Day 44…There Will Come A Time (July 31)

In just his 2nd attempt at the 3100 mile race in 2013 Vasu finished first.  Now, 4 years later in this his 6th race, he will once again be champion.  But for someone who has accomplished such an incredible task, you could not possibly ask for a more humble, modest, and self giving winner.

On Thursday night when he comes up the sidewalk one last time there will be no grand prize, no headlines around the world, but instead a gathering of his loved ones.  Those who know and appreciate his greatness.  It will be an accomplishment that so very very few could accomplish and one in which there could be no better a deserving winner.

When I ask him if he can hear the finish line yet, he says, “I hope.  There will come a time.”

“Every time something happens when you get to the finish line.  Some flow comes.  It is so nice.”

When asked what he has received this year. “I think I have learned many things in this race.  Especially I am very happy with my helpers.  I was given 3 helpers this year.  Especially Sasha, he is so young, and humble.  I am just happy.  Usually you have to take time to learn how to work with your helpers.  But this year everything has been good.  I am very grateful.”

It will be his 2nd fastest time.  “We try and do self transcendence.  Sometimes it is not easy physically.  We also try and do it inwardly.  We try and be more within ourselves.  To pray more and be in a good consciousness.  This helps us.”

Vasu also consciously tries to make the course more divine and pure.  Something he does physically many times a day by picking up garbage and litter. He feels that by doing this that the consciousness and vibration of Sri Chinmoy can be made stronger along the course.

He laughs when I ask if he misses the race when he is not here.  “Yes of course.  I always dream of each new race to come.”

There has been concern about falling down on the course.  Something that happened to Yolanda yesterday.  Vasu tells me a couple of stories about just such a thing.  “Usually at night before we finish the race we are a little bit tired.  Sometimes we fall down.  In my first race in 2012 Grahak also ran that race.”

“One night Grahak passed me just before the corner.  When I turned the corner myself I saw him lying down on the ground on his back.

“My mind was a little slow and I didn’t understand what had happened.  But I saw his shoes in one place and one in another, and as well a big stone.  So then I understood that he had just fallen down.”

“I picked up is shoes and then helped him to stand up.  He just put his feet in his shoes.  On his shoulder was blood.  He paid no attention.  He just put on his shoes and started to run.

“After a few laps I met him and told him, you are my hero.  You just put on your shoes and ran.  He then went on to set his fastest time.”

“2 years later Jayaslini was running here.  Once I was running behind her and she just fell down in front of me.  So I tried to help her stand up.  Then I told her the story about Grahak and she was so happy.  She did not cry, she just began to run.  Her Mother, who was there helping her, but Jayasalini did not tell her anything about the fall.”

Vasu tells me that he has fallen a few times himself.  “Usually I catch my self by falling onto my hands.  My knee doesn’t even touch the ground.  But one time I fell down and this time my knee just bumped against the ground.  So I just lay down on the sidewalk.  But it was not hard.  It felt as though I was in the lap of the Supreme.  It was very soft, very nice.”

“So as I was lying there on the ground I gave gratitude to the Supreme for this race.  I then stood up and everything was very good.”

There shall come a time
When all feet will proudly tread
The oneness-peace-road.

Continue reading “Day 44…There Will Come A Time (July 31)”

Day 43…Moving Forward (July 30)

Yesterday was a very good day for Yolanda.  She managed to make 119 laps (65 miles), and though she had hoped to add one more lap to the total, the unforgiving clock at the finish line did not allow it.

As she enters the 43rd day of the race she has amassed an impressive total, 2483 miles.  Which by using the simple math of the days left to her means she has 10 days to cover the next 617 miles.  An average of 61.7 miles will do it.  But there now can no longer be a bad day.  For Yolanda there is no longer such a thing as taking it easy.

“I just want to say, I want to get this done.  Last night I pulled off 65 miles, and today I hope to do the same.  I just want to get this race over with.  If I hadn’t had those 3 hiccups (Days 28, 29, 33).  Those setback, I would be almost finished.”

