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50K Race Report

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  • erik_chicagocentre
    ERIK S 50K RACE REPORT The Chicago Lakefront 50K/50M Saturday October 29, 2005 The journey began in earnest at 8:30 am at the 63rd St. Beach House on the South
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 2005
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      ERIK'S 50K RACE REPORT

      The Chicago Lakefront 50K/50M
      Saturday October 29, 2005


      The journey began in earnest at 8:30 am at the 63rd St. Beach House on the South Side of
      Chicago. Actually, the journey began after the completion of the Self-Transcendence
      Marathon in August, considering the training and other factors which I discussed in my
      last posting.

      It was a cool morning, somewhere in the low 40's as I headed out the door and on my way
      to the starting line. I had a nice drive through Chicago on the way there traveling on the
      Lakeshore Drive which affords views of Lake Michigan, a few harbors stocked with sailing
      boats, cruisers, and yachts, downtown Chicago including historical buildings of unique
      architecture, The Museum of Natural History, and of Science and Industry, Soldier Field
      (home of the Chicago Bears, football), and nearby the U.S. Cellular Center, home of the
      newly famed Chicago White Sox. World Champs. Go SOX!!! Thanks Pradhan for allowing
      me to use your car.

      I did some loosening up and stretching and equally important some mediation and
      concentration. I also grounded myself as described in the much talked about book on this
      forum: Chi Running. I put some thought into my running uniform because I knew that I
      would need to peel of layers later on as the temperatures would rise from the low 40's to
      the 60's, a 20 F difference. I think it pays to have good running gear that is functional and
      easy to shed or vent if need be.

      The race was off after we all repeated together "There is nowhere I would rather be right
      now than here with you", apparently a tradition. There were some other instructions given
      out that I couldn't really hear because I was at the back of the group, and this would prove
      to be a mistake later on.

      I started out comfortably, of course, because I was to be racing for 50K or 31.1 miles. My
      strategy was to do about a 10:15-10:30 pace peppered with some walking. To be precise,
      1 minute race walking for every 6 running. It was difficult to gauge my pace considering
      the race directors didn't bother putting mile or kilometer markers on the course. Luckily,
      because this is such a popular path to exercise on, the city has mile markers at 1/2-mile
      intervals but our route didn't follow this path at all times. As a result I was only to get
      pace feedback at certain areas of the course. My first split was at 9:25, too fast. The next
      mile was 10:33 to compensate, but then after that I was back at 9:16. Was I falling into
      the trap that captures so many overzealous long distance runners of going out too fast?
      Later I had a 9;26, 10:00, and 10:20. I was feeling good and at this point I had run about
      11 miles. I was heading from the turnaround point that was at the waterfall next to the
      McCormick Center (a Chicago expedition center where our friend Purnahuti has annual
      plastic expos to attend) back to the beach house and starting line. I hit the beach house
      and turned around (about 1/3 done). My next splits were 9:38, 9:56, 9:42,, 9:46, and
      9:40. All these times were faster than my original plan but I stuck with it, and I was doing
      great…except for one thing.

      On this second leg of my journey I missed the turnaround point, yes, it's true, I really
      missed it. There was some confusion about this issue because the second turnaround
      point was not where the first one was. There was no mention of this in any of the race
      material and no maps to show you where the turnarounds were. I was either stupid or
      unfortunate, yes, I was admittedly both because I never learned about the location of the
      second turnaround. I was aware at the outset of the race that the first turnaround was at
      the waterfall. Consequently, I was vaguely aware that this information implies that the
      second turnaround was somewhere else. Perhaps I was too much focused within to pay
      attention to such pertinent details, besides I felt that I would just follow the pack and
      surely that would do and if not wouldn't the race director make it blatantly obvious where
      the turnarounds were. So I ran again to the waterfall which was somewhere between a
      1-1.5 miles further, than where the second turnaround had been. To make things even
      more confusing, there was a 50-mile race going on simultaneously and they also had
      different turnaround points than the 50K. Later when I was asked some race volunteers,
      including the race director, about how far this extra distance was between the turnaround
      points they didn't know. When I requested a map I was told they were all gone, maybe
      even thrown away (I should have dug through the trash like a real elite running enthusiast
      would have done so I could have gauged my real distance). Anyways, I was a bit dismayed
      on my second leg when I made this discovery, understandably I think, but at least I wasn't
      alone in my mistake because I observed at least a handful of others who had done the
      same. Poor, poor, poor souls, as if 50K weren't enough.

