June 23: Doing Something

“I am just doing something.”  Teekshanam adds, that he is not categorizing his performance so far in the race as neither bad nor good.  “I am just doing something that feels good.  If it feels good than you are okay.”

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His is a soft and thoughtful voice, and though he is tall and slender he moves forward with gentle almost silky strides.  Despite all the polite calm and poise he is demonstrating here, there also appears to be a lot more to Teekshanam than meets the eye.

That perhaps just beneath the meticulous and measured exterior is a wealth of inner strength and fortitude like the unreleased power of a silent giant.  That once this power is put into motion and given direction than he can just go on and on, without worry and without complaint.

He was born in Moldova but currently lives and works in Geneva.  He tells me that  his Mom and sister following the race back in Moldova and wants to be sure that his Mom is not worried about him.

After 8 days of running he has managed to make 485 miles.  A terrific number but is also one that he is perhaps only vaguely aware of.   To all the bean counters and statistic takers it is an extraordinarily good performance for a first time runner of this race.  He did 111 laps yesterday, 60 miles.

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I question Teekshanam a little more about what it means to feel good.  He has had little sleep and he is just a little less than 2 days from running farther than he has ever run before.

“It feels good from the point of view of the overall experience of what you are trying to do.”

He first heard about the race about 10 years ago, and thought at the time, “this cannot be possible.  But because so many people have done it so many times.” From learning about what others had done he began to see that it just might be something that he could do.  He humbly adds that it might not be something he could even complete on his first or even second attempt.  But given the opportunity of taking part then he would try his best.

“Eventually it is possible.”

As we talk there is a gradually overwhelming crescendo of noise as the siren of police car screams it’s way towards us.

I wonder whether all the noise and quite often confusion created by the ebb and flow of humanity would disturb him.

“You would think so at least at the beginning of the race.  But as the race progresses it becomes part of the experience.  It doesn’t stand out any more.”

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As we talk Pranjal rolls past us with his heavy shuffling strides.  Of runners like that who have been here for so many years Teekshanam is in awe.  “It is incredible.”  Runners like Pranjal he describes as being one of the pillars of the race.  “Just to see them doing it, and doing it so perfectly and so unconditionally and also being so willing to help others.  Especially help beginners like myself.  That is real good.”

Many things that would bother many of us when we are trying to run he has to accept, because there is no alternative.  Avoiding children on careening bikes, students on their way going back and forth to school in an adolescent daze.  He has even been asked for directions.  “So you have to explain things to people.”

“You have to let cars go first when they come out of the driveway of the school.  You just do the normal thing that you regularly do.”

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“This place is what we make it to be.  If feels different here because it also has such a  history.  So many runners have invested their heart and soul into running on this course.  Sri Chinmoy the founder of the race himself also invested so much personal time and energy into it, to support the runners.”  He describes an aura that exists here.  “It is beautiful to be on this course.”

At this point despite everything, he is simply happy to be part of it and be able to accept all the challenges and opportunities. that have come his way so far.  “I think it is the right thing for me to do at this point in time.”

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Any moment
Is the right moment
When we want to do
Something good.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 40, Agni Press, 2004

Photo by Bhashwar

Photo by Bhashwar

The weather continues to be gorgeous.  Perhaps thunder showers on Wednesday afternoon.

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William strolls into the camp this morning, ready for another long busy day at the office.  He is staying with Ray in a house just a little more than a block away.

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Rupantar’s car arrives with the its cheerful occupants.

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Amazing how quickly 9 minutes pass.

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Yuri arrives on his bike

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William checking the numbers

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Baladev promises no monkey business.

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Start Day Nine

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Sarvagata was unfortunately late for the start this morning.

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He had another big day yesterday with 129 laps or 70 miles.

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With his 553 miles he has 26 more miles than last year.  He is more than a little tired.

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There are moments when you can see the struggle on everybody’s face.

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Yuri takes a brief puppy break.

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Yuri had 119 laps yesterday or 65 miles.  His 535 is 7 more than last year.

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He is mostly eating raw foods and his table is simple and organized.

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Volodymyr is helping a Yuri and Vasu a lot.

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Vasu had a much better day yesterday with 118 laps or 64 miles.

flower3He is still in 3rd place with 531 miles.

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Baladev had a better day yesterday than the previous 2.  He did 115 laps or 63 miles.

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He is 40 miles ahead of last year.

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What he is doing on this his 6th year here is really impressive.

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Traveling by foot is never easy.

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Pranjal has 516 miles and did 115 laps yesterday.

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He has 7 miles more than last year.

He says many things happen to you hear and you simply have to adapt and accept.  “That is the way to survive.  If you get injured you can’t worry about it, you just have to accept it. Things come and go.”

“The fear of injury is sometimes worse than injury itself.  I have seen it many times.  Fear can bring an injury to the fore.  You have to go day by day and try and accept the things that come.”

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The European peace run was in Prague a few days ago.

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Sarah continues to be impressive.  121 laps yesterday and she has 509 miles.  30 more than last year.

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Some of the residents of the block enjoying having their breakfast to go.

