July 11: Inside My Heart Home

“You have to do 7 laps more and then you are half way.”  Last night before she went home these were some of the last welcome words Surasa heard before leaving the course for the night.  This morning as she set out on her long day of running the numbers beside her name show just  1547.  Not a number that would immediately be taken notice of by the morning counters. That it teetered on the very brink of half way simply went unnoticed. At least at first.

surasa-chocolat

Surasa in her always quiet gentle manner said nothing as she ran those 7 laps and then simply continued on with out saying a word to anyone.  Gradually the numbers on her lap sheet were increasing but the significance of what was happening had not quite been processed by the counters.  When the numbers were finally crunched and it was clear that she had in fact gone past the half way point I run out onto the course and catch up with her.

She says she was looking forward to going beyond 1550 miles.  As for the long hard challenge still ahead of her.  “Somehow it goes faster, you are going home.  It gets less and less.”  As for comparing her results to other years she says simply, ” I am not looking at this.  I am just doing what I can. That’s it.”

As we approach the camp the happy jingle of dozens of tiny bells gathers into a bright celebratory welcome for this spectacular lady. The sound of a conch booms out in the background.  She giggles with delight, steps momentarily to the board and points at those very  satisfying numbers 1550.  Then she leaves still chasing after an even bigger number.  One that is twice the size, but maybe, just maybe, one that will come a little easier.

Listen to the celebration

Surasa finishes 1550 miles

surasa1550

When I live inside my heart-home,
I clearly see that my faith
Can run infinitely faster
Than my doubt
To carry me to my destination.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 249, Agni Press, 1998

Photo By Bhashwar

Photo By Bhashwar

ABC.com is here all today to do a story on the race.

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Yuri getting ready.

pre-yuri

Vasu arrives

pre-vasu

Rupantar unloads fresh towels.

pre-camp

Nidhruvi tries to sort out a problem with a shoe.

pre-camp2

Start

start

Something happened here yesterday that is difficult to describe, and also perhaps even harder to believe.  The weather was hot and sunny much like it had been for most of the previous week.  Yet for some reason, that eludes definition, it was a bad day for just about everyone here.

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Yesterdays lap sheet totals clearly show that 10 out of the 12 runners had a significant drop in their mileage yesterday.

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This morning starts off cloudy with light sprinkles from time to time. Atmavir pops open an umbrella.  He went from 128 laps to 120

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Sopan dropped from 111 to 92.

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“The weather conditions weren’t bad at all but there was something heavy which was more subtle. I was extremely tired the whole day almost collapsing falling asleep on the sidewalk in the evening.”  Sopan

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Baladev dropped down

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He went from 103 to 94

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There is no simple answer for any of this

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Ananda-Lahari had one of the biggest drops, from 117 to 97

ananda-lahari

We can always closely look but still not see everything.

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The important thing is simply to keep moving.  Ashprihanal had the most laps yesterday 121.

ashprihanal3

Still have to keep cool

ice

Fix what can be fixed.

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Nidhruvi just went down to 110 laps from 112.

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Today will be a day with lots to deal with beside the weather.

pranjal-umbrella

Pranjal tells me about an experience yesterday when he started to have an uncomfortable lack of feeling in his face and some twitching.  He took a little break and then felt better.

He says, “Sometimes you simply don’t get into the flow and other times you don’t have to push and your mileage is rising very fast.  Sometimes with each lap you have to really really fight.  Yesterday I had to give everything.”

Sopan and Ashprihanal call him the big pusher.  “He is the biggest pusher out here running 6 am to 12 am with only one 15 min break at 3 pm!!!”  Yesterday he ran 114 laps down from 116

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Yuri is perhaps still recovering from his heat problem

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He ran 107 laps where the day before he ran 108

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Not much seems to be holding Vasu back

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But Vasu did drop from 117 to 115 laps yesterday.

vasu-and-nikolay

Singing does not stop

singing

I spoke with Sarvagata about this all

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He went from 113 to 104.  He simply does not know what happened to him.  He stayed happy he says but it simply didn’t happen for him.

sarvagata-sarvakamya

Samahita does some gardening

samahita

Jagadhata and Pedro discussing race business….no doubt.

jagadhata

Atmavir and Yuri discussing race business too.

atmavir-and-yuri

Still trying to have fun

baladev-and-atmavir2

There were just 2 runners who did better yesterday and one was Sarah.  Who simply ran 93 laps the number she needs to do every day now.

sarah

Some don’t have to do too much

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“You have to stay focused until the very end.”  Surasa is the other runner who increased their mileage yesterday.  She went from 111 to 113.

