July 16: Beyond Our Imagination

“Tarit told me yesterday, you have gone through 1800 miles.  He could have said any number he wanted.  You are running along and the days have gone by and you see the numbers 1800 on the board.  You just feel the same tiredness.  There could have been any numbers at all.  They just don’t mean anything at all.  I just glance at the board occasionally.”

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“For me I just have to wrap myself up in my own world.  I don’t even listen to anything. (MP3 player) I find that I have to associate,  Just focus on what I am doing.  To maintain my form and a nice easy running pace.  That is what gets the job done for me.”

“Where others here like to distract themselves.  Which for me doesn’t seem to work.  Dissociation is to have distraction of some sort.  Talking to someone and listening to music.  Whereas association which I tend to like is to just focus on the process of doing it.  Using cue words and mantras and that sort of thing.”

“This time of the morning I use….short and quick…. short and quick….short and quick. You just say it in time with your steps.”  He then says it out loud a few times and his words match the sound of his foot steps.”

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“Other times of the day it might be …..smooth and focused…….smooth and focused.  Especially in the evening I tend to use that one a lot.  I take a deep breath and I imagine that there is a ball deep down in my bladder area, and I am blowing it up.  So I do deep breathing and as I breathe out I say ….smooth and focused.  I use that a few times every lap.  These are very highly rehearsed.  It is like a form of self hypnosis.  That is what always seems to work for me.”

“I have got music but maybe I am missing out.  But I like my own thoughts and it seems to be getting the job done.”

Just about 500 miles ago which in race time was about 8 days, the Scottish record books were now clear and open for him to leave his own fresh marks.  The great Scottish/Canadian runner Al Howie had set some extraordinary times all the way up to 1300 miles.  His record time of 16 days and 19 hours set in 1991 at the Self Transcendence race here in New York.

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William has spent the last 31 days of his life here doing nothing else other than focus on running.  He has been preparing himself for the better part of the past 20 years to be the best ultra runner he can be.  He may as well over the next 21 days also demonstrate that he is the best 60 year old ultra runner in the world.  He still has a very long distance left to go.  1300 miles more and just 3 weeks in which to do it.

As I jog beside him I am as much aware of his gentle and thoughtful words as I am to the sound his light steps make along the sidewalk.  A sound that he has heard and has attuned himself to, much more than conversations and car horns.  Each light step carrying him on without any of the distractions that ensnare all of us each and every day.

And so because he has devoted himself wholeheartedly to the impossible of running 3100 miles, it grows just a little closer each day, with each new mile, and each new lap.  Which as of midnight last night was 3291 times so far around a High School in Queens New York.

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Question asked of Sri Chinmoy: How does running fit in with your teaching?

But even on the outer plane our capacity is constantly expanding. Right now 1,300 miles is our longest race. To run 1,300 miles in 18 days is almost beyond our imagination. We feel that is our ultimate capacity. But previously we felt that 1,000 miles was the limit. Who thought of a 1,300-mile race five years ago? At that time people would have thought I was a crazy man if I had suggested that. But now you see that this crazy man was right because people are doing it. Somebody just has to start. We always have to go ahead because life means progress.

For full answer:

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 29, Agni Press, 2001

William had the 4th most laps yesterday with 119.  He just needs to average 113, to as he puts it, get the job done.

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Williams 119 count is the most he has done here since Day one, which was precisely a month ago.

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Tarit leaves this afternoon.

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Which means there will be about a 24 hour gap until this gentleman finally puts in an appearance late tomorrow.

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In an unusual coincidence all 3 girls ran 109 laps yesterday.

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An enthusiastic Baladev arrives with a bag of dirty laundry sitting on his handlebars.

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Start Day 32

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Ray has arrived this morning with some renewed enthusiasm.

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He says that for the past few days he has not been able to focus exclusively on the race.

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His plan as he describes it now is to try and get 40 miles in each day until the end of the race. He currently has 1209 and wants to get 2000 miles.  Which means he needs to do about 74 laps a day.

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There is much evidence of yesterdays heavy rain this morning.

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Ananda-Lahari has 1462 miles to start the day.