“But that is in the past.  I am okay.  I have lost a lot of weight, but it is okay.  I am moving forward.  I am going to get this done.”

When asked about her supporters following her on Facebook, “I am really proud of everyone who has taken the 52 day challenge.  But we are there.  There is only 10 days left.  We have got this.”

I am curious of how she has been able to overcome all the hardship that she has so far endured.  “I have this inner strength that I didn’t know I had.  It pops out every once in a while just when I need it.  Last night, the last 2 miles.  I was trying to do 120 laps.  This strength and speed just came from nowhere.”

Renae her coach has been helping Yolanda tremendously ever since she arrived a few days ago.  “Her encouragement and her support and her truly believing in me has really helped me tremendously.  If it wasn’t for her being here, the 62 miles a day that I need to do would be a pure struggle.  She is an amazing woman, a great coach, and I am happy to have her here with me.  Her support is just what I need right now.”

Yolanda believes right now that the makeup of what is driving her right now is based 70% on her mental strength and just 30% on her physical strength.

“It is hard.  This concrete is no joke.  My left foot is pretty much damaged, my right foot is okay. There is nothing you can do about it.  Just suck it up and pray on it and keep moving forward.”

“We only have 10 days left and I am going to give this my all and get this baby done.”

On her good days she says the challenge of the race makes her shine.  “My smile comes natural.  It makes me happy.  I love walking and walking 60 miles a day is amazing.  It is something that I like to do.  I keep smiling and digging deep and keep praying.   Praying is what works.”

A life of perfection
Never stops.
It only moves forward,
Upward and inward.

Continue reading “Day 43…Moving Forward (July 30)”

Day 42… All Gratitude To Be Here (July 29)

Imprinted on the running shorts that she is wearing today are the words, Happy Run.  They are a perfect match for the smile that she has so often carried with her these past 41 days.

In a race that did not develop quite as she had hoped but in many ways as she intuitively expected, she has now run 2128 miles.  Nidhruvi’s joy and infectiously positive attitude will most definitely help her with the not so easy next 11 more days of running here at the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race.

I ask her if over the course of the race she can value the hard days as much as the better ones.  “I guess so.  It is not just the days it is even the moments.  You have moments when you are totally happy and then it can switch so fast, and sometimes you don’t even know why.”

“Sometimes you start crying and you have no idea why.  So it is really really interesting.”

“For me there is so much gratitude that I have to be here and to serve my Guru and to serve the world.  So it doesn’t matter how hard it is.  It is just such a privilege.  Therefore I am totally grateful.”

She laughs when I ask her if she will be sad when day 52 at last comes.  “I am not.  I am looking forward to it so much.”

Nidhruvi says that she has not had any major experiences.  “It is maybe all the little experiences put together that you see how many miracles you experience every day.  Especially in the beginning.  Now I am kind of in my flow.  There are now so many problems that I now know how to solve.  If they occur.  If they are physical problems or even mental problems.  You just always have to stay focused.”

“All those little miracles in which there was a problem coming up.  You sometimes find immediately a solution if you stay calm and have faith.  And just don’t give up.  That is just so miraculous for me.  Then immediately the answer to your problems comes.”

Sri Chinmoy, particularly when he was still with us could inspire his students to do much more than they could even thought possible.  I ask Nidhruvi if she had any experiences like that.

In 2000 she first attempted the 1,300 mile race, “which is really extremely difficult.  After 4 or 5 days I had to quit the race.  I was so badly injured, that I had to stop.”

“After the race I saw Sri Chinmoy.  I was standing in front of him and I was just crying like a little girl.  Then he smiled at me so sweetly.  Then he said, don’t cry.  You know life’s experiences.  Then he smiled even more and said…..Next Year.”

She came back to the same race the following year and says, “it was so difficult.  I had to run every day 68, 69, and even 70 miles.  So quite often I remembered what Sri Chinmoy had said the year before, next year.  So I hoped, even with all my difficulties that I could finish the race.”

