As Nirbhasa runs into the thick middle of his 20th day at the 3100 mile race. He has now been running twice as long as he has ever run before. When I point this rather obvious observation out to him he responds with his characteristic wit and accompanying giggle , “it certainly feels like it.”
“I never thought the human body could get this tired. At the same time I am still quite cheerful, still quite happy. The race is really all about running with your heart, and with your soul. You have to run the race from within. Because if you think of how tired you are, and all the other things going on. There is really no end to it. So you just keep going and the miles accumulate.”
Nirbhasa ran 58 miles yesterday, which was better than the 49 miles from the previous day. He started the day with 1174 miles.
It was exactly 10 years ago that Nirbhasa was finishing up his Doctoral program in Nuclear physics. Clearly he is one of those very smart people who once upon a time, in joking we could safely have used the term rocket scientist. But long before he started the race Nirbhasa refocused his intellect in a direction that did not coincide with academia or Cape Canaveral. I am curious what he thinks about hour after hour on the course.
“It really depends on the day. Sometimes you get a nice meditation instruction. For example yesterday, and I am doing it today, I am breaking up each lap into little sprinting sections. I am focusing on an imaginary finish line at the end of each section. So all I have to do is go to the finish line. That gave me a lot of joy yesterday. Not thinking too much about what laps are ahead. Just thinking about that particular little sprint. I call them sprints.”
His sprinting of course does not resemble anything you would likely similarly witness in any Olympic competition. I can easily keep pace with Nirbhasa as he does this in a very comfortable jog. But I also understand that he has already circled the block 2141 times. But all the while we….sprint together… Nirbhasa, is incredibly content and happy.
His strategy is the simplest and probably the most useful to all the runners on the course. “To take it one lap at a time or even one section at a time.”
“From what people tell me, that up until the half way point, it is just hard, physically hard. That is not too far away now. That is only a week away. So I think up until than you are basically trying to be as cheerful and happy as possible. Sometimes you have these really nice meditation experiences. Where you sometimes manage to get the mind to go along. Other times you listen to music, audio books, you just keep going. Whatever keeps you going forward. The main thing is to stay happy.”
“I had a nice experience on my 2nd day. I was coming into the evening. All of a sudden some inner voice came.” Nirbhasa says usually at that time he would be wondering how many more laps he had to do. There were only a few hours left and it was getting dark. He describes the typical mental traps popping up. The kind of distractions that usually ensnare all of us during our waking hours.
“Then the inner voice came and said, you would get so much joy if you just let this sink in here.” At which point Nirbhasa lifts his hand to touch his head and than let it drops to his heart. It also said he should not worry about the hours or laps to go, or the hot shower that would come soon enough.
“That was very very nice experience. You definitely get experiences. You still have to go through tough sections and than at the end there is sometimes a nice realization. A nice little moment when you say…wow! Okay good. Now I able to run the race a little bit better.”
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The taxi has arrived.
It is a perfect New York day. It is actually cool enough that some wear jackets early.
Kaneenika getting organized.
Nirbhasa has been taking some new supplements.
Yuri checks the daily lap sheet.
Start Day 20:
The sun showers the course with golden light this morning.
Ashprihanal ran 77 miles yesterday. He is a little more than one day away from the half way mark.
None of the other runners can keep his pace for long.
He set another world best for 19 days with 1466 miles. Eclipsing the old mark by 27 miles.
Today he is running very well again.
Galya continues to maintain his streak of 70 mile days.
Galya has 1380 miles and is averaging 72 miles per day.
Galya having a great year.
The rising sun
Yuri had 65 miles yesterday for a total of 1309. He is averaging 68 miles per day.
Vasu had a tremendous day yesterday with 72 miles.
He has 1306 miles and is averaging 68 miles per day.
What survived the cutting.
Atmavir still searching for the right mix. He did 40 miles yesterday.
The avenue of trees.
Stutisheel speaking with one of his fans.
Stutisheel had a good day yesterday with 66 miles for 1167 miles. His average is 61 miles.
Surasa and the lilies on the fence.
She had a good day with 64 miles for a total of 1159 miles. Her average is 61 miles.
Some canine traffic on the course.
She is looking very good.
Kaneenika had a better day yesterday with 54 miles.
Her total is 1136 and her average is 59.7 miles per day. She is 23 miles behind Surasa
Kaneenika is getting the best of care.
All important counters.
Shadows rushing from behind
Ananda-Lahari had 50 miles yesterday. He has 1061 miles.
Grahak helping out in a very significant way.
Baladev had 55 miles yesterday.
He has 1041 miles.
Not quite a traffic jam.
“Okay I want to go over to the fence. Should I just walk or wait and take the number 58 bus.”
Good till the last drop.
Nirbhasa’s very expensive running shoes being surgically altered.
Some things look forward to the rain.
At age 17 Dave ran his first New York city marathon. 36 years later he still maintains his love for the sport of long distance running. He tells me that at least twice each summer he runs the 4 miles from his home in Flushing to see the race. Dave thinks he has been doing this for at least the past 12 years. His longest race was 12 hours in which he nearly ran 100km.
Dave knows that that kind of mileage is what the runners here have to do every single day. “It definitely blows my mind. It is fascinating to see the endurance of the people day in and day out. It seems like they have good energy. They are very strong in their mind to be able to endure the same thing over and over again round the block.”
“I usually average one or two marathons a year and one or two ultras a year.”
Dave says his strategy for when he competes, “I always try and take it in small segments. If I run a marathon or an ultra I try and run one mile at a time. Instead of thinking about the whole distance. If I do it that way I am able to maintain my focus throughout the whole thing.”
“I always like to challenge myself.”
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Prayer of the Day
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Do not run with your thoughts.
Let them run astray.
Stay in your heart.
2 responses to “July 3: Running With Your Heart”
Only an illumined mind
Can run together
With the aspiring heart
And the fulfilling soul.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 16, Agni Press, 1999
Utpal, all my gratitude; Asprihanal and all the runners, all my admiration!Bravo for the 1500 miles record!