      I kept grinding away, or was I floating like a feather, or cruising like a roadrunner, or
      crawling like a land sloth. A little of each I think. I was doing ok considering that I had to
      make a mental adjustment to deal with this irreversible mistake. I was going to march on
      and that's all that mattered.

      On the final leg of the journey my splits were in the range of 10:16, 9:17, 9:24, 9:56 at an
      estimated distance of 28 miles to 32 respectively. I think I completed about 33 miles or
      53K. My final clock time was something like 5:30 although I timed myself at 5:17. by
      subtracting the times that I stopped so I could measure my true average pace. Half of this
      time was spent in confusion talking to different people about where the turnaround was
      and how much extra distance was it etc. One point I learned in this race is that I need to
      work on my pacing and perhaps abandon or refine my walk break strategy.

      I was really happy and pleased with my performance today because even after so many
      miles I was still doing some of them a min/mile faster than my strategic pace. I was
      literally flying and although it was painful for the calves and the hip muscles, it was still a
      genuinely beautiful and gracious experience to the absolute utmost.

      One of the inner strategies that I adopted was to chant Gra-TI-Tude with each turnover of
      my legs as I was exhaling, and Supreme as I inhaled for one turnover (two steps). This had
      both inner and outer benefits. I was measuring my breaths with my stride and counting
      the strides with my mantra. It was an effective means to regulate my breathing, which is
      so important in an endurance event. And on the other side I was using a mantra to make
      myself a conduit for spiritual energy, cycling it through my system in a rhythmic fashion.

      It was a fantastic experience. At one or two points towards the end of the race I was
      overwhelmed by emotion as a result of the various stresses and energies that I was
      experiencing. I cried for a few seconds with a mixture of emotions ranging from gratitude
      and ecstatic joy to extreme pain, agony, and sadness. But for who, just for me, or was
      some part of me identifying with the pain and suffering that we as a humanity go through
      as we strive to make progress in our lives, to become something, or for some people just
      to survive. If I had to summarize the experience in one spiritual word it would be
      gratitude.

      Running is becoming more integral to my spiritual processing and is aiding my
      development on various levels. I can clearly see how this running experience has enriched
      my spiritual life by producing gratitude and inner satisfaction as a result of participating in
      the race and also from the weeks of serious training. Running is an outlet where I can
      express my inner aspiration and devotion for a divine life, and is a means by which I have
      become stronger and more dynamic physically, vitally, and mentally.

      Running is great but it's not a bed of roses. When I started running about 5 years ago I
      had difficulty even doing a couple of miles because of knee problems. Gradually, I grew
      stronger in the knees to where I could run longer distances, but my knee problems have
      still not gone away. I had to walk the last 6 miles of the Self-Transcendence Marathon in
      August because of knee pain. For this race I wore stability shoes and it seems to have
      resolved some of the knee pains.

      Another obstacle I've had to face in my running career is low energy. I work at a busy
      restaurant where the environment can be very stressful, demanding, and as hot as blazes.
      After work it can be such a challenge to muster up the enthusiasm and energy for a quality
      running workout, which at this deteriorated point, can seem to be an agonizing exercise of
      futility. I would naturally like to sleep or rest after work but I try to run. Over the years
      the running has become more natural and now I can even look forward to running after
      work on all but the most consuming of days, as it helps to relieve stress, purify myself,
      and ultimately bring fresh energy into my system. It's a gradual process of the body's
      illumination and transformation.

      I would like to go on but I'm running out of time. A few parting thoughts. I'm looking
      forward to going to New York in a few weeks to be with Sri Chinmoy before he departs for
      his annual Christmas trip, and I hope that while I'm there I'll have the opportunity to talk
      to Arpan, who has got to be the most experienced runner that I know.