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Stutisheel had 122 laps or a remarkable 66 miles yesterday.  He has 508 miles.

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There is a gentle brightness to the morning

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Sopan says his legs feel more sore than usual.  Earlier yesterday he had a fever and was reduced to walking in the evening.

“It was all Grace from above that I could run 60 miles today! I notice that runners still have problems here and there which is normal for first 3 weeks.”

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He is still very much on track to complete the race.

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Jayasalini meets with a special friend this morning.

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Jayasalini finished the day with 500 miles.

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She is demonstrating incredible poise and maturity for a first timer.

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The wide bright Grand Central service road.

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William is an incredibly interesting person as I am learning day by day.

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His world at home so much different than the one he is now very much a part of.  Yet with the kind of performance he is giving here this year he very much belongs.  He had 110 laps and has completed 490 miles.

Sometime in August of 2010 one of those Google cars drove by his home in Sanday.  The same time this August 2014 he will be most likely be just completing the race.

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There aren’t too many trees in Sanday from what I can tell, and only one William Sichel anywhere.

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A police man dropped by the race this afternoon and Sarvadhra kindly took his picture.  He said the course has been part of his patrol for the past 10 years, and each year he has seen the runners continually going around the block.

He has the look of someone who gets it.  Feels something here that they aren’t exactly sure of, but ultimately are inspired by what is happening right in front of them.

He has a brochure that he just might read.

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Photo by Sarvadhara

Nidhruvi did 111 laps or 60 miles yesterday.

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She is running well.

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At times she has a look of pure bliss.

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So much experience and so much enthusiasm to run.

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Ananda-Lahari has 411 miles.

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At one point Ray is lying down on the sidewalk and working on a bad metatarsal in his foot.

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Something that he has seen before in his long years of ultra running.  But I suspect he picked that spot so that he could enjoy hearing the girls singing, just a short distance off.

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Whatever the case Ray is enjoying himself here even after 8 days and 344 miles.

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Ray also has a visitor for a while this morning.  Sherry just ran the Great New York 100 mile race yesterday.  She says that Ray is her coach and I guess besides encouraging Ray she wants to share some details about her race.  One in which she did not get her hoped for time of 22 hours but still did pretty good with just over 24 hours.

“I am a good friend of Ray’s.  I am president of the Ray K fan club.  Do you want to join?  You have to contact me and I will consider your application.”

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When asked why she didn’t just recuperate after the race, “I wanted to see Ray today.  If Ray has been doing this day after day, and all of these other people have.  I think I should be able to come out for a little bit and hang out with him.  These people have run a lot more than I have.”

Ray adds, “Also she has a really  mean coach who doesn’t allow her to take a day off even if she has just done an event.”  Sherry points her finger accusingly at Ray.

When I ask Ray about his phone habits he offers up that he probably speaks to only about 4 or 5 different people. “It is helping me tremendously.  Last night I talked to Sherry and set up her coming out here from Brooklyn.  The support is absolutely astounding.  It is uplifting to know that others are sharing this journey with me.”

Ray has also over the past 8 days taken a careful inventory of his environment.  “There are 46 trees actually on the course.”  We go by a place where there once was a tree and now just a short stump.  He suggests, “you can’t count that. The trees have to be within the certified confines of the course.”

In case you were interested….7 fire hydrants

Sherry says, “tell him how many lamp posts.”  Ray says, “I can’t remember….26 or 23.  It is on my face book wall.”

I ask him why he is enjoying it all so much.  “I am a victim of my birth I think.  I have had 61,000 days on the planet and I have enjoyed every one of them.  Whether I am here or someplace else doesn’t change the fact I am enjoying being here.  Enjoying life and enjoying sharing with the people, whoever I am with.  In this race or in my class room.”

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“The things I don’t enjoy, I don’t do again, and there are very few.”

Sherry says of being here at the race,”I was here the other day too.  I find it fascinating and amazing that people push themselves in this way for so many days.”

She describes her recent 100 mile race as much different than this race.  There are times during her 24 hours when she describes the feeling that the suffering is endless.   “Here there is such a long stretch of it.  You have to be strong mentally to do something like this.”

Ray adds, “I guess that rules me out.”

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Later Ray shows me a poem he just wrote and which he recites.

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Misha read Sri Chinmoy’s prayer of the day

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Enthusiasm-Awakeners

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Song of the day

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If you are inspired
To do something good,
Do it immediately,
Before the birth
Of another second.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 16, Agni Press, 1999

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4 Comments to “June 23: Doing Something”

  1. Pushpa rani says:

    Wow!!! I love love love following this blog! I read it every night without fail….I can feel this race is affecting us here in Ottawa and the whole world!

  2. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    good job as usual!
    very gratefull for your dedication.

    Nothing can be achieved
    Without God’s Grace.
    This I have learned
    From my life’s inner race.

    Sri Chinmoy, Sixty, Silence Speaks, Part 5, Agni Press, 1994

  3. Purnakama says:

    Another morning coffee with your blog and these intrepid runners!

    Gratitude!

    Purnakama

  4. Doris says:

    The prayer of the day is visible in the runners’ faces.

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