June 18: Real Life

Stutisheel has been quoted as saying about the race, “this is real life.”

He did not come to the race last year after 9 straight summers out on the course.  Over the years we have had many informative and interesting discussions, not always talking about the meaning of existence.  Quite often the silly and mundane wanders into our exchanges which reminds us both just how human we really are.   I missed not having him here last year and asked him to explain to me this morning what he meant by this powerful statement.

“There is nothing artificial about it.  Everything that is unnatural just fades away.”

After Finishing 2008

After Finishing 2008 Photo by Jowan

For the billions of other inhabitants of our small planet Stutisheel was not suggesting that everyone else is living in some false, or some how insignificant realm of existence.  But something does happen here that seems always to be deep, powerful, and transfomative.

In particular the runners each has a task in front of them that may be as physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging as it is possible to be.  That all parts of your humanity and your divinity are brought dramatically forward, and you simply cannot avoid reaching out for all the highest, and all the deepest parts that exist within you.  This occurring while you also encounter, the not so subtle obstacles and barriers that we all have tucked away in the shadows and crevices of our own being.

He said this kind of realization does not just happen like flipping some kind of cosmic switch.  “At the start, I don’t feel much.” He says that it all seems to begin for him when he first hears the girls morning singing group, Enthusiasm Awakeners performing, that it all begins to reveal itself.  “That this was for him the moment that the reality of being alive and very much in the race began.

“Because their singing conveys the real spirit of the race that Sri Chinmoy created.”  For Stutisheel the true sensation of what it is like for him being in the race is a clear sense of awakening to the timeless and the eternal that exists within.  Something that exists in the hearts and in  the very core of all humanity who are crying and striving to perfect themselves.

parvati-and-stutisheel

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The outer appearance
Is not
The real life.

The deeper existence
Is
The pure and real life.

Sri Chinmoy, My Christmas-New Year-Vacation Aspiration-Prayers, Part 42, Agni Press, 2006

photo by Maral

photo by Maral

Sarvagata ran the most miles yesterday and seems to be getting back into his usual indomitable race forum.  Jayasalini for a first timer also seems to be adapting well to this brand new race for her.

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It is not time to get too worried about William just yet, but he is getting a crash course in New York weather.  He tells me that a few years ago his island got its hottest day on record.  It got up to 25C or in Fahrenheit that is 77 degrees.  It caused quite a stir, having never been that warm before.  He said it wasn’t to dramatic to the local inhabitants as there were swift breezes along with it all day.

Yesterday was a warm one and no doubt made his 3rd day even a little tougher.   But humid conditions over 30C or well over 90F are pretty typical of conditions here at the race.

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William checks his messages.

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Vasu arrives on schedule and has just dropped a bag of laundry.

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Sopan doing a little foot work before his day starts.

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The sun is peeking up earlier and earlier

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Pranjal’s chin whiskers don’t seem to care what time it is.

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Our regular guest Swami Parameshanandaji has shown up to run some laps this morning.  He has been coming in the early hours for many years now.

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Just before the start the sun finally finds its way into the camp.

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Start Day Four

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What those first steps look like.

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Before the day gets hot.

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Our Swami runs hard

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At first the day is overcast and gradually the clouds move away.

flower-jayasaliniJayasalini is having such a great race.

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That is not to say there are no problems.  Perhaps nothing a little auyverdic medicine given by Bahula can’t cure.

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And also lots of support from friends.

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So quickly the field will spread out around the course.  Each maintaining their own pace.

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When asked as to why he hadn’t come to the race last year particularly after it is so obvious how much he likes the race.  He laughs and says, “this is life.”