      If you made it through this post I would like to congratulate you, because it is in itself,
      practically a 50K. Well done chaps and chapettes.

      Keep on running.

      Peace, Gratitude, Love,

      Erik
    • arpan_deangelo
      Erik, Congratualtions on your great effort and accomplishment in the 50Km race recently. I could identify with much of what you described and how you described
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 2, 2005
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        Erik,
        Congratualtions on your great effort and accomplishment in the 50Km
        race recently. I could identify with much of what you described and
        how you described it. I am also honored by the mention of me at the
        end. Even though I may have many years and many, many races under my
        belt, I always seem to feel that I am just starting out each time I go
        out to train. Right now I am struglling with achilles pain as I am
        recovering from a slight injury. There always seems to be something
        physically that is not right, maybe because of age, or whatever. But I
        still try to make a habit of going out and attempting to train, even
        if it is just two miles easy.

        Reading about the efforts of others who are training well and racing
        is very inspiring to many people, even those of us who seem to have
        been racing forever. I am glad you trained for and did this 50km race,
        which is no joke. Good luck in your recovery and keep new goals always
        in your sight.

        I was training for the Philapelphia Marathon which is in three weeks,
        but because of the achilles problem and scheduling problems with that
        weekend, I am sad that I will not be able to run it. But even shorter
        races are good motivations to keep our running disciplines regular
        even if we cannot be in the greatest shape all year round.

        Thanks again for sharing that with us.

