July 17: Along The Way

The runners have all now completed 5 full weeks of running.  That is 35 straight 18 hour days.  If you or I,  or in fact most of the world set to work for that same period of time we certainly would most likely want to see some obvious benefit.  A reward, that we could hoist aloft or even some fancy folded paper that could be stuffed into a bank account.  At the end of the road for these 10 athletes there is no tangible reward whatsoever.  Perhaps some bragging rights if you were that kind of person but certainly none of them are that.  What all of them in fact do receive is applause and songs and as much congratulations as can be mustered by a hastily assembled group of enthusiastic friends and well wishers.

What most of the runners will tell you, is that it is in fact the journey along the way, that is the important thing and not the goal itself.  That gleefully striding into the boisterous bright cacophony of the finish line is not what the 3100 mile race is about at all.  It is the day to day moments that shape and form a new way, of not just looking at yourself, but also at the world around you.  Most of course will obviously become the most trim and fit of their lives but in absolute transcendence the transformation of the physical is just a tiny first step to much deeper and grander experiences.

Igor had been cruising along the first 2 weeks of the race running in the high 60 mile range.  On day 15 something changed and he suddenly became a 70 plus miles a day runner.  From then, until just 2 days ago, he appeared indomitable.  Then on the day of the full moon, he had problems, and slipped back to 64 miles.  Yesterday he seemed to regain his form and reached his usual standard of 131 laps(71 miles.) He says that it was a problem with his liver and that Kaushal reached into his bag of potions and found just the right fix.  Also he has been advised to adjust his diet. “I like pasta a lot but after that I had serious problems.”

He has now run much much further than he has ever run before.  He says, “I have learned that the body can adjust and adapt to such enormous loads.  That you can even feel normal after running for such a long time.”

I then ask how he knows how hard and how long to run each day.  “It all depends on the inner state.  If you can find inner motivation, something to occupy your mind, a positive thing.  Then you can run more.  But sometimes you have difficult moments, than you better not push.”

Recently he has been staying a little later most nights and he describes that his usual goal of running 130 laps is becoming more and more difficult and so he has been forced to stay later in order to complete the laps.

He is now becoming more confident that he will be able to reach the goal.  He starts the day with 642 miles to go.  He feels that he is doing the absolute best that he can do.

I ask if having fellow Ukrainian, and also a first time runner Sarvagata just in front of him, has some affect on the way he runs.  “There are times when he inspires me with his speed, but I do not look at the final result, because I do not feel as though I can give as much as he can.”

I tell him that he always seems very content and happy.  He laughs and says, “I thought the only thing that people were able to see in my face was all my sufferings.  I am surprised that you have asked me this question.  When I manage to enter deep inside myself, I have some deep experiences, that inspire me to try and be even more inside.  This inspires me to run more.”

It is only here that he feels he can be able to experience such deep and transformative experiences.  “In other races you can run and just apply your will power, your concentration, but here it is very difficult to depend on this alone.”

Translation provided by Gagana…much thanks

click to play

[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/igor.mp3|titles=igor]

A few weeks ago one of the all time greats of the 3100 mile set, Grahak, asked me to show some of the little….hmmmmm, what is a good word to describe it, ‘foibles’ of those who run here.

That is some of the things that some of the runners do to amuse themselves.  Harmless distractions that can provide a little joy in what some times just has to be a pretty monotonous routine. 

Pradeep is a new guy but he knows all the little things that some of the runners do.  Clanging the gate latch.  Which when stuck can cause some real aggravation.   Spinning the prayer wheel of course and one that Pradeep showed me just today was to drum the upside down cups placed on top of a traffic cone.

Sarvagata once again ran another impressive day with 144 laps.  The real surprise though has to be Ananda Lahari how ran 113 laps yesterday.  40 more than he had the day before.  This morning he once again seems to be running freely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pradeep is being forced to deal the past few days with a deep and hard to treat blister.  Ashprihanal is treating both blisters and lack of sleep in one fell swoop.

