Marathon Journey, Accompanied by the Wind
- You could say I was well rested: almost a full two years since my last
marathon, at Rockland Lake State Park (New York) during Sri Chinmoy's
birthday celebrations in August, 2003. As to training, well, yes, I
had... done a few jogs of about one-half hour duration.
So many other Australian students of Sri Chinmoy had done marathons
over the past few months; why not me? The morning of destiny arrived,
but not quite as I have been praying and hoping for. You see, it is
Winter in Melbourne, and my constitution doesn't function particularly
well in cold weather.
All those dark grey clouds... they will definitely clear, allowing the
sun to emerge and warm my bones. And that relentless, strong (and
biting) wind... of course it will abate! Alas, it was only wishful
thinking, on both counts
Sunday at the local Citizens Park, conveniently situated less than 500
metres from The Rainbow-Silence-Heart. Quite tranquil, with many
members of the local Vietnamese community walking laps of the oval
and/or partaking of exercise, Tai Chi, and so forth.
I'll set up my gear in one of the coach's boxes. Those first 20 laps
were surprisingly easy; I could keep this up all day! Next, with 50
laps down I had only needed to walk a few, giving my delicate
digestive system a chance to assimilate some nourishment in the form
of a couple of ripe bananas. So far, so good! That bone-chilling cold
was taking its toll, affecting my sinuses (constant runny nose), and
my kidneys (quick bathroom stops). My hands were already purple
(unsurprising), but what was wrong with my fingers? I couldn't form
fists any more, as my digits had become very swollen with the chill.
For this first half of my journey, I had a setting moon (just waning
after being full a couple of days prior) to keep me company. Not to
mention flocks of seagulls and pigeons. And, so many interesting dogs
being taken for walk by their owners. Present, too, were many and
varied local characters.
It was time to move my stuff onto another seat: the junior Australian
Rules football teams were warming up for their match. With the social
atmosphere, I had to go out wide and/ or weave my way through the
crowds, congregated near the pavilion and its barbecue ablaze. I love
the smell of sizzling sausages in the morning, not. Oh-oh, I've been
doing a lot more walking. Niggling problems had begun to appear, and
I was seizing up in a few of the joints. I had been walking backwards
as well, to stretch my main muscles. Will have to surrender.
There was absolute certainty that I *would* finish, but I hadn't
counted on the experience being so tough. Well, at least the problems
which usually arise when I attempt to run didn't appear, just some
new, additional and unexpected ones (!)
Interestingly, the final score of the footy game was Home: 47 versus
Visitors: two. What's this... Another match? Oh well, the crowds of
spectators weren't that bad. Besides, I'll have some interesting
entertainment as I, ummm, walk most of my remaining laps. While I'd
managed to do about half an hour of running earlier in the day wearing
my T-shirt, and baseball cap, I had to revert to all my layers again:
sloppy Joe, rain jacket and... Woollen beanie to keep my cranium from
numbing. To minimise "spacing out", I constantly had to repeat to
myself the lap number I was currently doing, for example: "On 77, on
77..." Even so, I'm certain I did some extra laps, to ensure I hadn't
With that second game over, yet another began... And I was still out
there! Thought I recognised a customer of The Rainbow-Silence-Heart
from a long time ago, but he is engrossed in conversation. I'll catch
him next lap ... Or, the one after that! Jesse remembered me; we have
a quick chat.
There were more familiar faces, too: four-fifths of the "J"
they've been nicknamed by Kate, manager of The Rainbow-Silence-Heart).
John, the Italian man, Jaidyn, Joshua and -- the most recent arrival
-- Jaela. They would provide entertaining comments and diversions for
quite a number of laps to follow.
How can there be drops of rain falling, when the heavens above me are
blue, and the clouds are a long way into the distance? A mystery
which I couldn't resolve.
One man commented: "You've done a bit!" I responded: "Yeah, I've got
a few still to do!"
It didn't feel like I was suffering, but it was hard work. Spare a
thought (or three) for the Sri Chinmoy 3100 Mile Race runners, though.
Here they are at
Well, I can't even begin to imagine what running multiple marathons,
back-to-back and each day, for weeks and weeks and weeks on end must
the like. Maybe in some far distant incarnation for me... Now the
goal is nearly won, but... the race is not run till it's all been
done. Attempting to jog again, but that's not possible. Oh well,
maybe it's all for a reason (can't figure out what that might be,
A smidgen over the six hour mark now, and I'm on schedule to finish
somewhat quicker than my most recent, not so recent marathon. Yes,
finishing now -- what a relief! -- is this synchronicity (or
something?): a blast from the football match siren, precisely at that
moment! I need to stretch, quickly put on long track pants and...
Walk back to The Rainbow-Silence-Heart for the next big event of the
day (see these messages on the Sri Chinmoy Inspiration Group:
14233 and 14253 )
Thank-you, Sri Chinmoy, for providing the inspiration and the inner