        Gratefully,
        Arpan



        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, erik_chicagocentre
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > ERIK'S 50K RACE REPORT
        >
        > The Chicago Lakefront 50K/50M
        > Saturday October 29, 2005
        >
        >
        > The journey began in earnest at 8:30 am at the 63rd St. Beach House
        on the South Side of
        > Chicago. Actually, the journey began after the completion of the
        Self-Transcendence
        > Marathon in August, considering the training and other factors which
        I discussed in my
        > last posting.
        >
        > It was a cool morning, somewhere in the low 40's as I headed out the
        door and on my way
        > to the starting line. I had a nice drive through Chicago on the way
        there traveling on the
        > Lakeshore Drive which affords views of Lake Michigan, a few harbors
        stocked with sailing
        > boats, cruisers, and yachts, downtown Chicago including historical
        buildings of unique
        > architecture, The Museum of Natural History, and of Science and
        Industry, Soldier Field
        > (home of the Chicago Bears, football), and nearby the U.S. Cellular
        Center, home of the
        > newly famed Chicago White Sox. World Champs. Go SOX!!! Thanks
        Pradhan for allowing
        > me to use your car.
        >
        > I did some loosening up and stretching and equally important some
        mediation and
        > concentration. I also grounded myself as described in the much
        talked about book on this
        > forum: Chi Running. I put some thought into my running uniform
        because I knew that I
        > would need to peel of layers later on as the temperatures would rise
        from the low 40's to
        > the 60's, a 20 F difference. I think it pays to have good running
        gear that is functional and
        > easy to shed or vent if need be.
        >
        > The race was off after we all repeated together "There is nowhere I
        would rather be right
        > now than here with you", apparently a tradition. There were some
        other instructions given
        > out that I couldn't really hear because I was at the back of the
        group, and this would prove
        > to be a mistake later on.
        >
        > I started out comfortably, of course, because I was to be racing for
        50K or 31.1 miles. My
        > strategy was to do about a 10:15-10:30 pace peppered with some
        walking. To be precise,
        > 1 minute race walking for every 6 running. It was difficult to
        gauge my pace considering
        > the race directors didn't bother putting mile or kilometer markers
        on the course. Luckily,
        > because this is such a popular path to exercise on, the city has
        mile markers at 1/2-mile
        > intervals but our route didn't follow this path at all times. As a
        result I was only to get
        > pace feedback at certain areas of the course. My first split was at
        9:25, too fast. The next
        > mile was 10:33 to compensate, but then after that I was back at
        9:16. Was I falling into
        > the trap that captures so many overzealous long distance runners of
        going out too fast?
        > Later I had a 9;26, 10:00, and 10:20. I was feeling good and at
        this point I had run about
        > 11 miles. I was heading from the turnaround point that was at the
        waterfall next to the
        > McCormick Center (a Chicago expedition center where our friend
        Purnahuti has annual
        > plastic expos to attend) back to the beach house and starting line.
        I hit the beach house
        > and turned around (about 1/3 done). My next splits were 9:38, 9:56,
        9:42,, 9:46, and
        > 9:40. All these times were faster than my original plan but I stuck
        with it, and I was doing
        > great…except for one thing.
        >
        > On this second leg of my journey I missed the turnaround point, yes,
        it's true, I really
        > missed it. There was some confusion about this issue because the
        second turnaround
        > point was not where the first one was. There was no mention of this
        in any of the race
        > material and no maps to show you where the turnarounds were. I was
        either stupid or
        > unfortunate, yes, I was admittedly both because I never learned
        about the location of the
        > second turnaround. I was aware at the outset of the race that the
        first turnaround was at
        > the waterfall. Consequently, I was vaguely aware that this
        information implies that the
        > second turnaround was somewhere else. Perhaps I was too much
        focused within to pay
        > attention to such pertinent details, besides I felt that I would
        just follow the pack and
        > surely that would do and if not wouldn't the race director make it
        blatantly obvious where
        > the turnarounds were. So I ran again to the waterfall which was
        somewhere between a
        > 1-1.5 miles further, than where the second turnaround had been. To
        make things even
        > more confusing, there was a 50-mile race going on simultaneously and
        they also had
        > different turnaround points than the 50K. Later when I was asked
        some race volunteers,
        > including the race director, about how far this extra distance was
        between the turnaround
        > points they didn't know. When I requested a map I was told they
        were all gone, maybe
        > even thrown away (I should have dug through the trash like a real
        elite running enthusiast
        > would have done so I could have gauged my real distance). Anyways,
        I was a bit dismayed
        > on my second leg when I made this discovery, understandably I think,
        but at least I wasn't
        > alone in my mistake because I observed at least a handful of others