Start

Day 36

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Pradeep arrived this morning he was walking with a pronounced limp.  He was most definitely favoring his left foot and it was hard to imagine how he would be able to still run and cope with the obvious discomfort.  I am puzzled how after running for more than 2000 miles something like a new blister could even appear.  “Well this is an internal blister.  Not a blister on the outside.  It grows slower and for a week it was slowly growing.  You cannot do much about it.  You feel that it is inside your foot, but it is too deep to puncture it.”

“Sometimes it goes away.  I had one at the beginning of the race and it just went away.  This one doesn’t.  It is like a good friend.”  I tell him that I will soon be leaving and hope that it doesn’t make me a bad friend.

“In the beginning of the race I also had a smaller one.  That kind of went away.  It never became really painful.  It was just uncomfortable for a while.”

In the morning he was working to cut a large piece of foam.  I ask him if he is making up his own treatment.  “Others have told me what they have done, so I am trying it out also.  I learn on the way.  I got it fixed light, because I am running again.  I had to sacrifice a few laps by working on it.  The foam didn’t really work.  Some of the runners use some leaves, which have anti inflammatory properties and I put that on.     I also have some second skin and some lamb’s wool from Surasa.  She uses Lamb’s wool to make a very nice pad.  So it is like a whole construction on top of my left forefoot.”

“The blister I felt coming for about a week or so.  But it became really painful the day before yesterday.  It was kind of bearable but yesterday evening it was getting really bad.”

“For some kind of injuries I find pain killers never work, but for blisters they work fairly well.  Yesterday evening Kaushal injected some homeopathic remedy into the blister.  It was extremely painful.  I was like biting a towel and screaming.  He predicted that it would become worse  with that.  So yesterday evening coming home I couldn’t even touch it.  So I hope in the course of the day it will solve it.”

I ask him if passing 2000 miles was significant for him.  “Well, I didn’t think it was too special, but I liked it.  I liked it better than the 1000.  The 1000 triggered the response in my mind. O, it is still a long way to go.  2000 kind of starts feeling, it is going towards the goal.  Also the last few days I have been doing really well.”  He then describes that if the injury doesn’t hold him back too much.  “Who knows, maybe I can make up for it, and actually finish.”

“The pace I was keeping the past few days, was not really tough for me.  As long as I don’t get any problems. That is kind of my natural pace.  I can do 63 miles a day.  Otherwise I will try as hard as I can.  We will see what comes.”

He talks about the special spots around the course.  He says that most runners like the pine tree near the school.  He has noticed many, other than himself who simply reach out and touch the tree as they pass by.  He says another spot is the traffic cone on a corner in which runners have stuck cups on top of.  He says he likes to drum on it from time to time as he passes.  “I remind myself to be grateful.”

click to play interview

[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/pradeep.mp3|titles=pradeep]

Atmavir starts the day full of enthusiasm and energy.  He had his best day in a week running 121 laps.  Surasa is now making running 116 laps look easy.  She did it for the second day in a row.

 

 

 

 

“I feel happiness here. This is real life.”  Belinda has been a fixture at the race now for 3 years.  She says she keeps coming back because, “it gives me such inspiration.  It gives me so much joy.  I love to be of service, to the runners, to the whole race.”  This Spring she ran a great 6 day race and I wonder if this helps her identify with the runners here.  “Last year when I came here and the year before I was only here for the last week or two.  Now I came on the 31’st day.”

The 6 day was her first long race but she too feels as though there is much more running in her.  She plans on entering the 10 day race next year.  “I feel like I am being prepared.  It is a great opportunity to make progress.  To transform yourself.  To change yourself.  To become more receptive, for God’s beauty.”

click to play interview

[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/belinda-and-poem.mp3|titles=belinda and poem]

Poem of the Day

Click to play

[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/poem7.mp3|titles=poem]

 

 

Enthusiasm Awakeners

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[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/parvati5.mp3|titles=parvati]

 

 

 

 

 

Mine is not the way
To follow the world.
Mine is not the way
To lead the world.
Mine is the way
To walk along with God.

 

 

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 12, Agni Press, 1981.

 

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