“There are moments when I think, why am I doing this again? But otherwise I think it was the right decision.”
A few minutes before we started running together Kaneenika had just completed 700 miles. It happened in the early part of the morning. Before the sun bore down and the noise of a busy city swept over the course.
At this time the weather was pleasant and still. Kaneenika was running briefly with her friend Kanala. Who both come from Slovakia and on many mornings talk cheerfully and run joyfully for a couple of laps before Kanala heads off to work.
Of course 700 miles is just one of those tiny rungs in the ladder leading up to 3100 miles which resides precariously at the top. A challenge, that by itself 15 years ago in 2001 when Kaneenika entered her first 700 mile race, would at one time long ago, have appeared as huge. Now it is just one early notation that indicates where she is after a little more than 11 days of running.
When I suggest that things seem to be going very well she says, “yes, but it is only day 12.”
The cloud of her race last year, if there ever really was one has now vanished as she pushes forward with energy and joy into this her 2nd attempt at running the 3100.
By all indications she is doing very well. Not only would her time for 700 miles surpass her race time from 2001 it is also better than her time for that same distance last year. She starts day 12, about 40 miles ahead of last year.
She says it wasn’t a simple decision to decide to run. “I did. I had many questions.” (she laughs)
“I was thinking about it, but of course, I was still recovering from my injury.” (She finished the 52 days with 3014 miles…..86 miles short)
“It wasn’t really clear whether or not I could run. Physically the point I knew I was able to do it was when I ran the Chico marathon in March. Then I was getting strong feelings that I should do it. Everything was like leading to it.”
Kaneenika recalls a significant dream that took place in October. The dream said, “in the next race you should take 3 breaks. Actually the times I should take them came to me.” When it happened she was puzzled by why she was even having the dream when it still wasn’t clear that she would run.
So quite obviously this year, “I have tried it from the first day and it really works.”
“So I think these things happened that gradually led me to the race.”
Now she faces the daily struggle of trying to complete 110 laps every day from a very appreciative perspective.
“There were evenings when it was really hard to get there. But then it came to me that in the last race at the end I was grateful to do 80 laps. So now when I get to 100 laps I say, what ever I get after that is great.”
Stepping not too far back from all the numbers there is something important to remember when you take a look at what Kaneenika is actually doing here this year. The obvious courage and strength of character she is demonstrating is beyond question.
Her absolute dedication to taking on the toughest race in the world is patently obvious. There is something else about Kaneenika though that is even more impressive.
What I see in her face as I gaze across the many photographs I have taken these past 11 days, is the look of absolute contentment she has. An inner glow that permeates her expression with a kind of radiance, nearly every time the shutter clicks.
We may not be able to fully attribute and collect all the pertinent information on what Self Transcendence is, but in Kaneenika’s face you can see it revealed and glowing.
An expression that demonstrates just how our precious inner divinity can come forth from within and touch our outer beings. It just takes the courage and conviction of a runner like Kaneenika to prove it to us all.
I ask Kaneenika before I go if there is a poem that is special to her this year. Here it is.
Just one smile
The beauty of the universe.