        who had done the
        > same. Poor, poor, poor souls, as if 50K weren't enough.
        >
        > I kept grinding away, or was I floating like a feather, or cruising
        like a roadrunner, or
        > crawling like a land sloth. A little of each I think. I was doing
        ok considering that I had to
        > make a mental adjustment to deal with this irreversible mistake. I
        was going to march on
        > and that's all that mattered.
        >
        > On the final leg of the journey my splits were in the range of
        10:16, 9:17, 9:24, 9:56 at an
        > estimated distance of 28 miles to 32 respectively. I think I
        completed about 33 miles or
        > 53K. My final clock time was something like 5:30 although I timed
        myself at 5:17. by
        > subtracting the times that I stopped so I could measure my true
        average pace. Half of this
        > time was spent in confusion talking to different people about where
        the turnaround was
        > and how much extra distance was it etc. One point I learned in this
        race is that I need to
        > work on my pacing and perhaps abandon or refine my walk break strategy.
        >
        > I was really happy and pleased with my performance today because
        even after so many
        > miles I was still doing some of them a min/mile faster than my
        strategic pace. I was
        > literally flying and although it was painful for the calves and the
        hip muscles, it was still a
        > genuinely beautiful and gracious experience to the absolute utmost.
        >
        > One of the inner strategies that I adopted was to chant Gra-TI-Tude
        with each turnover of
        > my legs as I was exhaling, and Supreme as I inhaled for one turnover
        (two steps). This had
        > both inner and outer benefits. I was measuring my breaths with my
        stride and counting
        > the strides with my mantra. It was an effective means to regulate
        my breathing, which is
        > so important in an endurance event. And on the other side I was
        using a mantra to make
        > myself a conduit for spiritual energy, cycling it through my system
        in a rhythmic fashion.
        >
        > It was a fantastic experience. At one or two points towards the end
        of the race I was
        > overwhelmed by emotion as a result of the various stresses and
        energies that I was
        > experiencing. I cried for a few seconds with a mixture of emotions
        ranging from gratitude
        > and ecstatic joy to extreme pain, agony, and sadness. But for who,
        just for me, or was
        > some part of me identifying with the pain and suffering that we as a
        humanity go through
        > as we strive to make progress in our lives, to become something, or
        for some people just
        > to survive. If I had to summarize the experience in one spiritual
        word it would be
        > gratitude.
        >
        > Running is becoming more integral to my spiritual processing and is
        aiding my
        > development on various levels. I can clearly see how this running
        experience has enriched
        > my spiritual life by producing gratitude and inner satisfaction as a
        result of participating in
        > the race and also from the weeks of serious training. Running is an
        outlet where I can
        > express my inner aspiration and devotion for a divine life, and is a
        means by which I have
        > become stronger and more dynamic physically, vitally, and mentally.
        >
        > Running is great but it's not a bed of roses. When I started
        running about 5 years ago I
        > had difficulty even doing a couple of miles because of knee
        problems. Gradually, I grew
        > stronger in the knees to where I could run longer distances, but my
        knee problems have
        > still not gone away. I had to walk the last 6 miles of the
        Self-Transcendence Marathon in
        > August because of knee pain. For this race I wore stability shoes
        and it seems to have
        > resolved some of the knee pains.
        >
        > Another obstacle I've had to face in my running career is low
        energy. I work at a busy
        > restaurant where the environment can be very stressful, demanding,
        and as hot as blazes.
        > After work it can be such a challenge to muster up the enthusiasm
        and energy for a quality
        > running workout, which at this deteriorated point, can seem to be an
        agonizing exercise of
        > futility. I would naturally like to sleep or rest after work but I
        try to run. Over the years
        > the running has become more natural and now I can even look forward
        to running after
        > work on all but the most consuming of days, as it helps to relieve
        stress, purify myself,
        > and ultimately bring fresh energy into my system. It's a gradual
        process of the body's
        > illumination and transformation.
        >
        > I would like to go on but I'm running out of time. A few parting
        thoughts. I'm looking
        > forward to going to New York in a few weeks to be with Sri Chinmoy
        before he departs for
        > his annual Christmas trip, and I hope that while I'm there I'll have
        the opportunity to talk
        > to Arpan, who has got to be the most experienced runner that I know.
        >
        > If you made it through this post I would like to congratulate you,
        because it is in itself,
        > practically a 50K. Well done chaps and chapettes.
        >
        > Keep on running.
        >
        > Peace, Gratitude, Love,
        >
        > Erik
        >
      • niriha7
        Hi Eric, I did get to the end of your post and I really enjoyed it. You conveyed such a feeling of self-giving that I was drawn into your story. Thank you.
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 3, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Eric,