“But it was so hard that on the last day I did not know how to move any more.”  She had her last mid day break and 2 friends who were concerned about her asked if they should tell Sri Chinmoy about her problems.  “I said, yes, please.”

When she came out of her break the 2 same girls were there to greet her.  They said, “You know what Sri Chinmoy said.  He wants you to win!  I said, O my God.”

At this same time she was in close competition with another girl and were always just a few miles apart.  “So I had no idea how to do this.  Because I could hardly move.”

“Usually at midnight I would take a break for 2 hours.  But somehow when that break time came I was in a flow.  I thought, that if I stopped maybe I couldn’t move on any more.  So I was sitting down sitting next to the East river and looking at the Manhattan skyline in the night sky.”

“I asked Sri Chinmoy inwardly what should I do.  Should I continue or should I go for a break.  Immediately I felt the answer….continue.”

“So this is how I finished early and won the race.”

Gratitude is not a mere dictionary word.
Gratitude is the golden link
Between man’s heart and God’s Heart.

Continue reading “Day 42… All Gratitude To Be Here (July 29)”

Day 41…School Of Life (July 28)

If Sergey had started running east from his home in Nizhny Novgorod on June 18 instead of around the block that contains Thomas Edison High school, his 2139 miles would have taken him across much of Russia.  Instead, after 40 days he begins his day in the exact same spot he started his epic journey.  Circling the same block now 3898 times.

Of course Sergey’s journey, like that of all the 10 runners is not just about how far they have gone by foot, but just how much then can accomplish within.  What new horizons in their inner life’s journey can they reach. New goals that can never be tracked or recorded by lap sheets and score boards

In our previous discussion Sergey philosophically spoke about all the runners he shares this sacred path with.  This time I hoped he might speak more about himself.  But always the humble smiling selfless man that he is, he continued this time to speak about the inspiration he has received from the many visitors to the course over the past 40 days.

“I would like to talk today about the other people who come to the race to help.  I am much more inspired by their example.  They are stories of daily trials and heroism.  In this way we are inspiring one another.  Here it feels that the entire universe is composed of those who are inspiring one another.”

“For example when Ashrita comes to the race he trains on the field right next to us.  He is training for his records and as you know he is the holder of the most Guinness records.  He is always thinking of new and new and new.  New things and new records to be broken.  When he is training we can see him from our track.  He is always so inspiring.  It is great to see that.”

“Also coming to this track is one runner who has run more than 500 marathons.  Most of them he has run in under 3 hours.  That for me is unbelievably inspiring.  Of course it is Arpan.  He has a project that has run for many many years.  It is that he runs on his birthday the same number of miles as the years he has spent on earth.”

“This time on July 23 he was running 65 miles, most of it on this track. So I was just thinking.  O Arpan if you get to live to be 80 years old on that day you will have to run 80 miles.  Or maybe even 90.”

“Also, not long ago Karteek came to this track.  He has swum the English channel 11 times.  So when these people come here, it is like they inspire us, and in turn we inspire them.  In this way we are supporting one another.”

“Sometimes Suprabha comes and she is someone who has run this 3100 mile race 13 times.  She is so tiny, so small. I am always thinking how is it possible that she could have done this.”

“Somehow this race is attracting people who have accomplished all kinds of achievements.  A great variety of different people.  Always when these people come their stories are all so rich that it helps us to move forward.”

“This race has been an amazing experience.  It is like a school of life.  Because here every day is so intense.  Now it is day 41.  In regular life there is no way you can have so many experiences.  You could not possibly learn as much as you learn here in one day.  It is a very very rich experience.”

To be a good student of life
You must feel the necessity of going
Not only to the outer school
But also to the inner school.