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I do not know if he has set a new specific goal for himself other than to do as much as he can every day.

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There is a dance of ripple on the puddles this morning.

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Sopan just keeps going.  Committed to seeing it all through, come what may.

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“A major Norwegian magazine TN is writing an article about the 3100. They were here and still are at the race taking interviews pictures etc. The journalist came to me and asked me: So are you going to limp your way to the end of the race? (mornings I limp until I warm up) And why don’t you stop?”
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“I replied: Because to me the achievement of persisting to the end while going through a major injury (the race ending type) during most of the race is as rewarding as an experience and achievement as completing the race”
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It is like victory of the spirit over matter. I think he liked the answer because at first I could sense that he had hard time understanding what is going on but after he relaxed, smiled and was very friendly even admiring my effort… Which gave me some inspiration and encouragement.”
Sopan making the big turn to return to camp.
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Teekshanam had 67 laps yesterday and now has 1772 miles.

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For all his family and friends who are following his race he is doing very well for a first timer.

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Tomorrow the sun will return but it should not be hot.

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Now tell me this once again.  You have just come from a place where there are lots of birds and squirrels.  How fascinating.

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The counters are under cover today.

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The plants will be much greener now.

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Baladev had 95 laps yesterday.

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He finished last night with 1800 miles.

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No, No,No…….You told the cat that there were squirrels here……

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About 2 weeks ago William got a bad cramp in his left calf.

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He said that the cramp caused some muscle damage.  “Which obviously reduced me to walking. Also I wasn’t demanding treatment enough.  I didn’t realize how it all worked.  If you want something you have to keep telling someone you want it.  I need a massage, I need a massage.  If you say it enough it somehow a masseur appears.”

“I wasn’t really forthright enough.  I wasn’t demanding enough, and I was on my own as well.  That 3rd week obviously hampered me.  I lost a lot of  miles and I had to walk a lot.  Maybe I could’ve handled it better I don’t know.”

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Clearly William is back on track.  He just needs to average 113 laps.  “I know that 113 is breakeven.  I do hear the numbers.  I have learned from the other runners how to have these cut offs.  You know you have to roughly 40 laps at midday.  By 6 o’clock you want 70 on the board, more or less. Then you know, barring disaster you are going to get the numbers by the end of the day.”

“I seem to run very well at night.  Since I have been able to go past this 113, which is obviously very satisfying.  That’s it, you have done it for another day and that is it.  For quite a while now I have been able to get over 113.  By 2,3, 4, or 5 laps.  Last night it was six laps.  Which is obviously extra money in the bank.  In case of any hiccups ahead.  I have got into a good routine.  The mind and the body have responded to the challenge.”

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“I have had little niggles here and there but I have still managed to hit these targets even with them.  That is very encouraging.”

“I couldn’t imagine what it was really going to be like here.  I had nothing to compare it to.  It is horrendously tough I have to say.  I dare not allow myself to think about it.  I will think about it afterwards I know.  But I don’t allow myself during the race.  I’m just doing it, being it, and surviving it, and getting the job done.”

“I look at it as a job of work.  I wake up in the morning and have to do these 113 laps.  I just pace myself through the day.  Which is what I’m managing to do really.”

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“When I want extra encouragement I say to myself, every step in every lap I am going into history.  Just to remind myself otherwise you would forget.  I have Gone where no one has gone before now.  Particularly for an over 60 year old and for any one, particularly in the British and Scottish records.  I do have to remind myself a few times a day.  Otherwise you would be just padding around this block in Queens.”

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“I am very well aware that back home there is a huge activity program based on this.  There is fund raising, there are people doing running, swimming, and cycling.  The distances that they feel they are able to cover each day.  So there was a whole swarm of people back in the islands doing this.”

He enjoys hearing little snippets of news from his home back in Sanday, “the tiny community I live in”.  His wife wrote a postcard recently telling him that the bus driver on the island had changed and that a new frog had showed up in their garden.  “O I can relate to it.  It makes me smile and reminds me of home really.”

