by vasanti | Apr 27, 2009 | Training
10 km into the half-marathon.... (photos taken on a training run 2 weeks before)
On Sunday, during the Heidelberg halfmarathon, I was thinking a lot of my friends who are challenging themselves in the 6- and 10-day Self-Transcendence-Race in New York. That makes 21,0975 km feel so short!
Still I knew it would not be easy, but I wanted to enjoy the journey. I had not done any serious really long runs since last year’s triathlon training, and I am at least 5 kg heavier than last April, plus one year older.. The course is hilly with a number of steep sections and the sun would be blazing part of the way… So my only goal was to focus, stay happy and hopefully finish under 2:45 (I am a slow runner anyway).
past the Castle...
And I totally enjoyed the run. The 3500 runners started in blocks to fit through the narrow streets and forrest paths. I was way in the back. In the beginning my running was so slow, I saw the “Besen-wagen” (pick up van for the drop-outs) only a few hundred meters behind. At the end it only took me 3 minutes longer than last year – not bad! And I felt strong – the Channel training is still there.
Finally downhill again
However, with no serious sports challenge since last year I had almost forgotten the inner joy and intensity they give. It was like a wake-up call. “Run and become” – a phrase my teacher Sri Chinmoy coined, is so true! (Of course also for swimming etc.) Setting goals is important to challenge oneself, but the main thing is happening along the way. I love the many special training experiences – sometimes mystic or ecstatic, when you are running into the rising sun or under the stars, the purified feeling after a swim workout and the intense feeling of inner peace and vastness after a bigger challenge which may stay for days or weeks or even months (like after my first ultra-triathlon in Australia) – this is what for me sports is all about. A form of meditation, or an intensification of meditation, a door to inner experiences.
During the half-marathon, the memory came back why I had started to train for the Channel at all in 1985 . I was longing for real ultra-experiences, the spiritual aspect – but shin splints and other problems kept me away. Then the Channel opportunity presented itself. –
The last mile...
So the half-marathon was tough as usual, but also tremendous joy. A great feeling of oneness – oneness with the other runners, with the cheering, clapping, drumming supporters along the route, offering water and food at private stations, with the beauty of nature and the scenic route.
Happy after 2 h 32:40
Not sure what my next event will be. Last year was very different – I took all ultra-opportunities without question. This year I am going with the flow, right now I still have to concentrate on my work. But May will show how serious I can become this year about my project.
by vasanti | Apr 15, 2009 | Uncategorized
Ashrita posing with his Guinness World Record Certificate for 100 GWRs
I have known Ashrita Furman since 1981. His focus, determination, dedication to his spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy (like Hanuman, if you know the Ramayana) and his boundless, exuberant, at times quite wild, but basically 🙂 innocent enthusiasm and energy combined with a totally positive attitude have inspired me many times.
What started out at a time when many of our team entered into the field of ultra-distances with the idea to challenge inner and outer limitations in a spirit of self-transcendence (not rivalry) and in search for spiritual experiences, in his case became an intense pursuit, often athletic but also exotic or involving group oneness, to challenge the “impossible” by breaking or establishing Guinness Records.
On April 14th, 2009, Ashrita became the first person ever to hold 100 Guinness World Records at one time, by organising the translation and recitation of a text – the poem “Precious” by our late teacher Sri Chinmoy – in the most number of languages (I heard not all 111 languages were recognised, some being dialects, but the record is valid.)
(Media all over the world picked up the story, here a link to local report in the New York Daily News)
213 records stretched out over a span of 30 years were needed to reach that goal – many broken several times by others in the meantime. Many of Ashritas records, like sommersaulting for 12 miles in 1986, were very tough – physically and mentally. But at the same time he had lots of fun over the years – even with record attempts that never worked out.
Here the official Guinness World Record press release about his latest record. (The stories on his blog are a fascinating read, by the way!)
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS HONORS ONE MAN’S HISTORIC MILESTONE – 100 RECORDS BROKEN!
