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6544My 47 Mile Experience

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  • lucianbalmer
    Sep 3, 2004
      Upon my arrival in New York, I was having a little bit of trouble
      with my legs. In June and July I was just winding down after the 6
      day race, so I didn't get much training for the marathon. I did do a
      lot of running (50 miles per week), at a slow 11 minute mile pace,
      but I hadn't run under a 9 minute mile pace since April, not to
      speak of my sub 8 minute marathon pace. At the very first 2 mile
      race in New York, I ran 12:47 (a lesson to learn). So, my marathon
      finished in 4:27, which I am extremely satisfied with.

      But my other goal was to tackle the 47 mile race, which begins at
      midnight of the 26th, or rather the very beginning of the 27th. Now,
      with the 47 starting 36 hours after my marathon finish, I knew it
      would be really difficult, especially being my first time. Actually,
      I was not planning to finish. My goal was to make it to the starting
      line. I was actually nervous, and I didn't remember being so nervous
      before the start of a race since my first marathon. I took a deep
      breath and said to myself "O Lord, you know what my training was
      like. Allow me to do only as well as you see fit." Basically a
      version of "You have the right to work, but not to the fruits
      thereof." Okay, so the nervousness went away.

      We all lined up at midnight, and sang Sri Chinmoy's most sacred
      song, "The Invocation," followed by "Happy Birthday." And, we were
      off to a start. The weather was mild, the track where we started was
      lit up beautifully with candlelight, and musicians were posted at
      different parts of the loop, feeding our hearts and minds with

      Around the 15th lap (there are 40 laps for 47 miles), the lactic
      acid was getting bad, and I slowed down considerably. On my 22nd
      lap, I decided to walk the entire lap, and at that point I started
      to think about when I was going to stop. Quite a few friends were
      there to encourage me, but the right person at the right time made
      the difference. I didn't even know that Ahelee was running the race,
      but she caught up to me and we struck up a short conversation. After
      getting inspiration from a fellow runner and walking the entire lap,
      I convinced myself to go for the entire ten hours even if I didn't

      Somewhere around lap 30 I was by myself, and I saw a bluish car
      driving by slowly. I soon recognized it as Vinaya's car, and Sri
      Chinmoy was the passenger. He looked at me, smiled, and waved his
      hand, giving me a most wonderful blessing. Quite a few times I have
      been receptive to Sri Chinmoy's blessings, while singing or after
      singing, taking prasad (blessed food), or whenever. But, I had never
      received so much during a run. A quick shiver ran down my spine. I
      was full of energy, joy, enthusiasm, determination, and detachment.
      Well, the last 10 laps were a breeze both physically and mentally
      (smiling the whole time, you get the picture). Right before the last
      lap, I took two big handfuls of cookies and crammed them in my
      mouth, and I ran the last lap faster than any other.

      After you finish 40 laps, you run 400 meters around the track
      carrying a flag, or rather a victory-banner, signifying your
      completion of the race. What divine victory and satisfaction I felt
      holding that flag! I kept on saying to myself "Happy Birthday, Guru"
      with utmost jubilance and an exploding enthusiasm within me. I
      finished in 9:37. Before the race, Garima said to me, "I just can't
      imagine Guru's Birthday without the 47." I fully concur. Offering
      ourselves and all our capacity is the best way to celebrate Sri
      Chinmoy's birthdays.

      San Francisco
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