"This marathon was one of my worst times, yet one of my happiest marathons."
I completed the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Marathon in 4hrs 50 mins. Not a brilliant time, but since injuring my back a few years ago I am always happy to be running âany' time, anywhere. Several friends had run the marathon previously and extolled its virtues. I was eager to embark on another marathon, so I decided this was the one- it would test the strength of my back, and my mental resolve.
Redundancy and a complete career change for me in April resulted in lack of training and an appalling weekly mileage, averaging 8 miles even well into June (and the marathon was in August). As a âwell-seasoned' runner I knew it was fool-hardy to embark on a long-distance run without sufficient training. So what was I going to run on- Faith? Well, yes, I intended to use some of that. But I was also hoping to find something, well, more in the way of a âmagic-word' I could chant that would turn me into an Olympian overnight.
Predictably, that didn't happen, but I found inspiration from Sri Chinmoy's books that helped me prior to and at every step of the marathon. Firstly, to maintain energy throughout, Sri Chinmoy advocates entering each task we perform with"happiness and enthusiasm". I tried to maintain that positive attitude. I also used two valuable visualisation techniques. Whilst at work:
âIf your conscious mind makes you feel that you are taking exercise for your participation in athletics when you go up and down the stairs, then automatically all your muscles will get enormous strength." (Aspiration-Glow and Dedication-Flow, Part 2)
âWhen you feel that you are tired, exhausted, please breathe in quietly. Take several deep breaths and try to feel that you are breathing in from various places- through the eyes, the ears, the forehead, the shoulders, and so on. Then energy enters through the various doors into your body. (Aspiration-Glow and Dedication-Flow, Part 1)
The marathon itself lived up to expectations. I found it a joyful experience. It was very well organised, with refreshments and encouragement all along the way. One chap stood for hours by the roadside reading aphorisms aloud, which served as constant encouragement and reminded me of why I love to run.
This marathon was one of my worst times, yet one of my happiest marathons. How is that possible? As a seeker-runner on a spiritual path Sri Chinmoy sums it up like this:
âThe seeker who recognises his inner oneness with the rest of the world will not feel sad and miserable if he does poorly. Only he will say,"I did what I could during my practice , and now the result I am taking as an experience..This kind of experience- both success and failure - is absolutely necessary for everybody in every walk of life." (The Outer Running and the Inner Running.)
Indrani(with quotes from Sri Chinmoy)