Continue reading “Day 41…School Of Life (July 28)”

Day 40…Enthusiasm Awakeners (July 27)

They sing for 30 minutes a day, which of course when compared to the grand canvas of a runners very long day isn’t a great deal of time.  Yet just to walk by or stand for even a moment while the Enthusiasm Awakeners sing and clap and cheer is a joyous reminder of the importance of enthusiasm in our lives.  And to the runners of course how just more difficult their task would be without it.

The energy and joy of their performance lasts long after they have headed off to jobs and other tasks.  As someone who has heard and seen a great deal of their performances over the years I know and feel deep respect and appreciation for their tireless contribution to this incredible event.

They have been here standing and singing by the low brick wall ever morning of the race for more than 10 years.  Today is a special one though for it is the 10th anniversary of when Sri Chinmoy gave them that name.

This morning the ranks of the pink shirted group of girls has swelled considerably in honor of the occasion.  Parvati has been the leader of this group of girls for 18 years.  Ever since Sri Chinmoy asked her if she would form a group to sing some of his English songs. A task that she has continued to perform, as so many years and runners continue to sweep by.

Parvati has calculated that over the years her group has sung for 44 different runners from 17 countries.  Of the 44 runners 9 were women.  Ananda-Lahari has been the only runner they have seen every year since they have been coming to sing.  She adds that they have learned 1528 songs from of which they routinely sing 227 of.

Parvati tells me that in the last year that Sri Chinmoy came to the race he would drive his car there every morning while they sang and then teach them a new song each day.  That summer he taught them 51 songs.  “We got so much joy and inspiration that it has continued to carry us through all these years. I am so grateful to Sri Chinmoy for his vision of this race.  And to all the participants of the race including all those who help in any way and follow the race each year.”

Nilpushpi tells me that she too would come in the mornings when the group sang and play her keyboard further down the block to encourage the runners.  “Giving and receiving joy always.  I received much more than I could possible give.”

Later she was invited by Parvati to join in with the group.  “I was thrilled.  What joy, oneness, and friendship.  I deeply admire, appreciate, and adore.  The group gives boundless and sweetness, joy, joy, joy.  Amazing magic.”

Paree is the musical director of the group and whose job it was to record in a small book all the songs that Sri Chinmoy composed for them when he pulled his little red car over to the curb.

It is a small book but it includes 2 summers worth of songs each carefully transcribed as they were sung by Sri Chinmoy.  The book is a unique and precious thing and as Paree held it delicately in her hands I could not be aware of its absolute sacredness.

The story of how the whole process began and then developed was based on I guess you might call a series of coincidences.  Parvati asked her group to come in the mornings to the race in 2006 and sing 75 songs from their archive each day.  They came and so I suppose Sri Chinmoy decided to come as well.  A relationship, and a timeless bond then created between the singers and the 3100 mile race.

“He would come every morning and teach us a song,” she says.  A smile lighting her face as she remembers those precious sweet moments.  Now captured in her clear bright penmanship in a little book.

“Many significant songs were written in this time.  Songs that have entered into the disciple culture.”  She tells me a list of many songs which are still very well ingrained in my heart.”

“After the race was over that year Sri Chinmoy continued to come out here.  The dates go way beyond the end of the race, especially in 2007.  Sri Chinmoy used to come out in his car every morning and so his students just continued to come.”  She opens the book to the final song which she recorded on September 23 2007.  It is a birthday song dedicated to Parvati whose birthday had just taken place.”

“I like looking at this, it is like a little time piece.”

Photo by Jowan

Enthusiasm is beautiful,
Enthusiasm is powerful,
Enthusiasm is fruitful
When it is found inside
Our life-breath.

Continue reading “Day 40…Enthusiasm Awakeners (July 27)”

Day 39…I Will Do Everything (July 26)

In the Spring of 2007 Andrey had come to New York to run his first Self Transcendence 6 day race in Flushing Meadow.

“After about 2 days of running I was trying to rest but I had so much pain.  I was totally out of it. I didn’t know what to do.  So I started to invoke Guru’s name, very quickly.”