          I did get to the end of your post and I really enjoyed it. You
          conveyed such a feeling of self-giving that I was drawn into your
          story. Thank you.

          Niriha



          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, erik_chicagocentre
          <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > ERIK'S 50K RACE REPORT
          >
          > The Chicago Lakefront 50K/50M
          > Saturday October 29, 2005
          >
          >
          > The journey began in earnest at 8:30 am at the 63rd St. Beach House
          on the South Side of
          > Chicago. Actually, the journey began after the completion of the
          Self-Transcendence
          > Marathon in August, considering the training and other factors which
          I discussed in my
          > last posting.
          >
          > It was a cool morning, somewhere in the low 40's as I headed out the
          door and on my way
          > to the starting line. I had a nice drive through Chicago on the way
          there traveling on the
          > Lakeshore Drive which affords views of Lake Michigan, a few harbors
          stocked with sailing
          > boats, cruisers, and yachts, downtown Chicago including historical
          buildings of unique
          > architecture, The Museum of Natural History, and of Science and
          Industry, Soldier Field
          > (home of the Chicago Bears, football), and nearby the U.S. Cellular
          Center, home of the
          > newly famed Chicago White Sox. World Champs. Go SOX!!! Thanks
          Pradhan for allowing
          > me to use your car.
          >
          > I did some loosening up and stretching and equally important some
          mediation and
          > concentration. I also grounded myself as described in the much
          talked about book on this
          > forum: Chi Running. I put some thought into my running uniform
          because I knew that I
          > would need to peel of layers later on as the temperatures would rise
          from the low 40's to
          > the 60's, a 20 F difference. I think it pays to have good running
          gear that is functional and
          > easy to shed or vent if need be.
          >
          > The race was off after we all repeated together "There is nowhere I
          would rather be right
          > now than here with you", apparently a tradition. There were some
          other instructions given
          > out that I couldn't really hear because I was at the back of the
          group, and this would prove
          > to be a mistake later on.
          >
          > I started out comfortably, of course, because I was to be racing for
          50K or 31.1 miles. My
          > strategy was to do about a 10:15-10:30 pace peppered with some
          walking. To be precise,
          > 1 minute race walking for every 6 running. It was difficult to
          gauge my pace considering
          > the race directors didn't bother putting mile or kilometer markers
          on the course. Luckily,
          > because this is such a popular path to exercise on, the city has
          mile markers at 1/2-mile
          > intervals but our route didn't follow this path at all times. As a
          result I was only to get
          > pace feedback at certain areas of the course. My first split was at
          9:25, too fast. The next
          > mile was 10:33 to compensate, but then after that I was back at
          9:16. Was I falling into
          > the trap that captures so many overzealous long distance runners of
          going out too fast?
          > Later I had a 9;26, 10:00, and 10:20. I was feeling good and at
          this point I had run about
          > 11 miles. I was heading from the turnaround point that was at the
          waterfall next to the
          > McCormick Center (a Chicago expedition center where our friend
          Purnahuti has annual
          > plastic expos to attend) back to the beach house and starting line.
          I hit the beach house
          > and turned around (about 1/3 done). My next splits were 9:38, 9:56,
          9:42,, 9:46, and
          > 9:40. All these times were faster than my original plan but I stuck
          with it, and I was doing
          > great…except for one thing.
          >
          > On this second leg of my journey I missed the turnaround point, yes,
          it's true, I really
          > missed it. There was some confusion about this issue because the
          second turnaround
          > point was not where the first one was. There was no mention of this
          in any of the race
          > material and no maps to show you where the turnarounds were. I was
          either stupid or
          > unfortunate, yes, I was admittedly both because I never learned
          about the location of the
          > second turnaround. I was aware at the outset of the race that the
          first turnaround was at
          > the waterfall. Consequently, I was vaguely aware that this
          information implies that the
          > second turnaround was somewhere else. Perhaps I was too much
          focused within to pay
          > attention to such pertinent details, besides I felt that I would
          just follow the pack and
          > surely that would do and if not wouldn't the race director make it
          blatantly obvious where
          > the turnarounds were. So I ran again to the waterfall which was
          somewhere between a
          > 1-1.5 miles further, than where the second turnaround had been. To
          make things even
          > more confusing, there was a 50-mile race going on simultaneously and
          they also had
          > different turnaround points than the 50K. Later when I was asked
          some race volunteers,
          > including the race director, about how far this extra distance was
          between the turnaround
          > points they didn't know. When I requested a map I was told they
          were all gone, maybe
          > even thrown away (I should have dug through the trash like a real
          elite running enthusiast
          > would have done so I could have gauged my real distance). Anyways,
          I was a bit dismayed