“The last few years of the 3100 were quite hard for me.  I really thought I wanted to absorb all the experiences and to better prepare for my next outing.  Because of course this is not the end.  I will continue to participate here many more times.”  He laughs again as he says, “I am saying this now but it is still only the start.”

stutisheel-good

“It was after the finish in 2012, I got a feeling that I would not start the race in 2013.”  He describes that how during a meditation just before the new year, “I got glimpses of me doing an Iron man triathlon.  It was so intense.  I really saw myself participating and it was not easy at all.”  He describes the experience as appearing to him so clearly that he had no option other than to take up the challenge of now becoming the best triathlete he could.”

It was not going to be easy, “frankly speaking I am not a good swimmer at all.  I know how to bike and I know a little more about the running.”  Beginning in January he then started preparing for an iron-man scheduled for August.  He picked August and a location in the US in order to honor his late spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy. The date turned out to be August 25th and the location was in Louisville Kentucky.

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He says that is nothing similar between his triathlon training and that which he would use for the 3100.  “They are 2 completely different fields.”  The main difference he says is that the triathlon is on the very edge of your anaerobic endurance.  Quite different than the slow consistent training needed for the 3100.  “It is very intense.”

“From a common sense point of view, participating in the 3100 is killing your speed capacity. But training for the triathlon could increase your average speed in the 3100.  So I benefit any way.”

He becomes very animated as he describes his iron man last year.  “It was beyond any expectation.  I liked everything.” His daughter Alakananda was his supporter there.

Being a race like that with thousands of other participants is nothing at all like what happens here.  But nearing the end of the bike portion of the race he says, “I felt familiar vibrations, and I started crying.”  He says he felt very intensely the presence of his spiritual teacher.  That he had come to him to encourage and support his triathlon experience.  “So much gratitude I felt, it was overwhelming.  I just adore those moments when you are at your highest intensity.  You are crying with tears of gratitude and it happens.”

stutisheel-triathlon

“I wanted to offer this present of doing a triathlon to Sri Chinmoy for his birthday but he had a thousand presents for me instead for me during the race.  It was a very uplifting experience.”

He describes his experience of competing in a triathlon as just a glimpse.  “A short project.”

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“My main project and my real project is the 3100 mile race.  I realize after I ran the marathon portion of the race how much I love running.” laughs. I just loooovvvvvve running.” So for me there was no doubt that I would start this year.”

He didn’t have a great day though yesterday.  He ran just 49 miles.  He doesn’t seem bothered.  Describes typical problems that happen here and says, “business as usual.”

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Vasu has 216 miles, one less than last year.

vasu

Baladev continues to be impressive.

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He has 210 miles, 13 more than last year.

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Some things remain clear.

flowerYuri has exactly the same mileage as last year this time, 207

yuriTeam Sarvagata is performing well.

sarvagata-and-sister

When he really gets going he is quite an amazing athlete.  He is 11 miles up on last year with 204 miles.

sarvagata

There is quite often lots of traffic to deal with as well.

sarvagata-and-couple

The course can get you down.

pranjal

The big man, Pranjal has always risen to the situation.  He has 203 miles compared to 191 last year.

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Few things are harder than Pranjal.

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Sopan is doing well.

sopan2 He says of yesterday, “Definitely not easy especially at night… It was hot and humid. Got a little tense in the late afternoon from the heat and tried taking herbal drops which I got for this reason… St Johns Worth and another one both help relieve tension and stress and they helped!

I made a small mistake taking more of them in the evening which made me too relaxed mentally and physically…. But they worked very well in the heat! Did 115 laps/63 m >”

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Nature always bountiful

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There was some…..’See Food,’ in the camp today.

flower-campNidhruvi has 191 miles.  2 more than last year.

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Dr. Mitch Proffman came to the race today to help the runners with some chiropractic adjustments.  Very much into exercising he came from his home in Forest Hills by bike.”

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He helped Nidhruvi who had some problems with one of her ribs, which she suffered from an improper stretch.
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He also helps Sarah who started the race with a bad rash she got from contact with poison ivy.