*Translation by Kanala*

“He wasn’t physically at the race at that moment.  But immediately he appeared inwardly to me.  He immediately calmed me down and soothed me.  Guru told me to just lay down for a rest, and told me, I will do everything.”

“So I thought, okay, let’s see what happens.  So I laid down to rest.  I rested for about 2 hours.  Then when I woke up I was amazed because I felt as though everything was like new.  It was though I hadn’t even begun to run.  Like I was just about to start to run.”

Such experiences of course do not happen every day.  But the more that each of us feel we are connected and dedicated to our inner existence, then the confines and challenges of our outer lives takes on a different perspective.  It becomes easier not just to see that nothing is impossible in our lives, but also that we all need to continue to move forward to our own real self transcendence.

As of this morning, which is the start of Day 37, Andrey has completed 2047 miles.  A distance that makes his accomplishment in that first 6 day race look pale in comparison.  In fact after his first 6 days here he managed 341 miles which was just one mile less than his total distance in 2007.

He is smiling and moving well when we talk.  Not interested whatsoever in going home and looking content, even though he still has another 14 more days of running here.  He says, “I realize that we have many different systems in our bodies.  Every time you lie down to rest one of these systems starts hurting.  It means there is a connection between the mind and the body, which is very strong.”

“This has all been one big positive experience that I have had happen to me here, because I don’t have too much pain.  There is always a smile on my face.  I feel joy.  I feel all the blessings, but I realize that paradise exists in every corner of the globe.  That in every corner of the earth is paradise.”

Everything is easy
If you know
That God is doing everything,
In and through you.

Continue reading “Day 39…I Will Do Everything (July 26)”

Day 38…It Is Possible (July 25)

I am pretty sure each one of us at some time would wish to be the author of our own destiny.  That we would somehow be able to make the time line of our lives more practical if not rewarding.  On days when we fail at something to then be able to rewrite our failure into success.

But of course the struggle is what allows us to appreciate each and every new step we take on the very long path to our own self transcendence.  On our better days we all also realize that the fabric of our destiny is woven neat and perfect for us, if only we can see it and believe it to be true. A task easy for our hearts but one not so well accommodated by a questioning mind

Yesterday Smarana completed 34 miles 63 laps of the course. There is nothing he more he would like to do now than run.  A capacity that seems for the time being to be hopelessly adrift from his grasp.  And so he walks the course as others pass him by.  He searches deep inside himself for a smile that once came so easily and he continues to search for the goal that has called all the runners here. To transcend, transcend, and transcend.

“Running was always in my family.  My family lived on the outskirts of a town.”  Smarana says that there was a track about 1 km long there created by a local factory and starting at age 6 his father would take him there in the evenings.  They ran together and as he got better the distance increased.  “Right from the beginning running was in the family.”

“It is so easy.  You only need shoes, a shirt, and shorts.  You don’t need much equipment.”

“I was in a sports club and did many different kinds of sports.  Running was one of the sports.  When I joined the Sri Chinmoy center then the big goal was the marathon.  I think it was 1993 when I did my first marathon.  I was so proud of myself.  A mental barrier in my mind just fell.  It is possible to run a marathon.”

“It shows so many times that it is just the mental barrier which is holding us back.  Once I did a marathon then came 100km, and then 24 hours.  It just shows that it is possible.  To go further and further.  It is nice.”

Photo by Jowan

Smarana says that the first time he took a serious interest in ultra running was the challenge of the 700 mile race.  “It was just there.”  Someone else in Vienna had done it and he was inspired, “I also want to do it.”  He committed to it with less than 2 years from doing his first marathon.  “It just all happened.  I didn’t plan it out.”

“Here, in the beginning you take its loudness and turmoil of the world with you.  In the course of time it just ebbs away and you feel a peace permeating your being.  There is stillness and peace.”  Smarana says such an experience is very difficult to achieve in his ordinary day to day life.