          > on my second leg when I made this discovery, understandably I think,
          but at least I wasn't
          > alone in my mistake because I observed at least a handful of others
          who had done the
          > same. Poor, poor, poor souls, as if 50K weren't enough.
          >
          > I kept grinding away, or was I floating like a feather, or cruising
          like a roadrunner, or
          > crawling like a land sloth. A little of each I think. I was doing
          ok considering that I had to
          > make a mental adjustment to deal with this irreversible mistake. I
          was going to march on
          > and that's all that mattered.
          >
          > On the final leg of the journey my splits were in the range of
          10:16, 9:17, 9:24, 9:56 at an
          > estimated distance of 28 miles to 32 respectively. I think I
          completed about 33 miles or
          > 53K. My final clock time was something like 5:30 although I timed
          myself at 5:17. by
          > subtracting the times that I stopped so I could measure my true
          average pace. Half of this
          > time was spent in confusion talking to different people about where
          the turnaround was
          > and how much extra distance was it etc. One point I learned in this
          race is that I need to
          > work on my pacing and perhaps abandon or refine my walk break strategy.
          >
          > I was really happy and pleased with my performance today because
          even after so many
          > miles I was still doing some of them a min/mile faster than my
          strategic pace. I was
          > literally flying and although it was painful for the calves and the
          hip muscles, it was still a
          > genuinely beautiful and gracious experience to the absolute utmost.
          >
          > One of the inner strategies that I adopted was to chant Gra-TI-Tude
          with each turnover of
          > my legs as I was exhaling, and Supreme as I inhaled for one turnover
          (two steps). This had
          > both inner and outer benefits. I was measuring my breaths with my
          stride and counting
          > the strides with my mantra. It was an effective means to regulate
          my breathing, which is
          > so important in an endurance event. And on the other side I was
          using a mantra to make
          > myself a conduit for spiritual energy, cycling it through my system
          in a rhythmic fashion.
          >
          > It was a fantastic experience. At one or two points towards the end
          of the race I was
          > overwhelmed by emotion as a result of the various stresses and
          energies that I was
          > experiencing. I cried for a few seconds with a mixture of emotions
          ranging from gratitude
          > and ecstatic joy to extreme pain, agony, and sadness. But for who,
          just for me, or was
          > some part of me identifying with the pain and suffering that we as a
          humanity go through
          > as we strive to make progress in our lives, to become something, or
          for some people just
          > to survive. If I had to summarize the experience in one spiritual
          word it would be
          > gratitude.
          >
          > Running is becoming more integral to my spiritual processing and is
          aiding my
          > development on various levels. I can clearly see how this running
          experience has enriched
          > my spiritual life by producing gratitude and inner satisfaction as a
          result of participating in
          > the race and also from the weeks of serious training. Running is an
          outlet where I can
          > express my inner aspiration and devotion for a divine life, and is a
          means by which I have
          > become stronger and more dynamic physically, vitally, and mentally.
          >
          > Running is great but it's not a bed of roses. When I started
          running about 5 years ago I
          > had difficulty even doing a couple of miles because of knee
          problems. Gradually, I grew
          > stronger in the knees to where I could run longer distances, but my
          knee problems have
          > still not gone away. I had to walk the last 6 miles of the
          Self-Transcendence Marathon in
          > August because of knee pain. For this race I wore stability shoes
          and it seems to have
          > resolved some of the knee pains.
          >
          > Another obstacle I've had to face in my running career is low
          energy. I work at a busy
          > restaurant where the environment can be very stressful, demanding,
          and as hot as blazes.
          > After work it can be such a challenge to muster up the enthusiasm
          and energy for a quality
          > running workout, which at this deteriorated point, can seem to be an
          agonizing exercise of
          > futility. I would naturally like to sleep or rest after work but I
          try to run. Over the years
          > the running has become more natural and now I can even look forward
          to running after
          > work on all but the most consuming of days, as it helps to relieve
          stress, purify myself,
          > and ultimately bring fresh energy into my system. It's a gradual
          process of the body's
          > illumination and transformation.
          >
          > I would like to go on but I'm running out of time. A few parting
          thoughts. I'm looking
          > forward to going to New York in a few weeks to be with Sri Chinmoy
          before he departs for
          > his annual Christmas trip, and I hope that while I'm there I'll have
          the opportunity to talk
          > to Arpan, who has got to be the most experienced runner that I know.
          >
          > If you made it through this post I would like to congratulate you,
          because it is in itself,
          > practically a 50K. Well done chaps and chapettes.
          >
          > Keep on running.
          >
          > Peace, Gratitude, Love,
          >
          > Erik
          >
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