’t have to get up as early as she might normally.  “My helper comes at 5am to do my feet.  To cover the sensitive parts for the day.  So when you go to bed at 1 and wake up 2 or 3 times you can count how much sleep you get.”

nidhruvi4

Nidhruvi is very experienced as a multi day runner but has never run such a long race as this which has its built in daily 6 hour break.  She says that she did not train for it but simply has adapted to the schedule since she started.

“I am not a morning person.  I don’t like at all to get up early in the morning.  My strong side is the evening.  But in the morning no way at all.  This is one of my biggest problems a lack of sleep.  It has always been my biggest problem in the 1300 mile race.  But this is a bit better because the night is not so long and I have more breaks during the day.”

nidhruvi-and-sylvie

“My first break is around 11 for about 20 minutes.  My big break is around 4 for 30 minutes.  Then my last break is around 8 for 20 minutes.”  She says that in her earlier long races she would only take 2 breaks.  “But this race is so long I need these 3 breaks, and practically I am running from one break to the next. (laughs) These are my highlights.”

Looking at her numbers over the past 8 days she has done extremely well.  “Actually I am speechless.  I have never had such good feet before.  Of course you always have little difficulties.  I am so respectful of this race.  In the first few days I was very very careful and I also did stretching.  I really have to do it to prevent Achilles problems, and shin problems.  When I feel something in my body I immediately react.  You know just to prevent.  I have run 8 days and I am starting to get into it.”

nidhruvi

Nidhruvi also has a very good team working with her for the race and her morning starts with the assistance of Silvy.  “She is awesome, and she is totally identified with the race, and she loves to do it.  She is so practical and I am 100% grateful that she has been sent to me.”  Which by an act of good timing we have come around the course where Sylvie awaits her with her always present tray.

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Baladev seems not so bothered by his knee today.

baladev

The day has just begun

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Lamps remain on.

lamp

Atmavir still is strong

atmavirKarabi getting some help counting

karibe-and-friend

For the first time in the race Sarvagata had the most miles yesterday.  69 miles or 127 laps.  He also found time to cut his own hair.

sarvagata

How he looks against the sun

silouhette

Vasu’s laps yesterday were 118

vasu-sky

There is a lot yet to come on the road ahead

vasu-behind

Yuri reads the days prayer in Russian

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yuri-and-prayer

Yuri ran 115 laps yesterday

yuri4

Camp

wide-camp

Vajra

vajra2

Sopan ran 11 laps yesterday

sopan

Other visitors

diksha-bird2

“I don’t know.  It is a miracle.”  Silvy who is one of Nidhruvi’s helpers has never been to NY before and has never helped at a race like this and she is doing extremely well, and is also very happy.  Something Nidhruvi is quick to say as well.  Silvy describes how she likes the nature that peaks out in and around the course but what she seems to thrive on most of all, “is being selfless.  The joy comes from being selfless.”

When I suggest that there is a lot of cement and humanity here she says, “you have to be aware of what is around you.”

sylvie

She talked with Nidhruvi before coming most of the things she would need to do but she also says that her own common sense is also very helpful.  She then goes into a lengthy catalog of all the many drinks and preparations that she is constantly working on throughout the day.  “Everything has to be organized.”

She also describes how Nidhruvi is also very direct as to what she needs.  Silvy understands it very clearly just how much stress, not only Nidhruvi is going through but in many ways all the runners.  “I am trying to reduce her stress.”

nidhruvi-ans-sylvie3

I ask her if anything about being her surprised her.  “That I would get so much joy from this work.  I am an historian and I work with my mind, and now I am working with my hands.  It makes me really really happy.”

I ask her where she thinks this joy is coming from.  “I think I get aspiration from inside, from my heart.  It doesn’t come from outside it comes from inside.  So I meditate a lot.”

nidhruvi-and-sylvie2At this point in both her and Nidhruv’s race there is still very far yet to go.  I ask if this concerns her at all.  “No, we don’t think about it.  Also we don’t think about her pain.  She is suffering like every runner is too.  But we don’t talk about it, we carry on.  She has a very strong will.  Sometimes the body is crying but that is natural.  This is normal, this is what she said in the beginning.  Now she has pain and it is increasing.   But if she has nice food and gets everything that she wants.”

She also feels that she is transcending herself as well being here.  She feels as though when difficulties are coming to her that they are like big waves crashing over.  There is a great turbulence and then she simply gets up and starts running again.

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Not just today but for several days to come the weather will be hot.

pranjal-water

Sarah and sun screen

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Surasa also has a very good helper in Vasavi

surasa-and-vasavi

She ran 113 laps yesterday

surasa3

prayer

prayer

Recited by Surasa, who adds, “such a nice poem.”

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

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God invites our heart and mind
To come and listen
     To His Discourse.
The heart immediately runs
     Towards God;
The mind goes to sleep.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 25, Agni Press, 2002

flower

2 Comments to “June 24: If There Is No Running How Can There Be Transcendence”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you.

  2. purnakama says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!

    I read this every morning and it inspires me for the day.

    I get energy just reading about their Herculean feats.

    Thanks Utpal for bringing us their incredible stories!

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