Ashrita Furman Becomes First Person to Hold 100 Guinness World Records Simultaneously
NEW YORK – April 14, 2009 – Ashrita Furman reached a milestone today by becoming the first person to simultaneously hold 100 Guinness World Records when he and over 100 participants earned the world record for “A Poem / Literary Passage Recited in the Most Languages.” The historic moment was a long time in the making for Furman, who has been breaking Guinness World Records for over 30 years. New York City Councilman James F. Gennaro presided over the event at City Hall Park in New York City and Guinness World Records judge Danny Girton Jr. was on hand to verify the feat.
Ashrita being honoured by Guiness World Records for his 100st standing GWR
Furman and over 100 members from the Sri Chinmoy Centre recited “Precious” by Sri Chinmoy in 111 languages including Afrikaans, Dzongkha, Kabyle and Picard. The group beat the current record held by the International Social Service of Hong Kong, which recited “Values on Communal Harmony” in 79 different languages on November 23, 2008.
Celebrating cultural diversity – and a tribute to his teacher Sri Chinmoy
The proud record-breaker had this to say about his unprecedented accomplishment, “With more than 170 nationalities represented in New York City this record celebrates the diversity of our city. While it wasn’t as physically challenging as some of my other records, having this record as my 100th is a very special tribute to Sri Chinmoy.”
“What Ashrita did today is an amazing feat for him and Guinness World Records alike,” said Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief at Guinness World Records. “He has a 30-year relationship with Guinness World Records that is nothing less than stunning, breaking records around the world and proving that you don’t have to be famous to be the world’s best.”
New York City Councilman James F. Gennaro (D-Queens) added, “This is exactly the type of event that should take place in the seat of New York City government. To speak and hear the precious utterances of Sri Chinmoy is truly an inspiration.”
Ashrita Furman has been breaking Guinness World Records since 1979, when he completed 27,000 jumping jacks to earn his first Guinness World Record. Since then, the 54-year old health food store manager from Queens, New York has broken records on all seven continents, including completing the fastest mile on a pogo stick in Antarctica and bouncing the fastest mile on a kangaroo ball along the Great Wall of China. Furman has practiced meditation for over 30 years, which helps him keeps his concentration during marathon record attempts. Whether it be performing forward rolls for the entire 12-mile length of Paul Revere’s ride through Massachusetts or racing against a Yak in Mongolia to set the mile sack-racing record, Furman is a determined individual and a true world-class record holder! (end of Guinness World Records press release)
Why he does it? More on his video-interview by Kedar Misani on Live Voices right after the event.
by vasanti | Apr 10, 2009 | Training
Spring has arrived in Heidelberg – with summer temperatures. Even last weekend it was warmer here than in Dover in August, but now temperatures are up to 24 °C (75 Fahrenheit)! The Heidelberg halfmarathon, which I registered for again, is on April 27th – so I do have to get a bit of hill-training in. Without my training partners from last year, I have a little bit less dicipline. So today I went for my longest run this year – 2 1/2 easy hours, over the Philosophenweg from Ziegelhausen to Heidelberg in the midday heat with luckily some parts in the shade, all the way down, and all the way up and back again, with some rest and stretching in between. The heat really is a problem for me – that was the reason why last year I did not want to put on too much weight. And that is why I don’t think I will ever do the Marathon des Sables. (Two years ago the halfmarathon was in similar temperatures and people collapsed!)
This is one of the most tricky things about the triathlon project: finding just the right balance between heat and cold tolerance.
After my run, I changed into my bathing suit (and some more clothes) and went down to the Neckar. It was incredibly peaceful, no soul around in spite of the holiday (Good Friday), hardly any clouds in the blue sky, the water much clearer now with the dry weather, but still not inviting enough for me to put my head into it. It was easy to stay in for 30 minutes, it must be over 10°C now. I love it, even though it is not real training – breaststroking against the current. Some people passed by and asked about the temperature – I suppose it must have looked quite tempting to take a dip.
Since I am staying in Heidelberg over the Easter Holidays, which is quite unusual, I might just as well use the great weather and make it a new habit to swim every day/morning in the river, as long as it is still moderately cold. No danger anymore that people will call the police, I suppose.