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His friend Alan is showing up tomorrow.  The good news for William is that the gap between Tarit leaving and Allan coming will be less than a day.  “It is fantastic that he has been able to bring forward his visit by about 10 days.  Tarit also had to extend his visit it here by about 5 days as well.

“the two-week void I head has been filled.  Which is absolutely essential to run this.  Often at the end of the day I am not in a state to do anything.  Sometimes I don’t even want to walk home. It will be great to see Alan, we have been working together for 10 years.  I think it will be good for him as well to experience such a unique event.”

Cick to Play Interview:

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Tell the squirrels not to be worried about any silly cat when they have me around the course 

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Nidhruvi had a better day yesterday with 109 laps.

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She is just 8 miles behind her pace from last year.

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She is getting encouragement and advice from lots of sources.  Moments ago Ray was talking with her.

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Tiny, tiny, tiny.

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Jayasalini making the big turn on 168th st

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She has 1881 miles.

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Her helper Manjaree always prepared, always ready.

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Down to the service road and then turn right.

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Sarah has 1922 miles today.

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Stutisheel is just 35 miles ahead of her.

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Her pace over the past month makes an average of 62.01 miles a day.

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Stutisheel had another good day with 120 laps.

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He starts the day with 1957 miles.

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He always enjoys the Enthusiasm Awakeners.

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Later this afternoon he makes 2000 miles.

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Photo by Sarvadhara

Just 1100 miles more to go.

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So you are telling me that I can come down from the fence right now because the dog is going to take care of the cat.   I am confused.

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Vasu very early this morning passed 2000 miles.

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Vasu ran a very good 122 laps yesterday.

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Hridayinee captured his 2000 miles with her phone.

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The next lap he stopped briefly to touch the board once more.

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He tells me a story about how much support he is getting from his home town in Russia.  Not only are his friends eagerly following his progress but the local paper, in the town he used to live in is also keeping track of his progress.

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Click to Play:

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Pranjal had 115 laps yesterday.

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His 2025 miles is 50 miles more than he had last year at this time.

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Pranjal endures and does his best.

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Yuri had 120 laps yesterday.

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He has 2071 miles which is 131 more than last year.

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volodymyr encouraging, advising, and being a friend no doubt.

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Such a different experience for Yuri from last year.

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Sahishnu is not imitating a bird but showing a new balance exercise.

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These rocks Karabi brought back from Turkey and Parvati’s mom Joey painted them.  Now everybody can enjoy them too.

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Of course Sarvagata is leading Yuri by 100 miles.

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Sarvagata had 128 laps yesterday or just over 70 miles.

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He has 2170 miles which is 164 more miles than last year.  His daily average is 70.02 which is better than his personal best of 69.55.  Still a long way to go.

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Still so far to go.

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Praayer of the Day

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Recited by Manjaree:

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Song of the Day

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Click to Play:

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The inner runner is always trying to inspire the outer runner. First the inner runner says, “Go forward, go forward, go ahead, go ahead!” Then the outer runner says, “How can I go ahead if you do not give me the aspiration and inner cry?” Then the inner runner gives the outer runner the inner cry to do something and to become something good. In this way the inner runner offers inspiration and aspiration to the outer runner.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 29, Agni Press, 2001

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4 Comments to “July 16: Beyond Our Imagination”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utapl
    thank you.
    (nice the pic with Alan)

    My Lord, my Lord,
    I humbly and soulfully pray to You
    Not to stop
    My life’s self-transcendence-pilgrimage.

    Sri Chinmoy, 13537 Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 136, Agni Press, 1990

  2. Sarita says:

    So sweet and touching that the home of one of the world’s greatest long distance runners is so

    tiny and beautiful and there is a new frog in the garden. How great people

    come from everywhere.

  3. Sushuti says:

    Dear Utpal!
    Nidhruvi´s message to her Centre was received with great joy and enthusiasm. What a wonderful idea!

    Thank you
    Sushuti

  4. Purnakama says:

    I had to catch up on a couple of days reading this morning and I’m so glad that I did!
    Yuri’s comments the other day about looking at challenges like the rain as an opportunity to practice detachment really spoke to me.
    And a new frog in the garden! How cute!

    All the best to the intrepid team of runners!

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