I Love This Race

It is another hot day in what is becoming now a lengthy tiresome parade of hot days.  They are not record breaking, they are not simmering concrete ovens, and not melting black tar on the road days.  Yet if one could scamper under a cool dark shadowy tree or better yet sit beside the frosty whirring blast of an air conditioner it would have to be better than being out here in this for 18 hours a day.

The forecast for a break in this spell of sultriness doesn’t look to be happening any time soon.  At best, at least for now, it looks to be potentially  lurking in the unpredictable reaches of late week.

After 2 full weeks out here on the block, the runners have been made as road ready as they are ever going to be.  If their hides have not toughened by now to the climate, to the pounding, to the pain and fatigue than there is no hope for them.  Most find through the day, that a succession of creams and lotions can at least beat back the onslaught of scorching UV.  Some though are so weathered and road tough they need no protection at all.  The heat though is not the most ferocious adversary that prowls the course of the 3100.

Humidity is another matter all together.  No one has found a magic potion or easy cure for when the air itself sloshes and oozes with moisture.  When the oxygen about you begins to feel like a thick and binding blanket that can never be thrown off.

The Plane trees along the course have just now begun to throw off their leaves.  The sidewalk along by the school became littered by them over night.  It almost makes you think it is a scene out of a cool November day instead of a hot one at the end of June.  Now there is but a few days more, before the first step is taken into the long steamy cauldron that is a New York July.

There are some no frills methods to handle this kind of weather.  It may look high tech but an old fashioned water pistol keeps small girls cool and also dads when they run by.

Water on your hat.

Water on the ground.

Also drunk from cups the regular way.

Today 4 runners will pass the 1,000 mile mark.

Asprihanal did the most mileage yesterday after relinquishing that spot over the previous 2 days.

Start Day 15

I think it is getting better.” Yesterday, Ananda Lahari’s 64 mile day was the best he has done in 12 days running here.  He in particular is a runner who seems almost oblivious to his totals and instead  tries to remain balanced.

Despite the heat, he says that yesterday there was only one small section of the day when he could not run.  At these times he usually walks, instead.  It is in the evening that he has the most difficulty but last night he had no problems.

“I think my legs are still getting used to the concrete,” he explains as a possible reason for the previously low mileage.  “Definitely I am having less pain.  I am enjoying it more also.  I would like to enjoy everything but it is difficult to enjoy when you are not in the flow.”

Now he believes that he is more in the flow and rhythm of the race.  Ironically it has taken 800 miles of a total of 3100 to do so. “I believe it will still get better.”  He believes he has the capacity to run 70 miles a day.  He did it for 10 days during the 2007 race.  “To get there you have to have patience. ”  He knows that it is easy to make mistakes when everything about the race is so extreme.  “You cannot do the things by hook or by crook.” When he says this he laughs.  Just a little unsure how to pronounce an unfamiliar English expression.  “Hopefully with patience, and never giving up, I will get it. I will get back there.”

He says that he is praying to be a mere instrument in this epic struggle.  It is a race in which it is difficult to anticipate the result of one day here little alone weeks and months.  He says, “the physical has to be ready for this 70 miles a day.”  He is not in any way disappointed with any aspect of his race however.  “Everything is going as it should.”

“These last few years, I have been running quite bad lets say, in terms of mileage.”  Just the same he enjoys each moment of the experience come what may.

Ananda Lahari interview

“My Lord’s Silence praise

of my Heart achievements

is most powerful.”

Poem of the day by Sri Chinmoy

Surasa starts day 15 with 745 miles on the board.  This means that as a first time runner she has only been around the block something like 1,500 times.  I asked her to give me a little tour of the course.

She tells me that the tree in front of the school is a Peace Blossom tree.  It was planted many years ago and is now getting so big.

“The cars are coming but I don’t pay so much attention to the cars.  I like that the course is flat, and when it goes down you can run very easily, and when it goes up than you can relax.”

She is amused by the shoes hanging from a wire above the course.

“Here is coming my favorite tree.  I think everybody likes this thing most.  This is the noisy side but now you are going down hill so it goes fast.” As we pass the big pine she ever so gently reaches out and touches it with her left hand.

“It is not so hot.  It is a little bit windy, so this is a great difference.  If it is hot and humid it is more difficult.  Then comes the construction but today nothing happens because it is Sunday.” At the far end are the hand and basketball courts.  “They are playing and playing and playing.  There is always something happening.”

“It is very dynamic.  It is a flow.  It is a dynamic course, but still I am saying I love this course. And I love this race.”

Click to take complete Surasa tour of the course

“My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme

Do give me 48 hours a day to accomplish

everything that I wish to accomplish

every single day.”

composed by Sri Chinmoy

Performed by Enthusiasm Awakeners

48 Hours A Day

“Wait not. Delay not. Here and now start running, until the goal is reached. Again, this goal that you will reach will be the starting point for a new goal, which will be again the starting point for a higher goal. An eternal traveller you are, walking eternally along My Eternity’s Road. For you there is only the birthless start. For you there is only the deathless end.”

Excerpt from Wisdom-Waves In New York, Part 2 by Sri Chinmoy

One thought on “I Love This Race”

  1. Every day I am getting something very special out of your reports, Utpal. Today only tears. Mahasamrath is right – there are no words for what these runners are achieving , at least for me. Thank you so much for the daily updates and interviews that enable a person to feel as to be right there. Privileged are those who can be there physically.

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