“Day after day in multi days they really help.  Because day after day you get deeper and deeper.  Especially this race is like a pilgrimage into yourself.  Finding your inner peace and poise.  It is nice if it falls into place with achieving the outer distance.  But this is just one aspect.  The deeper aspect you really take with you is the inner transformation of your nature and poise and peace.”

” And seeing that any problems you have are not such big problems.  It is we ourselves that make them big.  When you are here you get a different perspective.”

The life of spirituality
Not only invites possibility
But also transforms possibility
Into manifested reality.

Continue reading “Day 38…It Is Possible (July 25)”

Day 37…Inner Reality (July 24)

The weather broke today and in so doing the drop in temperature brought irregular waves of heavy showers.  A blessing for most and a mixed curse for those with already blistered feet.

For Harita things are going very well.  She is consistently running 60 mile days and now only has to maintain a 59 mile a day average in order to cover the final 956 miles.  A distance which is further than the entire length of her country New Zealand.

When asked if she ever imagined that things would have worked out the way they have, she says, “No.”

“I really didn’t think about it actually.  I had no idea.  I didn’t have any goals.  It was always just to do my best, really, and to keep it all in God’s hands.”

“The only reason I am doing it is because I had the inspiration that this is what my soul wanted me to do.  So then I felt, whatever I do, I will do my best.”

“I can’t believe that it has been 5 weeks.  It feels like is has been just a big blur of one day.  I don’t know whether or not I am surprised because I really had no idea what to expect.  I have seen a lot of difficult things happen to people over the years.  A lot of really big challenges.”

“There is always going to be something wrong.  There is always going to be a pain here or an ache there.  Feel like your getting a stomach virus.  So I am learning to accept that and be okay with that.”

photo by Alakananda

“So you have to keep going which is an incredible lesson for life that you can’t be affected by obstacles.  To see them as part of life.  They make you stronger.  They really help you develop faith, and confidence, and patience, and perseverance. So many qualities that are so essential for life.”

“I am really not trying to think about the whole distance.  That is really hard.  Your mind just wants to constantly think about how many more days,  how many more miles.  As soon as your knee gets sore you think how will it ever be possible to do 20 more days.  My mind is constantly wanting to look into the future like that.”

“Try and figure out how impossible this is going to be.  So I am really trying focus on living in the moment.  Be happy in the moment.  That is probably my biggest challenge.”

“I am much more aware of the inner reality all of the time than I am in my regular life, and of the importance of my state of consciousness.  Also just the fact that it is there and it is a tremendous opportunity to pray and to meditate and to be closer to the divinity that we all have at every moment within us but we so often removed from it because of our outer lives.”

My heart’s inner vision
Has to be
My life’s outer reality.

Continue reading “Day 37…Inner Reality (July 24)”

Day 36…Inner Silence (July 23)

“I am feeling pretty good.  A little tired.  You know, standard answer after 35 days.”

*cover picture by Alakananda*

When we greet each other a routine question is usually to ask the other person how they are.  Nirbhasa has spent the last 35 days doing very little else than running around the block here in Jamaica Queens.

Yesterday he tied with Kaneenika for the most mileage of the day with a very good 64 miles 117 laps.  Probably there can be no better answer than his , “pretty good.”  Particularly when you take into account that he has so far run 2233 miles and still has 867 more miles to go.

Photo by Alakananda

The conditions on the course yesterday were best described as brutal.  Crowds swarmed around a handball tournament in the corner and the day was hot and muggy.  Welcome to the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race.

I start our conversation this morning by telling Nirbhasa about a story I had printed in the blog yesterday about the great Indian Spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna.  I mentioned how he had given a spiritual experience to a family member who had not strived and worked for it so did not fully comprehend or appreciate what they had received.  I wondered how he felt that, compared to his and the other runners super human efforts to achieve their goals here.

“I think on some level you are obviously pushing.  You obviously want to do the fastest possible time.  You want to get in as many laps a day as possible.  But I think on another level the real struggle is inner.”