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“My friend is a dermatologist and he says that is the only time they say I have an emergency, because it comes on so fast.”  Looking at her rash he tells her not to be surprised that it moves up.  It is not contagious.  The only thing that is contagious would be the clothing you wore that day.  There is resin on it and it can last for months. ”

Sarah, “the funny thing was that I kept going to the forest to run.  I thought beautiful forest.”  She had a scary dream the night before it happened the night before the incident that she feels was prophetic.  “It was a girl falling into a pool of water.  She was okay, but I was scared like anything.”

Mitch, “you knew there was danger.  Thank God the danger was poison ivy.”

He had several hard experiences with poison ivy himself so is well versed.  He quickly had Sarah on her way.

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He quickly helps quite a few runners and then goes for a run with me around the block. He soon has to be at work.

mitch

He wants to show me a special app on his phone that uses gps to keep track.  It shows that the full loop is .58 of a mile.  Interestingly the low point is 174 feet and the highest spot is 213feet.  Someone calculated that running the entire course would mean you could climb Mount Everest 8 times.

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“My usual workout is a bike or run each morning.  So I figured I would just bike over here.  It is not that far, and I love working on the runners.  I find a great deal of inspiration.”

“I have been running since 1991.  When I try and convince my patients to use running as a health regimen.  They go Oooo, I tried it for 10 minutes, and I didn’t feel good.  My legs…my arms…my back was bothering me.”

“I go, just get by the first 10 minutes, and the next 20 to 30 minutes will be all for your mind.  You will feel great.”

“So it is an interesting analogy with the 3100.  The first 1 or 2 days the runners might be feeling certain things.  Their knees, their ankles, their neck.  As the 3 rd or 4th week, they will become transformed.  Than they will move into their right brain and leave the left brain.”

When I ask him the difference between helping runners in the camp and actually running himself, he says, “I know it is sacred ground.”

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“This .58 mile loop is sacred ground.  When I work on the runners like I have for the last 10, 12 years.  I have always said, even during the steamy, pack of dog days summer, there is always a slight breeze here.  So when the runners lay down and I try and do some work on them.  There is always a little breeze.  It has got to be Guru’s grace.  Letting them rest for a few minutes.  Before they then continue on their journey, and I do some healing, chiropractic, energy work, to help send them on their way.  In the end they are special chosen people.”

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Brightness and beauty here and there.

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Sarah now feeling better

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We all hope the very best for William here.

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Hopefully he can become more adjusted to the heat.

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Keeping an eye on things.

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Ananda-Lahari has 180 miles.

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Ray just keeps going, now with 155 miles.

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Teekshanam is doing extremely well for a first time runner.  He has 191 miles and read the prayer of the day.

teekshanam-poem

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poem

The real life
Begins with
An inner cry.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 48, Agni Press, 2007

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5 Comments to “June 18: Real Life”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal, Gratitude…

    Run, run, run!
    You will arrive
    At your Destination.

    Sri Chinmoy, 33660 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 34, Agni Press, 2003

  2. nirmala says:

    I can’t believe that I am part of it as well, because I start changing myself in going out and do walking, energetic walking, the feet are so sacred it is such a gift from the Supreme.

    from: Everybody Who comes here is Changing – There is at the race, a very basic rule of math. These shoes, belonging to these feet and legs and then attached to human beings, moving relentless onward will make these numbers grow every so inexorably greater. There is no science however that can speak to, or explain, the journey taking place within them all. –

    God is at once

    My heart’s unchanging cry

    And my life’s changing smile.

    Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 60 by Sri Chinmoy.

  3. Stutisheel says:

    Utpal, was enjoing talking to you and read interview on the move )

  4. Hridayinee Williams says:

    Utpal, Thank you. I do so love following your write ups here. But this year, instead..
    I have decided to fly over from New Zealand to have my first experience helping at the Race. So see all you hero-warrior-runners in two weeks!! 🙂

  5. Purnakama says:

    Hi Utpal!

    Thanks once again for the awesome write ups and updates. Everything about the race is so inspiring and uplifting:)

    Purnakama

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