Day 46…Nice To Transcend (August 2)

Nirbhasa’s improvement over his previous performance here in 2015 is simply awesome.  It is something that the numbers are extremely good at showing us.  Something that our eyes and senses cannot so keenly detect over the slow pace and rhythm of the many long long days on the course.

What is clear is that Nirbhasa is now 142 miles ahead his previous achievement.  Quite possibly he could finish the race by Saturday night and have the luxury of watching the final 3 days of the race from the sidelines.

He says there is no easy answer for his improvement.  “First of all you’ve done the race once.  So your body is just used to it.  Your body has some memory, so it knows how to do it.”

“When I did the race the first time I did very well for the first 10 days. Then afterwards my mileage really slipped. I think part of that was because my body had no comprehension of dealing with those kind of distances.”  Nirbhasa suggests that he does not know if there were a better way to prepare first timers for the race.  “It just turned out the way that it did.”

He says that being ahead of his 2015 results is very helpful.  “It is nice to transcend yourself.  It is also nice to know that you can finish a couple of days early.”  We are passing by the Enthusiasm Awakeners as we are talking.  “I can spend a couple of days as a spectator rather than a runner.  So that is really nice.”

I ask Nirbhasa whether Kaneenika passing him the other day has had any affect on his running.  He laughs, “it has definitely added a little spice to life.”

“One of the things, especially going into the last 10 days of the race, and a lot of other runners will tell you.  That it can be quite tough mentally.  Because part of you can see the finish line ahead.  I have prayed quite intensely to actually not have those mental issues.  No matter what.”

“I have to say that so far those prayers are working.  That also includes Kaneenika.  She is a force of nature.”  Nirbhasa adds that he has not backed off in any way.  “I am not leaving anything on the table.  It is not like I am taking it easy.  What you see from me every day is my absolute best that I can put out.”

“So I have to say that I am quite detached about what place I am in.  You are out here 18 hours a day, for so many days.  Now there is only 4 days left to go.  It is too long a time to be unhappy over something like 2nd or 3rd place.”

“I would much rather focus on concrete goals.  Like trying to finish on Saturday night. That is to me a really positive goal that requires effort.  Your happiness shouldn’t depend on what somebody else is doing.”

“There is definitely a part of me that is looking forward to some nice rest.  But at the same time this race has something that I have never experienced.  What it does for your inner aspiration.  Your inner connection to your soul.  There really is nothing quite like it that I have experienced.”

“I can only really hope that one of my goals is for after the race.  To make sure that I can really try and keep what I have gained from the race. That I can transition back into day to day living.  But at the same time really keep a lot of the inner experiences and inner qualities that I have gained from this race.”

Because we are eternal pilgrims,
Always we have to go forward —
Expanding and transcending.

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Day 45…To Better Ourselves (August 1)

This morning Kaneenika got a sweet surprise.  While she was passing Parvati and the Enthusiasm Awakeners, Parvati stepped out to hand her a picture.  It was taken, at best guess 11 years ago, when Sri Chinmoy used to come to the race each morning and teach the girls a new song.

In the photo Kaneenika is across the street watching, arms comfortably folded, and wearing a Sri Chinmoy Marathon team shirt.  Her days of watching of course are long over.  This is her 3rd summer here and as she starts the day here she is 310 miles away from doing something historic.  Setting a new world record for women at the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race.

This morning as we are talking and the subject of this great ordeal nearly being over comes up.  She feels that, “There is a time to start and a time to finish.”

“You have to do things a day at a time, actually even a lap at a time.  But there are things that are surprising me.  I have had experiences in the previous races when you feel like you can’t go on.  This is it.  How can I possibly make another step and then something happens and you are running again.”

“It is definitely all about the miracles and grace out here.”

“During this past Christmas I watched a movie about this teenage boy and he wakes up and it is Christmas morning.  Everything goes wrong for him.  (Christmas Every Day) The next day he wakes up and again it is Christmas morning.  So he has to go through all the things he did wrong again.”

“He improves some things and then he makes some other mistakes.  Not just him but his whole family.  This goes on again and again.  So he has to go through this until he gets things right.  I was thinking, one day as I was running.   I remember this movie, and it was quite inspiring for me.  There is something similar here.”

“We wake up in the morning and we come here.  We have plenty of time to better ourselves.  To change something that will hopefully will last at least sometime after the race.  In an ideal world it should last for our whole life.”

Last year Kaneenika had a powerful experience one day when she felt a great wave of peace wash over her.  “I think more and more that it is still inside me now.  When I want it I can just reach for it.”  We have just passed the area where the experience took place.  She tells me how much she still loves passing by there.

“I know Sri Chinmoy spent so much time there.  Exercising in the early years and when the race was on he would come and spend time to encourage the runners.”

“So whenever I run there I still feel a wave of peace.  But now I feel as though I carry it with me.  I can just, whenever I have problems reach for it an use it if I need to.”

To better oneself
Means to be
A good citizen of the world.

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