"What helped me a lot was that there were people cheering you up, many of them I didn't know at all"

This year I did my second Self Transcendence Marathon which was also my second ever marathon. I was looking forward to it; to see whether I was going to improve my time because I had done a bit more training than last year. Maybe it was not to the standard recommended in various training programmes but working till 6pm and then going to English classes didn't give me that much time.

Anyway, I felt very happy, getting   up early in the morning (3.45am) in order to allow myself time to get to Rockland Lake. It was a very peaceful morning and when we came to the start, Sri Chinmoy was also there to encourage us and give us his inner blessing. The race started and everyone was full of energy, about 750 of us. I was trying to set my own pace which would keep me running as much as possible. I was stopping only at the water stations, which were positioned about every mile, to get some isotonic drink and water alternately in order not to dehydrate myself. Seaweed providing salt was also available, so these things helped me considerably throughout the race.

I passed 15 miles and after that my muscles became very stiff and tense, which was also painful, so I had to do some stretching exercises and also some walking which was in fact more painful for me because my knees were hurting more than when I ran. Some unexplainable pain in my left arch was also present some of the time, so my battle actually started after I'd done half marathon. What helped me a lot was that there were people cheering you up, many of them I didn't know at all. Sri Chinmoy was also there and every 3 miles, which was one lap, I could see him and express my inner gratitude to him. The second to last lap was the worst because I felt like I had enough strength to finish just one more lap and then go and have a rest.

Luckily I didn't give up and managed somehow to complete the marathon. I'm sure there were people who probably had worse pain than I did and I really admire them. It took much longer for them to finish the marathon but they did it. My time was 5.50.19 and it was half an hour batter than my previous result. I wanted to do it much better but then I was very, very happy that I did it at all. I am defiantly going to train harder for the next one. Sri Chinmoy wrote a considerable amount of poems dedicated to running, some of them set to music. They are really inspiring and sometimes I sing them during my run which gives me great joy and encouragement to continue and transcend myself with what I am already doing.

Sladjana Vracar