I am curious to know that since this is her 3rd time here does she enjoy it more and more each time she comes.  “It depends on how you are feeling.  If you are feeling good than everything is fine, and if you have no injuries than of course you can enjoy it. Like at the beginning, when you are just thrilled that you can run.  Than it is easy.  But if you have injuries than it is difficult to enjoy it.  I thin it depends on how you are feeling.”

“I am feeling very good.”

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“I get messages it is always nice.”  She tells me that she got a nice message from Laura, (somewhere off in Texas where apparently there are no busy streets), before the race.  “She told me that she was happy that I was running again.”

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“This is always very nice and it touched me very much.  Laura does not know me but still she has such concern, that she is writing to me.  She said that it is nice that women are doing it.  She cannot do it but she is doing it in another way.”

surasa-and-helper

For Surasa she describes how while she is here she has to focus almost entirely on how she is feeling.  She recognizes of course when others are doing well and also when others are suffering.  But she also has a tremendously difficult task in front of her.  One now that has been chiseled down to half its original size but still very formidable.

Surasa

Kevin has been studying the race for the past few weeks along with another student from the University of Pennsylvania Corina.  He has a friend at ABC, named Dan Kloeffler who has come to do a story on the race.

kevin6

When asked what he thought he would see before coming.

“First off a million and one questions comes to mind.  How can you even accomplish a 3100 mile race, and then the follow up.  Why would you accomplish it?  So when I started to learn a little bit more about the details, what goes into it.  Not only physically but mentally.  That’s when we started talking at ABC we figured that this was obviously something that should be covered.”

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One of the usual aspects is that the runners have come from all over the world, “and we are in Jamaica Queens.  There are so many aspects to this.”  He is intrigued at how simple it was at the start at 6 am.  “They all ride up on their bikes, and very casually and calmly put their shoes on.  Then start at this one line in the sidewalk.  Have a moment of silence.  Then take off collectively.”

“That was when I started to understand a little more about what this race is about.  You can kind of see it on their faces.  There is an intensity but there is a purpose.”

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He also has noticed the support system of people with so many various jobs to keep it all going.  “Everybody has a role to play, and everyone seems to know what their role is.  There is kind of a give and take of energy.  We are going to be here all day but I still don’t think we will even scratch the surface.  Even if you were here the entire length of the race I don’t think you could describe it.”

I suggest to him that perhaps it doesn’t fit clearly into the category of a sporting event.”I think very much that it is a sporting event because there is a goal.”dan2

Dan tells me that the longest distance he has personally run is around 14 miles.  “I can’t imagine waking up at 5 o’clock or 5:30 and have the mind set of immediately putting on your shoes and then have the mind set of running for the next 18 hours.  I cannot understand how one, you physically can do it,  and mentally how you can do it.  Yet I see them walking past here and they have smiles on their faces.”

“So I am still processing it all but it is amazing to see that it is possible.  I have been kind of asking myself, could I do something like that?”

“I don’t know.  I am sure I will take a lesson away from this in that, the next time I look at a challenge as being impossible, I will think of this, and see this.  It was tough for me just to get up at 4 o’clock have a cup of coffee and drive here and then just watch.”

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“They have to get up and run, maybe 60 miles today.   Then they have to do it again tomorrow, and then tomorrow and the next day.  Mentally it is exhausting, just to think about it.  But I suppose that is why there is only 12.( laughs)”

Dan kloeffler

It will be a long day for the crew as well

dan
The runners just always continue whether the camera sees them or not.

nidhruvi

Prayer of the day

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Recited by Surasa

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Enthusiasm Awakeners perform the Song of the day

song-of-the-day

Parvati

What are you waiting for?
Start running
Towards God’s Heart-Home.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 36, Agni Press, 2004

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3 Comments to “July 11: Inside My Heart Home”

  1. Elmer Carlson says:

    Your everyday enthusiasm continues to inspire me!
    Look forward to the daily posts and photos,
    Peace to all>
    Elmer

  2. Francesco says:

    Thank you for your fantastic blog!

  3. Laura says:

    Wow! Surasa knows I think about her. I’m glad things are going well.

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