Day 21 starts with damp conditions, that are predicted to remain like this, for another 3 days. Yesterday, which was America's glorious 4th, most of the runners did not have great days. 9 out of 14, did lesser totals, than they had done the previous day.
Fear not, God's life loves you. Doubt not, God's Heart is all for you.
Guru Sri Chinmoy
It is not exactly raining, but the humidity is high, and the air feels thick and heavy. If there was any celebrating by the runners yesterday, today the party is definitely over.
There is no prayer this morning, because the conditions are unkind to electronics, and to runners. The umbrellas do not come out, but protective gear is what most wear right now.
Pranjal is in a good mood. Yesterday he was one of the few who increased their mileage. His number for the day, 63 miles, was his best days total, in 9 days. He no longer has to search for leaves to tape to his feet. A helper searches to find fresh ones for him every day. He is usually the first runner to come every morning. For the last 5 days he has been within 5 miles of Petr.
For Pavol, each day now, that he is out here on the course, is all about self-transcendence. His highest race mileage prior to the 3100, was 663 miles. Yesterday, he crossed over into the 1,000 mile club.
Asprihanal seems a little out of sorts this morning. He tells me, that last evening was not good for him. He was not able to make his usual 70 miles.
For Abichal, the Welshman, the damp conditions like this do not require any rain gear. His number yesterday was down a bit. He, like many others, found the evening difficult. He tells me, that he seems to do well in the mornings and afternoons, but feels he cannot push hard enough at night.
Smarana's numbers yesterday, were down 2 miles over the day before. Yesterday he lost possession of 3rd spot to Pranab.
I did not mention, that Suprabha is also a member of Parvati's singing group. Sri Chinmoy had invited her to join the group last year. She does not concentrate much on singing songs these days.
I had run a few miles with Pranab last night and he seemed to be having a hard time. He felt his energy was down, but seemed to be running very consistent 7 minute laps. Despite his concerns about his energy, he put in the most miles of anybody yesterday, with 68.6. His skin condition is much better, but his hands and ankles show the discomfort he has had to endure.
A couple of hours after the start of the 3100, a quite a bit shorter race, takes place across the street. The weekly self-transcendence 2 mile race. Vajra comes over to help. Gagana, who has just run the race, comes over afterwards, to do a few laps, with fellow Russian speaker, Stutisheel.
Grahak invites me to run a few laps with him. He hit 1300 miles yesterday, and has been solidly in 2nd place for a week. This of course, all comes from his consistency. He has not run even one day below 60 miles. He is in a fun mood and explains to me some of the little habits the runners get into while on the course.
He himself has just lifted and then dropped a metal rod that holds shut one of the iron gates. I have noticed several runners doing this, but have not been fast enough to catch them on camera. He says that sometimes it sticks and in order to move it you have to hit it with a rock, which has been placed strategically near by.
As we run along I suddenly see him picking up a coffee cup that was placed just off the course. He tells me that he will leave items of food or drink around the course. I suggest, that this habit, has a rather obvious resemblance, to a squirrel hiding nuts. He laughs at this. In a moment the coffee cup is being put down again, in another of his hiding spots, behind some weeds.
On another corner, he takes hold of a fence post, and swings himself around the corner. Many of the runners will do this as well. He tells me that Asprihanal has one habit, that few if any will copy. Because his path tends to be erratic, at even the best of times, he will often swerve off the shortest line, and go up and spin the top of a near by fire hydrant. He says he himself does not do this, because it is too far off the course. I wonder, as he runs off, whether he would do it, if it was just a bit closer.
Ananda Lahari had not just a good day but a great day yesterday. He ran his best one day total in more than 2 weeks, with 61 miles. He tells me his shin splints are at last gone. Last night, he ran this same block, when a very large number of fire crackers were let off. The evidence of which, is slowly dissolving away, in the morning rain.
How the race looked this time last year.