“Then again it is not really a struggle it is more a surrender of the mind.  The Inner Silence.  That is definitely something that as the race progresses it is very easy to feel that inner silence and inner vastness here.”

“The key is to keep surrendering.  It is not so much of a struggle as a matter of trying to fall into it.  Trying to calm everything down.  Don’t think how you are physically doing.  Don’t let your mind get agitated.  You are almost just trying to relax it.”

“There is a little over 2 weeks to go in the race.  In terms of the actual length of the race we have done 5 weeks already.  So 2 weeks seems like we are kind of near the end but it is a long way away.  You can’t think of the end at all.  You have to continue on doing what you have been doing every day.  Take every day one at a time.”

“Really use it as an opportunity for an inner exploration.  Which we never get to do to the same extent in the normal life.”

Nirbhasa emphasized the importance of feeling gratitude is the essential thing.  “For just being able to run, for being here, and having access to that space of inner silence.  It really is the key, gratitude.”

“Whenever I get a little bit, thoughts turning towards the end.  Or I get a little bit…..O God.  I want to be home in bed.  I really try and somehow invoke gratitude, and be happy for the experience of being out here.”

Silence inspires me.
Silence encourages me.
Silence helps me
To enter into my heart-temple
And meet with my Inner Pilot.

Continue reading “Day 36…Inner Silence (July 23)”

Day 35…Overcome Obstacles (July 22)

Most of the time it is possible to think of the 3100 mile course as a kind of a sacred path.  That all those who assemble there each day are on a very long pilgrimage to a higher goal.  As a metaphor it sounds great and for the most part is absolutely true, in its very own quirky urban way.

But the relentless intrusions of big city life are omnipresent.  The nearby highway gets loud and busy.  Kids fill the sidewalk on their way to and from summer school, and of course the playground and the sport fields become awash with vigorous play by kids of all shapes and sizes.

The yearly handball tournament is an event that city wide handball players no doubt look forward to.  The crowd and the cacophony that spills out onto the sidewalk are of course another matter for 10 weary runners trying to get their laps in the 18 precious hours allotted to them.

Early this morning as I waited to speak to Kaneenika I got a first hand taste of it, as a man with leaf blower was pushing a great grey cloud of indeterminate debris out through the fence of the hand ball court and onto the sidewalk where I stood.

When asked if she gets concerned about such distraction she says emphatically, “I do.  It is hard to ignore it, because I know what is coming.  Even Vasu said, O NO, the big game is coming.”

She says that in previous years she was more concerned about it.  “Now I am trying to get ready for it mentally.  Physically, I don’t know how to do that.  I hope there is something that will help me.”

I ask her what she does in order to cope with an imminent hard day like today.  “Somehow there is something, or someone, who helps us to pull through.  On the hot days and when we had the really rainy day.  You feel like, this is going to be hard.  But you get through it.”

“You don’t really know how it happens.  But there is definitely a force that is helping us to overcome these obstacles.”

I mention that she often wears a shirt that says, ‘Never Give Up.’ Kaneenika says that the opposite of that, one can sometimes easily give in to.

She says that she gets real strength and inspiration from the other runners who also overcome powerful obstacles.

“Definitely, last week when so many runners got sick I was just amazed how fast they all got through it.  The next day everybody looked as if nothing had happened.  It did give me a lot of inspiration and a lot of strength to continue.  Just as everybody did as if nothing had happened.”

Yesterday Kannenika tied Vasu for running the most miles of the day, 65.3 (119 laps).  Her current total of 2148 is 15 miles ahead of last year.

I ask her if at this point she feel more strongly the pull of the finish line.  “It is still far away.  But it is definitely closer.  It is closer than it was on day one.  I can feel the finish line much more.  That there is an end.”

Obstacles there are.
Again, eagerness and enthusiasm
Also are there
To overcome all obstacles —
Present and future.

Continue reading “Day 35…Overcome Obstacles (July 22)”